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ANKENY, Iowa — Within the next 20 years, the U.S. is at risk of facing a massive pilot shortage due to a large number of retiring pilots and a lack of newcomers.

However, a program in Ankeny is hoping to help change that.

The Experimental Aircraft Association is helping to get teenagers interested in aviation.

About 40 students learned about the airport, airplanes and the jobs in the aviation field at the Ankeny airport Saturday. Students even went on a 20-minute plane ride around the metro area.

Volunteers say introducing kids to the world of aviation at a young age is key.

“It’s a complete package of aviation experience, which gives the kids the opportunity to know what goes on in aviation and hopefully be thinking about their future, maybe as part of aviation,” said Chuck McDonald, Executive Director, Iowa Aviation Promotion Group.

The group also hosts similar programs at airports around the state.