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Old 11-02-2018, 05:36 AM   #1  
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Default Latest on Tradewind Aviation

Anyone have an update for what life is like at Tradewind Aviation? Iíve read some good things and then not so good here on the forums. Have things improved there over the last couple of years? Iím interested in going in as a First Officer. Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:05 AM   #2  
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It's a great place.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:54 AM   #3  
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Default Tradewind Nov 2018

Current FO based at HPN (so some of this may not be as accurate for TX/SJU, dera is more qualified to discuss those)

Overall, excellent company. The schedule and benefits are very good. Iíve flown with some good captains and some really excellent captains, and many in between. The PC-12 is a total blast, it feels at home going into BOS and 0B8. We typically know our schedule 1-2 months in advance. There is no preferential bidding system. 4 on, 3 off typical and the off days are hard. If youíre asked to work a hard day off you can say no way Jose and it absolutely doesnít hurt you at all. If you do say yes you get hard day pay, which is very good ($200 and $600 for FO and CA respectively, this is bumped to $300 and $800 during the busy season). You get 18 days paid vacation in your first year and 10 additional sick days per year which are no questions asked use-it-or-lose-it. Just call in, say ĎIím unfit for flightí and youíre off for the day. We have ZED standby fares and CASS on some regionals and cargo carriers, the biggest names being Hawaiian and SkyWest.

Iíve heard a lot of great things about the Caribbean flying, and for the most part itís looked like everyone got what they wanted in terms of time in Puerto Rico (Iíve been NE based since arriving on property in June). In the NE itís a healthy mix of shuttle flying (ACK and MVY to HPN and TEB) and charter trips during the summer. The shuttle season ends in Oct and after that itís almost exclusively charter trips and the NG flying goes up a bit too. Thereís about 5 NGs in the fleet up here and those are very cool. You are home the majority of the time (since I started flying on July 1 I have spent 10 nights in a hotel) IF youíre HPN/SJU/TX based. OXC based pilots appear to have a lot more nights in a hotel and spend a large chunk of their duty days driving from OXC to HPN (thatís a pro or a con depending on your outlook). The pay isnít bad at all for what the job is as an FO, and the CA pay is absolutely competitive with the regionals. All full time pilots are salaried. CAs here will break six figures base salary at year 4, with many CAs breaking 6 at Year 2 with 6 days of overtime and per diem. You get $3.21 per duty hour per diem and an additional $15 for domestic overnights and $30 for international overnights totaling ~$5,000 a year. With A062 coming out this month there will be zero doubts about the SIC time, all of it will be loggable and legal including empty 91 legs. We will be one of a couple companies pioneering A062.

There are some cons. Itís a lot of hard work, and most of that comes from doing things you wonít have to in other (CFI/121) jobs. Pilots are responsible for stocking the coolers and getting the coffee and cleaning the cabin between legs. The days can be very long, and rarely run late (flying after 10 PM is rare) but often start early (especially in the summer). 3:30 AM shows on Monday mornings happen every week during shuttle season but those days typically have you home by noon if you have to work it. The longest days of flying are 4 round trips to the islands, and hitting a 14 hour duty day does happen. Standby @ Home days arenít bad and I usually welcome them. Policy is you can call to request relief at noon on those days, Iíve only had that denied one time, and Iíve never been called out on a Standby @ Home day. Standby @ FBO exists but is exceptionally rare (Iíve had only one and it was a mistake to begin with). Dispatch is essentially flight scheduling, they do not do weather or W&B or things like that. Many PICs have become frustrated with dispatch for difficult / impossible requests or for neglect, but the management pilots have the line guysí backs and will stand up for them. Our CPs are excellent guys, zero complaints about them.

The BIGGEST CON by far is the training contract. Itís a new one, instituted this summer, and itís in the same vein as Cape Airís. It begins on day 1 as an SIC and doesnít expire until after 1 year as a PIC. If you arenít in upgrade class within 90 days of having 135.243 you are relieved of the commitment. Contract is for $17,500. Itís not really pro-rated, you owe 100% for the first 9 months, then 75% for the last three months. I was hired before it was released and it was definitely an unpleasant surprise when I arrived in ground school.

All in all, I like this company and the flying. I love the captains and the airplane. I like the schedule and benefits. Iím excited to upgrade. If youíre interested apply.
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:49 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxMar View Post
Current FO based at HPN (so some of this may not be as accurate for TX/SJU, dera is more qualified to discuss those)

Overall, excellent company. The schedule and benefits are very good. Iíve flown with some good captains and some really excellent captains, and many in between. The PC-12 is a total blast, it feels at home going into BOS and 0B8. We typically know our schedule 1-2 months in advance. There is no preferential bidding system. 4 on, 3 off typical and the off days are hard. If youíre asked to work a hard day off you can say no way Jose and it absolutely doesnít hurt you at all. If you do say yes you get hard day pay, which is very good ($200 and $600 for FO and CA respectively, this is bumped to $300 and $800 during the busy season). You get 18 days paid vacation in your first year and 10 additional sick days per year which are no questions asked use-it-or-lose-it. Just call in, say ĎIím unfit for flightí and youíre off for the day. We have ZED standby fares and CASS on some regionals and cargo carriers, the biggest names being Hawaiian and SkyWest.

Iíve heard a lot of great things about the Caribbean flying, and for the most part itís looked like everyone got what they wanted in terms of time in Puerto Rico (Iíve been NE based since arriving on property in June). In the NE itís a healthy mix of shuttle flying (ACK and MVY to HPN and TEB) and charter trips during the summer. The shuttle season ends in Oct and after that itís almost exclusively charter trips and the NG flying goes up a bit too. Thereís about 5 NGs in the fleet up here and those are very cool. You are home the majority of the time (since I started flying on July 1 I have spent 10 nights in a hotel) IF youíre HPN/SJU/TX based. OXC based pilots appear to have a lot more nights in a hotel and spend a large chunk of their duty days driving from OXC to HPN (thatís a pro or a con depending on your outlook). The pay isnít bad at all for what the job is as an FO, and the CA pay is absolutely competitive with the regionals. All full time pilots are salaried. CAs here will break six figures base salary at year 4, with many CAs breaking 6 at Year 2 with 6 days of overtime and per diem. You get $3.21 per duty hour per diem and an additional $15 for domestic overnights and $30 for international overnights totaling ~$5,000 a year. With A062 coming out this month there will be zero doubts about the SIC time, all of it will be loggable and legal including empty 91 legs. We will be one of a couple companies pioneering A062.

There are some cons. Itís a lot of hard work, and most of that comes from doing things you wonít have to in other (CFI/121) jobs. Pilots are responsible for stocking the coolers and getting the coffee and cleaning the cabin between legs. The days can be very long, and rarely run late (flying after 10 PM is rare) but often start early (especially in the summer). 3:30 AM shows on Monday mornings happen every week during shuttle season but those days typically have you home by noon if you have to work it. The longest days of flying are 4 round trips to the islands, and hitting a 14 hour duty day does happen. Standby @ Home days arenít bad and I usually welcome them. Policy is you can call to request relief at noon on those days, Iíve only had that denied one time, and Iíve never been called out on a Standby @ Home day. Standby @ FBO exists but is exceptionally rare (Iíve had only one and it was a mistake to begin with). Dispatch is essentially flight scheduling, they do not do weather or W&B or things like that. Many PICs have become frustrated with dispatch for difficult / impossible requests or for neglect, but the management pilots have the line guysí backs and will stand up for them. Our CPs are excellent guys, zero complaints about them.

The BIGGEST CON by far is the training contract. Itís a new one, instituted this summer, and itís in the same vein as Cape Airís. It begins on day 1 as an SIC and doesnít expire until after 1 year as a PIC. If you arenít in upgrade class within 90 days of having 135.243 you are relieved of the commitment. Contract is for $17,500. Itís not really pro-rated, you owe 100% for the first 9 months, then 75% for the last three months. I was hired before it was released and it was definitely an unpleasant surprise when I arrived in ground school.

All in all, I like this company and the flying. I love the captains and the airplane. I like the schedule and benefits. Iím excited to upgrade. If youíre interested apply.
Great write up, thank you. What are competitive minimums? The website shows 900TT, but are they more lenient if you already live close to a NE base?
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:39 PM   #5  
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Great write up, thank you. What are competitive minimums? The website shows 900TT, but are they more lenient if you already live close to a NE base?
I have heard rumors we're considering as low as 600 at the moment. We are short on SICs, we have lots of PICs flying with PICs.
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:12 PM   #6  
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I have heard rumors we're considering as low as 600 at the moment. We are short on SICs, we have lots of PICs flying with PICs.
Great write up about the company! I appreciate all of the info. Out of curiousity, Iíve been looking at rent up by HPN. It seems like a very high cost of living area. Is it doable on the First Officer salary?
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:15 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyhigh728 View Post
Great write up about the company! I appreciate all of the info. Out of curiousity, Iíve been looking at rent up by HPN. It seems like a very high cost of living area. Is it doable on the First Officer salary?
I live in a pretty high rent apartment in a fine area and the only possible way I can afford to live where I do is my lovely girlfriend splits the rent with me. I still pay $1000 a month and with my other bills and savings deposits I'm essentially living paycheck to paycheck.

IMO, you're going to want a roommate as an FO. CAs can do okay on their own, but as an FO you'll be happier with a roommate.
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:21 PM   #8  
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I live in a pretty high rent apartment in a fine area and the only possible way I can afford to live where I do is my lovely girlfriend splits the rent with me. I still pay $1000 a month and with my other bills and savings deposits I'm essentially living paycheck to paycheck.

IMO, you're going to want a roommate as an FO. CAs can do okay on their own, but as an FO you'll be happier with a roommate.
Okay thanks, thatís what I figured. It definitely isnít cheap up there.
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Old 11-03-2018, 07:17 PM   #9  
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So the contract is really for 1 year as PIC? What if you donít upgrade within 90 hours of your mins.... do you have a choice to not upgrade or are you going to be stuck in the contract regardless when you get hired as SIC?
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:36 PM   #10  
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Originally Posted by CFI41500 View Post
So the contract is really for 1 year as PIC? What if you donít upgrade within 90 hours of your mins.... do you have a choice to not upgrade or are you going to be stuck in the contract regardless when you get hired as SIC?
For people who chose not to upgrade (and those who were chosen not to...), the contract is null and void. There were people who were happy to fly as an SIC until 1500, no harm no foul to them.
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