Hoeven Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Flight-Training Programs for Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that he has introduced bipartisan legislation that supports flight-training services to assist veterans who want to become commercial airline pilots. The American Aviator Act, which Hoeven introduced with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), will authorize grants through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support training opportunities for veterans who are not already military pilots.

“Through their service to our country, our veterans cultivate important leadership qualities while fostering a commitment to excellence,” said Senator Hoeven. “Commercial aviation is currently facing a real need for qualified pilots, and our legislation will help meet that need by connecting veterans with flight training schools like UND. In this way, veterans can leverage skills they have already learned in the military for a new career in aviation."

“The largest barrier to becoming a commercial airline pilot is often the financial cost associated with training,” said Elizabeth Bjerke, Associate Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota (UND). “The American Aviator Act stands to eliminate the financial barrier by providing resources to our military veterans to pursue a career in flight. At UND, we have a strategic priority to meet the educational needs of veterans who served our nation, and we are proud to provide flight training to nearly 100 veterans annually. We greatly appreciate Senator Hoeven’s ongoing leadership and support on this important issue.”

Through the American Aviator Act, veterans participating in the program will receive grants to support flight training education in pursuit of a career in commercial aviation. This will help ensure there are enough qualified pilots in the future to continue providing safe and reliable air service to rural airports across the country.

Under the bill, flight-training schools like UND that have established pathways to employment with commercial air carriers would be 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. Support for the American Aviator Act includes the Air Line Pilots Association and the Regional Airline Association.