JPharmd
Topic Author
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:28 pm

Pilot shortage

Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:33 pm

Newbie here.

I've been hearing about pilot shortage in commercial aviation. How true and severe is the shortage? I already have a career but wanted to see if becoming a pilot as a second career would be a good idea. Possible work as a part time pilot. Is it even possible to work as a part time pilot?

As far as training goes, could one have a full time or part time job and be trained to be a commercial airline pilot? I assume it would obviously take longer but possible? what would be the projected timeline?

Thank you in advance for all your responses.
 
ParkFSI
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 8:01 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:29 am

Good question, I think it depends on if you’re thinking of major airline, charter or a corporation pilot. I retired 15 years ago from flying and now days I help train pilots in the old but still going SA226/227 Merlin/ Metroliner. I know, old but still going like myself :) that aircraft has had a pilot shortage for 20 years.
From what I hear most operators are are short of pilots, but the airline guys on this forum no more than I about that.
Go for it, but be prepared to fly your rear off. But if I could do it again I would.
 
JoseSalazar
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:18 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:41 am

I would look more around airlinepilotforums rather than here for professional pilot advice. That said, there are a lot of second career types going to the regionals. There was a regional pilot shortage, but they raised pay and some regionals have a large backlog of pilots. Others, who pay less, have a shortage. As has been often said, there isn’t and wasn’t really a pilot shortage, there was a pilot pay shortage. When the economics make it a viable career, plenty of people come out of the woodwork. Major airlines have no shortage of applicants.

As for part time flying: not so much. Some of the good pilot gigs for guys with seniority allow you to work 9 days a month, or sit on call and maybe get used only a few days a month. But that varies. And that is an oversimplification. You’d start out in the regionals and get 12-16 days off a month.

Once you are qualified to be an airline pilot, ie have your ratings and time, and you start initial training at an airline, you are a full time employee. They have a strict syllabus for their initial training (generally 2ish months). You can’t exactly do it on your own timeline. Then you will need to fly full time.

Hope that helps. But again, you’ll get better info on airlinepilotforums...just be prepared, it isn’t as nice as this forum.
 
VS11
Posts: 1509
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:48 am

JPharmd wrote:
Newbie here.

I've been hearing about pilot shortage in commercial aviation. How true and severe is the shortage? I already have a career but wanted to see if becoming a pilot as a second career would be a good idea. Possible work as a part time pilot. Is it even possible to work as a part time pilot?

As far as training goes, could one have a full time or part time job and be trained to be a commercial airline pilot? I assume it would obviously take longer but possible? what would be the projected timeline?

Thank you in advance for all your responses.


The demand for pilots in the US is real. My 3 young (mid-20s) instructors are all flying regional jets now. The pipeline to a regional pilot is moving very fast.

In terms of training and a second career, it is very difficult to become a pilot, let alone get all certifications and ratings, if you are not entirely dedicated to it. From personal experience, the most cost effective and efficient way is to enroll in a full time full-immersion program in a place where you can fly every day. Everything else amounts to waste of money and time. The practical standards require a great deal of automation (of your skills), which is very easy to lose if you don’t fly regularly.

Piloting a plane is very addictive but is also very demanding. But currently there is a serious demand for pilots.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2382
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:13 am

I heard a talk from our chief pilot that said that the job of airline pilot is no longer a glamorous job and fewer people are applying. Part of the problem is that flying on an airliner is no longer fun.
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 19569
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:44 am

VS11 wrote:
JPharmd wrote:
Newbie here.

I've been hearing about pilot shortage in commercial aviation. How true and severe is the shortage? I already have a career but wanted to see if becoming a pilot as a second career would be a good idea. Possible work as a part time pilot. Is it even possible to work as a part time pilot?

As far as training goes, could one have a full time or part time job and be trained to be a commercial airline pilot? I assume it would obviously take longer but possible? what would be the projected timeline?

Thank you in advance for all your responses.


The demand for pilots in the US is real. My 3 young (mid-20s) instructors are all flying regional jets now. The pipeline to a regional pilot is moving very fast.

In terms of training and a second career, it is very difficult to become a pilot, let alone get all certifications and ratings, if you are not entirely dedicated to it. From personal experience, the most cost effective and efficient way is to enroll in a full time full-immersion program in a place where you can fly every day. Everything else amounts to waste of money and time. The practical standards require a great deal of automation (of your skills), which is very easy to lose if you don’t fly regularly.

Piloting a plane is very addictive but is also very demanding. But currently there is a serious demand for pilots.


Agreed 100%. Going through flight training with a couple of flights every other weekend is a good way to progress slowly whilst spending much more money than needed.

You can do a full immersion private pilot course in three weeks, then come back after six months or a year and do your instrument rating in two weeks. Much better options.

Going professional requires a whole other level of commitment, however.

CosmicCruiser wrote:
I heard a talk from our chief pilot that said that the job of airline pilot is no longer a glamorous job and fewer people are applying. Part of the problem is that flying on an airliner is no longer fun.


True dat. Compared to even twenty-five years ago, layovers are shorter, pay is lower, and perks are not as perky.

That being said, working with something you are passionate about has its own rewards.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:58 am

Always love to hear from people who suddenly, when the news is about shortages and rising pay for pilots, become interested in flying. If you want to fly, it’s about flying, not shortages, pay, easy schedule—it’s about wanting to fly more than anything else.

GF
 
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zeke
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:07 am

I think genetic selection could provide taller pilots.

No shortage of pilots, there is a shortage of experienced pilots that can fly to train pilots for the expanding fleets.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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SierraPacific
Posts: 403
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:33 am

CosmicCruiser wrote:
I heard a talk from our chief pilot that said that the job of airline pilot is no longer a glamorous job and fewer people are applying. Part of the problem is that flying on an airliner is no longer fun.


When people see what a legacy pay stub looks like they quickly change their mind on the glamour part. I can speak from personal experience growing up in a major airline hub even during the bad times post 9/11.

But anyone who gets into this for pay is never going to make it close to a US legacy.

Clarifying edit I am an instructor at a school that trains some career students. It seems as though there has been a pretty large uptick in people that are getting into it for the money rather than a passion for flying compared to what I've seen in the past couple of years.
 
Woodreau
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:56 am

There is no shortage of pilots.

There is a shortage of pilots who are willing to work for regional airline pay.
Although pay at the regional airlines have gone up over the last few years, it does not come close to what pay is at the major airlines.

There are plenty of regional airline pilots who are trying to make it up the next rung. Most will get there as the retirements from the major airlines over the next decade exceed all of the pilots currently working at the regional airlines. But there are still a lot of regional airline pilot who are still waiting for a call from the next step up the career ladder.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:32 am

I can tell you from current and continuing personal experience that the *airlines* absolutely think there's a shortage of pilots, including the majors, and they're the ones who would know.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
VSMUT
Posts: 3477
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:08 am

OP didn't say where he is from. Very relevant to his question.

There definitely is a crunch. The cheap airlines of Europe definitely have a problem hiring and retaining pilots, the well paying ones not quite so much.
In Asia they are definitely short, but they only take locals as FOs.

But the crunch in Europe could end tomorrow if the next financial crisis kicks in. Considering how long it takes to train to become a pilot, it is safe to say that the shortage will be gone by the time you enter the market.

CosmicCruiser wrote:
I heard a talk from our chief pilot that said that the job of airline pilot is no longer a glamorous job and fewer people are applying. Part of the problem is that flying on an airliner is no longer fun.


Glamour is something only old pilots talk about. I don't know a single pilot who trained in the past 10 years who was ever under the illusion that flying was glamourous.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2382
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:04 pm

CosmicCruiser wrote:
I heard a talk from our chief pilot that said that the job of airline pilot is no longer a glamorous job and fewer people are applying. Part of the problem is that flying on an airliner is no longer fun.


Glamour is something only old pilots talk about. I don't know a single pilot who trained in the past 10 years who was ever under the illusion that flying was glamourous.[/quote]

Well, I've been retired now for 7 (so you're probably correct about the last 10) but certainly will say that I loved all 30 yrs where I was. Was there lousey days? Of course but day in and day out I wouldn't have done anything else. I loved flying the jet and loved most of the layovers. Non flying friends who sit in an office 9-5 thought I was the luckiest guy in the world. I've got friends who make a bunch more money than I did but I can't think of one I would swap with. There are a number of things that do make it glamorous for the non flying public, at least during my tenure, as I think back on the good times. Some things were just nice others required but having complimentary Thanksgiving dinners in the England and France hotels, avoiding the long TSA/Customs lines, having the van waiting on you at the bottom of the stairs for the ride to the hotel, the one or two van drivers that always had a 6 pack in the van chilled down for you, the front desk already with your room keys when you arrive, the one van driver that kept bicycles at the hotel for the crew or the restaurant that would stay open after hours for us if we were late arriving. Before anyone posts a reply, yes I do remember the times the hotel didn't have the rooms ready, the hotel van that forgot to come get us, the crewmember that got food poisoning at the hotel or the one security guard that wasn't going to let me bring my wine I had bought on board. Being just sentimental? Perhaps but it does bring a smile to my face and reminds me that how lucky I was.

To respond to another poster who said something to the effect that flying was a passion and you don't do it for glamour. The biggest eye opener I got when I left the corp. aviation world for my 30 yrs at 121 flying was that there was no stereotypical airline pilot. I had this belief that we all loved flying and traveling around the world. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I didn't understand that some guys didn't give a flip about flying nor traveling around the world. They did it for the money and time off. A retired neighbor told me he hated flying and couldn't wait to retire. Another friend who at the time flew for NWA told me, when I said it was a beautiful day and we just go take a hop in my J-3, told he could care less about flying so no. My dad gave me my first plane ride at 4 and
I was hooked forever so I was one of the passionate guys who misses it everyday.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:11 pm

Well put, CosmicCruiser. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

It's the passionate guys that are a delight to fly with. Conversely, when you're sitting at the pointy end with a miserable bastard you know it is going to be a long day. Or even worse a long night. And that's when you crack the manuals open and sit in silence prepping for whatever check or training event is coming up next. It passes the time. :D

It is my firm belief that some people, thankfully a small minority, are determined to see the dark cloud inside the silver lining. I once heard a guy complain after a layover that he had been upgraded to a suite and the room was too big, with too long a walk to the bathroom. As far as I could tell he was being completely serious...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:14 pm

I think the growing economic divide is impacting things here as well. In the late '90s I had an OK 9-to-5 that covered the bills and I delivered pizzas at night to pay for flight lessons. At that time a 152 or Tomahawk was $54/hr wet and the instructor was $15-20/hr. I never quite got my ticket because [reasons] and about 10 years later in the early 2000's I picked it back up for a bit. In that time the price had doubled - at least $120/hr. I haven't even looked recently. So between that and the post 9/11 lockdown of airports, I don't think that becoming a pilot even seems like an attainable goal for middle-income kids that might have the bug, much less anyone in a lower income bracket.

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CosmicCruiser
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:21 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Well put, CosmicCruiser. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

It's the passionate guys that are a delight to fly with. Conversely, when you're sitting at the pointy end with a miserable bastard you know it is going to be a long day. Or even worse a long night. And that's when you crack the manuals open and sit in silence prepping for whatever check or training event is coming up next. It passes the time. :D

It is my firm belief that some people, thankfully a small minority, are determined to see the dark cloud inside the silver lining. I once heard a guy complain after a layover that he had been upgraded to a suite and the room was too big, with too long a walk to the bathroom. As far as I could tell he was being completely serious...

You're absolutely correct. Thankfully it is a small percentage, we always said the 10% rule. We had a joke that the co. said "we're going to pay you a million a year and you have to fly every Thursday and some pilot would stand up and say "EVERY Thursday?"
 
FlyHossD
Posts: 1974
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:07 pm

spacecadet wrote:
I can tell you from current and continuing personal experience that the *airlines* absolutely think there's a shortage of pilots, including the majors, and they're the ones who would know.


Two years ago, I recall hearing from a long time colleague that our former carrier had gone from having about 10,000 pilot applications on file to about 7,500 in just one year. That still sounds like a lot, until you realize that those same pilots have likely applied at all the airlines. I believe the 4 US major carriers have over 2,000 mandatory retirements per year and that number is increasing.

That said, the majors will raid the regional airlines, so the pain will be felt there first.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Pilot shortage

Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:40 pm

dennypayne wrote:
I think the growing economic divide is impacting things here as well. In the late '90s I had an OK 9-to-5 that covered the bills and I delivered pizzas at night to pay for flight lessons. At that time a 152 or Tomahawk was $54/hr wet and the instructor was $15-20/hr. I never quite got my ticket because [reasons] and about 10 years later in the early 2000's I picked it back up for a bit. In that time the price had doubled - at least $120/hr. I haven't even looked recently. So between that and the post 9/11 lockdown of airports, I don't think that becoming a pilot even seems like an attainable goal for middle-income kids that might have the bug, much less anyone in a lower income bracket.

Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk


The price has always been high, relative to other options. At $30 an hour for a Cherokee in 1973, it was expensive; equal to $174 today. As I said, if you want to fly more than anything else, it’s doable, if you want other irrelevant things like a wife, house, it can be out of reach. I worked every weekend as a line boy during college, then many nights flying checks once I made the mins. Party time—zero.
 
mmo
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Re: Pilot shortage

Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:50 am

When I got my PPL back in 1967, a C-150 wet with an instructor was $8/hour or $5/hour solo. You could also buy $100 worth of time and get a 10% discount! IIRC, a 172 was $8/hour and a 177RG was $12/hour.
Not that I am old......
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Pilot shortage

Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:07 pm

mmo wrote:
When I got my PPL back in 1967, a C-150 wet with an instructor was $8/hour or $5/hour solo. You could also buy $100 worth of time and get a 10% discount! IIRC, a 172 was $8/hour and a 177RG was $12/hour.
Not that I am old......


Absolutely! I still have a receipt from a lesson in '65. J-3 Cub $6/hr + $4 dual = $10/hr.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Pilot shortage

Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:44 pm

According to the US Inflation calculator that’s 81.65 today for a Cub.
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Pilot shortage

Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:14 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
According to the US Inflation calculator that’s 81.65 today for a Cub.


Lowest rate I can find for one right now online is $105. I take your point above about expense relative to other options, but I still maintain that the cost has gone up proportionally more than people are able to afford these days, given that wages generally haven't increased to keep pace with the rate of inflation. For sure "where there's a will, there's a way" but with the current security environment there's not a lot of opportunities for people to feed that will by just hanging around the airport like kids used to do either.
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