Pilot Certification Numbers

Screenshot from AOPA’s pilot certification report

So often in this age of hype news story’s and biased anchors and sources its difficult to find good data. Actual aircraft pilot training numbers is one of those areas. All it takes is Googling “Pilot Demand” to find a plethora of news articles and reports talking about an impending pilot shortage, to discover that virtually none of those articles actually shares any substantial data, just speculation and quotes from supposedly good sources. The following is a great link published by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, regarding actual training done in the states over the last decade.


In 2010 they saw over 8000 commercial pilot certificates issued, in the previous decade it has fluctuated from almost 12000 to 8000 a year. If we want to look more closely for pilots with commercial aspirations we can look at the CFI numbers. According to AOPA over 4000 CFI’s were issued in 2010 and that number has been consistent over the course of half a decade.

I’m always hesitant to call anything a shortage, mainly because its not a shortage of Pilots, it’s a shortage of people willing to be pilots with the given pay, benefits and career progression, and right now we don’t seem to be having a problem with finding people.

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