The Sky is not Falling; there is Hope for a New Generation of Pilots who meets the New Restrictive FAA Requirements

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The discussion around Washington, particularly in the regional airline world, has been most discouraging about their future ability to hire and train pilots. The tone, if you read the cockpit blogs, has been even more depressing—no one will want to go through the gauntlet to attain an ATP and then endure the ennui associated with the entry level positions. Other higher level debate was as to how anyone could devise training programs that would attract the future manipulators of the controls.

The above three articles appearing in London, Miami and Bismarck, ND (a truly random geographical sample of the globe) break the miasma surrounding the future of pilots. The theme of the “sky is falling” may now reflect that “there may be light at the end of the tunnel”.

British Airways, in cooperation with its partner Walt Disney Films (whose “Planes” movie inspired this survey), initiated a poll among British youth about their choice of future careers. Instead of being a negative option, pilots came in as the 2nd preferred profession, behind the players of the nation’s sports passion- footballers. Maybe the kids are unaware of the hurdles which they must clear, but the poll makes it clear that the cockpit is still on their radar screen.

The news from Miami is equally positive. A Japanese airline, ANA, decided to buy, that is invest in, the Pan Am International Flight Academy. It is axiomatic that companies from that country make sound investment and are likely to try to innovate. That is a signal that pilot training can be well managed.

The third positive harbinger comes from North Dakota. The state University (thanks to Senator Andrews’ judicious leadership of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee) has a great aviation infrastructure, leading academic curriculum and exceptional faculty. Not surprisingly, the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences was the first academic institution to receive the FAA imprimatur for its pilot graduates.

Bruce Smith, dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, said:

“The approval by the FAA for our graduates to be eligible for an ATP at a 1,000 hours–instead of 1,500–is a clear statement about the quality of our commercial aviation program. To be the first designated is a reflection on the long-term reputation of our graduates in the airline industry.”

UND had to apply for special FAA authorization and it was able to justify the reduction in hours.

From three different venues, triplicate messages that aviation with some thought and effort can overcome the standard which heretofore was thought to be insurmountable.

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1 Comment on "The Sky is not Falling; there is Hope for a New Generation of Pilots who meets the New Restrictive FAA Requirements"

  1. A4A: Airlines adequately staffed, no pilot shortages expected
    Boeing has forecast demand for 498,000 additional pilots by 2032, as well as demand for 556,000 more maintenance technicians. Airlines for America spokeswoman Katie Connell said airlines will be adequately staffed and no pilot shortages are expected. “Long-term projections about pilot hiring are inherently subjective as they are based on assumptions about airline growth that have often proved to be faulty,” she says. “We expect the major commercial airlines will be appropriately staffed, and are not expecting any shortage within the next few years.” USA Today/Today in the Sky blog (8/29),

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