Schedule a Tour Today 

Fight The Pilot Shortage: Steps To Take After Receiving A PPL

As the demand for air travel continues to grow, so does the need for qualified pilots. But, the aviation industry is currently facing a pilot shortage, making it the perfect time for newly licensed private pilots to take the next step towards advancing their skills. With the right training and certifications, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job and help alleviate the lack of qualified pilots. With that said, let’s explore some background on the pilot shortage phenomena and how you can move beyond the private pilot stage and onto a bigger, brighter career in aviation.

How Is The Pilot Shortage Is Affecting The Aviation Industry

The aviation industry is experiencing a widespread impact from an on-going issue which is a shortage of qualified pilots to fill open positions at airlines and other commercial aviation careers. As a result, airlines are facing challenges in recruiting and training new pilots, which is causing operational disruptions such as flight cancellations, delays, reduced flight schedules, and discontinuation of some routes. 

Plus, the increasing competition among airlines for a limited number of qualified pilots is leading to higher compensation for pilots, which is impacting airlines’ financial bottom line. The impact of the pilot shortage is particularly significant for regional airlines that operate smaller planes and serve smaller cities, as they are having a harder time competing with major airlines for qualified pilots.

How Many Pilots Are Needed To Fight The Shortage?

Several thousand pilots are set to retire each year, at least through 2029, as those in the baby boomers generation continue hitting the federal-mandated retirement age of 65. Another issue that contributed to this problem was the restrictions set about during the pandemic. Many pilots were laid off or simply weren’t needed, as the industry struggled to return to normal. Because of this, 18,100 openings for airline and commercial pilots are projected each year, on average, over the decade. 

It was reported by Forbes, that by 2026, there will be a shortfall of about 24,000 pilots. Although slightly lower than previously reported, this still represents almost a quarter of the entire workforce. Even by 2032, the industry will be facing a shortage of 17,000 pilots – it goes without saying, if action isn’t taken soon, the industry may never recover.

How Is The Industry Responding?

In order to fight the pilot shortage, many companies are renegotiating contracts, offering better incentives like higher salaries and more benefits, and starting domestic training programs that will help move students into the pilot seat in as little as a few years.

Just recently, in fact, Delta approved a new contract that raised pilot pay by 34 percent by 2026, as well as improvements to scheduling, retirement and more. This will likely have huge reverberations across the industry, as companies vie for talent by following suit and raising wages. Regional airlines, from Sun Country to Envoy and Piedmont, have also increased pilot pay across the board, with better starting salaries for first-timers and hefty signing bonuses. 

How Can I Take Advantage Of The Pilot Shortage?

If you’re interested in a secure, high-paying career, then becoming a pilot may be your golden ticket to success. Since pilots are in such high demand, you can basically have your pick of jobs whether at an airline or elsewhere and receive a great wage. With a six-percent job growth outlook over the next 10 years, and over 135,000 open positions last year alone, you may soon find yourself getting paid to travel the world – after you go through the proper training, of course.

Steps To Take After Receiving A PPL: Becoming A Pro Pilot

Congratulations on earning your Private Pilot License (PPL)! This is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates your dedication, hard work, and passion for flying. Now that you have your PPL, you might be wondering what your next steps should be to become a professional pilot. While there are many paths you can take, there are some common steps you can follow to achieve your goal of becoming a pro pilot.

From building flight hours to obtaining advanced certifications and ratings, here are some key milestones and requirements that will prepare you for a successful career in the aviation industry.

Obtain An Instrument Rating

One of the critical steps towards becoming a pro pilot after receiving your PPL is to obtain an instrument rating. This rating allows you to fly under instrument flight rule (IFR) conditions (low visibility), by relying solely on the aircraft’s instruments. This is a crucial skill for any professional pilot, as it enables them to safely navigate through adverse weather conditions and avoid hard-to-see obstacles.

To obtain an instrument rating, you will need to complete additional flight training beyond the PPL. The training covers topics such as flight planning, navigation and instrument approaches. You will need to complete a specified number of hours of flight time with an instructor, usually around 40 hours of simulated or actual flying and 50 hours of cross-country flying for those operating under Part 61

Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a written exam and a practical exam with an FAA-designated examiner to obtain your instrument rating. With an instrument rating, you’re setting the foundation to one day fly as a professional pilot, whether for a charter company, airline or corporation.

Obtain A Commercial License

Another crucial step towards becoming a professional pilot after receiving your PPL is to obtain a commercial pilot license (CPL). A commercial license allows you to fly for hire and compensation, and is necessary if you want to work as a professional pilot.

To obtain a commercial license, your training will include a minimum of 250 hours of flight time, including at least 100 hours of pilot-in-command time and 50 hours of cross-country flight time. You will also need to complete ground school and pass a written exam covering topics such as aerodynamics, aircraft systems, navigation and flight planning. You’ll also need to complete a checkride, or practical test, to demonstrate your capabilities in the cockpit.

Once you have your commercial license, you’re now able to get paid to fly. You can apply for positions with cargo carriers, charter companies, air taxis and a number of other companies that require a CPL. With additional flight hours and experience, you can also work towards obtaining advanced certifications and ratings, such as a Multi-Engine Rating and Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license.

Go Further With Multi-Engine & Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Ratings

After obtaining your commercial license, you may want to add on other certifications and ratings to further advance your career as a professional pilot. Two of the big ones are the multi-engine rating and CFI rating.

A multi-engine rating allows you to fly aircraft with more than one engine, which is necessary if you want to work as a commercial pilot for airlines or operate business jets. To obtain a multi-engine rating, you will need to complete additional flight training, which includes about seven hours of flight time and a practical exam with an FAA-designated examiner.

A CFI Rating allows you to teach others how to fly, which is an excellent way to build flight hours and gain experience while sharing your knowledge and passion for flying with others. To become qualified to teach as a CFI, you’ll need to log at least 10 to 25 hours to become licensed. Once you’ve completed the program, you can now get paid to teach others how to fly, while building up the necessary hours toward the next phase of the process – an airline transport pilot license

Obtain An Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate

If you want to work as a captain for airlines, and even many first officer positions, you will need to obtain an ATP. This shows that you have the highest level of pilot certification and is required for anyone operating a commercial airline.

This is one of the most extensive parts of the training process, where you’ll need to log 1,500 hours of flying before you can even train for the ATP.  Training typically covers topics such as crew resource management, aviation regulations and airline operations. You will also need to pass a written exam covering these topics as well as advanced aircraft systems and procedures.

Once you have your ATP Certificate, you will have most, if not all, of the necessary qualifications to work as a captain for airlines. You can apply for positions at major airlines and regional carriers, where you will be responsible for safely operating commercial aircraft and ensuring the safety of passengers and crew.

Obtain A College Degree

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is a significant step in becoming a professional pilot. While it’s not always a requirement, having a degree might give you a competitive edge in the job market and open up more career opportunities.

Your degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in an aviation-specific field, but pursuing a related degree such as physics, aeronautics or engineering can help set you apart in the industry. It’s important to note that some regional airlines hire directly out of flight schools, and they may not require a college degree. Aviation companies who are not affiliated with airlines may have their own policies around college requirements And, a few major airlines, like American and Southwest, do not require a college degree.

Keep in mind, pilot demand often hits the regional airlines before the majors, which means that they may not be as picky about hiring requirements. However, having a degree can still give you an advantage in a competitive job market.

Start The Job Hunt

Remember that the aviation industry is constantly changing, so stay up-to-date with industry news and trends. This can lead to new job opportunities and keep your resume competitive in the job market. You may also want to consider building your network by joining aviation communities and attending conferences and events.

In addition to traditional pilot jobs, there are also opportunities to work in aviation management, safety and training. These roles provide valuable experience and skills that can help you advance your career as a pilot. It’s important to keep an open mind and explore all of the opportunities available to you.

Finally, it’s important to stay positive and persistent throughout the job hunt. Landing your dream job as a professional pilot may take time and effort, but with dedication and hard work, you can achieve your goals. Keep learning and growing as a pilot, and never give up on your passion for aviation.

Do You Want To Become A Professional Pilot?

Inflight offers a professional pilot program that can put you on the right track toward a new, exciting career. We train all levels of pilots, supplying certifications and ratings that will help you obtain a commercial license, become a certified flight instructor or take on more advanced challenges with an airline transport certification. Get paid to fly – sign up for our professional pilot program today

Let our skilled instructors elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us now or call (952) 698-3000.