Pilot Certificates are Not Participation Trophies

Every generation seems to think the next generation doesn’t work as hard, isn’t as talented, or doesn’t have the same motivation that their generation did when they were younger. I don’t think that has been any different in aviation training historically.

There are certainly things that younger pilots know and do better than generations before. There are probably skills and knowledge that older generations of pilots had or developed that new generations don’t, or don’t even need. But one thing that I can say is that from a metrics standpoint, it certainly seems that we are headed the wrong way in pilot skill and knowledge right now.

A statistic was recently shared with us
that indicates that in the past approximately
6-months, it appears first-time pass rates on
private pilot airplane single-engine land
practical tests are hovering somewhere
in the 50-60% range.

Take this to heart, please. It means that nearly half of our pilot applicants are failing their first attempts at a private pilot certificate.

This is bad. I don’t know how to say it any other way. Continue reading

Surprising data about training aircraft allocation and availability.

When you ask most people where they think most pilots train to become airline pilots, they will answer “at a college or university.” 

The data I have accumulated so far indicates that less than 20% of the aircraft we referenced were used in flight training in the collegiate environment. That means more than 80% of our flight training in the United States using this data is likely provided at local FBOs and flight schools, academy-style training operations, or large flight clubs.

The bulk of our training fleet that is used to provide training for pilots, professional ones included, is not likely in the collegiate environment.

What I ended up finding was a total of 6392 aircraft so far with only 1213 of those aircraft being in collegiate training programs. This leaves the bulk, over 80% of the fleet, in non-collegiate training operations.

(These numbers are as this was written – if the numbers in the spreadsheet below are now different it is because I am getting more information add adding/updating it as it comes in)

To no real surprise, it can also be seen that the bulk of the fleet is single-engine aircraft. With a much smaller percentage of the fleet being multi-engine aircraft (approximately 10%).

Our training fleet is likely smaller and less sourced from collegiate aviation programs than most would think based on this data. Continue reading

Charlie visits with other Stinsons…

Aimee and I took the opportunity this year to bring Charlie to visit with some other Stinsons (and their caretakers) a the 2022 Stinson Summit in Quincy, Il. After a quick flight over from 35D to KBTL to finish up a checkride, we set out toward a stopping point in Pontiac, IL for a gas stop and a stretch of the legs.

The flight from KBTL to KPNT and then on beyond to KUIN was directly into the sun. I couldn’t help but feel like an idiot when it took me about 2 hours of flying directly into the western sun in 85 degrees with the windows open to realize I had a hat on the back seat that would shield my eyes from the brightness!

Slightly bump all the way, the flight was a great time for Aimee and I to hang out together on what was within a few days of our 5 year anniversary of both being married, and of buying Charlie.

A pretty cool way to spend the time and commemorate a few years that have gone by if you ask me.

Charlie seemed to agree and purred along the way nicely as we travelled over the scenic landscape of corn in Illinois that was only a few weeks from being cut and feeding our next year of people, livestock, and all the products that come from such a wide expanse of farmland. Continue reading