CARBONDALE, IL -
The aviation industry is facing a pilot shortage and Bloomberg estimates that more than 60% of pilots will retire in the next 8 years so Southern Illinois University is helping teens get a jump start on their career now.
"Folks look at aviation as something that is out of reach," said SIU Flight Instructor Steve Goetz.
While Goetz admits aviation is an expensive industry to get into it’s his job to make dreams come true.
"There are few things that can capture the imagination of a child the way an airplane can," said Goetz.
Over the course of a week Goetz and his counterparts at the SIU School of Aviation are giving teens from across the country a chance to spread their wings and flight.
"It's different than driving because you normally want to steer with your hands but while you're on the ground you have to taxi with your feet,” said Quentin Stokes.“The instructor reminds you every so often and it's really different."
While many kids are simply happy to have their license, teens like Holly Dowell are tackling a new challenge, their future.
"It's so surreal being up in the air,” said Holly Dowell.“It's an experience that no one else gets to do and it's a lot of fun.They laugh at us a little bit because we're not too good in the simulators yet but we're working on it."
Enthusiasm that their instructor says will have them soaring in no time.
"I would love to have them in the career and call them a colleague,” said Goetz.