Aviation Careers and the Economy

In today's economic downturn, jobs are tough to find, people are spending less money, and companies are downsizing. This affects the aviation industry greatly. More and more pilots are finding themselves out of work due to layoffs and furloughs, and more pilots are being trained which makes the pool of available pilots larger. This in turn makes less pilots want to retire which creates less openings. Between airline bankruptcies and government bailouts there's been quite a lot going on in the world of aviation.

This does not mean that an aviation career is out of the question, however. Any well-disciplined and motivated individual can find work as a pilot after their training is complete. If your goal is to become an airline pilot, you'll first have to fly for a regional carrier. I'm not going to lie - just to get an interview with a regional carrier you'll first need your commercial certificate and a minimum of 1000-1500 hours logged and verified. Those hours have to come from somewhere.

After your training is complete, become a certified flight instructor (CFI) and give lessons. This is a great way to build hours and is always nice to have on your resume for the day you do get that interview with a regional carrier. As you're building your logbook, prepare a resume and send query letters to regional carriers (or anywhere you might want to fly) you might want to work for in the future. They will send you their minimum requirements and you'll then have a better idea of what you need to accomplish in order to achieve your goal. New hire pilots are always good for an airline to hire because new pilots are paid less. Don't expect to make a lot of money at first.

Since many corporations are downsizing, the use of private jets is declining as well. Companies are sending more and more of their executives in coach as opposed to their own company jet. This will more than likely hinder you from getting a job in that setting.

Some suggestions for aviation careers that are always useful are news and police helicopter pilots. They are almost always in demand and a job opening is likely somewhere in the country at any given time. However, if you are a fixed-wing pilot you'll need more training. Some state police forces use single-engine aircraft to monitor traffic on highways where it simply isn't practical to have patrol cars. Other suggestions would be to take skydivers up or banner towing. These gigs do not usually pay a lot of money, but they will definitely add to your logbook and put food on the table. Usually more than one of these jobs is required as I know that towing banners doen't really pay very much. If you live in an area where there are a lot of farms, you could always dust the farmer's crops. While this is a seasonal job, every little bit helps, both in your logbook and your wallet.

The cost of operating an aircraft is not small. The current economical situation is causing more and more people to think twice before they spend. Companies that use pilots are forced to stick to the bare minimum for the time being, but as I said in the beginning of this piece, any well-disciplined and motivated individual can find work as a pilot.

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