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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Contract Awards to Flight Schools as Part of Forces to Flyers Research Initiative

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Research Initiative to Identify Pathways for Veterans to Become Airline Pilots

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) today announced contract awards to flight schools as part of the Forces to Flyers Research Initiative.

The research initiative will study pathways for entering the pilot workforce, identify barriers to pilot training and employment, and implement and evaluate a demonstration initiative that will provide flight training to veterans interested in becoming airline pilots.

The results of the research will be used to help to determine how to assist veterans’ transitions to new careers as airline pilots and thereby preserve air service to rural and small communities.

“The Forces to Flyers Research Initiative recognizes the importance of helping returning veterans find good jobs while helping communities find solutions for the growing pilot shortage,” Secretary Chao said.

The contract awardees for each of the four regions are as follows:

The total value of all four contracts awarded under this initiative is approximately $1.8 million. Under the contracts, the flight schools will provide the training necessary to earn the following certificates:

  1. Private Pilot Certificate
  2. Instrument Rating
  3. Commercial Pilot Certificate
  4. Multi-Engine Rating
  5. Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate
  6. CFI-Instrument (CFI-I) Certificate

After receiving a CFI-I, participants will be able to seek employment as flight instructors while obtaining the flight hours necessary to qualify for an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) and become an airline pilot.

DOT awarded contracts to the flight schools that offered the best value in each of four different regions when considering technical approach and price factors. In total, DOT received 25 proposals.

Veterans who are interested in participating in Forces to Flyers should contact the flight schools listed above to inquire about application procedures. All students in the Forces to Flyers initiative should have a first-class medical certificate; student pilot certificate; and a letter of reference from a previous or current commanding officer, teacher/instructor/professor, or supervisor/manager. Additional eligibility requirements can be found at