Flight Schools Gear For Pilot Shortage

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Pundits say the traditional training models for professional pilots are changing and there's never been a better time for young people to get in the left seat. In an extensive feature in Florida Today, various institutions say a looming pilot shortage should also make it much easier for students to get the training they need and the jobs that will follow. "It means a big shift, as far as where pilots are trained," Louis Smith, president of the Internet-based pilot information resource FLTops.com, told the newspaper.

Smith said airlines can no long count on the military as the pipeline for turbine-ready pilots because the Air Force and other air arms are realizing the investment they have in those pilots and are offering incentives to keep them flying in uniform. Martha Lynn Craver, an associate editor for The Kiplinger Letter, said airlines will have to start subsidizing training costs and offering job guarantees (not to mention pay rates above food-stamp levels) to attract the new pilots they'll need when the current bubble of baby boomers retires.