By Kyle Garrett, President, AviationSchoolsOnline.com
It’s been a long time since the flight training industry, or even the aviation industry as a whole received any good news. From the “Big Three” car makers showing up in D.C. in business jets to beg for money to would-be suicide bombers trying to ignite various pieces of their clothing, flight schools have had a rough time with the media and public perception. USA Today continues its biased assault on general aviation, even though its parent corporation owns and operates a private jet. The flight training industry is in need of some good news and improved public perception, and it may actually be getting it.
Finally, some good news is beginning to trickle out of the industry and media, which may ultimately lead to more new students learning to fly. The front runner story is probably Flight 1549’s documentary “Brace For Impact” which will air on January 10 on TLC. Harrison Ford lends his star power to narrate this 60 minute close up of U.S. Airways’ successful ditching in the Hudson river in 2009.
Sony’s epic disaster movie 2012 featured a nervous student pilot, John Cusack, saving his family and friends by taking control of a twin Cessna and flying off into the sunset. And another Hollywood celebrity created some media good will when Zach Braff of the TV show Scrubs flew his Cirrus cross country for an interview on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Other rays of light include ABC’s The Bachelor TV show. This season’s contestant, Jake Pavelka, is an airline pilot and owner of an aerobatic aircraft he flies for fun. The season premier featured several minutes of footage showing Jake in his element as a flight crew member at work and out for a Sunday drive in his own aircraft doing barrel rolls and other aerobatic maneuvers. This high-profile pilot will hopefully help the public perception of flying for a living.
And just this week, Cessna announced it’s re-hiring 180 employees it let go in 2009. While it’s a drop in the bucket for the other 8,000 currently furloughed, it’s still a sign that times are changing for the better for the aviation industry, and that yes, we may actually have hit bottom and are on the way up.
If you have a positive aviation story, please send it our way or post to this blog.