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The U.S. is facing its worst pilot shortage ever, forcing airlines to cut flights and growth plans

The U.S. is facing its worst pilot shortage ever, forcing airlines to cut flights for a summer travel season that is expected to surpass 2019 levels... ( More...

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dantindall 34
this pilot shortage is not due to COVID. This shortage has been building for over 15 years. I operate a flight school and new pilot starts were dismally low prior to COVID. It is all but impossible to convince young people leaving High School to invest $60-80K required to get a R-ATP only to find out they would make $2500-3500 per month at a regional carrier, sit days on reserve at a crapy location and be stuck with crapy schedules. This was even worse prior to the change raising the R-ATP minimums to 1500. One flight instructor left teaching (prior to the R-ATP rule) and took a job with a regional carrier for $23000 per year, less than the underpaid police officer in out town. People with families and bills to pay can't live on that amount of money. Until and unless the airlines fix the compensation for all of their pilots, this problem will not go away. We are noticing an uptick in new pilot starts, but nowhere near the levels to fix the shortage. By the way, I have a flight instructor working for me form the Republic flight school they claim is just like military training, and nothing could be further than the truth. The kid didn't even know what the multi-color levers in the BE-58 were for. If the FAA grants that waiver request, Republic will be the next Colgan Air we read about.
DracoVolantis 9
"It is all but impossible to convince young people leaving High School to invest $60-80K required to get a R-ATP only to find out they would make $2500-3500 per month at a regional carrier, sit days on reserve at a crapy location and be stuck with crapy schedules"... EXACTLY!! Funny how some people are kind of "perplexed" that there are pilot shortages... it should be pretty obvious...
Ric Wernicke 2
Everybody knows what the multicolor levers are. White is vanilla, brown is chocolate, and red is strawberry!

The rest of what you say is spot on.
Greg Scoggins 17
My son wants a career as a professional pilot and is becoming exasperated with the whole proposition. He comes from a family of pilots. He has his ratings up through multi and CFII, about 550 hours and enjoys instructing. He instructed for one of the top universities for an academic year and his Chief Pilot wrote a strong recommendation letter for him when he resigned because he couldn't even pay rent based upon the 25 or so hours a month he flew. He is willing to bounce around in a 172 until he gets 1,500 hours, but the flight schools treat these guys like crap. Apparently, they have 20 other guys willing to work as a contract employee for $25/hour (flight time only with no expectations for hours per month), sit around the airport even on days they have no students just *in case* someone wants a Discovery flight, pay for their own insurance, and give up instructing his own Dad and two partners in a jointly owned Cirrus for BFRs and IPCs. They told him he would *probably* get 10-15 hours/month of instructing at first, but could be as much as 50 hours within six months. So, how many guys with $75K invested in their ratings can now spend 18-24 months making between $250 and $1,250 per month to get from 300 hours to 1,500 hours? So, the REAL problem for the airlines is getting these guys from 250-300 hours to 1,500 hours and eligible for an ATP. There are plenty of forums on the internet with low time guys desperately looking for ways to build time, but the insurance requirements for the corporate and charter fleets eliminate all of these guys and the flight schools just take advantage of them.
Fran Moreno-Randle 3
Truth!! My nephew is in the same boat here in Dallas. It's a shame. So now seriously considering joining Air Force.
Greg Scoggins 1
Mine is doing the same, but he may have an asthma problem. Although my Dad was a career Air Force pilot and all that I ever wanted to be, I was unable to qualify due to inadequate distant vision. So, I switched to the airline career path, but this was in the early 80's and new pilots were making less than my secretary. I just couldn't afford it.
JR Lazar 2
send your son out to the local gliderport and have him do aerotows to build time. they always need tow pilots. won't be paid, but a way to build time without a dime.
Sean Awning 31
It's not a pilot shortage, pilots are not a commodity. What's in short supply are airlines that fairly compensate young people for the effort and expense they need to invest to qualify as pilots/
rstotz 23
I'm not so sure it's a shortage of pilots, but more so a shortage of pilots that want to be airline pilots. The FAA created a shortage in the right seat years ago with the change in flight time requirements for that seat. Just because a pilot makes it through the ATP program does not make that person a good pilot, nor willing to go down the airline path. I have flow with very competent 300-400 hr pilots and fired 1500 hr ATP pilots for lack of skill and attitude.

SkyAware123 10
Same thing. It's the same everywhere though. I know phd computer scientists who can do shit and I know guys without any degrees who are geniuses.
Highflyer1950 3
Of course many of those 1,500 hr. folks were from India, Africa etc. who really only had 300-400 hours. It’s not a new idea, we used to see 3 students go up with an instructor years ago and after 3.5 hours come back and land…….all 3 had 3.5 hours in their logbook. Same with building time. Four would go up for 4 hours and on return they all had 4:00 in their logbooks as PIC?
jbermo 8
As a babyboomer, almost any and everyone wanted to be an airline pilot. Aviation advancements were coming fast, and the pilots of the breathtaking B-747 were admired as true gods. WWII had produced lots of pilots whose sons also wanted to follow in their dad's footsteps - and be a pilot.
Dave Mathes 6
...boomers of the world, UNITE!!...then
retire and call it a's 1700 hrs somewhere...
David Beattie -1
DracoVolantis 3
The pay was good back then, too, no?
jbermo 7
Times are changing - during the 70's when after Vietnam, you needed at least 3 lunar landings in your logbook to get a job with an airline.
Mike Mohle 5
I would join the airlines in a second (ATPMEL-3 TRs - 3500hrs.), except, no regionals are paying enough to start to allow me to take the huge pay cut required to start on rung 1 and still get up to full Captain pay at a major finally in 10-12 years before forced retirement takes place. Staying where I am (not flying except for singles for personal flying). I am sure there are a lot of other pilots in the same boat, not currently flying or happy in the 91/135 world making good $$.
zuluzuluzulu 5
The golden years of commercial aviation ended in the nineties. Now, it is a grind that may or may not pay well and you can be certain you will be laid of a couple times. You cant feed yourself or your family with passion alone.

I'll bet the next shortage news will be about flight attendants then aircraft mechanics.
Juan Jimenez 3
Who wants to fly for peanuts for years these days? Other countries pay much better and will help with work visas.
Eric Bowles 2
Why is anyone surprised? During the peak of Covid they were laying off pilots with experience. If they really want to bring pilots out of retirement, they have a list. Just put together the financial incentives that are required. My cousin was qualified for several planes when United laid him off in 2020. He could easily have worked for another 5 years or more.
Sidney Smith 2
The day I was parked in Wickenburg AZ and watched two sets of young pilots (Piper Arrow and a 172), land, taxi, tie down, get back in and start the engine, get out and walk away I knew we were in trouble.
SkyAware123 2
Shortage vs skills. Two completely different things.
Fraser MacPhee 3
This has been parroting for 6 years now. One might imagine 1500 reasons or even 140K of 141 reasons this is still in the news.
Roger Curtiss 2
I thought the 1500 hour regulation was an overkill response to a single incident. That opinion has not changed and now the industry is paying the price.
DonDengler 0
In this liberal society with dope legal in every state , no punishment for crimes committed, businesses short staffed , inflation out of control, More and more males especially have no desire to bring cooped up in a cubicle
Aka cockpit , to make a living. Flying is a passion. not a job. There is a shortage of passionate persons out there to fly.
David Tsai 2
It's too bad that you can't buy food and pay rent with passion.
jbermo 3
"Flying is a passion. not a job. There is a shortage of passionate persons out there to fly" Yes, that's how I see it as well.
Edward Bardes 3
Could it be that the hurdles required to reach airline pilot is also stymieing passion for flying, creating a feedback loop?
JR Lazar 1
the hurdles do weed out the passionate from the interested. just to get your private license takes determination and perseverance that few people have. to get to have to really want it.
With all respect I disagree, YES, flying is a passion, and there's no shortage of passionate persons, it is the high cost pf becoming a pilot is the problem. I grew up flying with my father, it is my love, my passions and after he passed - I was 14 - I was unable to make my dream come true, because it has always been a very expensive career. Nowadays, in a way, it is much easier as there are scholarships that help a lot.
SkyAware123 3
This is it. I have a friend who flies the regional airlines and when he started, the pay was incredibly bad. He said exactly that: He just loves flying. Luckily he worked his way up and now makes better money. But the reason is with todays attitude : pay me first, then I might perform. It used to be the opposite (which worked)
Robert Jennings 1
Perhaps US carriers should take a close look at Lufthansa's 'ab initio' training program in Phoenix - gets folks into the right seat in a jiffy - at about a third of the cost to the student. They're also hiring CFI's.
HP Baumeister 2
I believe they sold that to United…
Edward Bardes 1
I'm working towards an intermediate career as an electrician to pay for my flying lessons.
My father was a pilot in the 50s, and since then he was saying that there was a pilot shortage. Now it is worst due to the market, and it will not get any better.
M20ExecDriver 1
Never fear, the retirement age will be bumped up to 67 and those captains with multiple ex-wives, families,still paying for kids and child support will take up the slack.
Griff Griffin 1
I'll say this. There is a technology that everyone may become familiar with in just the next couple of years. It's called Medical Beds. Most pilots aren't aware enough to take me serious and believe me I flew for decades for a famous airline, but the Med Beds should make age requirement a thing of the past. That solves everyone's problem. Age/Health will no longer be a factor. And if the FAA will catch up to reality at that point those of us that were forced to retire will be back in the cockpits making pilot shortage easier to handle for the airlines. My opinion is the biggies need to look into this and buy a hospital full of the technology. Then call me.
Russ Nelson 1
There is no pilot shortage. There is a shortage of pilot pay.
SkyAware123 1
Aren't there airlines that pay for training in exchange for a x-year commitment to their airline? Seems to me like an easy solution. Pay back the loan over time for the student while he is employed.
john baugh 1
It's a horrible career choice even now. A better choice is to be a nurse practitioner or P.A. or CPA and travel for fun on your six figure salary while you are in your twenties. I have thirty FAA ratings and sign offs and it hasn't been worth it.
William Murray 1
It doesn't help to bring new young people into aviation that airports are securely fenced off from the public. It wasn't necessary before 9-11. With 9-11 in the distant past, it should no longer be necessary.
David Rice 4
You don't own an airplane, apparently.
DonDengler -1
Have a good day folks. Let’s focus on our real problems at home. The carriers will work out their own problems
srobak -5
but but but..... they are all vaxxed [sic]!!! and "very few" left because of the vax requirement [sic]!!! they promised this shortage wouldn't happen!
David Rice 0
Typical srobak response...being the personification of an "ID10T error". This pilot shortage was forecast and well known way before the pandemic hit. Looks like you're just getting up to speed, so we'll have to give you neophytes a pass on your level of understanding, or lack thereof.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

DracoVolantis 5
It's really funny how you do not realize how absolutely stupid and ridiculous you sound. Fascinating.
Juan Jimenez 3
You must be a special kind of stupid.
David Rice 1
Yes, D Rotten has illustrate


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