Posts Tagged ‘airline pilot training’

Foreign carriers offering lucrative contracts for U.S. pilots

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Due to booming economies and rapid expansion of commercial aviation, foreign airlines are offering lucrative contracts to combat a shortage of qualified pilots.

For pilots, or aspiring pilots, who won’t mind working overseas international airlines are in a bit of a bidding war.

With the consolidation of several U.S. carriers, the job market for airline pilots isn’t as attractive as it once was. Pilots face a long climb to the top and compensation along the way can pale in comparison to what foreign carriers are offering.

Due to booming economies in places like China, commercial aviation is rapidly expanding and facing a very real shortage of qualified pilots. This has resulted in foreign carriers offering signing bonuses, housing, and other attractive bonuses to experienced pilots.

A report from the Civil Aviation Administration of China indicates a need for more than 15,000 additional pilots by 2015. Since Chinese airlines are having a hard time filling the need domestically, they’re looking overseas to fill the need.

According to an industry analyst, these deals may not be as attractive to pilots at major U.S. carriers who are well compensated, but rather the large contingent of highly experienced regional airline pilots who feel limited by their prospects for advancement.

A first officer with plenty of experience may be waiting quite a while for a captain position at a U.S. airline, but in China the same first officer’s upgrade can come right away accompanied with twice the pay.

Pilots seeking overseas work can negotiate directly with the foreign airlines or through a recruitment service which matches pilots and airlines and handles the negotiations. Some of these companies currently have listings for hundreds of positions.

Deals like these are great for both pilots and foreign airlines as they provide lucrative contracts to pilots who are filling the needs of the airlines. Perhaps more importantly, they are also good for aspiring or furloughed airline pilots in the U.S. who could leverage these contracts to accelerate their domestic job prospects.

Flight training in the U.S. is still more affordable and quicker than in other countries, but pilots’ job prospects are often weakened by lack of experience in larger jets. Since many foreign airlines are offering to pay for type ratings, many U.S. pilots will see an increased demand for their skills back home after only a brief contract overseas.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.

Sources:

U.S. pilots find high demand, high pay overseas

China Lures U.S. Pilots Tired of 14-Year Wait for Airline Captain’s Seat

This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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Thousands of Airline Pilots Jobs Worldwide

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

As Asia’s demand for air travel grows, so does its need for pilots.  With the purchase hundreds of new commercial aircraft, Asia’s demand for new pilots is so great, they are looking for experienced U.S. Pilots to fill the gap.  And, Asia is willing to pay them in upwards of $200,000 per year.

According to the report by CNN, Asia predicts a shortage of 9,000 pilots per year through the year 2030.  There are a number of reasons for such a drastic shortage.  First, it takes about two years to simply start a flight school in Asia.  That problem is compounded by the fact that there are only twelve (12) flight schools in Asia where there are 240 million people.  Additionally, if you add in the amount of time it takes to become a qualified commercial pilot, with experience, you can begin to see why Asia is looking to the U.S. for experienced pilots.

But what does this mean for the younger U.S. pilots who want jobs with a U.S. carriers?  It means jobs opening may increase over time as some of the more experienced pilots opt for going the Asian route.  Good news for everybody who wants to be a pilot.

Check out Aviation Schools Online for the most comprehensive directory of professional pilot training programs on the web.

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University to Close Aviation Program

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The program currently has 7 Piper Arrows used in training for commercial ratings.

After the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, the University of Illinois will no longer have an aviation program. In a 6-2 vote on July 21st, the university’s Board of Trustees elected to close their Institute of Aviation.

The institute has a long history, stretching from as far back as 1946, of graduating pilots for the airlines, aviation industry, and government. The Civil Aeronautics Authority (the pre-FAA era government overseeing aviation) issued the program the first airman pilot examining agency certificate on May 29, 1950.

The July 21st vote to shut down the program is a part of a package of cost-cutting measures designed to help balance the school budget. The decision is not without controversy, however, as it opposes a faculty senate decision not to shut down the program. Unfortunately, proposed savings of $500,000 to $750,000 a year from closing the program coupled with declining enrollment has overshadowed the institute’s graduation rate. The only hope for the program seems to be the Illinois Board of Higher Education, who must approve the closure, or some out of the box thinking.

Program supporters are currently investigating methods to allow the institute to continue offering flight-training opportunity. Specifically, supporters are currently seeking out other schools who might have interest in establishing flight training programs and discussing ways the institute can support those initiatives.

According to the program’s chief pilot, 160 students had enrolled in program courses for the spring. She indicated that the program seems to have fallen out of favor rather than become unviable. The program director quit five years ago and no replacement has been hired. Instead, there have been persistent rumors of the program’s imminent closure which certainly had an effect on the enrollment numbers.

Despite their size, the smallest program on the Urbana-Champaign campus, the program has graduated a number of very successful graduates currently working in all areas of the aviation industry. Their training fleet, which includes 18 Piper Archers, seven Piper Arrows, three Piper Seminoles, and two Cessna 152s. With only one aircraft with a glass cockpit, this is hardly an excessively costly fleet considering the level of enrollment.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or search our listings by country, city, state/province, or zip code for a flight training school near you.

Source: University of Illinois aviation program to close
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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FAA: The Aviation Industry Is Positioned for Growth

Friday, March 11th, 2011
Horizon Airlines DHC-8-402Q

The aviation industry is set to grow says the Federal Aviation Administration - Horizon Airlines DHC-8-402Q

Unemployment, deteriorating assets, reduced travel accounts and budget conscious consumers may have contributed to the economic downswing, but long-term, the aviation industry is set to grow says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

According to FAA Administrator Randy Babbit, changes are expected over the next several years due to rapid growth of international markets and large airports. In addition, the departure of smaller regional jets is anticipated with the continuing trend of larger regional jets to replace the fleet.

The FAA has pushed back, the announcement in the FAA Aerospace Forecast Fiscal Years 2011-2031, for one billion passenger flights to occur in the year 2021 to 2023. In spite of a reduction in passengers, air travel remains valuable to the public over the long-term.

Even during this period of economic recovery, environmental issues, fuel prices, declines in general aviation (GA) aircraft shipments for a third year running and major economic impact on the business jet market warrants caution over the forecast.

Economic maturity is encouraging growth in business aviation over the long-term. An anticipated increase in GA hours is at an average of 2.5 percent annually through the year 2030 in conjunction with a growing fleet. Stability depends on continuing growth in advanced productivity, the labor force and capital shares.

The average growth rate of commercial aircraft is forecast at 150 aircraft or 1.8 percent annually from 2009 to 2030. The number of mainline carrier passenger jets is forecast to increase by 40 aircraft in 2011 since decreasing by 17 aircraft in 2010 and 129 aircraft in 2009. This increase will average 85 aircraft annually from 2010-2030. The FAA is confident in strong growth in the active GA fleet. This may be due to product offerings, business jet aircraft demands, foreign demand and importance of corporate safety and security measures.

The conversion of the United States aviation system from radar to satellite-based systems, through the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), helps passengers reach their destinations faster and safer with increased capacity. “We are already seeing the tangible safety and efficiency benefits of NextGen,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “Only a modernized air transportation system will be able to keep up with our forecasted demand.”

After implementing NextGen throughout their network, Southwest Airlines estimates a savings of $60 million on fuel costs. This advanced technology benefits all by reducing noise, fuel, delays and emissions.

Sources:

http://www.ainonline.com/
http://www.faa.gov/ (pdf download)

Author Bio:

Bethany Harris is a freelance writer whose work appears in online publications such as Compuquotes, MadeMan, Clariity and others. She writes for commercial and private clients on various topics that include insurance, health conditions, safety, education, legal, and business. Harris holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Communications and a diploma in Human Relations & Public Speaking. Contact her at http://sundryrum.webs.com/about.htm

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Flight Training Costs Creating Pilot Shortage

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Market forecasts indicate skyrocketing demand for pilots in the next few years, but funding issues are grounding many would-be pilots. Photo courtesy Brandon Farris, Copyright 2011.

In spite of forecasts indicating skyrocketing demand for pilots in the next few years, flight training providers can’t find enough student pilots to keep the doors open. This begs the question, “why aren’t people signing up to fly?” The primary hurdle, or barrier to entry if you will, is a near complete lack of funding options for future career pilots.

While the profession isn’t as glorious as the old stereotype, being paid to fly is still a dream job. Pilots don’t have as many days off or make as much money as their neighbors think they do, but it’s all worth it for the view. Unfortunately, getting into the left seat of an airliner requires a set of demanding and varied skills that can cost a pretty penny to learn… money that many potential pilot trainees just don’t have.

When you consider the sheer amount of knowledge and skills required to be a proficient pilot – things like managing ever more complicated technology, knowing how to keep the plane in the air, and playing part-time meteorologist – flying can start to look daunting to say the least. Throw in that the cost to have the privilege of trying to make your brain explode by trying to cram in all that information is more than $75,000 and suddenly accounting is starting to look pretty attractive as a career.

The truth is, flight training is difficult and expensive, but it is worth it and there is always a way to make it happen. There are training programs available that meet the needs of nearly every aspiring aviator, but the relatively sparse funding programs are creating a shortage of full-time pilot trainees in favor of students taking a more part-time approach. These students typically take about twice as long to complete a standard ATP program of study compared to full-time students, but by stretching the costs out over a longer period of time they also typically graduate with less debt.

According to figures in Boeing’s Market Outlook for 2010 the aviation industry worldwide will require an average of 23,300 new pilots per year over the next two decades in order to cope with pilot retirements and fleet growth. While a significant portion of this expansion of the worldwide aviation market is very attractive for aircraft manufacturers and potential pilots, US-based pilots have even more going for them. In 2007, FAA pushed back the mandatory retirement age to 65 in order to cope with a similar potential shortage. While this has led to a number of furloughs among younger pilots in the short term, within the next five years nearly two out of every three pilots are facing retirement. Given such an excellent potential job market, this makes the training situation even more problematic for would-be pilots, airlines, and even aircraft manufacturers. Funding troubles aside, one thing is certain – now is the best time to start training if you have the funding.

For more information on flight training and choosing a school, click here.

Source: Cost blamed as training lags pilot demand
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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WMU College Of Aviation Donates $50,000 Flight Simulator

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Boeing 737 take off

Flight Simulator to help pilots prepare for airline careers - New GI Bill benefits flight training - image copyright and all rights reserved by Brandon Farris

Western Michigan University flight training technology will now help students at West Michigan Aviation Academy. Western Michigan University donated a flight simulator to West Michigan Aviation Academy as a part of a continued partnership between both schools.

WMU offers what is considered one of the top college-level aviation programs in the United States. WMAA became the first, and so far only, public aviation charter high school in the U.S. The school initiated classes last fall and is currently enrolling for this fall.

The simulator WMU provided has an estimated value of $50,000. The device arrived at WMAA Tuesday at the school’s location by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. On Wednesday Lennox Ramsey, a 16 year-old student at the school, demonstrated the flight simulator with instructor Keith Sutherland.

WMAA School Board President Dick DeVos welcomes the new flight simulator feeling that students will benefit the chance to “sharpen skills” needed to prepare for a career in aviation. Dave Powell, Dean of WMU College, announced plans to continue to work with WMAA as they grow and help produce a new generation of aviation professionals.

DeVos sees the simulator as an important part of the school’s training process, saying that it will have “tremendous educational use” and help students experience simulated real-world situations that will take the training out of textbooks and allow aviation concepts to be seen first-hand.

Patrick J. Cwayna, WMAA CEO, sees the addition of the flight simulator as a way of increasing the profile of the school and helping its students to attain a well-rounded education with tools that will lead to success. WMU uses the same type of simulator in its classrooms and feels the addition of such a simulator at WMMA will have a “real impact.”

The simulator teaches students how to operate a Cirrus SR20 plane, which is part of WMU’s aviation fleet. The academy already uses another simulator that serves to give students a basic idea of how a plane operates and how to handle typical operations.

The main difference between the existing simulator the school has and the one acquired from WMU is that the new simulator has real instruments and offers more of a hands-on approach to students. Western Michigan plans to bring part of their fleet to WMAA this summer, which will give students a chance to practice and hone their skills in a real plane.

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Wisconsin College Adds Aviation Minor

Friday, January 14th, 2011
Pilatus PC-12

Photo courtesy of Brandon Farris, copyright 2011, http://www.flickr.com/photos/seahawks7757/

A small, liberal arts college in Wisconsin, Lakeland College, recently announced plans to launch a four-year undergraduate minor in aviation.

The program will begin in the fall semester and consists of 31 credit hours of work. The required course work includes ground school classroom instruction and flight instruction at Sheboygan County Memorial Airport or Austin Straubel International Airport.

Lakeland and Frontline Aviation, based in Green Bay, partnered to create the program, which is the first of its kind in Wisconsin. While the partnership does come at a down time, experts are predicting an upswing in aviation jobs for which graduates of such programs will be perfectly positioned. The program at Lakeland is designed to provide students with the education and flying skills required for those jobs. The program is also designed to allow area students to obtain their pilot ratings and a four-year degree without having to endure transferring from a smaller two-year school.

The commercial aviation sector has seen more than its share of job loss and pay cuts recently with pilots losing out in major airline mergers and flight schools closing because of rising insurance and training costs in the face of a reduction in applicants who can afford flight training. Fortunately, industry experts see light on the horizon. They are calling for a shortage of pilots in the next few years as the federally-mandated retirement catches up with many airline pilots.

Additionally, niche pilot careers like corporate charters or law enforcement aviation are starting to get more attention from schools. By combining a four-year degree in criminal justice and flight training, a student would be well positioned to pilot aircraft for a law enforcement agency like U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Unfortunately, cost is going to play a huge role in deciding the viability of the new program. Lakeland officials estimate that students will have to pay $27,000 for the program, which takes them up to their flight instructor certificate. Most of the program costs go to pay for aircraft rental which is about $125 per hour at Frontline Aviation.

The bottom line is that Lakeland students now have one of the most affordable flight training programs at their disposal. They will graduate with a four-year degree ready to move into a flight instructing or entry-level commercial flying job. Within a short amount of time they could be well on their way to an ATP rating and the right seat of a commercial airliner as hiring increases at the airlines.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or compare flight training in Wisconsin.

Source:Undergrads earn degrees and wings
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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US Aviation Group and Tarrant County College Sign Agreement

Friday, December 17th, 2010

US Aviation Group and Tarrant County College have established an accredited flight training program at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas.

US Aviation Group(USAG), based out of Denton, Texas, has entered into an agreement with Tarrant County College (TCC) establishing access to USAG’s Part 141 flight training for TCC students. The two organizations will operate an accredited flight training program via a Learning Center established at Alliance Airport (AFW), in Fort Worth.

TCC students will be able to apply available financial aid, including GI Bill benefits and Pell Grants, to help pay for enrollment in USAG’s Professional Pilot Program. Upon completion of the program, students can expect to hold a multi-engine commercial rating and have passed the written exam for their ATP certificate. Additionally, the students can undertake coursework at TCC for a two-year degree in aviation and transfer to a university to complete their four-year degree.

This program sprang from an idea put forth by the North Central Council of Governments to provide a way for students to receive flight training locally. According to Floyd Curtis, Dean of Business, Technology and Transportation at TCC, the college latched onto the idea and began investigating Part 141 flight training providers in North Texas, where they discovered USAG. TCC was pleased with the success of USAG’s flight training program and both parties began negotiations to create the current program.

USAG is expecting “rapid growth and a high success rate” of students in the program. They currently conduct flight training at Denton and Hondo Municipal Airports, but will gradually expand operations to AFW as TCC students enroll for flight training. According to the President of USAG, Mike Sykes, within five years the U.S. airline industry can expect to see a critical shortage of qualified pilots as the numbers of older pilots reaching mandatory retirements out pace the numbers of new pilots. Despite current conditions at some airlines, now is the best time to begin flight training in order to best capitalize on the impending shortage.

For more information on US Aviation Group see our featured schools page for US Flight Academy in Denton, TX.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.

Source: US Aviation pens agreement with college
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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Flight Training: New Law Should Focus on Quality not Quantity

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

A new aviation safety bill seeks to correct issues with current practices at regional airlines.

Most would argue that aviation safety should be a priority for everyone involved. As far as airline travel is concerned this generally rings true from the cockpit to the boardroom, but after a tragic crash, some questions were raised about the airline industry sparking the first comprehensive aviation safety bill to pass Congress in the last 20 years. The bill, now in the rule-making phase, has seemingly come under fire from all sides. The bill, known as the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 includes provisions requiring airlines to hire more experienced pilots by requiring all pilots to have ATP ratings and requiring the FAA to establish regulations on pilot fatigue and a system by which airlines can more easily verify applicants training records.

Most of these provisions can be traced directly to the crash of Colgan Airlines Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York in February 2009. The tragedy of Flight 3407 exposed some of the darkest corners of the airline business and launched regional partners of major carriers, like Colgan a regional partner of Continental Airlines, into the spotlight. The NTSB report cited pilot error and fatigue as the causes of the fifty fatality crash. In direct contrast to success of US Airways Pilots in the “Miracle on the Hudson,” as it is often called, the Colgan pilots, having little experience with bad weather and fatigued after long commutes, flew into icing and lost control of the aircraft on approach.

In the resulting investigation a number of questions arose about the practices of regional airlines and the qualifications of the people behind the cockpit door. Major airlines, such as US Airways and Continental Airlines, typically hire pilots that have an ATP rating and more than 1500 hours of flight time and training. Regional carriers like Colgan, often seen as a step toward a major carrier, typically hire pilots with little more than a Commercial Pilot Certificate and 250 hours. That’s a huge difference when you consider that regionals handle more than 50 percent of all airline traffic.

This increase of more than 80 percent in required flight time has recently been called into question by and advisory panel. The panel, which is composed of individuals from the aviation industry at large, indicated that the requirement could be lowered by as much as two-thirds without compromising aviation safety. Unfortunately, while the proposal has merit, the families of those lost in the Buffalo crash have been sold a magic bullet by their representatives who are pushing hard to keep the 1500 hour requirement intact.

It is important to point out that both sides of this argument can see their goals met by a compromise, but this is unlikely given the state of negotiations. The goal of the Flight 3407 families to provide “one level of safety” really has very little to do with the amount of training versus quality. After all, the Colgan pilots would likely have performed similarly with 1500 hours of plain vanilla straight and level flight instead of specific training on flight in icing conditions. The fact is, the bill does not appropriately address the quality of training, because more specific training, such as in depth training on flight in icing, will increase pilot skill more than a generic 1500 flight hour requirement.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.

Source: Panel Recommends Cutting Training Hours from 1500 to 500
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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Perks of Learning to Fly are Greater than the Expenses

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

A pilot certificate is the key to many life changing experiences.

Flight training at Dodge County Airport outside Juneau, Wisconsin was the star of a recent article, some much needed good press for learning to fly.

According to the article, the perks of flying are greater than the costs. Chief among the perks is the scenic and transcendental nature of flights. From birds and familiar landmarks, to the idyllic fall flight to see the colors, there nothing like flying to show you the beauty all around. The sense of solitude available to pilots creates a transcendental experience unparalleled by anything available on the ground.

According to the general manager of Wisconsin Aviation, Tim Bentheimer, they offer flight instruction for a number of ratings and certificates at the Dodge County Airport. The school has a private pilot ground school starting January 13.

Bentheimer also addresses the issue of the decaying population of new pilots. Citing AOPA, he indicates a decline in private pilot certificates issued from 2009 to 2010 of a third. Worse, while the number of medical certificates issued remained the same, the number of student pilots issued medical certificates who completed their training declined by more than a third over the same period.

According to Bentheimer and Glen Ingram, a flight instructor, cost and time commitments required by flight training can be excessive if only considered on the surface. With the cost of a private pilot certificate hovering at just about $8,000, flight training can be a difficult sale. According to Ingram, it is important to attend lessons regularly. The reaction most people have is to string out lessons and spread out the impact of costs, but this usually leads to an increase in costs because the lessons become less efficient.

One thing virtually all pilots can agree on is that the perks of learning to fly greatly outweigh the expense. Considering the freedom of being able to go anywhere and do almost anything, $8000 dollars seems like a deal. If you aren’t keen on the freedom or scenery, maybe you’re not a fan of the new TSA regulations for commercial flying, good news, the same $8000 dollars gets you out of the security lines and into the air.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.

Source: Flying High: Local lessons allow all to find their wings
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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