WATERTOWN, Wis. — Wisconsin Aviation is busy training pilots, many of who will help with the current pilot shortage that is being felt across the country.

“We have a ton of new students coming in, even high schoolers. I think even though the pilot shortage is not ideal right now in the industry, I do think the industry is setting up for success and the shortage has opened a lot of eyes right now," said Samuel Adams, a certified flight instructor at Wisconsin Aviation's Watertown facility. 

Adams is helping to inspire his students, like Alexander Browne, to get behind the controls and pursue their dreams. 

"So, I am originally from Uruguay and came here for aviation. My goal is to fly for the commercial airlines," said Alexander Browne, a student at Wisconsin Aviation. 

Prior to COVID-19, there was a pilot shortage across the country, but during the pandemic, many airline staffers took buyouts and that made the situation even worse. 

“The goal is to mainly just get my commercial airlines and fly for the airlines at some point, that would be awesome," said Browne. "The main thing that helps me now is there is a shortage.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets minimum certification requirements for air carriers, each airline sets its minimum experience requirements. The FAA requires 250 total hours for a commercial pilot certificate. Most airlines require several more hours. 

Below is what are the minimum requirements to get your commercial license:

  • You also must be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold at least a valid second-class medical certificate
  • Receive a minimum of 20 hours of flight training
  • At least 250 hours of flight time
  • Pass both knowledge and practical tests 
  • Speak and understand the English language

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a pilot, or taking a Discovery/Scenic Flight at Wisconsin Aviation, click here.