USA Hiring Foreign Pilots?

Wed Oct 11, 2000 10:48 pm

I have heard USA aviation market is beginning to have a lack of Americam Pilots ready to fly their growing fleet planes. As known that United Airliners's President came out to TV network to proclaim about flight delays over the USA and the reason for that was a lack of experienced pilots to hire. Now the Question is: is this true????

Is really there a possibility of American Companys hire low time rated or foreign pilots to fill their "lack"???
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Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 7:40 am

RE: USA Hiring Foreign Pilots?

Wed Oct 11, 2000 10:51 pm

Not unless the person gets a wrok permit or green card, or unless the government opens up that sector to people from outside the country. And I would think that would be limited to Canadians adn Europeans.
"Clive Beddoe says he favours competition, but his actions do not support that idea." Robert Milton - CEO Air Canada

RE: USA Hiring Foreign Pilots? (Long)

Thu Oct 12, 2000 12:19 am

There may be an operational shortage of qualified pilots at some airlines, but there is NO shortage of applicants. This topic has come up before in several variations.

Here is the stark reality of the situation. In order to get a commercial license in the United States, you must have a minimum of 250hrs. WOW THAT'S ALL?! You might ask. Well, it ain't that simple.

Let's say that you have 250hrs, your commercial, plus some change. At this point, the military or four year program (Purdua, ERAU, etc) is out of the question, but you really want to fly--and make a living. Here are three plausible options for you. You can either go to (1) an academy (Comair, Flight Safety, Spartan, San Juan, etc and hope to get picked up) or you can (2). instruct. From what I see, those are your two best options with low time. There is a third option. Banner Towing/Parachute Jumping. You must do one of those three before hitting option 4: THE BIG LEAGUES.

Lets say that you choose option 1. An academy will lure you in with the promise of an interview with a regional after you complete school. Pretty good chance that you will make it too. There's a few problems with some of those schools, though. The interview isn't a guarantee. Also, the fine print says that you will build additional time instructing for $21 per flight hour--and get paid for three while you work a 12 hour day. Those academies can be rigorous and costly. Some people may need to remediate and wind up spending thousands more than they bargained. I know of a few who were close to declaring bankruptcy after being lured by the promise of glamor jobs in an RJ right seat. IMHO...many of these academies accomplish the same purpose. They effectively fire hose the material and instruction into their students. The ones who make it, are, well trained and competent. There is a lot of emphasis on crew resource management and coordination. You will see people with 300 hours enter into the right seat of an RJ out of these academies. Companies (such as Mesa) are able to get around it INSURANCE WISE because of the rigorous curricula. It took you 9 months, you are out in the neighborhood of $35k, but you have a BE1900 right seat job based out of Yuma Arizona!!

Good, you took the easy way! Now in your BE1900, you just have to fly 80 hours per month for the next 18 months before you get your ATP and can upgrade. All the while making between $17 per hour as a FO and maybe $25 as a Capt. Didn't even mention seat locking, training bonds or other clauses. With any luck, you will bid some pretty decent lines as a Capt--maybe even upgrade to Dash 8 or RJ--but you are looking at at least 2.5 realistic years in the regionals....STAY TUNED FOR OPTION 4.

Option 2 is instructing as a CFI. Not a bad option. The problem is getting enough multi-engine time (you will need around 100hrs realistically) for a look.
If you work for a good FBO, you may get the rating at a discount and build up your hours quickly. You are looking at about 1.5 to 2 years instructing before you can apply at a regional. You'll be a good pilot, though. You'll make very little money. This may be your best option if money is a factor.

Option 3 may not come into play at all. These operations might be a feasibility, but insurance stipulations may dictate that these pilots meet Part 135 IFR mins of 1200 hours. Insurance ties many hands.

At any rate, you are ready for option 4. Put your resume in with 20,000 other pilots who are equally qualified. You might get a call. You might not.

If you get the call, let's hope that your english is very proficient and that you have no problem communicating and being friendly. Let's hope that you didn't have any problem filling out UAL's scantron or it's out the door with you. Whether you want to believe it or not, the Dept of Defense provides the most qualified and best pilots to the majors. American hires 80% military, and I am pretty certain that the percentages at UAL and DL are like-wise. I am from a military background, I am proud of it, but I don't flaunt it. However, airlines look at a military trained pilot in a different eye.

Here is the bottom line: Yes, as airlines expand and routes are added, there will be an operational pilot shortage. You will NEVER see, however, the flood gates open to the point where Joe Blow with his 150 hrs in a 152 is hired into the right seat of a 777 because UAL needs the personnel.

As a foreign national, you need to have all the paperwork and the ability to speak and converse in flawless english. You also need a 4 year degree, an ATP, about 2,500 hours (realistic with a lot of PIC time) to submit your app.

Once you have met that criteria, you can wait with 19,999 other applicants for a call to a preliminary interview.

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Joined: Sat Jun 05, 1999 11:23 am

RE: USA Hiring Foreign Pilots?

Thu Oct 12, 2000 1:52 am

Yup, DC9CAPT is correct. There will probably never be an actual US pilot shortage.

The flight schools will say otherwise because they're trying to convince you to purchase a service.

If you're interested in a career in aviation, be ready to 'pay your dues'.

Doug Taylor
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Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: USA Hiring Foreign Pilots?

Thu Oct 12, 2000 2:31 am


I don't understand why is this big surprise regarding the need of USA to hire foreign pilots? Any airline can have foreign pilots!!! If you have qualifications to fly an Airbus or a Boeing and if you're a foreigner from Africa/Asia/South America/Europe why shouldn't an airline hire them? It's easier, it's cheapper and always they have the chance to choose the best ones! I know for example TAP/Air Portugal in the early 60's hired some brazilians pilots from the defunct Panair from Brazil and they stayed there until they got retired. In the oposite way I've seen portuguese pilots going to Singapore Airlines, TAAG from Angola and even I heard now the a portuguese is a pilot of a B. 747-400F from EVA, so that's not a big deal or a big surprise!!!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!

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