Flight Operations Pilot
In late 2012, representatives of 14
major U.S. airlines and regional
carriers joined Embry-Riddle, the
world’s largest university specializing in aviation and aerospace, for
a Pilot Supply Summit to address
the looming projected shortage facing the
aviation industry as veteran pilots retire
from the flight deck and more airplanes
enter the sky.
In 2010, there were an estimated
460,000 licensed pilots in the world.
“More than 980,000 are expected to be
needed by 2030,” according to the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO). 2030 seems like a
long time off, but as Dr. Tim Brady, dean
of Embry-Riddle’s College of Aviation at its
Daytona Beach Campus pointed out, “it’s
not a future problem; it is upon us now.”
Indeed, ICAO calculates that approximately 52,500 pilots will have to be trained
each year in Canada and elsewhere to meet
demand. This means a lot of opportunities
for Canadian flight school and aviation
college graduates. In addition to major
airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Porter and Jazz (branded as Air Canada Ex-
press), Transport Canada estimates there
are more than 800 on-demand aviation
Canada’s geography and resource-based
economy presents many interesting flight
opportunities outside of the airline sector,
including piloting floatplanes along the
British Columbia coast, flying into remote
mining towns in the booming north, taking
the controls of a new-generation corporate
jet out of Pearson, and passing your knowledge onto students as a flight instructor.
There are also a variety of speciality services such as law enforcement and medical
Future pilots should enter flight school
with a sense of direction on where they
want their career to go, and whether that
careers fits with their preferred lifestyle.
For example, being a pilot for a charter operator often involves flying on short notice
and has less routine than flying for a scheduled operator.
Most pilots work toward the 1,500 hours
flying time necessary for an Airline Transport Pilot Licence, which means there is
a lot of time to fill from the less than 200
hours that the average flying school student graduates with. Entry-level jobs at
this stage would include flight instructor,
air taxi pilot or general aviation pilot as you
build up the time.
There is also the Canadian Forces. As
would be expected, military flying is one
of the most demanding careers in aviation,
including fighter pilots, search and rescue,
and flying heavy-lift transports into some
of the world’s toughest airports.
Larger airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat tend to hire pilots who
have built up flying time over several years.
It is not uncommon for a recruit to have
clocked more than 500 hours flying heavy
jets. As Canada’s larger airlines accelerate
recruitment by hiring from the military
(less of a source of new pilots than once
was the case) and regional airlines, it has
a “pull” effect on the industry as a whole as
pilots from operators and flight instructors
are recruited higher up the chain.