THE US GENERAL-aviation (GA) industry has launched a nationwide television-advertising campaign intended to increase the number of people entering pilot training. The "stop dreaming, start flying" campaign is funded by more than 100 US aviation companies through the GA Team 2000 coalition, which has the goal of increasing student starts to 100,000 a year by the end of 2000.

"We know there is a direct correlation between student starts and the growth or decline of the pilot population," says Phil Boyer, president of the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), a founding member of GA Team 2000.

Research commissioned by AOPA and the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association found that about 11% of the adult US population is seriously interested in learning to fly, but has misconceptions about the cost of instruction and of aircraft rental.

Those responding to the television advertisements will receive a coupon for a $35 introductory flight at a participating school. Also, more than 1 million coupons will be made available this month through magazine advertisements.

GA Team 2000 has identified 5,000 flight schools which are receiving packages inviting them to participate in the campaign.

The flight schools' main obligation to the coalition is to honour the coupons and then, to their profit, enrol new students, says US National Air Transportation Association president Jim Coyne, For the initial year to 18 months, explains US Experimental Aircraft Association president Tom Poberezny, GA Team 2000 has no plans to charge schools for their participation.

GA Team 2000 will track the coupons' use and the users' progress towards private pilot licences, explains Boyer. "We will know how each individual progressed, so we can modify the programme and keep it on target," he says.

Source: Flight International