Aviation’s Growth Means More Professional Pilots Will Be Needed

By Robert Sumwalt

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its annual forecast, which projected that airline passenger travel will nearly double in the next 20 years. The FAA stated this forecast underscores the need to continue moving forward with implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to accommodate the projected growth.

Although not specifically stated, the forecast also underscores the need to heighten the focus on pilot professionalism. With such dramatic growth, the airlines will need more pilots – and with more airplanes carrying more people, the importance of professionalism will be even greater.  Pilot professionalism is one of the items on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.

I’ve been speaking a lot about this very important topic at venues such at the Bombardier Safety Standdown, and at aviation colleges and universities. In the next six weeks I will speak to students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Purdue University’s aviation program.

Click http://youtu.be/aVv1yt2rABQ to see apresentation on pilot and controller professionalism to students at the University of North Dakota.


Robert L. Sumwalt was sworn in as the 37th Member of the National Transportation Safety Board on August 21, 2006. He is a frequent contributor to the NTSB blog.

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