What has the state of out profession become? Take a look at the starting wages and working conditions at any regional airline to see a general lack of respect for airman and what they provide. At one point in time, good airmanship was a valued asset.
Stick and rudder skills were prized and those that had these skills were respected and sought after. What will be the attributes most desirable when the next upturn in the hiring cycle comes? Has the cost-conscious industry come to prefer systems managers over airmen? Never mind the yoke and throttle. It seems that a pen and index finger are all that is required to earn a living flying these days. ATC will make the judgment calls for you. Merely passing the required simulator training ensures you a spot in the front seat of most transport category aircraft these days.
I predict that within a generation, the ultimate cost-reduction measure will come to pass. That being pilots are replaced with computers. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are plying the airways as we speak. How long can it be before we see the inefficient, costly humans in the cockpit replaced by a microprocessor? Better, cheaper, faster, they don’t need or take breaks or complain about being on duty continuously for 18 hours.
What will it take make this profession attractive again? Is mere allure of flight enough? Can any pilot recommend this career path to aspiring airman?