MY PILOT TRAINING
Unaware of the looming pilot shortage, I started my flight training back in 2009 with the Darling Downs Aero Club. Over the course of the next 18 months, I would attain the following achievements:
- Private Pilot License
- Night VFR Rating
- Constant Speed Endorsement
- Retractable Undercarraige
- Tailwheel Endorsement
- Commerical Pilot License
- Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating
- Turbine Endorsement
This came at a cost… around $75 000 AUD! It would go on to almost cost me my sanity when I chose to put it all on hold!
I learned three great lessons about the becoming a professional pilot:
- pilot training is expensive
- pilot training takes time
- timing matters
In the early stages of my training, I can recall discussions around the aero club’s lunch table of the looming ‘pilot shortage’ and thinking how timely my entry into the world of professional aviation was… and it was. Unfortunately for my aviation aspirations, it just didn’t fit the time in my life or circumstances with my family.
More recently I’ve noticed an increase in articles relating again to the now more pressing pilot shortage.
WHAT DOES ‘PILOT SHORTAGE’ MEAN ANYWAY?
As Michelle Segarra put simply in her article, “There’s a mandatory retirement age for pilots: 65. That time has come for a lot of them, says Gregory John, who runs Infinity Flight Group“. John goes on to say, “It’s estimated [that in] the next 10 years, half of all pilots will be retiring from major airlines”.
The stats in the US show that collectively United & American Airlines are hiring eight times the amount of pilots now, when compared to just five years ago! Here in Australia, the Chinese Government are going to great lengths to ensure their pilots are trained. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, “The Australian International Aviation College, which is being used to train Chinese pilots for the Communist party backed Hainan Airlines, is seeking to increase its flights in the airport from 2868 per year to 28,687 per year.”
Labor’s infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese has been quoted saying, “The problem is training enough Australian pilots to fulfil our domestic aviation needs… we need to make sure we can keep our planes in the air, you can’t train pilots in just a day or a week or a month.”
WHERE DO MAJOR AIRLINES FIND PILOTS?
In short, Regional Airlines. The major carriers will entice pilots from the regional airlines, which will in turn pull pilots out of General Aviation. This has a flow on effect forthe new breed of pilots coming through their training to start out in their new found flying career.
Foxnews made the following report regarding the situation in the U.S.
I thought the final comments regarding the blame game were interesting. One being the government causing the shortage due to over regulation, the other being laid on by the pilot’s union, claiming ‘airlines got themselves into this situation’… what are your thoughts?
So it would appear after just short of a decade after the lunch room banter it is actually happening. It’s taken a little longer than anticipated, but its happening. This makes me consider donning my Dave Clarks and hitting the skies. I have many friends that fly, surprisingly a number of them don’t any more. Reasons range from medical issues to work conditions and pay. Do you have the desire to fly for a profession? If so, now could be the right time to get into the left hand seat (right hand for choppers) and learn the skills of the professional pilot and become part of the solution to the pilot shortage.