I almost laughed at the article to get the GAO involved in the alleged pilot shortage. This would be nothing but another attempt by the airlines to ensure they can get new pilots and pay them the slave wages they do now.
If salaries were liveable and not below poverty level, the airlines would have no problem getting the pilots they need. In the U.S., there never has been, is not now, and never will be a shortage of pilots only pilots willing to work for nothing. It is time to let the free market dictate whether there is a pilot shortage or not.
If the airlines cannot afford to pay pilots a reasonable wage, then let them go out of business so that someone who actually knows how to run a profitable airline can do so. This would also mean the days of $99 fares from New York to Florida will be over, since that is not a money-making fare. What should be changed are the bankruptcy laws so there would be a limit to how many times Chapter 11 can be used to stay in business. It should be only once, since if you need to go bankrupt again you should be liquidated.
And yes, I am a professional pilot who has been through a pay cut and a lay-off.
I read your article with great interest. During my nearly half-a-century life in commercial aviation, I have repeatedly heard of several looming pilot shortages but never saw one.
Perhaps this time it might be real! Only because pilots have finally realized investing a couple of hundred grand in order to make less than food-stamp wages is a stupid economical decision.
As you know, [the] military is no longer producing and endless supply of trained pilots, the source that was available in ample supply during my generation. With $8 avgas, private training has become cost-prohibitive.
Most of us endured the loans, the starvation wages, and the hazing because we were promised a rainbow at the end. We did see some "blue skies" a few decades back, but as of late the dark clouds and storms have destroyed this profession.
The airlines will never have to face a pilot shortage if they decide this profession is worth more than minimum wage!
Captain Ross "Rusty" Aimer
Your "Question of the Week," which at first blush seemed simple and straightforward, became muddled when I started to point my cursor to the list of provided answers.
The associated story is about commercial (and military?) traffic above the Arctic, yet the question seems targeted at my personal flying. My answer is different based upon that viewpoint.
My personal flying in my 1976 Rockwell Commander 114, with its IO-540 gas piston engine, has a minimal effect on the environment, leaded gas and all. I would go so far as to state categorically that all the hours flown in type are truly insignificant to anyone except an environmental extremist. At least, that is my opinion.
Further, the whole GA piston fleet pretty much falls into that same level of impact. There simply aren't enough of us flying enough hours to make a noticeable impact.
Commercial turbine traffic, on the other hand, is a whole different story. I like the video AVweb showed that compressed arrivals at Lindbergh Field in San Diego into 25 seconds. Yes, commercial traffic puts a truly huge amount of particulates and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every day.
So, do we need commercial aviation? Yes, we do. Does that give the aviation industry a free pass environmentally? No.
So, to answer your question:
My flying in GA is such a small contributor to pollution that it's insignificant. As for commercial air travel: It needs to step up with new technology and a will to lessen its environmental impact.
Give me a break! Why did you not ask the most basic question: Do you think mankind is responsible for any part of climate change (formerly known by the discredited name "global warming")? We know that the Earth's climate is and always has been in a state of flux. Despite mountains of hype and hyperbole, science has not and probably cannot determine with any certainty whether man has or even can have influence on the changes we see in our weather each and every day. So, editors, why was this option not a part of your survey?
We received many letters (lots in capital letters) in this vein from readers, but this was one we could actually use. And no, AVweb is not part of some sort of environmentalist conspiracy to destroy aviation. Ahem.
I think we are dragging our feet on the move away from leaded fuel, but I'm more concerned with the quantity used, and its impact on our finite supply of fossil fuel. Personally, I have downsized from a Skylane to a Champ because my flying is purely recreational. I also drive a plug-in Prius for the same reason.
You wrote that "EAA published a list of CFIs authorized to offer training in experimental aircraft." That is incorrect. Anyone holding a CFI certificate can already teach in experimental aircraft. No special authorization is required.
What the EAA did publish was a list of individuals authorized to operate their own experimental aircraft for hire for the purposes of type-specific training.
There's a huge difference there. For years I've been doing a lot of experimental transition training. But I do not own an E-AB aircraft, so my name does not appear on that list since I have nothing to rent to students. They simply provide their own aircraft for use during the training.
Your article is phrased in such a way that it implies individuals not on that list are not authorized to provide E-AB transition training.