Lampasas Pilots Association, CTE Team Up To Host Aviation Careers Day


Lydia Breuer

Junior Ethan Gillespie speaks to pilot Bob Hoyer during the Aviation Careers Day March 29.

Lucy Mantilla and Lydia Breuer

Students had the opportunity to go to the gym and participate in the Aviation Careers Day March 29. Students learned about aviation careers they could do after high school. 

 “Jobs in the real world will be necessary for most,” one of the presenters George Elsea said. “Early recognition of possibilities is useful to those trying to decide what to do next. One major area of employment includes the many aspects of aviation—flying, maintaining, supporting, engineering, manufacturing, business management, etc.”

The aviation industry has been booming in the past few years. Aviation job requirements are numerous and widespread.  Boeing has estimated worldwide needs for 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 Aviation technician jobs in the next 20 years. 

“One thing kids can start doing if they are interested in aviation is to meet and discuss possibilities with people actually involved in an aviation career,” Elsea said. “The students who attended Aviation Careers Day for 2022 had chances to speak one-on-one with any or all of 15 aviation professionals. The objective was to educate and motivate students to consider working in aviation career fields.” 

The Lampasas Pilots Association (LPA) partnered with the Career and Technology Education (CTE) program to offer this career day for students interested in the aviation field after graduation. 

One example professional was Captain Becky Sparks, retired Southwest Airlines pilot who started her career by enrolling in the Central Texas College aviation program right out of high school,” Elsea said. “Other professionals included civilian and military pilots; air traffic controllers, airplane, helicopter and drone  mechanics; airport business manager, air ambulance pilot, flight instructors, aerial mapping and survey business owner, and mechanical engineer and private pilot.” 

Since 1992, more than 2 million young people aged 8-17 have been given the opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagle Program. LPA has conducted a number of Young Eagle Rallies at Lampasas Airport designed to introduce young people to flying. Those have proved to be of interest to the volunteer pilots as well as the young people.

“We in the LPA recognized the value of the introduction to the joys of flight but also wanted a follow-up to educate and inspire high school age people to consider career possibilities in aviation,” Elsea said. “What better way than invite a representative array of aviation professionals to speak face to face with LHS Students about their careers and experience?” 

The rapid rising use of drones and spacecraft is creating new opportunities for jobs within the aviation industry. Cities with the comparable full range of jobs from air traffic control to food preparation, plumbing, construction always have aviation related jobs open. 

“My aviation profession was as a member of the US Air Force,” Elsea said. “I started my career by entering USAF Academy in 1956 and served 32 years with 14 years flying jet fighters and the remainder in instruction, personnel management, and command , control and communications,” Elsea said. “I’m president of the Lampasas Pilots Association (LPA) and a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).”