For all the hungry young pilots that are excited about an aviation career but not very optimistic about the job market, please be advised the FAA has finally stepped forward to give you a boost. The long over-due FAA regulation revisions will result in a much-needed spike in pilot hiring in the next two years. The reduction from 16 to 13 hours of maximum duty time for domestic flights along with the reduction of the maximum flight time depending on the time of day that the duty period begins are going to create a need for thousands of extra pilots to fill those seats. The downside is that the airlines have been given another two years to adopt the new rules. The severely procrastinated legislation was a direct result of the airlines dragging their heels regarding the implementation time frame. Most pilots are not severely overworked unless they end up in the non-sked/ “freight dog” world of commercial aviation but the regional carriers have been working 16 hour duty days for far too long. Unfortunately, these young aspiring legacy airline pilots will still be trapped in a job that pays them a deplorably low salary.
Ridiculously enough, the FAA has said that pilots flying cargo-only aircraft will still be subject to the old and often draconian rules that result in tired pilots in the cockpit and a much higher accident/incident rate. On the bright side there are many factions amongst the movers-and-shakers of aviation that are attempting to inject some common sense into the situation and are attempting to have all commercial pilots operate under the new and more restrictive regulations. It should be concluded that the Boeing 747 filled with Jet Fuel and cargo will have the same effect on the school that it crashes into as would a passenger-filled 747. The FAAs’ buckling under to the special interest and lobbyists of K Street in Washington, DC is one of the great acts of unjustifiable hypocrisy in the history of aviation. I am hopeful that the aviation unions and cargo pilots will continue to scream and shout until the FAA relinquishes its unjustifiable position that undermines aviation safety.
Along with the thousands of additional pilots needed to solve this airline manning dilemma the rate of retirements amongst the legacy air carriers in the next few years will skyrocket. Furthermore, very few of the military pilots are leaving the security of their government jobs. More aviation employment upside is the burgeoning of commercial aviation in India and China and it is likely they will be seeking U.S. trained aviators. For elaboaration and confirmation please google the following phrase; “China recruits experiencd pilots from the U.S.-ABC News.” Cathay Pacific, Japan Air Lines and Korean Airlines have traditionally hired American pilots. Latin carriers such as Copa have been hiring American pilots in recent years. Bombardier, a large supplier of aircraft to the corporate jet set delivered 182 jets in 2011.
An aviation career is an adventure and unless you are an ex-naval aviator with carrier landing experience there are no certainties. For purposes of motivation I suggest that you read The Rogue Aviator: in the Back Alleys of Aviation by Ace Abbott (www.therogueaviator.com). While the book reveals some of the dark under-belly of the aviation world it also points out that an aviation career can be a lot of fun. Very few career pilots have ever said, “I sure wish I had taken that job selling insurance.”
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com)