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La Crosse feels effects of shortage in airline pilots



A shortage of pilots may be a good reason why there are fewer flights in and out of the La Crosse’s airport.

Airport director Clint Torp said a combination of older pilots retiring and fewer young people training to fly planes, has led to a cutback in commercial flights.

But he adds, there are local options available to prospective pilots right at the La Crosse Regional Airport, through Colgan Air Services.

Torp said joining the Civil Air Patrol also leads many young people to seek careers as pilots.

One benefit for La Crosse from a pilot shortage is that larger planes land at the airport, offering more seats to passengers.

As for the reasons behind the shortage. That stems for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“After Sept. 11, after the recession, air travel decreased,” La Crosse Regional Airport director Clint Torp said. “That meant a surplus of pilots at that time. So you had less people, less kids getting into that career field.”

Torp says promotions of La Crosse as a travel destination can help increase the number of local flights.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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