The global airline industry is in desperate need of pilots — 637,000 of them to be exact. According to the 2017 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, “between now and 2036, the aviation industry will need to supply more than 2 million new commercial airline pilots, maintenance technicians, and cabin crew”. Much of this shortage is due to a wave of retiring pilots and massive economic expansions across the globe. To capitalize on this opportunity, the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Indian Hills Community College, and the Fly Ottumwa airshow are collaborating on an initiative to introduce students to a career in aviation: Legacy Education Day.

On Friday, August 24th, more than 150 high school students from 15 different area schools will participate in the event. Featuring 8 exhibits, students will be personally introduced to all aspects of career opportunities in the aviation field. Students will have opportunities to view displays not open to the public and meet the world’s greatest pilots. Susan Dacy, the world’s premier female aerobatic pilot, will share her story as a woman in a male dominated industry as a Boeing 777 pilot for American Airlines. The USAF A-10 Demo Team will give students an inside look at one of the world’s greatest close-air support planes. Following their own private airshow, students will tour the aviation department at Indian Hills Community College.

Kelly Genners, Vice President of Programs and Initiatives at the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, has played an integral role in organizing the event. “There are so many career opportunities that abound here in Southeast Iowa.  We want to ensure that students have access and are exposed to all of them so that they can make those critical decisions about their future fully informed. This is an excellent chance for students to learn about opportunities that exist in the aviation sector and have a lot of fun in the process!”