At every level, national, state, and local airports are an an important source of employment both directly by aviation businesses and indirectly by companies that depend on the goods and services airport provide. Texas’ 300 airports account for roughly 62,000 jobs in general aviation alone, with a combined payroll and benefits that exceed $2.5 billion. At Addison Airport, aviation-related businesses provide more than 1,200 full-time jobs, with an annual economic contribution of $610 million.
Sustaining and growing aviation employment opportunities is an everlasting effort that requires fresh blood, the next generation of employees in all fields. With this mission in mind, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum will host “Rise Above,” a five-day event, from March 19 to 23, that will introduce students to aviation’s many employment opportunities and inspire them by sharing the determined efforts of World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and crew.
This special event is built around the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s traveling exhibit and its rare P-51B Mustang that wears the Tuskegee Airmen’s squadron colors. A super widescreen film recounts how Tuskegee Airmen proved their critics wrong and wrote an exemplary chapter in aviation history at the controls of the hottest fighter of the day. Building on this foundation, students can then talk with representatives from aviation’s many career opportunities.
Becoming an pilot for the airlines, a corporation, the military, or a specific mission like search-and-rescue or medical transport is the most well known aviation occupation, but there are many more. The aircraft pilots fly would not exist without engineers to design them and mechanical and electronics technicians to build and maintain them. Air traffic controllers coordinate their travel through the national airspace system and another community of technicians maintains these systems. And let’s not forget the FAA inspectors who ensure aviation safety, investigate accidents, and find ways to prevent them. Finally, there are the craftsmen and women who restore airplanes of all ages, like the Tuskegee Airmen’s P-51, with its distinctive red tail.