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Pilot Shortage Is Here


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Most of us expected to instruct until we arrived at the next minimum required for advancement. Playing co-pilot for free on light commercial cargo hauling twins earned one invaluable experience along the path to the next level of the game too. Being granted access to airline operation with 250 hours was unheard of; that is a more recent phenomena.

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"My concern is that there's been nary a whisper from the folks in charge of administering aviation medicals as to how the implications of an increasing pilot age range will affect medical assessments."

Follow the money....

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WRT "Nary a whisper on the implications".

Let me simply say it would be more correct to say that there has been scant public expression of concern from the authorities on this topic. emphasis on "public".

As with so many other things, one should not equate lack of visible comment with lack of concern, especially with the current government. This is a divisive issue that pits public safety against personal rights. Unwinnable war.

Stroll over to any aviation forum where age of retirement has been discussed and watch what happens when someone floats the notion that perhaps pilot skills, cognition and reflexes do not last indefinitely. It normally takes just a handful of posts for the thread to erupt.

There will come a time for a brass-tacks discussion of the aging pilot, no matter how strong the feelings of one side or the other. Unfortunately, I feel it's going to take a negative stimulus.

All just my opinion.

Vs

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I ran into this letter a while ago. If memory serves, it was in the comments section of an online article about the pilot shortage...it was in response to another contributor. I don't agree with all the points but offer it for what it may be worth.

Personally, I find the TFW situation the hardest to swallow. Companies produce bogus job ads in order to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) so they can import foreign pilots. The ads are bogus in the sense that the company has no intention of hiring you (or me). They are used solely to justify a "shortage" of type rated pilots and obtain an LMO. In fact, in many cases, the foreign pilots are contracted prior to the ads even hitting the street. By the time this is all sorted out (and it will be) many seasoned pilots will have "moved on" and there will be a real shortage/experience gap. At present (as I see it) there is simply a shortage of guys willing to work for entry level wages... not to be confused with a shortage of pilots.

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I happen to be one of those highly experienced former airline captains who've flown all over the world and can't get a job in the USA for much over $20K per year so I just gave up. I now run my own business and fly recreational.

Basically I retired with 20 years left on a career and profession that literally is not worth my time.

You, like most pilots in America, missed the larger issue here. An airline captain is one of the only professions I know of where it is impossible for a highly experienced professional to make a lateral job move where his or her experience is relevant. No matter how much experience, qualifications and expertise a pilot has, he or she must start as an entry level co pilot at entry level wages whenever competing for a new job. This is universally true in the United States Airline industry. An unemployed airline pilot must start his or her career all over at the bottom.

This is an artificial limitation imposed by the airlines and the unions which effectively bypasses the free market forces of supply and demand and takes away the natural protections that it provides. An airline pilot cannot compete for pay and working conditions with the threat of working for the competition as almost any other professional employee can do. Mediocrity has become the goal.

The unions for a long time have clung to their own myths. The seniority system and union protection does not protect pilots from managerial pressure any better than the threat of those pilots leaving for the competition would under a free job market.

The only way pay will improve in this industry is to remove these artificial limitations and allow the free market to work as it does so well in other industries. Let the best companies compete for the best and most qualified pilots with the best pay and benefits in real time. This is the only way to force a level playing field.

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I, along with many others would agree Wolfhunter. For decades now many have 'quietly' lobbied for a plumber style form of unionism in which the pilot becomes his own business, a contractor if you will, but employable only through the association. Wawcon would be determined by the association and the individual could determine the type of type rating / position / term and location of employment he wanted. It would be great for pilots if they could escape service as a pawn within the competitive process.

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One problem with "contractors" is maintaining a level of training / airline standards. Also of course as a contractor you better make sure your contract covers all the items normally found in a 'Union Agreement". eg. expenses, paid time off, dead heading, etc etc etc. Something most folks would likely try to avoid in favour of working under a collective agreement.

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I'm just playing devil's advocate. I agree with you, but the reality is, there IS a lot of contractors out there now. I hope they are being properly compensated. And Training levels is another kettle of fish.

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  • 11 months later...

Jazz is working to overcome some of the possible shortage.

MRU Aviation students receive flying start to careers

by Kaitlin Lee

Posted Apr 26, 2016 6:47 am MDT

 

Mount Royal University is signing an agreement Tuesday that could fast track its aviation students into a job.

The deal being finalized at Springbank Airport will see every qualified grad get an interview with Jazz Airline.

It’s a continuation of the Jazz Aviation Pathway Program, in place since 2007.

MRU says according to the 2015 Boeing Pilot and Technical Outlook, more than 550,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed worldwide in the next two decades including 95,000 in North America alone.

The official signing takes place at 1 p.m.

Quote

Jazz adds Seneca flight instructors to its professional pilot ...

www.newswire.ca/.../jazz-adds-seneca-flight-instructors-to-its-profession...
Apr 5, 2016 - Jazz and Seneca have evolved the career pathway for student pilots to make the Jazz Aviation Pathway Program available to top Seneca flight ...

Jazz adds Western university to its professional pilot career ...

www.newswire.ca/.../jazz-adds-western-university-to-its-professional-pilo...
Apr 13, 2016 - The Award consists of a $3000 scholarship and an opportunity to participate in the Jazz Aviation Pathway Program selection process.

[PDF]Sault College News Release Jazz and Sault College ...

6 days ago - pilots with an agreement between the College and Jazz Aviation LP. ... Pathway Program ("Jazz APP") and Sault College's School of Aviation ...
www.senecacollege.ca/media/2016/2015-12-22.html?page=1
Dec 22, 2015 - "Investing in pathway programs like these is part of the reason Jazz has been identified as one of the top employers in Canada for young ...

Jazz and Sault College Pathway Agreement | KiSS 100.5 Soo

www.kisssoo.com/2016/04/.../jazz-and-sault-college-pathway-agreement/
Apr 19, 2016 - The airline's Jazz Aviation Pathway Program (“Jazz APP”) and Sault College's School of Aviation (Sault College) have collaborated and signed ...

Jazz and Sault College renew professional pilot career ...

finance.yahoo.com/.../jazz-sault-college-renew-professional-120000070....
Apr 19, 2016 - The Award consists of a $3000 scholarship and an opportunity to participate in the Jazz Aviation Pathway Program selection process.

 

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Does anyone want to try and explain the form of managerial logic that first moves to retire hundreds of Captains five or more years prior to their normal retirement date by offering financial inducements, offers cruise relief positions to hundreds more that aren't quite ready to go yet at the parent carrier and then works to replace all that experience with cadets and potentially premature upgrades?

Making this sort of move during a period when a shortage of qualified aviators exists seems like something of a questionable strategy on a number of fronts.

    

 

 

   

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59 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

Does anyone want to try and explain the form of managerial logic that first moves to retire hundreds of Captains five or more years prior to their normal retirement date by offering financial inducements, offers cruise relief positions to hundreds more that aren't quite ready to go yet at the parent carrier and then works to replace all that experience with cadets and potentially premature upgrades?

Making this sort of move during a period when a shortage of qualified aviators exists seems like something of a questionable strategy on a number of fronts.

    

 

 

   

The shortage of qualified pilots is becoming more and more real across the globe. Retirement age adjustment may be a solution for some airlines/countries. Japan Air has already increased theirs to 71. 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/opinion/sunday/plenty-of-passengers-but-where-are-the-pilots.html?referer=

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1 hour ago, DEFCON said:

Does anyone want to try and explain the form of managerial logic that first moves to retire hundreds of Captains five or more years prior to their normal retirement date by offering financial inducements, offers cruise relief positions to hundreds more that aren't quite ready to go yet at the parent carrier and then works to replace all that experience with cadets and potentially premature upgrades?

Making this sort of move during a period when a shortage of qualified aviators exists seems like something of a questionable strategy on a number of fronts.

    

 

 

   

I was not aware of that. Is there any online documentation regarding that? I assume you are talking about Jazz?  Regarding why, perhaps reacting to those who are still complaining about the jump to 65 and at the same time saving somemoney on annual salaries ......

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13 hours ago, st27 said:

And if the airlines will have trouble attracting pilots, corporate will really have to step up to the plate!  

seems it is working forJAZZ  BUT LIKELY NOT to the liking of all.

Quote

MRU partnership gives aviation students wing up on job search

Diploma students will be granted an interview with Jazz Aviation LP after graduation

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Pictured is Graham Woods, he's a Mount Royal University graduate and now a First Officer at Jazz Aviation LP.

Courtesy/ MRU

Pictured is Graham Woods, he's a Mount Royal University graduate and now a First Officer at Jazz Aviation LP.

By: Helen Pike Metro Published on Tue Apr 26 2016 06:41:00
 
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Mount Royal University aviation grads are soaring towards success as the school's partnership with Jazz Aviation LP lifts off.

Since 2007, MRU has partnered with the airline to give three of their best and brightest pilot students the chance to interview – a foot in the door that can shave five to 10 years off a pilot's career path on their way to fly commercial. This year the aviation pathways program is expanding and any grads who qualify with top grades will have the chance to interview.

"To get into a major airline like Jazz you need a minimum of 1,500 hours, so there's a big gap," said Leon Cygman, chair of Mount Royal’s Aviation department. "Usually they'll find a job at a smaller operator, usually in northern Canada. They do a lot of groundwork at low wages."

Cygman said they have proven MRU students can go directly from the classroom to the cockpit with the 250 hours they have at graduation.

Graham Woods graduated in 2015 and is already on his way to the driver seat. A first officer is typically the second pilot on an aircraft who reports to the captain.

"It's very quick, but it's what the pathways program between Jazz and Mount Royal is all about," Woods said. "It allows the development of young pilots through the guidance and mentorship of a professional airline."

Students are treated just like pilots coming off the street for an interview. They must meet certain qualifications, like having a 3.0 GPA, they go through the interview process, and, if all goes well; pass some tests before snagging a position.

"Jazz set the bar very high, but a lot of our students are meeting that bar," Cygman said. "It gives our students more motivation to do well."

 

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Reading some of the disparaging comments about "cadet programs" here, methinks a few have never been exposed to airline flightcrew-sourcing beyond the shores of North America. The practice is widespread, e.g.: BA "Cadet" Program?

My own experience with low-time, but well-trained F/O's happens to have been excellent. Haven't been part of an organized "Cadet" program, but I did fly with several low-00-hours pilots with DHL in Europe; also flew at norOntair with many excellent (if raw) pilots straight out of Sault College. Anecdotally, I simply cannot claim that these guys performed at any lesser level than new-to-us pilots with 000's of hours. Obviously, the experience bank-balance is low, but they brought a high degree of skill and book-knowledge, and professional attitudes to the job.

If suitably trained low-time pilots have disproportionately caused incident/accidents, I'd lke to see the data. There are plenty of booboos committed by high-timers, too. Is there any actual correlation, particularly controlled as much as possible for quality-of-training.

By-and-large, the rest of the world does not have as extensive and vibrant a sub-major-airline industry like we have here in NA, to afford the opportunity (or obligation) to work thru' a 'minor league' job. IAC, I've always thought that model was flawed. ALL air passengers deserve professional competent flightcrew, experienced in the left seat. That would require a model that values, in WAWCON's, ALL pilot positions, not really now the case.

Cheers, IFG :b:

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While Experience is invaluable, So to is a fresh mind.  I believe that complacency is more of a problem than inexperience.  Inexperience is mitigated through procedure and process, if one follows the SOPs properly then inexperience is leveled out. (Barring any unforseen circumstances, but chances are that those circumstances are new to the experienced as well).  complacency is an issue that creeps in, unnoticed over time and can be even worse than inexperience.

Cadet programs train pilots to a set standard and set of SOPs.  This provides the airline with a pilot that has the habits expected by the airline and bad habits are mitigated early in the career.  It appears to be a great success at Jazz.

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Complacency is a killer as Boestar has indicated, but we shouldn't forget the example the lack of experience and basic airmanship skills demonstrated in the AF 447 crash and other fairly recent mishaps.

I've listened to firsthand reports that tell a pretty damning story. For example, the FO should be competent enough to hand fly a visual approach without electronic assistance, or be experienced enough that they don't go to pieces when an engine quits in benign conditions, but that's not necessarily the reality out there.

Training, SOP's and habit are no replacement for experience. If the individual in the left seat is experienced and competent, but taken out of action during a dynamic emergency leaving the management of the aircraft & situation to a Cadet, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I wouldn't ever want to find myself in the back in those circumstances.

 

 

 

 

Edited by DEFCON
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EVERY pilot should have several hundred or even a couple of thousand, hand flown visual approaches and landings.  Heck I am a low time pilot and have several hundred of them.  Basic airmanship should be second nature by the time you hit the big leagues.

 

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12 minutes ago, boestar said:

EVERY pilot should have several hundred or even a couple of thousand, hand flown visual approaches and landings.  Heck I am a low time pilot and have several hundred of them.  Basic airmanship should be second nature by the time you hit the big leagues.

 

I can agree with you but based on recent accident reports where the large number of hours didn't save the flight, it would appear that automation is eroding skills and what is really needed is a planned (quota for a better term) practice of hands on even for those with thousands of hours in which a given percentage of current time must be in manual mode. Is that even possible with todays high degree of automation?

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I agree Boestar.

The young guy pictured in front of the Cessna is completely absent the experience and skillset you describe. At his experience level even retractable gear is a new concept, never mid high performance, speed, altitude and instrument approaches, but the uniform does make it look like he's qualified.

Malcolm's observation is spot on too and identifies another issue of competence the industry is unable to address. 

 

 

 

Edited by DEFCON
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Defcon, you have concluded "the young guy pictured in fron of the Cessna is completely absent the experience and skillset" .  Based on the following, if one concludes that sim training is valid, that may indeed not be the case:

Quote

Upon completion of the degree program, the Jazz Cadets undergo a comprehensive review and simulator evaluation at Jazz. Only Cadets meeting the qualification and hiring standards consistent with Jazz hiring policies will be offered employment opportunities.

 

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