Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: The New Scarce Commodity—Pilots

Discuss this Video 5

on Sep 28, 2017

This was a nicely balanced discussion; maybe AWST is turning the corner in terms of more objective and professional reporting with respect to the "pilot shortage" issues.

Funny thing about the college course in lieu of experince requirement though:
1) You just can't substitute flight experience by throwing in a college course or two and giving it the "accredited" label.

2) By the time student completes said college course ciriculum they could've acquired the hours-in-the-air though CFI work or other entry level aviation jobs. This is, once again, the RAA's attempt to fool congress into circumventing safety ideals and rules in the name of trying to resolve their own flawed approach to pilot recruitment and retention.

Yes, many countries still have some form of the 250 commercial pilot rule, but those countries also have much costlier training footprints than US regional airlines. India, for example, uses 3x the amount of ground, sim, and flight training that the US typically does. Furthermore, they will not let first officers land or take off for until they have 1,000 hrs on type AND are flying with a captain who has been deemed qualified to let FOs land. This means most FOs dont' actually start landing the plane until 1,300 hrs hrs then they start upgrading at around 2500-3,000 hrs. So they're upgrading with only having truly "flown" the aircraft for 1500 hrs to only then get paired with an FO who also just joined the airline with a whopping 300 hrs under his or her belt. If the flying public there had any idea as to the "at times" lack of experience up front they'd be concerend. Regardless, this is what forces India to have exhausitve training footprints, including many months wasted where the pilot is paid to sit around and wait for the next phase of his or her training.

Japan has, what, a 9-12 month new-joiner training footprint for their airlines? China takes 3-5 months just to get the job due to all the redtape from the CAAC, then another 6+ months of training to get the pilot online and producing revenue. Here in the US we get an expereinced aviator through new-joiner or new-type training in under 30 days. And the RAA wants to lower the expereince level? The only reason we can handle such compressed and stressful training in the significantly higher expereince of US trained airline entry pilots vs their counterparts overseas.

on Sep 29, 2017

I miss the 'Cold War'. Selective Service is still here, and at one time promoted 'the draft', which fostered patriotism and pilots.

on Sep 30, 2017

For the U.S., I believe the pilot issue has been mis-identified. The only industry that is screaming for pilots are the Regionals and other entry level entities due to the fact that the supply of "cheap labor" has dried up. Mainline and other medium to top tier companies continue to find pilots to fill their rosters. However, if the RAA (Regional Airlines Association) and other entities succeed in getting the government to relax the minimum qualifications requirement then they'll once again have access to the "cheap labor". This will then prompted mainline carriers to continue to outsource work to their regional affiliates. Thereby reducing the need to increase their own workforce. But this practice was what dissuaded people from considering the pilot profession as a career.

Hence the issue really is about money and not a perceived pilot shortage.

on Oct 1, 2017

All you have to do is take application from people who have a private license.

Then train them with a commitment to stay for 5 years or they have to pay for the training portion they short the company that paid for it.

Watch em come out of the woodwork.

USAF needs to establish a WO pilot pool that does not have to be promoted or get booted out.

You don't need a college degree to fly, you just need to be technically minded and common sense.

I got a Commercial and Instruments back in the day just fine without it.

Its just a technical skill, no more than driving, electrical work, etc.

They trained 10s of thousand of pilots off Mainstreet USA in
WWII. Many never returned to it after the war, they went on with their lives, but were some of the finest.

on Oct 3, 2017

I take Captgregger's point about some training regimes for low hour recruits, but at the same time major European carriers have been training 250hr recruits for the right seat of shorthaul jets for more than 50 years. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways do not have a reputation for cutting corners on safety, but by working closely with dedicated training organisations (and in some cases owning the schools outright) you can produce a safe low hours recruit who does not need excessive training on joining the airline. The only additional training usually required is between one and three hours of circuits in the aircraft (zero flight time simulator is not permitted for low hours recruits) and maybe 4 extra simulator details. Once line flying starts under a training captain a safety pilot is carried until signed of as no longer required. This is usually achieved after less than 10 sectors. From that point on the trainee is a productive pilot, though the training input may continue for 30 or more sectors. The finished product, once qualified, is authorised to full co-pilot operating limits including crosswind and landing minima.

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