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DC10Widebody
Topic Author
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Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Time?

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:08 pm

Interesting stuff here, for those of you who read Airliners Magazine this month you may have read an article of something along the lines of "THE PILOT SHORTAGE IS FINALLY HERE" You can see a copy of the cover here at http://www.airliners.tv but I don't have a link to the article and I am just not willing to type it up. Anyway I came across another article saying the exact opposite essentially there couldn't be a worse time to try to become a pilot, this one from the NY Times which may be seen here at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/bu...&scp=9&sq=pilot&st=nyt&oref=slogin

I hope to draw insight from the wonderful and diverse group of aviation professionals here, I tend to believe the Airliners article a bit more, but NY Times seems to have done their homework too. I guess if they are looking solely at the US Aviation market the picture isn't quite as rosy but for the rest of the world things look a little different. Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?
Cheers thanks a lot.
 
avek00
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:34 pm

I think the answer depends, at least in part, upon how much one invests financially to become a pilot and the career expectations in a changing profession.

With respect to the latter, it's pretty evident that the commercial pilot profession, like many other professions, is progressively evolving into two distinct tracks.

On one track there will be the air taxi/bizjet/RJ/smaller mainline jet pilots, who will spend most if not all of their time flying sub-150 seat jets, and who might be lucky to top out near $75,000-100,000 USD/year at the very end of their careers.

On the other track will be the pilots of the widebodies and large narrowbodies of the day, flying to far-flung points for six figures a year. Their workload requirements will become as demanding as the laws allow, but so will their ability to profit from the commercial success of their airlines.
Live life to the fullest.
 
futurecaptain
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:52 pm

In my little corner of the world this is a great time to be a pilot.

The airport I fly out of has a total of 5 flight schools based at it. EVERY single flight school is hiring instructors because they cannot keep a hold of the ones they have. People are moving on and up constantly it seems.

Now, moving on up means alot of different things and the airlines are not the only place to move on to. People move on to flying cargo in Barons, charter flights in PC-12's, business jets, ect. There are all kinds of jobs out there hiring the people who have the experience to do them.
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AviationAddict
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:03 pm

I think the future of commercial aviation is little hazy right now so it's difficult to tell if it's good or bad time to be a commercial pilot.

However, I think it's a great time to be a corporate pilot. We have openings for pilot positions all over the place and I have to say, being a G550 captain can't be that bad of a gig (in both a financial aspect as well as in the fun factor).
 
planemaker
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:13 pm



Quoting DC10Widebody (Thread starter):
I guess if they are looking solely at the US Aviation market the picture isn't quite as rosy but for the rest of the world things look a little different. Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

The good ol' days of the "gold plated" airline pilot career is over. The US and European situation over the mid- to long-term does not look "rosy", as you put it. Fuel prices and, now, the credit crunch is accelerating industry consolidation/rationalization... which was going to happen - anyway. And airline consolidation/rationalization will largely offset airline pilot retirements.

Quoting Avek00 (Reply 2):
On one track there will be the air taxi/bizjet/RJ/smaller mainline jet pilots, who will spend most if not all of their time flying sub-150 seat jets, and who might be lucky to top out near $75,000-100,000 USD/year at the very end of their careers.

I was quite surprised to read that most of the Dayjet pilots were retired airline pilots!!

While I mostly agree with your job split, I would keep the air taxi segment seperate from the bizjet/frax seperate from the feeder pilot segment.

Quoting AviationAddict (Reply 4):
I think the future of commercial aviation is little hazy right now so it's difficult to tell if it's good or bad time to be a commercial pilot.

Very true... if the articles in Flight International are true, then we could possibly have trans-Atlantic consolidation earlier than expected. There are a whole host of issues that will have varying degrees of impact on commercial aviation that will impact pilots careers.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
eraugrad02
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:36 pm

We leaned in school that this industry goes in waves every ten years. It's turned out to look that way. Just like this is a buyers market for housing, it's the airlines buyers market for pilots due to the baby boomers all retiring. If you want stability over wages I'd stay with a regional carrier. A strong one. he major may go up and down but the majors need regionals if its to start new markets or to replace markets that can no longer handle MD-80/B-737/A320 sized aircraft. I hope I made good sense. Others can expound on my comments.

Desmond in ILM,
Desmond MacRae in ILM
 
planemaker
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:58 pm



Quoting ERAUgrad02 (Reply 5):
If you want stability over wages I'd stay with a regional carrier. A strong one. he major may go up and down but the majors need regionals if its to start new markets or to replace markets that can no longer handle MD-80/B-737/A320 sized aircraft.

There are not any "strong" regionals... really - they exist at the "whim" of the majors. Juat look at how the majors have dealt with them. And with further majors' consolidation/rationalization comes a surplus of regional carrier capacity and the pitting of one against the other.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
alaska737
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:14 pm



Quoting Planemaker (Reply 6):

I disagree entirely, Horizon, Skywest, Republic, Pen Air just to name a few. All very strong.
 
pilotpip
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:20 pm

Planemaker is somewhat right. That "whim" doesn't really hold up when contractual obligations are met. At delta you have two great examples. Freedom is on their way out and DL is pissed while here at Shuttle America DL is loving us and we're getting at least 1 new aircraft per month through 2010 with the 175 deliveries starting this summer.

All sectors of aviation, at least in the US, are in trouble. We all know what's going on at the majors and regionals with shutdowns and fleet issues right now. There are already a ton of very qualified pilots on the street and its' going to get worse before it gets better. Midwest is furloughing and downgrading about 50 of their pilots. Mesa is dying slowly and painfully. Perhaps the worst, will be when DAL and NW do finally merge. Jobs will be lost at both the regional and major level as redundant routes are eliminated. You can kiss the 300/50 wonderpilots goodbye for a while. I think the hiring mins at the desirable places will be back to 1000/100 or more by year's end if they're even hiring.

As for GA. Take your pick. While corporate is attractive to those that have money, jet fuel is astronomical right now. It's going for upwards of $10 per gallon in some locations. As the economy continues to slide, the corporate accountants are going to start questioning the thousands of dollars thrown into operating a jet on an hourly basis. The first thing to go when a company isn't doing well is the aviation department if they're large enough or the charters if they aren't. On the training side, instructors are in short supply. Great because many places are finally paying a premium for qualified instructors instead of below poverty wages. Not great because fuel costs and everything else have resulted in a private pilot rating costing upwards of $10k in some parts of the US which puts it out of reach for most middle-class and teens which is where most of my business as an instructor came from.

Yeah, I sound like chicken little. And yeah, I'm a little nervous right now because things are going to get worse before they get better. If you were to get into aviation right now I'd do two things. 1) Get a degree in something other than aviation. 2) Take your time and wait to get in at the start of the next hiring wave. I did and I'm thankful that I have a little bit of stability.
DMI
 
planemaker
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting Alaska737 (Reply 7):
I disagree entirely, Horizon, Skywest, Republic, Pen Air just to name a few. All very strong.

For the moment... that can change in very short order.

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 8):
That "whim" doesn't really hold up when contractual obligations are met. At delta you have two great examples.

The "whim" is that the majors can easily reaplace/treminate one feeder with another when a contract expires - which we have seen a few times already. And, of course, in Chap. 11 all bets are off.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
avek00
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:48 pm



Quoting Alaska737 (Reply 7):
disagree entirely, Horizon, Skywest, Republic, Pen Air just to name a few. All very strong.

I think what is meant is that the era of the large, independent regional airline that operated more or less standalone with some codesharing by a legacy is a bygone one. Virtually every regional airline operates more or less as a "small jet provider" (to use Mike Boyd's terminology) entirely at the pleasure of a legacy client or clients.
Live life to the fullest.
 
kochamLOT
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:11 pm



Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 2):
The airport I fly out of has a total of 5 flight schools based at it. EVERY single flight school is hiring instructors because they cannot keep a hold of the ones they have. People are moving on and up constantly it seems.

At the current moment, it looks like the perfect time, meaning the next few months, looks like the perfect time to apply to be a commercial airline pilot. Instructors are needed but there are only so many commercial pilot positions to be filled so once all the regional positions are filled Ill be out of luck. I am working on my commercial/instrument and figure I can get out to the industry in 2.5 years from now. I really dont have the confidence that there will be the same need for pilots then as there is now thats why im trying to get it all done ASAP. My forecast is grim for opportunity. As airlines consolidate or go under, that means there will be more experienced pilots left out to compete with me for the remaining jobs, if any. Will I be able to beat this period of time? Who knows.
So as instructors are in need, thats great but it lags behind the need for airline pilots. As soon as Rj pilot positions get filled, I guess slowly so will the instructor positions.
 
jbernie
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:27 am

It will be interesting to see how the Airlines and Pilots handle the current situation.

If lots of pilots were to retire now, then as things improve again in the next few years maybe demand will be such that there is a shortage of pilots and you get in at the right time and demand = more pay.

Then again, maybe what happens now is a major correction in how things are done and in a few years demand picks up but the airlines are doing things differently and there are more pilots available than jobs.

If more airlines go out of business completely then a surplus is possible, if the economy hits rock bottom soon and starts improving say by early next year then who knows. Keep in mind with all that is going on right now you have a lot of companies/industries cutting back on expenses, so caution is the way to go right now, until they are sure that things are improving they probably won't release the spending brakes for a little while yet.
 
saab2000
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:29 am

There will be a significant lag in attrition at the US carriers due to the new 'Age 65' rule, allowing pilots to retire at 65 instead of 60. Had that rule not changed, we would be seeing continued hiring at all the majors instead of the current situation, which was to abruptly cancel newhire classes in upcoming weeks. But it all changes.

Many of the more senior folks won't actually stay until they are 65. Many will, but many will simply get out when they can afford to and others will be medically disqualified.

I feel fairly secure in my position as a captain at a fairly solid so-called 'regional' carrier. Decent seniority and getting better all the time. But I am curious what will happen to attrition in the coming months at my own carrier.

As far as whether or not it's a good time? I would say probably not. The job simply is not what it used to be and it probably never will be again. Pay has been slashed and work rules are practically non-existent, simply being whatever is allowed under the FARs for the most part. And many US carriers are very inefficiently run.

My crystal ball regarding the future of aviation is a bit cloudy...... Being in the right place at the right time is what it's all about.
smrtrthnu
 
DashTrash
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:00 am

Probably not the best time to be looking for a pilot job. They're still out there, but we're going to be on an upswing of requirements for getting on with even a crappy regional. It will be a while before legacies start hiring again, at least in droves. I think all of them have canceled interviews and new hire classes recently.

As far as flying freight and corporate flying.. Fuel prices will effect that as well. I don't know what kind of hit the freight dogs will take, but that is not an entry level job. Insurance requirements will keep you out of most bizjets until you have some serious time, even for the right seat.

Fractional flying has become appealing to many pilots, and most of those companies can be very picky on who they hire. All of the larger operators require an ATP and 2500 hrs min as well.

Given that the airline industry and airline pilot profession has been on an almost unrecoverable slide, I'd get a real job and fly for fun.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:23 am

The one thing nobody has mentioned yet is that for those who are unattached and are up for a bit of adventure, there are all kinds of job opportunities available in Asia if you're willing to relocate. Not talking about your CX or SQ mind you, but Chinese air travel hasn't even begun to boom and they are facing a decade-long shortage of pilots.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
F9Animal
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:03 am



Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 2):
In my little corner of the world this is a great time to be a pilot.

Yes, I totally agree with you. I am getting back up in the air here in the next few months, and going full steam ahead for it. The timing is right. I mean, there is indeed the fact that the industry is hurt right now, but if anything, it will come out of it. It always does. If memory serves me right, this happens about every 7-10 years. Although, this is one of the worst shapes I can remember.

But, there is a huge amount of retirees coming up, and with so many airlines cutting now, there are alot taking advantage of turning in the wings. I would say that it is time to get some flying in, and get your applications ready.

Quoting ERAUgrad02 (Reply 5):
We leaned in school that this industry goes in waves every ten years. It's turned out to look that way. Just like this is a buyers market for housing, it's the airlines buyers market for pilots due to the baby boomers all retiring. If you want stability over wages I'd stay with a regional carrier. A strong one. he major may go up and down but the majors need regionals if its to start new markets or to replace markets that can no longer handle MD-80/B-737/A320 sized aircraft. I hope I made good sense. Others can expound on my comments.

Desmond in ILM,

I had already typed all of the above after reading your post. So instead of erasing it and moving on, I will just say that I agree with everything you said! LOL! Especially about the waves every 10 years. If anything, the industry will come out winning on this tough time, and put a little money away for the next wave.  Wink
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
crjfixer
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:09 am

Its impossible to really predict but i would guess it would be as good of a time as any, There is currently a shortage in the regionals, And i wouldnt be surprised if many long time senior captain at majors are thinking of retireing while they are ahead which would open up more jobs in the regionals. Even though a few airlines have shut the doors someone will be flying as long as the demand is there.
 
Burkhard
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

If you are willing to work outside of the US and maybe also outside of western Europe for a while, the time never has been as good. It's simple maths - all those Boeing and Airbus on order need pilots, and with world jetliner production near to 100 per months now, there will not be enough pilots available for them.
 
planespotting
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:49 pm

Here's how I look at it:

It's an incredibly great time to be a pilot if you're lucky.

It's a really shitty time to be a pilot if you're unlucky.

And that's basically all that matters in this industry; ask any pilot at Southwest who came on in the late 70s early 80s ... many of them had offers from Braniff, American, etc ... who, at the time, do you think would have been the logical, safer bet to spend a career flying?
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
kochamLOT
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:05 am



Quoting DashTrash (Reply 14):
As far as flying freight and corporate flying

Ive spoke with a few corporate flight departments that have been saying that they have 'slowed down.'
A lot less flights have been taken this year compared to other years past...

GAS makes the world go round
 
kochamLOT
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:09 am



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 15):
The one thing nobody has mentioned yet is that for those who are unattached and are up for a bit of adventure, there are all kinds of job opportunities available in Asia if you're willing to relocate. Not talking about your CX or SQ mind you, but Chinese air travel hasn't even begun to boom and they are facing a decade-long shortage of pilots.

Ive always thought about that. I dont know where to find out more and Ive heard that especially China doesnt like to advertise their need for pilots, especially American pilots. Would an FAA cerrtification be good enough? Where can you find out more, how do you conduct interviews, etc. The only thing that would freak me out is if I knew maintenance wasnt especially great at XYZ airline that I could one day be flying for.
 
kochamLOT
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:11 am



Quoting Planespotting (Reply 19):
It's an incredibly great time to be a pilot if you're lucky.

It's a really shitty time to be a pilot if you're unlucky

Genius!
Thats pretty much how it really is.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:36 am

If you forget that the US exists, then it is a fantastic time to become a pilot. There is a global shortage and although the golden years are over and the images of pilots with girls on each arm, sports car in the garage and a nice big house are well over, I believe the profession still has a lot to offer.

If your 'world' is in the US only, then yes perhaps it isn't the best time to get into aviation.
 
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zeke
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:47 am

Seems to be a fairly good time, this is the steps CX is doing to get pilots, this was announced on the internal CX website not so long back.

Flight Training Adelaide, in common with many training schools, has been losing instructors as airlines strive to fill recruitment targets. In fact many of those instructors have come to Cathay! Cathay have been working closely with the college to address this issue, since if they cannot retain instructors, our cadet courses will suffer. CX has decided to partly sponsor some instructor training, and basic training if needed. The college will also contribute some training costs, but candidates will be required to commit to the programme. These instructors will become employees of CX, and will gain a position on the CX seniority list after a period of instructional duties with the college. They will then be seconded back to the college to complete a total of 42 months performing instructor duties in ADL. At the end of this period they will return to CX in Hong Kong as second officers on the same terms as direct entry S/O’s. There is a requirement to do at least one year as S/O and then, provided they have the required seniority, they will be eligible for JFO upgrade.

We are currently looking to recruit for this at two levels. Firstly those who have basic flying training already will be trained directly as instructors. Secondly those who have little or no flying experience will receive basic training at the college and subsequently instructor training. Candidates will need to pass the college entry requirements, and also successfully complete CX selection.

If you know anyone who may be interested, please get in touch with Cathay Flight Crew Recruitment ( [email protected] ) for further details, or apply directly to the college ( http://www.flighttrainingadelaide.com/ ).

Feel free to PM me if you have questions.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
dc863
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RE: Horrible Time To Become A Pilot Or Perfect Tim

Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:30 am

In my opnion it's the worst time to choose to be a pilot. Flying schools will put you in debt. The feeder airlines starting pay is garbage and working hours are horrible.
This is a great time to get out of the biz period. The good ol' days of being a pilot disappeared long ago in the 80s.
Being a pilot know is akin to being a bus driver. Good ol days will never ever return.

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