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Why Is the Pilot Shortage Even a Myth?


Rotortramp
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I, like many of you, have heard the term "pilot shortage" at least somewhere while involved in aviation. While sure it is logical to think that Vietnam pilots will be retiring; it seems like it's always the cause of a continuous debate. Aren't there basic federal labor statistics (BLS?) concerning occupation and age? Perhaps these are extremely classified and I'm talking out of my ass, but it seems plausible that it could be a nice barometer to compare age and occupation to see the future of any industry.

 

I admittedly haven't tried to find this data past a few basic searches, but perhaps it'll inspire some thought amongst everyone.

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My understanding is that there IS a shortage. The problem is that the shortage is happening in the mid to high time pilot jobs. Getting to the mid to high time range is the hard part. We work in an industry that is extremely bottom-heavy. Getting the hours you need to get into where the job shortage is can be difficult, and very time consuming.

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My dad was in Vietnam at 18 as a grunt and is now pushing 70. I work part time for an owner/operator who was a UH1 Pilot in the Army as a young WO in the 1970's era of Vietnam and he is late 60's. So this "pilot shortage" isnt a factor in my opinion. And its definitley not keeping any Robbie drivers from getting jobs. Im not seeing hundreds of pilots flying around in their late 60's and early 70's to often. Sure, there are guy still out there from that era, but I would be willing to bet its hardly even measurable. Im sure there is a shortage of qualified pilots, but it doesnt have any thing to do with the tiny percentage of Vietnam pilots still in the business at 65-70yrs old.

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No shortage, never will be... even the idea of a shortage of "qualified pilots" is a farce. If there was any kind of shortage at any level, the pay would go up and unemployed pilots would be employed...

 

maybe there is a shortage or pilots willing to work for peanuts at the high experience level... but I even doubt that is really the case.

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No shortage, never will be... even the idea of a shortage of "qualified pilots" is a farce. If there was any kind of shortage at any level, the pay would go up and unemployed pilots would be employed...

 

maybe there is a shortage or pilots willing to work for peanuts at the high experience level... but I even doubt that is really the case.

 

Tell that to PHI. They seem to support the lack of qualified pilots theory pretty well. Hence the pay increase to try and motivate some lazy SIC's to get qualified captain, and to try and keep the captains they have to stay.

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ok, lets talk about what is mid to higher level of experience (based on PHI or air methods standards) Cause any of these companies can produce the pilots they need on the upper end... except when that's all they want is upper end. If there is no place for the low to mid (in my mind=1500-2500 TT) then the company is asking too much and paying too little, with little benefit in experience level. (of course that depends on what your 1500-2500 hours was spent doing.

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There are a lot of jobs looking for pilots with 2500-5000 hours of experience, and certain amounts of time in certain airframes. These companies are picky because they can't afford someone who is going to make a mistake. They want seasoned vets that have been doing the job for 20 years already. I see posts for a lot of jobs like that right here on this website. Entry level guys can't touch those jobs. Someone coming OUT of the GOM might qualify. That's the kind of shortage I was referring to. And it's not really a shortage in the sense that there is a huge void to fill. There's not. But there are jobs out there for those that qualify. The hard part is qualifying. Getting the job that will get you to the NEXT job (that will get you to the NEXT job... etc).

Edited by nightsta1ker
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No shortage, never will be... even the idea of a shortage of "qualified pilots" is a farce. If there was any kind of shortage at any level, the pay would go up and unemployed pilots would be employed...

 

maybe there is a shortage or pilots willing to work for peanuts at the high experience level... but I even doubt that is really the case.

 

f*ck'n aye bubba!

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The general trend is that everything and everyone is moving to bigger and more complicated helicopters. Years ago you could train in a Bell 47, and then fly the same- or similar aircraft for a living, doing Ag, moving people, filming, lifting, even EMS.

Nowadays you train in an R22, but all these other jobs are done in AS350s and up, even the good old 206 is on it's way out in the GOM. Reason? Customer demands, stricter regulations calling for turbine only, twin only, IFR only, contracts requiring the helicopter to be able to hover OGE at 9,000ft DA with half a ton on the hook "just because". Etc etc.

 

In my experience, there is a growing gap between the aircraft we train in and the aircraft used for most helicopter work.

That makes it harder for companies to hire a low time pilot, and it explains why there are so many vacancies for 3,000hr+ pilots, and very few for low timers.

Edited by lelebebbel
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My dad was in Vietnam at 18 as a grunt and is now pushing 70. I work part time for an owner/operator who was a UH1 Pilot in the Army as a young WO in the 1970's era of Vietnam and he is late 60's. So this "pilot shortage" isnt a factor in my opinion. And its definitley not keeping any Robbie drivers from getting jobs. Im not seeing hundreds of pilots flying around in their late 60's and early 70's to often. Sure, there are guy still out there from that era, but I would be willing to bet its hardly even measurable. Im sure there is a shortage of qualified pilots, but it doesnt have any thing to do with the tiny percentage of Vietnam pilots still in the business at 65-70yrs old.

 

My estimate is that almost half the pilots at the EMS program I work are fifty-plus years of age if not actual Vietnam-era vets.

 

Yes, there is a shortage of experienced pilots, and it will become more obvious in the next decade if fleet activity maintains or expands. If the fleet contracts, the economics of the resulting fleet will determine who continues in the seats. Some of us old guys will indulge our aviation addiction as long as we can get a seat. I'm not interested in riding the compensation roller coaster down from the present marginal level.

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There are PLENTY of localized and specific pilot shortages throughout the fixed wing and rotary wing industry.

 

The death of GA isn't going to help in the next decade as well. Who knows what that will mean. Hell, the foreign airlines are doing Ab-Initio training right into a 3rd pilot crew position. Some of those dudes have just a few hundred hours and they are "flying Airbuses". And sh*t training brings you things like AF447.

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Shortage of experienced pilots,...yeah right! How long are they going to continue to cram that BS down our throats?

 

One day thousands of operators will go out of business because there are no more pilots with 3000hrs tt/1500pic/1000turbine/500 in type, and all that will be left is robbie rangers flying photos in the 22 and tours in the 44!,...I can't wait! :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

The death of GA,...? :huh:

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Yes, GA is dying. Not as many students as there were even 10 years ago, fleet is old, costs are expensive. It's sad.

 

Don't mind me. I am bitter at the fact that the government effectively killed off a part of the economy.

Edited by akscott60
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The idea of a "shortage" still comes down to one thing in my mind.... underpaid.

If a company wants 3000+ or 5000+ with 500 in type etc.. those jobs should be paying 100K+, even 150+. This industry needs to make a change and it starts with the mentality of the newcomers..

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This industry needs to make a change and it starts with the mentality of the newcomers..

 

Are you refering to the fact that newbies aren't as gullible as we were, and are therefore less likely to buy into that pilot shortage BS, or are you refereing to the fact that they are so desperate to fly for a living that they will work for peanuts?

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