Study shows shortage of helicopter personnel

The results of a study forecasting the U.S. supply of rotorcraft pilots and mechanics over the next 18 years shows significant workforce decreases.

The study results, commissioned by Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) and conducted by the University of North Dakota (UND), were released at HAI HELI-EXPO 2018 in Las Vegas.

The study gathered information on how it is already changing operations. For example, more than 50 percent of surveyed operators said that the shortage of pilots and mechanics would definitely or probably interfere with their operation’s ability to grow over the next five years. Regional airlines are actively recruiting helicopter pilots — more than 500 transferred to fixed-wing operations in 2017 alone.

Key stats from the study include:

  • a projected 7,649 shortage of helicopter pilots between now and 2036.
  • since 2009, there's been an equal number of new helicopter pilots as those becoming inactive or retiring.
  • a projected shortage of 40,613 certified aviation mechanic between now and 2036.
  • 67% of operators report that it is more difficult to hire mechanics than ever.

"This shortage is an industry-wide problem, and fixing it will require efforts from many sectors, including government, industry, military, finance, insurance, and education."

Recognizing the importance of this information, HFI had made available both the study results and an executive summary.


Reference: HFI release: "It's Official: Rotocraft Pilot and Mechanic Shortage Verified"

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