Local academy fulfills people’s dream of becoming pilots as airlines see shortages – WSB-TV Channel 2
ATLANTA — Over the weekend, Delta Airlines canceled more than 100 flights, at least in part because of a pilot shortage.
On Monday, Delta canceled at least 100 more.
Channel 2’s Lori Wilson spoke with a few future pilots who see the situation as an opportunity.
Dr. Jim Lee established the Aviation Academy at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn a few years ago.
“I always liked being in his class. It just fueled my ambition to pursue it,” said Max Lyles, who is going to school to be a pilot at Emory Riddle University.
“It’s so good to have this ability to focus on one thing,” said Aliya Applin, senior at Landmark Aviation Academy.
Recent reports of a nationwide pilot shortage have led Lyles and Applin to believe their flying dreams are within reach.
“It makes me want to work 10 times harder to be in that seat and to fill those shoes,” Lyles said.
Lyle’s father works for Delta in operations. Applin’s mother is a flight attendant.
“Ever since I was little, at 5 years old, I always wanted to fly for Delta,” Lyles said.
“It’s good for us because maybe I can go out there and get that interview and get a job,” Applin said.
Lee was 3 years old when his father was hired as an airline computer programmer. He flew for a few years, then went into teaching.
His students asked why he never returned to the cockpit.
“I said I was too old. I’ve been gone too long. Nobody would hire me,” Lee said.
After a 19-year hiatus, Lee is a pilot again and he became emotional when telling Wilson about it, bursting into tears.
Lee’s father got to see him accomplish his life’s dream in his pilot’s uniform the day before he died.
Today, he wants to pass on his dream to the next generation.
“My goal here in creating the aviation academy was to let these kids know that you can do one of the most amazing jobs in the world,” Lee said.
Lee flew as the first captain for Republic Airlines. On June 1, he began training for Southwest Airlines.
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