Aviation for Girls


Aviation for Girls is a special annual member publication of Women in Aviation International for Girls in Aviation Day. Articles feature young girls living their aviation dreams, career ideas, and education resources.

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Page 10 of 35

AVIATION FOR Girls 2016 9 COURTESY MAGGIE MUTAHI Helicopter Pilot "We've found that the excitement and allure and mystery of aviation isn't what it used to be. Coupled with the increased costs, stringent requirements, and retiring pilots, our projection is that this pilot shortage is serious." —Matt Zuccaro, CEO, Helicopter Association International T he pilot shortage isn't limited to the airlines, says Matt Zuccaro, CEO of Helicopter Association Internation- al. Helicopter pilots are in high demand right now, too. "We've heard reports from our members that they are, indeed, strug- gling to find qualified pilots." And it's not just traditional helicop- ter operations that are demanding pi- lots; it's the unmanned copters, as well. Matt, like so many other industry ex- perts, has noted the increase in popu- larity within the UAS industry, and he says it's closely linked to the helicopter industry. But Matt doesn't view this as competition to the helicopter industry. Instead, he sees it as a growth oppor- tunity. "The UAS industry is the fastest growing part of the aviation industry, and when you think about it, almost all of these UASs are vertical reference ve- hicles operating mostly at 500 feet and below, and they're doing many of the same missions that traditional manned helicopters are doing," Matt says. These new UAV operators will need pilots to operate them, and who better than currently trained helicopter pilots? After all, helicopter pilots are already sharing airspace with these UASs, and they're already familiar with the types of operations that many of them will do—agricultural, survey, photography, and videography, to name a few. The path to becoming a helicopter pi- 5 lot is similar to that of a fixed-wing pilot. A prospect ive pi lot w i l l t ra in at a n FAA-approved Part 141 flight school like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, or they'll train at their local airport un- der a Part 61 flight training curriculum. After receiving their private pilot and commercial certificates with an instru- ment rating, many helicopter pilots will move on to a job as an instructor pi- lot in order to build the required hours for a job as a professional pilot. Pilots who obtain a flight instructor certificate might find professional pilot jobs by net- working or through an internship. Education: Technical training. A four-year degree is often required. Median Annual Wage: $72,000 per year (Payscale.com) Employers: Common employers of helicopter pilots include flight schools, oil companies, air ambulance, news agencies, aerial photography companies, and government agencies Looking Even Further… What's next in the pipeline for promising aviation careers? Rumor has it that environmental engineering and supply chain management might be next in line for the hottest jobs title. It's likely that, as part of the quest for a greener aviation world and a generation of students who are more aware of our environmental foot- print, environmental engineering jobs will become popular. "We're seeing a lot of students who are environmentally conscious and we now have an alternative fuel and energies, so we're seeing a lot of peo- ple looking at energy differently," Melissa says. With the next genera- tion of environmentally conscious students, the future is looking green. And according to Tom Thinnes, recruitment and outreach manag- er at Western Michigan University, supply chain management is a hot career to watch. "We have a neat collaboration among our College of Business and our College of Aviation for the supply chain management degree. There aren't many people out there with experience in both," Tom says. So if students can position themselves strategically in both business and aviation, they could end up landing one of those hard-to- fill (and well-compensated) jobs at companies like Gulfstream, where the demand is for employees with technical knowledge in both busi- ness and supply chain management. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarina Houston, WAI 16553, is a freelance aviation writer and active flight instructor with a master's degree in aeronautical science. She lives in North Carolina with her two boys and her dog, K.C.

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