Minnesota State University Aviation Program could help fill anticipated pilot gap

Minnesota State University Aviation Program could help fill anticipated pilot gap

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — With more and more pilots aging out, the employment field is wide open. Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Aviation welcomed brand new students today eager to join that workforce.

With school back in session, the hangar was open for aviation students to get a glimpse at their future career.

“The industry right now is booming, they need pilots so bad and all the airlines are here to recruit us where it used to be 10 years ago, you could barely get a job after training and so now we’re trying to recruit students to come to our flight school and move on to the airlines because they need us really badly and also it’s just the enjoyment of flying it’s not just a job, it’s more of a passion," North Star Aviation Flight Instructor Sophia Poinar said.

“Some industry groups have estimated in 2020 the need for over 4,000 pilots within the United States that U.S. airlines will be hiring. By 2023 that number will exceed 4,500. That will be over 375 pilots a month that the airlines are going to need to hire to fill their gaps. Our primary objective is to make a contribution to fill the those ranks,” Minnesota State University, Mankato Assistant Professor of Aviation and Aviation Department Chair Mike Ferrero added.

“Many of the students that come out of here move on to be very successful airline pilots, corporate pilots, there’s other aviation jobs out there besides just being an airline pilot but that’s just the hot commodity right now,” Poinar said.

“Our program has expanded significantly and we are keeping up with that expansion it’s really an exciting time to be in aviation, not only for us but for these students the airlines see it and what’s important to us is, we put out a good product that way when they get to the airline they do their part as a quality crew member and MSU is well represented," Ferrero added.

“It’s more exciting to know that if you work hard and get your instructor ratings then there could be a job potentially waiting for you if you’re qualified,” Poinar said.

MSU’S Aviation program is the only four-year accredited aviation program in Minnesota.

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