How Many Pilots Are In The US?

How Many Pilots In America?

How Many Pilots Are In The US?

How Many Pilots Are In The US?

The United States has a vast and complex aviation industry that employs thousands of pilots to fly commercial, private, and military aircraft.

However, determining the exact number of pilots in the country is challenging, as the number is constantly changing due to new pilots entering the profession and others leaving it.

Additionally, many pilots are not directly employed by airlines and instead work for cargo companies, private aviation firms, or the government.

So How Many Pilots Are In The US?


According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as of 2020, about 617,000 pilots were holding active pilot certificates in the U.S.

This number includes all types of pilot certificates, including student pilots, recreational pilots, private pilots, commercial pilots, and airline transport pilots.

However, it’s worth noting that not all of these pilots are actively working as pilots. Some may be retired, inactive, or transitioned to other jobs within the aviation industry, such as flight engineers, operation controllers and more. The exact number of pilots that are currently active will be lower than 617,000

How Many Commercial Pilots Are In America?


The commercial airline industry is one of the largest employers of pilots in the country. In 2019, there were around 110,000 active commercial pilots in the United States, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

However, this number is expected to increase in the coming years due to a growing demand for air travel and an ageing pilot population.

The Pilot Shortage In America


There is an ongoing concern across the aviation industry known as “pilot shortage”, which is expected to worsen in the future.

With the growth of air traffic, the demand for pilots has increased, yet the number of pilots entering the profession has not kept pace.

Factors such as stricter regulations, more extended training requirements, and an ageing pilot population contribute to the shortage.

Airlines are struggling to find and keep enough pilots to meet the increasing demand for air travel.

Reducing The Pilot Shortage


The FAA has implemented several measures to attract and retain more pilots to meet the demand for new pilots. One such measure is the “1,500 Hour Rule”, which increased the minimum flight time requirement for pilots to become commercial airline pilots from 250 hours to 1,500 hours.

This rule aims to ensure that new pilots have the necessary experience and training before they can start flying commercial aircraft.

Additionally, the aviation industry, in general, is focused on creating opportunities for a more diverse group of people to make the path to becoming a pilot more accessible.

This includes programs that aim to attract more women and people of color to the profession.

However, the number of women and people of color in the profession remains low.

According to a 2019 International Society of Women Airline Pilots report, women make up only about 5% of commercial pilots worldwide, and minorities make up only about 11% of commercial pilots in the U.S.

The Military Provides Pilots In The US


The military is another major employer of pilots in the United States, with the Air Force, Navy, and Army all having large pilot corps.

How do pilots get their call signs?

The military is a great way to get some of the flight hours and training required to become a commercial pilot. Once pilots complete their service, they can transition to a civilian career in the industry.

To Summarise – How Many Pilots are In The US?


In conclusion, determining the exact number of pilots in the United States is challenging. However, it is estimated that around 617,000 pilots hold active pilot certificates, with around 110,000 pilots working in commercial aviation.

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