Boeing works on ways to fill future pilot gap

Flight simulation
Boeing and the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training have developed a pilot training program that makes use of a virtual-reality co-pilot avatar. (Boeing Photo)

If Boeing is projecting a doubling in the global commercial airplane fleet over the next 20 years, it only makes sense that the pilot workforce may have to double as well.

That’s the conclusion that Boeing reaches in its 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook, released today. The upshot? There’ll be a demand for 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years, representing “the most significant demand in the outlook’s nine-year history,” Boeing says.

“Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labor supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near term,” Keith Cooper, vice president of training and professional services at Boeing Global Services, said in today’s news release. “An emphasis on developing the next generation of pilots is key to help mitigate this.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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