ATP Certification Numbers Show a Slight Increase in 2019

ATP pilot certification trends continue to head upwards with the 2019 numbers. That’s a good thing for filling the needed seats in U.S. airlines.

Remembering that there was a major change in certification requirements in the past decade, we were seeing a downward trend of certification issuances for ATP level certificates here in the United States that quickly spiked ahead of the changes in the regulations, with the highest number of certifications taking place being in 2016 just before the new certification requirements took place.

In 2017, the number of ATP certificates dropped by over 50%.

Since then, and as airlines and trading providers have come up to speed with new ATP CTP courses and developed in house ATP training efforts (at many of the regional airlines or through partner schools with whom they work), the number of ATP certificates has been steadily increasing to meet the demand of aggressive airline hiring.

While not back to the numbers we were seeing before regulation changes, the number of ATP certificates issued in 2019 more closely resembled that of years prior to the regulations changes.

This expansion will more effectively help airlines fill their employee needs in the upcoming years. This data is worth continuing to track as many airlines still predict shortfalls in hiring efforts compared with the attrition of pilots who are retiring or taking positions with other service providers in larger aircraft.

With that in mind, here is what the data is showing with the latest years certification issuances included.

An Aviators Field Guide to Buying an Aircraft and An Aviators Field Guide to Owning an Aircraft released by ASA!

Sometimes, you gotta pat your own back! And on your own birthday, why not, right? Well, I certainly have to pat the back of the publisher that helped make a cool project happen.

Collecting all my notes from working with friends and customers on buying and owning their aircraft of the years, and a few from my own personal experiences, we put them together into two new books.

So, with a special thanks to Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA), I am excited to announce that the next two books in the An Aviators Field Guide series are now available!

An Aviator’s Field Guide to Buying an Airplane teaches readers to assess if aircraft ownership is right for their situation, determine the full cost of owning and operating an airplane, and to select the right make and model for their needs. It also helps readers to consider factors such as avionics and aircraft age, to evaluate an aircraft prior to purchase, and to negotiate the sale and find financing and insurance. Then, completing the paperwork and getting the new aircraft safely home are included as well.

An Aviator’s Field Guide to Owning an Airplane will help new owners determine the full cost of aircraft ownership, select insurance, and consider tax implications. Guidance is given on picking an airport to call home, how to assess and choose aircraft storage, and safely move an airplane. Also covered: how to manage maintenance work, find and organize important documents, manage and determine the significance of inoperative equipment, evaluate potential modifications for improved performance, upgrade avionics, overhaul or swap an engine, budget for future maintenance, and more.

Click the cover picture of either book or visit to check out
these two new and other books in the series.

As a CFI, How do I compare in my number of CFI signoffs to other CFIs in 2019?

Ok, want to know how many other CFIs signed off as many, or more applicants for practical tests than you did in 2019?

I can give you a little data that might put the work you did last year in perspective.

According to FAA Airman Certification data, the following

12,387 – CFIs signed off 1-4 applicants for practical tests;

3,618 – CFIs signed off 5-9 applicants for practical tests;

1,314 – CFIs signed off 10-19 applicants for practical tests;

143 – CFIs signed off 20-29 applicants for practical tests;

27 – CFIs signed off 30-39 applicants for practical tests;

11 – CFIs signed off 40-49 applicants for practical tests;

10 – CFIs signed off 50-99 applicants for practical tests, and

6 – CFIs signed off 100-199 applicants for practical tests

Only 1 CFI signed off more than 200 applicants, now that’s a busy CFI!

A total of 17,571 of the over 100,000 CFIs out there actively signed off at least 1 applicant for a practical test. Which means, the other over 80,000 were not in the mix for signing students off for practical tests in 2019.

What’s an Appropriate “Location” for Your Practical Test

As an examiner, having an appropriate location to do a practical test is not always a guaranteed thing even though it is something that is fairly important to the overall success of the practical test.

I know to some readers this may seem like a pretty basic consideration, but unfortunately, it is commonly something the instructor and/or an applicant don’t think about securing. At some airports, it may be hard to accommodate, or not even be available at all.

When we think about where an appropriate location for the ground portion of a practical test might be, it really boils down to a place that will be uninterrupted and allow a discussion and demonstration of the applicant’s knowledge and skills in accordance with the applicable ACS/PTS materials. This is a little bit vague, so let’s get more into the details of this.

The fact that it hasn’t always been as obvious as one might think is the reasons I am writing this and was instigated a new addition to the emails I send out to an applicant when I schedule a test. It reads as follows:

“An appropriate room for the test will be one that allows for the test to be conducted without distraction. This requires us to have four walls and a closeable door in a climate-controlled location that is lighted in which outside individuals can be prohibited from entry during the ground portion of the test.”

I don’t add this to be offensive by any means, it is really just a reminder of what we need. Continue reading