Air service in Sheridan and Buffalo is suffering, say commissioners in Sheridan County. And now they are asking Wyoming’s congressional delegation for help.
A federal regulation that went into effect last year raised the number of training hours pilots needed before they could fly small commercial planes, from 250 to 1500.
Previously, rural areas were appealing for young pilots as a place to earn their chops, says Sheridan County Commissioner Steve Maier. "With the new rules they [beginning pilots] are no longer qualified. And those that were qualified were gobbled up by some of the larger commuter airlines throughout the country.”
In their letter to the Wyoming delegation the Sheridan County, Commissioners asked for small airports to get a waiver on the minimum number of passengers required to receive federal aid, if that number has fallen due to a lack of pilots.
Sheridan County has joined with Johnson County to contribute $700,000 to subsidize air service in the region.