The most dangerous brush? The broad one

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A pet peeve of mine is when people paint with a broad brush. You’ve heard ‘em: “Millennials/Boomers/Athletes/Politicians/Other are all (fill in the blank).”

Philip Handleman’s recent essay, Is Mars the answer to the future pilot shortage?, elicited a few such comments.

“Most FAA employees are more focused on making it to retirement than promulgation of aviation,” says Larry in response to Philip’s essay. 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “The FAA has about 46,000 permanent and part-time employees supporting the provision of safe and efficient air travel.”

A commenter by the name of Captain says, “I totally disagree [with] you [Philip]. I see very little interest from the younger generations in flying and the interest they do have is playing with the glass cockpits.”

The Population Clock estimates there were 330,052,960 people living in the United States as of Aug. 2, 2020. Philip’s essay cites FAA data that show there are just 664,565 pilots in the U.S. as of 2019. Safe to say, it isn’t just the “younger generations” who aren’t interested in aviation. Pilots make up just .2% of the population of this country. 

And for anyone who has spent any time online at myriad aviation websites, you will recognize the gbigs comment handle. gbigs offers, “Kids are into virtual reality, not real life, and there are fewer of them. And those remaining who want a real life experience are settling for drone flying.”

The son of a friend of mine, who I took on a Young Eagles flight a handful of years ago, graduated (virtually) from high school in June. By July Sam was in Texas enrolled in ATP Flight School. Safe to say, Sam wasn’t exactly a fan of high school. But every time I got to see him, he schooled me on the latest headline from the business and commercial aviation world.

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