The travel industry is slowly bouncing back after 18 months in a worldwide pandemic. But, with plane and pilot shortages, the future of travel is well – up in the air.
Five thousand pilots accepted early retirement offers from mainline U.S. carriers aviation consultant Kit Darby told industry publication Travel Weekly. Airlines are anticipating reaching the 2019 travel level by next year or in 2023, but in order to grow, pilots need to be replaced fast and at a higher capacity.
Airports are catching on and are becoming creative on how to combat this shortage. Over the next two decades, it’s projected that 87 new pilots will need to be trained and ready to fly a commercial airliner every day to meet the demand for air travel. Overall employment of airline and commercial pilots is estimated to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Flight training schools have popped up across the country and at CRW in response to the pilot shortage. Kristen Sayre is one of three women in CRW’s Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School’s inaugural class.
“This was a great time to start school because the demand for pilots is only going to increase, especially for women pilots opportunity an even greater opportunity for women in aviation. I think the national statistic for women pilots is 8%, and it’s even longer for career pilots. So right now, there are three of us out of 18 students; we are defying the statistic right now, which is awesome,” Sayre said.
It only took 363 days of construction on CRW’s Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School, where future pilots have a state-of-the-art building and hangar for their education and training.
“It’s a four-year program. The school just got started up a few months ago. It all came together so quickly, as everyone knows. It b took a year for them to set it all up, which is awesome considering all that,” Sayre said.
Ben Epperly is in Sayre’s class. For him, his flight path was always clear.
“Since I was a kid, I have always liked aviation: the sights, the sounds. Always being at the airport. Its excitement in the air” said Epperly.
Marshall University’s planned Commercial Pilot: Fixed Wing, B.S. degree program will help meet the nation’s projected significant need for commercial pilots over the next 20 years. In addition, its ground and flight courses will lead to many FAA certifications and prepare graduates to become commercial pilots of single and multi-engine aircraft.
“I will definitely fly commercial but with an airline, but ii may start corporate first,” Sayre said.
“To be a commercial pilot and fly any airline I can get a hold of. Delta, American all that to fly internationally is what I want to do,” Epperly said.
The new bachelor’s degree program just began in the fall 2021 semester.
Yeager Airport Director and CEO Nick Keller plans to grow the program and bring West Virginia an extra economic boost.
QUESTION: ONE OF THE GOALS OF THE PROGRAM IS TO INVEST IN AVIATION EDUCATION AND CREATE QUALITY JOBS. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE BILL NOE FLIGHT SCHOOL IN THE NEXT YEAR? HOW CAN WE HELP THE PILOT SHORTAGE?
“West Virginia and Marshall Bill Noe Flight School and Yeager Airport play a key role in reversing the pilot shortage and help add new pilots. Where I want to see the flight school now is to continue adding new students every semester. In addition, Marshall has new aircraft on order. So imagine in 5 years, over 200 full-time college students going to school at Yeager Airport through Marshall University, graduating up to 50 pilots a year. There is also the opportunity for Marshall to add in different degree programs in aviation management or aerospace engineering.”
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE AIRLINE PILOT CADET PROGRAM?
“One of the things the airport is doing is we are talking to airlines partnering with Marshall University for cadet programs. The program is a pathway for someone who is in pilot training to get a guaranteed job at an airline once they graduate. So they can start with an airline and get into the program; this would help students compete in the economy.”
The Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School will enroll more than 200 students and produce some 50 commercial pilots annually when in full operation.
The curriculum will teach students aeronautics, navigation, flight control, and communication systems.
The incentive to get more pilots is enticing. Based on national data, professional pilots enjoy a great ROI, estimated at 55x, compared to other popular professions like engineers, attorneys, and physicians, estimated at 30-40x.
“It’s the perfect time for us, I mean, especially w this location here and all the job opportunities we will be able to get, and it won’t take very long,” said Epperly.
The median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $147,220 in 2019, while the median yearly salary for commercial pilots was $86,080.
In just a matter of weeks, there will be a chill in the air while you are drinking your morning coffee, the leaves will be starting to show some color, and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean will be a little colder. So, while your favorite summer vacation spots are winding down for the year, the best fall locations are just starting to heat up.
Charlotte is just one of the major cities you can fly to from Yeager Airport in under an hour. You might be thinking to yourself, “Charlotte, for a fall trip?” The Queen City might not be the first spot on your list for best fall locations, but we are here to convince you to make the short flight down to the southern part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A Fall Oasis of Fun
First up on the list of things we would suggest is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Wait, what? West Virginia already has world-class whitewater rafting. Why go to North Carolina for this? Let’s look at everything you can do at the whitewater center.
- Whitewater Rafting/Kayaking on the world’s largest manmade river.
- Navigate a rope course over the river.
- Jump from a 100 ft. platform.
- Ice skating
- Climb the world’s first deepwater solo climbing complex.
- Bouldering, top-rope, and sport climbing on one of the largest outdoor climbing complexes on the East Coast.
- Flatwater Kayaking
- Mountain Biking
Just looking at the Whitewater Center’s pictures has us ready to hop on the next flight to CLT. You can buy one or two day passes to this oasis of fun, or you can purchase single activity passes. Still not convinced, let’s look at some more things to do in the Queen City.
A Climbing Destination
Want to bring the outdoors inside? Inner peaks climbing is a massive indoor rock-climbing park for first-time climbers and the most advanced climbers. Inner Peaks has a great video on their website that shows everything you can do and then some. We will let the video speak for itself.
Charlotte is jam-packed full of things to do; we could never list them in all in just one article. Here is a list of items in Charlotte that are fun but you may have forgotten about:
- NASCAR Hall of Fame
- Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
- Childress Vineyards (there are multiple vineyards in the area)
- North Carolina Zoo (in Asheboro, a 1.5-hour drive from Charlotte)
The list could go on with all the fantastic restaurants and nightlife in Uptown. That could be a trip all on its own. The Discovery Place is a great place to take the entire family. The little ones will be busy all day there, exploring everything from wildlife to designing forts.
So, if the Queen City has never been on your radar for one of the best fall locations, we hope this article at least piques your interest. If you want to check out more of the exciting things to do in the Charlotte area, their visitor website is easy to navigate and provides links to all the attractions, restaurants, breweries, nightlife, and more.
We hope to see you hopping on a flight to CLT soon!
If you have ever wondered what it is like to work at an Airport, this is your opportunity! Join us for a Job Fair at CRW on Friday, June 18th in baggage claim! Several exciting jobs are available with different agencies: the Airport Authority, Capital Jet Center, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Airport Food Vendors, Airlines, and more! Bring your resume and chat with one of our friendly employees from 8:00 AM – 6 PM.
When: June 18, 2021
Where: Yeager Airport Baggage Claim
Who: Yeager Airport, Capital Jet Center, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Airport Food Vendors, Airlines, and more!
The Attraction Begins
The unmistakable roar forces your eyes skyward as thunder resonates from the four radial engines of the distant plane. As you track the approaching aircraft the sun glints off polished aluminum skin and you know you’ve encountered something special in rarefied air. You recognize the plane as the mighty Flying Fortress, which along with its escorts, became symbols of World War II air supremacy. This is Yankee Lady, the pristine B-17, painstakingly restored to award winning specifications. This is one of the very few heavy bombers of its type still flying and on which you can have an Air Adventure ride.
Be the One Looking Down
Your flight experience begins with a briefing and then you take your station. The authenticity of this craft is spellbinding. After taxiing and takeoff, you will have 25 minutes in the air. Upon reaching a cruising speed of 150mph at an altitude of approximately 1200 feet the scenery unfolds before you. You are able to move to other positions in the Fort, including the Plexiglas nose, flight deck, radio room and waist gunnery section.
As your mission ends you will appreciate better the courage of the sky men who flew vast armadas of these majestic aircraft, who commanded the clouds and rode on thunder, and you too will step off exclaiming, “that was amazing!”
March 29-30 at CRW!
$495.00 per seat. To obtain your mission orders: Visit: www.yankeeairmuseum.org/fly/
Yankee Air Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Donations may be tax-deductible, consult your tax professional for more information.
DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL ENTRY FORM HERE: Yeager Coloring Contest
TO ENTER, PRINT OUT, OR PICK UP THE OFFICIAL YEAGER AIRPORT BACK TO SCHOOL COLORING PAGE AND COLOR IT USING ANY MEDIUM YOU’D LIKE. ENTRIES CAN BE MAILED TO YEAGER AIRPORT, ATTN: COLORING CONTEST, 100 AIRPORT ROAD, SUITE 175, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 25311. ENTRIES MAY ALSO BE DROPPED OFF AT THE AIRPORT (LOOK FOR THE “COLORING CONTEST ENTRIES” BOX IN THE OBSERVATION DECK AREA).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. THE CONTEST IS OPEN TO ALL CHILDREN THROUGH AGE 10. CONTEST ENTRY BEGINS ON AUGUST 1, 2020, AT 12:01 AM EST, AND ENDS SEPTEMBER 1, 2020, AT 11:59 PM EST. FULL CONTEST RULES CAN BE FOUND ON THE BACK OF THE ENTRY FORM.
For one night only, more than a dozen airports across North America will come together for the JetStream Music Festival, an online celebration of local music. Hosted by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport from the “Live Music Capital of the World” in Austin, Texas, the free, multi-hour livestream will take place at 6 p.m. EST on May 6 on participating airports’ Facebook Live. Each airport will feature a musician local to their city in support of the creative community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Participating airports include:
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – host
- Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ)
- Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
- Evansville Regional Airport (EVV)
- Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)
- Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
- John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
- John Wayne Airport (SNA)
- Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE)
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
- Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- Portland International Airport (PDX)
- San Diego International Airport (SAN)
- Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Yeager Airport (CRW)
“For so many airports across North America, live music entertainment in the terminal has become a fun way to delight and engage passengers,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Despite the sudden and significant drop in passenger traffic at North America’s airports because of the coronavirus health pandemic, this effort by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and many other North American airports provides a unique opportunity to connect with their passengers. We look forward to hearing these musicians again in airport terminals soon.”
The lineup features a diverse range of acts, representing each city’s unique music culture. The full lineup for the Festival will be released later this week. Austin’s Latin pop songstress, Gina Chavez, will perform and host the event.
Festival viewers will be able to tip musicians throughout the performance and learn about organizations assisting the communities in each city. Viewers can also join in the celebration using the hashtag #JetStreamFest.
“Live music brings Charleston together. Whether it’s down on the levee, or at one of the many venues downtown. It’s something people here are passionate about,” said Yeager Airport Director, Nick Keller. “We can’t get together right now, but that doesn’t mean the music has to stop.”
Beyond the music, viewers will hear from leadership at many of the airports. Airports across North America remain open for essential travel and vital cargo. Employees in these facilities are working around the clock on enhanced cleaning operations, continued airport maintenance and operations, security, and more. Airports are a critical component to the supply chain—including for medical supplies—and continue to provide services for those who must travel.
For more information—including how to tune in—click here.
The livestream will be brought to you by Streak Systems, a tech concierge focused on creating and maintaining technology systems in your home, work and live events.
- Limited Terminal Access
The terminal is only open to ticketed passengers. If you are picking someone up, we ask that you wait outside. If you have questions about a flight or need to book a flight, please call your airline directly. You can also visit your airline’s website.
- Work From Home
Only operation essential employees will be on Airport property. These essential employees are working in teams in two-week shifts while a complete “back-up” team is working from home. This gives us a reserve workforce available to come in if an employee is exposed to COVID-19 and has to quarantine.
- Taking Temperatures
A number of our Airport staff members are working from home. For those that still have to come into work to perform essential duties, temperatures screening will take place upon arrival. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or above will be sent home. We are also asking all airport tenants to take the same measures with their employees.
Yeager Airport is going to remain open and operational. Air Traffic Controllers and TSA, and essential Airport tenants also have contingency and continuity plans in place to keep Yeager Airport open.