Looming Pilot Shortage Presents ‘Interesting Dilemma’

 - June 14, 2012, 3:28 PM

After asking for a show of hands from air charter operators who are experiencing difficulties filling pilot vacancies, FAA deputy director of flight standards John Duncan told attendees at this week’s NATA Air Charter Summit that he gets involved in discussions about pilot shortages in a lot of different venues. “From an academic standpoint, it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “But from a community standpoint, it’s probably going to be a little painful. This is an interesting dilemma for the aviation community.”

Although the airlines have always been able to attract people with experience that they needed, there is a perception that the new flight, duty and rest rules will create a need for more pilots. A second dynamic is the new first-officer qualification rule requiring 1,500 hours total time, with which the smaller feeder organizations are already having problems.

So the airlines have to look to other places for pilots. How that will affect the Part 135 segment is intriguing, Duncan explained, because pilots moving to Part 121 are going to need 1,500 hours, “which puts [Part] 135 operations in a different place.” He asked NATA attendees for their support for a “U.S. aviation academy” that is now under discussion. It would use four-year universities to train pilots and mechanics and leverage financial backing so the costs of training would not be overwhelming.

Comments

FlightLevel350's picture

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Scumby's picture

I've been with 6 airline and furloughed 6 times. So, quit your crying and deal with it. We all got into this career because we were to stupid to do anything else. Finally after many years I have some seniority, until the next merger or furlough. Then I'll have to suck it up and start over again.

Bart Gault's picture

The first core problem is competition and the consumer. Each and every company is seeking ways to reduce costs as the market is not growing. What variables are there? Fuel, aircraft, supplies, NO. The only major variable are salaries. This all started with the deregulation of the industry, how any airlines are left? The buyer wants the cheapest fare and that airline that offers that will get that customer, it is all about the bottom line.

In all industries and professions, whenever the funds are not available or growth is stagnant or relatively minor, the only variable are salaries. This same situation has happened in all our industies. Is there a solution, yes, GET AWAY FROM THE SO CALLED SERVICE ECONOMY, which is nothing more that rubbish. Society survives by production, consumption and replacement. Our society produces little now, hence the negative trade balance, high unemployment and massive foreclosures.

Is our industry any different?

Fly safe and blue skies to all,

Bart Gault (ATP with lots of types and experience, as well as
several business degrees) (And slam me if you wish). By the way
I am based in India because of the salary issue referenced.

q.vu's picture

Hello, just wanted to tell you, I liked this blog post.
It was funny. Keep on posting!

matt 's picture

Mr. Gault, your competition comment is correct. Now with the airlines suppling cheap fares that people are buying, where else in business can you repeatedly sell your product or service at a loss, declare bankruptcy (several times), losing billions of dollars, and still be in business. Until the government stops allowing this nonsense nothing will change, including the poor starting salaries for pilots. And that situation will not change until a real pilot shortage, something I do not see happening in my lifetime. I do not blame you one bit for going to India to find a real wage flying. I wish you all the best.

Steve's picture

I too had visions of flying professionally for a Major Airline
when I was a teenager and taking flying lessons at fifteen .
Thanks to my father footing the bill; he was not rich just a
Hard working construction worker who believed in his
Young boy and possibly living his dream through me?

But back in the 70'& 80's the competition was ex-military pilots
and soldiers using the GI Bill to pay for their training and Pilots
with a Lot of turbine time thanks to the Vietnam war.

I couldn't justify the cost of training when the prospect for a
flying job back than Line or CFI were non existent for low
low time Pilots.

I still think of flying professionally even at my age 55+ maybe
I am "Drinking Kool Aid "or eating up the pilot shortage rumors
But, I personally know of low time pilots who have gotten hired
by Regionals with 500 to 700 hrs with 200 hrs of ME time
in late 2011.

If is right and just that anyone wanting to work as a Professional
Pilot should be told and know the facts of this industry . Which
must become more "Transparent and Honest" to prospective
Pilots about Working conditions. Job stability and Pay.

You can come into my industry with practically no training
expenses and earn a very respectable Income baesd on your
abilities in a short period of time ( although the washout rate
Is 85 % the first five years) but the experience and training you
Gain will allow you to get hired by many financial institutions
If you quit or got axed .

After all it down right criminal what the Airlines , Major and
Regional have done to the employees . They putthese fine and
dedicated employees into financial ruin and ruined their credit
Scores and broke up Marriages because of the financial stress
and work schedules.

Look before you leap do your research read articles and learn
From other peoples mistakes and experience" life is too
short to make all the mistakes yourself" .you can get a fine
Education from your local community colleges , city and
state Universities ; take a major that you can fall back on or
can work when not flying .

The money that you save on tuition and pay from part time
Jobs can pay for most of your minimum ratings to get a
foot into a entry level paying Flying job .

People have more discretionary income today than 20 or 30 years ago;
They will pay$100 us dollars an hour to learn how to golf
And play tennis,$25-$50 half an hour to Learn a musical
Instrument, upto $350 + an hour For a Lawyer etc.

Do not sell your self short ! Good luck and don't become
a low paid
Steve

Geo's picture

Another point to consider is that a lot (most?) of the money borrowed to attend these 'aviation universities' will not be repaid. Ever. The schools are laughing all the way to the bank with the taxpayer monies and the poor students will be tossed on a horrendous job market with utterly worthless degrees. This has go to end. Our children and grand-children and great grand children will be paying off this debt.

One of my professors in college once said you need to chose a major that you can do, that you like to do, and that someone will pay you to do. That about sums it up. Get yourself a degree from a real school in a field for which there is a demand. If you can then get into the Navy or USAF as a pilot, fine. If not then start your career in the field you obtained your degree.

Clark Griswald's picture

I gave up my pilot dreams when I was a teen in the mid 90's. A NWA pilot pulled me aside and advised a few of us to NOT get into this mess -- who would know any better than a NWA captain? Well I followed through. I graduated medical school two years ago and in a few years I can sell my C152 and bump it up to a Baron. Hell with the professional pilot job - its a waste of an education. With what I would have spent going to Embry-Riddle I spent the same going to a low to mid-tier allopathic medical school (domestic). Pilot programs should be vocational and then straight to work. None of this "minimum requirement: B.S." crap. Why in the hell does anyone need a degree to do a vocational job? Its clearly a scam. Oh and I'm not a genius by any sort. In high school, I remember that an abilities test indicated that I would be an auto mechanic. I just woke up one day and decided to do one thing - STUDY. Quite frankly, a homeless man can get his instrument ticket in a couple weeks if he stayed on it. JUST FLY THE DAMN PLANE! peace...

pts1124's picture

As the ex owner of a large SE flight school there will be a huge shortage of pilots. The fact is that of the commercial pilots trained over the past 5-7 years or so a very large percentage were foriegn. That is Indian or Chinese. At my school I would say 90% were from over seas.

I do agree that this is a great place for young, under 25 years old, people to start and grow. The pay is low but it does pay off.

The complaints that I see are true, but I hear the same complaints from people that work in health care, realestate ect.
Hang in there!!

matt 's picture

Just read about the proposed pilot contract agreement with the Delta pilot group. If this is ratified that will probably mean a lot of 50 seat RJ crews will lose their jobs at the various regional operators Delta now uses. So much for any pilot shortage!

FlightLevel350's picture

Delta is trying to get away from the 50 passenger aircraft, but they are moving to the Airtran Boeing 717's, 88 of them, and also 70 more CRJ 700's. The airline industry is growing and the 50 passenger 200's are just to small and burning not that much less fuel than the 700's. They want more capacity.

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2012-05-22/Delta-to-buy-AirTran...

matt 's picture

Capacity issue is not the reason for my response. The loss or reduction of the 50 seat RJ's will not be replaced plane for plane. Sure going to the 70 seaters will be a more profitable aircraft to fly, but expanding more seats to the overall amount Delta has is the last thing they are looking for when they are trying to raise fares. Because of the proposed changes to the pilot agreement, some poor 50 seat RJ crewmembers will lose their job. Hence my comment which I stand by; so much for any pilot shortage!

FlightLevel350's picture

You are right, there is no pilot shortage right now, but give it a year or two.

AU's picture

There's a math problem with your statement. DAL is going to park 200 plus 50 seat RJ's, and replace them with 88 717s (mainline), and 70 more RJs. 158 new frames replacing 200+ old ones = job loss.

FlightLevel350's picture

Guys, it sounds like we have a lot of disgruntled people wirting here and everywhere else, and I don't blame you at all. But maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. The retirement kicking back in is going to get things moving again I think everyone will agree with that. The age change really hurt everyone except the ones that were 60. So that is over, but we now have the ATP requirerment coming up. I think this will have a long chain of events that will hurt everyone, I'm not saying I completely disagree with the ATP requirement, I believe we should require higher experience to enter the airlines. A four year college will no longer be able to sell the airline career as a spend four years with us and 6 months to a year as a flight instructor and off to the airlines you go, not anymore. This will cause many young people to go another route with thier career, or take the path of least resistance, leading to fewer pilots entering the industry. Flight instructors will need to teach longer than ever before, overflowing the maketplace with to many instructors and a declining student base. Lots of people will not want to do this. Not with knowing there's a 20 something thousand dollar job waiting for them after all that. If the pay were 40 to 50 maybe. I think there will be a shortage, how much I don't know, and how soon, maybe 2 to 3 years. How long will a shortage last, well that will be up to the airlines, just as it was said earlier, pay and quality of life for pilots will have to change. And change it should! ALPA and the airline industry should be ashamed of themselves. So, if and when a shrotage comes, it will be good for us the pilots, and not so great for the airlines.

Joseph's picture

Industry consolidation and rationalization isn't over yet at the major and regional level. Coupled with a slow growth economy for the foreseeable future there will be fewer airlines flying fewer but larger aircraft. Coupled with the possibility that some cargo flights might possibly start to operate with only a single crew by 2020 (FAA and GE are working on a "reduced-crew options for cargo airlines") there will probably never be a pilot shortage.

Geo's picture

There is also the large number of military pilots who leave the service after their initial commitment of ten years or so and the large number who retire after 20 years. These are superbly selected and trained pilots who could easily move into the right seat at the majors. Actually, many are capable of moving directly into the left seat at the majors absent the union regs, which don't seem to serve anyone anymore. Unfair to the regional pilots slogging it out at some dingy commuter? Not really, considering the amount of deployments and hazardous flying the military pilots have been doing. Again, no pilot shortage.

Chad Trautvetter's picture

No disrespect to the military pilots, but I’d argue that the fighter pilots would not be capable (or even suitable) to fill left-seat positions in the airlines immediately after they retire from the military. We’re talking about pilots who are used to flying single pilot and thus have no real CRM skills, not to mention that flying an airliner is vastly different than a fighter jet. Putting them in the left seat of an airliner immediately after their retirement literally could be a real disaster.

IMO, only those military pilots who have flown military troop transports or, better yet, VIP transports would be capable of moving into the left seat faster at an airline. I say “faster” because no airline will allow a pilot that lacks a minimum amount of time in type to sit in the left seat – it’s a safety thing.

And even then, seniority should still be considered for upgrades, union or no union. A first officer who has flown for the airline for 10 years and has comperable flying skills to a newly hired former military pilot should get to upgrade to captain before the new hire. He simply has got much more invested at the company than the new hire.

Geo's picture

Well, the military flies versions of the Boeing 737, 747, 757, and 767 off the top of my head. Of course an AC in those aircraft would be able to slide into into the civilian version easily. And the copilots would be able to slide into the right seat easily as well. We are talking about responding to a "shortage" remember? As for the fighter pilots a lot of them fly two place versions so they practice CRM under extreme conditions. Even the ones that fly single-pilot tend to do well in the airlines because of the quality of their initial and recurrent training.

The point is why would anyone want to fly for a crappy, run-down, bankrupt commuter at starvation wages to "build time" so he can fly for a crappy, run-down, bankrupt "major"?

Joseph's picture

There are going to be fewer and fewer military pilots as "drones" take over swathes of military aviation. The air force is training more drone operators than fighter pilots now.

Geo's picture

Virtually every single F-16, F-15, F/A 18, KC-10, C-17, ect. pilot is going to separate at the ten-year mark or retire at 20 years. That is a lot of people. Almost all of them will be qualified to go to the right seat of the major airlines should they want to.

The services may park some older aiplanes which will reduce, a little, the demand for pilots; however the services will still will be cranking out pilots to man their aircraft, who in turn, will separate at 10 or retire at 20 as their career progresses.

Not trying to be difficult, but the "legacy" airlines are no more. They all went bankrupt and have been replaced by different companies that happen to have the same name but with vastly inferior pay, benefits, and working conditions for the employees.

What is going on is mostly is a scam operated by the "aeronautical" universities that offer very sub-standard education and wildly inflated flight lessons that are paid for by taxpayer-guaranteed loans-loans that, on balance, will never be repaid.

The student is crushed under unpayable debt that is transferred to the taxpayer. If it is such a good deal, let these universities themselves grant the loans to their students. When the kid can't repay the loans let the school, not the taxpayer, eat the loss.

Joseph's picture

In addition to budget cuts that are lopping procurement numbers, one just has to look at the Pentagon's plans for UAS. The demand for military pilots will be dropping off precipitously across all services.

Harry Balzack's picture

Southwest Airlines will always be able to pick and choose who they hire because of their business model. I would bet every RJ pilot out there would leave their job in a heartbeat to go fly for them. They treat their pilots fair. I agree with previous posts that there are 1000s of qualified pilots on the streets but by the time they will be needed they will have found a new career. Time is not on the side of the current unemployed cadre of pilots unless they want to fly in Asia.
I have been flying EMS for the past 20 years and have not been laid off once. 7 on 7 off at industry standard pay. If pilots want "the big bucks" they will have to roll with how that segment rolls, (bankruptcies, mergers, ceasing operations etc. etc.). I am training my 15 year old and by the time he graduates college God willing he should be able to get a decent flying job.

Jack Nisen's picture

The reason the 135 guys are having a shortage of pilots is because they all want either a type rating or a type rating plus a few hundred hours in make and model. Nobody wants to invest in training a guy up anymore because too many guys get typed then leave to the airlines etc. If they would pro-rate the training costs or have the guy sign a contract or something, that would eliminate the problem.

Flyboy's picture

We are a generation away from Airliners becoming pilotless drones. F/A's will become Coke Machines.

Roger Rabitte's picture

Pilot Shortage my arse!

US AIRWAYS Capt.'s picture

The wizards running US AIRWAYS could not get rid of Captain Sullenberger fast enough after he testified before Congress regarding the state of our profession.

High-time aviators, myself included, are being shown the door at US AIRWAYS on a regular basis by second-tier MBA's espousing cost-effectiveness and requiring absolute submission.

My point is ... if they'll do that to Captain Sullenberger, why would anyone with an IQ above room temperature aspire to our profession? Be a first-tier MBA and send the Doug Parkers of the world back to the shoe department at Sears.

Shotgun 05's picture

Very low pay, over-denmanding employers, demanding schedules, my resume says I have children and a "Skype wife", poor hotels on the road, and federal governments who do not care enough to help fix it.

I remember standing in a McDonalds hoping for a burger on sale ordering from a 16-year-old who was earning more than me at minimum wage, and my First Officer standing next to me who was living in his car with a child on the way. That's when I reakky saw how absurd the industry is.

Jeffrey Clarke's picture

Tell all the pilots on furlough who have thousands of hours of experience that there is a pilot shortage and see what the reaction is. This is all a bunch of hype to try and get more students into flight schools. There are plenty of commercial pilots available for hire.

Franky T's picture

I'm not a pilot, but I'm dating one (a woman) who dropped out of the career after a stint as a FO up north citing stress and hating the job. I'm actually an engineer, with masters, worked for a plane manufacturer, and am now doing an MBA.

With all the hardship, debt and low pay she had to endure,I asked her: "would you do it all over again?"

The answer was yes. Now how can that be?

I keep reading some posts, and I get the feeling that once you have felt the adrenaline rush which is flying, no other job will ever provide that fix.

The responsibility, freedom, heroic rush of flying is attributable to being on crack cocaine. And the airlines figured it out. Microsoft sells millions of copies of a game which simulates how many copies would sell if a fame simulating my job?

My girlfriend admires my capacity for deep thought. I admire what she has accomplished. She says she'd have trouble doing a research degree, and I believe her: when your whole career has been an adrenaline rush, I guess there is no turning back.

So to the pilots I say: You got into this because a 9-5 job would bore you to death. Unfortunately for many, that's just pat of growing up. Three reward for your job is not the pay, but the prolonged adolescence and the atypicality.

Engineers our accountants wouldn't work for so little. But hey, with that soir of boob, neither would you. I not feel sorry for myself: I got my pay and travel rush through expatriation. C'ept I never got to be the"big man" at the controls. And that is what keeps you coming back for more.

All the best,
Franky

P.s. As a former engineer at a regional jet manufacturer in Canada, I can tell you we are all working towards automation. That way you'll be able to stay home with your families more

Franky T's picture

I'm not a pilot, but I'm dating one (a woman) who dropped out of the career after a stint as a FO up north citing stress and hating the job. I'm actually an engineer, with masters, worked for a plane manufacturer, and am now doing an MBA.

With all the hardship, debt and low pay she had to endure,I asked her: "would you do it all over again?"

The answer was yes. Now how can that be?

I keep reading some posts, and I get the feeling that once you have felt the adrenaline rush which is flying, no other job will ever provide that fix.

The responsibility, freedom, heroic rush of flying is comparable to being on crack cocaine. And the airlines figured it out. Microsoft sells millions of copies of a game which simulates your jobs. How many copies would sell of a game simulating my job?

My girlfriend admires my capacity for deep thought. I admire what she has accomplished. She says she'd have trouble doing a research degree, and I believe her: when your whole career has been an adrenaline rush, I guess there is no turning back.

So to the pilots I say: You got into this because a 9-5 job would bore you to death. Unfortunately for many, that's just pat of growing up. Three reward for your job is not the pay, but the prolonged adolescence and the atypicality.

Engineers or accountants wouldn't work for so little. But hey, with that sort of job, neither would you. I do not feel sorry for myself: I got my pay and travel rush through expatriation. C'ept I never got to be the"big man" at the controls. And that is what keeps you coming back for more.

All the best,
Franky

P.s. As a former engineer at a regional jet manufacturer in Canada, I can tell you we are all working towards automationand remote ops. That way you'll be able to stay home with your families more . Isn't that great?

Hopeful's picture

Just addressing a few issues from a different perspective. I'm 58 and interviewing for my first airline job with a regional. Fortunately I am retired from another career and can semi afford to do it. I think the pay scales are going to rise and that is my driving motivation. I learned to fly in 1977 and had my Commercial and CFI by 1980. I wanted to be an airline pilot. At that time you had to have a few thousand hrs under your belt just to get hired by Pilgrim flying twin otters. After A few more thousand hrs of otter flying and maybe you could get into a major. CFI jobs were mostly all taken except for a few part time positions. The pay was horrible. It was much harder to get a flying job then than it is now and the pay was just as bad. I dropped out and was lucky to get a good job with the FAA as an ATCS. Interesting that I was teaching ATC the past few years in OKC and a lot of prospective airline pilots are doing the same as I did 30 yrs ago. I saw many regional pilot come through the academy. Basically what I am saying is the boomers didn't have it easy. They worked very hard for what they got. Most of these pilot boomers also suffered immensely with furloughs, loss of pensions...etc.

As far as the 1500 hr rule goes I have mixed feelings. As a controller I could definitely tell most low time pilots. When an airline pilot checks in and stumbles with phraseology you can tell. I heard a lot of that. I've heard many controller peers say these guys are horrible. However all airline pilots made mistakes. I saw it everyday. Don't get me wrong. I've heard a lot of whoosies from controllers too. I think the positive side of low time pilots in the airlines is that the airplanes we fly today are so TAA and the routes are so redundant we can operates them with pilots that often don't need a lot of experience. Air carrier flying is a lot of the same thing over and over. I think the ATP rule will be important when things go different than expected. I also think the FAA needs to make sure the ATP check ride is earned and not just given away because the applicant has 1500 hrs. I think this may have something to do with some accidents or incidents. We all know the industry needs to change. The major change being pilot pay. A new air traffic controller makes $80K a year after 1 yr. No degree required, training paid for and the job is no more difficult. Pilots as a whole need to demand equal pay. I think it's coming.

Gemm's picture

..except you have to be younger than 31yrs of age to become an ATC. Was really hoping to do this since my ATP license isn't working out all that great for me. Kinda sucks this whole industry

Mike's picture

If you dig into the facts, you will find in the last 5 years, that for every airline job created, there were 7 commercial/ATP certificates issued. Granted, this takes into account foreign students who are paid by the airline hiring them for this training, but to me, the chart shows a divergence that tells me there are a lot of qualified pilots and not enough jobs.

For the charter operators and other entities that are looking for pilots, the key is to have a pay schedule that provided income for the responsibilities. After spending the money on flight training, the thought of working at a WallMart employee pay rate is discouraging. With Facebook & Twitter, the fact is the younger generation has feedback on flying a commuter F.O. and making a poverty wage...the ante needs to be upped in this area.

My advice....take a Mandarin Chinese course in communications!

Ben777's picture

"Globalexpress" is correct: there is not a shortage of experienced and qualified pilots. There is a shortage of experienced pilots willing to work at sub-professional wages.

Where will the money come from? Higher ticket prices. Correct the ticket prices of 20 years ago for inflation and you have your answer.

The government (in fact, governments all over the world) wants cheap airline tickets (free tickets if they could) to stimulate the economy and boost tax revenue. Air travel generates HUGE taxes. The government gets more money from an airline ticket than the airline does. Tickets, hotels, car rentals, taxi's, restaurants, etc. stimulate the economy and generate more tax revenue than booze in a bar.

The price per ticket to restore the piloting profession is about $5 per ticket. I'm making 1992 wages flying a 777 for the worlds largest carrier. But that is about to change this year by the end of 2013 (pilots have a lot of leverage in a merger contrac).t

Joey Bag O'locknuts's picture

"Where's the money going to come from?" Oh please, wake up people:
Airline CEO Total Salaries
In the United States, top airline CEO total compensation is worth several million dollars. For example, in 2008 one airline CEO saw his total salary exceed $17.4 million. In 2009, the top-10 U.S. airlines paid CEO salaries that ranged from $1.4 million to $8.4 million annually. The major U.S. airlines paid CEO salaries in 2011 that ran from $707,000 to more than $8.8 million annually.
How many decent living wages could that pay for....

mercenary capitalist's picture

there are no shortages of any profession or trade .

corporate chiefs ,ceo`s just keep trumpeting out the same old rhetoric stating we need more good workers in all areas .

the more workers avaliable the lower the pay and worse condtions occure.

its a very simple equation that those piled so high should already know and understand very well.

you fliers didn`t make your union work for your ..

williamsvaughn's picture

LIFE STORY OF A PILOT

Twenty-two years old:  Graduate from college. Go to military flight school. Become hotshot F-4 pilot. Get married.

Now 25 years old: Have first kid. Now hotshot Wild Weasel pilot in Nam. Just want to get back stateside in one piece. Get back as primary flight instructor pilot. Get bored. Volunteer for war again.
 
Now 29 years old: Get back from war all tuckered out.  Want out of military. Resign commission.

Now 30 years old: Get hired as flight-engineer by an airline. World is your oyster.
 
Now 31 years old: Buy flashy car, house and lots of toys. Getting over the military poverty feeling.
 
Now 32 years old:  Divorce boring first wife. Give her the house and pay child support and maintenance. Drink lots of booze and screw around while looking for second wife.
 
Now 33 years old: Furloughed. Join military Reserve unit and fly for fun. Repeat above for a few more years.

Now 35 years old: Airline recall. More screwing around but looking forward to a good marriage and settling down.

Now 36 years old: Marry spunky 25-year-old true-blonde flight attendant. Sex is just ungodly for first six months.
 
Now 37 years old: Buy another house.

Now 38 years old:  Finally give in to second wife’s demands to have kids as only way to get oral sex anymore. Father again. Wife concerned about “risky" military Reserve flying so you resign commission.

Now 39 years old: Now a captain. Hooray! Upgrade house, buy boat, Bonanza and even flashier cars.

Now 42 years old: Second wife runs off with wealthy investment banker but still wants to share house (her share: 100%).
 
Now 43 years old: Resolve to stay away from women forever. Seek a position as a check Captain for new start 10% pay override to pay mounting bills. Move into one bedroom apartment with window air conditioners. Give up resolution and start screwing anything that has a pulse.
 
Now 44 years old: Company files Chapter 11 (again!) and lucky to hold bid for copilot status. Get 25% pay cut. Decide to become simulator instructor for 10% override pay.
 
Now 49 years old: Finally Captain again. Move into 2-bedroom luxury apartment with central air conditioning.
 
Now 50 years old: Meet sexy Danish model on International trip. She says she loves you and keeps whispering in your ear that you are very "beeeeg!"
 
Now 51 years old: Marry sexy Danish model for wife number three.  Buy big house, boat, Beech Duke with flight director, HSI and new LORAN RNAV.  Upgrade cars.

Now 52 years old: Sexy model wants kids (not again!). Resolve to get vasectomy.
 
Now 54 years old: Try to talk wife out of kids, but presto, she's pregnant. She says she got sick after taking the pill.  Accident, sorry, won't happen again.
 

Now 55 years old: Father of triplets.
 
Now 56 years old: Wife number three wants very big house, bigger boat and very flashy cars, "worried" about your private flying and wants you to sell the Duke. You give in. You buy a motorcycle and join motorcycle club.
 
Now 57 years old: Desperately make rash investments to try and have enough money for retirement.

Now 59 years old: Lose money on rash investment and get audited by the IRS. Still have to fly 100 International redeye turns just to keep up with child support and alimony to ex-wives number one and two. Keeping lead in the ole’ pencil getting more and more difficult even with Viagra.

Now 60 years old: Wife number three (sexy model) says you're too damned old and no fun.  Leaves and takes most of your assets. You're forced to retire due to Age 60 rule. No money left.
 
Now 61 years old:  Captain on a non-scheduled South American 727 freight outfit and living in a non-air conditioned studio apartment directly underneath the final approach to runway 9 at KMIA. You
have “interesting" Hispanic neighbors who ask you if you have any flight time in DC-3s.

Now 65 years old:  Lose FAA medical because blood pressure off the scale and get job as sim instructor. Don't look forward to years of getting up at 3 AM in every God-forsaken town where your carrier can book cheap, off-hours sim time.
 
Now 70 years old: EconoLodge alarm clock set by FedEx pilot goes off at 0100. Have heart attack and die with smile on face.  Happy at last!

Ain’t aviation great?

TodHr's picture

I need someone's advice (please have airline experience). I am a former regional pilot for AE on a SF340B, have 5700 hours, haven't flown for AE for 20 years, but fly every once in awhile. Only reason I left the regionals is because the pay was horrible. I wish to go back to flying again, do I have any chance whatsoever of getting back at 50 years old. Not the regionals ever again, but a major? Or UPS, FedEx

Inspector's picture

@TodHr: How about getting into corporate flying?  The pay is all over the place now, starting to go up.  Some good places to work, some not so good.  There are 13,000 bizjets on order in the U.S. for delivery in the next ten years, and mostly bigger jets, so the demand will be huge at the same time the airlines are extremely short.  Shop around is my advice, and if you don't find anything you will know you looked.

 

Also, there are volunteer right-seat positions at places like Mercy Flight and Wings of Mercy, great places to build some recency of experience and make some contacts, and have some fun.

manginirj's picture


I can honestly say, there is no shortage, and probably never will be.  I went the Aviation College way, 4 years of flying, then ROTC, 21 years and counting of career in Army rotary and fixed wing flying, 4000 plus hours total over 1500 fixed wing, etc., etc.  5 years away from family in God Forsaken areas of the world, now afraid to retire and have to start at 20k a year and crap hours.  But there is a fix on the way!  Military is passing over huge numbers of pilots in Army and Air Force (probably Navy and Marines also) with the budget problems here.  Huge numbers like over 7000 in the AirForce getting out or being forced out in the next couple years.  Ties in perfectly with the "pilot shortage" doesn't it?  Things have a way of working themselves out.  Military is cutting down with some very large cuts, and what do you think is a big portion of military budget?  Yup, Aviation.  So a 22 year retirement of like 30k before taxes added to the 20k of a started job at a regional airline is a livable 50 k a year......yeah, that teaching job is looking better already!

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