The next time you fly
on a U.S. commercial airliner, consider this. Due to the decade-long
drawdown on the military, airlines are employing far fewer captains
with military flight training and in their place using fast-tracked
civilian flight school graduates. In some cases, regional jets are being
flown by pilots with only a few hundred hours logged. In 1992, Delta
Airlines had 97% military and 3% civilian trained pilots. In 2001 the
ratio was 60/40. By 2007 it is expected to be 30% military to 70% civilian.
In the view of one veteran flyer, "That doesn't mean the civil pilot
is substandard - it just places them far behind the learning curve.
Put a civil-trained commuter pilot in a third-tier carrier with a quick
upgrade to captain, and you have a very empty suit."