Looming Pilot Shortage Presents ‘Interesting Dilemma’

AINalerts » June 14, 2012
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.

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No Avatar
Eileen Bardos
on June 15, 2012 - 11:10am

Hit us like a freight train to hear about the immenent danger of loosing SCSU's aviation dept of the college. My son is in his 3rd year and BOOM,,,this horrible news. WHY would we be abolishing a course SO BADLY needed for America? People need a professional proficient and dependable flight crew to lead them to a a safe arrival (EVERYTIME). It's a horrible way to die, I'v heard. Imagine the horror of going down because something went wrong in the cockpit (employee fatigue or worse (short staffedness). The airlines should be of paramount importance to America and to be SURE, the airlines syhould have ADEQUATE,,if not ABOVE ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF STAFF TO PREORM FOR PUBLIC SAFETY'S SAKE!! My son is eager and MORE THAN ready to fly/fix planes but NOW, may not ever get a chance to feel his dream.

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airline pilot
on June 17, 2012 - 7:23pm

hang in there... you will get to fly a HUGE JET.... i was in your shoes too.

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Rick
on August 20, 2012 - 10:06pm

On a trip 2 years ago in Alaska, i talked to a an Ex Air Force F-16 pilot on our fishing charter trip. He obviously had thousands of hours in f-16's and had been hired as an MD 80 pilot for American Airlines. Well 2 yeasr ago he had been furloughed for over a year at that time, and that was before the recent Amerian Airlines Bankruptcy filing this year. he was not optimistic about getting called back anytime soon . I am sure its even worse now in the bankruptcy aftermath. If an Air force pilot with that many hours in jets is sitting around waiting for the phone to ring and get his job back, imagine how it is going to be for a new pilot dreaming about aan airline career to get a job.

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Shawn
on October 23, 2012 - 12:13pm

Funny thing is that Fighter pilots fly very little, only about 200-300 hours a year. There are many airlines hiring, US Airways, United and Delta will be hiring during the beginning of the year. Many over seas carriers are hiring as well and paying really well for 1st year pay. His issue is that he does not want to give up his seniority at AA and start at 1st year pay at another carrier. AA is in a bad position for hiring today but they are scheduled to retire a pilot every 12 hours for about 15-20 years. That's why he is sitting around for the phone to ring.... from AA!! Its about to get really good for him. However, the pay is going to take several years to get back to the good ole days.

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Shawn
on October 23, 2012 - 12:13pm

Funny thing is that Fighter pilots fly very little, only about 200-300 hours a year. There are many airlines hiring, US Airways, United and Delta will be hiring during the beginning of the year. Many over seas carriers are hiring as well and paying really well for 1st year pay. His issue is that he does not want to give up his seniority at AA and start at 1st year pay at another carrier. AA is in a bad position for hiring today but they are scheduled to retire a pilot every 12 hours for about 15-20 years. That's why he is sitting around for the phone to ring.... from AA!! Its about to get really good for him. However, the pay is going to take several years to get back to the good ole days.

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Dave
on June 15, 2012 - 2:45pm

I took an early out from a regional carrier. I have about 4500 hours flying CRJs. Not only is the pay low and duty hours high at these airlines, most guys come in with $120k of flight training debt... making $25k a year. It's a very cool job, if you don't factor in the company issues, union issues, bad pay, bad hotels, and not getting to see your family because you're on a 6 day trip as a reserve pilot.

The reason your sons course was cancelled I suspect is because of lack of interest. Gone are the days where being an airline pilot is a good job.

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Cargo Pilot
on June 15, 2012 - 3:19pm

Being a pilot is a good job, particularly if you get in at a cargo operation. Frankly we don't work very hard and get paid very well...but being in a union has been a mixed bag. You get lots more than guys flying the line at UAL or DL, but when the gravy trane comes to a halt we all get off and start at the bottom senoritywise. oh well. it's still a good job, just don't expect to make more than your Dr buddy next door...there's pleny of ex pilots out there waiting to fly if they can hack the pay cut. unions have wrecked the industry and the profession IMO

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AU
on July 6, 2012 - 9:58am

I think you're the first person I've ever seen claim the unions wrecked the industry. Throttle back on the Kool Aid.

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globalexpress
on June 15, 2012 - 3:25pm

Air charter operators are currently having difficulty finding pilots with the experience the need? They're kidding, right? What the air charter operators "should have said" was that they're having difficulty finding pilots with the experience then need AT THE PATHETICALLY LOW SALARIES THEY ARE OFFERING.

Do you think an engineering firm would have trouble finding experienced engineers if they only paid $20,000 or $30,000 per year? How about an accounting firm? Wanted: experienced, college educated accountants. Salary $22,000 per year. Apply at.......and there would be no need to read any further.

The problem that charter airlines and regional airlines face is that they are outright spoiled. For the past 3 or 4 decades, there has literally been a huge oversupply of pilots. These employers could pay extremely low salaries, treat their pilots poorly, and still find all the experienced applicants they needed. The gold at the end of the rainbow for these regional and charter airline pilots was a major airline job, with a pension, quality work rules, and high pay. So they'd put up with the bull for a while, gain their experience for that future major airline job, and move on.

Well, the majority of those airline jobs went away a decade go. Pay was cut in half, pensions were stolen, and jobs were outsourced. So now young pilots are still faced with the same poor paying, poor quality regional airline and charter operator jobs with no incentive to take such bad jobs. The gold at the end of the rainbow, the carrot at the end of the stick, is no longer there. These "poor" regional airline and charter operators are going to have to accept the new reality they face.

There are 1000's of furloughed airline pilots on the street, right now, who would like to be flying again. There are pilots in the military who certainly would like to get out and start flying again commercially. There are 1000's of pilots on the sidelines who have been unable to find jobs over the past 10 years, who would love to start flying again. My advice to those "poor" charter operators and regional airlines is this: stop treating your pilots like crap, start paying these professionals a PROFESSIONAL salary, provide them with a GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE and they will come, just like they had in the previous decades. Until you change your ways, you are screwed. If you built your business model on paying your PROFESSIONAL pilots wages that would make a fast food manager blush, then your business model is going to have to change. If you can't afford to change, oh well. Capitalism is incredibly darwin-istic. Set the brakes on your airplanes and find a new business. Times have changed.

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Rick
on June 18, 2012 - 6:45pm

Thank you for writing this—100% accurate.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 8:43pm

You got that right!!

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Lisa
on June 19, 2012 - 3:11pm

AMEN!

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Penniless Pilot
on July 2, 2012 - 3:32pm

SPOT ON ANALYSIS!

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Frank
on July 3, 2012 - 3:25pm

While I completely agree with everything you stated in your comment... I just finished college, got up to my CFI completed and switched what I want to do in life cause there would be no way I could find a flying job that would pay for my student loans... That being said, where do you suppose these airlines/charter companies are going to come up with the money to increase pilots pay?

You say increase ticket prices... That would be IMO the end of commercial aviation as we know it as more people would choose to drive over fly due to the cost differential. Most airlines are broke as it is, so as there may be a "pilot shortage" in the industry and economics and (airline recruiters) are telling pilots that salaries will be going up and now is a great time to be a pilot, Im just not seeing it. Any ideas?

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Teila K. Day
on April 29, 2013 - 11:06pm

People will still opt to fly no matter how high the prices go. Your Grandmother is sick in L.A. and you live in Tampa... are you really going to drive? Of course not, you're going to pay that 20% increase in ticket prices, whine about it some, but in the end you're buying the airline ticket like millions of other people who can't afford to drive because their time is worth more than saving $100-300 on a ticket.

Remember when poor people didn't fly? That's right. You didn't see scrubby unshaven people standing in line waiting to board PAN AM, you saw dads in button shirts and slacks, kids looking like they were dressed for Sunday School, and mothers in dresses and hats... and flight attendants didn't look like the airplane you were about to board (... but that's another thread). ;)

The point is that there are more than enough people willing to pay more. The airlines would have to scale back flights, cut some routes, invest in smaller or more efficient airframes, etc.. Many cargo carriers will have to dump their aging gas guzzling, problematic piston twins for heavier hauling single engine turbines, etc..

The bottom line is that there is a way. There is no pilot shortage. Just as there is no nursing shortage.

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Discouraged Pilot
on May 15, 2013 - 3:11pm

I think that you are right where are air carriers going to get the money. Also if they will be unable to raise prices in an ever increasingly competitive flying environment with airlines like Emirates and Etihad. Who may not be subsidized but they don't pay the taxes and landing fees steeped on American carriers.

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Steve
on July 25, 2012 - 10:16am

I fly for a first class flight department that just recently had a opening. We received over 5800 resumes. There is not a shortage of highly qualified pilots seeking quality jobs. I personally know pilots that choose to collect unemployment rather than accept bottom feeder flying job. Unemployment paid better.

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Shotgun 05
on November 1, 2012 - 2:40pm

On the mark!

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Danny
on November 10, 2012 - 12:28pm
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Brian
on November 12, 2012 - 11:29pm

You got it exactly right. If I could anticipate making +$20,000 I would think about getting back into it. How many plumbers, mechanics, accountants.... do you think you could get to work for you for the equivalent of $20,000 per year? NONE.

Offer a decent (not huge) wage and good, intelligent applicants will come.

What kind of doctor do you think you would get if the hospital only paid him $19,000?

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ByEByE
on December 1, 2012 - 9:08am

Hit it right on the head. My father was AF then Pan Am. Oldest brother C5 now at a major and another brother stuck at a regional for 10 years waiting for the right opportunity. I have 1200 hours mostly instructing & recently went into teaching h.s. math. Dad loved his job even with all of Pan Am's issues, wish I could say the same for my brothers.

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hs
on June 15, 2012 - 3:28pm

These are the last days of safe air travel. Get ready to pay and pry more...

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Micah
on June 15, 2012 - 3:29pm

Costs of learning to fly are high. Salaries are very low. Despite what the media tells you only the very senior few percent make really good money and have a good quality of life. Those at the bottom can be gone from home 20 to 25 days a month and be making as little as $25k. Settled with debt and a family, this is not a very appealing job anymore. Even with experience (which cannot be taught at any flight school, only learned over time) such as two years instructing, a year flying freight , 10 years at a regional airline ,and three years at a major airline ;salaries are still low. Sixteen years of experience and about $60k/yr is what I have to show for it. Some pilots who have over 30 years experience are msking $85k at my sirline and have been working without a raise for over ten years. Costs have gone up but not salaries. Airlines have to start treating pilots better to attract quality individuals to enter the piloting ranks.

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Stan
on June 15, 2012 - 3:50pm

There is no "dilemma" here. Advocates of a looming "pilot shortage" have been peddling the same tired story for at least the past 20 years in aviation. It is simply wrong.

I refuse to accept there is ANY evidence of a pilot shortage in the air charter industry, when numerous job openings for first officer positions demand that the applicant already hold the applicable type rating AND considerable experience in type. This is simply a case where operators are too cheap to pay for an individual's training, and are looking to poach pilots at someone else's expense. Explanations that "insurance requires it" or "brokers require it" are simply false.

There are thousands of laid-off corporate and airline pilots floating out there looking for work, and the industry is not growing fast enough to absorb this pilot glut. This nonsense about a "pilot shortage" distracts us from the real issues that need attention.

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Took the exit
on June 15, 2012 - 4:23pm

The comments from Laughable and Many Reasons should vividly display to the FAA and the air carrier industry associations what the root cause of the looming shortage is: poor quality of life without a salary to make it worth the while.

I have flown for a regional and major air carrier (from which I was laid off twice), and I was already looking for the exit before I received my second layoff notice. I had no time with my family and was making about 40% less when I went back for Round 2.

I now work in a managerial position with an aviation firm, and within our ranks we have a number of highly experienced pilots who have left jobs at every level: flight instructing, regionals, majors, and corporate. And I have a stack of resumes from people dying to get out of the piloting profession, mainly over the lack of quality of life, and secondarily over pay.

Air carriers are going to have to start thinking outside the box to fill pilot seats in the future. There is a growing force of pilots working elsewhere in the industry who will work if there can be a quality of life, such as part-time positions with few or no benefits, because these people have them through their other job. Many of us would likely come back if we were able to fly a couple of 2 day trips a month, or job share a full line of flying among 2 to 4 pilots.

If things stay status quo, the industry is headed for a big shakeup, as others are suggesting.

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Steve
on June 15, 2012 - 4:34pm

As an airline pilot I have to agree with Dave and globalexpress. The pilot job is not what it use to be.
An colleague made a web site that explains the issues, very good reading for people considering to enter the airline pilot profession :

http://thetruthabouttheprofession.weebly.com/

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matt wagner
on June 15, 2012 - 10:04pm

In the US, there never has been, is not now, nor never will be a shortage of pilots. The only shortage is of experienced pilots who are willing to work for nothing. Hopefully the FAA fulfills the congressional mandate and follows through with a flat out no exception 1500hr minimum requirement for Pt121 FO's. Then maybe pilot salaries will be more realistic for all pilots.

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JT
on June 20, 2012 - 3:38pm

The only way to drive up salaries is to reduce the supply of pilots. The 1500 hour rule will not do that. The fact that this industry eats it's young and treats employees like crap might.

The 1500 hour rule is arbitrary at best, and will not in itself increase the margin of safety at the airlines. Training is key, not quantity. Let's not forget both Colgan crew members at 1500 hours when they got hired...

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 8:38pm

The ATP rule will reduce the amount of up and coming pilots, no one is saying that it will stop people from choosing this industry. This whole industry has a bad rap, due in part to the 60 to 65 change, a lot of pilots a bitter over this and rightly so. So tons of pilots out there are bad mouthing the industry to the brand new pilots, like they want to make everyone else feel all thier misery. Because of this and the up and coming ATP rule, a lot of people will not want to teach the 2 to 4 years it will take to get there.

And how can you say that more flight experience can't help with safety, reguardless of what the flight times of the two Colgan pilots were, it has always been ridiculous to have a 300 hr pilot flying in the airlines. And no, not every pilot will do the right type of flying to better their pilot skills to get that 1500, but that is not the point. Pilots should have more experience before being hired, and for us to bend the new ATP rule because it is inconvenient for those with less experience is getting away from the whole reason the rule was changed.

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Lear Driver
on June 16, 2012 - 11:52am

If you think that there is not a coming pilot shortage, just answer me one question; Why in Dec. 2007 did they change the age 60 rule to age 65 rule, the mandatory retirement age? Because that was a quick fix for the "then" pilot shortage. Before Dec. 2007, I have had many recruiters calling me for all kinds of pilot positions, then after Dec. 2007, that all stopped. Here are the reasons other than finacial for a pilot shortage: New rest rules in Dec. 2012 that will require airlines to hire 25% more than what they have now, 1500 hr ATP rule in Aug. 2013 that will hire only experenced pilots, Sallie Mae and other educational finacial institutions stop funding pilot training due to the huge default rate. China, Europe, Middle East are harvesting a lot of our pilots for huge salares, and the huge retirement rate for Part 121 pilots that will exceed 15% of the entire industry in the next ten years. Research this, just check out Delta Airlines retirement rate for the next 13 years:
2012 - 15
2013 - 87
2014 - 138
2015 - 197
2016 - 264
2017 - 358
2018 - 456
2019 - 540
2020 - 638
2021 - 818
2022 - 862
2023 - 819
2024 - 807
2025 - 716

That is 6715 pilots of 12,022 current pilots. That is more than half of just Delta Airlines. I don't think they will go with the Age 70 rule.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 8:17pm

I agree with you completely. But the I feel the shortage is not here yet, but coming, give it a year or two. The coming retirement will get pilots back working, but ATP requirement will hurt the new up and coming pilots and many will just choose another field all together.

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globalexpress
on June 16, 2012 - 4:49pm

The mandatory retirement age in 2007 was changed to 65 in order to bring the US up to the ICAO retirement age that had just changed in 2007 as well. Pilots, who were nearing retirement in 2007 and had been pushing for Age 65 for years, saw this as an opportunity to push forward with this legislation, saying that they needed more time to work after having lost their pensions and significant portions of their pay under the many bankruptcies we saw in the early 2000's. They got the sympathy of enough legislators, and that sympathy in connection with the ICAO rule change which was going to have Age 65 pilots from other countries flying over the U.S. anyway, got the rule changed. It wasn't changed for government fear of a pilot shortage in my opinion.

I have no idea where you got that "25% more pilots needed" statistic, but that's the first I have ever seen a number that large. For many airlines, especially regional airlines with the most abusive work rules, surely some extra pilots will be needed. I know at my airline they are not expecting to hire anywhere there that number as a percentage. I think every airline's needs will be different, but 25% will be an anomaly.

The 1500 hr. rule will kick in shortly, but of course it has "ifs, ands, and buts" in there that will allow airlines to hire guys with less than 1500 hours. Yeah, most of the regionals and charter outfits will cry, but in reality if they have difficulty finding any pilots, it's their own fault, not the legislation's fault. There is only so long you can kick a dog before it runs away. Young pilots have seen the low pay and poor treatment many pilots have received over the decades, particularly the past 10 years or so, and they're voting with their feet. They'll come back when the airlines and other operators create a market that attracts pilots to the profession. That's easy enough to do, but it will take time. The airlines still aren't done crying to Congress yet. When they're done, they'll figure out something crazy to do like pay professional pilots a professional wage and they will come.

And I see guys throw around retirement numbers like you have at Delta and say, "Oh Boy! Where are these replacement pilots going to come from?" Well, you have to keep in mind that there are literally 1000's of unemployed airline pilots on the street or working non-flying jobs right now that are available for employment if given the proper (financial) motivation. And look at what is happening at American Airlines and American Eagle, both in bankruptcy. Do you think we're going to see some more pilot layoffs there when their CEO is done abusing the bankruptcy 1113c process? I do.

Further, the U.S. cranks out a lot of pilots every year. Even in these crappy past years, between 2007 and 2010 we created around 40,000 commercial certificated pilots- and that's not including 2011 numbers which I can't seem to find. So yeah, the airlines are going to be retiring again just like they have for the past 90 years, but big deal. That in and of itself hasn't created shortages in previous decades, so I doubt it will now.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 8:08pm

Do you think the ICAO and US could have been in on the age change together? Probably so.

You will see a drop in commercial pilots this year and in future years, due to the stagering number of aviation school drop outs across the country. I am seeing this in my own state. A great 4 year college flight school with a normal enrollment of around 150 flight students training and this year they are down to 30. Not looking good and the ATP rule has not even taken affect yet.

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Geo
on June 16, 2012 - 10:12pm

Any young person interested in a piloting career should go to their state university and get an engineering degree. Then try and get a officer's commission in the USAF or Navy and let the service send you to flight training. After 20 years in the service you can retire and then go to the airlines, if you still want to. It is total insanity to spend your own money to 'get your ratings' or to go to some high-priced diploma mill and get a totally useless degree in Aviation Management.

If you can't get a slot in the USAF or USN you will still be employable with your engineering degree that you obtained with low cost in-state tuition from your own state university. Never spend one dime of your own (or borrowed) money on any flight training.

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Regional Pilot
on June 18, 2012 - 10:21am

That's good sound advice, Geo. The military provides a good life, good pay, and it's the most honorable work anyone can do, serving this country. Before regionals were around, the majors had to rely on the military to provide quality, experienced pilots. There are no better trained pilots anywhere in the world. I went the other route. Now, who knows when I'll pay off what I owe? But I will pay it off. After being furloughed from my airline job, I sought out a military pilot position. It was within reach until I found out I have a very minor defenciency, yet it's significant enough to keep me out of US military aircraft. So, if I want to justify my college debt, it's the airlines for me. Aviation universities provide an opportunity for people who want to fly but learned the military could not help them achieve their goal.

I agree with some of the other comments about the need for airlines to increase their pay and pilot quality of life. However, profit margins at the regional level are anemic at best. Most regionals are operating at a loss year after year. There are a lot of reasons for this. So, I wouldn't expect pay raises anytime soon.

The industry is going to have to change significantly in order to return to prosperity. Airlines will have to change how they do business with customers (we're starting to see some of this now) and employees of airlines will have to drop this entitlement attitude and start being the change they seek in their company. The best thing pilots can do (especially younger pilots with 10 or less experience) is start acting like aviation professionals, again. Pilot professionalism is something I've seen take a nose-dive in my 4+ years in the industry, and it's the one thing we have the most control over. I once heard 2 pilots who had commuted to work on my flight cussing and trash-talking their ex-wives (loudly) while waiting to pick up their bags in a jetway full of passengers. What made this worse was that they were both in uniform. I've seen pilots do walk-arounds with ipods in their ears, leave the flight deck littered with trash, wear uniforms that looked like they've never seen an iron, use manuevers and flight "techniques" that replicate a roller coaster ride, and never touch the cabin environmental controls on a 4-day trip. No wonder passengers hate flying on regionals. There's room for a higher standard, here. And the best things we as pilots can do for ourselves is start treating our passengers like our company depends on them, start treating each other like aviaiton professionals, and start acting like aviation professionals (especially in the public eye). Passengers will want to fly on our airplanes. This will increase demand. Then, there's no question there could be a pilot shortage. Then maybe, we can start talking about better pay and quality of life.

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Geo
on June 20, 2012 - 7:32am

Thanks for your reply. One point of my letter is that you do NOT need to go to an aviation university to learn how to fly. A young person from Ohio, for example, can go to Ohio State and major in Mechanical Engineering for about $10,000 a year in tuition. At the end of his schooling he can apply to the USAF or Navy for flight training. If he cannot get a military flight school slot his ME degree will enable him to still have a career in aviation, or several other interesting and rewarding fields such as shipbuilding, automotive, rail, oil rig services.

Now consider someone who goes to school at an 'aeronautical university' and majors in Aviation Management. The tuition is $30,000 a year! NOT including flight training! The degree is of much less benefit and does not have nearly the respect that the ME degree from Ohio State has. Three times the costs for no evident benefit.

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EW
on June 29, 2012 - 6:20pm

Good point about the cost of an aviation centered university being overly expensive. The education and flight training you get are simply not as good as you are paying for, and at the end your left with a degree with very little value aside from checking the box that says you have a degree.

One would be much better off going to a state school and getting a degree in engineering. However the possibility of getting into the armed forces afterwards as a pilot are absolutely dismal now. Consider the story of a young man I meet last month. Very personable, intelligent, and an engineering degree from the Air Force Academy. Did very well in his class, was told to expect a pilot slot, now flying a UAV. The Armed forces just dont have a need for as many pilots anymore with the advances in UAVs. Not to mention that someone from a "regular" university will not be competitive at ALL when compared to USAFA grads when competing for a pilot slot.

You would be much better off just getting a degree ( in a marketable major) from a less expensive school and getting your ratings in a small school thats not pushing expensive pilot programs. Or even better yet, join one of the armed forces right out of high school, have the gov't pay for college and get the ratings cheaper in a flying club run by the service.

There are plenty of ways to start a career as a pilot, just be careful how much debt you take on in the process. Im working as a corporate pilot, get paid well, and love my job. Im certainly lucky, but there are good jobs out there for people that have the drive to make it happen.

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George
on July 2, 2012 - 6:31pm

EW,

There are pilot slots available for the OCS and ROTC group, although they are harder to get than in the past. Basically they offer you a slot at OCS with a definite career field assignment for a number of years following commissioning. They cannot arbitrarily change your career field without your agreeing to it. They may offer you an out altogether-which would be preferable to dropping bombs on Achmed from a drone. The situation may be different with the Academy grads since the USAF paid for all their college .

Glad you have a good pilot job that you like. Just hope you have an undergraduate degree or graduate degree you can fall back on should the need arise. It need not be in engineering. Accounting, finance, business administration, are all fields where a person has a reasonable expectation of professional employment.

I really do think these "aeronautical universities" (one in particular) should be shut down as most of them are just defrauding the government to get the guaranteed loans that will never be repaid.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 7:54pm

So true

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 7:55pm

I agree

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matt
on June 17, 2012 - 12:21pm

Lear driver,

You answered you own question. Why do you think the overseas airlines are getting American crews? Because they are willing to pay so much better. I have heard from other pilots that they are waiting for the US airlines to start hiring due to the "age 65" guys retiring. It may be a long wait. I have read that some airlines instead of hiring are just planning to park planes when those crewmembers retire rather than replacing them in their efforts to raise fares. Even the fractional business has furloughed pilots(Netjets about 500). The only high paying flying jobs that I know of that are still left are the big cargo(Fedex,UPS)companies. Since they do not have a large turnover of crews getting in with them won't be easy, and the hours are not what most want to do.

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Larry Walters
on June 18, 2012 - 9:23am

Flying is a hobby. It is not sensible to think I can support a family and mortgage on my hobby. It can lead to a good paying job in other areas.

What's the difference between a pizza and an airline pilot?

The pizza can feed a family of four.

The manager at a Cracker Barrel can make 90+K a year without a medical and litigation risk.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 7:47pm

Flying can be a hobby, but let me tell you, when you are flying a sophisticated aircraft with passengers on board, navigating through weather, and making the go no go decisions under the pressure we are under, it is not a hobby my friend.

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WtfWtf
on June 18, 2012 - 12:39pm

The solution to this stupid rule is simple: Airlines can buy a C150, and new hires can fly it around for 1000 hours after getting 'hired' at 500 hours. They can work the C150 time into the new hire training phase... 4 months of flying that puppy 8.3 hours a day in circles and throw in a safety pilot to split the cost and you have your 1500. The rule is a stupid idea because it doesn't have anything to do with the Colgan crash (they both had well over 1500 hours anyway) and will only ensure that parent funded rich kids can afford to CFI for 3 years at 20k a year after taking on the 120k loan for a degree and flight training. Granted CFI'ing is great experience, but that too needs better pay and working conditions. I wouldn't have a problem with the 1500 hour rule if starting salary at your first "airline" job was 50k a year or more - as it SHOULD be. CFI's deserve at least 50k as well. Not only do they work their asses off for long and irregular hours, but those guys already PAID their dues by going through college, flight school, and passing their checkrides. That alone is 66% more than people in most other professions have to go through, and they DO start at 40 - 60k with a 2 or 4 year degree alone. ANd don't give me that sh!t about being part of the 'entitled' generation. You boomers and gen x'ers are the greedy pr!cks that caused this recession and job shortage to begin with. You guys didn't even have to PAY for a job to begin with. There were no "school loans" back then, and 4 yrs of college back then cost as much as 1/8 of a semester does now. Your housing, fuel, and food was also 1/4 as much of what it cost now. So here's my middle finger to you, Gen X, and especially Boomers, for ruining my life and ensuring that I will never be able to afford to start a family, or own a house. And I don't even fly for a living! I'm just a Private Pilot who works an IT office job and STILL can't make ends meet.

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Michael
on June 18, 2012 - 4:35pm

FAA predicts looming pilot shortage? Is this the same FAA that a few years back predicted the sky would be filled with thousands of VLJ's (very light jets)? How'd that prediction turn out? Get real here, anything the FAA puts out is garbage at best and propaganda at worst.

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Regional Scum
on June 18, 2012 - 6:00pm

Want to talk about shattered dreams? I'm a 6 year FO at a respectable regional and stuck here for now because of the greed of 60-65 year old pilots that won't retire.

The blame for killing the flight training business should go to those who supported the age 65 rule. Now that I sit here 5 years later, this career has been the worst return on investment one could imagine. My coworkers are defaulting on their student loans while you guys talk about a shortage that doesn't exist. There may one day be a shortage of pilots who are willing to work for what the regionals are offering, but not a true shortage of pilots. A lot of people in this business have made a lot of money in the last 15 years selling a "shortage of pilots" ...everyone except the pilots themselves that is.

I let my CFI expire so that no one behind me will be willing to work for less money than I was... It was probably the best career move I could ever make.

Don't get into this industry, don't help other's get into this industry. Silver Airways and GoJets have found enough pilots who are willing to work for less... so tell me, where is there a shortage? There isn't, and there won't be.

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FlightLevel350
on July 1, 2012 - 7:36pm

Of course theres no shortage right now, the majors have not been retiring. When that changes and the ATP rule kicks in for a year or so, then we will see. Flight schools here in my state are in big trouble right now, I mean on the brink of shuting down. It will take a few years but I believe it is coming. Flight schools were doing well 5 years ago, but not any more.

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mike
on June 19, 2012 - 11:54am

To WTFWTF and regional Scum - grow up, stop blaming, accept resposibility for your personal choices. Change begins with you. From the attitude of your posts, I wouldn't want you flying with the resposibility of other lives in your hands. You are not entitled, you are not special, unfortunately, this type of "entitled" attitude is the rule now-a-days. "Regional Pilot" has some very sound advice, very much worth putting into practice, as opposed to the practice voiced through your two posts.

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Lisa
on June 19, 2012 - 3:16pm

Thank you. Age 65 has affected my career trajectory (or lack thereof) too, but I'm not going to blame a guy who has taken a 40% or more pay cut this last decade with kids in college, and seen his pension evaporate. Your future will be plenty bright - why don't you grow up and have some patience. One day you'll be that age with twenty-somethings calling you greedy too.

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Regional Scum
on June 19, 2012 - 9:51pm

I'm well aware of the shortcomings we all have that make us willing to work in this career.

As for age 65, when I entered this career 12 years ago, I didn't want to have to work until I was 65... They changed the rules of the game that have been in place for decades. Generations of pilots have suffered furloughs and stagnation before us, but this set a new low in the "eating of our young" that has existed for ages.

Will you feel the same way if they push it to age 70 later this year? When you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, they change the rules again?

I'm not a greedy twenty-something, I am a responsible 30 something with a young family who hoped for a respectable return on my investment. I accept the shortcomings of the seniority system, but what they did only benefited a select few, and won't benefit me when I reach the position they are in now. That's the difference!

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