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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Solicitation of Proposals from Flight Schools as Part of Forces to Flyers Research Initiative

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Research Initiative to Identify Pathways for Veterans to Become Airline Pilots

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) today posted a solicitation for proposals from flight schools as part of the Forces to Flyers Research Initiative. The Research Initiative will examine strategies for training our military veterans as pilots in order to address the pilot shortage in the country. The combined synopsis/solicitation can be found at

The solicitation is a critical component of the Forces to Flyers Research Initiative, as the proposals will be used to select the flight schools that will receive US DOT funding to provide flight training to veterans. In addition, it serves as the first documentation of the minimum requirements for veterans who are interested in participating in the Research Initiative.  

“This initiative will help address our country’s serious pilot shortage as well as provide a career path in aviation for our country’s veterans, to whom we owe so much,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The selected flight schools will provide the training necessary for students to earn the following:

  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

Once participants receive a CFI-I, they will have the ability to gain employment as flight instructors while obtaining the flight hours needed to qualify for an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) and become an airline pilot.

The Government intends to make a contract award to one flight school in each of the following four regions: (1) Western Pacific/ Northwest/Mountain/ Alaskan; (2) Central/Great Lakes; (3) Southwest; and (4) Eastern/Southern. The states in each region can be found in the solicitation at Flight schools must be FAA-approved and be eligible to receive GI Bill funding reimbursement for the commercial pilot certificate training.  

Contracts will be awarded to the flight schools that offer the best value to the Government when considering Technical Approach and price factors.  The Technical Proposal will consist of three equally weighted sub-factors for Technical Approach: (1) Study Analysis Support and Reporting, (2) Classroom and Flight Training, and (3) Past Performance.

Veterans who are interested in participating should obtain 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

For more information on eligibility requirements for students, visit