AOPA Launches Initiative To Combat Pilot Attrition

 - October 4, 2012, 3:45 PM

Today, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association launched a seven-figure initiative aimed at reversing the decline in the number of U.S.-licensed pilots, which is down 25 percent over the last 30 years, and arresting the estimated 80-percent student-pilot dropout rate. The association’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community will be funded by the AOPA Foundation and will initially focus on supporting flying clubs, with the goal of creating 1,000 new clubs over the next five years.

It will also assume the work started by AOPA to retain flight-training students via a variety of methods such as the Flight Training Excellence Awards, which recognizes flight schools and CFIs who provide “top-notch training experiences.” Additionally, the new center will create a series of “flight-training field guides” that focus on successful, collaborative flight-training methods.

As part of its flight-training focus, the center will continue the work of the My Flight Training website, which provides online tools, information and recognition individually tailored to student pilots.


The owner of the flight school where I learned to fly told me that the toughest competition to getting a private certificate were the other weekend recreational pursuits that were much cheaper and easier to engage in. Motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, golf, fishing,etc. That was 25 years ago. Costs, regulations, and out of date aircraft now make this an even tougher sell. It would be interesting to compare the average of 70hrs to get a private certificate vs recreational vs sport pilot to see if there really is much of a cost difference between the 3 vs the difference in privileges. I see now that in some areas it can cost $10,000 to get a private certificate. That can buy a lot of recreation in other activities!

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