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Need for Pilots
Old 02-19-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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Need for Pilots

In an earlier post on another thread I made mention of the need for pilots. Here is an article:

Boeing: Pilot & Technician Outlook

North America will need 85,000 commercial pilots in the next twenty years. Overall there will be a need for almost 500,000 pilots through out the world.

That is well in excess of what the military trains. I personally believe the way this problem will be solved, however, is reduction of the number of pilots in the cockpit. Drones will take over flight for UPS and similar carriers, and I think you will see one pilot in airliners. Unions will be the biggest hurdle, not technology. It took a long time for the airlines to get rid of flight engineers and three people in the cockpit.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:59 AM   #2
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It might be nice if they paid the commuter pilots a bit more as well. I guess that will come anyway if there is a shortage.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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I saw a scrawl on CNBC, presumably referencing this fact.

Higher airfares …

Already higher now than a couple of years ago for most international routes.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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My friend Todd started piloting passenger jets, then went into cargo, but complained about the crappy life it offered and the eroding pay. He and Suzie decided that brewing would be more fun! Boomer entrepreneurs bet nest eggs on dreams
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
North America will need 85,000 commercial pilots in the next twenty years. Overall there will be a need for almost 500,000 pilots through out the world.
What a surprise that at $20k annual salary there will be a shortage !

I'll bet at an annual salary of $150k that shortage woud evaporate.

- funny how that works
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:40 PM   #6
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Military nowadays only provides about 30% pilots for the airlines.
85000 commercial pilots over 20 years is only 4250 pilots per year.
FAA currently issues >5k ATP licenses annually: http://www.faa.gov/data_research/avi...a/08-air17.xls
Just raise the salary and they will come
But I agree with Rustic, that we'll see one pilot in the cockpit and later zero pilots in the cockpit in the future.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #7
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Commuter airlines are like baseball farm clubs. Their salaries have always been bad. When I left the AF in 1987, the airlines were hiring 43 yr old AF retirees and starting them at $35,000 a year. I was told that salary was bumped to $65,000 in about six months, and it took about three years to be at the airlines average salary. I never flew commercially, so I only have hear say evidence. That being said, pilots were restricted to about 80 hours a month flying time, the quoted salary does not include per diem, and I never heard a single one of the guys that left the AF complain.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:54 PM   #8
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There have always been articles about the upcoming pilot shortage. And there are always massive amounts of pilots that can't get a job that pays a living. One time around 1970 airlines actually worried about this, but ever since supply has far exceeded demand in the US. Overseas - a different story.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:40 PM   #9
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I am curious what the experienced pilots think about raising the required hours from 250 to 1500 (I believe) to fly commercially. I can see the need to require the Pilot in Command to have that number of hours, but a copilot on a little commuter plane.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:13 PM   #10
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A good friend is a pilot for a major airline ... the first 2 years he was not paid a living wage. Now he's making 6 figures. The rise is steep (per the union contract). Based on the stories he's told me I can say 2 people are needed in the cockpit.

Technology has made pilots glorified bus drivers until landing; then it's "show time" and too many pilots have become desensitized by all the technology.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:33 PM   #11
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If somebody will fly and land me safely, they're worth it.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:41 PM   #12
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Technology has made pilots glorified bus drivers until landing; then it's "show time" and too many pilots have become desensitized by all the technology.
I'd say technology has made commercial pilots "systems operators," with stick-and-rudder piloting skills being of reduced importance. The automated systems are not very hard to use, and that has significantly reduced pilot workload (and increased safety) during normal flight operations. On the other hand, the failure modes and non-obvious interdepedencies of the highly complex hardware and software bits can require a lot of skill to wade through when things start to go wrong. Skill, experience and judgement are critical when that happens. And, though it's rare, the world does still throw the occasional wild card out there when only a good pilot can make the difference.

This is one of many animations of US Airways Flt 1549's emergency and subsequent landing in the Hudson. Listen to the controllers offering suggestions to Capt Sullenberger. "We can get you in at LaGuardia." They considered Teterboro. Subsequent re-enactments in simulators (under ideal conditions) made it clear that any of these options would have resulted in failure, and that Sullenberger (lots of experience in gliders, USAF fighters, and airliners) made the right call.

Flight 1549: NTSB Re-Enactment
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:30 PM   #13
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I found this pretty wonderful quote by Capt Sullenberger.
Quote:
You’d be hard pressed to find a better summation of building your own expertise than the way Sullenberger to Katie Couric of NBC News:
One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.
It was interesting to note that both Capt Sullenburg and the 1st officer had about 3000 hours. The new FAA regulations require you to have 1,500 hours to be a copilot all this to get a jobs with a starting pay of 20-25K. I just wonder what type of people will be attracted to this career with the new requirements.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:45 PM   #14
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I have flown for the last 35 years, the next pilot shortage has always been just around the corner since then. The reality is it takes very little time to train a pilot and for most entry jobs the experiance levels are quite low.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:33 PM   #15
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Starting pilots at Major Airlines make more than $20,000 a year, unless you are talking about US Air.

Airline Pilot Salaries: How Much Does Your Captain Earn? - The Middle Seat Terminal - WSJ

On average, starting pay at major airlines is $36,283

I don't have a reference as to when airline pilots hit six figures, but I think it is around two years experience. However here is another reference:

https://www.pea.com/airline-pilot-salary/

So, a job starting at $25,000 to be at $125,000+ in ten years and only have to fly, personally I just can't call it work, no more than 1,000 a year sounds pretty good.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
Starting pilots at Major Airlines make more than $20,000 a year, unless you are talking about US Air.
But most people don't start at major airlines.
For several years they fly @ regionals at half of major airline pay.
So while the article provides first year F.O. salary as a reference, it should be called "fifth" year.
While many carriers are listing that you only need 1500TT/1000Turbo as basic requirement they are not hiring candidates with just minimums.
Spirit is at least listing closer to real value 4k TT minimum even for just applying.

Good data at AirlinePilotCentral.com

What is also recently interesting to me is that more major airlines hire only pilots with college degrees.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
I don't have a reference as to when airline pilots hit six figures, but I think it is around two years experience
That would be misleading. I would say third year FO at major would break 100k barrier. At a median age around 37 years old.

I was going to type long answer to it, but the post in yahoo answers covers same issues my pilot friends are talking about:
How much does it cost to become a commercial airline pilot? (total cost)? - Yahoo Answers

Quote:
Ben Dere Dun Dat answered 4 years ago

In the USA , the ATP rating requires a minimum of 1,500 flight hours and a host of other requirements. If you were to buy that amount of flight time, the cost would easily exceed $250,000. The majority of civilian pilots get a Commercial Pilot certificate and somewhere between 200 to 300 hours then get a job to build up the hours for an ATP certificate.

The most common entry-level flying job for "time building" is teaching others to fly, so it is recommended that you get the Flight Instructor (CFI), Instrument Instructor (CFII) and Multri-Engine Instructor (MEI) certificates. The cost for the private, instrument, commercial, multi-engine and the three instructor ratings averages somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on where you train and what you fly.

To work for an airline, a college degree is also recommended since 95% of all applicants for the major airlines hold at least a 4 year degree and for the Regional airlines 95% hold a 2 year degree or higher. Without a degree you won't be very competetive, so, add college costs to flight training. If you go to a State Community College, plan on spending a minimum of $5,000 per year and at least $6,000 for a State University for tuition. Add books, room and board and you're easily looking at a $100,000 investment. If you go to a private college, double that figure.

So lets say you've finished 4 years of college and have the Commercial Pilot certificate and the other ratings mentioned. You're now about 23 years old and and guess what? You won't be eligible for an airline job. Plan on working as a flight instructor or other entry-level job for 2-3 years making around $20k per year until you have enough experience to get your ATP rating. If you're lucky, after a year or three of instructing you'll then get hired by a regional airline or charter outfit, where you'll also earn around $20k per year to start. You'll probably spend at least 5 years, and more likely 10, at a Regional carrier or charter operator before you'll have the experience to get invited to interviews at the major airlines. If you're lucky, you'll be around 30-35 years old at that point. The median age of "new hires" at the majors is actually 34.

So in a nutshell, unless you're wealthy, very lucky and / or have friends in high places, plan on going into debt at least $100,000 for college and flight training, possibly $200,000 if you go to a private university, then put in about 10 years working lower-paid flying jobs before you'll get a shot at the big jets. I don't mean to discourage you, but that's pretty much the way it works for most people who do not become military pilots first. Only 40% of major airline pilots in the USA are civilian trained and half of all those who hold a commercial pilot certificate or ATP ever get hired by the "majors". It's a big, expensive gamble. I wish you luck and lots of patience.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:10 PM   #18
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We could both continue to search the web and find folks that support both of or sides. While I believe the figures quoted by the individual on Yahoo or accurate for his experience, I also think they are high, I.e. College at $100,000 in debt does not to relate to an in town, live at home student with two years of community college and two years at say university of Houston.

Be that as it may, even if it takes ten or twelve years to get to the high pay airline job, you still only fly 80 hours a month. I know between fifty and a hundred fifty airline pilots, and while they all came from the military I don't know a one that considers it work.

So yes I still think it is a great career path. However, if you read my post elsewhere you will see I think Air Force pilot for twenty years is the best, and then if you still want to work go to the airlines.

Nothing I say will change your mind, and that is fine, but I see further back and forth to be pointless.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:31 PM   #19
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Rustic,
I think we agree, that if you love flying, it's a decent way to earn a living after a while.
I just want to caution that it might not make sense from financial or ER point of view, because they are other jobs with greater "ER" trajectory.

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While I believe the figures quoted by the individual on Yahoo or accurate for his experience, I also think they are high, I.e. College at $100,000 in debt does not to relate to an in town, live at home student with two years of community college and two years at say university of Houston.
I think you misread his answer - he only uses $5k annually for college cost. 100k figure was total, including flight training.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:25 PM   #20
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Certainly gone are the glory days of being an airline pilot. There are definitely success stories, but over the past 10-15 years, there have been so many hurdles to go through and it takes a good deal of luck to get past most of those. Much of it has to do with timing. Those who were at the tail end of the last hiring frenzy from 97-2000 most likely experienced multiple furloughs, mergers, bankruptcies, pay cuts, etc; and it has not been a fun journey to say the least for most.

For example, I have a close friend who got hired by United in summer of 99. He, and I for that matter, thought he had won the lottery. By the summer of 02 he was pulling in about 125K, then his world fell apart. First furlough came in 2003, divorced shortly thereafter (very common given the stress and separation of the career), rehire in 2006, furloughed again in 2009, rehired again in 2012. Now he has been with United, a major airline where most are aspiring to, for about 15 years. Still right seat in a B737 with no upgrade to Captain in sight.

I have no doubt that the technologists will try to force pilots out of the cockpits in the future and call it progress. The technology already exists, they just have to sell it to the masses, or force it upon them. Either way, expect it to be here in the next 50 years, if not sooner.
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