Are you planning to fly this summer? Good luck.
The delays have arrived. Cancellations as well.
Why; Due to the lack of pilots.
Lack of pilot? How can this be? Flying is a popular job. Some people fly small planes just for fun. Why aren’t there enough commercial pilots?
Because the government passed another silly law.
In 2009, after a Colgan Air crash near Buffalo killed 50 people, Congress decided that airlines could only hire aspiring commercial pilots who already had a long flight time. Instead of 250 hours, now they should have 1,500 hours.
“That never made sense,” says current commercial airline pilot Tracy Price in my new video.
A sixfold increase would not have prevented Colgan from crashing. These pilots had much more than 1,500 flight hours. The pilot had 3,379 – the co-pilot, 2,244.
This did not matter to politicians. “We need to improve pilot training, tackle flight crew hours and services,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
Demanding more flight time before renting discouraged people from trying to become pilots. It had the effect of “climbing the ladder,” says Price.
Few people have the time or money to get 1,500 hours in the air before they can even apply for a job. The number of certified pilots decreased although the demand for flights increased.
The pilots’ unions had no objection. “Fewer candidates means higher pay,” Price explains.
I say to Price, “This rule is good for you!” “It’s great for me [and other] professional pilots “, he answers. “If you believe in freedom, however, it’s a small matter.”
The union blamed the lack of pilots for poor pay on regional airlines, which is why I dismissed Price: “Some of these regional airlines paid pilots just $ 21,000 a year.”
But “there was no shortage of applicants!” The price corresponds. “A lot of people were willing to get low enough wages and live with roommates for a year or two to get that really valuable jet experience.”
The current 1,500 hours required do not create even better pilots. Real pilots are being trained in simulators now. Their electronic cockpit offers a more useful experience than unattended flight hours.
In fact, these hours can leave pilots less ready. “Flight time is not an experience,” Faye Black of the Regional Airlines Association told Congress. “We lose a lot of time in training, breaking the bad habits that pilots acquire by trying to quickly reach 1,500 hours.”
Politicians ignored her. This is not surprising. Once the government creates new rules, those rules tend to live on forever.
Many are simply unnecessary. Airlines do not want to kill their customers and pilots do not want to commit suicide, so they are self-regulating.
The last fatal plane crash in the US was 13 years ago. Flight is much safer than driving, cycling and bus or train. “Safer than any mode of transport, including walking,” says Price.
But politicians believe that if they do not pass more rules, they will not do their job. So expect more flight delays this summer.
“I spend a lot more time than I want to announce to people who apologize for the delay,” says Price. “We have to look for ways to expand the availability of air travel to more people so that more people can take advantage of this amazingly safe way to get from A to B. “
John Stossel is the creator of Stossel TV and author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposure Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of Liberal Media.”