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EKU aviation director sees aerospace-aviation legislation as a big boost for the industry


The director of Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for Aviation says flight-related legislation in Frankfort is long overdue, but it could have a phenomenal impact on the Commonwealth. Dennis Sinnett (SIN-et) says several factors have contributed to a serious shortage of pilots including fewer trained retired military pilots.

“The source has dried up because the military has downsized and there’s not as many pilots getting out. You couple that with the 65 mandatory retirement and then you couple that with the proliferation of commercial aviation,” said Sinnett.

Saying rightfully so, much attention has centered on the need for pilots, Sinnett said two companion bills in the House and Senate also address other aerospace-aviation jobs. About two-thirds of the funding suggested in the measure would go for aviation scholarships.

Sponsors Senator Brandon Storm and Representative Ken Flemming hope to see about $15 million in state funding in the budget to be matched with the private sector.

In addition to helping meet a serious need for more pilots, Sinnett noted the comprehensive measure would help with filling jobs on the technical side.

“The airplanes that we are flying are very technical. There are a lot of moving parts and we need quality technicians, ANP, air frames and power plants and avionics technicians to fix those things,” said Sinnett.

Sinnett said EKU’s program has grown to more than 400 students in aviation studies. The aviation program director doesn’t see the loss of a door plug mid-flight on a Boeing plane having an impact on either interest in flying or interest in piloting.

Here's more with EKU's Aviation Director Dennis Sinnett:


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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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