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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Forces to Flyers

The U.S. Department of Transportation and its Volpe National Transportation Systems Center developed Forces to Flyers in response to the airline pilot shortage that existed in 2017, which negatively impacted air services to small and rural communities across the country. Under the three-year research initiative, researchers sought to study pathways for entering the pilot workforce and identifying barriers to training and employment.

One portion of the research was the development of a flight training demonstration focused on providing flight training to veterans on an accelerated schedule at vocational flight schools. The final report assesses the demonstration’s success in meeting its goals, including training efficiency, cost-effectiveness, veteran employment, and producing more pilots.

The Forces to Flyers demonstration resulted in 32 veterans earning a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine rating, which allows them to begin a career as a professional pilot. 


Selected Flight Schools

The following flight schools were awarded contracts as part of the Forces to Flyers research initiative:


Training Provided

Under the contracts, the flight schools provided the training necessary for veteran participants to earn the following certificates and ratings:

  • Private Pilot Certificate
  • Instrument Rating
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Multi-Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate
  • CFI-Instrument (CFI-I) Certificate                                                       

After receiving a CFI-I Certificate, pilots can 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.

Solicitation Attachments 

Information regarding the contracts can be found in the documents listed below.

U.S. Department of Transportation logo

Forces to Flyers logo

Last updated: Thursday, December 31, 2020