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EAA AirVenture career fair attendance ‘up 50 percent’

“Judging by how fast we’re going through our swag, things are going great for us,” said Ravn Alaska First Officer Crystal Frost, one of the recruiters greeting potential career pilots at EAA AirVenture during an expanded career fair. She said traffic at the weeklong EAA Careers and Education Center event was “probably up by about 50 percent” over 2019, and it was saturated with young pilots asking her about aviation careers.

Ravn Alaska First Officer Crystal Frost reacts after winning a "hook 'em" game at the JSfirm jobs booth in the EAA AirVenture Careers and Education Center. Frost said traffic was about 50 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019. Photo by David Tulis.

Frost said the event supported by online aviation jobs website “is growing.” She was quizzed about her life as an Alaskan pilot by high school students searching for a career, college students on an aviation career path, and young pilots looking for a change in perspective.

“As a first officer, I’m trying to build time, so most months I’m trying to fly my wings off,” she confided. Frost’s flying involves a lot of “there and back in one day” hops in de Havilland Canada DHC Dash-8 twin turboprops.

“We don’t have a complex schedule that requires you to be away from home for days on end. You can have more—or less—flight time, depending on your preferences and on whether you prefer to work in the mornings or later in the day,” she explained.

She said Ravn Alaska is “the only regional here at Oshkosh that is home at night” and she figured it could be an advantage for pilots who prefer to operate from a home base while exploring The Last Frontier.

Ravn Alaska pilots bid monthly for shifts and preferred days, similar to the process in place at other regionals and major air carriers. Frost said the monthly bids allow pilots the flexibility to schedule days off for the holidays, for vacations, and for visits from family members.

“To be successful at our company you really have to be an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman. Our preferred applicants enjoy their off time and have a good work-life balance.” Fishing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and “going out to the glacier” to observe nature are all popular activities, she said.

The airline has routes to and from the Anchorage base, which Frost said is “the only big city” on the flight schedule. “We go out to Fairbanks, the Bristol Bay area” in the Bering Sea, “and the Pribilof Islands—and that’s halfway to Russia. We go almost all the way down the Aleutian Chain, including Sand Point, St. Mary’s, Dillingham, and Valdez—which is a huge heliskiing area. Most of our clients going out there are just fun adventurers, and of course there’s the Valdez Fly-In and Air Show for STOL,” short-takeoff-and-landing competitions. Executive Director Abbey Hutter concurred with Frost that recruiters and career fair attendees were “so excited and geeked out to be back” that they were line dancing to the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle, and breaking out into spontaneous singalongs of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond.

When she wasn’t singing, dancing, or helping aviation recruiters, Hutter chatted with Frost, visited with representatives of 40 aviation businesses on the airshow grounds, and surveyed the mood of young people and career pilots seeking job changes. She said the jobs atmosphere was “very positive” and predicted that aviation careers are here to stay.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Content Producer
AOPA Media Content Producer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Career

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