MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. -
Airports throughout the nation are dealing with a shortage in pilots and it all points back to rules changed by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013, said staff with the Arcata-Eureka Airport.
In 2013, the FAA changed the rules on pilot licenses. One of the changes was increased the amount of hours required in the air from 250 to 1,500. This led to a major rise in the cost of the license, from $25,000 to $150,000.
According to staff with the Arcata-Eureka Airport, less people have been applying for pilot licenses due to the time commitment and the fact that it is expensive. This means that the airport has been getting less new pilots, while they continue to lose pilots due to a mandatory retirement age of 65.
As pilots reach the retirement age at major airlines, they are in need of new ones, which leads them hire pilots from regional airports, like the Arcata-Eureka Airport.
This means the smaller and medium sized airports are losing pilots and are having trouble getting new ones, said Arcata-Eureka Airport employees. Without an adequate number of people to fly the planes, airports are having to cancel their flights.
"It's very important to keep regional service available, so that smaller communities can connect to the rest of the world," Emily Jacobs, with the Arcata-Eureka Airport, said.
There are resources for those interested in a pilot license, but may not have the money. One resource for those interested throughout Humboldt County is the Airport Advisory Committee. Their next meeting is at 6:00 p.m. on January 29 at the Propriety Center.
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