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Old 01-31-2017, 04:04 PM   #1  
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Default Staff guy to regionals

Nearly five years into a staff tour, talking to guys in the industry and weighing my options I have decided to retire before my 0-6 board (not likely to make 0-6 in 2019) and go with the regionals. Could go back and fly military for a 2-3 yr tour but those wiser than me advise me to jump soonest. Don't have my ATP and regionals seem great for my situation not only to get current but to build some credibility prior to applying to the majors. Here is where I could use your insight. My available date is likely Nov 17 and wondering when I should start applying to the regionals. I believe there is a 6 month window where the interview remains valid. I feel real rusty when it comes to book knowledge and don't want to be put in a situation where they ask for a interview and need to cram in some prep time. Or is my availability something the airlines will focus on and will target an interview around 6 months prior to availability. My gut tells me to apply around the May time period and use the next few months to study up. Thank you for the feedback.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:00 PM   #2  
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It's a two-step process:

Step 1: Place fingers of right hand on left wrist (or vice-versa)

Step 2: Do you detect a pulse?

If the answer to Step 2 is "Yes," you will be hired by a Regional. You don't need to worry about "offending" them by applying too early--it's a seller's market right now. Obviously you'll want to put your best foot forward, but I doubt any "rust" you may have will make a military pilot unattractive to the regionals. Apply early & often, that will ensure you can set a class date for a smooth transition (even while on terminal leave). That will be HUGE from a stress perspective. Applying in May for the Fall is plenty of time--my phone rang 48 hours after pressing "send" on AirlineApps (not exaggerating) from not one but two regional carriers.

As a bonus, if you get that part of the process out of the way, you can time your apps to your "target" airline accordingly. I think you've got your priorities straight, I know a LOT of guys (myself included) who went Regional/LCC route and got scooped up by a Legacy sooner than the guys who were waiting for their "destination" airline to call. Of course, I also know guys who were sitting in class at Delta/United/FedEx while on terminal leave, so, luck & timing play enormous roles, too. The one sure thing: you won't get hired if you don't apply.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:54 PM   #3  
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Would you sleep better between now and your retirement date knowing you had a class waiting? I'd apply ASAP. You will get hired...a dash of humility and interest plus your background will make you an easy fit.

Lots of other guys have made the same move. Haven't met any that regretted it.
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:45 PM   #4  
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When I was sending out applications to regionals two years ago as a non-current O-5, I received interview invite replies anywhere between 6 hours and 2 weeks after pushing transmit.

Interviews were scheduled anywhere between 5 days and 1 month later.

Following the interviews, class dates were offered between "can you start Monday?" and 6 weeks later.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:09 AM   #5  
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Jughead135 speaks the truth. A friend of mine was hired 8 months prior to getting out by a Major. I'm almost on terminal, but no offers yet (haven't applied to the regionals, and I applied late to the Majors...my fault trying to decide).

But yeah..it'd be nice to have offers early so you can plan ahead.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:16 AM   #6  
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They say free advice is worth the price you pay for it, and since I have no personal experience, take it fwiw.

At least as some point in the last few years, I've heard some regionals are asking you to sign an employment contract, which would prevent you from quitting for your target major. Just make sure that's not part of the deal to get you a free ATP.

Also, I've heard there is huge variance in QOL at different regionals, so ask around too. And you won't be the last 20 year non-recent/current mil guy to have to do a quick pit-stop at a regional to get 100 hours of recency to be competitive at a Major. I've got an O-6 buddy in exactly your shoes right now...

Anyone else have more recent experience?
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Old 02-01-2017, 07:03 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FangsF15 View Post
At least as some point in the last few years, I've heard some regionals are asking you to sign an employment contract, which would prevent you from quitting for your target major. Just make sure that's not part of the deal to get you a free ATP.
Those are usually about 12-18 months, which is about how long a non-current or helo guy will need to wait anyway. I certainly wouldn't sign one longer than 18 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FangsF15 View Post
Also, I've heard there is huge variance in QOL at different regionals, so ask around too.
Best QOL are probably (in alphabetical order): Air Wisconsin, Horizon, Skywest, Expressjet.

You also need to consider domicile location and upgrade time. You will probably never upgrade at expressjet, and at horizon it could take many years.

You can take a chance on a bottom-feeder regional with fast upgrade and convenient domiciles, just hope to Jesus you don't get stuck there.

Quote:
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And you won't be the last 20 year non-recent/current mil guy to have to do a quick pit-stop at a regional to get 100 hours of recency to be competitive at a Major. I've got an O-6 buddy in exactly your shoes right now...
Lot's of that going on right now. I see it in my reserve unit, and at my regional. SKW will hire military (no contract) just in the hopes that a few of them stick around (a few do, and often wind up in leadership positions).
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:52 PM   #8  
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No need to worry about upgrades for 90% of the guys going to the regionals. They don't need PIC, and they aren't there for the money. Goal is to be at major in less than 24 months anyway.
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Old 02-01-2017, 07:48 PM   #9  
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If using a Regional to get recurrent, HIGHLY recommend not commuting, assuming you aren't moving to the sticks. Driving to domicile will partially make up for crappy pay.
Speaking of pay, several regionals are offering hiring bonuses. But realize that's just to get folks in the door. Then it's back to 36-40/hr as an FO.
Lastly, use your time at your regional to not just get re-current, but learn the ins and outs of 121 world, and actually learn from some younger captains who have some great experience flying in all kinds of weather.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:16 AM   #10  
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If using a Regional to get recurrent, HIGHLY recommend not commuting, assuming you aren't moving to the sticks. Driving to domicile will partially make up for crappy pay.
Speaking of pay, several regionals are offering hiring bonuses. But realize that's just to get folks in the door. Then it's back to 36-40/hr as an FO.
Lastly, use your time at your regional to not just get re-current, but learn the ins and outs of 121 world, and actually learn from some younger captains who have some great experience flying in all kinds of weather.
I'll make the opposite recommendation; if you're at a regional to get recurrent, it is going to be a short stay, so don't uproot mom-n-the-kids for what is ultimately a "professional deployment". A deployment you get to come home every couple of days while you're on.

Instead, as you separate, my recommendation is to settle the family where you (they) want to live long term, and choose a regional with the easiest commute from there.

The objective in leaving the .mil is to ease the pain on you and your family. In my experience, part of that pain was the constant moving, the inability for the family to make friends and nest where you were living. Flying for a regional, for most of us reading this thread in the military sub-forum, is a short-term situation, and we personally are going to have to embrace the suck...but our families don't have to embrace that same suck unless we choose to drag them with us.

I found that it made the transition much easier with the family comfortably bedded down and learning how to be civilians again where they wanted to be, making neighborhood friends they didn't know they were going to move away from in 3 years, and unpacking boxes that didn't have to be retained for the next upcoming move. You're going to be away from home 15-ish nights per month on layovers anyhow, so might as well ensure the people who are going to be at home all 30 nights per month are comfortable and happy.

Yes, commuting can suck, but it is a manageable inconvenience. For most of us, any of the regionals will fill the requirement to get recurrent and a trip through a 121 training cycle to make our resumes more shiny. There is plenty of variation in junior domiciles at the various regionals -- certainly enough to choose one that has a 1-leg, relatively easy commute from just about any part of the country you want to live (within reason, of course). So, pick a regional to work at which will make your lifestyle at that chosen location the most liveable.

Later on down the road, with a career job at a career airline, it may be worth moving, but in my opinion moving your family for a short stint at a regional is like getting a tattoo of your high school girlfriend's name. Probably seems like a good idea at the time, but you'll look back with some perspective very shortly and see that it probably wasn't a great choice.
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