Bill introduced to increase pilot training funding for vets

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According to the US Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA), “while it is good news [the US] Congress is trying to address one of the barriers to increasing the pilot population – funding their education – observers suggest eliminating the cap on federal funding in the GI Bill for flight careers would be a better tack.”

The move comes at a time when pilot salaries continue to rise, according to pilot career development advisor Kit Darby who recently released a new chart on pilot pay. Major airline pilot pay is increasing faster than the cost of living. This summary is based on average hours per month at each airline and does not include any premium pay, said Darby who predicts pay will continue to rise faster than inflation.

He made the further point that as pilot pay rises, one of the hidden costs is an increase in the retirement burden impacting the airlines’ bottom line.

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and John Hoewven, R-N D reintroduced the American Aviator Act that would offer funding for veterans, pilots and non-pilots alike, to train to become airline pilots. Noting the number of vets who were not pilots who may want to pursue pilot careers, the program is designed for grants to cover both ab initio and remedial training, reported AvWeb.

Owing to abuses by some flight schools which overcharged the government for flight training, Congress capped expenditures for such training, specifically excluding flight training from government funding over objections from both aviation and veterans groups, according to a Forbes report.