I’m pretty young to be shocked by changes in the world. Why should I expect things to remain as they are? Doesn’t change happen all the time … to everything? Actually, it’s pretty difficult to point to something and say “It will stay that way for decades.”
Pause for a moment and ask yourself how you would feel if your hometown went out of business. I mean they shut their doors and everybody left. What happens to the dreams of everyone who grew up there? What was worth, to grow up there, after all?
What is it that gets me in such a philosophical state of mind? And, why all the questions? Well, there is a trend going on that scares me. It also pisses me off. I think I’ve found one small way we’re going in the wrong direction that will have a huge impact on life. And, yes, it does involve flying.
You see, Flight Schools around the country are closing up shop, one right after another. The whole community of high-quality aviation teaching institutions is going out of business. I mean they’re shutting their doors and everybody is leaving. There are still ways for people to “get a pilot’s license.” But there are not that many places where there is a full degreed education program that teaches you all about aviation.
As I sit back and look at places I have learned to fly or train, they have all gone, or are going, out of business. Recently, the University of Illinois announced it will terminate its ‘Institute of Aviation’ program. When the sun finally sets on the Institute of Aviation, the last of the schools that taught me about aviation will be gone. That doesn’t just make me sad. It outrages me!
You might think I’m getting worked up over nothing that matters. In the grand scheme of things this powerful and high-ranking decision doesn't affect a lot of individuals, right? Oh, wait a second, I forgot, it does....my bad. Did we forget to count the number of passengers that a pilot will fly in his or her career? How about the dollar value of cargo transported by an airplane and its pilot during his or her career? And who will manage the airports and their various operations? Will these people be educated in their field, or just gravitate into the job when they’ve worked as a gate agent for thirty years. I’m not just talking about the life of the pilot here; and not just the airport employee, either.
A pilot's economic foot print is a pretty significant shoe size. It is one of the most undervalued potentials that I can think of. So why are flight schoolsclosing instead of opening? Because the economic value of a pilot is so important, the government won’t let organized pilot and flight attendant labor groups go on strike. The labor groups need special government approval before they can strike, due to the value they provide to the micro- and macro-economies. There is a massive disconnect here. Pilots are pretty creative individuals, why are we closing the very pilot incubators (flight schools) that help individuals maximize their economic input, and value to society?
The YouTube video below was made by one of the last classes of the Institute of Aviation. Here is what the video description says:
BEHOLD: The future pilots of America.
And the University of Illinois wants to get rid of the coolest major on campus....... blasphemy I tell you! SAVE THE INSTITUTE OF AVIATION!
It couldn't have been said any better.