"It was always a dream of mine to fly — and I always wanted to fly Boeing airplanes," said David Wright, a pilot and program manager for Boeing's Pilot Development Program.
Boeing — and the aviation industry — is counting on many more people to feel the way Wright does. According to the Boeing's 2015 Pilot and Technician Outlook, there will be strong demand for commercial airline pilots and maintenance technicians as the world's airlines add 38,000 airplanes to the global fleet over the next 20 years.
Released at Wisconsin's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show, the Outlook forecasts that overall global demand for these skilled resources will be driven by continued economic expansion and projected fleet growth, resulting in an average requirement for about 28,000 new pilots and more than 30,000 new technicians every year.
"To help address this need, Boeing trained last year a record number of pilots and technicians at 17 training campuses around the globe and has invested in a comprehensive Pilot Development Program to train early stage pilots to become qualified commercial airline pilots," said Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services. "We will continue to increase the amount of training we provide, enabling our customers to satisfy the world's growing appetite for air travel."
"The challenge of meeting the global demand for airline professionals will not be solved by one company alone," Carbary added. "Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, training equipment manufacturers, training delivery organizations, regulatory agencies and educational institutions are all stepping up to meet the increasing need to train and certify pilots and technicians."
Wright's passion for aviation was shared at the Oshkosh show, as Boeing pilots and a maintenance trainer spoke to aviation enthusiasts about the need for more pilots and technicians.
Aspiring aviators were very much in evidence. Along with more than 500,000 Oshkosh visitors, just over 200 Aviation Explorers, students age 14-20 with an interest in aviation, attend each year. They support the show's ground operations, landing more than 10,000 airplanes in a day and a half. The youth are responsible for all aspects of ground safety during the daily airshows as well as aircraft departures, taxiing and parking.
Wright shared these final thoughts with his listeners: "Now is a great time to enter aviation. If you've got the dream, you've got the passion and you're willing to do the hard work, you will become a pilot."