Sheffield School of Aeronautics Blog

The Air Force to Meet with Airlines to Discuss Pilot Shortage

The airline industry is being tasked with finding a solution to a possible problem with a projected shortage of pilots over the next 3 to 10 years. According to a study by North Dakota University, 30,000 pilots will reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 by the year 2026. If airlines don’t make enough hires to supplement their personnel, the United States could find itself with a problem of replacing as many as 15,000 pilots.

Sheffield School of Aeronautics is recognized by some of the top airlines in the world, and has heard that some airlines have begun to take precautionary measures to entice new pilots such as increasing the rate of pay as well as agreeing to incremental bonuses with their current pilots over the next few years. PSA Airlines, Envoy Air, and Piedmont Airlines—all American Airlines subsidiaries—have made changes to pilot salaries. PSA has increased wages from $24.62 per hour to $38.50 per hour. Envoy has increased its pay from $25.84 per hour to $37.90 per hour, and Piedmont has raised its pay from $29.38 per hour to $38.80 per hour.

Additionally, the three airlines will include signing bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 as well as a $20,000 retention bonus paid after one year of service in regular installments. This will nearly triple new pilot salaries from a meager $20,000 annually to a whopping $58,000. The idea is that aspiring pilots will find motivation to get licensed, however the reality is that this will likely not solve the pilot shortage issue and instead just make these companies more attractive to current pilots from other carriers.

The United States Air Force is feeling the effects of the pilot shortage as well. Airlines salivate over military trained pilots from the Air Force and target them as new hires when they’re contracts are up. The Air Force has seen declines in its rate of reenlistments over the past few years. In 2013, 68 percent of eligible pilots signed on for incentive pay contracts with the Air Force. They’ve since seen their retention rates drop to 59 percent in 2014 and 55 percent in 2015.

Of the 745 that were eligible for bonuses in 2015, only 410 accepted them. Considering that the reported cost of training a single F-22 pilot is an estimated $12.5 million, the threat of a pilot shortage is alarming, and as Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services calls it, a crisis.

“We have no trouble recruiting pilots. We have more people who want to be pilots than we have spaces to train them. For us the issue is … we are not retaining enough,” Grosso said. “We have gaps in the force and we are very, very concerned about this.”

A meeting between the Air Force and heads of commercial airlines is scheduled to commence on May 18th at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. It is then that both sides are hoping to solve a mutual problem without competing over the same resources. Some thoughts that may come up are offering seasonal flight times for pilots to fly with commercial airlines and then come back to the Air Force. There’s also conversation about allowing pilots to fly part-time. The concept is to find a way to retain pilots so that the military can have personnel to help protect the country while assisting commercial carriers with manning their planes with qualified pilots in light of the ensuing pilot shortage. 

As our mission is to train the best aircraft dispatchers in the world, our team of expert staff and professionals at Sheffield is curious to see the fate of pilots in the aviation industry, and hopefully the issue doesn’t trickle down to aircraft dispatchers as well.

Education and GPA Needed for Aircraft Dispatcher School

Are you looking to pursue a career in aviation and want to get started as soon as possible? If so, then coming here was a step in the right direction. Among the growing opportunities in aviation are the rise of aircraft dispatcher jobs. Aircraft dispatchers hold the important role of planning flight paths, considering aircraft performance and loading, enroute winds, thunderstorm and turbulence forecasts, airspace restrictions, and airport conditions.

Along with the pilot, those individuals occupying aircraft dispatcher jobs are responsible for 50% of the decision-making process and safety of the flight. Needless to say, only those who are properly trained are up to the task. So where does one go to get started with becoming an aircraft dispatcher?

There are two ways to become a flight dispatcher. One is to possess 2 years of approved recent experience in relation to aviation, such as in an air traffic controller, pilot, or meteorologist role. The other is to complete an FAA approved aircraft dispatcher training course and to do that, you must attend an accredited aircraft dispatcher school.

The easiest path is to attend an aircraft dispatcher school and obtain licensure if you’re over the age of 23. Anyone between the ages of 21-23 will still be able to take the licensure course and FAA practical test, but they will only be recognized as aeronautical competent and won’t receive licensure until they turn 23. Before taking the practical exam, applicants must take the written exam to display knowledge of aviation procedures, regulations and policies. The practical test (which must be taken within 2 years of passing the knowledge test) will demonstrate an applicant’s ability to implement risk-management and security procedures and to recognize hazardous weather conditions.

Upon completion of both exams and obtaining licensure, you’re all set to seek one of the many aircraft dispatcher jobs at an airline!

Advice for Future Aircraft Dispatchers

You may find yourself asking, “Do I have what it takes to become an aircraft dispatcher?” That’s a question best answered by being informed about the ins and outs of an aircraft dispatcher’s role and responsibilities. Fortunately, Sheffield School of Aeronautics has some guidelines that should help you determine how to not only obtain one of the aircraft dispatcher jobs out there, but to also become successful on your path.

 

  1. Obtain the Proper Licensure

 

Begin your training at an FAA accredited aircraft dispatcher school. The FAA wants to be sure that anyone given one of its aircraft dispatcher jobs is properly educated on aviation policies, procedures and regulations, with a demonstrative ability to implement risk management and security procedures as well as how to recognize hazardous weather conditions.

 

  1. Bring the Appropriate Personality Traits and Skills

 

Graduating from aircraft dispatcher school and being licensed is only one portion of a future aircraft dispatcher’s path to being successful. Aircraft dispatchers, along with the plane’s pilot, have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the passengers on the flight and coordinate the plane’s path to arrive on schedule. This means that dispatchers much possess an attention to detail, be calm and decisive, and be a strong communicator.

 

  1. Career Outlook

 

Aircraft dispatcher jobs start out with only a modest salary of about $32k to $40k, however it’s a great path to beginning a career in the aviation industry and pursuing other goals if desired. Those who have held aircraft dispatcher jobs for several years can branch out within their office and accept training on “Specially Qualified” desks. These “Company Select” positions often have overrides that push a senior dispatcher’s salary at majors to approx. $140,000.

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – November 2018

November 15-16, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – September 2018

September 27-28, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – August 2018

August 9-10, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – May 2018

May 24-25, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – April 2018

April 5-6, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

EWINS Qualification Dispatcher Weather Training – February 2018

February 15-16, 2018

Sheffield is offering a 2-day Advanced Weather Forecasting/EWINS (Enhanced Weather Information Systems) training course. Our course is an EWINS-qualification program, not a 5-35 minute lecture on the theory and concept of EWINS – it is application. After completing the course and receiving a certificate, the individual will not only be more astute at weather analysis, but will be in a more favorable position to become EWINS-certified.

Read more about the EWINS course here »

Extended Operations (ETOPS) – November 2018

November 14, 2018

ETOPS training originated when the FAA decided to grant permission for the airlines to operate twin-engine aircraft, such as the B-757’s, Airbus, etc. over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, or desolate areas. The operation originally applied to two-engine airplanes flying more than 60 minutes from the nearest adequate airport, but now includes three- or four-engine airplanes flying more than 180 minutes from the nearest adequate airport.

Read more about the Extended Operations (ETOPS) course here »

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