Even the FAA is starting to acknowledge a reduction in pilots. While speaking in Wichita recently, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is quoted as saying “We are no longer in a place where we have a very large pipeline of pilots coming from the military…What we need to do is continue talking about aviation as an attractive career and what it represents for the future.”
FAA data bears that out – At the end of 2014 there were 174,883 private pilots in the U.S. Five years earlier there were 221,619. And back in 1999 there were 258,749.
While this doesn’t speak to the impact that this is or isn’t having on airline and other professional flying careers, it does support that now is a great time to become a pilot. It takes years for new pilots to work their way up to a professional flying career. These numbers demonstrate that the initial pipeline feeding those incoming jobs is drying up, opening up opportunities for jobs, better wages and everything else that comes with being in demand.