OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Aviation was one of the many industries that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted significantly. But industry experts tell Local 5 News that the aviation industry is recovering nicely and now is as good of a time as ever to break into the industry if you’re looking for employment.

That’s good news for students at Fox Valley Technical College.

“Ever since I was young I’ve been interested in airplanes how they fly how they work,” said Cooper Helein who is a student at Fox Valley Technical College.

“I love it, it’s so fun, I love to do it every single day every time the weather is good,” said Laurel Lindemann another student at Fox Valley Technical College.

Both students are at Fox Valley Technical College studying to become pilots someday. Helein said he wants to be a commercial pilot while Lindemann said she wants to fly people who need medical care.

On Friday, they were at a job fair making important connections with employers in the aviation industry.

“Right now is the most ever needed time to be a pilot there’s so many pilots retiring there’s a big void in the system,” said Lindemann.

Becoming a pilot isn’t the only way to break into the aviation industry. From becoming a TSA agent to a certified aviation maintenance technician (the people who maintain and repair aircraft), all different types of aviation jobs were represented at the job fair.

Greg Dellinger attended the job fair representing AAR Corp which is a private provider of aviation services. He was there looking to recruit students who are studying to become certified aviation maintenance technicians.

“As we come out of a global pandemic where so many aircraft were down, now is the opportunity to get into the industry and be part of that upswing, leisure travel is almost at pre-pandemic levels,” said Dellinger.

Dellinger said in the next 10 to 20 years the global fleet of aircraft will need about 600,000 more certified aviation maintenance technicians to sustain itself. Plenty of opportunities for people trying to break into the aviation industry.

He said that he’s seeing interest in open positions but could always use more quality candidates.

Dellinger says that about 25 percent of the workforce at AAR Corp served in the military and that they are always looking to hire veterans. 

“This is one of the most exciting industries it’s all connected to education and coming out of COVID the sky’s the limit,” said Dellinger.