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timh4000
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Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:14 pm

Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:54 am

I hear often that there is a pilot shortage, and that are times flights are delayed for hrs. And sometimes cancelled.

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage. Could it be the airlines are booking flights they end up with a plane needing maintenance and no back up, or short pilots to fly it.

I sometimes wonder if today's aviation and being a pilot where you're dealing with massive tech. The auto pilot is turned off usually as a last resort. unless it is determined the automation is the cause of the problem. I wonder if that can be a bit overwhelming to many would be pilots?
 
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Dutchy
Posts: 11891
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:01 am

Don't know what your question actually is. Sure, becoming a pilot can be overwhelming, but actually being one, don't think so. You know your trade and it is very protocol orientated, not very exciting I would say. Three obstacles to become a pilot: 1. money, cost a bunch to get your CPL, 2. hours - you need to build up hours before applying to a pilot job with many airlines, 3. ability, you need to have some talent to pass the course and get where you need to go.

I think we may be heading to a one pilot cockpit soon, also to ease cost.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
jghealey
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:01 am

I think the fact that sponsored pilot training has basically ended in many regions of the world and that now you have to pay upwards of £100,000 for some schemes will probably be a huge deterring factor..!
 
Andy33
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:02 am

timh4000 wrote:
I hear often that there is a pilot shortage, and that are times flights are delayed for hrs. And sometimes cancelled.

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage. Could it be the airlines are booking flights they end up with a plane needing maintenance and no back up, or short pilots to fly it.

I sometimes wonder if today's aviation and being a pilot where you're dealing with massive tech. The auto pilot is turned off usually as a last resort. unless it is determined the automation is the cause of the problem. I wonder if that can be a bit overwhelming to many would be pilots?


What makes you think that all airlines offer decent pay and worldwide travel? Most can't offer worldwide travel because they don't fly worldwide, and a recent hire flying a 50 seat regional jet certainly doesn't get anything remotely the same as a long-service pilot flying 777/787/A330/A350.
 
Jayce
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:53 am

I think it’s largely a pilot pay shortage, as there are many more lucrative professions for a young person to go in to. It wasn’t that long ago that regional pilots in the US were making less than $20,000 a year.

Also we don’t turn off the autopilot as a “last resort”. It’s turned on shortly after takeoff and most landings are done manually. Category 3 autolands are done with the autopilot, but those are rare. We usually only see those in the sim.
"Trying is the first step towards failure" -Homer Simpson
 
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zkojq
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:08 am

The training cost and years of low wages make the NPV a very low proposition.
First to fly the 787-9
 
VSMUT
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:16 am

The salary for an entry level position is mediocre and the cost of training is massive. That's why fewer people are taking up flying.
 
mmo
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:59 pm

timh4000 wrote:

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you are not a pilot.

Decent pay? Please define decent pay. The days of being an airline pilot being considered a great job are long gone. I am retired now and I would have to think long and hard about joining an airline again based on what I know now. The airline industry today is not the same it was when I started in the early 80s. But, even then, first-year pay sucked! I was in the military making in the low 40s as a Captain in the USAF and my wages went down to $1,200/month for my first year on the line, which was about 15 months total. This is with a major US airline.

Worldwide travel? Are you talking about a part of your job or one of the "benefits"? If you are talking about the job part, once you have done your first 12-day international trip, the novelty has worn off. I spent the last 20 years of my career doing long haul. It takes a toll on your body and most of the time you are exhausted. If you are talking about the benefits of travel, I would urge you to seriously consider if it is really a benefit at all. Remember, all the "worldwide travel" is based on seats being empty. You will be hard-pressed to visit any major tourist attraction during peak season. If you have to be someplace and are on a schedule, you'd better leave plenty of backup options. With load factors in the high 80s and low 90s and not much seniority, you will be lucky to get on. Gone are the days of flying in first-class or business because of the upgrades for all the FFs. I am not begrudging those customers, but loyalty comes at a price and the employees are the price.

Airlines in this day and age want to extract as much productivity out of their employees. They. airline management has and will continue to squeeze for pilot productivity. And if you work for a ULCC you will really feel it.

Honestly, I'm not at all surprised it has become so difficult for the airlines to recruit pilots, especially experienced pilots. But, airline managers are not known for long term planning. If you look at the airline industry, you can see how cyclical it is. I have been on strike 4 times, for issues that the airline ultimately agreed to. Why not agree and avoid a strike? I have been bounced down in seat positions, which equals to pay cuts and have taken pay cuts in real terms too. So, I always made sure I had six months living expenses in the bank in an account that was never touched.

I could go on and on about the issues pilots face in the industry today, but I am sure you get my point. With respect to single-pilot operations, have you ever had the "blue screen of death" or have a computer freeze up? And you want to go to single-pilot operations? I know they will be managed by someone in a remote location so there's nothing to worry about. I don't have the same confidence. If you look at the drone crashes where the data link is lost, one accident is too many.

Believe me, I enjoyed my career and would do it all over again in the same era. I would be hard-pressed to recommend it as a career choice today. Become a physician, write code or get into some other high tech job. The job might not be as rewarding but there is so much more stability and if you have a family, that's what it is all about.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
SteelChair
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:18 pm

There is no pilot shortage in the USA. Repeat that 1,000 times. There have been significant compensation increases in recent years at regionals and massive numbers of mainline pilots are retiring in the next 5 years, making for much more rapid seniority/seat progression than has existed for the last 20 years. The near future is bright for pilots. Longer term, automation poses a threat to the profession.
 
leghorn
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:29 pm

Without talking about HR policies in Ryanair, if there was a general pilot shortage then Ryanair would have been subject to debilitating strikes this holiday season; it is the proof of the Christmas pudding.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:00 pm

mmo wrote:
timh4000 wrote:

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you are not a pilot.

Decent pay? Please define decent pay. The days of being an airline pilot being considered a great job are long gone.


Don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you have no formal studies in labor economics.

Don't look at starting pay, look at lifetime wages (and benefits) against the costs of education and training. U.S. pilots can be making more than $200K a year with no more education than a 4-yr degree from a mediocre school. Compare it to the selective education and work requirements of doctors, for example. Enjoy those 28-hr shifts and 80-hr weeks as a resident! Not everybody gets to work for AA/DL/UA/WN/FedEx but those who do have great wages. Those carriers are big enough to pull up median wages of pilots at U.S. carriers very significantly.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/hospitalba ... tion/63752
 
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Aesma
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:17 pm

Pilot shortages mostly affect airlines like Ryanair who treat their employees poorly.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
CriticalPoint
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:36 pm

timh4000 wrote:
I hear often that there is a pilot shortage, and that are times flights are delayed for hrs. And sometimes cancelled.

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage. Could it be the airlines are booking flights they end up with a plane needing maintenance and no back up, or short pilots to fly it.

I sometimes wonder if today's aviation and being a pilot where you're dealing with massive tech. The auto pilot is turned off usually as a last resort. unless it is determined the automation is the cause of the problem. I wonder if that can be a bit overwhelming to many would be pilots?


Just like every job there are only a couple airlines that pay well in the USA. For the most part pilot pay is very low for the job we do.

When you start out you spend $100,000 atleast of your own money just to get your licenses and flight time required to enter the workforce. Then you get a job at a regional making 50K or worse. Some airlines don’t pay for your hotel during training so you got that bill. Then you sit reserve somewhere you don’t live having to buy crashpads and hotels with your own money. You will have to feed yourself on those days and when you don’t work you don’t get per diem. Then when you do have to work you have to pay for transportation to and from the airport.

Once at work you fly 5 legs a day not even leaving the region spending 12hours on duty then find yourself in a hotel that is 2 stars for 10 hours behind th e door.....then you do it all again.

This is your life for years.....hoping that one day you MIGHT get a call from one of the 6 airlines that will give you the good life. For most that call never comes. Then when you get the call you have to actually pass the interview.

As far as worldwide travel? If you get to AA/DL/UA FedEx or UPS you got it if you want it. Fly 9-16 hours for 24 hours in a hotel then 9-16 hours home. Most of the time you get a nap a beer and dinner then sleep eat breakfast then go back to the airport. If it wasn’t for the higher pay and better schedules I would not fly international......it’s exhausting.

If you are talking about non-REV HAHAHAHAHA worth today’s load factors better give your self several days to get there and back. And if you think you will get first class? Well good luck. And that’s if you actually work for the airline you are flying on. If you are at a regional Or another airline you go on the list Behind everyone else.

Also remember once you are on the seniority list everything is based on seniority. You don’t just go fly worldwide it takes years.

And as for the Autopilot being on unless it’s broke? That’s the fun part of my job, I fly airplanes I don’t monitor computers. The Autopilot in my jet is off as much as it can be except for cruise and when it’s required by the situation or manual.

I love my job if I had to do it all over again I would, but it’s far from glorious and I was one of the lucky ones.

There is no pilot shortage.....there is a pilot compensation and quality of life problem.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:41 pm

Those glorious careers that you hear about and dream about only belong to a few hundred pilots in the USA at any given moment. To get to what you would consider the pinnacle of the job takes 35-40+ years with only 3 airlines plus 2 cargo operators.

The chance of achieving that dream are very small.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:28 pm

It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
Airbuser
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:33 pm

In the 19000+ hours flight time in my log book, I have made less than 10 autolands. More than half of those were required to complete training on a new aircraft. The 737 at some airlines is not approved for autolands. Hand flown requirement with HUD.

The job is not for everyone. It is a real grind on the human body.

In the US there is no shortage for airlines that pay well. AA announced 1400 new hires in 2020. Retirements are just now increasing to a peak in 2022-2025. Getting to the top airlines in the US is still no guarantee. Very competitive and most pilots are well into their 30s or 40s before they get the job.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:51 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.


Yes, very broken and based on a model from 1927. That’s Part 61 at the local airport, anyway which has the attraction of saving money over structured schools. Even then, too much oriented toward passing the FAA practical exam and too little basic theory and practice of weather, aerodynamics, design and regulation. We see the product in the needlessly bad GA accident rate as recently as the South Dakota crash.

Civilian training and gaining experience is Darwinian, pure and simple.

GF
 
Cody
Posts: 2274
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 12:16 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:17 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.


An obvious solution would be to put all pilots operating for a particular brand on one seniority list. So for example, do away with Eagle, Express, and Connection carriers and make it all one big family. The positives would be an increase in experience across the entire fleet. For example, currently we have brand new 737 f/o's with thousands of PIC regional jet hours paired with experienced Captains. Where as a recent Regional Jet Captain upgrade typically has only a portion of the experience as the new 737 f/o
and they are sometimes paired with a brand new f/o that just came out of general aviation instructing. This is not always the case, but seems to be the overall norm.

This solution would spread the experience more...so in this imaginary world an RJ Captain would have had years of learning under an experienced Captain by starting out as an f/o on an RJ, moving to F/O on a narrow body or possibly a wide-body and then moving to an RJ Captain position.

The problem with this idea is the dramatic cost increases and every company would have to do it or the ones that did would be at a competitive cost disadvantage. And if the legacies did this it would defeat the purpose of competing with low-cost carriers by having low-cost regional feed to begin with. But even this may be overcome if this "pilot shortage" comes to fruition. In that world, the regionals would not be able to maintain their cockpits because attrition would be so costly that the cost advantage of a regional would go away and the LCC's would begin to run into a similar problem and potentially not be able to remain LCC's. Then...then can you imagine a world where they actually compete with service????

The overall solution (if a pilot shortage becomes real) would seem to be to increase pay across the board, decrease costs in other areas, and perhaps move to larger equipment and fewer flights. This would probably require ticket prices to rise and thus an entire new scale of safety, pay, and prices.

The problem is no one wants to be the first to jump in and a thing called human greed.

There are other creative issues...single pilot operations which would require increased technology and a change in consumer psyche or teleportation which would change everything.

Somehow I think the 737 MAX debacle will really factor in to all of this, but how is anyone's guess.
 
AMS18C36C
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:41 pm

See this video by Wendover Productions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cognzTud3Wg
 
CriticalPoint
Posts: 1062
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:45 pm

Cody wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.


An obvious solution would be to put all pilots operating for a particular brand on one seniority list. So for example, do away with Eagle, Express, and Connection carriers and make it all one big family. The positives would be an increase in experience across the entire fleet. For example, currently we have brand new 737 f/o's with thousands of PIC regional jet hours paired with experienced Captains. Where as a recent Regional Jet Captain upgrade typically has only a portion of the experience as the new 737 f/o
and they are sometimes paired with a brand new f/o that just came out of general aviation instructing. This is not always the case, but seems to be the overall norm.

This solution would spread the experience more...so in this imaginary world an RJ Captain would have had years of learning under an experienced Captain by starting out as an f/o on an RJ, moving to F/O on a narrow body or possibly a wide-body and then moving to an RJ Captain position.

The problem with this idea is the dramatic cost increases and every company would have to do it or the ones that did would be at a competitive cost disadvantage. And if the legacies did this it would defeat the purpose of competing with low-cost carriers by having low-cost regional feed to begin with. But even this may be overcome if this "pilot shortage" comes to fruition. In that world, the regionals would not be able to maintain their cockpits because attrition would be so costly that the cost advantage of a regional would go away and the LCC's would begin to run into a similar problem and potentially not be able to remain LCC's. Then...then can you imagine a world where they actually compete with service????

The overall solution (if a pilot shortage becomes real) would seem to be to increase pay across the board, decrease costs in other areas, and perhaps move to larger equipment and fewer flights. This would probably require ticket prices to rise and thus an entire new scale of safety, pay, and prices.

The problem is no one wants to be the first to jump in and a thing called human greed.

There are other creative issues...single pilot operations which would require increased technology and a change in consumer psyche or teleportation which would change everything.

Somehow I think the 737 MAX debacle will really factor in to all of this, but how is anyone's guess.


What you are describing is what mainline Unions are fighting for regarding SCOPE. We want ALL aircraft flown by mainline. The company sees this as a massive cost burden.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6255
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:49 pm

The economics of mainline costs flying 50-76 seat planes isn’t sustainable. Too much cost spread over too few seats. A single seniority list has been chimera for decades.

A comparison between Endeavor RJ 12-year captain and second-year FO and DL 12-year captain and second-year FO on the A320, a total of $167 per hour vs. $410 an hour. Roughly 167,000 for the RJ crew on an annual basis versus $410,000 plus much higher benefits and work rule costs for the mainline crew.

Are any mainline pilots willing to fly RJs at rates commensurate to the revenue? Probably not, which is part of the reason they don’t. There was a time ALPA leadership looked at RJs as not appropriate for mainline crews, I believe Delta’s MEC chairman was vocal on the subject.
Last edited by GalaxyFlyer on Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
crjflyboy
Posts: 456
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:53 pm

Plenty of 135 pilots ... 121 is another story
 
mmo
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:03 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:

Don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you have no formal studies in labor economics.

Don't look at starting pay, look at lifetime wages (and benefits) against the costs of education and training. U.S. pilots can be making more than $200K a year with no more education than a 4-yr degree from a mediocre school. Compare it to the selective education and work requirements of doctors, for example. Enjoy those 28-hr shifts and 80-hr weeks as a resident! Not everybody gets to work for AA/DL/UA/WN/FedEx but those who do have great wages. Those carriers are big enough to pull up median wages of pilots at U.S. carriers very significantly.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/hospitalba ... tion/63752


Please don't take this the wrong way but you don't know much about subtly and airline labor economics either. Your comments regarding a
"4-yr degree from a mediocre school" is an insult. That might be true now, from your perspective, but when I got hired that was not the case at all. In my class of 32 pilots, 25 had master's degrees, over half the pilots had degrees in engineering and 28 pilots were military pilots. If you got hired during the time frame I got hired, the competition was certainly competitive. There was a plethora of pilots on the "market" and the airlines could pick and choose. Since most pilots at that time came from the military, the educational background was more than "a 4-yr degree from a mediocre school". You are attempting to characterize the profession as being akin to an 18 wheeler. Not too subtle.

Since you said I have no knowledge, let's talk about "lifetime wages and benefits". There has been a constant erosion of those over the last 15 years. All of the majors back when I got hired, had defined benefit retirement plans. No longer. Staff travel was a benefit you could use to some degree and make plans. That is certainly not the case unless you want to go at the extreme offseason, such as Europe in the winter or ski resorts in the summer. Medical insurance has been decreased and premiums increased, far beyond what the market rate increases have been. More and more plans have increased their copays and annual deductibles.

Since you brought up the medical field and my father was a surgeon, I will try to address your comparison. It's funny how you take the early stages of a medical career and compare them to the latter stages of an airline pilot's career. You need to compare apples to apples. I know what is required to pursue a medical career and had I become an airline pilot, I probably would have followed a career in medicine. But the upside on physician wages far outstrips the upper wages as an airline pilot. It is a classic risk vs. reward scenario. For example, my old navigator is now an anesthesiologist in NYC. We keep in touch and I know his annual income is more than $500.000 after expenses. His undergraduate education is not from a prestigious university but he scored high enough in the MCATs to get into a medical school, certainly not Johns Hopkins but a medical school at a state university. He is my age and still working. But, he didn't achieve those wages until well into his career, just like it is in an airline. But, unlike an airline his earnings, and all physician's earnings are pretty much guaranteed. A pilot's income is dependant on the airline, one bad physical and you could be in a position to look for a new career. I am not advocating pilots should be paid the same as physicians, but what I am advocating is you can't compare the two professions.


But then again, I am no expert in labor economics. And either are you.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
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SierraPacific
Posts: 435
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Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:20 pm

As someone coming up the pipeline here in America, there is absolutely no shortage of people wanting to give it a shot. DPE's are backed up with people banging down their door and every flight school is filled to the brim with new students chasing an airline career or many career changers.

The only companies that have a "shortage" are ones that don't want to pay simply
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 3401
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:28 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The economics of mainline costs flying 50-76 seat planes isn’t sustainable. Too much cost spread over too few seats. A single seniority list has been chimera for decades.

A comparison between Endeavor RJ 12-year captain and second-year FO and DL 12-year captain and second-year FO on the A320, a total of $167 per hour vs. $410 an hour. Roughly 167,000 for the RJ crew on an annual basis versus $410,000 plus much higher benefits and work rule costs for the mainline crew.

Are any mainline pilots willing to fly RJs at rates commensurate to the revenue? Probably not, which is part of the reason they don’t. There was a time ALPA leadership looked at RJs as not appropriate for mainline crews, I believe Delta’s MEC chairman was vocal on the subject.


There was a time? They're still pushing to bring the 76 seat planes back to mainline today, and have more leverage now than they ever have.
From my cold, dead hands
 
flight152
Posts: 3457
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2000 8:04 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:43 pm

mmo wrote:
timh4000 wrote:

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you are not a pilot.

Decent pay? Please define decent pay. The days of being an airline pilot being considered a great job are long gone. I am retired now and I would have to think long and hard about joining an airline again based on what I know now. The airline industry today is not the same it was when I started in the early 80s. But, even then, first-year pay sucked! I was in the military making in the low 40s as a Captain in the USAF and my wages went down to $1,200/month for my first year on the line, which was about 15 months total. This is with a major US airline.

Worldwide travel? Are you talking about a part of your job or one of the "benefits"? If you are talking about the job part, once you have done your first 12-day international trip, the novelty has worn off. I spent the last 20 years of my career doing long haul. It takes a toll on your body and most of the time you are exhausted. If you are talking about the benefits of travel, I would urge you to seriously consider if it is really a benefit at all. Remember, all the "worldwide travel" is based on seats being empty. You will be hard-pressed to visit any major tourist attraction during peak season. If you have to be someplace and are on a schedule, you'd better leave plenty of backup options. With load factors in the high 80s and low 90s and not much seniority, you will be lucky to get on. Gone are the days of flying in first-class or business because of the upgrades for all the FFs. I am not begrudging those customers, but loyalty comes at a price and the employees are the price.

Airlines in this day and age want to extract as much productivity out of their employees. They. airline management has and will continue to squeeze for pilot productivity. And if you work for a ULCC you will really feel it.

Honestly, I'm not at all surprised it has become so difficult for the airlines to recruit pilots, especially experienced pilots. But, airline managers are not known for long term planning. If you look at the airline industry, you can see how cyclical it is. I have been on strike 4 times, for issues that the airline ultimately agreed to. Why not agree and avoid a strike? I have been bounced down in seat positions, which equals to pay cuts and have taken pay cuts in real terms too. So, I always made sure I had six months living expenses in the bank in an account that was never touched.

I could go on and on about the issues pilots face in the industry today, but I am sure you get my point. With respect to single-pilot operations, have you ever had the "blue screen of death" or have a computer freeze up? And you want to go to single-pilot operations? I know they will be managed by someone in a remote location so there's nothing to worry about. I don't have the same confidence. If you look at the drone crashes where the data link is lost, one accident is too many.

Believe me, I enjoyed my career and would do it all over again in the same era. I would be hard-pressed to recommend it as a career choice today. Become a physician, write code or get into some other high tech job. The job might not be as rewarding but there is so much more stability and if you have a family, that's what it is all about.

Not sure what you’re taking about, but the US legacy airlines pay VERY well today.
 
Max Q
Posts: 8506
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:56 pm

Lots of doom and gloom and frankly very inaccurate information here

Working as a pilot for one of the big three US majors currently is as good as it gets


I can only speak personally for United whose Pilots are enjoying just about the best pay and benefits the industry has ever seen

And about time, we’ve been through the wringer in this industry


Lots of understandable bitterness about the past but this is a new golden age for major US airline pilots
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
CriticalPoint
Posts: 1062
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:00 pm

Max Q wrote:
Lots of doom and gloom and frankly very inaccurate information here

Working as a pilot for one of the big three US majors currently is as good as it gets


I can only speak personally for United whose Pilots are enjoying just about the best pay and benefits the industry has ever seen

And about time, we’ve been through the wringer in this industry


Lots of understandable bitterness about the past but this is a new golden age for major US airline pilots


Agreed however getting to this level is what causes the shortage it’s not easy.
 
FlyingElvii
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:40 pm

leghorn wrote:
Without talking about HR policies in Ryanair, if there was a general pilot shortage then Ryanair would have been subject to debilitating strikes this holiday season; it is the proof of the Christmas pudding.

The US Market is a completely different animal than Europe, or even the rest of the world.
The US Pilot shortage was created by three decades of low pay, in a race to the bottom. That created a gap in the numbers of people training to be pilots that is further worsened by the destruction of the American Middle Class, reductions in military flight training, and massive growth.

What used to be the real training base for American Pilots, the Minor Leagues a.k.a. the Regional Airline Industry, no longer really exists. Today's "Regionals" are just low-cost contractors for the majors, flying aircraft that would have been considered mainline just 20-some years ago. As the shortage deepens, the bottom feeders like gypsy freight, "junk" flying (Pipeline, Jump, etc.), and low-cost charter carriers will get hit hard, as they already are.

Carriers like Republic have started in-house subsidized zero-to-hero training programs for that future. Others, like Skywest, have contracted with or bought into outside training schools to help cut into the future outlook.When considering all of these investments, companies also have to consider that a political change could cause a massive drop in demand in an instant.

IMO, the Euro Airlines are in approximately the same situation us Airlines were in around the mid-90's. A period of furious growth that has peaked, with the weaker players beginning to drop out due to competition and ever-increasing costs.. Consolidation will soon follow.
 
FlyingElvii
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:51 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.


The 1500 hour rule has it's detractors, for sure. (Mainly Airline execs and low-hour pilots). I, for one, enthusiasticly support it. (No, I don't fly for a living).

Where they screwed up the whole deal, was not allowing a path to get to that level.
IMO, exemptions allowing lower time pilots, especially young FO's under an experienced captain,, to operate TRUE regional services (19 pax and under), would go a long way to solving several problems.
 
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AirPacific747
Posts: 9718
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:52 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:55 pm

I wouldn’t say there is a shortage, but at the same time, there’s plenty of job opportunities out there. Times are much better now than when I graduated.

Also, I couldn’t imagine doing any other job even when times are bad.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9391
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:56 pm

jghealey wrote:
I think the fact that sponsored pilot training has basically ended in many regions of the world and that now you have to pay upwards of £100,000 for some schemes will probably be a huge deterring factor..!


I think this a very North America centric answer.

I would rather say, that outside of the USA you find sponsored pilot training. Lufthansa definitely does, as well as their subsidiaries, Swiss and Air Austria. Emirates started their own school a while ago. And for the above examples we talk about from scratch. BA has a cadet program.
I would have to do a search, but AFAIK airlines have rather increased their training, taking in unfinished pilots, than cutting back, at least outside of North America.
Icelandair trains pilots on 757 and 737 and starts young pilots off at Air Iceland on the Dash frames, both Q200 and Q400. There is no minimum hour condition like the 1500 hours in the USA.
One has to add, that learning to fly in Iceland is not an expensive proposition, compared to other European countries.
 
jghealey
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:30 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
jghealey wrote:
I think the fact that sponsored pilot training has basically ended in many regions of the world and that now you have to pay upwards of £100,000 for some schemes will probably be a huge deterring factor..!


I think this a very North America centric answer.

I would rather say, that outside of the USA you find sponsored pilot training. Lufthansa definitely does, as well as their subsidiaries, Swiss and Air Austria. Emirates started their own school a while ago. And for the above examples we talk about from scratch. BA has a cadet program.
I would have to do a search, but AFAIK airlines have rather increased their training, taking in unfinished pilots, than cutting back, at least outside of North America.
Icelandair trains pilots on 757 and 737 and starts young pilots off at Air Iceland on the Dash frames, both Q200 and Q400. There is no minimum hour condition like the 1500 hours in the USA.
One has to add, that learning to fly in Iceland is not an expensive proposition, compared to other European countries.

Lufthansa or BA certainly don't sponsor training while I believe Swiss offers a part-sponsored programme (with much of the sponsorship coming form the government). Go take a look for yourself, LH training costs between €60,000 to €80,000: https://www.european-flight-academy.com ... nanzierung. Also, Austrian (there is no 'Air Austria', btw) follows a similar scheme. The only sponsored training that remains in Europe is from Air France and Aer Lingus I think. The LH Group schemes are on the cheaper side with most of the flight schools charging around £90000-100000.
 
Aceskywalker
Posts: 148
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:34 pm

The pilot shortage is absolute fiction. A young person wanting to be a pilot professionally should be steered away for their own good. And if they want to fly, save money and learn to fly GA planes. I briefly considered career changing to chase a seat on an airline, but I’ve reconsidered. Even most airline pilots will tell young people to get a degree in an unrelated field and retain those skills and knowledge.

Single pilot airliners are already being dreamt up. That will eliminate any perceived shortage.
 
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Aesma
Posts: 13237
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:14 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:52 pm

CriticalPoint wrote:
What you are describing is what mainline Unions are fighting for regarding SCOPE. We want ALL aircraft flown by mainline. The company sees this as a massive cost burden.


Maybe the reason some pilots are paid too little, is that other pilots are paid too much ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2252
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:11 pm

As for standby travel perks, all the long-haul pilots I know stay Stateside (which includes standby to a second home, say... in Taos or Hawaii), and avoid a busman's holiday to Europe, Asia, etc.
Last edited by WPvsMW on Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
SteelChair
Posts: 1437
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:11 pm

flight152 wrote:
mmo wrote:
timh4000 wrote:

One would think that decent pay and worldwide travel would make for a very sought after means of employment. So it's a bit of a surprise to me that there is a shortage.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can tell you are not a pilot.

Decent pay? Please define decent pay. The days of being an airline pilot being considered a great job are long gone. I am retired now and I would have to think long and hard about joining an airline again based on what I know now. The airline industry today is not the same it was when I started in the early 80s. But, even then, first-year pay sucked! I was in the military making in the low 40s as a Captain in the USAF and my wages went down to $1,200/month for my first year on the line, which was about 15 months total. This is with a major US airline.

Worldwide travel? Are you talking about a part of your job or one of the "benefits"? If you are talking about the job part, once you have done your first 12-day international trip, the novelty has worn off. I spent the last 20 years of my career doing long haul. It takes a toll on your body and most of the time you are exhausted. If you are talking about the benefits of travel, I would urge you to seriously consider if it is really a benefit at all. Remember, all the "worldwide travel" is based on seats being empty. You will be hard-pressed to visit any major tourist attraction during peak season. If you have to be someplace and are on a schedule, you'd better leave plenty of backup options. With load factors in the high 80s and low 90s and not much seniority, you will be lucky to get on. Gone are the days of flying in first-class or business because of the upgrades for all the FFs. I am not begrudging those customers, but loyalty comes at a price and the employees are the price.

Airlines in this day and age want to extract as much productivity out of their employees. They. airline management has and will continue to squeeze for pilot productivity. And if you work for a ULCC you will really feel it.

Honestly, I'm not at all surprised it has become so difficult for the airlines to recruit pilots, especially experienced pilots. But, airline managers are not known for long term planning. If you look at the airline industry, you can see how cyclical it is. I have been on strike 4 times, for issues that the airline ultimately agreed to. Why not agree and avoid a strike? I have been bounced down in seat positions, which equals to pay cuts and have taken pay cuts in real terms too. So, I always made sure I had six months living expenses in the bank in an account that was never touched.

I could go on and on about the issues pilots face in the industry today, but I am sure you get my point. With respect to single-pilot operations, have you ever had the "blue screen of death" or have a computer freeze up? And you want to go to single-pilot operations? I know they will be managed by someone in a remote location so there's nothing to worry about. I don't have the same confidence. If you look at the drone crashes where the data link is lost, one accident is too many.

Believe me, I enjoyed my career and would do it all over again in the same era. I would be hard-pressed to recommend it as a career choice today. Become a physician, write code or get into some other high tech job. The job might not be as rewarding but there is so much more stability and if you have a family, that's what it is all about.

Not sure what you’re taking about, but the US legacy airlines pay VERY well today.


Indeed, the poster and many others,seem to overlook the 30-40% increase in pay rates at US majors since 2010. To say nothing of the seat progression caused by retirements which can easily account for another 20-30%. But yet, so many pilots still aren't happy, they think another 25% will produce nirvana. "Its right there, all we have to do is demand it. They need to quit giving it to the stockholders!"

It is true that total compensation reduces those percentages somewhat, given the loss of the demise of the defined benefit retirement plan and the medical benefit cuts.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6255
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:15 pm

Aesma wrote:
CriticalPoint wrote:
What you are describing is what mainline Unions are fighting for regarding SCOPE. We want ALL aircraft flown by mainline. The company sees this as a massive cost burden.


Maybe the reason some pilots are paid too little, is that other pilots are paid too much ?


Broke the code there—winner take all economics
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6255
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:20 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
It has struck me from several threads relating to this that the pilot training model in the US is broken. Some have said that EU countries are doing better, are they? Is anyone working on a better model? The two regional flights with lots of fatalities seemed to bare a lot of the problems. The response to add more hours of flying to qualify flying passengers did not seem particularly useful, nor did it aim at the actual problems. A thread, such as this, might enlighten us if posters who have thought about this were to lay the the problems and likely solutions.


The 1500 hour rule has it's detractors, for sure. (Mainly Airline execs and low-hour pilots). I, for one, enthusiasticly support it. (No, I don't fly for a living).

Where they screwed up the whole deal, was not allowing a path to get to that level.
IMO, exemptions allowing lower time pilots, especially young FO's under an experienced captain,, to operate TRUE regional services (19 pax and under), would go a long way to solving several problems.


I think some of the freight carriers, like Ameriflight, have an exemption allowing low experience pilots to gain experience and log time as co-pilots in what is nominally single-pilot operations—Beech 99; Metros and even PC-12s
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6255
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:22 pm

Max Q wrote:
Lots of doom and gloom and frankly very inaccurate information here

Working as a pilot for one of the big three US majors currently is as good as it gets


I can only speak personally for United whose Pilots are enjoying just about the best pay and benefits the industry has ever seen

And about time, we’ve been through the wringer in this industry


Lots of understandable bitterness about the past but this is a new golden age for major US airline pilots


Sometimes, Rick Dubinsky at UA was twisting that wringer.
 
airbuster
Posts: 468
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:43 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:22 pm

Hello. I’m 35. I’ve been flying at my legacy European carrier for 14 years (yes I was 21). I’m right in the middle of the seniority list and a long haul FO at the moment. I make above $200.000/year.

You can say all you want about the system (I’m well aware of the differences between US and Europe) but my situation is not unusual here. Most at my airline have followed the same path.

And yes I’m extremely grateful every day. Just to shed some light that it’s still possible to make a good career in this day and age as a pilot.
FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
 
Varsity1
Posts: 2226
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:25 pm

"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
LCDFlight
Posts: 622
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:22 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:32 pm

The supply of pilots is not infinite, but it is large. The USA has had a very effective training system for decades that has trained armies of well regarded professional pilots. The 1500 hour requirement has introduced significant extra expense to becoming a certified ATP. Expense that was not justified by a safety analysis.

But right now, mainline carriers that pay a good salary have an extremely easy time recruiting the pilots they need. Regionals have a more difficult time because they pay market wages. Mainline carriers are either quasi union or full union. In either case, they get paid significantly above what it would cost to replace the entire pilot staff with similarly qualified new applicants. In my view, mainline is paid roughly double the market wage. This is because of the exceptional bargaining power mainline pilots have over their important networks. Not so different from the bargaining power that board certified physicians have to perform surgery. We could replace them too with highly qualified people, but the transition would be logistically impossible. The resulting balance is tolerable and stable.
 
CriticalPoint
Posts: 1062
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:35 pm

Aesma wrote:
CriticalPoint wrote:
What you are describing is what mainline Unions are fighting for regarding SCOPE. We want ALL aircraft flown by mainline. The company sees this as a massive cost burden.


Maybe the reason some pilots are paid too little, is that other pilots are paid too much ?


No. Regional pilots don’t make any money because that is how the regionals survive. If they paid a wage that was equal to mainline they would not be able to exist.

They are paid to little because the system is broken. You need experience to get paid good money but you can’t get experience unless you get a job flying airplanes. The companies at the bottom say hey we got a seat you can fill but we are only go to pay you scraps. And a new pilot begrudgingly takes the low paid position because he has too.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6255
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:50 pm

CriticalPoint wrote:
Aesma wrote:
CriticalPoint wrote:
What you are describing is what mainline Unions are fighting for regarding SCOPE. We want ALL aircraft flown by mainline. The company sees this as a massive cost burden.


Maybe the reason some pilots are paid too little, is that other pilots are paid too much ?


No. Regional pilots don’t make any money because that is how the regionals survive. If they paid a wage that was equal to mainline they would not be able to exist.

They are paid to little because the system is broken. You need experience to get paid good money but you can’t get experience unless you get a job flying airplanes. The companies at the bottom say hey we got a seat you can fill but we are only go to pay you scraps. And a new pilot begrudgingly takes the low paid position because he has too.


You pretty much proved his point—in order to get the big bucks, many are willing to take low pay in the hope getting picked for big bucks, great life. One follows the other.
 
CriticalPoint
Posts: 1062
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
CriticalPoint wrote:
Aesma wrote:

Maybe the reason some pilots are paid too little, is that other pilots are paid too much ?


No. Regional pilots don’t make any money because that is how the regionals survive. If they paid a wage that was equal to mainline they would not be able to exist.

They are paid to little because the system is broken. You need experience to get paid good money but you can’t get experience unless you get a job flying airplanes. The companies at the bottom say hey we got a seat you can fill but we are only go to pay you scraps. And a new pilot begrudgingly takes the low paid position because he has too.


You pretty much proved his point—in order to get the big bucks, many are willing to take low pay in the hope getting picked for big bucks, great life. One follows the other.


I wouldn’t say I proved his point. In 2003 when United went bankrupt pilots took a 30% pay cut and some got bumped to lower paying equipment. I have friends that took a 50% pay cut over night. Still the regionals paid horrible and then doubled in size. The mainline pilots taking 30% pay cuts did nothing to get the regional pilots paid.

If All pilots at AA/DL/UA took a 30% pay cut tomorrow the regional pilots would see none of it. The money would go straight to the shareholders.
 
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andrefranca
Posts: 904
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:10 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:03 pm

Regarding to being a pilot in Brazil I decided to quit because the full course to become comercial pilot would cost me a house a car and at least 2 decades to break even... and the few friends who made it since 2010 are still strugling.
 
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SierraPacific
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:12 pm

Just a little update to my previous post, if a person is in a low paying pilot job (They don't really exist anymore outside of crappy frieght operations or little EAS carriers). They have seeked it out and turned down other better opportunities.

Regionals are paying 60k first year with upgrades running from 1 to 3 years bumping pay to close or over 100k a year. It isn't like pilots are making 25k a year anymore like some posters are trying to convince. If you cant figure out how to live on 60k a year at 24 years old, you may need a financial planner. (I am about to plan a move to one of the most expensive cities in America on that)

It sucks to see the doom and gloom here but in all honesty, it is an amazing time to be in aviation.

(This is from a US point of view as someone going through the hiring process at multiple regionals)
 
Tailwinds
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:46 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:17 pm

In the United States the barrier to entry is just too steep for most people to hurdle. For most people the process will look something like go to flight school, get a time-building job, get an airline job. That time building part in between is the barrier, because the loans for flight school / university are due but you probably won't have the income to pay them, let alone pay them and rent as well. $150k for university and flight training is maybe even lowballing it. The ability to cover those loans is not a trivial undertaking. Just having parents who can back those loans is not common. Family wealth is hugely important. You'll see very few new airline pilots whose families live paycheck to paycheck.

Further, the 1500 hour rule all but killed the mid-life career change. Where many people might have been able to invest the time and money to get their ratings on the side, maybe $10k/yr for 5 years, now that's not really possible. You need to save up a huge lump sum, quit your job, and dive full time in to a place like AllATPs.

It's notable that the consumption of ATPs by the majors is over 4000 pilots/year. That's 4-6 million GA hours of training, something like half of all GA hours flown. And with a GA fatality rate of about 1 per 100k hours, we're looking at 40-60 fatalities annually as part of the airline supply pipeline, roughly 1%.

The 1500 hour rule is stupid and counter productive, but it's dramatically improved pay so the unions will fight tooth and nail for it. But teaching someone how to fly a Cessna 150 for 1000 hours is as much prep for the airline world as teaching kids to drive a Corolla for 1000 hours is prep for F1 racing. I'd happily trade 1500 total for 100 hours PIC on an IFR flight plan and an actual mentorship program that went far beyond the meager "green on green" rules we have now.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2252
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:19 pm

The "great life"? See above for comments by long-haul pilots about the great life. 16 flight hours in a four-day turn US.EU with 48 hour layover in AMS.CDG.LHR, etc., as the "pinnacle". Every C-17 pilot has a fast-track to the great life at a major, but a minority chose it. The great life is not for everyone... out of that minority, many C-17 pilots "retire" to airline mgmt second careers... that (IMO) is a great life (so long as you like big city/commuter life). If PDK or FTY were only a little closer to ATL....

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