WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lance Gooden introduced legislation aimed at creating new pathways for military veterans seeking careers in aviation. The "Wings for Veterans Act"  instructs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a pilot program to provide flight training to eligible veterans.

The bill leverages the skills and discipline of America's veterans, providing them with opportunities to obtain the necessary certificates and ratings to become commercial pilots. The initiative could significantly reduce the current pilot shortage and support veterans in transitioning to civilian life.

The program will award grants to 10 flight schools for comprehensive training services, which include tuition, flight training fees, provision of books, training materials, equipment, and other educational resources necessary for veterans to attain various aviation certificates and ratings.

“With the ‘Wings for Veterans Act,’ we are recognizing the potential of our veterans and providing them with tangible support to pursue successful careers post-service," said Congressman Gooden. "Veterans possess a unique set of skills and discipline that make them excellent candidates for aviation careers. This program is not only an investment in our veterans but also the future of our nation's aviation industry."

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and we owe it to them to do everything we can to assist them as they transition from military service into civilian life,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), an original cosponsor of the legislation. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Wings for Veterans Act to provide additional opportunities for veterans who want to pursue a career in the aviation field.”

“Helping my fellow veterans transition back into civilian life is one of my top priorities as Chairman of the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee. Through the Wings for Veterans Act, we are streamlining the process for veterans to receive their pilot licenses and flight certifications. These veterans will help the current pilot shortage that is regularly hurting airports like the ones in my district. I am proud to support any actions we can take to bring more pilots into the workforce.” Said Rep. Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), an original cosponsor.

The legislation stipulates that participating flight schools will be responsible for soliciting applications from veterans, ensuring that applicants meet the definition of an eligible veteran, and enrolling selected individuals in appropriate flight training programs.

The Wings for Veterans Act is endorsed by the Flight School Association of North America.

Read the bill text here.