Some of us in aviation obsess about pilot population growth because it, more than anything, signals the future health of the general aviation industry. In this AVweb news video, Paul Bertorelli talks to veteran pilot examiner Jason Blair about the state of pilot certification. The good news? There’s modest growth in the overall pilot population.


  1. Faa administrators need take moment and
    thing and changed 1500Hours back to
    250 Hours
    I come from a unprivileged family
    I start my flight training 2009 hoping being
    airline pilot someday 2012 got my ppl
    2013 everything went downhill over
    regulation none sense over this 1500 hour
    rule is being obstacle for me let’s get for real
    no body want to fly Cessna on the pattern
    all day everyday I refuse to teach people
    flight no everybody like to teach the cost
    training cost ton money now this days
    I give guys example I got great career now
    truck driver I think is one the most deadly
    career out there I been driving rigs 3 years I
    been almost everywhere in this amazing
    it take guts to be truck driver
    A ton of stuff you have worry about
    everyday example fatigue winds icing roads
    14 hour work day snow storms etc more
    trucks driver get killed on the road everyday
    than airplane pilot or Arlines I witnessed
    many bad accident on the road.
    Truck are the back bone in this country
    worst thing about truck driver don’t get any
    respect honestly why the people give a lot
    credit to pilots truck move pretty much all
    the freight in the USA some much
    opportunity in trucking pay wage is great
    Anybody can be truck driver 2 months
    training better pay less training.
    Airlines pilot is the opposite too many hours
    and cheap pay even Paul Bertorelli say it
    before 1500 hour rule is a straight Political
    Movement and he is the real deal of aviation
    he is the lucky Luciano of aviation respect to you sir the 1500 hour rule is killing pilots jobs is hurting the industry big time colgan air crash both pilot log over 1500hour is amazing how our government screwing the American people is time to change this rule make aviation once great again

  2. The zero fatality rate since the Colgan accident (excluding the Southwest window) speaks for itself. God bless the FAA and industry for meeting the challenges in 2009.

  3. Any growth would be modest. When I go to safety meetings, I feel like I am going into a nursing home. I am one of the younger members, and I am almost 60.

  4. I still think if we want more personal aviation pilots the manufacturers need to get into the business of training and club organizing. It wouldn’t hurt Lycoming and Continental to do some lobbying to get something like VFR on top into our system. As it is, piston business travel requires more training than you are allowed to write off unless you are making more than a trip a week.

  5. On several years at various venues at Airventure, I’ve brought up the problem of finding IA’s in rural areas. At Airventure last year, I even walked up to Earl Lawrence after the “Meet the Administrator” meeting and brought the subject up. HE generally agreed. I plan to keep trying to make a minor change, as follows:

    As an A&P, one of my ideas is that it’s ridiculous to be doing annual inspections on airplanes flown less than 100 hours / year, year after year after year. Many I deal with are flown around 25 hours. Since an A&P can sign off a 100 hr inspection — the scope of which is identical to an annual — I think that any airplane flown less than 100 hours since an annual ought to be able to have a 100 hr inspection suffice until the accumulation of 100 hrs at which time a full IA inspection would again be required. This would allow A&P’s to essentially be performing that function during short usage periods. This would help some on the mechanic “leg” of the stool described in this video.

    • Forgot … this idea would be limited to five year periods and for class I certificated airplanes (<6,000#) only. Irregardless of the number of hours use, any airplane having 100 hr. "annuals" by an A&P would be limited to five year periods. In this way, every fifth year a licensed IA would be the additional layer of safety … after which 100 hr inspections would be sufficient again until accumulation of 100 hrs or five years.

      It is ridiculous that I can perform a condition inspectiion on a high performance E-AB airplane but cannot do an annual on Paul's Piper. It peeps me off that the recommendations of the ARc — who spent five years working on the project — were mostly blown off in favor of NORSEE. Had the Appendix recommending institution of a Primary — non-commercial category (as they have in canada) been adopted, this would essentially be the way it'd be.

  6. Cost is a big factor. When I did my Private in 1979, the median US income was $16,500. I was renting a Grumman Tiger for $30 per hour, plus $8 or $9 per hour for the instructor. So a 40 hour course would be about $1400. Or 8.5% of an average annual income. I started in the spring of my senior year in college and continued and finished while working. It was a stretch, but doable.

    In 2021, the average annual income is $60,000, but locally a Cessna 172 is $154 per hour, with the instructor being $45 per hour (IIRC). So that same 40 hours would cost $7000 or almost 12% of annual income. So flying costs 50% more, based on income versus 40 years ago.

    And flying was not cheap in 1979.

    Also, when was the last time you saw an ad about learning to fly in other than flying publications? What industry with direct contact/sales to the public does not advertise? Heck, companies that have no direct sales/contact with the public advertise. People have to come up with the idea and then try to find where to go to pursue flying. Heck, I have had people mention that they did not even know that there was an airport in my county, and there are 3.

    • I paid $9 for a 150 and $5 for an instructor at a USAF aero club in 1971. Total for ~75 hours of time was $1K. THEN … using VA benefits, I did a commercial, multi and instrument for just over $4K more but MY part of the $4K difference was only 10%. So total cost to me was <$2K for those ratings.

      THERE's your problem !!

  7. I agree with Larry and Terry. Yep, it’s the high cost. In 1966, my total PAR flight and ground training cost, 55 flight hrs plus ground, was $843, the equivalent of $7,390.88 in today’s dollars. It was affordable to the many then. Now, the same flight/ground PAR training costs may exceed $14,000. It is affordable to the few now. The whole scheme is disproportionate, I tell ya! And revise the FAA’s Civil Airmen Statistics as the Student pilot numbers are inflated painting a rosey picture.