How many IR pilots are there?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by kicktireslightfires, May 5, 2022.

  1. kicktireslightfires

    kicktireslightfires Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My IR instructor told me only 2% of pilots are instrument rated. I replied "Are you sure? That seems extraordinarily low." He said, yup, they are a rare breed. Well, if there's about 1,000,000 pilots worldwide, that would mean there's only 20,000 pilots who are instrument rated. But, it appears there are hundreds of thousands of airline pilots -- all of whom must be instrument rated -- so?

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/740147/active-pilots-airline-industry/

    Does anyone have an accurate gauge of what percentage of pilots are instrument rated?
     
  2. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    All the pilots I know are IR, and only two of them fly for airlines. My IR told me it was 30 percent, which also sounds low. I would imagine commercial operations make up the majority of pilots that are actually actively flying, and they're all going to be IR. This seems like it could be one of those myths that get passed down.. like shock cooling (ducks and covers)
     
  3. kicktireslightfires

    kicktireslightfires Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree. I think theres' two questions here: How many airline pilots are there in the world? And then how many part 91 pilots are IR? Because every airline pilot will be IR. I think it would be more interesting to know how many part 91 pilots are IR.
     
  4. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Agree, that's probably much lower. But ever there 2% sounds too low to be true. Heck, set up a PoA poll, I bet more than 2 out of 100 people will declare that they're IR

    Maybe back in the 1960s and 1970s fewer people got IR. But it seems a pretty natural next step now for people, especially nice that next step is no longer multi for that vast majority
     
  5. kicktireslightfires

    kicktireslightfires Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Done! https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/quick-poll-for-everyone-which-are-you.137889/
     
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  6. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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  7. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Keep in mind that an ATP certificate doesn’t say “instrument” on it…that might cause some confusion as to the actual numbers.
     
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  8. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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  9. kicktireslightfires

    kicktireslightfires Pre-takeoff checklist

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    2020: 469,062 total pilots (excluding student pilots). 316,651 total pilots w/IR. That would indicate 68% of pilots are IR!! Love how my very experienced instructor with 50 years of flying experience was dead on balls certain that only 2% of pilots are IR. The only thing worse than not knowing the answer to something, is being taught the wrong answer.
     
  10. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hmmm, not quite sure the point of this...either you are instrument rated, or you're not, but how many are in percent? Are you wondering in order to prove in your mind that your instructor is fallible? I can assure you he/she is...does he/she have an attitude infallibility that rubs you the wrong way? Might be easier to find a new instructor than to prove how many are instrument rated...just saying.
     
  11. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    There are a lot of crappy instructors out there. The appeal to authority fallacy is huge in this field. Just look at how many people have their own "fool proof" method for hot starting. Luckily, it's not 1976 and information access is available to everyone. If you know where to look for reputable factual sources it's easy to parse the value add bits from the "I-made-this-up" bits and translate "only 2% are IR" into "this is a big deal, it's a hard rating to earn and not everyone's got it"
     
  12. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    In general, out of all active pilots about 50% are instrument rated and of that 50% less than 20% are current. There are several databases that track this both public and private. Below is the FAA's version.
    https://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/civil_airmen_statistics
     
  13. Hector Parra

    Hector Parra Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If that 2% is out of those who only hold a PPL, then I'll say that the % is accurate.
     
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  14. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Then don't ask how a wing generates lift. :goofy:

    Per the FAA https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/f...irmen_statistics/2021-civil-airmen-stats.xlsx
    161,459 private pilots, 46,248 with instrument rating. So more like 2% less than 30%.
     
  15. Hector Parra

    Hector Parra Pre-takeoff checklist

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  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    "Because the air molecules are sentient and have a longer distance to travel over the top of the wing to keep up with their 'bottom of wing' compadres and thus go faster" is the explanation at least I was fed growing up. Which never passed the smell check, and when questioned "why does it go faster over the top" the answer was "DUH, bernoulli!" but again without explaining it, or understanding it

    I digress. I'm feeling salty today.
     
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  17. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hey! No need to disparage others.
     
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  18. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You can go to the FAA website of airmen, which lists the number of airmen with each category of cert. You can assume anyone with an ATP and probably 99% of Commercial certs have the IR.

    https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/releasable_airmen_download/

    You want Cert Type = P (Pilot) and F (CFI), but only the subset of Cert Level = A, C and P. Hint - There are 315.388 in that list. Then add the INST* in the rating columns. Then get rid of P/ASEL or similar because they have no other rating) leaving 217,976 names. Then took out the Sport with no other rating for a total of 217,745 or close enough.
     
  19. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    50 years ago that figure may have been closer to the truth. This could be a case of, actually a form of "primacy", where someone told him that 50 years ago and he's been believing it ever since. Kind of like "oversquare".
     
  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He’s not disparaging you, he’s feeling you.


    And quite frankly I’m a little uncomfortable.
     
  21. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Its not so much the FAA knowing but what data is tracked by various groups. There are several companies that track this data which is where the 20% comes from. Plus there have been a few industry articles on this as well. The numbers of IR pilots vs currency has been an ongoing discussion in certain circles when it comes to safety and accident rates. For example, one of these discussions led to the requirement that all EMS helicopter pilots are required to be IR rated per Part 135. Unfortunately, having the IR hasn't changed the statics much since it appears currency and proficiency is just as important just like in the Kobe wreck.
     
  22. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I love old timer CFIs, but "has obsolete statistics, platitudes, and old wives tales" is a definite downside :D

    Use em for stick and rudder knowledge, war stories, and that certain aroma of mentholatum -- but not answers to hangar trivia
     
  23. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    I think you should get a new instructor, the one you have is mathematically impaired.
     
  24. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Your instructor is making stuff up. Ever wonder what else he/she/it is making up on the fly?
     
  25. Whitney

    Whitney Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Have a multi/ifr, not current. Last flew a multi in about 2008/2009, and not ifr since 2020.
     
  26. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Sample size 22. 7 were instrumennt.
    Two remote only
    Four student only.
    One tower only
    One mechanic

    So sample size likely was really 14, meaning 50% rated.
     
  27. tree96

    tree96 Line Up and Wait

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    56% of statistics are made up on the spot.
     
  28. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I googled this recently and found that 10% of pilots are instrument-rated and 10% of them are current. And no, I don’t remember where k read that. I would think the number of active airline pilots within the entire community of certificates pilots in the US is rather low.
     
  29. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I’ve read that it’s much higher than that.
     
  30. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    upwards of 20% higher or lower.
     
  31. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Keep in mind that pilots who have an ATP do not have a separate instrument rating (except maybe for a different class or category) the ATP is in itself authorization to fly IFR. So none of the airline pilots out there have instrument ratings.
     
  32. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    That’s only 14% true.
     
  33. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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