Category: News

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FAA Debating Whether Pilots Will Be Able to Take COVID Vaccines

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still debating whether or not pilots who take a COVID vaccine will be able to keep their medical certificates.

In an email to aviation news outlet AvWeb, the FAA said they are “…closely monitoring the active vaccine trials and awaiting the outcome of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee’s scheduled meeting next week.” They added that “While the agency has made no final decisions, we are prepared to evaluate the use of each vaccine by medical certificate holders as soon as an emergency-use authorization is issued.

The meeting the FAA refers to in the email to AvWeb was set to conclude yesterday, so a decision or further clarification may be available soon.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), according to a recent post on their website, is also working with the FAA on getting clarification. However, until more is known, they are recommending members not receive a vaccine shot, as it would disqualify pilots medicals for an indefinite period:

Although clinical trials are under way for a COVID-19 vaccine, there are currently no known effective vaccines or therapeutics. And since no trial COVID-19 vaccine has full FDA approval, the FAA considers participation in COVID-19 vaccine trials medically disqualifying for pilots for an indefinite period. ALPA representatives are working with the FAA to better define a policy as the science evolves. In Canada, the director of Civil Aviation Medicine stated that participation in medical trials isn’t considered compatible with aviation medical certification.

ALPA instead recommends focusing on personal health, and getting a regular flu shot, saying that “While a healthy lifestyle—including eating right, exercising, maintaining a reasonable weight, and getting enough sleep—may not prevent infection by either virus, establishing these routines can contribute to a stronger immune system, which can help fight these diseases and potentially limit the risk of experiencing more serious symptoms. Combining these healthy habits with getting a flu shot and continuing to practice social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing remain the best protection.

According to FlightGlobal, “The agency “historically” does not approve vaccines or medications for pilots for at least one year after approval by the FDA.” ALPA and other groups are urging the FAA to approve a vaccine for use by airline pilots and flight crews as soon as possible.

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Upper Limit is Helping You Earn Your Remote Pilot Certificate

Upper Limit Aviation is hosting a two day training course to help you get your remote pilot certificate! The training course will be ran by one of Upper Limit’s professional and experienced flight instructors, and will cover such topics as:

  • FAA regulations
  • Aeromedical factors
  • Aeronautical decision making
  • Airport operations
  • Aviation weather
  • Aviation hazards
  • Airworthiness

Please keep in mind that this course DOES NOT include testing. You will need to schedule the proctored exam at a FAA approved facility for an additional cost. You can go to this link for testing center locations:

https://faa.psiexams.com/faa/login

This course is broadcast via Vimeo for two (2) 8 hour days, on December 8th and 9th. Students will be able to ask questions via chat.

REGISTER FOR THE UPPER LIMIT PART 107 TRAINING COURSE HERE

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

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Upper Limit and Mt San Jacinto are Teaming Up For Ground School

If you are thinking about an aviation career, or you want to learn to fly to accomplish a personal dream, now is the perfect time to start! Upper Limit Aviation and Mt San Jacinto College are teaming up to bring you a comprehensive ground school course, so you can earn your Private Airplane Pilot Ground School Certificate.

You will learn the ground training portion of the FAA Certification Process, including:

  • Navigation
  • Weather
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeronautical Decision Making
  • Airplane Systems
  • Flight Physiology

The Ground School will be held at Upper Limit Aviation’s Murrieta / Temecula campus, located at:

37350 Sky Canyon Dr. #323

Murrieta, CA 92563

To register, go to this page on the Mt St Jacinto website: MSJC.EDU/FOCUS

For additional questions regarding the course, call 951-487-3711.

For a printable flyer, CLICK HERE.

Get Started with Your Flight Training Today!

For our Temecula/Murrieta, CA location, call 951-696-7722 or email [email protected]

And click here to fill out our online application!

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AOPA Flight Training Scholarships are Now Available for 2020

Upper Limit is excited to spread the word that AOPA has over 100 scholarships available for student pilots and pilots to start or enhance their flying career!

Finding ways to finance flight training can be challenging, and one great resource is scholarships. In 2019, AOPA awarded more than 123 scholarships worth more than $1 million dollars.

And now, AOPA Flight Training Scholarship applications are being accepted for 2020.

For details, and to apply, <CLICK HERE>

Application Deadline for Priority Consideration: March 1, 2020

Final Application Deadline: March 15, 2020

The flight training scholarships offered by AOPA fall into one of four categories:

AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship

For: Eighty high school students, ages 15 – 18

Scholarship Value: $10,000

Recipients of this scholarship can use it, as part of the AOPA You Can Fly program, to cover direct flight training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. Recipients will be required to complete a flight training milestone, by either soloing or earning their certificate within one year for receiving the scholarship.

AOPA Teacher Flight Training Scholarship

For: Up to twenty school high school teachers

Scholarship Value: $10,000

Recipients of this scholarship must be AOPA members, be a full-time employee of a high school or school system, and use the AOPA High School Aviation Stem Curriculum to help teach science, technology, engineering or math. Recipients can use the scholarship, as part of the AOPA You Can Fly program, to cover direct flight training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate.

AOPA Primary Flight Training Scholarship

For: Current AOPA Members over 16 by the application deadline

Scholarship Value: $2,500 – $7,500

Recipients can use the scholarship to cover training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate.

AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarship

For: Oustanding pilots with career aspirations

Scholarship Value: $3,000 – $10,000

Recipients must be AOPA members, and seeking one of the following ratings or certificates:

  • Instrument
  • Commercial
  • Certificated Flight Instructor
  • Certificated Flight Instructor-Instruments
  • Multiengine Instructor

Recipients can use the scholarship to cover training expenses in the pursuit of these ratings or certificates.

Again, for full details, and to apply, <CLICK HERE>.

Upper Limit Aviation strongly believes in building an inclusive and thriving aviation community and is proud to work with incredible organizations like AOPA to provide flight training. And though we are dedicated to helping our student pilots and pilots succeed, our dedication to pilots isn’t limited strictly to flight training; if you need any help finding, applying for or deciding which scholarships to apply for, or would like more information on how you can use your scholarship to get your certificate with Upper Limit Aviation, please call us at 801-596-7722, or email us [email protected] and we’d be thrilled to help you.

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

Upper Limit is Giving You a Clear Path to Becoming a Pilot with SkyWest Airlines

SkyWest Cadets receive a number of great benefits as they work to become a SkyWest Pilot.

Upper Limit Aviation is excited to partner with SkyWest Airlines as part of the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program. SkyWest’s program provides a direct path for exceptional pilots who want to take control of their aviation careers. Upper Limit Aviation’s current chief pilot, Belinda Villa, is a captain at SkyWest and is a strong believer in the program, having already served as a mentor and coach for bright, talented, Upper Limit pilots who plan to fly with SkyWest’s amazing team. In addition to the in-depth, professional flight training you’ll receive from Upper Limit, as a SkyWest Cadet you’ll enjoy a variety of benefits as you work towards earning your place as one of SkyWest’s 4,000+ professional pilots.

Benefits include:

  • Company seniority for benefits eligibility, which activates as soon as you’re a SkyWest Cadet.
  • An enhanced introduction to SkyWest, which includes a tour of SkyWest’s SLC facilities and more.
  • Mentorship from SkyWest pilots, including regular visits, mock interviews and ongoing association with crewmembers.
  • A guaranteed final interview with SkyWest.
  • Increased seniority within your ground school class.

A SkyWest Cadet, taking part in the SkyWest Pilot Pathway program

Image courtesy of SkyWest

The Pilot Pathway Program, unlike an internship, allows pilots to stay on the campus and complete the flight training necessary to meet ATP requirements. And with Upper Limit Aviation’s campus being located in Salt Lake City, which is one of SkyWest’s largest operational hubs, our pilots are right in the heart of the action. The individual mentoring each SkyWest cadet receives is a key benefit, as SkyWest pilots provide invaluable tips to aid pilots on their journey to becoming professional commercial pilots.

If you are ready to take control of your career, professional flight training using Upper Limit Aviation’s tried-and-true teaching methods coupled with SkyWest’s Pilot Pathway Program provides the ideal path to becoming a professional commercial pilot. Our wonderful flight training program at Upper Limit Aviation prepares you to embody SkyWest’s values of professionalism, teamwork, and success; making us a perfect flight!

To become a SkyWest Cadet and take part in this program, you must hold:

Additionally, you must not have more than three failed check rides, though stage checks do not apply.

No matter where you are in your flight training, we can help you earn your ratings, guide you through the requirements and help you make it as a professional commercial pilot. So if you have the Upper Limit Motivation to succeed, this program with SkyWest can be your entrance into an amazing lifelong career in aviation. Get started now with Upper Limit Aviation and become the best pilot you can be!

Get started with your flight training today:

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

Featured Image: courtesy of Alan Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0

FAPA Pilot Job Fairs and Future Pilot Forums on the Horizon

FAPA members enjoy both registration fee discounts and FAPA Premier members may receive priority at FAPA Pilot Job Fairs.

Upper Limit Aviation is proud to promote FAPA (Future and Active Pilot Advisers) and their three upcoming Pilot Job Fairs, and three Future Pilot Forums, scheduled to coincide with each other. According to the company, the FAPA Pilot Job Fairs bring in pilots from around the nation and provide those looking to start their career in the airline industry a chance to meet those qualified pilots, and to conduct pre-screenings and on-site interviews. Just like FAPA, Upper Limit Aviation flight training will push pilots and student pilots in the right direction to create legendary skills and safety-minded Pilot Advisers.

FAPA says they average about 220 pilots at each event, with those pilots averaging around “5,900 hours of total flight time with 4 type ratings.” However, they do note that each event is different, and to be sure to inquire about the demographics for each event. For example, their Regional Airline only Pilot Job Fairs will have entry level pilots attending. The events also provide pilot candidates a chance to educate themselves with “up-to-date industry news from the experts at FAPA and network with your colleagues and peers.

Regional Pilot Job Fairs are free, but if pilot candidates or Upper Limit Aviation pilots are interested in attending a job fair with major airlines represented, there is a registration fee. In addition, FAPA members enjoy both registration fee discounts and FAPA Premier members may receive priority at job fairs, and so Upper Limit Aviation strongly recommends our pilots join and participate.  For more information on becoming a FAPA members and the variety of additional benefits FAPA members receive, click here.

Upcoming FAPA Pilot Job Fairs

FAPA Houston Regional Pilot Job Fair

No major airlines will be taking part in this job fair.

  • Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017
    • Registration – starting at 8:00 AM
    • FAPA welcome – 8:15 AM
    • Job Fair – 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental
    • 18700 John F. Kennedy Blvd. Houston, TX, 77032
    • Direct: (281) 443-2310
  • Cost: $0.00

FAPA Las Vegas Pilot Job Fair

Both UPS and Atlas Airlines will be at this job fair, in addition to Regional Airlines. However, FAPA says that they UPS slots are currently sold out, and that FAPA members will be notified if more UPS slots become available. Atlas Airlines currently still has slots available.

  • Date: Friday, April 21, 2017
    • Registration – starting at 8:30 AM
    • Presentations – 9:00 AM
    • Job Fair – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Location: Tuscany Suites and Casino
    • 255 E. Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89169
    • Direct: (702) 947-5925
  • Cost:
    • FAPA Premiere Members: $49.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines
    • FAPA Members: $99.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines
    • Non-FAPA Members: $139.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines

FAPA Seattle Pilot Job Fair

Alaska Airlines will be at this job fair, in addition to Regional Airlines. Exact details are still being worked out regarding the date, time and location.

  • Date: August 2017
  • Location: According to FAPA, this fair will be at “a Sea-Tac (KSEA) area airport hotel.”
  • Cost:
    • FAPA Premiere Members: $49.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines
    • FAPA Members: $99.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines
    • Non-FAPA Members: $139.00 for Major Airlines, $0.00 for Regional Airlines

FAPA says after registering, you’ll only need to bring a photo ID with you to the event to pick up your name badge. They add that the attire is business casual, and to remember to bring plenty of resumes, as all the recruiting companies are accepting resumes unless otherwise noted.

Upcoming FAPA Future Pilots Forums

FAPA’s Future Pilot Forums are informative presentations and networking opportunities meant for aspiring pilots of all ages, including middle school and high school students, and are not job fairs for qualified pilot candidates. Topics that will be discussed are:

  • Projected Pilot Demand and Career Earnings Potential
  • Financing Your Aviation Training and FAPA Flight Training Scholarships
  • Choosing How To Complete Your Flight Education and the Paths To Be A Professional Pilot

Admission to these forums is free, and FAPA encourages parents and/or school counselors to attend as well, as the forums are a great opportunity for future pilots and their parents to learn about the available options and how to accomplish career goals.

FAPA Houston Future Pilot Forum

FAPA Las Vegas Future Pilot Forum

FAPA Seattle Future Pilot Forum

Featured Image: Boeing 777 cockpit, Jim Sher, CC BY-ND 2.0

Becoming a successful commercial pilot starts with excellent and thorough flight training, which we are happy to provide at Upper Limit Aviation. Once you take the first step with us towards flying with the airlines, FAPA could be your second.

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

Regional Airline Association’s 2017 Scholarships Now Available

The submission deadline for 2017 RAA Scholarships is May 1, 2017.

If you’re studying for a career in aviation with Upper Limit Aviation and eyeing the Captain’s chair, you may be interested to know that the RAA’s (Regional Airline Association) 2017 scholarship window is open, and the RAA says that they will be awarding four $4,000 aviation scholarships this summer. The money you can earn with this scholarship can fuel your flight training with ULA and put you miles closer to your end goal of the Captain’s chair.

Qualification Details for the 2017 RAA Scholarships

In order to qualify for the scholarship, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident and submit a completed electronic application no later than May 1, 2017. The RAA says they will not be accepting mailed applications, and will only consider digital applications submitted through their website. Applicants will also need to meet the following requirements:

  • At the time of application and award, applicants must be officially enrolled in an accredited college, in a program that is leading them toward a career in the airline industry.
  • Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA, and provide a transcript reflecting those grades through the previous academic year at either high school or a college.
  • A resume that details the applicant’s working experience, extracurricular, and/or community activities will need to be provided.
  • Applicants will need to submit a 350-word career essay describing their interest in the airline industry.
  • Applicants will need to provide a faculty recommendation.

Student pilots in flight sim cockpit - 2017 RAA Scholarships Now Available

The RAA says that the scholarships will be awarded “without regard to sex, race, religion or national origin.” Instead, they say the following criteria will be used for ranking the scholarship applicants:

  1. Demonstrated scholastic achievement.
  2. Demonstrated work experience, extracurricular and/or community activities.
  3. The strength of the applicant’s faculty recommendation.
  4. The strength of the applicant’s 350-word career essay.

Recipients of the scholarships will be announced on July 14, 2017, and all recipients will be asked for a headshot and short bio so they can be featured in Regional Horizons, the group’s quarterly publication.

For more information, and to apply for the 2017 RAA scholarships, click here to visit their website.

Upper Limit Aviation is proud to offer any and all assistance possible to our student pilots to help them earn these scholarships and achieve their goals of flight and commercial flight.

Featured Image: Kent Wien, CC2

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

UAS Taking Off With Sheriff Departments Around the Country

Law enforcement officials are using UAS for a variety of purposes, from search and rescue to crime scene documentation.

With the FAA putting new rules and requirements for sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) operators into place on August 29, 2016, use of UAS is set for massive growth in a number of organizations and industries. And one of the most important areas rapidly adopting use of UAS is law enforcement. Around the country, Sheriff Departments are starting to use or are set to start using UAS to aid them in fighting crime, gathering evidence and helping out investigative efforts.

Upper Limit Aviation offers a course to help pilots and non-pilots earn their UAS certificate. Through Upper Limit Aviation you can also earn your private pilot certificate and commercial pilot license which makes it significantly easier and faster to then earn your UAS certificate. Call now to inquire about flight training for UAS, fixed-wing aircraft, or rotorcraft: 801-596-7722.

In a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune discussing drone use by Sheriff Departments in San Diego and Imperial counties, drones came into play during a recent homicide investigation when “two deputies flew the drone over the outdoor homicide scene, taking aerial photos and videos that would become evidence.

The article goes on to say that the UAS is one of four in use by the Sheriff’s Department. In addition to documenting crime scenes, the department uses the UAS to aid in missing person searches, to aid SWAT teams, and for certain situations in dangerous or unfavorable scenarios. Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery described the UAS as “an extremely valuable tool, and potentially life-saving,” adding that the department had deployed them nine times since acquiring them last October. Upper Limit Aviation is proud to support such a cause.

In Ouachita County, AK, the Sheriff’s Department purchased a drone a UAS after seeing one in action. According to Sheriff David Norwood, the first real test for the UAS happened recently when the department used it in the execution of a search warrant for a known drug dealer. Norwood, who was controlling the UAS, was able to identify a pair of suspects with the video from the UAS before the drone was shot by the suspects. Norwood said that “Without the drone, we may not have known there was a man there with a gun.”

And in Stafford County, VA, the Sheriff’s Department hopes to start using UAS this coming spring for a variety of purposes, “including search and rescue; Amber, Senior and Blue Alerts; training programs; damage assessment; traffic assessment; crime scene documentation; and execution of search warrants.

Vickery said that four deputies are currently trained and certified with a remote pilot certificate from the FAA to fly the UAS and that five more are undergoing training. According to Vickery, “This is going to be something that is going to be mainstream in a relatively short amount of time among law enforcement.

Earning a Remote Pilot Certificate With Upper Limit

Law enforcement is just one of many rapidly growing areas for UAS use, and Upper Limit is excited to offer a course helping people advance in their career or start exciting new careers by earning a remote pilot certificate. Email us with any questions about getting your remote pilot certificate and how it can work for you now: [email protected].

Click here to register for the program, and get started on earning your remote pilot certificate today!

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

Upper Limit Aviation Open House Featured on KUTV

Anders Clark

Upper Limit Aviation’s recent open house was featured on KUTV News, as one of their featured STEM stories.1 Upper Limit staff headed into the 2News studio to show off some aviation related tools and discuss what would be covered at the aviation open house.

ULA started by showing sectional charts, flight plans, and an iPad, and discussing the recent advances in aviation technology aimed at making navigation more streamlined for pilots.

We’ve really progressed a lot from the paper and pencil charts, and technology has come forward leaps and bounds, and now we’re using iPads, we’re using computers … before you’d have to carry five or six paper charts just to make a flight, now you can just move around the country simply by the scroll of a finger.

Also discussed in the video were the importance of the weight and balance and center of gravity calculations for an airplane and how they affect flying, and some more details on the upcoming aviation open house.

We’ll have pathways to careers, from piloting to air traffic control, and all aspects of aviation.

The open house, which took place on Saturday, April 30th, at Upper Limit’s Salt Lake campus, featured access to aviation professionals such as pilots (including commercial airline pilots), mechanics, air traffic controllers, airport operations personnel, flight attendants, military veterans, FAA representatives, and aerospace engineers. A large number of aviation-related businesses and organizations had representatives in attendance as well, including Boeing, Delta Airlines, and the US Air Force.

The aviation open house was a success, with crowds of people in attendance, and Upper Limit hopes to host another one soon.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Footnotes:

1 – The STEM stories are done in partnership with the Utah State Office of Education, which works to develop Utah’s future workforce in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The Growing Pilot Problem is Getting Worse for Regional Carriers

Anders Clark

Republic Airways recently filed for bankruptcy, but few people were aware of it. That’s in part because Republic Airways is not a recognized name in air travel. However, many people fly with Republic on a regular basis and just aren’t aware of it. Republic operates a variety of flights for Delta Connection, United Express and American Eagle, the big airlines’ affiliates for shorter flights and / or less popular destinations. In fact, as many as half of all Delta, United and American branded flights are in reality handled by regional airlines like Republic. Most people who fly with any regularity have likely flown with Republic or one of many other unknown regional airlines.

According to Republic’s CEO, there were several problems that led to the bankruptcy filing, but the primary issue was “…grounding aircraft due to a lack of pilot resources.” And they’re not alone in this problem. Last October, Seaport Airlines, another regional airline, dropped most of the routes it was flying from its Memphis hub, also due to a lack of qualified pilots. But this pilot problem isn’t limited to just the smaller regional airlines, and it is slowly spreading to more known and established names. SkyWest, which also handles flights for Delta, American, and United, reduced their flight capacity last year. And during SkyWest’s third-quarter earnings conference, President Chip Childs did acknowledge that they are “not immune” to the shrinking number of pilots and, in a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha, that to address the problem, they would need to manage the problem “from the very, very beginning.”

The idea of a “pilot shortage” may surprise those outside the industry as most people assume that there is intense competition for the job of an airline pilot, with the associated high salary, perks and glamour. So what gives? Well, those inside the industry point to two things. First, Congress enacted regulations in 2013 that increased the number of required flight hours for first officers (or co-pilots) from 250 to 1,500 in order to fly for a commercial airline. And there’s a large commitment of time and money involved in accumulating those extra flight hours. Second, while the salaries at and jobs at the big commercial airlines are competitive, newly minted pilots who start flying for the regional airlines can make as little as $20,000 a year. And with consolidation among the major carriers, they hold a strong negotiating position over the regional airlines, which makes it difficult for the regionals to raise wages.

So, for pilots, a low-salary job with a high barrier to entry isn’t very attractive. And when you consider that regional airlines operate roughly half of all the flights in the country, many pilots begin and end careers at the regionals, never able to make the jump to the major airlines. In addition, many young pilots have started signing up for foreign airlines, attracted by higher salaries and reduced requirements.

Forbes, in a recent article, provided an argument that this is not a short-term problem:

Here’s some hard reality that’s now firmly in place. There is no “pilot shortage”—that term implies a situation where there is the possibility of correction. It isn’t “correctable”—the new regulatory barriers to entry to the pilot profession are effectively permanent. And that means that the availability of this resource will be different than in the past—read: a lot less. Result: less flying of smaller airliners. Less service at smaller local airports.

Up until now, the effects of all this are being felt primarily by the smaller airlines. But with the pilot pipeline shrinking, and drawing in qualified pilot candidates becoming more and more of a problem, the major carriers may start feeling the effect of the pilot problem soon. In another recent piece from Forbes, they estimate that in the next 20 years, the number of available pilots will only meet two-thirds of the demand. And this could mean the major airlines will have to start dropping routes.

Many regional carriers have been lobbying Congress to change the 1,500 hour rule, but the feeling is that they’re not likely to, as it would make them look like they are prioritizing airline profits over the safety of passengers. In the meantime, the regional airlines are working hard to boost recruitment, including approaching and pitching high school and college students aviation career opportunities. Some in the industry say that with luck, the problem may start to correct itself to a degree. With fewer candidates, salaries will eventually have to go up to draw them in, which should start to make the job more competitive again. But until the issue is addressed and conditions start to change, regional airlines and passengers will continue to take the hit.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Featured Image by Caribb

Continuing Pilot Shortage Causes Airline to File for Bankruptcy

Anders Clark

Don’t think the continuing pilot shortage is having an effect on the aviation industry? Tell that to Republic Airways, a major feeder airline who has just declared bankruptcy in New York. Republic flies smaller regional jets for three major carriers, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. And they say that the continuing pilot shortage caused them to ground so many planes that filing for bankruptcy became their only option. “We worked hard to avoid this step,” said CEO Bryan Bedford.

Interestingly, Republic Airways is relatively healthy financially speaking, reporting an overall profit for eight straight quarters. They are literally declaring bankruptcy because they don’t have enough pilots to cover all their scheduled flights. In addition, it has been reported that they are also leasing a large number of smaller airliners, in particular 50 seaters, that have become a cost drain to fly and are not favored by major carriers. According to a statement released by Republic Airways regarding the bankruptcy, this appears to be a move on Republic’s part to find a way to re-size their business and better match the size of and aircraft in their fleet with the number of available pilots.

Over the last several months, we’ve attempted to restructure the obligations on our out-of-favor aircraft – made so by a nationwide pilot shortage – and to increase our revenues. It’s become clear that this process has reached an impasse and that any further delay would unnecessarily waste valuable resources of the enterprise. Our filing today is a result of our loss of revenue during the past several quarters associated with grounding aircraft due to a lack of pilot resources, combined with the reality that our negotiating effort with key stakeholders shows no apparent prospect of a near term resolution.” – Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford

Currently, Republic has an estimated 240 jets in their fleet and operates roughly 1,250 flights a day to around 100 cities in both the US and Canada. They employee an estimated 6,000 staff, including about 2,100 pilots. But, over the first three quarters of last year, the number of hours Republic has been flying dropped by around 5%. This has caused at least one of the majors, Delta, to file a breach of contract suit against them for failing to operate all of the flights they had contracted to fly.

So, what does this mean for regional carriers? Right now, they operate 45% of the nation’s flights, and are the only provider of flights to many smaller cities. And like Republic, many are starting to feel the bite of the continuing pilot shortage. Industry experts say one of the key concerns is pay. In the past, pay has been so bad that regional pilots can make as little as $23,000 a year. In response to this, Republic has started paying new pilots at $40 an hour, under a contract that went into effect this past November. And while this increase in pilot salary is a marked improvement, industry experts point out that you also need to consider flight hours. Regional pilots can only fly an estimated 1,000 hours a year, meaning that an impressive hourly wage doesn’t equate to as much pay as it may appear to.

Another key concern is the recent change to the number of hours required to fly as a first officer. In 2013, the FAA announced that first officers would now be required to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires 1,500 hours of total flight time as a pilot. Prior to this, they were only required to hold a commercial pilot certificate with 250 hours of flight time.

The industry has dealt with pilot shortages in the past, but most of them didn’t last long. But these changes have many industry veterans convinced that unlike those past shortages, this one isn’t going anywhere soon.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Featured Image courtesy of Republic Airways

Aviation Degree Programs: Taking a Look at What’s Available

Mark Overman

Getting started in the aviation industry can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a newcomer and have caught the aviation bug. Fortunately, there are great aviation degree programs that are tailored to both pilots and non-pilots. When selecting a training program there two main considerations we will discuss. The first is a question you have to ask yourself: What kind of career you want in aviation? The second question is: what are you willing to do in order to get the training you need in order to get there.

Before we get started it is important to understand is that working in the aviation industry is a profession much like everything else. Whether you intend on flying airplanes, controlling them, working on them or managing companies that do, a college degree will not hurt in the slightest. Understand that you should pursue the amount of education that is consistent with your goals. If you intend on working in upper management or flying airplanes for a major airline, having a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (more for you management types) will make you extremely competitive. However, if your goal is working on airplanes, ensure you have the certification necessary in order to achieve that goal. Really in order to find out exactly what aviation degree programs are best for you, it depends on your dreams and goal.

Once you figure out what it is that you want to do in the aviation industry, now you have to figure out how to get there. With that being said, don’t be frightened, most schools and programs have student counselors that are trained to ensure you meet your education and training goals. In my opinion, the best way to tackle any type of career training is to get training done concurrently. By that I mean if you want to be a pilot, mechanic or controller, then find a program that offers credit for the technical side (FAA training) and that credit can be applied to degree granting programs. This allows the future aviation industry hopefully to earn a degree while receiving the necessary technical training required attains proper FAA certification.

There are many great aviation programs that participate or partner with degree granting institutions. Find the school or program the best fits not only your goals, but your time. There are many students who must work or maintain a household that may need a flexible class schedule. Many universities and schools offer aviation degrees online, where the student can approach their education on their own time. Much like “brick and mortar” institutions, these online aviation programs have knowledgeable instructors, grant college credit for applicable training and provide first rate educational experience for the student. There are various degree types, much like the traditional campus programs. Online aviation degree programs range from associates degrees (two year) bachelor’s degrees (four year), master’s degrees (range from two to three years) and graduate certifications (time varies).

Whatever your dream career within the aviation industry there are many avenues to take in order to achieve your goals. Having a clear vision of what career you want to pursue is the first big hurdle. After that, deciding on what aviation degree program to participate in and the manner in which you achieve is your second step. After all the gut-wrenching decisions, enrolling in the course and going through any aviation degree program is the fun part. Finally walking away with that degree and certification make all the effort worth it!

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