Congress Approves $240 Million To Promote Flight Deck Diversity

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A measure tucked into the latest FAA Reauthorization will establish a pool of $240 million to lower the cost of flight training and expand the pool of prospective candidates. The new money was championed by Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. “This is a long-term issue,” Warnock told Yahoo Finance. “We’re pulling from too short, too narrow a pool of applicants.” The money will be funneled to flight schools and groups focused on flight training, but it’s not clear if diversity hiring will be a condition of the funding. It’s also not clear how the money will be disbursed.

The pilot shortage has eased considerably, largely because of an airplane shortage that has resulted from issues at Boeing, but Warnock said the money is a long-term investment. “I’m making the business case for diversity,” Warnock told Yahoo. “It’s in our enlightened self-interest to find that talent and create a robust pipeline so that they can become pilots.” Congress had originally earmarked $120 million for flight training initiatives, but Warnock lobbied to double that and include provisions to promote diversity across all aviation careers.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

152 COMMENTS

  1. Why do I think this is just a woke-based over-reaction to a temporary pilot shortage and one that will inevitably lead to a lowering of standards… and the rather obvious end result?

    Is the FAA seriously suggesting that individuals determined to become pilots can’t find funding to train? If that is the case, why do millions of Americans start their non-pilot careers with tens of thousands of debt?

    • Agree. Beyond that, when are these congress people gonna realize that being a pilot is more than just training. The aptitudes, mechanical skills, motor skills, background experiences and — let’s face it — the “fever” — are all a part of it. Why they always think that money will solve everything defies logic. Frankly, I don’t want these kind of people driving me around in aluminum tubes. Anything free WILL lower standards. I want meritocracy as the determinant.

      • “These kind of people.” Why would you assume that women or people of color who have to meet the same training requirements and test standards as white men would be any less qualified or meritorius?

        • Because the standards always decline, in spite of all the delusional commentary that they do not. Look at UCLA’s medical school after the hiring of DIE proponent Lucero:

          “Within three years of Lucero’s hiring in 2020, UCLA dropped from 6th to 18th place in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for medical research. And in some of the cohorts she admitted, more than 50 percent of students failed standardized tests on emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.”

  2. [email protected] probably you feel this is a woke based initiative because it probably is.
    One can make an argument that this sort of thing can entrench division rather than unity. After all, if people are judged on the content of their character (as one famous American son said 60 years ago) then the issue of one’s gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic background shouldn’t come into it. By all means have a fund which makes competitive industry specific (commercial) loans to prospective candidates and by all means assist those so inclined to commit to furthering their own prospects but it should only ever be based on commitment, determination and ability.
    Come to think of it that’s usually what precedes any successful outcome in the real world of achievement isn’t it?

  3. I find it exceptionally difficult to complain about additional state subsidization of training for a career in aviation and, upon the first glance, this strikes me as something that I can support.

    Were the the state to initiate a discussion about adjusting acceptable performance criteria to achieve a desired result, then perhaps then I would complain.

    • Which is what this will actually end up being. The candidates won’t meet the standards, and there’ll be a determination that “minorities are disproportionately affected by them”, and they’ll be lowered until the pass rate is what they determine they want. (100%, no doubt.)

  4. I understand your concern about maintaining high standards for pilots. However, let’s be clear – the new $240 million fund is about making flight training more affordable for those who qualify, not easier. The rigorous standards to become a pilot will remain unchanged, and the FAA and the educational system will ensure that.

    Think about the GI Bill – it provided education and training for veterans like me without lowering standards. I am confident this fund will do the same.

    By making training more affordable, we will ensure we have enough highly qualified pilots in the future, benefiting the entire aviation industry. Why pucker up? It’s time to move beyond the anti-DEI paranoia and focus on the positive impact this initiative can have. Let’s chill and see the bigger picture!

    Niles, nice job with the picture of two women of color in the cockpit to push the DEI angle. But let’s not let that distract from the fact that this fund is about creating opportunities without lowering the bar.

    • ” The money will be funneled to flight schools and groups focused on flight training, but it’s not clear if diversity hiring will be a condition of the funding. It’s also not clear how the money will be disbursed.

      Where’s the clarity in this article. The title says it’s to promote “Flight Deck Diversity.”

      “Congress had originally earmarked $120 million for flight training initiatives, but Warnock lobbied to double that and include provisions to promote diversity across all aviation careers.”

      Everything about this article is painted in DEI. It is what it is. There is no getting around it. They even tell you it’s to promote DEI. Talking out of both sides of your mouth never work out very well.

    • DEI is illegal in the USA and anti-civil rights.
      That’s why using public money for discriminatory programs is morally and legally wrong.

    • That’s what the bill is pushing, so the photo is completely appropriate. One only has to look at who’s pushing it to see that.

  5. Broken Window Fallacy on full display with this D.I.E. garbage. Thanks, U.S. Government.

  6. I am completely against government funding of ‘diversity’ programs for pilot training. D.E.I is already giving minority pilot applicants preferential treatment with mandated cockpit hiring quotas. Government funding for their flight training amounts to nothing more than government sanctioned racial discrimination which excludes from consideration anyone who is not identified as riding the D.E. I. bandwagon express.

    The U.S. Government should play no role at all in funding such an obvious racially based program. That would be the role for a private charity or organization, but not the U.S. Government funded by taxpayers.

  7. Going out to the twiggy end of a long skinny limb here . . . How “diverse” must one be to qualify for this financial largesse? Will I need to submit a DNA sample to a diverse panel of folks with doctorates in diversity? Is it a percentage thing or a yes or no deal? Can I just identify as the diverse du jour. Or perhaps like porn . . . ya know it when ya see it?
    Let’s promote an open door policy but, at the end of the day, go with meritocracy. Coming up to speed as a pilot never was, ain’t now, and never will be inexpensive.

  8. This is baiting the race issue ,not helping it.Safety with qualified pilots is much more important,than being woke.Everybody being equal with our tax dollars is the way to go.If you want it,work for it.

  9. Less than 3% of commercial pilots are black. That is mostly because 3% of blacks want to be pilots, not because a white guy with a gun keeps them out of the door. Flying an aircraft is NOT for everyone, a lot of people are afraid of flying period. Also 6% of pilots are women because 6% of women want to be pilots, you can’t make them do it. Don’t force flight training by waving “Free” money.

    • Interesting statistics, Roger. I would be interested in what statistical data you have showing that 97% of black people and 94% of women, when interviewed, stated they had no interest in flying airplanes.

    • So Roger, you believe that 3% of Commercial pilots are black because only 3% want to be pilots. Similar argument for 6% female. Are you sure these numbers indicate “desire” only, and not accessibility to the schools and the money required?

  10. Diversity for the sake of Diversity is simply WRONG because by definition it indirectly targets other groups. Just let “The cream will rise to the top”

  11. The whole DEI thing is a bore. The DEI advocates are always going to do what they have done in the past and the outcomes will always be the same. Sub-standard performance and mediocracy followed up with participation trophy’s.

  12. It figures that Warnock would push this, a man with zero experience in the private sector and a champion of the victim classes. This is why I no longer fly the airlines. DEI = Discrimination, Exclusion, Ignorance.

  13. D. E. I.: Didn’t Earn It! No thanks, not for my pilot, surgeon or lawyer. Meritocracy is the only acceptable selection method. The money is there, I don’t want the government wasting my tax dollar for this kind of boon doggle El Toro Poo Poo. Go WOKE; Go broke. stop all this social engineering that will fail in the long term anyway.

  14. “It is UNLAWFUL for an employer to discriminate in hiring, firing, compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex por national origin”.

    It’s hard to cheer for public funding of illegal activities.

  15. Diversity is the great American strength. We will always be superior to countries with homogeneous populations. The mix of ideas and cultures gives us a much broader array of ideas and practices which then compete in our free marketplace with the best ones rising to the top. (No, I don’t favor “open borders”. In spite of what you hear on the news, virtually no one does.)

    I know nothing about the details of this program but I support the idea in general. It is MUCH more difficult for a poor black kid to navigate his or her way into a cockpit than a white kid of similar circumstances. As LBJ said, sometimes you have to “prime the pump.”

    • Robert D, the general idea is wrong. No one is stopping poor black kids any more than stopping poor X kids. That’s why public funding for assistance has to be color blind.

      • “No one is stopping poor black kids any more than stopping poor X kids.” There are studies galore based on hard data that refute this. Black kids get suspended from school at many times the rate of whites – for the same offense. Blacks go to prison more often and longer than whites for the same offense. Identical resumes submitted from black and whites show blacks are accepted at a much lower rate. Black college graduates make 20% less on average than whites and on and on. Blacks have many more hurdles here in the US than whites. I think it’s right to give them a helping hand into the wonderful world of aviation.

        • Excuse me, but any one who puts race on their resume is nuts and anyone who commits crime get what they get. Be like MLK Jr and the way to succeed is to be BETTER.

    • “It is MUCH more difficult for a poor black kid to navigate his or her way into a cockpit than a white kid of similar circumstances.”

      Robert D, if the black kid and the white kid have similar circumstances why is it harder for one than the other? Surely if it is then they don’t have similar circumstances.

  16. The career field is bit like ATC. Ya gotta wanna be one, have knowledge of what it’s about , and understand the lengthy training programs that will be necessary to achieve success. Piloting for a career, the same thing. You can’t just look at it as a free offering, trying it briefly and then say not for me, nope. Or you applicants will be a total waste of time and money. Of course, I got “free” VA money from my USAF time. Can’t whine. (I did get my Comm and CFI first though on my own dime.)

  17. So let me get this right. If you’re a certain
    Color, race or sex this money will be available to you? Can a person identify as one of these chosen people? Like reimbursed college funds, can I identify as a chosen one and then seek reimbursement for past funds, even if I’m 68 and my career is long over? I have so suffered under my burden of choosing the wrong career. If I had only taken that computer seriously, that I first saw in High School I could have been a billionaire like Gate. It’s just not fair!

  18. What happens when a rush of privileged white guys rush to take up subsidized flight training and consume those $240 million printed dollars?

  19. Over 50 years in the industry tells me this doesn’t work. Good luck… see you at the NTSB hearings.

  20. The flight deck is no place for DEI. Just as the military is no place for DEI. Performance should be the only criteria for flight crews.

  21. Over a long aviation career, I can remember hearing comments about not being able to afford flight training. However, I am aware of the fact that a person who has an interest in aviation will usually figure out a way to make it happen.
    I didn’t have two nickels to rub together when I decided to pursue a career as a pilot. Working as a field hand in the oil industry provided me with the funds to obtain the minimum required ratings and start flying in rural Alaska. It was the beginning of a 40 year run. I also managed to complete BS and MS degrees along the way.
    I paid for it, and I own it.

    • You are right! without the “fire in the belly” nothing but a waste of money happens. If you want it you have to make it happen! We don’t need a subsidy for failure.

  22. Let’s do the math just for the private SEL. Fifty percent will be consumed by bureaucrats, leaving $120 million. Say it’s $160 per hour for the 172 and $80 for the instructor – $240 per hour. That’s 500,000 hours of primary training. Being conservative, it takes 80 hours on average to get the private. That means we must locate 6,250 diversity-eligible candidates to spend the money. Good luck.

    • Obviously you mean those who actually understand the industry and the profession. Not including yourself, apparently.
      I watched the beginnings of this crap during a 36 year career. It hasn’t gotten any better. And with crap like this keeping those programs on life support, it will only get worse.

    • “If it keeps 99% of the commenters here out of aviation then I’m all for the funding. I wouldn’t trust most of you with an airplane.”

      Said the MS Flight Sim jockey.

  23. As a dedicated EAA Young Eagles pilot and an airline pilot who happens to not be a white dude, this is music to my ears. The talent, dedication, and passion I see among the youths I fly for Young Eagles is so often snuffed out by the challenging search for flight school funding. Is it hard for young Caucasian boys to find flight school money, too? Of course! Training is an outrageously expensive endeavor these days. But often those students have people confidently encouraging them that they can do it, and they know or see pilots who look like them anytime they walk through an FBO or terminal. The lack of representation and pilot mentors in more diverse communities takes away some of the moments of encouragement an aspiring pilot needs when learning plateaus occur or funding challenges seem too vast. Finally, for those students who can fund their training through loans, they frequently find themselves at schools that pump pilots through as fast as possible, sacrificing a thorough education for check ride prep. If safety is really paramount in the eyes of the FAA and the American public, adequate funding for these students means a higher quality pilot group. For the sake of a well-trained, equal opportunity work force, I am delighted that senator Warnock has pushed this legislation through.

  24. How much of the “commentary” here was utterly predictable, frequently from predictable commenters?

    I’m at a loss to understand how broadening the opportunity to include more people who historically have not been in the pilot pool is a Bad Thing™.

    SierraBravo pretty much nails it the right way.

    • “Broadening the opportunity” is Dem-speak for “narrowing the eligible candidate list via the implementation of racism”. Still at a loss ? I don’t fly commercial. Folks are about to receive what they voted for.

  25. “ ……. but it’s not clear if diversity hiring will be a condition of the funding.”

    Clickbait.

    • I read through all the documents and could not find a specific requirement so couldn’t say definitively that it’s a requirement. We only have Warnock’s statements to go on. We do not do click bait.

  26. DEI policies are responsible for graduating a wave of new doctors who function unacceptably below norms for competency that have been established over the past century. How could you not expect the same as DEI permeates the ranks of future pilots? Imagine hearing this on the radio “I didn’t bust your class Bravo airspace, you mis-gendered me. I have a number for you to call”.

    • How can you justify your statement? As a surgeon who teaches and examines new surgeons in particular those of color or underrepresented groups I dont see your point?! I see no deficits and many older physicians are deficient and not up-to-date.

      • Check the @ FreeBeacon article reporting that “up to half of UCLA medical students now fail basic tests of medical competence”. Quote: “We want racial diversity so badly, we’re willing to cut corners to get it.” And the story in which a med student pimped on an artery name during a procedure verbally berated her instructor for calling her out. How is it you find yourself examining “colored or underrepresented groups in particular”?

        • Why are medical students being tested on medical competence? Assuming they’ve been randomly selected, given that learning is exponential (the more you know the more you learn) it’s surprising that only 50% failed. Would it be appropriate to evaluate a student pilot with 10 hours total time on spin recovery? Great example of how easily a prejudiced mind is led astray. As human beings, pilots are not exempt. Still, for all the hubris and pomposity one would expect them to be more adept at discerning valid data from manipulative garbage. The failure to do so shows the tremendous power of insidious prejudice.

          • “Why are medical students being tested on medical competence?” At VUMC as med students we were ACLS certified and ran codes in the ICU and on the floor and performed myriad medical procedures. We were tested weekly for 4 years. Incompetence = dismissal.

      • By the way, you know who Dr. Kychelle Del Rosario is, right ? The Wake Forest Medical School student who jabbed a patient with a needle for commenting on her DEI pin. She’s a resident now.

  27. Haven’t we already been through the study that there isn’t enough color or diversity in the cockpit? In the 1980’s after a study on the subject wasn’t it determined that the FAA written testing was racially bias? So they removed one of the incorrect answers from the multiple choice questions and reworded the question and answer bank where one of the three answers was very obvious that it was incorrect leaving only 2 answers to choose from. If my memory is correct the new test was released in 1986. And the result of the change had no effect on the number of non white men or women that became professional pilots. If you can do the job without lowering the standard then hire them if not find a job in a field that better suits you. No matter what race, color, religious beliefs or the type of cereal you had for breakfast.

  28. “As LBJ said, sometimes you have to “prime the pump.”

    Amazing that one of the biggest racist that ever held public office is being quoted as a champion of racial equality. That man flopped the Democrats from being the good ole boys club to the liberal machine it is today for the sake of votes, period.
    As others have stated, this money being targeted solely for diversity hiring in the cockpit is not only wrong but illegal acccording to the US Gov. This funneling of people into the flight deck based on their religion or their race will lead to a degradation of safety and professionalism in the cockpit. As others have stated, there are certain jobs where you want people there that are hungry to be there, pilots doctors, soldiers, Jobs, where your abilities should be the only metric that you were measured by, not your race or your religion. D.E.I. Has no business being in these kind of positions and will lay the groundwork for safety issues that could very quickly erode public confidence in air travel. Just ask Boeing how fast a stellar reputation can be tarnished forever.

  29. Obesity causes inflammation and hormonal imbalances of insulin and leptin among others leading to brain structure changes, reduction in gray matter and an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines resulting in BRAIN FOG and reduced functional capacity. The pilots pictured are unlikely anywhere near the top of their class for the reasons provided.

      • There is an inverse correlation between BMI and intelligence. The average IQ of an inner city AA is 85 which limits their developmental abilities to that of normal 6th graders. DEI is designed to prevent you from knowing where on the curve(s) those well nourished pilots started.

  30. To the usual suspects: While not all comments are explicitly racist, many exhibit a lack of understanding towards the goals of diversity and inclusion. Some reflect underlying prejudices or stereotypes. These tones contribute to a broader culture of resistance against efforts to promote equity and diversity. Enough with the ignorance—it’s time to step up or step aside.

      • You are correct, so let me put it this way: either step up to take on the challenge and seek support if needed, or consider stepping aside to let someone else lead while finding a different way to contribute.

        • You didn’t buy yourself anything. Your conclusion follows Either This or Either That when multiple options exist that do not rely on institutionalized discrimination which is ILLEGAL.

    • It’s time to do the right thing for a change and stop this insidious slide toward the abyss. Hopefully we can put our differences aside and do that in November.

      • I don’t mean to imply that anyone who disagrees with me is automatically ignorant or racist. Disagreements often come from different perspectives, experiences, and interpretations. It’s important to engage in these discussions with respect and an open mind to understand each other better. However, some comments have contained racist tones and seem to be ill-founded, which is why they were classified as such.

    • Agree. Put yourselves in the shoes of a young black man or woman who wants to learn to fly and encounters the kinds of attitudes displayed by many pilots here. You think they can’t tell they’re not a wanted addition to the pilot ranks?

        • This one I’ll BS on. Most of the prejudicial comments seem pretty clear that people of color or non-male either do not “want” to fly (mister 3 and 6 %, FFS) or if they cannot afford it, tough luck.

          You comment is laughable and deserving of no respect.

          As SB stated very well, a young black man looks into the pilot world and sees a sea of older, white (and many fat) pilots so what is he to think if he even tries.

          In WWII pilots rejected the Tuskegee airmen till they had to prove themselves by dying protect white ass pilots who may or may not have had any more talent. How long did it take for women to be accepted as pilots and even today still deal with misogamy in the flight deck.

          There may be many who truly do *want* to fly, but then get a look at who’d they have to fly with and figure who’d want to deal with a majority of closed minded humans all the time.

  31. This is an example of “reverse discrimination.” Instead of ranking candidates by their desire, drive, and aptitude, they are being ranked and subsidized by race–EXACTLY OPPOSITE TO THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE LAW.

    If implemented, this will give priority to funding, training, and hiring not to the BEST CANDIDATES–but based on color or ethnicity–exactly the OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE LAW INTENDED. Think of that on your future airline flights.

    “And Congress wonders why they are held is such low esteem…….”

    “Robbing Peter to pay Paul can usually count on the support of Paul to support to aid and abet……..”

  32. This plan to combat the pilot shortage will cost the taxpayers $240 million. The plan the House passed, but the Senate rejected, to allow airline pilots retire at 67 would have kept thousands of highly experienced pilots flying. That proposal would cost the taxpayers $0. Furthermore, those pilots are already trained. Without arguing the pros and cons of the Warnock plan, it will take several years to get those pilots into an airline cockpit. Meanwhile, the average age in the Senate is 65.3. And over half of them are over 65, yet they won’t allow me and my contemporaries to continue flying for a couple more years. I am a 64 year old airline pilot, with 34 years major airline and 22 years USMC active and reserve flying experience.

  33. WOW, Russ !!! At 0430 I was commenter #2. At 1115 — <7 hours later — there are 59 comments. I think this storyline struck a nerve with the readers !! 🙂

  34. Without fear of being contradicted, the majority of negative comments reflect a combination of prejudice, ignorance, and resistance to change. They lack an understanding of the systemic issues DEI initiatives aim to address and tend to rely on outdated or biased perspectives-racist practices. Conversely, supportive comments recognize the value of diversity and inclusion in strengthening the aviation industry and society at large.

    • Everyone here is for inclusion and diversity; no argument there.
      The sticking point is prejudicial treatment of individuals to meet artificial goals.
      Once you refuse to look at an individual and instead look at them as “one of them”, that’s prejudice.

    • You’re stuck at the place on DEI where Bill Ackman was a few days after October 7. Ackman later said: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant, quite the opposite”. If you read his investigation over on twitter your perspective will also evolve. https://x.com/BillAckman/status/1742441534627184760

    • Provide any proof that the current liberal definition and practice of DIE strengthens the aviation industry and society at large, instead of repeating platitudes used to denigrate people with differing opinions. Your comment does the opposite of your claim and is by far the most common type used by proponents.

  35. Does anyone recognize the term “Orwellian”? In his book “Animal Farm”–he stated “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Orwell wrote his book 80 YEARS AGO.

    Government is supposed to be “equal”–and shouldn’t be favoring ANY group–race–religion–gender–sexual orientation–ethnicity–or whatever other criteria is in vogue at the time.

    Our democratic form of government is all about equality of OPPORTUNITY–NOT “equality of OUTCOME.” As usual, our government has completely inverted the stated objective. Compare the statement with Communism–“Each according to his ABILITY–each according to his NEEDS.” Which statement most closely represents the principles of the founders of our government, and which most closely resembles our government today?

    THE ROMAN EMPIRE lasted from the year 27 to the year 476–449 years. It was brought down by “internal strife, economic weakness, and relentless invasion” according to Wikipedia–also the edict “give them (the populace) bread and circuses.” This level of social welfare cannot be sustained, either.

    The U.S. has been a nation for 248 years–MORE than half the time of the Roman Empire–and is following the same path to destruction. To quote Mark Twain–“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session….”

    • Well it was a slog to get back to the actual purpose of this measure: “The money will be funneled to flight schools and groups focused on flight training”. It appears that most of the commenters were triggered by the “diversity” speculation.

      So, MORE money to flight schools. Anyone who objects to that, turn in your ticket. Most all of us went to one (at some point) and paid (in one way or another) for the privilege of doing so. Who are the “groups focused on flight training”? CAP? WAI? AbleFlight? EAA ? Scouts? Any pilot who objects to a measure that might encourage or facilitate someone else getting a ticket has serious issues with narcissism. “I’ve got mine, the rest of you can just go …”

      It appears that the huge stick upon which most commenters here are sitting, is the suggestion that certain young people who chose to have less affluent parents, or were raised in under-served communities, or don’t present as sufficiently aryan or male, should not be offered a little help. And believe me, in the US budget, this is chump-change “little”. These commenters are the kind of folks who toss a quarter at the Salvation Army Santa from their Lexus.

      It appears that most of the commenters here did not read anything past “Democratic Senator” and went mentally and gratuitously aghast.

      • Your probably had a clear, thought provoking retort, but it fell on its face with all the baseless assuming, virtue signaling, hand wringing, pearl clutching, and white man hating,

        • I didn’t get a cent of support for any of my flight training and worked several different jobs including in factories working swing shifts to finance my “fire in the belly”.

    • Some finance reporter at Yahoo made an error and this place goes crazy.
      Please actually read the final law that was signed – google ” Public Law No: 118-63 Enrolled Bill”
      There’s no $240m for any pilot training, much less “diverse” funding

      this is all just a sad show of people’s inner minds
      “It appears that the huge stick upon which most commenters here are sitting,”
      Well, maybe check for your own sticks?

      “the suggestion that certain young people who chose to have less affluent parents, or were raised in under-served communities, or don’t present as sufficiently aryan or male, should not be offered a little help”
      They aren’t getting help. That’s not what the actually law says in SEC. 625. AVIATION WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

      “It appears that most of the commenters here did not read anything past “Democratic Senator””
      It appears that some that complain about reading comp could do some rereading as well. The only part of the Sen. amendment that was adopted was the funding amount, and his language wasn’t saying that this was going to pay for diverse pilots, but his language did not make the final bill. Very easy to read the text and the Senate’s summary of amendments.

      Again, there’s no $240m for diverse pilots .

  36. “Without fear of being contradicted, the majority of negative comments reflect a combination of prejudice, ignorance, and resistance to change. They lack an understanding of the systemic issues DEI initiatives aim to address and tend to rely on outdated or biased perspectives-racist practices.”

    Apparently RAF believes those who disagree with are not enlightened or educated enough to understand his opinion.

    I’d like to know, of the people who are blessed this largesse, what commitment do these people incur for the training US taxpayers are giving them.

    I got free flight training in the USAF, it just took me 20 years to pay it back.

    Everybody wants something for nothing, this is what is wrong with our country.

  37. This will just endanger the general public. How about we focus on getting the BEST qualified to entrust our lives behind the controls of a hurling piece of metal with wings with versus turning this into a reverse discrimination program. DEI is a racist initiative with no place in the ER or the cockpit.

  38. “Without fear of being contradicted, the majority of negative comments reflect a combination of prejudice, ignorance, and resistance to change. They lack an understanding of the systemic issues DEI initiatives aim to address and tend to rely on outdated or biased perspectives-racist practices. Conversely, supportive comments recognize the value of diversity and inclusion in strengthening the aviation industry and society at large.”

  39. At what cost RAF? There are already statistics out there where pilots that were not qualified were pushed through due to their minority status. I will take an outdated process that has been tried and true over the test of time versus giving a crap about weather my opinion is outdated…

    • There are a lot of commercial pilots on this thread for starters. And many of we “private pilots” are also physicians, attorneys, engineers, scientists and countless others. Few people are just “private pilots”. Which are you ?

      • I think you’re confusing a stereotype of a role (which may presume a certain behavior by the person when in that role) with a stereotype of a person (which may presume that the person can only perform that role).

  40. What really just happened is that the cost of flight training just went up. The flight schools will take the $240M. Students at those schools will graduate with the same debt, students at other schools/clubs (without access to the funds) will pay more as all rates will go up when benchmarking is done… to retain instructors (vs the competing schools who can now pay instructors more). Quickest way to drive up the cost of education? Government gives easy access to loans or subsidize it. Who is John Galt!

    Regarding diversity – let’s talk Hockey. 😉

  41. I’ve been flying for 62 years, and been in the FBO business for 52 years. I’ve run a number of flight schools–it’s easy to see what students are “going to make it” and those who will not. MOST of those who will make it did whatever they had to do to get their aviation education. While other kids were “investing” in cars, they were working other jobs to afford flight training.

    While other kids went off to college, many of us joined the military for the GI Bill benefits–including flight training.

    While others chose high-paying careers, many of us elected to build relatively low-paying aviation careers.

    Those that took the “easy way” to aviation careers often abandoned them. Those who worked and earned their careers have stuck with it–often taking lesser jobs over the years to do what they most enjoyed did so willingly–and without whining about it.

    The others? THEY are the ones that should be pitied–they “sold their heritage for a mess of pottage”–they may have financial security, buy they “sold themselves on the street”. Those of us who didn’t take the “free” money offered have no respect for them–OR the people (Congress) who offer money for “favors.”

    • By including the kids who invested in cars, those who went off to college and those who chose high-paying careers—none of them germane to success in aviation—you render your justification for having no respect for those who take the free money offered as invalid and irrational. Besides, in assuming that everybody who takes flight lessons aspires to a career as a pilot and then criticizing those that don’t end up so, you are imposing your expectations.

  42. Just my $0.02

    Public Perception and Trust: There is concern that patients or passengers might doubt the qualifications of their doctor or pilot if they believe these professionals were selected based on DEI criteria rather than merit. This could erode trust in these professionals’ abilities, which is particularly problematic in fields where trust is essential. For instance, patients need to trust their surgeons to provide the best possible care, and passengers need to trust their pilots to ensure safe travel​ (National Center for Education Statistics)​​ (NCES)​.

    Meritocracy and Fairness: Another argument is that DEI initiatives and affirmative action undermine the principle of meritocracy. Critics contend that every individual should have an equal opportunity based on their abilities and achievements, not their demographic characteristics. This perspective emphasizes that selection processes should be free from biases related to race, gender, or other identity markers to maintain fairness and high standards​ (City Journal)​​ (Deloitte United States)​.

    • It is ESSENTIAL for passengers to trust their pilots to ensure safe travel?! How? By not staging a mutiny mid-flight when they encounter turbulence? By not attempting to open a door during the approach to land on concerns that the crew can’t make a safe landing?

      • Trusting your pilot to ensure safe travel equates, very simply, to trusting the system by which those pilots are trained and certified. This should be strictly a meritocratic process ONLY and have nothing to do with immutable characteristics. Same holds true for the medical profession as well. Come to think of it, this should hold true for practically all professions and or trades.

    • THUMBS UP!
      Since the very start of military aviation, enlisting to get both a general education AND an aviation education has been a very viable option. Yes, you trade your time and some fun for the privilege of getting your flight training and experience–but it makes you ultimately employable in the industry–not just because you were a military aviator, but BECAUSE YOU EARNED IT!

  43. Good evening, everyone. I want to take a moment to summarize the feedback, gathered through the magic of AI, on the FAA’s $240 million initiative to promote flight training. This summary will give us a clearer picture of the overall sentiment and the key points raised by the participants.

    1.) Tone:

    • Critical/Skeptical (58%): Most comments are critical or skeptical, expressing concerns about the initiative’s impact on standards and effectiveness.
    • Sarcastic/Dismissive (23%): A significant portion of comments are sarcastic or dismissive, often ridiculing the initiative or its proponents.
    • Supportive/Positive (13%): Supportive comments highlight the need for broader opportunities and the potential benefits of the initiative.
    • Neutral/Reflective (6%): A small percentage of comments are neutral or reflective, providing personal experiences or neutral observations.

    2.) Racist Tendencies:

    • Racist Tendencies (30%): Some comments exhibit racist tendencies, questioning the competence of minorities or mocking diversity initiatives.
    • No Racist Tendencies (70%): The majority of comments focus on the initiative’s merits or drawbacks without resorting to racial stereotypes.

    3.) Impracticality:

    • Impractical/Unrealistic (24%): Some comments are impractical, making unsupported assumptions or proposing unrealistic solutions.
    • Practical/Realistic (76%): Most comments are practical and realistic, offering logical critiques, suggestions, or support.

    4.) Sensicality:

    • Sensical/Logical (67%): Most comments are sensical and logical, providing well-reasoned arguments and constructive input.
    • Nonsensical/Illogical (33%): A minority of comments are nonsensical or illogical, lacking coherence or relying on fallacies.

    Conclusion:
    The majority of comments reflect critical or skeptical views, with a significant portion also displaying sarcasm or dismissiveness. While some comments show racist tendencies, most focus on practical and logical critiques or support for the initiative. The discussion reveals a mix of valid concerns about maintaining standards and effectiveness, alongside positive views on expanding opportunities and promoting diversity in aviation.

    • Instead of taking time to summarize comments, I would suggest pausing for a sec. and using the “magic of AI” to have it explain the actual final law. This whole debate is about factually incorrect yahoo article.
      Even a very simple LLM should be able to summarize what Public Law No: 118-63 actually says and tell you that there is was never any such thing as “Congress Approves $240 Million To Promote Flight Deck Diversity”

      Some Yahoo Finance reporter cited a amendment as having been “snuck in” to the FAA reauthorization, but the none of Sen. Ben Werschkul’s “diversity” language from his proposed amendment made it to the final law.

      That’s it. End of story. There’s no $240m for pilots. There’s $20m a year for 4 year for various organizations to ask for grants for pilot training programs under SEC. 625. AVIATION WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.

      There’s actually not huge amount of change in Sec 625 from the last reauth in Public Law No. 115-254 (10/05/2018), other than giving more money this time.

      Based on past grant guidance on faa dot gov , you could apply for this grant to possibly help start a flight school at university, etc. but IT’S NOT A FUND TO PAY FOR ANYONE’S FLIGHT TRAINING.

      This whole thing is fake news. Ask your favorite chatbot to explain it to you if you don’t believe me

    • Pilots operate on reality.
      What “facts” show that there is discrimination in aviation training?

  44. With 60+ years of aviating, 30K+/- hours, 9 jet air carrier type ratings, 35 years of flying for the airlines and being an Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, the empirical observations I have are that those of color and/or non male gender who worked their way onto the flight deck earned it and were very good aviators. Those who went through the DEI route were less than adequate. One FO for a major carrier out of Atlanta was so bad that after a leg on the jump seat I took away his ATP and sent him for a 44709 check ride. He busted it and is now out of aviation. I sleep very well at night.

    • It is troubling that whether or not a person “went through the DEI route” is information that is available to an Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA. How does the FAA obtain that information and how is that information germane to the evaluation of that person other than to discriminate unfairly?

  45. Russ,
    The headline is NOT correct since this is not what the actual final law (PL 118-63) says, THERE IS NO MONEY IN THE FINAL LAW specifically dedicated to diversity, much less $240m for more diverse pilots

    According to the Amendment Summaries, the above linked proposed amendment was NOT adopted in full, and this whole discussion is just folks venting their preconceptions.

    I invite EVERYONE to actually READ the final txt of Public Law No: 118-63. Yes there is $20m for grants that anyone can apply for pilot training programs for each of four years (NOT $240m), with the rather non-clickbait text that ACTUALLY reads:

    SEC. 625. AVIATION WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.

    (5) CONSIDERATION FOR CERTAIN APPLICANTS.—In reviewing and selecting applications for grants under the programs established under subsection (a), the Secretary MAY GIVE consideration to applicants that provide an assurance—↳

    “(A) to use grant funds to encourage the participation of populations that are underrepresented in the aviation industry, including in economically disadvantaged geographic areas and rural communities;
    “(B) to address the workforce needs of rural and regional airports; or
    “(C) to strengthen aviation programs at a minority-serving institution (as described in section 371(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(a)), a public institution of higher education, or a public postsecondary vocational institution.
    ——————————————
    This is another example of when you cite a site like Yahoo and but don’t actually look up the source docs, you start a firestorm.

    This article should be corrected ASAP

  46. RAF–Thank you for your reasoned analysis on comments. While the percentages are open to discussion and debate, it gives a starting point–AND, it helps frame the objections and support for the proposal. I find your analysis of the comments instructive–even if I don’t agree with every one of the percentages assigned, I believe they are close.

    As I am sure you are aware, people in the aviation industry (NOT just pilots) tend to be advocates of smaller government. (perhaps because they have witnessed the failure of so many FAA initiatives firsthand! (smile).

    I do disagree on several readings of the percentages assigned:
    I do not believe that 30% are racist–“questioning the competence of minorities or mocking diversity initiatives.” The fact that people question government give-aways doesn’t mean that they are racists–most negative commenters believe that government programs IN GENERAL are ineffective–unrelated to race or gender.

    Many that disagree are of the opinion that government ought NOT to be in the business of big government spending “in the name of diversity or race or gender”–that programs already exist to ameliorate these perceived problems with scholarships, military service, employment opportunities with flight training as part of compensation, or other means. In today’s employment “market”–with all of the shortages of willing workers, there is little need for “affirmative action” programs. On a very small scale, many FBOs (like my own) make flight and maintenance training part of the perks of working at the airport. I would estimate that about 1/3 of the people I’ve employed over the years take advantage of the offer–it makes them better employees, and if they DO leave here, they are better qualified on the job–and earn MORE money.

    Thanks again for your analysis–reasonable people can agree and disagree on specific items, while agreeing overall.

    • Jim,

      Thank you for your thoughts on the percentages and the need for debate. I understand the aviation industry’s preference for smaller government, given experiences with FAA initiatives.

      Your practice of offering training to employees is commendable and enhances their career growth. I’ve done the same, haing benefited from workplace generosity as an apprentice electro-mechanical draftsman then pilot and CFI/CFII decades ago.

      These discussions are valuable, allowing reasonable people to agree and disagree. Ultimately, the goal is to make things work and progressively improve.

      • Equal opportunity doe not equal equal outcome.
        Anyone who thinks that it does is delusional.

        • True, but unequal opportunity guarantees unequal outcome. To pretend that equal opportunity exists is delusional.

  47. Cosponsors (7) Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act
    Cosponsors Date Cosponsored
    Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS] 06/08/2023
    Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL]06/08/2023
    Sen. Thune, John [R-SD] 06/08/2023
    Sen. Kelly, Mark [D-AZ] 06/08/2023
    Sen. Fischer, Deb [R-NE] 06/08/2023
    Sen. Warnock, Raphael G. [D-GA] 06/08/2023
    Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV] 06/08/2023

    “(1) to create and deliver a program designed to provide students with meaningful aviation education that is designed to prepare the students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a));

    “(2) to support the professional development of teachers and other educators implementing a program described in paragraph (1);

    “(3) to establish new educational programs that teach technical skills used by aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)), including purchasing equipment, or to improve existing such programs;

    “(4) to establish scholarships or registered apprenticeships for individuals pursuing employment as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a));

    “(5) to support outreach about careers as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)) to—

    “(A) primary, secondary, and post-secondary school students; or

    “(B) communities underrepresented in the applicable industry;

    “(6) to support educational opportunities in both urban and rural areas;

    “(7) to support transition to careers as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)), including for veterans and members of the Armed Forces; or

    “(8) to otherwise enhance or expand the aircraft pilot, aerospace engineer, unmanned aircraft system operator workforces, aviation maintenance technical worker, or aviation manufacturing technical worker workforces.”;

  48. National Strategic Plan for Aviation Workforce Development. —

    (1) IN GENERAL. —Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall, to the extent practicable and in consultation with other Federal agencies and private individuals, establish a national strategic plan for addressing projected shortages of aviation workers in the aviation industry, including—

    (A) any short-term, medium-term, and long-term needs critical to the economy, national security, workforce readiness, environmental concerns, and priorities of the United States aviation sector, such as emergency readiness and resilience; and

    (B) any situation or condition that warrants special attention by the Federal Government.

    (2) REQUIREMENTS. —The national strategic plan established under paragraph (1) shall—

    (A) take into account the activities and accomplishments of all agencies in the executive branch of the Federal Government that are related to carrying out such national strategic plan; and

    (B) include recommendations for legislation, regulations, and budget proposals to carry out such national strategic plan.

    Eligible Projects. —For purposes of a program established under subsection (a), an eligible project is a project—

    “(1) to create and deliver a program designed to provide students with meaningful aviation education that is designed to prepare the students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)).

    “(2) to support the professional development of teachers and other educators implementing a program described in paragraph (1).

    “(3) to establish new educational programs that teach technical skills used by aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)), including purchasing equipment, or to improve existing such programs.

    “(4) to establish scholarships or registered apprenticeships for individuals pursuing employment as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)).

    “(5) to support outreach about careers as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)) to—

    “(A) primary, secondary, and post-secondary school students; or

    “(B) communities underrepresented in the applicable industry.

    “(6) to support educational opportunities in both urban and rural areas.

    “(7) to support transition to careers as aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, aviation maintenance technical workers, or aviation manufacturing technical workers (as applicable to the relevant program described in subsection (a)), including for veterans and members of the Armed Forces; or

    “(8) to otherwise enhance or expand the aircraft pilot, aerospace engineer, unmanned aircraft system operator workforces, aviation maintenance technical worker, or aviation manufacturing technical worker workforces.”

    ADDITIONAL FUNDING. —In addition to amounts available for grants pursuant to paragraph (1), there is authorized to be appropriated—

    “(A) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2029 to provide grants under the program established under subsection (a)(1);

    “(B) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2029 to provide grants under the program established under subsection (a)(2); and

    “(C) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2029 to provide grants under the program established under subsection (a)(3).”; and

    (D) in paragraph (3), as redesignated by subparagraph (B), by inserting “(or, in the case of fiscal years 2024 through 2029, $1,000,000)” after “$500,000”

  49. Introduced in Senate:
    S.1163 — 118th Congress
    Has NOT become Law

    This bill requires the Department of Transportation to establish a grant program to increase racial and gender minority access and representation in the aviation workforce. Grants may be provided to minority-serving institutions (e.g., historically Black colleges and universities) and a consortium of one or more institutions of higher education that has a partnership with an aviation company or industry association, a labor-management organization, or other specified entity.

    The grants must be used to

    facilitate the creation of programs that educate and train students;
    increase access to, and the availability of, resources at existing aviation workforce programs;
    assist students with education, apprenticeship, internship, transportation, and certification costs; and
    increase student outreach and recruitment.

  50. I am no fan of government-funded DE&I efforts, but I also believe in facts.

    Congress allocated $240 million for aviation workforce development as a whole and $80 million for pilots specifically per Sec. 625 of the act. No small number, but only a portion of the total. The rest goes to AMT programs and aerospace engineering.

    The Aviation Workforce Development funding isn’t anything particularly new either. It’s been around awhile and similar provisions were passed in 2018.

    What I believe to be more compelling here is that they only allocated $5 million per year for pilots over five fiscal years. That’s a substantial increase.

  51. As an Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI), I was on the primary team to initiate the first iteration of this government underwriting training and scholarship/sponsorship under the FAA reauthorization bill of 2018. Language in that bill was for the FAA to get it operational in 180 days. It took us over three years to get the first chunk of money out the door. In this bill it’s 0ne year. Expect the first tranche of the 2023 bill to reach those who are approved by 2026.

    The big holdups are the legal departments at the FAA and the DoT. Then the paperwork (red tape) to get the requesting grant research and approvals to the administrator and then the Sect. DoT to approve the funding.

    Bottom line is that this is a good idea, but doomed to failure because of so many self imposed trip ups.

  52. The $240 million allocation by Congress for aviation workforce development is intended to be distributed across several key areas. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how these funds are to be allocated:

    1. Pilot Training Programs ($80 million)
    2. Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) (Approx. $80 million)
    3. Aerospace Engineering Programs (Approx. $40 million)
    4. Additional Workforce Development Initiatives (Approx. $40 million)

    Quantifying the Impact of the Allocation of Funds:

    • Pilots: The $80 million for pilot training is expected to significantly increase the number of trained pilots entering the workforce each year. For example, if an average scholarship or training program costs $50,000 per student, this could support approximately 1,600 new pilots.
    • AMTs: With similar assumptions, the $80 million for AMTs could support the training and certification of around 1,600 new technicians, depending on the cost and scope of the programs.
    • Aerospace Engineers: The $40 million allocation for aerospace engineering programs will bolster the education of thousands of students, enhance research capabilities, and support the development of new technologies.
    • Workforce Initiatives: The remaining $40 million will support a variety of programs, potentially benefiting thousands of individuals through scholarships, training programs, and diversity initiatives.

    My understanding is that this distribution of funds reflect a thoughtful approach to the most critical areas within the aviation workforce, making sure that the industry can meet both current and future demands. The funding is designed to not only fill immediate gaps but also to build a more sustainable and diverse workforce for the long term.

    • What about accountability?
      When $240 million does nothing, will they throw another $240 million at “the problem”?
      This is NOT a thoughtful approach at all!

    • No, there’s no money that’s going directly to scholarships, and of course there’s no $240m for flight deck diversity.
      As Rikshipmkr mentioned, this is just a larger funding the previously established Sec. 625 (workforce development) that was already in the 2018 FAA reauth. Other than more $$, there’s not really any significant changes in this grant from the last reauth bill. There’s no DEI push, this whole thread is a misunderstanding.

      As he alluded, as part of that law, FAA has already went through the tedious public process of developing the criteria for the grants. This is done, the rules are already set.

      If you want read the rules that have been established Sec 625 , search on 85 FR 55736 on the Federal Register website. These rules for the grants are pretty clear, and they are not changing. If you google “2023 Aviation Workforce Development Grants Awards ” you can read FAA’s data where the $$ was spent last year. FAA and Grants dot gov have the full grant application available to read with their supporting data and FAA’s review decision

      Scholarships are not prohibited by the grant rules, but you can’t ask just for a grant $$ for scholarships, it has to be part of a larger program as described in your grant application with a plan, goal, metrics, etc. and you have to have program to administer, monitor. These are competitive (not discretionary) grants and you have to apply for a grant and be selected among other applicants. The max grant is $500k. This is not multiyear money, each FY, there’s a possible $20m for grants only that year and what’s not applied for and granted that fiscal year evaporates. ***There’s nothing particularly targeting this $$ towards diversity.

      Reviewing the actual data for past 3 yrs, there’s only a very few grants where scholarships are mentioned at all among one of many things the grant was for. For instance, the first org I see is Red-Tails which was granted $500k last year for various ed activities, but whose website lists their scholarships (two at $5k each) and a summer fly camp of 10hrs of flight training for 3-5 people. It seems the other ~$450k was for various education/outreach activities. They only got that one year of $$. A quick look at other grant awards likewise shows scholarships are only a very small part of the pie.

      Looking it over, all the grants seem more or less unobjectionable (as far as gov’t spending goes). The recipients are legit orgs, i.e. a lot of community colleges and well known folks like AOPA. Based on past grants, I’m guessing the total amount of flight scholarships over the entire 4 years is probably going to be well under $5m. Likewise, the rules for Maintenance and Engineering are the same, and have the same pattern of awards – you can see that scholarships are a tiny fraction.

      So again, there’s no flight deck diversity windfall, this whole thread is insane. Based on established grant rules and FAA’s published criteria and award patterns there’s not going to be thousands of pilots or A&Ps created every year since that’s not really what Sec 625 is about.

  53. To put a lid on this long thread, the truth is that anyone can go to a local flight school and earn a pilot’s license. They may have to work a job and pay as they go, but nothing stands in anyone’s way beyond their willingness to do the work.

  54. Well, this article brought out the comments. Certainly there was a … diversity … of positions, but there was one that struck me the most, the notion that a Diversity approach to either hiring or training would “lower standards”.

    That is interesting.

    So, the idea of providing access to jobs or training for people who, for what ever reason, may not have had access before, typically relating to skin color or gender “lowers the standards” of the workforce or training. How is that not first and foremost a very disrespectful position.

    Since this is about training; unless something has changed, as I remember it the FAA PPL exam was very clear that if I, as a applicant cannot perform the required maneuvers within the proscribed parameters, I would not pass. This also applied to the written. I’ll accept that oral as “relative” though it is applied before flying. The flight test didn’t care the color of my skin or gender. The written didn’t care either.

    What Standard then is being lowered?

    I did not read that the FAA was presenting new test standards or allowing testers to “pass” with scores below the minimum so to even get in the aviation door, skin color or gender does not matter. As the FAA sets the standard for every test up the ladder (IFR, Commercial, ATP) the standards that make up a pilot are fixed and have not changed.

    there will always be pilots at both ends of the spectrum of qualified, just like doctors, lawyers or any other profession, but to get in, every one passes the minimum.

    Speaking of standards, when I did my PPL test, I blew past my stall recovery altitude by 25 feet. I knew it, the examiner knew it, but with every other test step I was spot on. He could have ended there, but he just said “lets see that stall again” and this time I was inside the requirement.

    Did he lower a standard or take in the whole picture and wanted a verification?

    What if I had been a black man or young woman flying with an examiner with the attitude of some here today?

    If we wanted to toss out really bad statistics, lets make up one. 99% of all modern day aviation accidents are caused by white males. With that kind of number, who’d want to fly with a white male in the pilot’s seat….

    See how stupid that type of comment is, yet someone posting says there are 3% black people flying because only 3% “want” it then does not have any actual data to back up such an inane thought.

    There is no factual, verifiable proof that factoring in diversity in training lowers standards as those standards had been set a long time ago and would be very difficult to change quietly. These current standards have not stopped (mostly white male) pilots from making very bad decisions at times.

    Those who argue that diversity lowers standards very publicly disrespects not just those in the present, but those in the past.

    Black men flew in WWII, earning respect with blood then were shut out of aviation for decades due to racism and it would seem, still have to prove themselves as worthy.

    Women flew fighters and bombers across the Atlantic and all over the US and UK, some dying, many switching from type to type then after the war were also shut out of the aviation industry until the 70’s.

    Both group not just met, but exceeded the standards and yet still today have to prove their capability more so than a white male.

    I don’t give a damn if a white, person of color, male, female, or what sits in the pilot seat. What I really want to know is are they intelligent, do they have attention to detail, do they have the capacity of critical thinking, and do they respect others.

    Lowering of standards……Bulls#$t

  55. “We’re pulling from too short, too narrow a pool of applicants.”

    Meaning nothing but too white. Period – end of discussion.

  56. As an ASI, I can not tell you how many times air carrier chief pilots, chief flight instructors and VP flt ops have said that they can’t fire a low performing pilot because of the DEI and WOKE crap. White males … GONE! They didn’t want the FAA or law suits jamming up their works, so the DEI WOKE group gets passed along.

  57. Once upon a time in the quirky world of aviation journalism, there was a writer and editor named Mounty, who had a knack for stirring the proverbial pot. Mounty, with his cozy home office in Canada, decided to cover a new DEI initiative—a $240 million fund to support the training of pilots, mechanics, and aerospace engineers from underrepresented groups.
    To kick things off, Mounty chose a striking photograph for the article: two women of color, a captain and a first officer, smiling confidently in the cockpit of a gleaming jet. Perhaps an image that would be the perfect catalyst for a lively discussion.

    The moment the article went live, the comment section exploded. Critical, skeptical, and downright sarcastic remarks poured in faster than a jet on final approach. Mounty sat back, sipped his Tim Hortons coffee, and watched the chaos unfold with a mischievous grin.
    One commenter wrote, “Great, more funding for diversity hires. Just what we need. How about focusing on actual qualifications instead?” Another chimed in, “I’m all for diversity, but can we ensure they can actually fly the plane?” The sarcasm was thick enough to slice with a butter knife.

    Of course, there were a few who saw the positive side. “It’s about time we see more diversity in the cockpit! This initiative is a great step forward,” one supportive reader posted, probably feeling like a lone voice in a turbulent storm.
    But the majority of the comments were less than enthusiastic. “So, what’s next? Lowering standards for surgeons too? Can’t wait for my next operation!” quipped one particularly cheeky individual. Another added, “Sure, throw money at the problem. That always works.”
    Amidst the fray, some comments veered into territory that Niles had hoped to avoid but knew was inevitable. “I guess diversity matters more than safety now,” one reader snarked, clearly missing the point of the initiative.

    Despite the barrage of criticism, there was a notable undercurrent of practical and logical critiques. “We need to ensure that the quality of training remains high. This is about safety, not just diversity,” one commenter reasonably pointed out. Another agreed, “Support the initiative, but let’s not compromise on the standards that keep us all safe.”
    Mounty couldn’t help but chuckle. He had indeed “poked the bear” with his choice of image and headline. He imagined the usual commenters, riled up and furiously typing away, their faces contorted with a mix of indignation and exasperation.

    With a wink at the camera (or so he imagined), Mounty thought, “Thanks, folks, for the entertainment. I knew you wouldn’t be disappointed.” He knew that, despite the uproar, these conversations were necessary. They were messy, uncomfortable, and at times, downright ugly. But they were also a step towards progress.
    So, to Mounty, the instigator of this digital tempest, we say: “Bravo! Thank you for giving us this spectacular shit-storm of comments. You’ve certainly kept the aviation community on its toes. Here’s to more spirited debates and, hopefully, a future where diversity and excellence soar hand in hand.”

    As the comment section continued to buzz, Mounty leaned back in his chair, satisfied. His work here was done—for now.

    • Within all the comments regarding DEI there seems to be a thread of unanimity regarding what’s bought and paid for. If you didn’t pay for it you probably didn’t earn it. But, what the heck do we all know except for our own experience? Yes, it was a thought and commentary provoking column.

  58. Whether or not the law sets aside money for DEI hiring or training, these comments—freely submitted and reflecting attitudes not likely developed on the spur of the moment, should be enshrined in the Library of Congress as proof of prejudice in contemporary America. Prejudice is a preconceived notion that is not based on evidence, experience or reason. In a vicious circle, prejudice serves to inhibit the perception of data that would otherwise cause a different assessment. And prejudice usually leads to discrimination, differential treatment of people, which is no longer the donning of white garb and burning the residence of those held to be inferior, nor the open declaration in employment advertising, “Jews, Blacks and Irish need not apply.” Today it is the non-violent, usually subtle indication to someone that they are inferior and therefore rejectable. Its subtle nature allows those who practice it the ability to easily deny it as a misperception or misinterpretation when called out and some to declare that it doesn’t exist.

    In these comments, some have declared the capacity for intelligence of the two women in the photo, unreasonably based on their sex or an estimation of their body mass index. Some have declared that persons of color and women do not have the intelligence required to function as a pilot or have declared that any person afforded financial assistance to become a pilot will perform at an inadequate level, all without warrant. Now consider those commenters as flight instructors, school and college teachers, pilots, mentors, counselors, judges, employers, flight attendants, etc. Per scientific studies of human behavior it is reasonable to believe that they convey—intentionally or not—their prejudiced assessment to those that they consider inferior when they interact with them, by way of treating them with less respect, with less consideration, by their choice of words and by their difficult to suppress, often subtle, but very effective body language.

    In today’s news: in January, an American Airlines agent in Phoenix ordered 8 men—one by one—off the airplane and back to the gate agent to be booked on a different flight—no explanation given. They complied, thinking they were being bumped due to overbooking, but at the gate it dawned on them that all of them were Black. On demanding the reason, an employee informed them that someone complained about body odor. The terms of carriage allow for denied boarding due to offensive odor, but all eight were allowed to re-board the flight after an hour because no alternate flights could be found. While they were off the airplane the other passengers heard an announcement that an issue with body odor was being addressed. There was “visible tension” on the plane when the eight boarded again, “walking through the aisle of shame… horrible… a really traumatic experience” one said in a news media interview. It turns out the complaint was not made by any of the passengers but by a white male flight attendant. At JFK, their destination, three of them—they didn’t know each other, were not seated together and never saw the other five again—met up at baggage claim and decided to file a federal lawsuit for discrimination. It claims that none of the plaintiffs had offensive BO, none was directly accused of an offense, and the experience was traumatic, upsetting, scary, humiliating and degrading. One said it woke him back up to the reality that as a Black man in America “I can’t just go to the store; I can’t just do regular things like take a plane home.”

    Why is discrimination and the indication of inferiority and rejection so traumatic?

    Per Maslow’s well-established theory of the Hierarchy of Human Needs: By nature, a person is motivated only by innate needs that become manifest in sequential order according to a natural hierarchy, the more fundamental ones first (food, shelter, security, clan acceptance), followed by progressively higher levels for self-preservation, thriving, social contribution, etc., with self-actualization for the betterment of humanity at the pinnacle. Higher order needs do not manifest unless lower order needs are adequately satisfied. Notice “clan acceptance” at the fundamental level? In the evolution process humans survived by forming packs and becoming acutely perceptive and fearful of rejection, because being left to fend off predators alone would surely be deadly. The indications (so easily conveyed by body language and derogatory words in person or by the comments) that one is an inferior and therefore will be rejected (because of factors like skin color, sex, national origin, that cannot be changed and must not be changed merely to obtain acceptance by fools) are devastating. They serve to deprive the need for acceptance, keeping it unsatisfied, and thus inhibit the manifestation of higher order needs such as learning, self-sufficiency, contribution to society and self-actualization.

    The argument that affording certain people financial assistance creates an unequal footing is disingenuous as it pretends that all people are on an equal footing, even as those making the claim unwittingly acknowledge or imply that they discriminate because of the disparities; whether deliberately or not is immaterial—the result is the same: perpetuation and exacerbation of the disparities. Arguments that selection must be of “the best,” i.e. those with qualifications beyond those specified for the job rather than those who simply meet the criteria, imply that the criteria are inadequate to reasonably assure the performance desired, but never seek to augment the selection criteria. At the very least they implicitly argue to perpetuate any disparate advantage enabled or assisted by the other end of discrimination… favoritism.

    It is a valid and worthwhile endeavor to try and eliminate the destructive disparity in motivation, initiative, aspiration and ultimately opportunity and achievement within American society, created by hand-me-down or explicitly taught prejudice. Whether such efforts will be successful or not depends on whether Americans want to rid themselves of the shameful hypocrisy that started when they declared that all men are equal while stipulating in their Constitution that each man they had put in shackles to work their plantations was equal… to three-fifths of a man; duplicity that the Founding Fathers couldn’t avoid at the time, but hoped that Americans would be able to shed as the nation matured.

    Yes, Raf, this uproar was due.

    • You’re absolutely right! That’s the core issue. Prejudice and discrimination create significant hurdles, hindering generations from achieving their full potential.

  59. Well, yes and no. If you know of countries that are prejudice free then perhaps that’s the place to be. I doubt it though. My name is Tom and I’m an uncle…

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