Forecasts predict we will need 790,000 pilots by 2037. This prediction means airlines will need to increase pilot levels by 267%. Finding a solution to this pilot shortage requires the aviation community to address limiting regulatory and other core factors. Many have claimed that 1,500-hour rule and mandatory retirements are critical issues contributing to the pilot shortage. However, the data does not support these claims. Instead, trends in pilot population levels and safety records indicate these regulations are only effecting the demographics of the current pilot population. The shift in the pilot population will harm future airline operations if the airlines do not address the core issue behind the pilot shortage. The relationship between the military and civilian aviation has changed the airlines' source of pilots and the method new pilots finance pilot qualifications. Today, high qualification costs and low entry salaries are discouraging new pilots; therefore, limiting growth in the pilot population. A proposed solution is the replacement of student loans with income share agreements. Income share agreements between the airlines and students will enable students to begin their aviation careers without being financial burden while providing a significant profit for the airlines.


I would like to thank Dr. Lawrence Fahey for this research opportunity. Your leadership and guidance made this possible.



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