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Why Are Student Pilot Success Rates So Abysmal?

by John M. White |  | 2 comments

Over the weekend the Sport Aviation Expo took place in Sebring, Florida providing for some interesting news for those of us interested in flying and aviation. These events are usually well attended by representatives from the FAA, and this one was no exception. As always there is news to be had, and one of the items discussed was why are student pilot success rates so terrible? In an effort to change this the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) conducted a 2 year investigation into the causes of this poor success rate for student pilots. Among the issues discussed were the professionalism of instructor pilots and the training environment - both of which have been vigorously studied in the past. In addition efforts to create a sense of community among pilots was mentioned. You can read more about this at "Medical Proposal Likely Delayed" by the AvWeb. As a pilot living in Michigan outside of Detroit we hear a lot of negative things about the Detroit Public Schools; however, we aren't getting the true picture of some of the innovations at these schools. This innovate program may provide some insight into how to overcome the poor student pilot success rates. Davis Aerospace Technical High School Aviation Mechanic Training Program One such innovation is the Detroit Public Schools Davis Aerospace Technical High School where students are given an opportunity to acquire a pilot certificate or work towards an Aircraft and Powerplant certificate as a gateway to a career in aviation. It is innovation like this which can lead to better student pilot success rates and help those interested in careers in aviation it is a program that can really make a difference in the upcoming shortage of pilots and aircraft mechanics. Earlier in the month U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited the Detroit Public Schools in an effort to explore innovation in technology at public schools and how to advance education. The Detroit Public Schools Davis Aerospace Technical High School is the only high school in the country to offer a pilot training program and an aviation mechanic training program for young students. You can read an article about this unique program in an interesting article titled "Inside DPS: Just How High Can DPS Students Get?". In addition, CNN issued a an interesting report on the Detroit Public Schools program which stated:
“The rigorous program at Davis Aerospace Technical High School prepares students for higher education while developing technical skills to prepare students for a career in aviation.”
One of the suggestions to improve student pilot completion rates was to create more of a sense of community among pilots. I remember how years ago people would come out to the local airport on the weekends and watch airplanes take off and land, many times just hoping some kind pilot would give them a ride. Today local airports are vacant, small FBOs (Fixed Base Operators) have gone out of business, and many of these airports are deserted and look forlorn. What about your local airport? Any activity there? What ideas do you have to increase student pilot success rates? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7+ ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

Comments (2)

  • Erika on June 24, 2019

    Thanks for hitting a very good point here, it breaks my heart how desolate many airports are these days. At my local airport (X04), I’ve started a blog and publish a newsletter trying to engage the locals into some sense of community. It’s been tough! Most airports are city owned so there isn’t any long term connection (ours is privately owned, but open to the public).

    I think community is a large part of encouraging new pilots. The next best idea I’ve seen is what you covered here on taking aviation into the schools.

  • JetAviator7 on June 24, 2019

    Yes, it is very sad that small local airports seem so desolate today; in fact even our local airport at Lansing, MI does not have much general aviation traffic. We live fairly close to the airport and we used to hear a lot of small airplanes flying overhead to and from the airport – not any more.

    It is a shame that kids today aren’t so interested in flying, and that general aviation seems to be dying ever so slowly.

    John

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