Next year there will be no firefighting pilots, two out of three in the Directorate of Protection and Rescue will retire

Airplanes in action/ Photo: Directorate for Protection and Rescue

There is a growing interest in the pilot profession, but students are either learning to pilot commercial aircraft or for their own sake.

The Directorate for Protection and Rescue (DZS) has three aircraft, three pilots and six mechanics. Next year, two of the pilots will retire, and their empty place will hardly be filled. And now, they say in the SSO, the number of pilots is not enough, and what will be done when those who have them retire, they do not have an answer for now.

– The number of pilots is not satisfactory, and the number of mechanics is satisfactory. Next year in February, two pilots are retiring. It is very difficult to find a pilot for employment, there is no interest among young pilots due to the low salaries compared to other aviation personnel - the SSO told "Sloboden Pechat".

The pilot's license is issued by the Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) after meeting the basic requirements of the candidates and after successful completion of training.

– The number of people who are in the process of training in the schools, that is, the training organizations, is different according to the type of aircraft for which they are being trained. The progress of training depends individually on each candidate. So far in 2023, 5 people have obtained a pilot's license, namely: one for a balloon pilot, three for a private pilot's license, one for a commercial pilot's license. In 2022, a total of 8 people obtained a pilot's license, namely one for glider pilots, one for a private pilot's license, 6 for a commercial pilot's license (1 for an airplane and 5 for a helicopter) - they told the "Free Press" from CAA.

From there they say that at the moment there are more students in the process of training in the approved Macedonian schools.

- It is a good sign after several years of stagnation and interest of the candidates, which is partly caused by covid-19. In addition to the organizations on the territory of the state, candidates decide to conduct the training for an airplane pilot in foreign countries, primarily in EU member states for personal reasons and for the reason that with a permit issued in EU member states, they can more easily apply for a professional work as a pilot - explained by CAA.

However, despite the fact that piloting is becoming more interesting as a profession, future pilots do not show interest in ending up in a state institution. This is also confirmed by the "Skopje" Aeroclub, where the training is conducted.

- We currently have four student pilots. He has already scheduled new ones for the following dates. In fact, there is interest and the capacity is constantly filled. There are two categories of people, one is young people who want to be pilots and then develop their career and their goal is to be pilots of commercial planes, and the other group are people who have already realized their career and now want to learn to be a pilot for to be able to fly by themselves - says Jane Stefanov from Aeroclub "Skopje".

CAA also explained the procedure for becoming a pilot. For light aircraft, gliders and balloons it can be taken at the age of 16, for a private pilot at the age of 17, for a commercial pilot at the age of 18 and for a traffic pilot at the age of 21.

– Pilots first attend training at approved training schools/organizations for the appropriate aircraft (airplane, helicopter, paraglider, kite). After completing a theoretical course or training, they take an exam in approved schools/organizations and continue with practical training for the given type of aircraft. After completing the practical training, the school/organization conducts an exam for the practical part. After successfully completed training, the school/organization issues a recommendation for taking the exam before the aviation authorities. To obtain a pilot's license, the candidate must meet the basic requirements (minimum years - different for each type of license with which it is obtained), a valid medical certificate (appropriate class for the type of pilot's license), adequate knowledge of aviation English with a certificate from an approved organization /center. In addition to the basic requirements, he should have successfully passed all the theoretical subjects, which are relevant for the type of license that is acquired, before the competent body - the Civil Aviation Agency. After the theoretical exams and a recommendation from the school/organization where he was trained, the candidate takes a practical exam (on the appropriate aircraft on which the training was carried out. The practical exam is conducted by appointed and approved examiners at the CAA - the CAA explained.

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