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Trends in Aviation Education - Assignment Example

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In the paper “Trends in Aviation Education” the author discusses the issue that becoming a commercial pilot is not easy, even for someone who is fit physically and emotionally. All candidates for any cockpit flight position must meet strict FAA medical requirements…
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Trends in Aviation Education
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Download file to see previous pages Now, however, there are factors that mitigate against this once-abundant pool of available talent, creating a need for more trained pilots to take to the skies.
First, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the federal governing body for all commercial air flights, has a strict retirement rule. All pilots must leave the cockpit at the age of 60. While this has not yet created any dramatic shortages, writer Denver Beaulieu-Hains (2000) said that the situation will change very soon. "Over the next 10 years, [the retirement] requirement may put a crunch on airline workforces, as baby boomers reach their golden years. And, with military cutbacks resulting in fewer trained pilots, the strain is hitting the industry from both ends of the runway." Beaulieu-Hains (2000) further stated that the baby-boomer pilots now approaching the retirement age represent fully one-third of the commercial aviation industry's pilot and mechanic workforce. When they are forced to retire, the growing shortage will exacerbate considerably.
To no one's surprise, the Professional Pilots Federation is trying to get the 60-and-out rule overturned. In April 2000, it petitioned the FAA for exemptions for 69 members of its organization, at the same time requesting strenuous testing - both physical and neuropsychological - to see if older pilots are indeed more likely to suffer from incapacitation than younger pilots (Beaulieu-Hains, 2000). (The age 60 retirement rule was set by the FAA in the 1950s, based on the belief that the ability to process and act on information slows as one gets older.)
Stringent Qualifications Required
Anyone involved in an aircraft's flight, of course, has the lives of as many as 300 people in his or her hands. Particularly at the major airlines, standards not only meet FAA requirements but usually exceed them. Southwest Airlines is a case in point. Before a candidate is even interviewed for a flight position, the airline requires the following: Resume, Airman Certificate (required by the FAA, as well), U.S. Type Rating on a B-737, the First Class Medical Certificate, ad at least three letters of recommendation. Those letters cannot be simply from friends or relatives; they must be from individuals who can attest to the pilot's flying skills, and who have observed them in flight over a sustained period of time (Southwest, 2000).
As for flight experience, Southwest requires 2,500 total hours for jet aircraft or 1,500 hours for turbine aircraft. Beyond that, the airline also requires 1,000 hours as a "pilot in command" on a turbine plane. The airline specifically excludes simulator, helicopter, and other non-turbine or jet aircraft and prefers candidates who have a four-year college degree (Southwest, 2000). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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