A Pilot Shortage is here and now, this picture illustrates why. The Greyhound Ad looking for drivers provides not only proof but irony. In the advertisement the printed starting hourly wage for a Bus Driver is $21 an hour. Most Regional Airlines starting pay is lower. The irony? An article on the pilot shortage right below the ad. The mainstream press is picking up on the shortage as aircraft begin to be parked. Regional managers will squawk about the new FAR-117 causing more stringent requirements, but the real reason as I showed 7 years ago is: the job is not worth it to the next generation. In the Navy we had a sarcastic moto:
“All this and family separation too!”
While ugly, the above doesn’t show how bad the real story is. An airline pilot gets paid for only flight hours. That is why you so often see the lazy and shallow articles in the press touting pilots only work 80 hours a month! No. Pilots get paid 80 hours, but probably work 12-14 hours a day (for 5 flight hours) for an average of 16 days in a month. So our starting First Officer, with $100,000 in loans, will get $19,200 in annual salary working 52 hours a week. The Greyhound Bus Driver working only 40 a week will get $40,000 a year. Double what a college educated licensed Airline Transport Pilot makes.
Actually nearly triple: Pilot per hour starting pay $7.70; Bus Driver starting pay $21.
So, the next time you read one of those genius articles; disregard not only the author but the source. Because, if they can not comprehend the simple math and concepts of pilot pay, you can not trust anything in their publication.
Read more aviation and air combat exploits in the Aviators’s Series: