More than 100 Air China pilots have signed an open letter to management complaining of unequal treatment between homegrown flight crew and their expatriate counterparts, according to Chinese state-controlled media. The letter, now circulating on the Internet, alleges that foreign pilots enjoy more desirable schedules and routes as well as higher pay, a circumstance attributed to the desperation of airlines in rapidly expanding air transport markets to fill their cockpits with experienced crewmembers.
China’s great need for airline pilots is well documented, not least by Boeing, which last year estimated that the country’s fast-expanding air transport industry will need some 77,400 pilots through 2032 (plus 93,900 mechanics). According to the airframer, that represents around 40 percent of the overall requirement across the Asia Pacific region over the same period.
Concurrent with Women’s History month, Women in Aviation International, a non-profit member organization that promotes diversity and women’s integration into aviation and aerospace, held its largest conference ever at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
King Schools, the flight instruction empire founded by John and Martha King, announced a pair of initiatives aimed at increasing the pilot population and enhancing the sense of community among those within it this week at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. A free eBook, So You Want to Learn to Fly, introduced at the show, covers all aspects of attaining a pilot’s license, written in a fun and easy-to-read style. The book is available through the King Schools website and iTunes book store.
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
This special report aims to answer some simple questions: is the aviation industry missing an important element of pilot training that needs to be addressed throughout a pilot’s career? And if so, what is that missing element and how should it be provided to pilots to keep them safe throughout their careers?
Despite too many incidents and accidents recently in which pilots’ basic flying skills have come into question, a succession of pilots tasked with operating at Birmingham Airport in the UK this winter put on a fine display of hand-flying. The action was captured on an 11-minute video by flugsnug.com that shows 27 aircraft taking off and landing at Birmingham in a fierce, gusty crosswind.
The 25th International Women in Aviation Conference, held last weekend in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., had a little something for everyone. History buffs came to honor the four new WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame inductees: Sally Ride, first female NASA astronaut in space; Nancy Currie, NASA International Space Station commander; Beryl Markham, author and aviatrix; and Sheila Scott, record-setting British pilot.
Women make for safer helicopter pilots than their male counterparts, according to the U.S. Army. Just 10 percent of Army pilots are women, and they account for only 3 percent of all accidents. The Russian military has seen a similar trend, according to a story posted on March 3 at StrategyPage.com.
The DOT’s office of inspector general (IG) wants to know whether the FAA has established adequate regulations governing the use of flight-deck automation. Some current and former ranking members of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation and infrastructure committee and its subcommittee on aviation who are concerned about the growing reliance of flight crews on flight-deck automation approached the IG about conducting an audit, which the IG confirmed it would launch early this month.