Pilots are racking up debts of £100,000 or more to pay for their flight training that is leaving them just £500 a month to live on once they land a job with an airline.
Where have all the pilots gone? That is the question the Defense Department and some regional airlines, such as Republic Airways and Cape Air, are asking as they contemplate what they believe to be a shortage of professionals able to man their cockpits. To keep the pilots they have and attract new recruits, they are offering hefty signing and retention bonuses, or promising a guaranteed interview with a major carrier after a certain amount of service.
Without corrective action or another demand-dampening event such as 9/11 or the Great Recession, the U.S. will likely face a serious pilot shortage in the next two decades. The reason is simple: It takes years to train pilots and the profession is hierarchical, so the supply is relatively inelastic. New government rules have made it even harder to become an airline pilot than it used to be.
Here’s how the pilot ecosystem is supposed to work. At the top of the food chain sit the major carriers. Typically, they hire experienced pilots from the military and regional carriers. The regionals and the Pentagon, in turn, train inexperienced pilots looking to move up the ranks.
This is the moment just before the start of a road race at the starting line on a cool foggy morning in April. The other runners are all in their own little world of thoughts. Some are stretching; some are talking to the other runners. Me, I’m trying to not think about anything and just focus on the immediate task at hand. This always seems to work best for me.
Seems funny, now that I’ve run in over one hundred races I’ve come up with the “idea” I believe I will put my thought’s on paper! That thought alone makes me think about the guy waiting for the bus with his box of chocolates! Stupid is as stupid does!
What is on your mind? There are about two hundred runners here. All ages in this race, male, female, even some channel number 5! All doing their own little thing, the last minutes of preparation. They all believe their method is to work for them. For me it’s as if there is no sound! We wait for the gun to go off. And off we go, you can even smell the gun powder. I’m no more than twenty feet away! They even have more noise than normal with all the extra hands far more than needed around the starting line.
About 14% of pilots flying for European airlines are self-employed or work for temporary work agencies (TWA) – and the proportion is growing, according to a European Commission-funded study by the University of Ghent. The first conference held to examine this social phenomenon is being held in Paris on 12-13 February.
The study, carried out between September and November 2014, involved a questionnaire that received a total of 6,633 responses – around 10% of all the professional pilots in Europe. The largest group of respondents were between 30 and 40 years old and had more than ten years flying experience.
Critical Care Transport Nursing as a Career
Flight nursing, or any kind of critical care transport nursing, is a job that requires extensive knowledge and experience. These nurses are responsible for assessing the condition and needs of critically ill or wounded patients, and providing competent care for these patients while they are being transferred from the scene of an accident to the hospital. In some instances, patients are transferred from hospital emergency rooms that are not equipped to deal with the patient’s level of trauma to a facility that can meet that patient’s needs. However, in either case, the transport nurse is responsible for gathering appropriate and accurate information that can passed onto the receiving care team, and it is to be expected that the patient arrives in better, or at least the same, condition than when first picked up.
Due to the variety of skills needed when dealing with those who are critically ill or wounded, most critical care transport teams consist of pilots/drivers, paramedics, and nurses. Thus, paramedic training is not necessary for nurses who choose a career in transport or flight nursing. Critical care transport nurses are expected to bring extensive critical care nursing experience to the table, therefore, any nurse considering this career path should first pursue ICU training, certification, and experience. Most critical care transport companies, especially flight transport companies, will not even consider hiring a nurse with less than 3 years of intensive care/critical care experience. Many of the more reputable companies, particularly those that can offer better pay and benefits, will require 5 years of experience. The national average salary for flight nurses is $62,000 per year.
Obviously, this is not an entry-level job, or one that is suited to new graduates. The variety of situations a transport nurse encounters, and the critical nature of the patients’ conditions, does not allow room for error. Thus, learning on-the-job is not an option. The only training that critical care transport companies expect a nurse to need is specific flight nursing or transport nursing protocol and safety policy training. Usually, companies prefer to offer this training themselves (and usually during a paid probationary period), so they can ensure the nurse is following the company’s established policies and procedures, but previous flight or transport training or experience is always a plus.