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Quicker ticket to majors

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Quicker ticket to majors

Old 11-13-2005, 08:55 AM
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Default Quicker ticket to majors

First; I am new to this forum. I want to thank all of you who give advice, and keep a positive attitude. I am a member of another popular aviation forum, and the attitude is no negative about the industry over there, I cannot take it anymore.

Now for my question(s);

Young aspiring pilots, like myself, long to fly jets. Some call it 'shiny jet syndrome', or simply 'SJS'. With most of the regional carriers having a jet based fleet, that longing to fly jets can easily come true, and with not many hours. The less 'attractive' airlines to young aspiring pilots tend to be those that still operate a mostly or all prop based fleet, such as Colgan, and some others. Airlines like Colgan offer the quick upgrade, usually about one year, and seem to offer better job security than some of the other regionals, despite being less attractive to fly for.

Are these airlines like Colgan the quicker ticket to a job with a major? Let me use a scenario comparing two pilots, both with equal time, both being hired and starting on the same day, but with different airlines. Pilot A gets hired and starts with Colgan. Pilot B gets hired and starts with ASA.

After one year, both have flown the same number of total hours. Pilot A, with Colgan is upgrading to captain. Pilot B, with ASA still has three more years to sit as an FO. With his upgrade to Captain, pilot A now makes more than pilot B, despite having made less his first year as an FO.

Flash forward three years. Pilot A has now logged well over 1,000 PIC turbine 121 time. Pilot B has logged well over a thousand 1,000 SIC 121 time. Pilot A now has the minimums, or over the minimums, to apply to the majors. He sends out his resume to places like UPS, FedEx, AirTran, JetBlue, SouthWest, etc. He gets a bite on one or more, has an interview, and gets hired. He is now in class to start as an FO with a major. ... Meanwhile, pilot B is just now in class to upgrade to Captain with ASA.

Ultimately, in this scenario, altough both pilots started their career at the same time, pilot A is further ahead, and has obtained his dream to fly for a major. Pilot B now has atleast a few years left at a regional, before he can apply to the majors. Is this a 'realistic' look at the advantages of flying for airlines like Colgan, as compared to flying the jets at somewhere like ASA, or an 'idealistic' view?
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:06 PM
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Default And then it Ch 11

Make your choices, do the best you can, don't look back. Shoulda, woulda, coulda - language of losers! If you don't like your job .. leave it and get another!
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:13 PM
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Default Pilot A knows no one

Pilot A stays flying a prop to get his/her PIC time. After the time, he/she applies to the majors and hopes for the best. However, no phone call ever comes. He/she soon has to go to ASA to earn more money. So, pilot A is back to bottom of the list. The reason, pilot A had no friends to walk his/her stuff in. With the way things are right now, there are tons of people out there with 4,000 + jet PIC time. Along with the time, it seems you get the job if you know the right people. I would love to fly a 737 for Southwest, however, I also know that I could fly for a Regional the rest of my life, and thats ok.
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Old 11-13-2005, 02:38 PM
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I am not on with Colgan. Sorry if I gave that impression. I am not on with any regional yet. I'm still some ways away from sending out the applications, but hopefully not too far off. I am simply trying to get an idea of what the best route may be to take, if any, when that time comes. Sure I would love to fly a CRJ or ERJ, but I would also love to fly a 1900 or Saab, and especially if the latter means a quicker move to the majors.

I am just trying to get an idea of what route others have followed and get a perspective from both. Colgan, like all airlines, has it's negatives, but overall it seems to be producing many pilots who are moving on to the majors, while I hear of people sitting as an FO for ASA, Expressjet, and others for 4 years before ever upgrading.

Also, I realize that things are VERY competitive at the major level right now, and simply having the minimums doesn't mean you will get an interview. But, in a four year career, assuming an upgrade at Colgan after one year, vs. sitting as an FO for those four years at another regional, isn't the Colgan pilot closer to that major job than the other regional pilot, whether he gets a call from the majors immediately or not? Also, wouldn't a captain at Colgan make equivalent to or more than a three or four year FO at most other regionals? I don't see how they would need, or want to move on to another regional for more money, as it seems like they would be making as much or more?
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Old 11-13-2005, 05:27 PM
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Default not going anywhere ???


You are over-simplifying the scenario. There are many factors to consider before taking a job with any airline. While its great to look forward to the "Dream Job" that you will want to retire at you must also think about QOL until you get there. A 12 month upgrade can quickly turn into a 5 yr upgrade/displacement/furlough at any airline these days. Make your choices with the worst case scenario in mind and won't be disappointed later on.

Good luck,

Old 11-13-2005, 06:16 PM
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If money is a concern -- depending on the company Jet FO's usually make more than 1900 Captain.

As far as which type company to go with-- If you are in your early twenties, several years at one of the smaller companies maybe fine. Late twenties or beyond one of the better jet regionals would probably be best. The larger regionals are becoming career jobs for many now. Like it or not. I think the worst case scenario would end up being at a place like Lakes etc. for 5, 10, 15 plus years.

Not everyone is going to wind up flying at one of the Legacy carriers. You can look at the furlough numbers and the current/proposed outsourcing of mainline flying to the regional level to see that the demand for pilots will not be that strong. When and if places like UA, AA, & Delta ever start hiring again it will probably be more important to have strong internal recommendations than 1000 versus 2000 PIC turbine. Look at all of the better places that are hiring now, Fed Ex, UPS, Alaska, Jet Blue, SouthWest, 1000 PIC doesn't really mean anything.
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Old 11-13-2005, 07:00 PM
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You have it right in your first post. Assuming you have a choice, it is wiser to go to the place that is the quickest path to 1000 hours PIC.

I have friends furloughed from USAirways after 14 years who are not qualified to apply to SWA, JBLU, etc because they don't have 1000 hours PIC. Well, that was the case when they were furloughed, most that needed that time got it by taking a J4J position. Anyway, the point is that sitting in the right seat of a CRJ/ERJ for years on end is a waste of time if your goal is to get on with a major. Don't listen to the defeatist attitude that Regionals are career stopping points nowadays. Some can be okay, but if your goal is to go beyond that it is better to get that 1000 hours PIC as quick as possible.

The other important thing to do is network, network, network.

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Old 11-15-2005, 12:04 AM
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Looking through some of your previous post it seems you may have worked at Westair, a few other places then AA. After being furloughed you moved overseas to Emirates and are now flying Captain on the 777 (congrats). I currrently work with some guys that are also furloughed from AA, and they believe that if staffing numbers stay the same, that everyone should be recalled by 2010 based on retirements and medical early outs. Would you leave your current postion to come back to AA?

I'll agree with something else you mentioned-- the 1000 PIC turbine. I've flown with several furloughed TWA/AA and United guys that don't have the 1000 hours and wish they did. I woudn't ever leave a position where you are building PIC turbine until you reach that 1000 hours.
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Old 11-15-2005, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Utah

I currrently work with some guys that are also furloughed from AA, and they believe that if staffing numbers stay the same, that everyone should be recalled by 2010 based on retirements and medical early outs. Would you leave your current postion to come back to AA?
I know some people who believe there will be another hiring boom within the next 5-10 years, some believe even sooner. I tend to agree. Even though
the industry is seeing some bad times, my view is that it has seen bad times before. Each time it has 'boomed' again. This is part of the reason for my question about building turbine PIC, and my scenario of the better route to building it sooner.
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