Student Scholarship Program for Airline Pilot Credentials Initiated by Palm Springs Air Museum and the Air & Space Forces Association – PS Chapter, in partnership with SoCal Pilot Center

June 12, 2023, Palm Springs, CA:  The renowned educational non-profit Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM) is initiating a new program to address the ongoing shortage of qualified airline pilots.  According to Oliver Wyman’s Global Fleet & Maintenance-Repair-Overhaul Market Forecast for 2022-20232, “the most vexing challenges for aviation were widespread labor shortages across every sector of aviation and in most regions. In North America, the industry is facing two potentially severe shortfalls in the ranks of commercial airline pilots and aircraft mechanics. By our analysis, the supply gaps already amount to 18% of the total pilot workforce in 2023 and 14% of aviation mechanics. The outlook is for those deficits to grow or at least linger through 2033. The gap in the number of pilots needed and those available has already led to reductions in service to less popular and more rural destinations and has hit regional airlines hardest.”


Step 1 is to get young people interested in aviation. To that end, the Palm Springs Air Museum in conjunction with the Palm Springs Chapter of Air & Space Forces Association, and the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, developed The Ronald M. Auen Learning Center and Atlantic Aviation FIRST FLIGHT EXPERIENCE. This program gives aspiring pilots, ages 12 through 17, the experience of Flight: safety training and actual experience flying in a Cessna 182, with commemorative T-shirt, logbook, and certificate. The flights occur on the first Saturday of the month from October through July. Space is limited, and interested students with parental permission may contact [email protected]


Step 2 is to follow up the FIRST FLIGHT EXPERIENCE with FLY COACHELLA VALLEY, a joint effort by PSAM and SoCal Pilot Center. Participants in FLY COACHELLA VALLEY will have the opportunity to enroll in an FAA Part 141 accredited program at SoCal Pilot Center in Thermal, which will ultimately lead to a Commercial Pilot Certificate and open the doors to a career in aviation. SoCal Pilot Center and affiliates offer Airline Career Programs in Europe and the USA, tailored to a strong academic backbone with the goal of developing executive skills early on during training. The program combines the very latest technology, pre-course Psychological / Psychotechnical Assessments (PELICAN Test) and advanced ground school training methods combined with strong student discipline, use of ultra-modern Simulator technology and State of the Art Textron Aviation Glass Cockpit Airplanes. SoCal Pilot Center’s graduation rate was 96% in 2022.  One of the major goals of this program is to identify opportunities to invest in the success of all students, especially those with economic barriers. This screening process consists of five steps: Math / Physics Refresher Course, the aforementioned PELICAN Test, Simulator Assessment, FAA Medical Test, and financial evaluation. 


With help from the local Air & Space Forces Association chapter, PSAM will provide at least 50 prospective Airline Career Candidates per year to the SoCal Pilot Center for screening. The program will also track students’ progress and eventual hiring by the aviation industry. This is only the first leg of a five-year program with measurable goals and outcomes. SoCal Pilot Center is the only FAA Part 141 certified Cessna Pilot training center within 60 miles of the Jacqueline Cochran Airport in Thermal. Participation in this project aligns with the Palm Springs Air Museum’s mission of educating future generations, especially about Air Power.

The Palm Springs Air Museum contains over 73 vintage airframes from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the new F-117 Stealth Fighter inside The Jim Houston Pavilion.  Aircraft are contained inside 91,000 square feet of open hangars and on the tarmac. Additional displays and memorabilia are located throughout the hangars. The Museum is open daily from 10 am until 5 PM. For more information, visit or call 760-778-6262 during business hours.

SoCal Pilot Center is part of the International Pilot Center Alliance (IPCA), is an FAA and EASA Approved Training Organization with training locations in the Coachella Valley and Europe.  Offering a complete series of high-level pilot training courses, ranging from All-Inclusive Airline Career Programs to private Pilot programs.


The school is staffed with full-time Flight Instructors and guarantees the highest quality standards in flight training. All facilities, including new student housing, are an integral part of the organization. SoCal Pilot Center is also part of the Textron Aviation, Cessna Pilot Center Network since 2016 and has been approved by CATS/PSI as an FAA Testing Center. SoCal Pilot Center is approved by the USCIS to provide M1 Visas to foreign students for Flight Training under the SEVIS program. For more information, visit or call 760-989-4525 during business hours.


The Palm Springs Air Museum is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to Preserve, Educate and Honor. 



745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262

(760) 778-6262 /