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Frazier takes Flight: Creating future pilots in Santa Teresa

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SANTA TERESA, New Mexico - This summer, the War Eagles Air Museum and Red Arrow Flight Academy are launching the first-ever Aviation Adventure Summer Camp for kids. This is the first aviation-related kids camp in the Borderland region.

The camp will be interactive in many ways, including using a flight simulator, and even earning your wings! Plus, the camp is focused on introducing kids to all aspects of the aviation industry. The summer camp will be in the second week of June, and they are looking for a few more middle school-aged children to sign up. You can do that here.

Although teaching the young about aviation is an important action for creating future pilots, the entire aviation industry is struggling to fill positions right at this very moment. Prior to the pandemic, the industry was having difficulty filling positions, but now coming out of the pandemic, those difficulties are being felt everywhere.

Tomas Peralta, who is the Chief Instructor at the Red Arrow Flight Academy explained what is to come in the near future if the industry isn't able to fill the gaps it needs to:

"There aren't enough pilots in the process of becoming pilots to satisfy the next 10 years of pilots. So it's a reality that we're all going to feel it someway."

That being said, since so many jobs are open- workers in the aviation industry are at high demand. Those who want to get into the industry basically have guaranteed jobs.

"Aviation will always be required for either transport or carrying passengers, so it's a great industry to be in, and theres a lot of secondary industries related to it. You don't have to just be a pilot right...you can be a mechanic, you can be an engineer," Peralta explained.

What may be viewed as an even better incentive, is that a college degree is no longer a requirement to become a pilot for a commercial airline. "A young man or woman coming out of high school can say- well instead of doing a 4-year degree and trying to do a job like that, they can come out here to a flight school like ours, and a year or two years later and they are a commercial pilot. And at that point, they are getting paid to fly," said the Chief Instructor.

Getting through flight school is not cheap, however. The cost of flight school to get a student's commercial license can amount up to $60,000-80,000! On the other hand, once the student becomes certified and hired, they are likely to be making more than six figures. An investment that pays in the long run!

The aviation industry is also looking for more females and minorities to join the workplace- especially as pilots. Women only make up 7% of the aviation industry, and minority pilots are few and far between as well. If you are looking to change your job path and fall into one of those categories, it may just be a perfect fit for you.

Finally, two ABC-7 staff members: Meteorologist Katie Frazier and Photojournalist David Moreno had the great opportunity to fly in a plane with the Chief Instructor Tomas Peralta. Watch the 6 PM story above to see how that went...(it was awesome).

Katie Frazier

Katie Frazier is an ABC-7 meteorologist and reporter.

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