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UK helicopter pilot numbers dropping - why?

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UK helicopter pilot numbers dropping - why?

Old 20th Nov 2019, 17:31
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UK helicopter pilot numbers dropping - why?

Dear All,

I was looking at the CAA stats on pilot numbers (those with an active medical cert) by license type over the last few years. Starting in 2015, there has been a consistent drop of 100 per year of ATPL(H) and CPL(H) combined numbers, with CPL forming the larger part of the drop. PPL(H) have dropped on average 91 per year, but the yearly numbers fluctuate widely.

What are the views on why the steady downward trend in professional numbers? Poaching by airlines, lack of vacancies (maybe drones picking up the work instead), or the lack of new blood through (as shown by the almost matching drop in PPL? Thoughts? Are we on trajectory of the mythical pilot shortage or are the jobs just not out there with sufficient renumeration \ quality of life?

Regards
Mutley1013 is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2019, 17:41
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Originally Posted by Mutley1013 View Post
Dear All,

I was looking at the CAA stats on pilot numbers (those with an active medical cert) by license type over the last few years. Starting in 2015, there has been a consistent drop of 100 per year of ATPL(H) and CPL(H) combined numbers, with CPL forming the larger part of the drop. PPL(H) have dropped on average 91 per year, but the yearly numbers fluctuate widely.

What are the views on why the steady downward trend in professional numbers? Poaching by airlines, lack of vacancies (maybe drones picking up the work instead), or the lack of new blood through (as shown by the almost matching drop in PPL? Thoughts? Are we on trajectory of the mythical pilot shortage or are the jobs just not out there with sufficient renumeration \ quality of life?

Regards
One reason would be Brexit incentivising people to SOLI transfer their certificates to better authorities. Obviously with hindsight it may have been unnecessary but given the two or three month wait for the transfer, I imagine many people changed their issuing authority earlier in the year with the expectation Brexit would have gone sideways back in March or whenever it was supposed to happen.
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Old 20th Nov 2019, 17:43
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I've heard insurance rates have gotten a bit out of control these days, that would probably affect ppl wanabees,...it has certainly knocked me out of the self fly hire game.

To be frank though, if I were a kid now, I'd go with the airlines,...I'm guessing I'm not alone?
Robbiee is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2019, 20:20
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I think we are forgetting our recent history.

the Brexit didnít affect the numbers until late 2018 I would say, but it would continue the downward trend already established at that time.

starting in late 2015 the oil price was collapsing; people will were being laid off and the puma fleet was grounded and people started to leave the industry, and as their Medicals run out the licence numbers start to reduce.

this is the bulk of the reduction i think 🤔
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Old 20th Nov 2019, 21:25
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Originally Posted by SFIM View Post
the Brexit didnít affect the numbers until late 2018 I would say,
I had 2 students who stopped PPL training after the brexit vote and 1 student moved abroad after the referendum. So I would say the Brexit started to affect straight after the vote.

Adding to it: some heli students stopped PPL(H) and went for a fixed wing career as the shortage is bigger and the pay higher (less fun though ;-) )


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Old 21st Nov 2019, 04:41
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Low quality of life means to decrease living standard in the absence of basic needs as well as social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs. Low quality of life means poor living standard of life.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 19:59
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Less Pilots coming out of the Military, massive reductions in Rotary fleets.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 20:40
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The fixed wing training industry is good at marketing, and there is a well defined path forward for your buck in fixed wing. You only have to look at the slick ads and career progression programs.

The helicopter industry is rubbish at this, or traditionally has been, relying on military output.

For a larger investment, with less chance of success, which way would you go? Iím not sure which is more enjoyable either.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 20:52
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It could be down to the cost, nearly £500 per hour to train in the Cabri.
Having said that, Helicentre Aviation in Leicester seem to be churning out a massive number of qualified pilots these days.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:34
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I should think the over regulating, bureaucratic protectionist nonsense coming from EASA doesn't help much either...
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:48
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Originally Posted by KNIEVEL77 View Post
It could be down to the cost, nearly £500 per hour to train in the Cabri.
Having said that, Helicentre Aviation in Leicester seem to be churning out a massive number of qualified pilots these days.
HeliCentre is doing a great job creating ilusions to wannabe pilots and to low time pilots, just look at theyre most recent advertisements for IR sponsorship . And all the career days they are having under Bristows agreement
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 10:46
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Mutley, do you know if "active medical cert" includes self-declarations? Anyone flying on PPL privs can self-declare and don't need an AME-issued medical cert. Could account for some of the drop.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 10:50
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Originally Posted by chopjock View Post
I should think the over regulating, bureaucratic protectionist nonsense coming from EASA doesn't help much either...
Not sure to clearly see how being protectionist in favour of helo pilots would help reduce their number ?
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 11:51
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Anyone who asks such a question has either no knowledge of the industry or is very new to it. The good days are long over and there is no way I could recommend it as a career for anyone. It has to one of be the most costly, tested, checked, examined and ultimately unstable and unreliable professions. I find it mystifying that the idea of pushing buttons and programming an autopilot to fly miles offshore from a grey, miserable part of the country in awful weather wearing an uncomfortable rubber suit to earn money to pay back an enormous loan is seen as the ultimate goal.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 15:18
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[QUOTE= It has to one of be the most costly, tested, checked, examined and ultimately unstable and unreliable professions. I find it mystifying that the idea of pushing buttons and programming an autopilot to fly miles offshore from a grey, miserable part of the country in awful weather wearing an uncomfortable rubber suit to earn money to pay back an enormous loan is seen as the ultimate goal.[/QUOTE]

👏👏👏 good summary
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 15:21
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I know some british pilots working/living outside the UK that have transferred their licences to other EASA authorities.
They just want to keep their current jobs/lifestyle

PS: I guess something similar might be happening in the FW side
Milo C is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2019, 18:50
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This is a simple answer. Few jobs. Lower pay than airlines, for which there are many jobs and they pay a more. Itís a no brainier as they say.
Iím more intrigued why there are any new CPL/IRs.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 07:30
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Originally Posted by dingo9 View Post
I’m more intrigued why there are any new CPL/IRs.
Costs of training are enormous. Thats the main reason. I menaged to finisch CPL with self founding but I can't imagine to do it again with IR. My family would not handled this any more and I'm not fancy to take a 50K + pounds loan.

Last edited by RichiRich; 27th Nov 2019 at 08:39.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 17:02
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You can forget a long term career on the North Sea. In the next twenty years up to 150 platforms are going to be decommissioned. The existing pilots will carry the burden until the shop closes. After that there will be a free for all for the other roles.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 18:07
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Originally Posted by dingo9 View Post
This is a simple answer. Few jobs. Lower pay than airlines, for which there are many jobs and they pay a more. Itís a no brainier as they say.
Iím more intrigued why there are any new CPL/IRs.
Good point yet one UK school is churning out CPLs, fair play to them but youíd think the students surely must have researched the market before shelving out all of that money.
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