Dr Andy Taylor & Adrian Hooker

At What Cost Comes the Cost of Flight Training?

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Dr. Andy Taylor (Principal Presenter & Co-Author/Editor)
Dr. Andy Taylor commenced pilot training in 1996, but after completing his ATPLs and getting close to the CPL skills test, financial struggles forced him to return to his role as cabin crew in 1997. After five years as cabin crew and five more on the ground at Heathrow Airport, Andy gained a First-Class (Hons) Degree in Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies, as well as his PPL from the University of Leeds. 

Following a brief foray into retail management, Andy returned to Leeds in 2009 to undertake his PhD, looking at accidents involving General Aviation aircraft in the UK; he completed his Viva in July 2015. During his write-up, Andy secured employment as a Senior Lecturer in Aviation with Bucks New University in 2013, teaching and mentoring future pilots through their Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training Degree. 

In 2016, Andy moved on to the University of South Wales to manage their new flight training and aviation engineering programmes. Sadly, these were disbanded by the university for financial reasons, so Andy was made redundant after just one year. With his new found free time, Andy indulged himself a little more in his research areas of pilot fatigue, pilot mental health and pilot training, resulting in conference presentations for EATS 2017 in Berlin and the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) at the Hilton, London Gatwick Airport in November 2017. These are in addition to previous presentations given in the UK, Europe and USA for The Royal Aeronautical Society, The International Society of Air Safety Investigators, The European Association of Aviation Psychologists and CIEHF. Additionally, he has presented at careers days for Virgin Atlantic, Pilot Careers Live and The Royal Aeronautical Society.

Passionate about Higher Education and pilot training issues, Andy has undertaken consultancy work with a number of ATOs and universities in the UK, regarding the development of aviation degrees linked with pilot training, using his experience and knowledge from five years of exhibiting, presenting and chairing seminars at Europe’s biggest pilot careers event in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy.

In September 2016, his interest in human factors led Andy to enrol on a part-time MSc in Human Factors in Aviation with Coventry University. Since January 2018, Andy has been a Visiting Lecturer in Aviation with the University of Bedfordshire and lives in Aylesbury, UK with his adopted rescue dog, Penny!


Adrian Hooker (Second Presenter & Co-Author)
Adrian is an Operations Coordinator for a leading UK based FBO and aspiring commercial pilot. He grew up in Essex, UK and has dedicated most of his life to aviation, joining the Air Training Corp at age 13.

In 2012, he enrolled on a combined flight training/degree program gaining a PPL in 2013, before he even had a driving licence! In the second year of university he travelled to the USA to study for his EASA ATPL theory at an ATO in Florida. During his time at the ATO, family problems in the UK had started to affect the funding for his training.

On return to the UK in 2014, he continued the academic studies and wrote a dissertation titled ‘The Cost of Flight Training and its Implications for the Airline Industry’, based on his experiences with financing his ongoing training, but taking the viewpoint of ATOs so as to remain neutral.

In 2015, he graduated with a First-class BSc (Hons) in Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training. With the financial barrier in flight training preventing further progression, he moved into general aviation ground operations at a major London airport, with the aim of saving enough money to eventually get back into flight training.


ABSTRACT
At What Cost Comes the Cost of Flight Training?
Boeing’s predicted number of new pilots needed in the next 20 years has steadily increased, from 498,000 in 2013, to 790,000 in 2018, double the current workforce. As demand for pilots begins to outstrip supply, there appears to be resistance from airlines to acknowledge that the cost of pilot training is impacting the growth of the pool of newly qualified pilots. Allied to this notion is their reluctance to invest in the future growth of aviation through financially supporting those who can prove their potential to be a commercial pilot, but cannot afford to demonstrate it.

Our studies independently determined that, according to leading ATOs, up to 29% of trainee pilots drop out due to financial problems, and 53% of survey respondents (N = 1385), stated they were highly motivated, but could not afford the training. Furthermore, 88% agreed that high training costs prevent many people from starting, 73% concurring with the notion that the pilot shortage was likely due to those costs.

With Air Traffic Controllers in the UK earning £17,000 plus benefits whilst training, there is a clear disparity in levels of financial support for future aviation professionals.

This presentation analyses the findings of these projects, highlighting the depth of, and presenting potential resolutions to the problem. It also examines reasons for airlines to strengthen their commitment to financial assistance for those who have the aptitude to be pilots, but not the money. With no suitable financial alternatives, it must fall to the airlines, in particular, to start investing in skilled, passionate future pilots who, simply put, cannot afford the training!