The Blog

The latest and greatest.

Automation and the Pilot Profession

I often get questions from prospective pilots about self-flying aircraft and the prospects for the pilot profession. With all the hype that has been heard over the last 30+ years it’s a natural question, and with large manufactures beginning to study it , it comes up more and more. The hype has been loud enough that in this authors opinion it has begun to affect pilot career and supply decisions. I’ve seen people purposely avoid flying for large cargo carriers because some of this hype has eroded their confidence in a long successful career without being replaced by Self Flying aircraft. In a twist of irony, one of the reasons Boeing is looking at self-flying aircraft is a lack of pilots, unfortunately, this hasn’t done much to satiate the real problem by signaling a future to the public that doesn’t appear promising for aspiring young aviators, and therefore in a way becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So with that premise, I’ve attempted to present a few concepts that will hopefully clarify a few things for those interested in pursuing a career in aviation as Aviators. I think you may find that the hurdles that have to be overcome are quite extensive for autonomous airlines to really take hold. News articles heavily emphasize that computers fly aircraft most of the time. While this is true(sometimes) it often misrepresents a pilot’s true role which does a real disservice to the profession. In these articles, pilots are relegated to the role of stick and rudder masters, as their loftiest purpose, and these articles usually show that this lofty perch is quickly becoming antiquated... read more

Compiling Data for the 2016 Report

For those that watch the numbers please excuse any anomaly in the data as the website compiles and updates various airlines fleet numbers and fleet projection numbers. These numbers should be compiled by the next couple of weeks. If you would like to contribute information to the project please let the website... read more

De-identified member surveys – Reports 2015

The de-identified member surveys from 2015 have been captured and posted in the shop in PDF format. As always these reports are available for free throughout their year for viewership in real time by members. When members signup the website dynamically stores survey responses about the members current airline, with the hope of generating useful information about an airline's culture and quality of life. At the beginning of each year unused membership accounts are removed and the generation of the next years report begins (2016). For those interested in viewing this report in real time feel free to sign up for a free membership available to those currently active as pilots in the aviation industry. It should be noted that some airlines with fewer than 3 survey responses have not been included in the available reports for the year. Survey results for each airline or operation include. How happy are you with your profession? How happy are you with the company you work for? How confident are you in your company's management team? How much trust do you have in your management team? In your current circumstances which of the following could you use more of the most? (Pay, Time At Home, Sleep, Benefits, Progression) What are your career plans in the next 10 years? How would you describe the culture at your company? Do you feel you are currently fairly compensated? Do your management teams spend time in the jumpseat? The company you work for cares about its employees? On average how many nights are you at home every month? How many days a month do you work on... read more


As a blast from the past this article from the 1980's seemed instructive. As is evident in this article the industry has seen hiring waves many times over the previous decades. Matter of fact the retirement wave the airlines are beginning to experience is just the backside of a large hiring wave experienced in the 1980s. Also instructive is the number of pilots hired at the large airlines in 1985, many more then the website has forecast in the next few years at the top tier airlines. Embarked on one of their biggest expansions ever, the nation's 14 major airlines are hiring pilots at a furious pace, a record 8,000 in 1985 alone. The dramatic increase in demand, spurred in large part by union concessions on starting salaries, has led to radical changes at airlines of all sizes in the way pilots are hired and trained. Hiring standards have been changed as the major carriers seek to broaden the base of potential candidates for their cockpits. In particular, the changes have been a boon to veteran pilots who were too old to join the major lines under traditional standards. For example, James K. Webster, a former Air Force pilot, was hired by United Airlines last June at the age of 44, many years after giving up on the idea. Source: PILOT HIRING SURGES AT AIRLINES -... read more

New Report – U.S. Pilot Demand 2015-2030 by and AudriesAircraftAnalysis

This new report has been under development for the last year and a half as a partnership between and

The report was last updated in April of 2015 and was intended for a spring release but due to technical difficulty had been postponed until now. The report is directed towards the consulting and business market as it provides a much improved model. The older/existing flow model used in the rest of the website still remains relevant but lacked in many ways when attempting to address the particular market that constituted the consulting and business community.

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Republic Airways – A Case study in Labor Relations

Republic Airways has been an excellent case when studying the importance of labor relations. The scenario we see today has been more than 8 years in the making and provides some valuable insight for other executive teams around the world and industry.

Some of these insights include
•The importance of finding common ground leading to timely agreements between employee groups and management.
•The importance of allowing the Railway Labor Act to fully function when there is an impasse between groups.

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The way forward for the Regional Airlines

There is a way forward for the Regional Airlines. Despite the unique problems they face because of the business model, there may be hope.

The push towards lower compensation at the regional airlines seems to have abated. Regional airlines are now offering some additional incentive besides rock bottom starting wages to attract pilots. Even Pinnacle/Endeavor the airline that started the free fall in compensation is offering large bonuses after these cuts in pay have dramatically affected their ability to attract pilots. Even though the bonuses are likely short term solutions to a long term problem it is a step in the right direction.

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Selecting your first Regional Airline.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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Shop- Reports

For those of you who haven't signed in for awhile, aka not since last year, will find a need to refill out the survey. In an attempt to keep the airline surveys relevant and fresh, each year old surveys are de-identified, archived and placed in PDF reports pilots and the general public can purchase for reasonable prices. (.50 cents to 4.00$) The 2014 surveys are up in their de-identified PDF form and anyone is welcome to purchase them. The developing 2015 airline surveys from pilot members are available as usual on a free basis to our pilot members and to our premium members. The survey reports give valuable insight into what it is like to work at a particular airline, which can supersede just an analysis of pay and benefits. Each survey description includes the number of participants, which is part of what determines the overall cost of a report. A report with over 40+ de-identified surveys will be more informative than a report with just 5. Information about the company culture, management team, and quality of life as experienced by pilots are included. It should be noted that the surveys are filled out on the honor system, and no attempt beyond basic registration is made to verify members employment at an airline. The flight operations included are - Corporate/Fractional - US Airlines Cargo Destination National... read more

New Aircraft on Order for Regional Airlines

Since there have been quite a few aircraft orders announced in the last couple of months the changes to the hiring model in the website will be reflected here. American has exercised 24 CRJ 900 options to be delivered to PSA starting at the end of this year. PSA was already expected to experience significant growth with the CRJ 700's that were arriving from Envoy. If there was a concern about PSA's ability to train pilots quickly enough to handle the flying, it must have abated for them to consider bringing more aircraft on property during the same time period. PSA pilot demand contains the update. GoJet awarded 7 CRJ 900 aircraft to fly for Delta Air Lines. These aircraft currently comprise the only aircraft on order for GoJet and they are expected to start arriving in June. GoJet pilot demand contains the update. Mesa awarded 7 CRJ 900 for an unannounced operator. These aircraft are expected to arrive throughout 2015. Mesa pilot demand contains the update.  ... read more

Regional Airline Pay- A Word of Caution

In the last two years while Major Airline pilot groups have taken significant pay raises, another game has been played at the Regional Airlines. The regional airline pilot groups have experienced the largest decrease in overall compensation in their history. Many articles have been written describing how this phenomenon has occurred in light of the regional airline groups relatively low compensation compared to Major airlines and I won't to cover that here. For now things appear to be going relatively well at the mainline carriers as they negotiate new contracts and see new aircraft deliveries. So while things may be more sunny at the major airlines should those pilots draw any concern from the sustained hurricane occurring at the regional airlines? Maybe.... Something almost imperceptible or perceptible (depending on the individual) is happening. The gap between major and regional pilot pay is widening as the major airlines turn the regional airlines into a C scale. A widening compensation gap could be re-coined as a growing financial incentive for airline board rooms and their executives to shift more flying to their regional subsidiary if they can attract the pilots. As this incentive continues to grow, the motivation for executives to dangle larger carrots in exchange for scope relief will likely increase as well as the temptation for pilots already at the majors to accept these carrots. To illustrate this we can note the widening gap between Envoy Air's new Embraer 175 rates that top out at 90+$ per hour for Captains and 39$ per hour for First Officers, and Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 rates of  190$ per hour for... read more

Envoy to be awarded remaining Embraer 175 for new American

After tumultuous negotiations over the past few years Envoy (aka the old American Eagle) has approved a new pilot contract with American that should secure the remaining Embraer 175 aircraft on order for American. For more information on this contract vote see the following link. The agreement will also secure 90 additional Embraer 175 aircraft should American choose to exercise those options. For now on the website only the 40 confirmed orders are reflected. The website estimates the aircraft will arrive between 2016 and 2017 since no other available information appears to be available. The numbers are now reflected at the following links. These aircraft arrivals should help offset the significant number of aircraft departing from Envoy over the next few years. It appears most majors are gradually focusing their wholly owned subsidiaries on one fleet type. This is becoming evident as Endeavor moves towards the CRJ 900's, PSA moves towards primarily CRJ aircraft, and Piedmont moves toward an EMB 145 fleet. read more

Top 15 Load Factors- By Airline

The most recent addition to the website is built off of the market segment analysis currently in beta testing. Even though full access to that analysis is premium, the Top 15 Load Factors (2013) and other reports are fully available to website users. This page searches through the entire domestic database contained on the website and ranks the top 15 heaviest and lightest load factor by route for a given airline in 2013. It should be noted that routes where the airline may only fly marginally say 50 times in a year are disqualified in the Top 15 rankings. The market segment analysis provides more detailed information by route such as block hours flown, passengers carried, capacity and other metrics on a month to month basis. This allows users to follow changes in load factor throughout previous years. This type of information can be helpful to airline professionals who seek to ride standby, and therefore attempt to time trips to coincide with the off season for a particular... read more

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airline Pilot Demand Projections are now on the website. For now no aircraft orders for Frontier have expected delivery dates. Even though Frontier has 50+ aircraft on order these are not reflected on the pilot demand projections since when they will arrive is unknown. If anyone has any additional information, the website can easily modify aircraft orders. Frontier did recently announce 9 Airbus A321CEO aircraft unfortunately a delivery or expected delivery date was not included. The website now has the following reports for Frontier Airlines over time. From the Financial data reported to the BTS. Staffing Breakdown Assets Liabilities/Equity General Revenue and Expenses Direct and Indirect Operating Costs Operating Expenses (Salary/Benefits and Materials/Services Purchased) Fleet Expenses by Fleet Market Segment (Route Metrics)  by Month and Year Load Factors Capacity Payload Carried in lbs Scheduled and Completed Departures (Completion %) Cargo (lbs) Mail Carried... read more

SkyWest airlines receives ERJ 175 flying for Alaska Airlines

SkyWest airlines was awarded 7 ERJ 175 aircraft for Alaska. It is expected that 3 of these aircraft will arrive next summer and the remaining 4 are expected to be delivered 1st Quarter of 2016. This move further strengthens Alaska's position in the NorthWest as it allows Alaska access to routes not viable on the Boeing 737. These aircraft have been included in the SkyWest pilot demand model on the website, and appears to offset some of the reduction expected from the Embraer 120 retirement. For a breakdown of the websites fleet projection for SkyWest or any airline please see the websites aircraft order and retirement... read more

Envoy slated to lose 50 ERJ 145 aircraft

American has announced that Envoy (Formerly American Eagle) will lose 50 additional aircraft. These ERJ 145 aircraft will pass on to TSA, Piedmont and another unnamed carrier. American has struggled to retain pilots at Envoy as they have un-apologetically pitted their wholly owned subsidiary against each other in an attempt to reduce regional airline pilot wages. The struggle Envoy has had to retain and attract new pilots was initially exacerbated by the American management team's frank promises about the future of Envoy if American did not see the wages cuts they expected. The loss in ERJ 145 aircraft has been reflected in the websites projections for... read more

Air Wisconsin to receive 26 CRJ 200 from Delta

Air Wisconsin has been awarded 26 CRJ 200 aircraft from Endeavor as Delta continues to realign their connection service. The Air Wisconsin pilot demand numbers  on the website now reflect that change. For Air Wisconsin these are the first aircraft to be awarded in quite sometime, and do make a positive impact on their fleet forecast over the next... read more