by Стойкий мужик
1)The military was severely shrunken in size. The “normal pipeline” dried up
2) The costs for ab-initio private flying lessons to multi-engine commercial have gone vertical
3) Airline management was warned about this decades ago. Same did nothing to initiate training programs, job opportunities, co-ops with aviation colleges, they only went crying to the FAA
4) As a result, certain hours (experience) requirements have been eased but not by much.
5) The end result is that the US is going to have to outsource for pilots or play “catch-up” with universities, etc to fill the gaps.
I train pilots, formerly in part 121 ops for 20 years and now train part 91/135. The shortage is real. The number of hours to get a “first jet” job has diminished considerably, having just trained one fellow with 400 hours total time who worked his fanny off and had some difficulty in the sim but passed and is now certified as a SIC (“Second In Command”) for a part 91 operator. Sharp kid, but inexperienced.
The industry thought that due to the mass retirements of multi-thousand hour pilots from the airlines, forced by age restrictions, that there would be a flood of pilots wanting to go work for corporate/charter/private ownership operators. Nope. One of those in each class of 20 per month. Not a “flood” by any means.
As for the airlines, Lufthansa for decades has had an ab-initio program for qualified candidates to get initial, multi, commercial and Air Transport Pilot tickets in Goodyear. Arizona. The US carriers have never considered anything (cost). Admittedly, Lufthansa is government-subsidized by Germany.
But it is the considered opinion that lack of experience usually means more incidents and possible accidents which means more loss-of-life. Hasn’t happened yet but the other side of it is either airlines are going to have to ground much of their fleets, due to no one to fly them, go on a spending spree to get pilots trained to the federal standard or outsource to third world countries.
Once again, airline managers have painted themselves into a corner due to their inability to plan for the future, dealing only with the here-and-now.
It reflects a cultural deficiency where the people in charge/leadership are politically savvy but will not make the hard decisions or advocate for something badly needed in order to preserve their job. In some respects it’s understandable but is also cowardly…but again…perhaps the cowardice is understandable.