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View Full Version : Path to Check Airmen


Blueyawnder
05-08-2018, 08:13 AM
So this is a topic that rarely comes up on here. For those of you at SWA - If my ultimate goal is to become a check airmen at a major, should I wait to jump to a major until I become a check airmen at my regional? I know most of you will think this is a stupid question, but if SWA hires me with relatively low regional PIC and no check airmen letter will that hurt my chances?


Smooth at FL450
05-08-2018, 08:51 AM
So this is a topic that rarely comes up on here. For those of you at SWA - If my ultimate goal is to become a check airmen at a major, should I wait to jump to a major until I become a check airmen at my regional? I know most of you will think this is a stupid question, but if SWA hires me with relatively low regional PIC and no check airmen letter will that hurt my chances?

To answer your question, I'd say previous check airman experience will help your chances at future CKAM positions.

Now I must ask...why is this your ultimate goal? I flew with a check airman awhile ago who was super cool and very chill, and I asked how he got to that position. He had been recommended into the CKAM position by people he'd flown with, it wasn't anything he actively pursued. To quote him, "it's the guys who seek out the check airman position who often times are the guys who shouldn't be check airman."

Just keep it in mind...if you're a natural leader/mentor/instructor and those around you feel the same way, then check airman positions type will come to you.

ipdanno
05-08-2018, 10:11 AM
..... I know most of you will think this is a stupid question, but if SWA hires me with relatively low regional PIC and no check airmen letter will that hurt my chances?

Are you trying to become a Check Airman at SWA, or at a 'major' after your time at SWA?

As to getting hired at SWA, comments from these threads suggest getting hired with relatively low regional PIC (absent mil flying history) is very difficult. Becoming a Check Airman at your regional could enhance your chances of getting the interview.


J1180
05-08-2018, 10:21 AM
Get LCA experience now at a regional if you can.

To answer your question, I'd say previous check airman experience will help your chances at future CKAM positions.

Now I must ask...why is this your ultimate goal? I flew with a check airman awhile ago who was super cool and very chill, and I asked how he got to that position. He had been recommended into the CKAM position by people he'd flown with, it wasn't anything he actively pursued. To quote him, "it's the guys who seek out the check airman position who often times are the guys who shouldn't be check airman."

Just keep it in mind...if you're a natural leader/mentor/instructor and those around you feel the same way, then check airman positions type will come to you.

It must be different at SWA than where I work. We must take the initiative to apply, have a resume LORs, interview, etc.

As a LCA myself, I get what the guy you flew with was saying. I've flown with some at my current employer who desperately want to be LCA, but they're also known as someone most can't stand to work with. You know the type.

But I don't necessarily agree. Just because you want to do something you know you'll enjoy and that position gives you more "authority", doesn't automatically make you a "that guy".

I applied because I think I was good at flight instructing, I have years of experience on the my current aircraft, and I like to help people.

It's possible some may just enjoy the position, too. I know I love it. I'll miss it if I ever get a class... I like helping new hires, upgrades, and I feel like doing line checks helps keep me sharper because I'm seeing things from another viewpoint.

Just my 2cents

Smokey23
05-08-2018, 10:27 AM
What the previous posters said. Back in the day, it was a kiss of death to outwardly express interest in becoming a SWA CKAM. The selection system was basically a "tap on the shoulder" from Flt Ops to pilots they felt would be good candidates. These days, the company puts out job postings from time to time for new CKAM applicants (probably mostly to satisfy the People Dept folks), but the old rules still largely apply. Say what you will about the system, but the results speak for themselves: very few "you don't want to get a line/sim check from that guy" types out there at SWA.

J1180
05-08-2018, 10:31 AM
What the previous posters said. Back in the day, it was a kiss of death to outwardly express interest in becoming a SWA CKAM. The selection system was basically a "tap on the shoulder" from Flt Ops to pilots they felt would be good candidates. These days, the company puts out job postings from time to time for new CKAM applicants (probably mostly to satisfy the People Dept folks), but the old rules still largely apply. Say what you will about the system, but the results speak for themselves: very few "you don't want to get a line/sim check from that guy" types out there at SWA.

Well if it ain't broke don't fix it!

7Thirty7s4Life
05-08-2018, 12:26 PM
Well if it ain't broke don't fix it!

100% agree!

SlipKid
05-08-2018, 01:50 PM
So this is a topic that rarely comes up on here. For those of you at SWA - If my ultimate goal is to become a check airmen at a major, should I wait to jump to a major until I become a check airmen at my regional? I know most of you will think this is a stupid question, but if SWA hires me with relatively low regional PIC and no check airmen letter will that hurt my chances?

Just out of curiosity, why would you want to be a Check Airman at SWA? It seems like an odd career goal, especially here.

FWIW, in my career, and not that it applies in this case, but I've noticed that the more a person wants to be a check airman, the less we need that person as a check airman. :eek:

BLAHBLAHBLAH
05-08-2018, 01:55 PM
Not much more pay and you lose control of your schedule. Plus required time in Dallas for sims. No thanks. You trying to get into the cheif pilot track?

Blueyawnder
05-08-2018, 06:41 PM
Thanks for all the replies. And thanks for not taking a huge negitive turn like some of these threads do. Iíve always had a passion to teach and mentor. I have years of extremely successful and enjoyable instructing experience as well as training gigs in non flying careers. It has nothing to do with seeking authority. Frankly, if the job paid the exact same and litterally the only authority you had was to do IOE for guys Iíd still want to do it. I love seeing student progress and the teaching process adds an interesting challenge to the job. At my airline the process is the opposite of southwest. Youíve got to be pretty aggressive. Thanks again for all of the replies.

shoelu
05-08-2018, 07:12 PM
Thanks for all the replies. And thanks for not taking a huge negitive turn like some of these threads do. Iíve always had a passion to teach and mentor. I have years of extremely successful and enjoyable instructing experience as well as training gigs in non flying careers. It has nothing to do with seeking authority. Frankly, if the job paid the exact same and litterally the only authority you had was to do IOE for guys Iíd still want to do it. I love seeing student progress and the teaching process adds an interesting challenge to the job. At my airline the process is the opposite of southwest. Youíve got to be pretty aggressive. Thanks again for all of the replies.

It sounds like you have the right attitude but at SWA like anywhere, there is no clear path to check airman. If I'm correct, I believe it takes a minimum of 2 years as a captain to even meet the minimum requirements. That means around 12-13 years on property before you would even be eligible! A lot can happen in more than a decade, you may have different goals by then.

Take a job when offered and continue your progression to the left seat. Wherever you land, you'll have the necessary insight to decipher the best path to get there if it is still a primary goal.

If you're at SWA the word on the street is a 1500+ hour sick bank will be a major benefit!

shoelu
05-08-2018, 07:42 PM
Thanks for all the replies. And thanks for not taking a huge negitive turn like some of these threads do. Iíve always had a passion to teach and mentor. I have years of extremely successful and enjoyable instructing experience as well as training gigs in non flying careers. It has nothing to do with seeking authority. Frankly, if the job paid the exact same and litterally the only authority you had was to do IOE for guys Iíd still want to do it. I love seeing student progress and the teaching process adds an interesting challenge to the job. At my airline the process is the opposite of southwest. Youíve got to be pretty aggressive. Thanks again for all of the replies.
One more quick thought. Teaching can be a joy and a fulfilling experience. However, when your livelihood is tied to a "clean" violation record, it can add increased risk to your work life which can add additional and unneeded stress to your work experience.

I was a check airman when I interviewed at SWA. After receiving a conditional job offer at SWA, I promptly wrote my resignation letter from the check airman ranks and returned to a regular line pilot position. I was concerned that I had a CJO with no accidents, incidents or violations and my best bet at keeping it that way was to return to regular line flying.

Teaching can sometime feel like a single pilot operation. I know I personally felt like I was hanging on to the tail during my initial operating experience. It is a taxing environment for the teacher and it invariably will open you up as PIC to additional risk to your certificate. Imagine a serious incident where you are PIC and are training a new hire. I'm not trying to say these professional aviators you are giving instruction to aren't fully capable pilots but the experience level at the company and in the specific type can present additional hurdles.

YMMV!

shaun3000
05-10-2018, 02:05 PM
I was a check airman at my last company. I didn't want to be one. There was a need and I was asked. Now I'm at SWA. My goal is to someday be in the left seat. I can do plenty of teaching and mentoring, there. If they ask me to be a CKA, maybe I'll consider. I wouldn't ever apply for it. That's just me.

ZapBrannigan
05-10-2018, 02:19 PM
. My goal is to someday be in the left seat. I can do plenty of teaching and mentoring, there.


Please donít. [emoji849]


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shaun3000
05-10-2018, 06:59 PM
There's a difference between telling someone what to do and trying to give helpful advice. And there's a good amount of observation required to be able to differentiate between someone who would benefit from help and someone who doesn't need it or wouldn't benefit. Going with the flow goes a long way in life, regardless of your place in it. :)

SlipKid
05-11-2018, 06:37 AM
Please donít. [emoji849]


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Amen!

Unless I am screwing something up, please refrain from the flying lessons.......:eek:

m3113n1a1
05-11-2018, 08:42 AM
Amen!

Unless I am screwing something up, please refrain from the flying lessons.......:eek:

You want flaps 5?

SlipKid
05-11-2018, 10:09 AM
You want flaps 5?

Your airplane. :D

Psycho18th
05-11-2018, 04:01 PM
As a newbie to SWA and 121, I really appreciate inputs from captains whoíve been at this game for a while. I think I can sort out the BS from the good nuggets. Even as a probie, I specifically ask for any feedback after the day is done as many captains seem worried about offending my pilot manhood if they have a suggestion for how to get better.

Seeking any way to improve via feedback from anyone should be a hallmark of a professional pilot. If youíre a former 121 captain, maybe itís all BS to you, but some folks seem pretty thin skinned or thick headed to think they canít learn anything along the way from someone whoís flown the same damn airplane to the same damn places for the last 20 f-ing years... it may not be strafing Taliban or flying cancelled checks, but that doesnít mean we canít learn a thing or two from a crusty old MF-er.

ROFF
05-11-2018, 04:27 PM
.. it may not be strafing Taliban or flying cancelled checks

Depending on where you worked, one was far more dangerous than the other!!

Love the comparison.

ZapBrannigan
05-11-2018, 04:32 PM
Flying checks was scary.

Csy Mon
05-11-2018, 04:58 PM
. , "it's the guys who seek out the check airman position who often times are the guys who shouldn't be check airman."


Sounds about right.
I never wanted to be one, but my boss bugged me about doing it.
Small cargo company with big airplanes:
(Tradewinds Airlines)
Finally gave in and took the training and the job.
All of a sudden I got respect and my co workers was very polite, laughed at my jokes and hung on to every word I spoke.
(Finally got some respect. ;) )

I lasted 16 months as a line check airman, then went back to be a line-swine.
Too much work: I refused to sign of a few guys, with pressure from the higher ups: When are you going to release this guy? We need to get him on the line, etc, etc.
I would not volunteer for the job, don’t need the stress, but interesting to have tried it.
Money was good however, like writing your own paycheck, always needed for this or that.

Wkdpssa
05-19-2018, 08:44 AM
When you upgrade and can only hold reserve guess who youíll be flying with...new FOs just off IOE. Instruction and mentoring is what youíll be doing. Having said that, EVERYONE Iíve flown with coming out of training have been great pilots. Itís getting to know the 737 Thatís the challenge. I was very thankful for the instruction and mentoring when I got here 11 yrs ago...

TerrainTerrain
05-20-2018, 09:55 AM
So let me get this straight. Someone that does NOT work at SWA wants to know how to be a check airman there? hahahaa pppzzzzzt. Move along please.

TCASTESTOK
05-22-2018, 02:52 PM
To answer your question, I'd say previous check airman experience will help your chances at future CKAM positions.

Now I must ask...why is this your ultimate goal? I flew with a check airman awhile ago who was super cool and very chill, and I asked how he got to that position. He had been recommended into the CKAM position by people he'd flown with, it wasn't anything he actively pursued. To quote him, "it's the guys who seek out the check airman position who often times are the guys who shouldn't be check airman."

Just keep it in mind...if you're a natural leader/mentor/instructor and those around you feel the same way, then check airman positions type will come to you.


What are the guys who seek out the Check airman position like? Do they have a huge ego and a respect my authority attitude?

e6bpilot
05-23-2018, 10:09 AM
What are the guys who seek out the Check airman position like? Do they have a huge ego and a respect my authority attitude?



Generally they have a goal in mind like chief pilot or management position. Otherwise, it is probably someone who feels the need to be in charge or in a supervisory position. These generally arenít the guys you want as check airmen.
Most of the CKA I have flown with are stellar pilots and are as humble as they are kind. They know they have a job to do and do it with the big picture in mind.
There are a few who just donít get it. They feel that they have to be a hard ass and enforce arbitrary rule violations no matter the circumstances in which they occur. These are the guys you hate flying with. I had one debrief me that I needed to take the checklist all the way out of the holder when I read it because it looked bad. I always made sure the checklist was visible when I pull it halfway out.
I just chuckled and said ok thanks.

Loon
05-25-2018, 01:28 PM
Please donít. [emoji849]


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Technique only:rolleyes:

TCASTESTOK
05-25-2018, 02:04 PM
Generally they have a goal in mind like chief pilot or management position. Otherwise, it is probably someone who feels the need to be in charge or in a supervisory position. These generally arenít the guys you want as check airmen.
Most of the CKA I have flown with are stellar pilots and are as humble as they are kind. They know they have a job to do and do it with the big picture in mind.
There are a few who just donít get it. They feel that they have to be a hard ass and enforce arbitrary rule violations no matter the circumstances in which they occur. These are the guys you hate flying with. I had one debrief me that I needed to take the checklist all the way out of the holder when I read it because it looked bad. I always made sure the checklist was visible when I pull it halfway out.
I just chuckled and said ok thanks.
Are there some CKAs who are so power hungry they spend every day not flying at the airport doing "random" line checks? Like can they list for the JS whenever they want or for a line check do they have to be listed on the OFP?

13534653
05-26-2018, 05:21 PM
You want flaps 5?



Just let him fly his approach. If he's unstable call a go around.

TCASTESTOK
05-26-2018, 08:19 PM
Just let him fly his approach. If he's unstable call a go around.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG7WwljU0Lo

RJSAviator76
05-27-2018, 07:38 AM
You want flaps 5?

Your airplane. :D

Amen to that!

Opakapaka
06-02-2018, 12:09 PM
Oh, and donít abuse sickleave or youíll never become one!!!
If someone tells me how to fly I just surrender the rest of the legs. Get paid the same...



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