FlightAware reported 1,400 canceled and 17,000 delayed July 4th flights. American, Delta, and United have cut service to small and medium cities.
We face a major pilot shortage and air travel will only get worse due to Obama's regulatory measures, vaccine mandates, and a large number of pilots who were forced to retire during the outbreak.
65-year-old pilots retire. An arbitrary age limit for pilots is widespread in the aviation business. Recently, several Vietnam-era pilots retired. Others took early retirement after the Covid failure (despite $50 billion in taxpayer-funded pandemic relief).
Some pilots claim immunization rules make hiring tough. FAA requires 10-day quarantine for pilots, although the CDC recommends 5-days.
Pilot recruitment is difficult. Other regulatory changes limit system response to retirements and vaccine obligation. Before Obama, pilots needed 250 hours to operate passenger and freight planes. Obama raised the minimum to 1,500 in 2010.
750 extra hours were required for military-trained pilots. Vietnam-trained pilots retired, causing a pilot shortage.
House and Senate Democrats had large majorities to pass these amendments. 2009's Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo. 49 people died. Despite being rare, the accident forced stronger safety measures.
Even with the 1,500-hour restriction, Flight 3407 crashed in February 2009. Renslow logged 3,379 hours. Rebecca Lynne Shaw has 2,200 flight hours, 772 in the damaged plane.
Incompetence, not lack of training, caused the crash. When a stall alert sounded, Captain Renslow raised the plane's nose against training. Renslow failed five "check rides"
NTSA safety expert: "Five is a red sign." Renslow hid his failed check rides from Colgan Air, and the FAA doesn't disclose them.
Renslow's three failures disqualified him. Renslow failed two more tests, so Colgan realized he was a bad pilot. Unions protected Renslow. Unchecked union power.
Pilot hopefuls must pay for additional training. Flight instructors supervise the first 250 hours at $200 per hour. The next 1,250 hours cost $150 per hour in a single-engine plane without an instructor. $237,500 for single-engine training. Multi-engine training is expensive. No one can train too much in a week, but it takes years to get enough hours.
Nobody knows how pilots will pay for extra training. Airlines are reluctant to train pilots because they may leave. Airlines are trapped.
Certified pilots can't fly more than 2.7 hours each day, making it tougher to find pilots for tens of thousands of daily trips. Thousands of Baby Boomer pilots are retiring at 65.
Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association, warned: "Without a game-changing shift in the supply of educated aviation personnel, especially pilots, places considerably larger than Wichita could lose all of their scheduled flights." This might separate towns from the global economy, where plane travel is as important as Internet.
New training requirements benefit whom? Pilot licenses. Competition for pilots will raise earnings. The union-backed rule impacted American passengers. Without the 2010 rule, smaller markets would have more flights.
Clear pilot shortage solutions are offered. Some suggest eliminating the immunization requirement and easing the age limit for senior pilots. Elderly pilots can be tested. We should consider 12 year-old training requirements.
Airport passengers should vent somewhere.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on TheFederalist.