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Confessions of a RJ Pilot

What we already know, but a good read. ( 기타...

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Well, every job has it's good and bad points but you are correct in one thing, as with any job, you got to pay your dues.It is sad that the RJ pilots have such a hard way to go but that is generally the quickest way to build time. As you said, luck, fate, right place at right time, plays a large part in the corporate world. Insurance aside, most companies know this and that they can get the cream of the crop cause especially in a business rather than family culture, it is more like working a regular job, since most of your pax want nights or weekends home too. There are many times my log book looked worse than an outlaw truck driver's, if it meant staying out another night or sleeping in your own bed.With my bunch they respected our time and left it as our call, but as I said, we were all looking for the house on Friday
You are very correct. As they say, the world is a changing. I was lucky and got a corporate, 707 FE job with about 500 hrs and then worked up from there, but I did the same thing as I elevated, looked at hours more heavily on my replacement; not really because of insurance but because there were high profile guys wanting the job. Even as an FE way back yonder, I was making more money than a lot of Airline Captains, BUT, in 30+ years, starting with me, therere were only 2 people hired, and that was as the one above us retired. I was already left seat when we moved into the 757, had a right seat, and the FE moved down on some of the smaller stuff just to keep working.
Receiving your Private Pilot certificate can be a liberating experience. However, it comes with a lot of responsibility and homework. Understanding the regulations that are required for each of the certificates that you will be attempting during your training not only will help you when you are on your own, but are required knowledge for each of the check-rides that are required; which is in two stages: oral and practical(flight). So to answer your first question:

1) You can purchase a 2012 FAR/AIM or for free you can go to and search under "Regulations and Policies" - "Regulations" - "Pilot,Flight and Instructor". I must warn you that there is a lot of legalese in these regulations, so please do not hesitate to ask your instructor a lot of questions regarding these and other regulations. It could save you a lot of money further down the road. The following regulations should specifically answer this first question: 14 CFR 61.3;61.23;61.64;61.65;61.83;61.103;61.123; and finally 61.183. These should cover eligibility for each certificate.

2)You do not need to go into the military, you can receive all of the required training by going the private pathway. However, a significant portion of the training can be paid for through the G.I. bill depending on the flight school you attend. Also, if you apply your studies, get good grades, and do really well on the SAT/ACT tests, you can have a good chance of getting into a school such as Embry Riddle, or any fine colleges that have excellent aviation schools. For the south, Auburn has an excellent flight program, I'm not sure about 'Ole Miss, or any other Universities in your area.

Learning to fly and and getting the required hours to be an airline pilot can be very expensive. However, as you read the regulations above, you may want to check out those defining the qualifications of a flight instructor. I didn't list them so that you can read them on your own; however, you may find them very useful. As a flight instructor, you can quickly build your hours and get paid for it as well. I will be honest, right now is tough for instructors. There is a glut, and not enough jobs in certain areas. However, as you move along what ever path you choose, I think things will improve, and getting your instructor certificate could be your best avenue of getting to the airlines. Several of the instructors I trained under are now flying for a regional airline, so it can happen. Also, by being an instructor, you have a tremendous opportunity to not only teach someone like yourself to fly, but you can teach yourself to be a better pilot. It can really hone your skills, which will help you when you finally get that interview, especially for IFR, since that will be big for the simulator test.

3)As for an airline like jetBlue, or American, you should checkout their websites and see what they information they may have as to what they are looking for from their prospective pilots. You will also need some time with a multi-engine airplane, as to what hours specifically depends on the airline hiring.

As you may have read in the article, because of the "crash pads", you can live anywhere, as long as you arrive at your crew base at the appropriate time for the start of your trip. However, commuting can be a hassle, especially for jetBlue, because lower seniority means flying out of JFK as your first crew base. As you move up in seniorty, you will be able to bid for a base closer to home usually, again, depending on the airline.

Of course, you could also become a corporate pilot, as well. You will have a lot of the above things to consider as well, but the starting pay could be better than the airlines.

Hopefully I was able to answer your questions without putting you to sleep. I apologize for the novel, but your questions got my juices flowing. Being a pilot is fun, and rewarding. Getting paid for it is hard work, but in the end, when you do what you love, the money will follow. So just stick with your grades, do the best you can, and study. study, study. The better you apply your self in high school and college, the better your options are as you get older. Good luck to you in your endeavors and always remember this piece of sage wisdom passed down to many generations of pilots; keep the pointy side in front of you, and the dirty side under you.

Safe flying,
I really appreciate this reply Channing. Thanks for the help.
Kind of going through the same thing as Tony. I just turned 18 and have seriously considered becoming a Regional Pilot in my mid-late 20s even though the pay is horrible and the hours are long. I've done a pretty good amount of research over the past few years and have seen mixed reactions regarding flight colleges. From what I've heard most of them are ripoffs. My plan is to any four year college that looks good and major in something that interests me. If I find something I really like I might just cancel my plans to become a commercial pilot completely. If I want to proceed I'll probably start on my PPL and eventually my instrument and commercial licenses.

I am definitely not expecting to work for a major airline. A regional like SkyWest seems like it'd be exciting! Any agreements/disagreements to this?
Why be stateside limited? Expand your horizons to the East.
Out of all the regionals I really like SkyWest's reputation and bases here on the West Coast. Of course their minimum hiring hours are a bit higher than other regionals. If I eventually find I don't want to be a pilot but still work in the airlines, my second career choice would to become a Flight Dispatcher because I won't have to commute and have a quality life while still being involved with the airlines and Flight Operations (Don't ask me why but I find airlines interesting).
I did an "average" of the TT of all the resumes that are sitting in our file. The number is BIG. Well over 7,000 Total Time, with at least 6 different type ratings. We have one resume with 27,000 TT! A new pilot with 100hrs of Seminole time cannot compete.
That is mind boggling, but as a rule, the money is better and there is something to be said about going to work down the road rather than having to commute halfway across the country. As the Arilines merge, and crew bases get fewer, the commuting will get worse and crash pads really gain more prominence. Besides having that talent out there, that also tells you that you ain't gonna throw a fit and quit on a As I said, I was lucky and it was actually knowing somebody. When I semi retired a couple years back, my FO that had flown right seat all that time moved into mine. The FE that had went to the smaller stuff years before (we had help him stay current on type and all) moved back into the new 767. They hired 1 guy to handle the King Air and the others, and all this was in 30+years
Corporate Flying is an option but not for everybody. Airline pilots are at least halfway scheduled. You can kiss a lot of your Holidays and weekends goodbye, depending on who you fly for. If it is more a business, you will have a more regular work schedule. If more a family, you will take them on holidays while you miss yours. Money and equipment is generally better and don't think that because it's corporate, it will all be small equipment. I started on a 707 and went into a 757 for the balance. About a year after I retired, they bought a brand new 767-200ER, which they allowed me to transition into as I still do fill in sometimes. Funny, coming off that now into RJ's doing fill in with a couple of majors.It ain't a bad life.
This is not only true for Crews, but for Maintenance and other people working in the airline industry. Before I bought a house where I am at now, I spent two years in a crash pad. As a Mechanic, during my work week I stayed at the crash pad, and weekends I would fly home. Take my word for it. It is not as easy as it sounds. I am relieved it is all over.
Hi all. I'm a 16 year old who will soon be taking flying lessons to get just a basic license. I plan on going to an airline after graduating college. I do have a few questions about my future route, and what better place to ask than here!
#1-What other license could I get before graduating high school even college?
#2-I'm not planning on going to the military. How much will that affect the aircraft type I could fly once I get a job at a carrier?
#3-I live in the deep south, near KLUL. Could I fly with an airline like JetBlue or American yet still live here in Mississippi?
Sorry if this isn't the place for a comment/Q&A. I sure hope RJ pilots will oneday get paid what they should be paid.
I was pretty fortunate myself Wayne.....I stumbled into a King Air 300 to build turbine time with my buddy who was flying it for a private family. Eventually got typed etc.....If it was not for that one deal, who knows what or where I would be?
Wayne, A freshly minted commercial pilot that has been instructing probably should choose the path to the regionals if they want to fly big equipment. The hiring minimums are going to be much more demanding at the corporate level. Not saying it hasn't happened; however, in an insurance regulated industry, some he/she with 800 hours is not going to qualify under the insurance requirements to fly right seat un-typed in a Lear 60....I have many friends that are chief pilots and most won't even consider a candidate unless he/she has a minimum of 3,000 hrs. With 1,000 turbine. I just do not want any young prospective pilots to expect a Gulfstream job right out of college, where they were instructing in a Seminole.
#3 You need to be foot loose if you are a stay at home type forget the idea.
#2 Personally I would train in engineering..
#1 You need good grades at college/school.
And I hope as a senior captain(semi retired) coming into an RJ or even a major line for that matter, that I don't adopt that condescending or holier than thou attitude. I think that the old saying of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" should not apply to the cockpit. That being said, the young one does need to be in a learning mood rather than a "know it all" type attitude. A few weeks ago, I did a DAL turn on a 9 from KMEM-KATL and back. About 20 minutes out of KATL on the way back, we lost the AP. No biggie; I just hand flew it back to KMEM but it scared the hell out of the young FO. He not only did not really know how how but said his regular Captain would have declared Emergency and turned back to KATL. That's what's scary.


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