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View Full Version : How to become a chief pilot


flyingfalcon
01-01-2020, 08:01 PM
Hey, I'm currently still in the process of getting my 1,500 hours to get to the airlines but I've always wondered what a chief pilot at legacy airlines do on a day to day basis and how there schedule / pay / how much they actually fly compares to regular line pilots. And what's required / preferred to become a chief pilot? I'm getting my B.S. in Aviation online and planning to get my masters in Marketing or Finance. I never got my CFI cause I got a job right after getting comm with 250 hours, would this be something that's preferred / required that I should look into getting? Thanks in advance for any responses / advice.


FLT000
01-01-2020, 08:23 PM
This ought to be good.

TheRaven
01-02-2020, 08:58 AM
You sound like you’re pretty far ahead of the curve. You could skip being a line pilot altogether and jump right into the flight office....


Bahamasflyer
01-02-2020, 09:00 AM
Not enough money in the world for me to want to take on that roll! LCA or sim instructor, sure, but it would eat me alive as a CP to have to take heat from the pilot group and mgmt simultaneously.

2StgTurbine
01-02-2020, 10:06 AM
Do you like reading notes from doctors stating, "Patient has a cold" for hours everyday?

Excargodog
01-02-2020, 10:16 AM
Were your parents married?

To each other I mean...

:rolleyes:

rickair7777
01-02-2020, 02:47 PM
Waaaay too early to be thinking about that.

Keep in mind that few people want to be chiefs at major airlines and even fewer get the opportunity.

They are almost always Captains, but there are exceptions for assistant chiefs.

Their resumes *usually* have extensive training and management experience.

Military officers usually come with that background.

Civilians *typically* have been instructors at multiple airlines. To get to be CP at a major you WILL need management experience, either military, at a regional, or at the legacy. You're going to need to build your resume along the way to even have a shot at that.

Get an MBA. At this point you want to be building instructor experience to make you more competitive for the training dept at the regional. Volunteer for training and any management-related jobs.

I don't see any of that happening without CFI experience, and ideally leadership experience at the flight school.

Once you have a credible resume, it's all about politics. Such as being in a key union position and "cooperating" with the company.

But all told it's a very long shot, something to do if it becomes available but probably not something you want to chase to hard. Too likely to be disappointed.

FLT000
01-02-2020, 03:27 PM
The best ones get asked.


The worst ones force their way, qualifications and ability be damned.

2StgTurbine
01-02-2020, 03:32 PM
Also, the career goals of most chief pilots isn't to be chief pilots. Having Chief Pilot on their resume helps them get their real dream job. That doesn't mean they aren't good CPs, but few really want to spend the rest of their career verifying sick calls, telling new hires where the parking lot is, and dealing with the 1% of the seniority list that produces 95% of the problems.

flyingfalcon
01-02-2020, 04:26 PM
Gotcha, thanks for all the replies it sounds like its not that great of a position for the qualifications required. I know its early to be thinking about the majors let alone a chief pilot but I can't help myself I was looking at job postings every day when I was a private pilot... plus the MBA and instructor stuff would be stuff to get done now if I still seriously wanted to pursue it, but it seems its not all that. Thanks again.

galaxy flyer
01-03-2020, 06:01 AM
Gotcha, thanks for all the replies it sounds like its not that great of a position for the qualifications required. I know its early to be thinking about the majors let alone a chief pilot but I can't help myself I was looking at job postings every day when I was a private pilot... plus the MBA and instructor stuff would be stuff to get done now if I still seriously wanted to pursue it, but it seems its not all that. Thanks again.

Admittedly, I had the advantages of being military which provided lots of opportunities for education in leadership and management (two different skills). I’d say prepare yourself, think about leaders or mentors you know, what’s good or bad in them.

I found being first an AF ops officer, staff work and finally a commander an awesome experience. I sent people to UPT that are now DL captains or wing commanders, very proud of that. Later, I was asked to be a chief pilot at a corporate flight department, by both the VP and my colleagues.

As the late Len Morgan said, being a good line pilot and being a good chief pilot have few overlaps, so chief pilots tend to be great or awful.