Some in Louisville are turning the pilot shortage into a career opportunity

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Nearly 1,000 flights were canceled in the United States on Sunday, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware. The continued shortage of domestic pilots is a big part of this problem.

“For months I watched the driver shortage and I read about it and I was, I was watching different schools like ATP and Lift in Indianapolis,” Cisco Tovar said.

Tovar is working on his next career, a commercial airline pilot. He learned with Louisville Aviation at Bowman Field.

This is a big change from his current job as executive chef.

“When I was in the military, I flew in helicopters as a crew chief, so I always had this aviation bug in me, but I finally decided that with the driver shortage, I was going to live my dream,” Tovar said. “I have a life to live, so why not live my dream?”

He is just one of many students at the airfield who are looking to change careers.

It’s an expensive trip though. The cost of parts, insurance and even gas drive prices up.

Morgan Audsley, a certified flight instructor, said even with all of this, Louisville Aviation is still booked with students.

“Price is a big hurdle,” Audsley said. “People take out loans. We offer funding here, so it’s just sort of a person-to-person basis. Some people saved up, and it’s something they wanted to do, and they’re just ready to go.

Tovar is only at the beginning of his journey. He started classes at the beginning of the month.

So what does it need to do before it can pilot your next trip?

“Private pilot’s license, instrument rating, commercial rating, then your (certified flight instructor) rating, and then you’ll build from there because you’ll need 1500 hours to get to the airlines,” said Audsley. “So it takes time, you have to be patient, but it’s worth it in the end.”

Louisville Aviation estimates that all of these certifications cost around $60,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the median salary for commercial airline pilots is about $100,000 per year.

WAVE – NBC affiliate of Louisville and southern Indiana. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @wave3news.(VAGUE)

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