Pilot Shortage Is Real and Getting Worse

Civil Air Patrol

Aggregated by AuxBeacon News

[Editor’s Note: We received this story from a CAP member in the Northeast Region. Thank you for your contribution. The U.S. Air Force recently approved $2.4 million additional funds to help the Civil Air Patrol recruit, retain and train new pilots and aircrew. The old timers know what happened during the NASCAR fiasco when the Air Force gave the CAP extra funds to promote and recruit cadets. Several million dollars mysteriously disappeared, the NASCAR idea went bust and in the end, the CAP had a big drop in membership. Currently, the CAP is having a very difficult time in retaining pilots and members, but yet the Air Force has entrusted our tax payer money with the CAP again. Will history repeat itself? AuxBeacon will be watching this very closely.]

Highly qualified flight crew are already in short supply as airlines around the world soak up the existing supply and fewer military pilots become available. That leaves the business aviation industry wondering how to attract corporate pilots.

Major forecasts recently released suggest the shortage has only just begun. Boeing’s 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook says aviation is looking at an “unprecedented” demand for 790,000 pilots over the next two decades and 754,000 new maintenance technicians. It also forecast a combined demand in the business aviation and helicopter sectors alone for 155,000 pilots and 132,000 maintenance technicians over the next 20 years.

Research firm Cowen & Company estimates that “more than 42% of active U.S. airline pilots at the biggest carriers will retire over the next 10 years, roughly 22,000 of them.”

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Maj Gen Mark Smith, CAP National Commander, and Margarita Mesones, Aviation Group director for Cadet Programs at National Headquarters, discuss the Cadet Lift Program with no enthusiasm.

1 Comment on "Pilot Shortage Is Real and Getting Worse"

  1. No! This would NOT be money well spent. CAP already has a problem with “good old boys” that join solely to find a cheap way to get some flying in, and some to find a cheaper way to get another rating (“cheap airplane and free CFI”).

    Their motivation has nothing to do with service to their community and country.

    I have to disagree. I’m in the Windy City area and am surrounded by aviation professionals and their common complaint is that we are not a serious aviation organization. We further the active aviation community only so far as to train mission pilots… hardly a skill recognized outside of CAP.

    While admirable, we should be extending the community in other, more recognizable ways and I can’t think of a better way than to help private pilots hone their skills to the point that they can get through a commercial rating. It helps the pilot who is now more likely to a safer pilot. It helps CAP by furthering the skills of it’s members who are now more likely to stay in the organization. It helps the aviation community by professionalizing it’s ranks.

    Certainly there is no fee, but instructors can’t drop everything and work for free all day… we have homes to pay for. This reality leads to a bit of self-selection of those who are serious enough to go through the formal process of obtaining flight releases and such. Our unit, for instance, has 8 pilots and no aircraft less than an hour away which leads to continued lack of flight status. A couple of out private pilot members would be far more likely to maintain flight status if they could take on the challenge of a commercial rating.

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