U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin recently announced the reintroduction of her bipartisan American Aviator Act with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), designed to increase opportunities and expand flight-training services for veterans to become commercial airline pilots.

The American Aviator Act will authorize grant funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support training opportunities for veterans who are not already military pilots.

“America’s veterans have bravely served our nation and we have a shared responsibility to make sure their service and sacrifice is honored,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our veterans have also earned every opportunity to be productive and successful after completing their military service. This legislation increases opportunities for veterans looking to pursue flight training and careers as commercial airline pilots. We have a real need for qualified pilots and if we make the training more available to veterans we can provide them with a good paying job.”

Veterans participating in the program will receive flight training necessary to become a commercial pilot and receive other certifications, including to work as a certified flight instructor. The legislation helps ensure there are enough qualified pilots in the future to continue providing safe and reliable air service to rural airports across the country.

Senator Baldwin’s reform would ensure that more veterans in Wisconsin and across the country could pursue this career path after completing their military service. Flight-training schools that have established pathways to employment with commercial air carriers are eligible for federal grants to recruit and enroll veterans for flight training. Grant funding may be used to provide guidance and flight-training services, including additional training required to reach proficiency.

“The American Aviator Act provides veterans with solid high paying jobs while ensuring the viability of air transportation throughout our country and beyond. Veterans bring all the right elements to the table,” said Dr. Susan May, President of Fox Valley Technical College. “Their work ethic, determination, and professionalism make them the perfect candidates to help move our air transportation industry forward.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin also successfully secured $1 million in federal funding to support flight-training schools looking to expand and serve more veterans. The funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate Appropriations Committee in September. The Appropriations legislation will next go before the full Senate for a vote.

“The aviation industry is in dire need of qualified aircraft pilots. The American Aviator Act taps into a strong applicant pool of future pilots, who may otherwise not be able to afford financially to get into the industry,” said Jared Huss, Chief Instructor and Aeronautics Department Chair at Fox Valley Technical College. “This act does two important things; supports our Veterans and supports the stability of our communities’ air service.”