A Message From Our Vice President
The Future of Aviation
In August, I had the honor of representing Women in Corporate Aviation at the NBAA Workforce Development Summit. The aviation industry is facing a serious workforce challenge as many “Baby Boomer” pilots and mechanics get ready for retirement. The challenge we are facing is twofold. First, we need to inspire and educate the next generation of aviation enthusiasts. Second, we need to attract and retain top talent for corporate aviation.
When it comes to inspiring the next generation, there are many programs and educational opportunities that can help. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has their You Can Fly program. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has their Young Eagles program. And Women in Aviation International (WAI) hosts Girls in Aviation Day events around the world. These are just a few examples; many other organizations are doing their part as well. These programs are a great way to introduce aviation to young girls (and boys). Take my niece Julia for example. She is 9 years old and loves aviation! But her love for aviation didn’t happen by accident. I had the pleasure of taking her to a Girls in Aviation Day event last year. She loved it so much that her mom drove 3 hours so Julia and her two sisters could attend another Girls in Aviation Day event this year. It is up to all of us to inspire, encourage, motivate, and educate the next generation about the industry we love. We need to share our passion for aviation with our sisters, daughters, nieces, and other young girls (and boys) in our life.
The second part of the workforce challenge is a bit more complex, and there is no easy answer. All of aviation is being impacted by the workforce shortage – airlines, military, and corporate aviation. We are all competing for the same resources. So how does corporate aviation attract and retain top talent? The airlines have a clear path mapped out for college students who want to become airline pilots. If you want to be a military pilot, you can visit any recruiting office and they will show you the way. But what if you want to be a corporate pilot? The path is not quite as clear. That’s where organizations like Women in Corporate Aviation (WCA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and other regional groups come in. It’s up to us to educate people about the opportunities and benefits corporate aviation has to offer. Mentoring and networking are great ways to help others find their way in corporate aviation.
We’re not going to solve the workforce issue overnight. It is going to take all of us working together to ensure the future of aviation. On the plus side, there will be plenty of job opportunities for those wanting to be pilots and mechanics.
I can’t say with certainty what the future holds for my niece, but I am going to do all I can to encourage her to follow her dreams.
Jaclyn Gilbert, Vice President
Women In Corporate Aviation