Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) recently reintroduced the American Aviator Act, bipartisan legislation that would authorize grants through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand flight training services for veterans who want to become commercial airline pilots. This would help ensure there are enough qualified pilots in the future to continue providing safe and reliable air service to rural airports across the country.
“The American Aviator Act is all about providing a great career opportunity to our veterans while also addressing the nation’s pilot shortage,” said Senator Hoeven. “North Dakotans serve at a higher rate than other state’s residents. Considering our state is also home to a world-class flight training school at UND, it only makes sense to create an affordable pathway for our veterans to train as commercial airline pilots. Our legislation would create a program under the FAA to do just that.”
“America’s veterans have bravely served our nation and we have a shared responsibility to make sure their service and sacrifice is honored,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our veterans have also earned every opportunity to be productive and successful after completing their military service. This legislation increases opportunities for veterans looking to pursue flight training and careers as commercial airline pilots. We have a real need for qualified pilots and if we make the training more available to veterans we can provide them with a good paying job.”
Under the bill, flight-training schools like the University of North Dakota that have established pathways to employment with commercial air carriers would be eligible for federal grants to recruit and enroll veterans for flight training. Grant funding may be used to provide guidance and flight-training services, including additional training required to reach proficiency, and could cover costs not included under the GI Bill benefits. The American Aviator Act is supported by the Air Line Pilots Association and the Regional Airline Association.