Where have all the pilots gone?

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Turd Ferguson

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Sounds too good to be true. For example, how long does it take you to get to that first year as a Captain? Is that once you finish the training or after 6 years of flying for peanuts?
Working for peanuts will be your choice and I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that. As I said, with a CFI certificate in hand billing 20 hrs a week at $50/hr is $1000 a week. I'm not even going to say what I was paid for my first CFI job. For someone that qualifies for a ATP-R they will only need ~800h total time to go work for an airline and I wouldn't take an airline job for less than $50k yr. Regional is <2yr upgrade to captain, again if you meet the requirements which means fly your @$$ off when you get there.
 

Little Scrapper

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For as long as man has been paid to work these issues have been around.

There's a minimum and a maximum and the people in charge of a company try to keep things in check through various methods and the workerbee is trying to get maximum pay for minimal effort as fast as they can.

Generally speaking, pay and success has more to do with personality type and internal drivers than anything else. Generally speaking negative type people have a life time of problems in every area and of course the opposite is true.

For the right person there's a ton of opportunity and money in literally a endless supply. There's a massive shortage of that type of person. They are in big demand and get paid accordingly...... Generally speaking.

Airlines are no different than plumbing. There's a ton of opportunity if you're willing mind, body and soul is willing to do go down the right path to achieve it.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Toobuilder and Unknown Target have nailed it--the costs of entry are too high, and the short- and medium-term payoffs are too low, relative to other potential careers. We like to laugh at kids who spend $100k on liberal arts degrees and wind up flipping burgers and pouring coffee, but when I was in the prime age for taking the civilian route to the airlines it was looking like exactly the same deal of $100k+ in expenses for years of low pay, plus the added "benefit" of being away from home for days at a time, sharing crash pads at hubs, etc. Stories abounded of regional pilots whose second jobs (delivering pizzas etc.) paid better than their airline job.
Fortunately low wages and poor schedule does not define one's whole career. Timing and other factors beyond the employees control can float or sink you but those people you laughed at are probably sitting comfortable right now. There's a DAL pilot that just upgraded to CA on the mad dog while he was still on probation. So not only will he not be delivering anymore pizza, he's got a pretty solid career locked up. Lot of the stories you hear about poor pilots are just that. I fly with a lot of engineers who would much rather fly airplanes than work for a living.
 

Turd Ferguson

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In feb he just signed a 20 year contract after the 3 year contract ended.
Not many corp jobs will do that. The last corporate gig I interviewed for about 10 yrs ago, I said I would need a 5 yr contract, min. While he laughed, the boss almost fell over backwards out of his chair. He berated me, "You'll never get anyone to sign off on that" so I left and went back to my 121 job where at least I had a......5 yr contract. Good thing cause the economy tanked about that time.
 

Pops

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My best job in my life was flying. One week I flew 76 hrs, got home and told my wife I didn't want to see an airplane for 3 weeks, after 2 good nights sleep, I was ready to go again. Hard, but I loved it.
Wish I was young again with all the opportunities out there. I would save every penny and get my rating and go into business for myself. I'm just wired that way, hate to work for someone else.
 

Pops

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Not many corp jobs will do that. The last corporate gig I interviewed for about 10 yrs ago, I said I would need a 5 yr contract, min. While he laughed, the boss almost fell over backwards out of his chair. He berated me, "You'll never get anyone to sign off on that" so I left and went back to my 121 job where at least I had a......5 yr contract. Good thing cause the economy tanked about that time.
I know, darn young whippersnapper, wish I was there at his age. I gave him his first flying lesson at 10 years old. Now when he gives me a bi-annual, he says " Pops, let me show you how it done" and I say "That will be the day pilgrim " . :)
 

Aerowerx

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That doesn't sound like the way I was raised. Yeah, many people my age and younger were brought up like that, but I also know plenty who were not.
I did not mean to imply that ALL kids in the last 50 years were raised like that. But there are enough of them to make a significant impact on our society.

Toobuilder and Unknown Target have nailed it--the costs of entry are too high, and the short- and medium-term payoffs are too low, relative to other potential careers. ....
Cost is relative to the time period being discussed. In the 1960s, how many "loafs of bread" would it cost to get a commercial license? How many "loafs of bread" does it cost today? And, to tie it into my previous statement, how many people would be committed enough to eat nothing but bread in order to pursue their goal?
 

Aviator168

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I don't know how smart you have to be in order to fly one of those big jets and make 300k a year. But I think you do have to be smarter than most and you have to spend a lot of money for training. By comparison, a recent college graduate with a right major can start with 100k job, and in 5 years and extra training, he will be getting a 500k package.
 

12notes

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I did not mean to imply that ALL kids in the last 50 years were raised like that. But there are enough of them to make a significant impact on our society.
As your parents generation said about your generation, as your grandparents generation said about your parents generations, etc. There has always been lazy, entitled people, and every generation has looked at the worst of the next and applied that example to a greater percentage of that generation than reality supports. The millenials will do the same to whatever is next.

Cost is relative to the time period being discussed. In the 1960s, how many "loafs of bread" would it cost to get a commercial license? How many "loafs of bread" does it cost today? And, to tie it into my previous statement, how many people would be committed enough to eat nothing but bread in order to pursue their goal?
I picked 1967 for no particular reason. A loaf of bread cost $0.22 in 1967, and $2.32 in 2017, 1050% of the 1967 price. The average inflation over that time period was 632%, so bread increased a bit more than average. I can't find a reliable source of avgas prices, but automobile fuel went from 33 cents to $2.49, 732%.

A Cessna 172 Skyhawk base price went from $12,750 to $369,000, 2890% of the 1967 price, over 4 times the average rate of inflation and nearly 3 times the rate of bread costs. It used to cost 58,000 loaves of bread and now costs 159,000 loaves of bread. 20 year old used 172s are bread-price equivalent to what a new 172 should cost. 30 year old used 172s are about what an average inflation adjusted new 172 should cost.

The price of a new plane isn't the primary driver of costs for a flight school, but is indicative of maintenance costs, which is a large part of the hourly rate. To rent a 1976 172M at my local airport will cost $75/hour dry or $110/hour wet. That's on the cheap end of the scale for renting 172s these days. What did it cost to rent a 40 year old plane in 1967? I've seen anecdotes of $12/hour to rent a new plane back then, the "old junker" from 1956 (11 years old) for $7.

I don't have data to support this, but flight school insurance is probably vastly more expensive now, if flight schools even carried insurance back then. I haven't found reliable historical data on flight instruction costs, but I think it's probably about the same, adjusted for inflation.
 

Unknown_Target

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I did not mean to imply that ALL kids in the last 50 years were raised like that. But there are enough of them to make a significant impact on our society.
Millenials didn't trash the oceans. Millenials didn't kick the bottom out of the American economy. Millenials didn't give away "participation trophies" to people. Millenials didn't encourage their kids to go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt - so much so that the entire generation has over $1 trillion in collective debt to the education system.

Not to say that if our generation's places were switched, we probably wouldn't have done the same. People are people, we probably would have. My point is that you should stop acting all high and mighty and actually accept that not only are millenials just as capable as your generation, your generation also made some mistakes.
 

Little Scrapper

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Moderators will probably shut this down if the generation bickering doesn't stop. This is actually a great intial topic from the OP, please stop. Some of us would like to keep reading good content.

There's a ton of opportunities, like Pop said. Let's start with that because opportunities are something everyone is interested in.
 

Unknown_Target

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I think the main discussion of this topic (staying on topic) can be broken down into two things:

1) does the shortage actually exist for super reals this time?

2) the odds may be good, but are the goods odd? I.e. There may be opportunity in the aviation field but what is the actual ROI of those opportunities and in what time frames?
 

Aerowerx

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My point is that you should stop acting all high and mighty and actually accept that not only are millenials just as capable as your generation, your generation also made some mistakes.
At what point did I act "high and mighty"? All I did was state, IMHO, a possible reason why there are not enough commercial pilots. My wife taught in a tech school for 11 years. She says there is a difference between those students under 25 (don't want to work) and those over 25. That is not generation bashing. That is stating a fact.

If the moderators want to shut this thread down, that is fine with me. I am done.
 

Unknown_Target

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Its because of how kids have been raised the last 50 years.

Everything is handed to them. They are not taught to be self sufficient. And they are not taught that the world is highly competitive and they have to work for what they want.

Remember all those "no-score" little league games? Everyone gets treated the same regardless of individual ability, so why try harder?
Here you go.

There, now we're both done. :)
 

Voidhawk9

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Don't forget how cyclical the industry is. I got my CFI ticket and started instructing at the peak, got into working for a major flight school, the stars were aligned, etc.. A couple of years later the peak had passed and gone over a cliff, and I was unemployed.
 

Himat

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Don't forget how cyclical the industry is. I got my CFI ticket and started instructing at the peak, got into working for a major flight school, the stars were aligned, etc.. A couple of years later the peak had passed and gone over a cliff, and I was unemployed.
There is the question, for how long will there be a shortage of pilots?
Will the demand peak in less time than the time to educate?
Above a ROV pilot station on an offshore construction wessel: «Divers are not paid more, just quicker».
 

jedi

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As long as I have been around airplanes, there have been stories about a shortage of commercial pilots. I’ve never seen any tangible evidence of it, though.


BJC
BJC,

Where were you in the 70s?

The business is cyclic and goes from shortage to surplus. Pay follows supply and demand rules of economics. Good pay now, relatively, because of shortage of qualified pilots. Shortage of qualified pilots because qualified requires 5 times more hours now than it did just a few years ago thanks to changing government regulations.

In another 5 years there will be a surplus of pilots.
 
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