Oshkosh Wakes Up from Sleepy Town to Aviation Capital
Greetings from Wittman International Airport!
It’s unbelievable how many people are already here in Oshkosh, where for one week it transforms from a quiet little place into the Aviation Capital of the World. I’m always amazed how this extravaganza gets me excited every time I come here. It just brings the kid out in me, as I suspect it does for most people who come here. You can’t help getting excited looking at everything there is to see here, and watching the air show performances.
For us at FedEx, it’s not just a chance to see cutting edge flying machines and aircraft of yesteryear … it’s a great opportunity to help attract future aviators from among the thousands of youth in attendance. This includes those in the “Young Eagles Program,” a program FedEx sponsors proudly. It promotes aviation careers for the next generation of pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and other aviation professionals.
We’re glad to help sponsor this program because, quite frankly, as one of the largest airline operations in the world, we DO know quite a bit about flying. We remember what originally stimulated our interest in a career in aviation, and it’s gratifying to give that back to the next generation – that same inspiration and encouragement. There’s also a healthy amount of enlightened self-interest in it, because we’ve got to have the highly qualified talent to keep our aircraft flying in the future. Our goal of safely delivering the world on time needs to be as true tomorrow as it is today. Who knows … maybe some of the youngsters here in Oshkosh will become leaders of tomorrow’s FedEx Express crew force, or our most highly skilled members of our future AMT team.
It’s mind-boggling that industry projections estimate that as many as 460,000 new pilots will be needed worldwide over the next two decades. Nearly 70,000 of them will fill slots in North America, and most of those in the U.S. Add to that the projected need for more than 600,000 new AMTs over the same period (nearly 100,000 of them in North America) and it’s easy to see why our support of youth aviation programs is not only rewarding for us personally, but also professionally for our continued long-term success.
Our company is blessed to have some of the best-trained, most highly skilled pilots and AMTs in the industry. In the years ahead, we want to make sure that as our crewmembers and AMTs retire, we fill those open positions with the same high caliber talent that helped make our company the respected leader in aviation we are.
If you’ve never come to the Oshkosh Air Show, I hope you do. It will bring the kid out in you, and hopefully, you might be able to help us bring the pilot or AMT out in kids here in Oshkosh.
Best regards from Oshkosh,
Capt. Paul Cassel
SVP Flight Operations