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Pancake breakfast and airplane rides available at Rigby Airport open house

Aerial view of the runway at the Rigby Airport, 136 North Yellowstone Highway. See a plane being refueled before takeoff in the video above. | Courtesy Michael Byers
RIGBY – Few things bring John Seal more of a rush than hearing an aircraft fly overhead.
From the time he was a little kid, he’s looked up and dreamed of having his own set of wings. The 43-year-old Rexburg man finally got his wish about a year ago when he got his private pilot’s license.
He co-founded the Bravo 6 Flight Academy in April with his instructor, Dustin Woodhouse. The two of them are partnering with the Rigby Airport this Saturday to share their love of aviation with the community.
A fly-in and open house will kick off at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. Raffle prizes and aircraft will be on display. Seal and others will be offering plane rides to the public until 2 p.m.
“The purpose of the event is to expose people to aviation. With the massive need for additional pilots these days, as well as the improvements in technology, there has never been a better time to be involved in aviation than right now,” Seal tells
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many airports were shutdown nationwide and restrictions for commercial airline travel were put in place. This resulted in a large number of pilots retiring.
As a result, Seal says there is a nationwide shortage of pilots and there’s a huge demand for skilled aviators.
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“Boeing and the U.S. government just released a study that we are going to have a pilot shortage for the next 19 years. It’s going to take that long … to fix that,” says Seal.
Seal points to another study that says the demand for pilots is going to double between now and 2040, and there’s a lot of other job opportunities in the aviation industry as well, including air traffic controllers, aviation mechanics and more.
While there aren’t a lot of aviation opportunities in Idaho specifically, Rigby Airport board president Michael Byers says there are at least 20 flights a day coming in and out of the airport.

Student with the Bravo 6 Flight Academy landing on the runway at the Rexburg Madison County Airport. | Courtesy John Seal
“A lot of them are business owners. We’ve got some farmers there, just a lot of private aviation,” says Byers.
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The Rigby Airport, which has been around since at least the 1950s, is a common place for pilots to land and refuel before continuing their journey. And it’s rapidly growing.
In the last five years, Byers says several new hangars have been built. There are nearly 50 hangars on-site now, and a state grant funded the construction of a new taxiway last year.

Dr. Donald Tanner, left, was one of the first pilots to obtain his private pilot’s license in Rigby. His flight certificate, right, is dated Aug. 1947. It’s not clear when the Rigby Airport was built, but it was around this time. | Courtesy Michael Byers
The airport held its first open house in 2014. Its last one was in 2018, and Byers felt the time was right to do another one.
“We wanted to open it up to the community — Idaho Falls and Rigby — to spread the awareness and joy of aviation,” Byers explains.
While the open house is free, there will be a cost for a plane ride. Organizers are still fleshing out those details. The Rigby Airport is at 136 North Yellowstone Highway.
The Bravo 6 Flight Academy currently has about 40 students enrolled. It offers private and commercial pilot training, and there is financial aid available for those who are interested. Visit the website for more information.

The post Pancake breakfast and airplane rides available at Rigby Airport open house appeared first on East Idaho News.

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