“Top Gun” and Duluth Airshow boost interest in aviation industry, LSC spokesperson says

Maintenance workers guide plane at Duluth International Airport.
Maintenance workers guide plane at Duluth International Airport.(KBJR 6/CBS 3 Duluth)
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:22 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - The Duluth Airshow takes off this weekend, peaking students’ interest in wanting to become pilots and aircraft, maintenance workers.

Daniel Fanning, the Vice President of External Affairs and Advancement at Lake Superior College said the school sees a jump in people enrolling in the aviation program around the airshow.

“We always see a bump a little bit before, during and after the airshow,” he said.

Lake Superior College has seen a 26% jump in people enrolling for their pilot program and a 10% increase in aviation maintenance enrollment as of July 12.

Fanning attributed it to many factors.

“Less and less of the COVID restrictions, that’s helped with our enrollment,” he said, “I also attribute some of that to Top Gun and Tom Cruise so we appreciate that.”

But it’s not just Tom Cruise that’s driving numbers, Fanning said.

“We are seeing more and more tour requests to go up and check out the fleet and learn more about the program so it always helps out,” he said.

Lake Superior College isn’t the only one that sees a boost around airshow time.

Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth also sees the airshow as a great opportunity to hire more employees.

“We talk to a lot of individuals that love aircraft they love aviation, they come from miles around to visit us,” Vance Okstad, the Director of Talent Acquisition at Cirrus, said.

Okstad said while pilots are important, aviation maintenance workers are the main engine that helps planes take off on time.

“You know the maintenance of the aircraft is where all the work happens to be able to fly.”

A lot of delays in the airline industry have to do with a lack of maintenance employees.

“Everyone knows there’s demand right now for both pilots and aviation maintenance, that’s where we’re seeing some of the delays right now, there’s a short staff,” Fanning said.

For more information on the Duluth Airshow, click here.

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