Southern Illinois prepared for aviation boom

If you’re looking for a career change, you might want to consider aviation.

Thanks to FAA mandated retirements at the age of 65, the world is going to need about 558,000 new pilots and 609,000 aircraft mechanics in the next 20 years.

That’s music to the ears of SIU aviation student Brock Watt, who has dreamed of being a pilot since he was a child.

"When I was 7 I saw Star Wars, and it was awesome. So, I thought that I would fly an X-wing, but we don’t really have those, so I’m flying helicopters, which is a close second," said Watt.

Gregg Dellinger, who works as a recruiter for aviation company AAR, says students like Watt are in high demand.

"The help wanted sign is out," said Dellinger.

Dellinger says the aviation industry has a need in nearly every position from mechanics, and even pilots who are ready to step into the cockpit of a plane and let their career take them across the world.

"The sky is the limit," said Dellinger. "Aircraft are flying higher, going faster. We have unmanned platforms, space travel. It’s a super exciting time!"

"You don’t do it for the paycheck most of the time, but it’s got a pretty cool view," said Watt.

If you have experience as a mechanic or pilot and are interested in applying for an internship or position with AAR, click here.

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