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E m p lo y m e n t O u tlo o k f o r



Martin P. Durkin, Secretary

Ewan Clague, C o m m is s io n e r


Reprint from 1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1128


Employment Outlook in Air Transportation
A Reprint From The
1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1128
Martin P. Durkin, Secretary
Ewan Clague, Com m issioner

In cooperation with
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. - Price 20 cents


Letter of Transmittal
U nited S tates D epartm ent of L abor ,
B u reau of L abor S tatistics ,

Washington, D. C., January 21, 1958.

The S ecretary of L a b o r :
have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the* employment outlook in air
transportation taken from our 1951 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
This reprint from the Handbook is being issued at this time to make available to the
many counselors, teachers, students, and others who seek accurate occupational in­
formation, a separate report on aviation occupations to replace Bulletin No. 837-2,
issued in 1946, which described the outlook in this field.
Librarians, counselors, and other users of the Occupational Outlook Handbook,
as well as others with special interest in a single occupation or industry, have indicated
the need for separate reports on the major occupational ancl industrial fields covered in
the Handbook.
The research for the Occupational Outlook Handbook was carried on with the
financial support of the Veterans Administration, which needed information for use in
its vocational rehabilitation and education activities.
Hon. M artin P. D u r k in ,

Secretary of Labor.

2S99060— 53



w an





Air transportation occupations___________________________________________________________ 435
Air transportation and related activities______________________________________________ 435
Aviation occupations_______________________________________________________________ 435
Outlook____________________________________________________________________________ 436
Hours of work and earnings_________________________________________________________ 437
Where to go to get more information and apply for jobs_______________________________ 437
Airplane pilots_________________________________________________________________________ 438
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________ 438
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________ 438
Qualifications and advancement-----------------------------------------------------------438
Outlook____________________________________________________________________________ 439
Earnings and working conditions_____________________________________________________ 440
Flight engineers________________________________________________________________________ 440
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________ 440
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________ 440
Qualifications______________________________________________________________________ 441
Earnings and working conditions____________________________________________________ 441
Navigators_____________________________________________________________________________ 442
Outlook summary______________________________________________
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________ 442
Qualifications __________________________________________________
Earnings and working conditions____ ________________________________________________ 443
Flight radio operators______________________________________________
Outlook summary___________________________________
Nature of work______________________________________
Earnings and working conditions_____________________
Airplane hostesses______________________________________________________________________ 444
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________ 444
Duties_____________________________________________________________________________ 444
Qualifications and advancement______________________________________________________ 445
Earnings and working conditions-----------------------------------------------446
Flight stewards_________________________________________________________________________ 446
Outlook summary______________________________________________
Duties_____________________________________________________________________________ 446
Qualifications______________________________________________________________________ 446
Earnings and working conditions-----------------------------------------------447
Dispatchers and assistants_______________________________________________________________ 447
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________ 447
Duties_____________________________________________________________________________ 447
Where employed___________________________________________________________________ 447
Qualifications______________________________________________________________________ 447
Outlook____________________________________________________________________________ 448
Earnings and working conditions------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 448
Airport and air-route traffic controllers_______________________________
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________ 448
Duties_____________________________________________________________________________ 448
Where employed___________________________________________________________________ 449
Qualifications______________________________________________________________________ 449
Earnings and working conditions_____________________________________________________ 450

Ground radio operators and teletypists___________________________________________________
Outlook summary______________________ : ___________________________________________
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications and advancement______________________________________________________
Earnings and working conditions_____________________________________________________
Airplane mechanics_______________________________________i _____________________________
Outlook summary_____________________ ^____________________________________________
Where employed_____________________________
Earnings and working conditions_________________________________________
Stock and stores clerks________
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications and advancement______________________________________________________
Working conditions_________________________________________________________________
Traffic agents and clerks____________________
Outlook summary__________________________________________________________________
Nature of work_____________________________________________________________________
Earnings and unionization___________________________________________________________



Air transportation, the newest of the Nation's
transportation industries, has had a lure for young
people out of proportion to the civilian jobs avail­
able. Thousands of boys and girls aspire to careers
in aviation—as pilots, airplane hostesses, aviation
mechanics or airline traffic representatives, to cite
but a few of the vocations found in air transporta­
tion. Despite the long-run upward trend in em­
ployment, there has been sharp competition for
jobs in peacetime in most aviation occupations.
Since World War II, a large number of air force
veterans have sought civilian jobs as pilots or me­
chanics or in other work comparable to their
military assignments.
Air Transportation and Related Activities
The airlines which carry passengers, mail, and
cargo on a regular schedule make up the largest
group of employers in the air transport field.
There were 43 scheduled airlines engaged in inter­
state or foreign commerce at the end of 1949.
Sixteen were domestic trunk lines, of which 9 flew
over international as well as domestic routes.
Three lines were engaged only in international
operations. Two small carriers operated only in
the Territories; four carriers were certificated for
cargo operations only; the remaining eighteen
were domestic feeder lines. Altogether, scheduled
carriers operated about 1,000 planes and employed
approximately 80,000 men and women in 1949.
The domestic trunk lines and international lines
were the largest employers; their staffs represented
more than 90 percent of the total work force.
Besides the employees of the scheduled lines,
many thousands work for irregular (nonscheduled) carriers and in fixed-base and industrial
operations. At the end of 1949, approximately
90 active companies w^ere registered with the Civil
Aeronautics Board as Large Irregular Carriers;
in addition, more than 2,000 Small Irregular
Carriers were authorized to engage in air
The major functions of fixed-base operators are
flight instruction, charter flying, and servicing and
overhauling planes. Industrial aviation includes
a great variety of activities—among them, aerial

photography, sky-writing and other aerial adver­
tising, patrcling pipe lines, seeding, crop-dust­
ing, and other agricultural services. The aircraft
manufacturing industry also employs specialized
personnel of the types found in air transportation
(see p. 273).
Large numbers of civilians are employed by the
Air Force i:i ground jobs. Many of these are
mechanics stationed both here and abroad. There
are great numbers of military personnel in both
flight and ground jobs.
The principal nonmilitary government agency
which employs personnel in jobs comparable to
tho»e in civil air transportation is the Civil Aero­
nautics Administration, a branch of the United
States Department of Commerce. This agency
enforces the Civil Air Regulations which are set
up by the inc ependent Civil Aeronautics Board—
for example, it certifies as to the competency of
airmen and the airworthiness of aircraft and
equipment and participates in accident investiga­
tions. Several hundred men with backgrounds
as pilots or mechanics are employed by CAA as
aviation safety agents and as airways flight in­
spectors. The CAA, through its Office of Federal
Airways, also operates the Federal Airways Sys­
tem and the t raffic-control towers at major civilian
airports; thousands of airport and airway traffic
controllers, aircraft communicators, and radio and
airways technicians are employed in these
The Civil Aeronautics Board employed a total
of 68 aviation technicians in late 1949; these em­
ployees assist in preparing Civil Air Regulations
and investigating accidents. Aviation commis­
sions of various States also provide a small field
of employment for technical aviation personnel.
Aviation Occ upati ons
Air transportation offers employment in a wide
variety of occupations. Each plane must, of
course, carry at least one pilot. In addition, a
flight engineer, a navigator, a flight radio oper­
ator, and one or more cabin attendants may be
carried. Airline dispatchers and assistants super­
intend flights from ground stations. Air-route


and airport traffic controllers, most of whom are
CAA employees, direct airplane movements along
the airways and at airports. To handle the con­
stant flow of communications, the airlines have
radio operators and teletypists; in the CAA, air­
craft communicators perform these and other
functions. Planes are kept in good operating con­
dition by ground mechanics, who are supplied
with tools and other equipment by stock and stores
clerks. Another occupational group are traffic
agents and clerks who sell passenger tickets and
handle cargo business.
Still other occupations in the air-transport field
range from top executive and professional posi­
tions to porter and other unskilled jobs. Most of
these occupations are found in many industries be­
sides air transportation. The nature of the work
in major aviation occupations and the qualifica­
tions needed for employment are discussed in the
statements on individual occupations in this hand­
As of early 1950, practically all flight jobs were
held by white persons. On the ground, Negroes
were employed mainly in unskilled maintenance,
freight handling, and related occupations.
The only flight position in scheduled operations
open to women is that of hostess. However, many
women hold ground jobs in traffic, communication,
and clerical occupations.

domestic operations, where employment dropped
from 69,000 to 59,000 between late 1946 and late
1947, and then leveled off, remaining stable
through 1949. In international operations, em­
ployment was 27,000 in late 1946 and only 1,000
less a year later, but it continued to decline through
1949. However, 1950 saw an improvement of the
employment situation. Even before fighting
broke out in Korea, the airlines had begun to in­
crease their employment. The mobilization stim­
ulated further expansion in the latter part of the
Growth of nonsclieduled operations and other
civilian aviation services was greatly stimulated
during 1946 and 1947 by such factors as the war­
time experiences of servicemen and civilians with
air transportation, the large numbers of pilots
trained in the Armed Forces and under the GI Bill
of Rights, and the availability of Government
surplus aircraft. Employment went on expand­
ing in 1948,1949, and 1950, in some types of opera­
tions, but contracted in others. While new
operators continued to enter the field, many of
the smaller ventures begun in the first postwar
years encountered financial difficulties and were
forced to close.
Slow growth in employment is likely during the
early fifties and over the long run in air transpor­
tation and related services as a whole. The basic
factors making for long-run expansion may be
obscured at times by short-run influences but
will persist. Air travel increases the business
The number of workers employed in air trans­ man’s productive time and improves his competi­
portation and related activities will probably tend tive position—a factor that becomes more impor­
to increase over the long run.
tant as competition for business increases.
Airline traffic and employment have grown Industry and agriculture are finding new uses for
rapidly during most of the industry’s brief his­ aircraft. Week-end and vacation travelers can
tory. In 1936, when it was 10 years old, the sched­ stretch their leisure time by using flying services
uled air transport industry had about 10,000 work­ or their own personal planes. Air travel and other
ers. Five years later, in late 1941, employment was uses of aircraft will be stimulated by the improve­
over 26,000; by the end of 1945, it had climbed to ments which are continually being made in aircraft
and instruments, airway and airport facilities, and
During the first postwar year, the airlines methods of operation; probably also by lower
greatly expanded their equipment and facilities; fares and other factors. Much depends upon in­
late 1946 saw their employment reach a peak of ternational developments and upon how the indus­
96,000. Growth in traffic was not as rapid as try, with or without government assistance, solves
was expected, however, and it soon became appar­ its many technical and economic problems.
ent that the industry was overexpanded. The
Over the long run, expansion in traffic and in
shake-down which followed in 1947 was sharpest in industrial and other uses of aircraft will probably


bring about increased employment in the air trans­
port field as a whole, even though technological
and other advances will tend to reduce the number
of workers needed to handle given amounts of
business. However, employment in some occupa­
tional groups is likely to contract while in others
it will expand, as is indicated in the statements on
individual aviation occupations included in this
Besides openings due to increased employment,
vacancies will arise owing to deaths and re­
tirements and withdrawals for other reasons.
Neither in expanding nor in contracting fields,
however, will the total number of opportunities
for new workers be great in any one year.
Hours of WorTc and Earnings

An 8-hour day and a 40-hour week is the regu­
lar work schedule for most airline ground per­
sonnel. Flight personnel have irregular working
hours. However, the Civil Air Regulations set
upper limits on the flight time of pilots, naviga­
tors, flight radio operators, and flight engineers.
Some union agreements set maximum limits on
flying hours which are below the legal maxima
or provide for overtime pay for flying hours be­
yond a specified number. There are no legal limits
on the flight time of cabin attendants, but they
generally spend about the same number of hours
in the air as do other flight personnel. Besides
their flying hours, pilots and other airmen may
have to spend some time in ground duties. In
general flight operations, hours of work tend to
be much less regular than with the airlines.
Since air transportation is a 24-hour-day and
7-day-week business, many groups of workers with
the airlines and other flying services may be re­
quired to work at night and on Saturdays, Sun­
days, and holidays. In some instances, the least
desirable shifts and work days are assigned to the
workers writh least seniority; in other instances, a
policy of rotation is applied; in still others, special
compensation is given for these assignments.
Figures on earnings appear in the statements on
individual occupations. Pay varies greatly both
between and within occupations, depending on de­
gree of skill, length of experience, amount of re­
sponsibility for safe and efficient operations, type
of business, and many other factors.

Where To Go To Get More Information and Apply
for Jobs

Additional information on the air transport in­
dustry and on aviation occupations is given in:
U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Employment Opportunities in Avia­
tion Occupations, Part 1—Postwar Employment
Outlook; Part 2—Duties, Qualifications, Earnings,
and Working Conditions. Bulletin Nos. 837-1
and 837-2 (1945 and 1946). (Part 1 is out of
print but available in many public libraries; Part
2 is available from Superintendent of Documents,
Washington 25, D. C. Price 30 cents.)
To find out about openings with a specific air­
line and the special qualifications required, one
should write to the personnel manager of the line.
Addresses are listed in part 2 of the bulletin just
mentioned, or may be obtained from the Air Trans­
port Association of America, 1107 Sixteenth St.,
NW., Washington 6, D. C.
Men interested in setting up their own aviation
businesses should consult State aviation commis­
sions and local chambers of commerce; also the
following publication:
Department of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign
and Domestic Commerce. Opportunities for Es­
tablishing New Businesses in Aviation. 1948.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price 40 cents.
Inquiries regarding jobs with the Civil Aero­
nautics Administration should be addressed to the
Regional Administrator, Civil Aeronautics Ad­
ministration, at any of the following addresses:
Region 1. Federal Building, New York International
Airport, Jamaica, Long Island, N. Y.
Region 2. 84 Marietta Street, NW., Atlanta, Ga.
Region 3. Chicago Orchard Airport, Park Ridge, 111.
Region 4. P. O. Box 1689, Fort Worth, Tex.
Region 5. City Hall Building, Kansas City, Mo.
Region 6. 5651 W. Manchester Boulevard, Los Angeles
45, Calif.
Region 7. P. O. Box 3224, Seattle, Wash.
Region 8. P. O. Box 440, Anchorage, Alaska.
Region 9. P. O. Box 4009, Honolulu 12, T. H.

Information on CAA-approved schools offering
training for work as an aviation mechanic or pilot
and in other technical fields related to aviation
may be obtained from:
Aviation Education Division W-150,
Office of Aviation Development,
Civil Aeronautics Administration,
Washington 25, D. C.



Airplane Pilots
(D. O. T. 0-41.10 and .12)

Slow growth in employment expected over long
run, but competition for jobs will probably con­
tinue to characterize the occupation in peacetime.

a few are based in foreign countries. Other pilots
are located in all parts of the country where there
are airports. The principal areas of employment
for both groups are large metropolitan districts,
mainly on the East and West Coasts.

Nature of Work

Qualifications and Advancement

Outlook Summary

Practically all civilian pilots work either for the
scheduled airlines or in nonscheduled flying and
related activities. Those with airlines fall into
two main groups, captains and copilots.
Besides operating the controls of the plane, air­
line pilots have to keep close watch on a multitude
of instruments, operate the voice radio, and handle
other flight duties. They also have extensive
ground duties—among them, studying weather re­
ports, preparing flight plans, making preflight
checks of the condition of planes, and filling out
reports. The captain decides how work shall be
divided between himself and the copilot, who acts
as his assistant. On a small but growing number
of flights, particularly on international routes,
two pilots—or a pilot and flight engineer who is
qualified to serve as pilot in an emergency—are
carried in addition to the captain. Increasingly,
pilots are also doing the navigation (see separate
statement on navigators, p. 442).
Outside the airlines, pilots have a wide variety
of jobs. Large numbers work for flying schools
and commercial flying businesses (charter trans­
portation, aerial photography and advertising,
crop dusting and spraying, demonstration selling,
and other activities). Probably 1,000 or more
work for companies outside the field of aviation
which use planes in connection with their busi­
ness. A sizable group are in agricultural pur­
suits. A small number are on public pay rolls—
as Civil Aeronautics Administration Aviation
Safety Agents, for example. Still others are em­
ployed in aircraft manufacturing. Many operate
small aviation businesses of their own, with or
without paid help. The planes flown by nonair­
line pilots are frequently much smaller and less
complex than airliners.
Airline pilots are stationed at a limited number
of “division’’ points throughout the United States;

To pilot a civil aircraft one must hold a valid
CAA or foreign pilot certificate, attesting to tech­
nical competence, specified flight experience, and
satisfactory physical condition. Every person
who pilots a plane for hire or gives flight instruc­
tion for hire is legally required to hold a commer­
cial or an airline transport license; the latter is a
“must” for airline captains. In addition, pilots
must hold a flight instructor rating to give flight
instruction which the CAA will accept toward the
requirements for a pilot rating.
Instrument flying is also restricted. It may be
done by pilots holding an airline transport license.
Pilots with other licenses or ratings must obtain
an additional instrument rating.
To operate a voice radio transmitter, the nonGovernment pilot must have a Federal Communi­
cations Commission aircraft radiotelephone oper­
ator authorization. Navigation may be done only
by those who can meet the separate legal require­
ments for this work.
Physical standards for the airline transport
rating are especially high. All classes of pilots
must pass physical examinations periodically,
based on the same standards applied in issuing
the original rating.
Entrance into the occupation with the scheduled
airlines is as a copilot; this is often true in the
larger nonscheduled operations as well. Begin­
ning pilots must be young. Nevertheless, em­
ployers—especially the airlines—insist on far
more flying time than is specified in the legal re­
quirement. In addition, employers generally de­
mand a high school education or better (heavy
preference is given men with college credits).
Personality, temperament, appearance, and height
(tall men are preferred) are also considered. For
the CA A Safety Agent positions, long and varied


flying experience, as well as specified pilot ratings,
is required.
Copilots who make good are given a chance,
usually on a seniority basis, to qualify for ad­
vancement to captain. At least 2 years* experi­
ence is generally needed to be eligible for such
up-grading; it may be many more years, however,
before a copilot is actually reached for promotion.
In nonscheduled operations promotion policies
vary considerably from company to company.
A typical line of promotion in a large airline
is copilot to captain to chief pilot to assistant
superintendent of flight operations and other ex­
ecutive positions on up the ladder. But positions
above the captain level are not numerous enough
nor turn-over in these groups great enough, to
make chances for advancement particularly good;
relatively few men complete their service in the
industry at these higher grades.

Employment of pilots is likely to rise moder­
ately over the long run in air transport activities
as a whole.
The scheduled airlines had nearly 7,000 pilots
and copilots on their payrolls during most of
1948 and 1949, three times as many as in 1940.
Hiring was sharp during the first postwar year,
but in 1947 a shake-down occurred, particularly
in domestic operations. Following the shakedown, the number of pilots employed by the air­
lines had fluctuated by only a few hundred until
The number of pilots with nonscheduled car­
riers and other flying services was about 10,000
in early 1948, half again as large as the number
of airline pilots. In the 2y2 years which followed,
employment rose in some fields including crop
dusting and other agricultural services, but de­
creased in flight instruction. In both expanding
and contracting fields, a good many flying services
had to close at the same time that new business
ventures were started.
Pilot employment rose moderately in 1950.
Further gains are anticipated during the next
few years.
The really great peacetime expansion in air
transportation still appears to be years ahead,
awaiting further technical, operational, and other



cop ilot

m aking a p re fligh t cockpit check on a fo u rengine plane.

developments which will encourage large-scale
travel by air. All-weather flying is one of the
goals of a 15-year program to establish the socalled “RTCA, SC-41 System’* (Radio Technical
Commission for Aeronautics, Special Committee
31) : this program was already well under way
before the outbreak of hostilities in mid-1950 and
will probably be accelerated by the mobilization
program. Lower fares through such devices as
“air coach service” may also be influential in in­
creasing air traffic.
Expansion in activity, however, does not auto­
matically spell expansion in employment. Larger
and faster planes, which are increasingly coming
into use. permit given volumes of traffic to be
handled by fewer planes and pilots.
Competition for any pilot job openings that arise
has generally been keen in peacetime. In the be­
ginning of 1950, men without a flying history had
practically no chance of jobs or of good business
opportunities. Even highly qualified applicants
were more numerous than vacancies. Trained and
experienced men who failed to keep abreast of ad­
vances in piloting and related techniques were find­
ing the advantage of their background becoming
less and less important.


Under the impact of the Korean war and ex­
panding mobilization in 1950, competition for jobs
eased. By early 1951, several airlines were lower­
ing hiring standards and making special recruit­
ing efforts for the first time in years, in order to
meet actual or anticipated shortages. In time,
however, competition for pilot positions is likely
to be intensified again, as many of the young men
who will be trained as pilots in the Armed Forces
become available for civilian jobs.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Highest-paid pilots are captains employed by
the scheduled airlines. Most of these men had
monthly earnings of well over $700 in 1949; many
made $1,000 or more in some months. Typical
earnings for the year are estimated at between
$8,000 and $10,000, depending on such factors as
flying time and mileage, speed of plane, length
of service, and whether the flying was done in
domestic or international operations. Earnings of
copilots were considerably less—about $400 a
month, on the average. Union agreements in ef­
fect on several lines in 1950 provided for a mini­
mum number of flying hours, in order to establish
a floor under pilot earnings.
Average flight time of airline pilots was be­
tween 75 and 80 hours a month in 1949. The
permissible maximum is 85 hours a month, 255 a

quarter, and 1,000 a year in both domestic and in­
ternational flying. Ground duties require many
additional hours of work a month.
In the past few years, pilots in nonscheduled
activities have had earnings nearer to those of
copilots than to those of captains, although they
have often had to put in many more flight hours
than pilots in scheduled operations. CAA pilots
started at an annual salary of no less than $4,600
as of late 1950; their top rate of pay was $8,600,
but this applied only to men who had had several
promotions and many years of service. The basic
CAA workweek has been 40 hours for several
years; however, actual worktime has been irreg­
ular, as in private nonscheduled operations.
Airline pilots, flying on domestic routes are
generally allowed a 2 weeks’ vacation with pay;
those flying on international routes, a month.
CAA agents, like most other Federal employees,
receive 26 days of paid annual leave a year.
As a rule, airline pilots are on duty away from
their base about a third or more of the time.
When they are away, their living expenses are
usually paid by the airline.
Most airline—but few other—pilots belong to
the Air Line Pilots Association (A FL).
See also Dispatchers and Assistants, page 447;
Airport and Air-Route Traffic Controllers,
page 448.

Flight Engineers
(D. O. T. 5-80.100)

Outlook Summary

Opportunities will be limited both in the early
fifties and over the long run in this small but
slowly growing occupation. Men who qualify also
as pilots or mechanics will have an advantage in
competing for jobs.
Nature of Work

Flight engineers are employed mainly in sched­
uled international and transcontinental flying,
where the Civil Aeronautics Administration has
ruled that they are necessary for safety of opera­
tions. The circumstances under which they must

be carried depend on such factors as the routes
flown and the complexity and size of the aircraft.
Flight engineers are responsible for the proper
functioning of the aircraft (and engines) in flight,
permitting the captain and copilot to concentrate
more fully on piloting the aircraft. In the air,
their duties include watching and keeping logs
on engine performance, operating certain controls
under the direction of the captain, and making
emergency repairs. At stops where there are no
mechanics, they do needed ground maintenance
work themselves; at other stops, they direct this
Most engineers are stationed in or near large
cities on the East and West coasts, where inter­


national and transcontinental operations generally
originate. Some few are stationed elsewhere in
the United States and in other countries.
Q ualifications

Every person serving as a flight engineer is
legally required to have a Civil Aeronautics Ad­
ministration Flight Engineer Certificate. This
calls for a broad knowledge of such matters as
flight theory, aircraft performance, fuel consump­
tion, and aircraft loading. Written and practical
tests are given to determine not only the adequacy
of the engineer’s grasp of these and related sub­
jects. but also his skill in repair work. The skills
and knowledge needed are usually obtained
through formal training. Such training is not
often provided by airlines. Rigid physical ex­
aminations must be passed periodically.
In hiring, employers frequently emphasize per­
sonal characteristics and specified types and
amounts of education. Applicants practically al­
ways need some training or experience in airline
ground maintenance to qualify for flight engineer
jobs. Preference is given to young men who have
or can obtain an air-transport pilot certificate.
Before Korea, some carriers were hiring only such
The line of advancement for flight engineers is
to pilot or to chief engineer. Before Korea, all
prospective pilots began as flight engineers on at
least one line.
O u tlook

Employment will rise somewhat over the years,
with increased use of planes requiring flight en­
gineers. Civil Aeronautics Administration rul­
ings requiring that flight engineers be carried
under specified circumstances have bolstered em­
ployment in this occupation since early 1948.
However, the total number in the occupation has
remained small. At the end of World War II,
there were not more than a few hundred men work­
ing as flight engineers; the number was still only
in the hundreds in late 1950. Under the most
favorable circumstances likely to develop in the
next several years, the number employed should
continue to be of this general magnitude, probably
not exceeding 1,000.

T h e flig h t en gin e e r of an oversea s a ir lin e r noting dial readings on
his log.

There are likely to be many candidates for the
limited number of openings which arise, including
former flight engineers of the military and naval
air forces, some newly trained men, and many
ground mechanics for whom a flight position
would be an advancement. However, few ground
mechanics are likely to be able to qualify—cer­
tainly not without on-the-job training, which is
not commonly available. In general, job chances
will be favorable only for qualified men, who re­
quire little or no further training after being hired.
E a rn in g s and W o rkin g C onditions

In early 1950, earnings of fully qualified flight
engineers generally ranged from $450 to $600 a
month, depending mainly on length of experience
and amount of flight time. Under most condi­
tions, flight time may not exceed 85 hours a month
in domestic flying or 255 hours a quarter in inter­
national flying; men generally fly close to the
maxima of hours indicated. Additional time is
spent in ground duties. Engineers in interna­
tional operations usually get a month’s paid vaca­
tion each year; those in domestic flying, 2 weeks.
As a rule, flight engineers are on duty away
from base about a third or more of the time.
When they are working away from home, their


living expenses are paid by the employing airline;
often they are also allowed $1 or more a day for
incidental expenses while on land.
In late 1949 most flight engineers were repre­

sented by the Air Line Flight Engineers Associa­
tion (AFL). Another union active in the field
in that year was the Flight Engineers’ Officers
Association, an independent union.

(D. O. T. 0-41.60)

Outlook Summary

Few opportunities expected in any one year in
this small occupation. Employment likely to de­
cline in long .run; occupation may eventually
become extinct.
Nature of Work

Navigators are carried on many trans-ocean air­
line flights. Before each flight, the navigator pre­
pares the flight plan for the captain’s approval
and sees to it that all needed navigational equip­
ment is in good condition and aboard the plane.
In the air, he is responsible for knowing at all
times whether the flight is progressing according
to plan, and advising the captain as to revisions
in routing made necessary by changing weather
conditions or other unforeseen circumstances. Na­
vigational methods used may include dead-reckon­
ing, celestial navigation, obtaining radio bearings,
and pilotage. Another of his duties is keeping the
flight log.
Navigators are stationed mainly in coastal cities,
where activities employing them are commonly

Every civilian navigator is legally required to
have a Civil Aeronautics Administration flight
navigation certificate. Among the qualifications
which one must have to obtain this certificate
is a comprehensive knowledge of air navigation
and related subjects. This background has been
obtainable so far mainly in the military and naval
air services. Employers greatly prefer men with
college education; a high school education is vir­
tually always a minimum requirement. Flight ex­
perience and personal characteristics, such as
height, appearance, and personality, are empha­
sized in hiring. Strict physical examinations must
be passed to enter and remain in the occupation.

In the summer of 1950, the Civil Aeronautics
Board provided for 3-month, nonrenewable
“limited flight navigator certificates” for persons
unable to satisfy immediately all the requirements
for regular certificates; December 31, 1951, was
set as the termination date of the regulation, “un­
less sooner superseded or rescinded.” Holders of
these temporary certificates may be employed only
in military contract air carrier operations.
When starting out with a given company, both
newcomers and experienced men are often desig­
nated “junior navigators.” Promotion to “senior
navigator” is usually based on length of service
with the company.

This is a very small field; in late 1949, employ­
ment was no more than two or three hundred. In
the early fifties, a number of openings may result
from expanding overseas airline operations and
other developments. In addition, rising military
and naval needs for air navigators are leading to
the withdrawal of some men from civilian posi­
tions. Employment opportunities will therefore
be considerably better in the near future than in
the period from 1947 to early 1950, when the air­
lines had many navigators on furlough, with first
claim to any openings. However, it may continue
to be difficult for persons without civilian or
military experience in air navigation to obtain
In the long run, employment of navigators will
probably tend to decline. The occupation may
eventually be eliminated altogether. By 1949, one
or two overseas airlines had already made pilots
responsible for navigation and were no longer em­
ploying navigators as flight crewmen. Techno­
logical and other factors will continue to encourage
this trend over the long run. Progress is being
made in developing international airways with
radio-range beams and other aids to navigation,


although the establishment of such airways on a
scale comparable with our own Federal Airways
System is probably still a long way off. The in­
creasing application of radar to civilian aviation
may also be a factor in making navigators unneces­
sary on a growing number of flights. Even if
navigators should be eliminated from flight crews,
at least a few men with training and experience in
navigational work will continue to be needed to
teach navigatiof| to pilots and others in civil avia­
tion ; there will klso be opportunities in the armed
Earnings a/nd Working Conditions

Annual pay of junior navigators averaged about
$3,200 in 1949; senior navigators averaged about
$6,000, with some men earning as low as $4,500 and
others making as much as $7,000. Salaries are
on a monthly basis. The amount received by an

individual navigator depends not only on his
grade but also on his length of service with the
particular company and on other factors.
When navigators are away from base on duty
(as they are a third or more of the time) their
living expenses are paid by their employer. Often
they also get $1 or more a day while on land, for
incidental expenses.
Flight time is generally not more than 255 hours
a quarter, more or less equally divided among the
3 months. However, a few additional hours each
month must always be spent in ground duties.
One month’s vacation with pay is usually given.
Navigators are covered by union contracts on
almost all lines where they are employed. Most
of them are represented by the Air Line Navi­
gators Association (Transport Workers Union
of America, CIO). In late 1949, the Association
of Airline Navigators (Independent) represented
the navigators on one line.

Flight Radio Operators
<D. O. T. 0-61.32)

Outlook Summary

Employment outlook poor in this small occupa­
tion. More than enough qualified men likely to
be available for any j ob openings that arise. Occu­
pation threatened with eventual extinction.
Nature of Work

In civil aviation flight radio operators (also
known as flight communications or flight radio
officers) are carried principally on overseas flights
where safety regulations call for radiotelegraphic
equipment and a qualified full-time operator.
Their duties may include obtaining radio bearings,
sending and receiving weather information and
other messages in international code, and oper­
ating radio-navigational equipment. They may
make needed adjustments and emergency repairs
on the plane’s radio equipment while in flight or,
in some cases, on the ground. They also inspect
and test the equipment between flights.

Every flight radio operator is legally required
to have a Federal Communications Commission

radiotelegraph operator license of second-class or
higher and a Civil Aeronautics Administration
airman certificate. To obtain the former, one
must show a comprehensive technical knowledge
of radio and meet other requirements. The latter
certificate is issued to persons demonstrating abil­
ity to perform the duties of the occupation. As
for other types of positions on flight crews, appear­
ance and personal characteristics are emphasized
in filling vacancies, and strict physical examina­
tions must be passed to enter and stay in the occu­
pation. Furloughed operators are usually the first
to be called upon to fill vacancies. Qualified
ground radio operators who are in line for promo­
tion come next.
Flight radio operator training is obtainable in
private schools and with employing airlines.
However, lines require trainees to have the neces­
sary FCC license before they are hired. When
they start out with a given company, both new­
comers and experienced men are often designated
“junior operator.” Advancement to “senior op­
erator” is usually based on length of service with
the company.



Earnings and Working Conditions

The employment outlook is poor in this small
occupation, which employed no more than a few
hundred men in late 1950. A CAA decision in
August 1949 made it possible for flight radio op­
erators to be eliminated on certain routes where
their employment had previously been required
by safety regulations. The CAA found that on
these routes, radiotelephone facilities (which can
be operated by the pilots) met safety requirements
and that, consequently, planes no longer needed
to carry radiotelegraph equipment and full-time
operators. Immediately after the decision, flight
personnel of this type were eliminated on some
routes. Their continued use is likely for some
time on other routes. But unless the CAA is over­
ruled or reverses itself in this matter, flight radio
operators will probably be carried on fewer and
fewer routes; the occupation may eventually be­
come extinct.
In any event, job openings will be very limited
in number at best. The anticipated long-run ex­
pansion in international airline business will
doubtless be moderate and gradual. Turn-over
will create only occasional opportunities.
Continued, although increasingly more moder­
ate, competition for any openings that arise is
likely at least through the early fifties. Qualified
men are usually available for flight radio opera­
tor positions from several sources; from among
men with previous military or civilian flight ex­
perience, ground radio operators wdio can qualify
for promotion, and veterans and nonveterans
trained for other kinds of radio-operator work.
However, under the impact of the Korean war and
the mobilization program begun in mid-1950, these
sources were being tapped to meet a variety of ex­
panding needs; both in and outside the field of

Flight radio operators have higher monthly
salaries than most other groups of radio operators.
For the great majority, salaries were between $400
and $600 a month in late 1949, depending pri­
marily on length of service with the given com­
pany. With work fairly steady for most men,
take-home pay for the year averaged roughly
$6,000. A very few men made more than $7,000
including overtime pay; a greater number made
as low as $4,000.
Flight time in scheduled operations was gen­
erally between 100 and 110 hours a month in 1949.
It could not legally exceed 125 hours a month, 300
hours a quarter, or 1,000 hours a year. In addi­
tion to flight time, a few hours are usually spent
each month in training in the air or on the ground,
in preflight testing or other duties, or in stand-by
time. A month’s vacation with pay is commonly
given. At least one union contract provides for
severance pay which may amount to several
thousand dollars for an individual employee.
As a rule, flight radio operators are on duty
away from base a third or more of the time.
When they are working away from home their
living expenses are paid by the employing air­
Flight radio operators are highly organized.
Several different unions were involved in early
1950—principally, the Air Line Communications
Employees Association (American Radio Asso­
ciation, CIO ), Radio Officers Union (Commercial
Telegraphers Union, A FL), Flight Radio Officers
Association (Independent ), and Transport Work­
ers Union of America (CIO).
See also Ground Radio Operators, page 450;
Ship Radio Operators, page 105; Radio Operators
(Broadcasting), page 103; Radio Operators (Tele­
phone and Telegraph Industry), page 106.

Airplane Hostesses
(D. O. T. 2-25.37)

Outlook Summary


A good many openings for qualified applicants
each year, but continuing competition for these
jobs likely. Occupation will remain small for
many years; slow rise in employment probable.

Hostesses (also known as flight stewardesses)
are carried on most airline passenger flights
within this country; also on some international
flights. They are responsible for attending to



passengers’ needs and comfort while in flight—
by serving meals, giving minor medical aid, help­
ing to adjust seats, answering questions, supply­
ing passengers with reading matter, and in other
ways. They also have to keep some records.
When a hostess and steward work together, as is
often the case on big planes, the former tends to
specialize in service to the women and children
Hostesses are stationed mainly in the few sea­
board cities where international and transconti­
nental flights originate and inland at a number
of airline division points. A few are stationed
in foreign countries.

years, partly to staff the many additional larger
planes in service, and partly to fill vacancies owing
to very heavy turn-over. Although the airlines
made some nonseasonal lay-offs during 1017, em­
ployment still totaled over 3,500 at the end of that
year. Thereafter, it resumed an upward trend
which will be further encouraged by the mobiliza­
tion program.

Q ualifications and A d va n cem en t

Entry into the occupation is usually as a
“student” stewardess, for training by the employ­
ing air line. Frequently, however, girls trained
in special private schools are hired through the
placement facilities provided by such institutions
for their own graduates. At least one airline
requires training at a specified school.
Applicants must be in excellent physical condi­
tion; have a pleasing personality and appearance;
be in their twenties or within even narrower age
limits; and also be within specified height and
weight limits. As a general rule, single women
(or widowed or divorced women without chil­
dren) are preferred for stewardess jobs; their
continued employment may be conditioned upon
their remaining unmarried. Applicants who are
registered nurses are strongly preferred. Girls
who have not completed nurses’ training must,
as a rule, have at least 1 or 2 years of college
education. For international flying, knowledge
of an appropriate foreign language is frequently
required and always preferred.
From the position of hostess, the line of promo­
tion is to instructor and division chief hostess.

Employment in this occupation will probably
tend to rise slowly in the early fifties as well as
over the longer run.
At the end of World War II, the airlines had
about 1,000 hostesses on their payrolls. Several
thousand new hostesses were hired in the next 2

An a ir-lin e hostess se rvin g lunch.

Opportunities for new entrants will be more
plentiful in this occupation than in many other
aviation jobs. Most vacancies will result from
the high turn-over rate, although some girls will
be hired as additions to staff. Interest in the oc­
cupation has continued to be great in the postwar
years despite the airlines’ strict hiring standards.
Competition for jobs is likely to be keen. How­
ever, registered nurses with the other qualifica­
tions needed should find it easy to obtain posi­
tions ; the number of qualified nurses applying for
jobs will continue to be much less than the number
desired by the airlines, especially as expanding
military requirements once more withdraw nurses
from civilian activities.


Earnings and ’W orking Conditions

Base pay scales on domestic lines ranged from
$175 to $260 or more a month for most stewardesses
in late 1949. Additional monthly bonuses ranging
from $15 to $25 or more were generally paid for
overseas work.
Working time has averaged well over 100 hours
a month for the past few years. Most of this
time (as high as 85 hours a month) is spent in
flight. Domestic lines generally give 2 weeks’
vacation with pay each year; international lines,
1 month.

As a rule, airplane hostesses are on duty away
from base about a third or more of the time.
When they are working away from home, their
living expenses are paid by the employing air­
line ; they may also be allowed $1 or more a day
while on land for incidental expenses.
Many hostesses belong to unions. Most of those
organized are represented by either the Air Line
Stewards and Stewardesses Association, a branch
of the Air Line Pilots Association (AFL) or the
Flight Pursers and Stewardesses Association

Flight Stewards
(D. O. T. 2-25.32)

Outlook Smnmary

This small occupation will provide only a very
few openings, chiefly in international operations.

Stewards are carried on most international air­
line flights and on a moderate number of scheduled
domestic operations. Their work includes serv­
ing meals while aloft, attending to the comfort
of the passengers in different ways, and keeping
records. With increased use of larger planes,
stewards will more and more be assigned ticketcollecting and related tasks usually identified with
the job designation of purser. When a steward
and hostess work together, as is often the case on
large planes, the former tends to handle the
heavier work (such as making berths on sleeper
planes); the latter, to specialize in service to the
women and children aboard.
Stewards are stationed mainly in the few sea­
board cities where international and transconti­
nental flights originate, but some are located in­
land at a limited number of airline division
points. A few are stationed in foreign countries.

High school education is a minimum require­
ment for this occupation; some college education is
preferred. Knowledge of a foreign language is
required for international flying. Excellent
physical condition is a must, as are a pleasing per­

sonality and a good appearance. In addition, air­
lines may specify a maximum height and weight.
Also important is experience in handling food;
many of the flight stewards now employed were
formerly restaurant cooks or waiters.
Standards are more rigidly applied in filling
purser openings than in hiring stewards.

Employment in this very small occupation wT
at about the same general level in early 1950 as
in early 1948, when the number of stewards on air­
line payrolls was estimated at under 1,000. Even
this volume of employment represented marked
growth in the occupation since the end of World
War II. On YJ-day, the two airlines doing over­
seas flying on a commercial basis together em­
ployed only a hundred or so stewards, nearly all in
the occupation at that time. Heavy hiring of
stewards in the first post war year was followed
by some nonseasonal lay-offs in 1947. In the 2
years which followed, the number employed tended
to rise slowly.
Future employment opportunities in the occu­
pation will depend on whether airline traffic ex­
pands as anticipated, creating occasional new posi­
tions ; on the rate of turn-over; and on the in­
dustry’s policies with regard to employment of
men and women as cabin attendants. On the basis
of the hiring practices followed in early 1950, it
appeared that the number of stewards would
probably not rise much above the mid-1950 level


and might even decline. The mobilization pro­
gram will probably further increase the hiring of
stewardesses, whether to fill new jobs or to meet
replacement needs. Thus steward openings will
be very scarce.
Earnings and Working Conditions

In late 1949, monthly base salaries for most
stewards ranged from $175 to $260. A bonus
ranging from $15 to $25 a month was generally
paid for overseas work. Pursers received from
$190 to $260 a month on domestic routes; their
salaries ranged up to $355 in international opera­
Working time has averaged well over 100 hours
a month for several years. Most of this time

(as high as 85 hours a month) is spent in flight.
Domestic lines generally give 2 weeks’ vacation
with pay each year; international lines, 1 month.
As a rule, flight stewards are on duty away
from base a third or more of the time. When they
are working away from home their living expenses
are paid by the employing airline; they may also
be allowed $1 or more a day for incidental expenses
while on land.
Many stewards belong to unions. Most of those
organized are represented by either the Air Line
Stewards and Stewardesses Association, a branch
of the Air Line Pilots Association (A FL), or the
Flight Pursers and Stewardesses Association
See also Traffic Agents and Clerks, page 455
and Railroad Clerks, page 424.

Dispatchers and Assistants
(D. O. T. 0-61.61)

Outlook Summary

Where Employed

Dispatcher positions practically always filled by
promotions or transfers from within the company.
Some job chances for outsiders as assistants.

Dispatchers and assistants are employed mainly
by air lines certified by the Civil Aeronautics
Board for scheduled operations. A few work for
the largest nonscheduled lines. The majority are
stationed at large airports in different parts of the
United States. However, a good many are sta­
tioned outside the country.


An airline dispatcher (or flight superintend­
ent) has control over all of his company’s flights
within an assigned sector. He approves flight
plans, authorizes take-offs, follows the progress
of flights as reported by radio, and keeps captains
informed of changing weather conditions and
other developments affecting their flights. In
addition, the dispatcher is responsible for keeping
records on the aircraft and engines available, on
the amount of time logged by each plane and
engine, and on the number of hours flown by flight
personnel based at his station. He also sees to
it that crew members are notified when to report
for duty.
Assistant dispatcher and various grades of
clerical employees aid in this work. Assistants
assume such duties as securing weather informa­
tion, helping to keep track of the progress of air­
craft in the sector, and handling communications
with the planes.


A Civil Aeronautics Administration certificate
is legally required for work as an aircraft dis­
patcher, although not for work as an assistant.
To qualify for certification, an applicant must
have been employed for at least 90 days in the
6 months prior to certification in work connected
with dispatching of airline planes under super­
vision of a certified dispatcher, and must meet
other experience requirements. He has to pass
a written examination on such subjects as the Civil
Air Regulations, aircraft characteristics, weather
data and analysis, air-navigation facilities and
principles, and airport and airway traffic pro­
cedures. He also has to demonstrate his skill
in weather forecasting and certain other functions
involved in dispatching.


or a background in business administration is
advantageous. Personality factors also count

A ssista n t d isp a tche rs at w ork in an a ir line d ispatchers office —
te le p h on in g a C A A a irw a y s tra ffic -c o n tro l center, e n te rin g the e sti­
mated tim e of a rriv a l of a plane, and reading a teletype report on
w eath er co nd itio ns.

It is airline policy to fill dispatcher positions
by promotions or transfers from within the com­
pany. Many present dispatchers were formerly
employed as station managers or meteorologists
by the same line and were selected as particularly
adapted to dispatching work. However, outsiders
are sometimes hired as assistant dispatchers and
may be promoted to regular dispatcher jobs after
they have had a training period of from 1 to 3
years and have obtained their certificates.
For assistant jobs. 2 years of college is generally
required by the carriers, and men who have com­
pleted a 4-year college course—including trainingin mathematics, physics, chemistry, meteorology,
and related subjects—are strongly preferred. Ex­
perience in flying, as an airman or a meteorologist,

Job opportunities for outsiders as dispatchers
are almost certain to remain very limited in num­
ber indefinitely. The increase in airline traffic
which is expected will not create many new dis­
patcher (or assistant) positions. Replacement
needs will rise as the mobilization program de­
velops, but will also not be great. The dispatcher
vacancies arising out of these and other develop­
ments will generally be filled, as in the past, by
promotions or transfers of personnel already with
the company.
Prospects for well qualified outsiders will be
more favorable for the greater number of assistant
openings anticipated. Job chances will be best
for highly qualified job seekers with experience
as operations officers or pilots in the Armed Forces
who meet the high educational and personal stand­
ards specified by the airlines.
Earnings and Working Conditions

For most dispatchers, monthly salaries were be­
tween $375 and $640 a month in late 1949. As­
sistants earned less, of course—about $250 to $350
a month in most cases. The standard workweek
is usually 40 hours. Daily hours are irregular
and, on occasion, very long. Two weeks' vacation
with pay is usually given to both dispatchers and
The Air Line Dispatchers' Association (AFL)
is the only labor organization with contracts cov­
ering dispatchers and related workers. It had
negotiated 26 agreements with airlines by late
See also Meteorologists, page 100.

Airport and Air-Route Traffic Controllers
(D. O. T. 0-61.60)

Outlook Summary


Rising volume of air traffic control work and
probably also increasing employment of con­
trollers both in the fifties and over the long run.

Airport traffic controllers supervise all flights
within a carefully defined flight-control area
around their airport. They issue directions (by



radio or other means) to planes taking off, land­
ing, and flying within the area, including instruc­
tions as to flying levels as well as when to take off
and land. Other tasks include giving weather
and position information to planes in the vicinity
and keeping records of messages.
Senior controllers have responsibility for all
aspects of the work. Assistant controllers, re­
garded as trainees for senior positions, aid them
in specific duties. In their supervisory capacity,
senior controllers are also responsible for seeing
that defects in airport lighting, communication,
and other facilities are reported, and that informa­
tion regarding flights is regularly obtained from
and relayed to air-route traffic-control centers in
the vicinity.
Air-route traffic controllers operate air-route
traffic-control centers, which regulate traffic on
civil airways. As a rule, the controllers do not
communicate directly with planes but constantly
receive information on the progress of flights and
related matters from airline dispatchers, airport
traffic controllers, other control centers, and CAA
communications stations. In return, instructions,
advice, and information are given as to the condi­
tions under which flights may be commenced or
continued and as to the progress of flights under
way. Telephone, interphone, teletype, and radio
are used in transmitting these messages.

Co u r te s y


C iv il A e r o n a u t ic s A d m

in is t r a t io n


An a irp o rt tra ffic c o n tro lle r g iv in g in stru ction s to a p ilo t by ra d io ­

Most airport traffic controllers work in the
towers operated by CAA’s Office of Federal Air­
ways; the remainder in towers operated by air­
ports. In early 1951, 170 or more CAA towers
were in operation, but only 40 or so airports were
operating their own. The towers, both CAA and
non-Federal, are located at large fields with heavy
traffic. They are in many different parts of the
country, mostly near big cities; a few are outside
continental United States.
The Office of Federal Airways is the only em­
ployer of air-route controllers. These workers
are located at the various CAA traffic control
centers scattered throughout the country.

All permanent appointments to CAA jobs are
made on the basis of competitive civil-service ex­
aminations. Such examinations have not been
held for several years. In the meantime, hiring
has been done directly by CAA regional offices,
and successful applicants have been given only
temporary status. In filling assistants positions,
the CAA has adhered to the minimum standards
for admission to the last civil service examination
for the “trainee” classification; these standards in­
clude specified experience or education in one of
several alternative fields, including meteorology,
aeronautical communications, dispatching, or
Positions above the level of assistant are filled
mainly by promotions from within. Special
CAA certificates are required for airport jobs
above this level; these certificates are good for
work at a specific airport only. Rigid criteria
are used in determining fitness for advanced

Q ualifications


Entry into either of the occupations under dis­
cussion is almost always as an assistant controller.

Employment in these occupations had an up­
ward trend during the first few years after World

Where Employed

892273°— 51------ 30



War II. In the first half of 1951, CAA had an
authorized staff of about 1,900 airport controllers
and 1,500 air-route controllers. These numbers
were substantially higher than on VJ-day.
A rising volume of air-traffic-control work is
expected both in the near future and over the long
run, owing to construction of additional airports
and increasing airport and airway utilization.
The bulk of the towers being federally owned and
operated, employment in the occupation is gov­
erned largely by the size of congressional appro­
priations for these CAA positions. It is reason­
able to expect that persistently expanding needs
will be reflected in increased appropriations and
in rising employment in these occupations. Addi­
tional openings will, of course, arise yearly owing
to turn-over. Replacement needs may increase
materially in 1951 and the year or two following
as a result of withdrawals for military service.
To fill these positions, the Federal Government
and other employers can ordinarily drawTupon a
wide variety of persons with military or civilian
experience: pilots and other airmen, meteor­
ologists, communication specialists, and dispatch­
ers. But the usually large numbers of available
persons in these categories were declining under

the impact of the Korean Avar and the partial mo­
bilization program begun in 1950. This develop­
ment sharply reduced the possibility of continued
competition for trainee openings, at least in the
early fifties.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Like Federal workers generally, CAA employees
have a basic 40-hour week. However, air-route
traffic controllers often have to work 4 or 5 hours
overtime in a week, which is compensated for by
time off or premium pay. Since towers must be
manned 24 hours a day, night work is required;
employees are assigned to night shifts on a ro­
tating basis.
The starting salary for assistant airport con­
trollers with CAA was $3,450 a year in late 1950;
that for assistant air-route controllers, $3,825.
The minimum salary for top grade of senior
controllers in both airport and air-route work was
$6,400. In addition, within-grade increases are
given every 12 or 18 months, depending on the
grade. Other benefits of these Government jobs
include 26 days of paid annual leave, 15 days of
sick leave, and 8 paid holidays a year.

Ground Radio Operators and Teletypists
(See D. O. T. 0-61.33 and 1-37.33)

Outlook Summary

Many radio-operator openings in early fifties;
fewer teletypist opportunities. Technological de­
velopments likely to result in long-run decline in
employment, especially among ground radio
Nature of Work

Ground radio operators and teletypists are em­
ployed by the scheduled airlines, both domestic
and international, by some of the large nonscheduled carriers, and by the Civil Aeronautics
Administration. The military and naval Air
Forces use civilians and also uniformed personnel
in comparable work.
Radio operators working for air lines relay
messages between ground personnel and between
flight and ground personnel, using radiotelephone,
radiotelegraph, or both. Airline ground com­

munications are also handled by teletypists, who
operate a machine with a keyboard much like that
of a typewriter. The CAA employs “aircraft
communicators” in its Federal Airways System
to collect and relay information on weather con­
ditions and other matters affecting flights. In
the airlines as well as in CAA, some workers use
both radio and teletype.
The jobs are widespread geographically, with
some workers located in the Territories and
foreign countries. Airline personnel work
mostly at airports near metropolitan areas; CAA
communicators are at stations scattered along the
airways, often in remote places.
Qualifications and Advancement

For radio-operator positions with airlines, ap­
plicants must usually have at least a second-class
radiotelephone or radiotelegraph license from the


Federal Communications Commission, be able to
type, and have specified educational and other
qualifications. Teletypists who are called on to do
radio-operator work must also have an FCC
To qualify for positions as CAA aircraft com­
municators, applicants must meet requirements
set by the United States Civil Service Commission.
All permanent appointments are made on the basis
of competitive civil service examinations. Pend­
ing the holding of new examinations (none has
been given for several years), all hiring has been
done directly by CAA regional offices and only
temporary appointments have been made.
The airlines commonly employ women as tele­
typists but increasingly also as radio operators.
Most CAA aircraft communicators are men.

Radiomen and teletypists together make up a
fairly large occupational group, as aviation oc­
cupations go. The number on public and private
pay rolls in late 1949 was estimated at over 10,000.
Gains in airline employment were heavy during
1946 and early 1947, but there was a “shake-down”
in domestic operations during the rest of the lat­
ter year. In 1948 and 1949, airline employment in
these occupations showed little change. No more
than a moderate rise is to be expected in the early
fifties, even after allowing for the limited military
and naval expansion programs set in motion in the
summer of 1950. Much heavier military commit­
ments would mean heavier job gains.
CAA communications activity has increased
sharply in the postwar period, but employment
among aircraft communicators has not risen pro­
portionately and has even declined. At the end of
the war, August 1945, there were about 3,700 air­
craft communicators working for CAA; a year
later, 4,500 or thereabouts; in early 1951, 4,000 or
so. Future employment levels will depend on
congressional appropriations for this activity, as
they have in the past. In any event, job chances
will continue to be somewhat better for persons
willing to work in Alaska and other places outside
continental United States.
The long-run outlook in these occupations will
be greatly affected by technological developments.

Much progress has been made in the substitution
of teletype and other automatic equipment for
radiotelegraph and radiotelephone, and efforts at
technological improvement continue unabated.
Radar, for example, is being increasingly used in
civil aviation. The comprehensive program for
all-weather flying, referred to as the “RTCA SC31 System” (Radio Technical Commission for
Aeronautics, Special Committee 31), will involve
highly complex electronic installations, including
items still in the developmental stage. These and
other technical advances are designed primarily to
promote safe, all-weather flying, reduce communi­
cation time, and speed air transport operations.
But in the long run they may have the effect of
reducing the number of radio operators needed,
even with rising air traffic. Teletypists will prob­
ably be affected also, but not as much as radio
In the early fifties, openings will arise in both
types of work owing to transfers to military serv­
ice, deaths, retirements, and other turn-over.
These openings, plus those arising from expansion,
will create a substantial number of opportunities
for new entrants with public and private em­
A surplus of qualified job applicants, especially
radio operators, existed in most parts of the coun­
try from 1946 through early 1950. Persons with­
out experience in the work, either in the Armed
Forces or in civilian employment were able to ob­
tain radio-operator jobs only in scattered instances.
Under the impact of the Korean war and the mo­
bilization program begun in mid-1950, this situa­
tion changed. Job opportunities became more
widespread; the surplus of qualified job appli­
cants was sharply reduced. This trend will con­
tinue at least through the early fifties, and the
surplus of skilled and experienced radiomen seek­
ing employment as ground radio operators (or air­
craft communicators) will be wiped out as related
occupations also expand both in aeronautics and
in other fields.
Earnings and Working Conditions

For airline radio operators, earnings typically
ranged from about $180 to $300 or more a month
in late 1949; for teletypists, from about $155 to
$240. CAA aircraft communicators, like Federal


workers generally, are on annual salaries. Under
the scale in effect in late 1950, these ranged from
$3,100 to $5,350 a year.
Airline personnel usually get 2 weeks’ paid
vacation; CAA employees, 26 days of paid “an­
nual leave.” The basic workweek is 40 hours both
with the air lines and with CAA.
A number of lines have union agreements cover­

ing radio operators and teletypists. Organiza­
tions involved, as of late 1950, were the Air Line
Communications Employees Association (Ameri­
can Radio Association, CIO), and the Radio
Officers Union (Commercial Telegraphers Union,
See also Flight Radio Operators, page 443; Ship
Radio Operators, page 105.

Airplane Mechanics
(D. O. T. 5-80.120 and .130)

Outlook Summary

Employment prospects good for skilled mechan­
ics in early fifties; also many openings for non­
journeymen. Continued uptrend in employment
over long run.

Airline mechanics are assigned either to line
maintenance or to overhaul work. Line-mainte­
nance men service and inspect aircraft, including
power plants and instruments, and make minor
repairs and adjustments. This work may be done
at large terminals or at stops along the route.
When an engine or other part has to be sent to the
main overhaul base for major repairs, line me­
chanics remove it from the plane and install new
or overhauled equipment in its place. The linemaintenance mechanic is usually an all-round “A”
and “E” (aircraft and engine) man.
Mechanics at the main base usually specialize
in engine or airplane overhaul or in some other
division of the work, such as overhaul of electrical
equipment, radio servicing, instrument work,
painting, or upholstering. Generally, the larger
the base, the greater is the specialization of work.
Outside the airlines, most mechanics do servic­
ing and inspection work roughly comparable to
that of the airline line-maintenance men, but
some do overhaul work. The planes which these
mechanics service are frequently much smaller
than airliners; often they have only a few com­
paratively simple instruments, no radio, and no
elaborate propeller mechanism. However, a single
mechanic frequently has to do the entire servicing
job with little supervision, and has to be able to
work with many different types of planes and en­

gines. It is estimated that one good mechanic and
a helper can take care of the line-maintenance re­
quirements of several light planes, if the work is
properly organized. Overhauling, too, is a rela­
tively simple job where light planes are involved.
Where Employed

Mechanics work principally for the scheduled
airlines engaged in interstate and foreign com­
merce and for fixed-base operators. Some men
operate their own small repair shops, with or
without the help of hired mechanics. Other em­
ployers include Government agencies and private
aircraft and engine factories; the Nation’s mili­
tary forces employ large numbers of civilians in
this occupation, besides the enlisted men assigned
to mechanic duty.
Mechanics are employed in more different parts
of the country than most other types of aviation
workers. However, large numbers of all-round
mechanics, and almost all specialists in civilian
activities, work at the main overhaul bases, located
mainly in coastal cities. A few are on the payrolls
of foreign-owned and -operated carriers with
maintenance facilities in the United States.

To qualify as a skilled mechanic or specialist, a
4-year apprenticeship or its equivalent is often
needed. For many jobs, a Civil Aeronautics Ad­
ministration mechanic certificate with an aircraft
mechanic (“A”) or aircraft engine (“E ”) rating,
or both, is legally required. In early 1951, estab­
lishment of special ratings for radio, propeller,
instrument, and accessories mechanics, and pos­
sibly other types of specialists not then covered


by the certificate system, was being considered.
Before Korea, employers were insisting upon a
certificate for many jobs for which they were not
legally necessary.
In competing for jobs, applicants will find high
school or trade school education—including such
subjects as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and
machine-shop—a great advantage, when not a
definite requirement. Training as an aviation
mechanic, particularly at a CAA-approved school,
is valuable; persons with such training may be
taken on as advanced apprentices. Experience
in automotive repair or other mechanical work is
also helpful. It is customary for apprentices to
own a sizable kit of tools. Mechanics trained in
the Armed Forces usually need additional training
for licenses and for jobs above the apprentice or
helper level. Most airlines require a fairly rigid
pre-employment physical examination, although
waivers are allowed in some instances.
The line of advancement is to such positions as
lead mechanic, crew chief, shop foreman, lead in­
spector. and, finally, supervisory and executive
positions in maintenance departments. There are
a small number of advanced positions with the
CAA and other non-airline employers which re­
quire mechanic experience and training. The
CAA, for example, employs some former mechan­
ics as Aviation Safety Agents, who administer the
sections of the Civil Air Regulations relating to
airworthiness of aircraft, participate in the
investigation of accidents and CAR violations,
and perform related duties.
O utlook

Employment of airplane mechanics is expected
to increase both during the early fifties and over
the long run. In mid-1950, more than 20,000 of
these workers were employed by the airlines; the
number on the payrolls of other employers, public
and private, may have been still greater. Sizable
gains in employment in the next few years are vir­
tually assured by the mobilization program begun
in the summer of 1950. The longer-run trend will
probably be upward also, owing to continued gains
in the use of aircraft for an increasing variety of
purposes and the growing size and complexity of
planes and equipment.


engine mechanic re assembling an air- li ne engine wh ich had
been torn down for overhauling.

Prior to the partial mobilization program begun
in mid-1950, the supply of would-be civilian me­
chanics was ample to meet the demand for appren­
tices and other non journeymen. Some 6,000 men
finished training in CAA-approved mechanic­
training schools in 1950. In late 1950, about
9,000 were enrolled in these schools. Additional
trainees were enrolled in nonapproved schools.
There were other groups of potential job seekers.
It is expected that the total number of mechan­
ics trained each year in mechanic schools and else­
where will continue to be fairly large. Neverthe­
less, looking ahead in late 1950, continued partial
mobilization appears likely to mean good employ­
ment prospects for qualified, fully trained men in
the early fifties at least. Best job chances are ex­
pected, of course, for highly skilled and experi­
enced men, but above all, for instrument mechanics
and other specialists who qualify also for general
“A and E ” work. Improved prospects for ad­
vancement are anticipated for workers with rec­
ords of long service and good work performance.
Many trained but inexperienced men will obtain
jobs as non journey men; wholly untrained men
will find entry job chances better than they have
been for some years.


Earnings and Working Conditions

In late 1949, the most common starting rate for
apprentices with the airlines was about 90 cents
an hour; for helpers, about $1 an hour. Under
pay scales then in effect, apprentices and helpers
with 3 or 4 years’ experience generally earned
$1.50 or more an hour. Journeymen typically
ranged from a beginning rate of $1.40 an hour
to $2 or more for those with many years’ service.
Salaries of CAA agents ranged from $4,600 to
$8,600 a year.

The airlines usually give their men 2 weeks’
vacation with pay. CAA employees, like most
other Federal personnel, receive 26 days of paid
leave a year.
Mechanics are covered by union agreements on
all major airlines. Several different unions were
involved in late 1950—principally the Interna­
tional Association of Machinists (Independent),
the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural
Implement Workers of America (CIO), and the
Transport Workers Union of America (CIO).

Stock and Stores Clerks
(D. O. T. 1-38.01)

Outlook Summary

Job chances fairly good for newcomers. Em­
ployment expected to have upward trend in early
fifties and over long run.
Nature of Work

Most stock and stores clerks employed by the
air lines are in the storerooms at the main over­
haul bases and, to a lesser extent, at the smaller
service stations where day-to-day line maintenance
work is done. Duties include receiving and un­
packing the tremendous number of different parts
and supplies, issuing these to mechanics and other
personnel, packing and shipping materials and
equipment, and keeping records and inventory
controls. In the larger stockrooms, different
groups of clerks may specialize in different phases
of the work; there may be several levels of re­
sponsibility, junior clerk being the usual entry job.
There are also a few stock clerks in the larger
fixed-base operations, and on the payrolls of foreign-owned and -operated carriers with mainte­
nance facilities in the United States. The work
done by these two groups of clerks is of the same
general nature as that done in the stockrooms of
large American carriers. However, since the oper­
ations are on a much smaller scale, there is likely
to be little if any specialization of work or distinc­
tion between grades of clerks. In many instances,
only one clerk is employed, who may be required
to perform some minor mechanical tasks so that
he will be fully occupied.

Most jobs will be found in the areas where the
main overhaul bases of the scheduled airlines are
located. There were 25 or more such areas in
early 1951. Some stock and stores clerks are em­
ployed at large airports in other localities.
The armed services also employ civilian stock
and stores clerks, besides assigning enlisted men
to this type of work.
Qualifications and Advancement

There are no legal requirements for work in this
occupation, and the standards used in hiring jun­
ior clerks vary considerably from one employer
to another. Ability to read and to write legibly is
always essential for employment. Some airlines
require a high school education, or may prefer
applicants with college or business school credits.
The minimum age limit is usually 18; the maxi­
mum may vary from 35 to 50. On a few air­
lines the passing of a physical examination is
necessary. Previous clerical experience, especially
in stock and stores work in aircraft manufactur­
ing or in automotive activities, is always an asset
(sometimes a prerequisite) for the job. Positions
above the level of junior clerk are generally filled
by promotions from within the company.

Several thousand stock and stores clerks were
employed by the airlines and in other air trans­
portation activities in mid-1950; their number
was moderately greater than at the end of World


War II. Further gains in employment are ex­
pected during the early fifties and over the long
run in this as in most other occupations in aviation
maintenance departments.
The pool of qualified job applicants from among
persons with and without experience in the field
has, in the past, been ample to meet hiring needs.
Employers’ hiring standards for this occupation
are broad; no technical training is required. This
fact, plus the fairly interesting and pleasant char­
acter of the work, has attracted many young people
and others to the occupation. Competition for
jobs has usually been keen. However, it may be
much reduced or may even be eliminated in the
early fifties as a result of the mobilization pro­

Working Conditions

Typical starting rates of pay for nonsupervisory
clerks with the airlines ranged from 90 cents to
as high as $1.25 an hour in late 1949. Advance­
ment was possible to rates as high as $1.85.
The usual work schedule for airline stock and
stores clerks is a 40-hour week and an 8-hour day.
A 2-week vacation with pay is usually given.
Stock clerks are widely organized for collective
bargaining. Among the unions which represent
them are: Transport Workers Union of America
(CIO), International Association of Machinists
(Independent), and Brotherhood of Railway and
Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and
Station Agents (AFL).

Traffic Agents and Clerks
(D. O. T. 1-44.12, .27, and .32)

Outlook /Summary


Chances for newcomers likely to be better in
these than in many other aviation occupations.
Long-run employment trend slowly upward in
occupational group as a whole; rise likely to be
more rapid in positions concerned with cargo
traffic than in other types of work.

There are strict hiring standards with respect
to appearance, personality, and education—to
qualify employees for the constant contact with
the public which is involved in most traffic jobs.
High school graduation is generally required;
some college training is considered desirable.
Courses in air transportation, offered by increas­
ing numbers of colleges and universities, may
improve one’s chances for jobs and later advance­
ment; these courses cover such topics as govern­
ment regulations, principles of rate-making, traffic
analysis, and problems of aviation management.
Experience in connection with freight or express
traffic in other branches of transportation will be
increasingly valuable. Aviation background and
sales experience are helpful for higher-grade jobs.
Women are often employed as reservation and
ticket agents; some few are passenger agents.
The occupations covered in this statement are
among the best in the industry from the point of
view of advancement.

Nature of Work

These workers are employed mainly in airline
departments handling passenger and freight
traffic; a very small number work for foreignowned and -operated carriers with offices in the
United States. They include ticket agents, pas­
senger and freight agents, and reservation and
cargo clerks. Traffic representatives have a some­
what higher level of responsibility. Still farther
up the ladder are city and district traffic and sta­
tion managers.
Traffic staffs are located principally in down­
town offices or at airports in or near large cities,
where most airline passenger and cargo business
originates. Some are in smaller communities
where airlines have scheduled stops. A few
Americans on the staffs of United States carriers
are stationed in foreign countries.


Employment in these traffic jobs is expected to
increase both in the near future and over the long


run. In early 1950 considerably more than 10,000
people were in such work in air transportation.
By 1955, the number should be substantially
greater. The expected rise in employment will be
slowed, however, by measures designed to increase
efficiency and reduce costs in traffic departments.
The largest number of openings will probably
be for ticket and reservation clerks, but the most
rapid gains will be in employment connected with
cargo traffic. The air-transport industry has been
placing increasing emphasis on air-freight busi­
ness, and such traffic has been expanding faster
than any other class of transportation, passenger
or freight, in the last year or two. This trend will
continue. But passenger work will remain the
more important field of employment indefinitely.
Job chances for persons without experience in
the aviation field appear to be somewhat better in
these traffic positions than for many other occu­
pations in air transportation. Competition for


traffic jobs has generally been considerable in the
past—partly because the requirements for employ ­
ment are broad and nontechnical, and many people
can qualify. The mobilization program will prob­
ably lessen competition in the early fifties; it will
probably improve job chances for women.
Earnings and Unionization

Earnings vary widely, depending on the degree
of responsibility of the job. In late summer of
1949, the bulk of agents and clerks had monthly
salaries ranging from $175 to $325; a few made
as much as $350 or more a month. Station man­
agers and district traffic managers in large cities
had monthly salaries of $400 or better.
Reservations and transportation agents are cov­
ered by union contracts on several lines. They
are represented chiefly by the Brotherhood of
Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers,
Express and Station Agents (AFL).