Aviation Education - Meeting the Needs of Students and the Industry

Aviation Education - Meeting the Needs of Students and the Industry Aviation Education - Meeting the Needs of Students and the Industry

September 20, 20182 min read

Recently on Solutions for Higher Education, Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt and Michael Mower, executive director and chief flight instructor for Southern Utah University Aviation, discussed the ever-changing and growing aviation industry.

Once the easiest path to becoming a pilot, the Air Force has scaled back the number of pilots they are producing, and according to Mower, “the ones they do produce—because of just the sheer cost associated with generating a military pilot—they're now paying more and more to retain.”

With the military not producing the quantity that it once did, the demand has shifted to civilian flight schools.

“The industry in and of itself has really fundamentally changed in the last decade. We have, from an airline standpoint, Delta and United. 10 years ago, that was it. When we evaluate the marketplace now, there are carriers the same size as Delta, United, American, that simply didn't exist 10 years ago. The mid-east has exploded from just a sheer need of air transportation, and that in conjunction with this growing retirement of not only pilots and mechanics, created this perfect storm.”

Currently, the United States has around 600,000 licensed airplane pilots and around 15,000 helicopter pilots.

“Boeing projects over the next 18 years that they'll need over 600,000 pilots. Airbus is around 500,000, and they comprise the majority of the commercial airline. On the maintenance side, they're projecting almost 700,000—this is Boeing—Airbus is again about 500,000. And then on cabin crew, it's closer to 2 million between those two companies. In just the next 18 years.”

“So, we look at what we currently have and has taken us generations to generate, we are not even going to be close to hitting these targets. The only way that we can even come close to these is expanding the reach, expanding the demographic, and really letting folks know that this is a viable, well-paying career and it is really open to everybody.”

Michael Mower’s years of service and experience in the United States Air Force and as a commercial pilot has made him a renowned expert in the aviation field. Mower is well known with media and available for an interview – simply visit his profile to arrange a time.


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  • Michael Mower
    Michael Mower Executive Director of SUU Aviation / Chief Flight Instructor

    Specializing in pilot training, advanced and aerobatic helicopter flight, aviation safety, and aerial search and rescue

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