September 26, 2022

Local flight school partners with Indiana Wesleyan on program to address pilot shortage

Finding new pilots has been a challenge for the aviation industry.

Finding new pilots has been a challenge for the aviation industry.

Finding new pilots has been a challenge for the aviation industry.

Airlines say the shortage is behind the increasing numbers of delayed and canceled flights as air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

According to FlightAware, 26,000 flights have been canceled and 260,000 have been delayed since the start of June, and the number continues to increase as airlines struggle to fill empty cockpits with new pilots.  

Indianapolis-based Jeff Air Pilot Services owner David Jeffries said the pilot shortage is very real.

“There's just not enough pilots qualified in the flight deck at our airlines right now,” Jeffries said

The local flight school is working with Indiana Wesleyan University to get more pilots into the sky.

“Online training for the academic side including the ground school that is required for the private pilot instrument and commercial ratings,” Jeffries said. “So, all the ground schools are online and then the candidate will come out and fly with us and do their flight lab, which is basically what it is and get the required hours for each of the licenses or ratings that they're seeking.”

Jeffries said the program allows students to quickly get on the flight path to their career without wasting time and saving money. 

“Some individuals can be apprehensive because flight programs are thought to be too expensive,” Jeffries said. “With our partnership, students can utilize financial aid to cover costs, and Jeff Air also offers financing options that make achieving a pilot’s license more affordable and attainable.” 

Jeff Air Pilot Services offers its programs, including flight training, at its Greenwood, Marion, Evansville and Louisville, Kentucky locations.

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at tbennett@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

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