Aviation’s future: a young pilot’s perspective

“We need more young pilots, like you,” is a statement that I find myself hearing quite often. I typically hear this coming from older pilots and I completely agree with them. There needs to be more younger people, like myself, becoming interested in aviation.

Everyone who is reading this knows why there needs to be more people getting into aviation and some of the things that may bring people to fall in love with the industry. There are some reasons that people may not think of, when thinking about aviation. Personally, I think that aviation is truly one of the biggest untapped sectors of business and there is a lot of opportunity for people of all trades: business, engineering, mechanics, etc. This is a great selling point to get people interested in our industry.

Kids at airport
What attracts kids to aviation? The answer is changing.

A lot of the older pilots that I know got into aviation because they were either in the military, or they grew up around an airport. Today, these are not usually the top reasons why people get involved in aviation. Today, a lot of people fall in love with airplanes and they subsequently see how aviation can benefit their lives and their careers.

One of the careers that I am starting to see have a direct impact on aviation – and a reason for people to take up flying – is the technology industry. Technology has already shaped aviation so much, but it will only continue to do that. A recent example is the increasing popularity of drones that has taken place in recent years. I could write books on books on how drones/technology/aviation will work together. The biggest areas where I see technology working with aviation is making drones safer and providing drone platforms that are able to carry humans.

While some see drones as a bad things, I disagree. Most of the people who see drones as negative are some of the older pilots who are resistant to the new technology and its integration into the National Airspace System.

Some are fearful of the recreational drone enthusiasts who may abuse their responsibilities as hobbyists and wreak havoc for manned pilots. Fortunately, there have yet to be many issues that have come from this concern. For as long as drones are not causing problems, they will continue to be an important part our industry’s future.

I have already seen drones impact the future of those my age and younger. For instance, I have a friend who taught me how to fly drones (incidentally, I already had my sUAS license before I had ever flown a drone). He is very active in the community and is teaching school-aged children about the industry. This is our best bet to grow the future. While he and others are teaching the youth about drones in the aviation industry, many of these solely drone pilots are looking to become manned pilots as well. It is a win-win for our entire industry.

In addition to individuals impacting youth’s future, states are also taking measures to inspire children to pursue a career in the hottest aviation segment. I am proud to say that my home state, Kansas, is seeking to become a leader in the unmanned aviation to add to its leadership in manned flight.

Yuneec drone
Don’t fear the drones.

Kansas is seeking to add programs in high schools that will allow graduates to come out as licensed drone pilots, along with other technical skills that will make them highly competitive in the marketplace. These graduates will immediately be able to impact the industry and assist a wide array of businesses, at an extremely young age.

As stated earlier, the younger generations will make drones and their technology safer, as well as inventing drone transportation platforms. Of course these two technologies are currently being worked on right now, but we are in the first minute of the drone game. Things will be invented that we can’t even think of yet (some that also will be manned aircraft).

I am confident that some of these yet-to-be-invented things will blow the minds of some of the older pilots. I have a similar story to this change in aviation technology that blew one man’s mind. The story is of my great-great-grandpa on the night of the moon landing. He was born in the 1800s. He saw the first automobile and spent his life farming with horses, not a tractor. After seeing the “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” he stood staring out the window in disbelief.

What will be the next leap? What will be the new aviation product that makes us stare out the window in disbelief? While I cannot even begin to imagine the amazing things that will come out in the coming years, I know one thing: my generation will become the leaders in producing them.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Young Pilots Writer’s Challenge, where we hear from young pilots about learning to fly and the joys of aviation. If you or a young pilot you know has a story to tell, email us at: editor@airfactsjournal.com

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