Now, the shortage is picking up right where it left off in 2008, and this time, the 1,500-hour rule means that the regionals don’t have the option of hiring inexperienced pilots. At Great Lakes Airlines, which pays its new first officers fewer than $15,000 per year, the results have been predictable: empty classes, a workforce halved by attrition and hundreds of flights canceled for lack of crew. Other regionals are being more proactive; American Eagle Airlines, for example, is offering a $5,000 signing bonus and has, so far, been able to meet its modest demand for pilots. It’s not like there aren’t any experienced pilots out there. According to FAA estimates, there are 134,374 active ATPs younger than 65 and another 111,562 commercial pilots, compared to about 80,000 pilots employed by U.S. airlines. For now, the shortage is primarily of qualified pilots willing to work for poor wages.