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New Pilots part of the past?
The state of pilot training will be impacted by the requirement of Congress to have 1500 hours and an ATP to fly for the regional airlines. With the passage of H.R. 3371 a disruption in the development of pilots will occur. We can’t sit and believe for a minute that this is a good law. The reaction to one single crash is not the answer to improve safety. Let’s be realistic, the pilot in command of the Colgan crash outside of Buffalo had over 3,000 hours and an ATP. The copilot had 774 hours flying time in the aircraft that crashed. Will agree that any and every crash is a tragedy, and we can learn and get better from those findings. However an increase of 6 times the experience to ever get hired by an airline is not the answer. Under current guidelines, you fly with an instructor until you solo. When that instructor deems you “ready” you go for a checkride with an FAA appointed examiner. The next level of progression for most is the Instrument rating. Again at the completion of that course of instruction you get a Checkride by an FAA examiner. If you continue to multi-engine and commercial ratings, that is two more Checkrides. Most pilots will have to get their CFI/CFII to continue to build time and experience due to cost. This system of building each rating, also builds flight time and experience. If you get to the let’s say 500-700 hour mark and get hired by a Regional Airline you go through more training and yet another checkride. My bottom line is that you are now a First Officer operating in the right seat of an aircraft. The First Officer for an airline is under the direct supervision of the highest qualification a pilot can earn..the ATP.
Maybe I am not understanding the concept of operations for Congress to require an ATP in the right seat? If the pilot in Command had an ATP and was ultimately responsible for the crew and aircraft, what would the second ATP have done different? From the right seat, you are NOT in command of the aircraft. You can not have two bosses in one cockpit!
The pilots attempting to become airline pilots of the future, must be at a very minimum questioning if it is even possible now. For a young pilot to make it to the 1500 hour experience level, even at a conservative $120.00 an hour..total cost will be $200,000.00. How many 20-25 year olds can obtain that type of funding, plus pay for college? Sallie Mae no longer does career training loans for flight training. The Post 9-11 GI bill will only pay for flight training in a college program. Even if you can do the college program your not going to make it past the commercial rating and 250 hours tops. I keep asking and searching for an answer to this question. I am currently doing a graduate paper on this very topic. I am testing out an idea that most will think is crazy. The funding of a pilot, through public donations. I know in today’s error of scams it most likely will not be received well. However after 25 years in the military, I have to try something. I am in the same boat as most..wanting to get more ratings to teach others the gift I was taught..flight. My website Fundapilot.com, is an attempt to gain donations to continue my ratings and pay it forward by teaching for free. If the student only has to pay for the rental of an aircraft cost can be reduced. If the website grows, it can be turned over to the likes of AOPA, for grants for others. Folks the world is changing, and the road to becoming a pilot is getting really steep. We can fill gaps with furloughed pilots for a while I agree. But when that pool dries up, obtaining 1500 hours will take time and money. I ask that you spread the word and concern. Congress has made another knee jerk reaction to a single event, a tragic event but none the less one event. The general Aviation voice must remain loud. If we get no new pilots, because of cost..the voice will grow silent….
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