Pilot and mechanic shortages will take center stage as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hosts an Aviation Workforce Symposium to explore ways of helping the aviation industry meet staffing needs.

The symposium will be held at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) Thursday, September 13th and will provide an overview of the growing number of initiatives attempting to address pilot and mechanic shortages and examine ways to “maximize the benefits of these initiatives,” the FAA said.

The symposium will start with a ‘scene-setting’ discussion and will include three discussion panels:

  • “Priming the Pipeline,” will cover efforts and ideas to attract people into the aviation field.
  • “Pathways to Proficiency,” will address ways to improve the quality and efficiency of training.
  • “Productive Partnerships” will focus on existing and potential partnerships to foster career paths and collaboration.

“The FAA believes this event will provide an important forum for participants to explore the scope of issues, share strategies and best practices to address this opportunity, and ask the community to help develop and commit to specific steps for cooperation and collaboration,” the FAA said.

The meeting is open to credentialed media.

Air Line Pilots Association Releases a Plan For Addressing Pilot Shortage

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chaotoday, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) offered policy solutions to inspire young people to become airline pilots while maintaining a high level of aviation safety.

Pilot Jobs“No organization is more committed than the Air Line Pilots Association, International to ensuring we have enough qualified pilots in the United States to meet future demand,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president. “With the right policies, the U.S. government can help inspire young people to become airline pilots while making certain that air transportation in this country remains the safest in the world.”

The pilot union’s plan includes policy actions to:

  • Make it easier for U.S. military veterans to become airline pilots by passing the American Aviator Act (S. 3322), which would authorize competitive grants that support flight training for veterans who aren’t already military pilots. The Act was Introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND).
  • Encourage more women to become airline pilots through The Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act (H.R. 4673/S. 2244). The proposal would direct the FAA to create and facilitate a Women in Aviation Advisory Board to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women into the aviation industry. The Act was Introduced by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) in the House and Sen. Susan Collins
    (R-ME) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in the Senate.
  • Reform student loan programs to make it more affordable to become an airline pilot by enacting H.R. 926, legislation which provides for student debt forgiveness for STEM majors, including aviation degrees. They also recommend that Congress prioritize legislation to increase borrowing limits for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans for the federal student loan program to make pursuing ATP or R-ATP airline pilot certificates more feasible.

Airline Industry Groups Have Proposals For Addressing Pilot Shortage

The Regional Airline Association (RAA), an industry group representing United States regional airlines has also offered solutions for addressing the pilot shortage by using Structured Training Pathways that:

  • Bridge the gap between pilot training and qualification, providing additional structured training before a pilot is released to line flying.
  • Incorporate rigorous screening, testing, academics, checks, and audits.
  • Use advanced simulators to prepare pilots for scenarios they don’t usually encounter when building flight hours.

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About Greg Thomson

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 7,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, and flying for a regional airline. Greg took a 5 year hiatus from flying and worked in software development and marketing. He has since returned to flying as a cargo pilot. Greg enjoys educating and helping pilots improve their professional lives and is passionate about applying technology and new methods to help with traditional challenges.