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Scary Numbers

Skyline

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I got these numbers from the AOPA web site.

All numbers are for fixed wing.

United States Total Pilots 600,575

ATP 139,157

Commercial 127,389

Private 250,150

Student 83,567

Instructor 85,865

There are over a quarter of a million certified professional grade pilots in the US for a handful of good positions. The number of active pilots over the years has remained relatively the same but the percentage of pilots who intend to go pro has gone up significantly over time. Of the private pilots I am sure that at least 70% are intending to make a career out of it. If you accept that assumption then there is a potential of 441,000 professional pilots out there, and that doesnt even take the military into consideration. I think there is around 44,000 active duty military pilots who don't show up since they don't have FAA certificates. CFI's have it the worst, there is a one to one ratio for students to CFI's in this counrty. Anyone who gets a CFI is nuts.

SkyHigh
 
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avbug

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I know instructors who stay busy and make a living at it. I flew with one a few days ago who quit his career job to instruct full time. He intends to do nothing other than instruct, and he does well at it. He instructs in some fairly specialized equipment, and has people flying internationally to stay with him and receive instruction. He's turning work away.

Statistics are very misleading.

As far as most private pilots going for a career in aviation, it's probably only a very, very low percentage. A lot of folks get their private and then hardly ever fly again...few seek any higher certification.

I keep resumes out all the time, because you never know when you'll need one. I get several interview offers a week when I keep after the resumes. So far this last week, three. The jobs are there, and you need to remember that not every certificated pilot is going to apply for every job. I even know of companies that can't seem to find pilots. Go figure.

Don't let the stats get you down. They're misleading, and if you look at them long enough, they lie.
 

GravityHater

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I thought total new pilot numbers were dropping over the decade.
I'm not so sure any of these numbers are at all related plight of pilots in any case.
 

Fly_Chick

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Yes, statistics can be misleading.

How is their information gathered on number of student pilots? Those with a medical and no private certificate? Over what time frame?

Also, as far as CFIs go, could the number perhaps include all people who have a CFI certificate - including those who do not currently instruct or let their CFI expire (maybe instructed in the past and moved on to another job - whether or not in aviation)? Again, time frame needs to be considered.

Where I instruct, small FBO, I currently have five private students and four instrument students, only one wants to pursue aviation as a career. The instrument students want their ratings so they can get places easier, and perhaps take off in a fog layer to get to VFR on top. The private students just have a dream to be able to fly.

Be careful of statistics.
 

A Squared

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Skyline said:
There are over a quarter of a million certified professional grade pilots in the US for a handful of good positions.
How many is "a handful" ? where do you get that number?

Skyline said:
Of the private pilots I am sure that at least 70% are intending to make a career out of it.
On what do you base that statement?
 

Skyline

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Stats

These are not statistics. They are facts as presented by AOPA. You can interpret them anyway you wish but there are almost 300,000 professional pilots already out there. There simply isn't room for the majority at the best employers. I disagree about your assumptions about the number of private pilots and pro careers. If I had more time I would pull the numbers from colleges in the US that have students in flight programs. I am sure that a large number are from there. As for CFI's most are probably on to better things and are staying current but it still is tuff to make anything out of a CFI in most areas of the country. If you are at a college program then 100% of grads will become a CFI that means that most will have to seek elsewhere for that first job. Is it tuff to make it outside of your home training airport. By estimating the number of good airline jobs at the best majors and averaging attrition over a 20 year cycle that means that an average of 2500 jobs are available every year on average. If there are at least 100,000 to 150,000 serious contenders that means that the odds are not good. If you like tomorrow I can present a detail of my estimates.

Skyline
 

Gutenberg

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At least we're not cleaning septic tanks, although from what I've seen on the discovery channel, the money is pretty good in that particular field. Gives the term "multi-whore" a whole new meaning.
 

avbug

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No, skyline. Those are stats. Meaningless stats. First, you make the assumption that there are three hundred thousand professional pilots because you added the number of ATPs to commercial pilots. If you stop and think about it before posting more on this, you'll realize that all ATP's are commercial...and many of us hold ATP-this, commercial-that. In other words, many of us are one and the same, from both lists. Further, a great many also hold private pilot privileges in something else, (eg, private pilot-balloon, etc). On that alone, those numbers go out the window.

Second, not all those pilots are working. Many of those certificates are for 60 and older, and many retired. Many have gone on to do other things. Others simply don't work.

The statistics you quoted are also wrong, because most working professional pilots have been or are currently holders of a flight instructor certificate. It's also axiomatic that most of the instructors who hold certificates do not teach, or if they do, it's very, very little.

You need to do a little more research.
 

Pedro

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Skyline said:
Of the private pilots I am sure that at least 70% are intending to make a career out of it.
Even if that 70% was accurate, you have to keep in mind that more than half give up half way or don't make it to a job because they are very lazy and/or think that they deserve a job.

Skyline said:
CFI's have it the worst, there is a one to one ratio for students to CFI's in this counrty. Anyone who gets a CFI is nuts.

SkyHigh
I was an instructor for 2 years, and even though I had a few slow months, for the most part I was working 7 days a week and had to turn students down.


Like someone said before in another thread, to make it in aviation you have to be very persistant, almost a fanatic,and a lot of people lack that kind of drive, some don't even have the initiative to look for work,they give up before it's over. That's why there's not really as much competition as it seems.
 

Immelman

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I hold a commercial cert and have never (nor attempted) to use it. Was a good goal to achieve. Someday I may use it, but probably not as my primary profession.

I know several other pilots at the local airport in the same boat...
 

ToiletDuck

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a group of about 5 guys got together and hired an instructor for full days to teach them all for their commercial rating just so they could save on insurance. Which btw how much does that make a diff i've never gone back to get renters ins. in awhile and have since recieved 3 new ratings. Does it really drop that much for the person or only really worth it if you're the aircraft owner?
 

Fly_Chick

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The facts presented by AOPA need to have some sort of support (timeframes, dates, breakdowns of each rating).

The colleges and universities have specific goals/marketing for their students. Keep in mind there are so many more FBOs that do flight training for the local folks.

Skyline said:
By estimating the number of good airline jobs at the best majors and averaging attrition over a 20 year cycle that means that an average of 2500 jobs are available every year on average.
Let us not forget all of the other flying jobs that are not 'airline'. Corporate, Cargo, Charter, Government.

Skyline said:
Is it tuff to make it outside of your home training airport.
I did all of my training elsewhere. I went in to a flight school with resume, smile, determination, committment all in hand, and have been very happy with my success as a CFI.

Pedro said:
Even if that 70% was accurate, you have to keep in mind that more than half give up half way or don't make it to a job because they are very lazy and/or think that they deserve a job.
Yes, it may be tough to make it elsewhere, yet I have seen countless resumes faxed in, no personal visit, no phone call. I have seen so many CFIs promising to work weekends and then never show up. CFIs can make their own breaks!

I just flew with a retired TWA pilot who said, "If you ever need primary instructors on the weekends, I would be available." The man does not currently instruct, yet kept his CFI current.
 

Pedro

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Fly_Chick said:
Yes, it may be tough to make it elsewhere, yet I have seen countless resumes faxed in, no personal visit, no phone call. I have seen so many CFIs promising to work weekends and then never show up. CFIs can make their own breaks!
That was my point. Are you trying topick a fight with me lady ;)
 

mattpilot

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"69% of all statistics are pulled straight ouf of the arse" - Science Journal

Hmm... i never knew that.
 

727gm

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I've only freelance instructed, and haven't been around the insular academy/university flight school industry, just flying club schools. But just from the students/pilots I've seen, the vast majority have no aspirations beyond getting a private - not even an instrument rating.

Most cannot afford the time and commitment it takes to pursue anything more - even if they have the dream, it remains only a dream. I think that, of the private pilots, most already have a career, and I wouldn't be surprised if more than half of them were over 45, and fly less than 25 hours per year. Come to think of it, this describes half the commercial-rated pilots I know. That knocks down the numbers significantly. Lies, d8mned lies, and statistics......

I think the vast majority of CFI's do not instruct at all, they just keep their certificate current, either for the odd BFR, or just in case they need it. The professional CFI's I know are very busy.
 
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Pedro

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Skyline said:
Most small airports try to protect the local boys. Sometimes you will have to be sneaky and brave. Many times I was pursued by airport managers a business owners and would have to switch airports for a while. I owned a Cessna 150 and lived in the back of my Toyota Tacoma. I would park the Tacoma under the wing of my Cessna and charge about 20/hr less than the local schools. I had no insurance and would do ground school at students homes. As a tip sometimes my students would let me shower and shave and would feed me lunch. I had a few students that would hire me for an entire week or two so I would fly out to their home airport and would live in thier laundry room while we worked on their rating.

Try direct mailings by looking up the names of flight students on Landings.com.

Skyline

This is the kind of drive I'm talking about!!
 
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