Where will we find tomorrow’s pilots? The military, long a provider of trained aviators, hasn’t produced sufficient numbers to satisfy the civil aviation demand for quite some time. It is the collegiate and private-academy flight-training programs that have taken up the slack and will continue to be the primary provider of pilots indefinitely.
Pilot certification in the United States
With the U.S. economy vacillating between recession and recovery for most of the year, no one was terribly surprised when the Department of Labor reported that unemployment figures climbed to nearly 6 percent in October. And as a wavering marketplace goes, so too does the use of business aircraft and hence the need for qualified professionals to staff them.
Ron flies a Gulfstream IV based at Dallas Love Field and he loves his job–most of the time. But the 42-year-old married father of two young children has found the on-demand culture of delivering teams of executives, who make decisions on a dime, is wreaking havoc with his family life.
The aviation industry has often been heavily focused on the requirement for new-hire pilots to have a college degree, that is up until the past few years when the supply of university-educated applicants began to evaporate. Since supply and demand dictated hiring more people without a college-level education, the industry looked toward high-school graduates who have worked their way up.
As all lawyers know, the letter and the spirit of regulations are two very different things. FAR Part 67 outlines the medical requirements for first-, second- and third-class medicals. The JAA’s JARs (Joint Aviation Requirements) resemble Part 67 in many ways, with the major difference a tighter focus on the specifics of the airman’s physical.
A growing number of aviation medical professionals are questioning pilots’ reliance on their required annual (or, in the case of first-class medicals, six-monthly) medical examinations as their primary source of personal health monitoring.
On March 29, 2001 a series of operational and instrument approach procedural errors led to the crash of N303GA, a Gulfstream III, just 2,400 ft short of the approach end of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE)’s Runway 15 while attempting to complete the VOR/DME C circling approach. Eighteen people, including three crewmembers lost their lives in the accident.
Even under ideal circumstances, hiring pilots for a corporate operation is arduous. But when there’s a shortage of qualified pilots, the situation becomes even more difficult. Add in a slumping economy and stir in a liberal measure of the September 11 turmoil that has planted hordes of airline pilots on the street looking for work, and the decision about whom to hire can be overwhelming to even diehard aviation department managers.
Two violations of the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) within a week last month prompted two general aviation organizations to remind pilots to refamiliarize themselves with the restricted airspace.
On March 5 the pilot of a King Air allegedly canceled IFR at 14,500 feet. He might have thought he was above Class B airspace and clear of restricted airspace, but the ADIZ extends up to 18,000 feet.
The FAA has outlined in a new information for operators (InFO 08008) the ICAO English language proficiency requirements, which took effect last month. The ICAO Annex 1 standards require all licensed pilots, as well as flight engineers and flight navigators operating internationally as required crewmembers, to hold an airman certificate with a language proficiency endorsement.