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EAA Programs Touted at FAA Symposium

September 20, 2018 — Young Eagles is acknowledged throughout the aviation community as one of the most important programs to welcome a new generation into flight. This sentiment was on full display as professionals from all facets of the flying community gathered on September 13 for the FAA’s Aviation Workforce Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety, was part of a panel on programs to bring young people into aviation, the first step for those wishing to pursue an aviation career. Encouraging young people into aviation careers, whether as a pilot, mechanic, air traffic controller or other aviation professional, is an urgent need.

“As aviation professionals from all areas spoke to the gathering, it was gratifying to hear there was an overwhelming acknowledgement of EAA Young Eagles as one of the leading programs created to introduce young people into flight,” Elliott said. “That’s a credit to all the volunteer pilots and ground support people whose dedicated efforts have flown more than 2.1 million kids – thousands of whom are now involved in aviation careers. No other program has been that effective.”

During the event, Elliott also shared a copy of EAA’s new Aviore comic book with FAA Acting administrator Dan Elwell. FAA acting deputy administrator Carl Burleson later took the comic up on stage to show it to the entire forum. Aviore, a cooperative project by EAA, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, and the Stan Lee Foundation, is a superhero who uses his abilities and aviation for positive results. Issue 1 of the Aviore comic series was unveiled at AirVenture 2018, with more issues to come with a goal to reach beyond the usual aviation-inclined youth groups.

“At a time when we need to see interest in aviation careers going up, the data is trending in the opposite direction,” said Elwell, who noted that commercial air travel is expected to nearly double by the year 2036, with 117,000 new commercial pilots needed in North America alone during that time. “The number of private pilots holding active airmen certificates has decreased by 27 percent in the last ten years. The number of commercial pilots in the same period has decreased by 21 percent.”

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