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Old 05-16-2005, 12:06 PM   #1  
RockBass14
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Default Upgrade Times

As I approach Regional airline minimums (Mesaba, Pinnacle etc) I'm continuously told of the importance of upgrade time. I'm told Chaqutauqua has a good upgrade time (2 years or so) and same with express jet. I'm told airlines such as Mesaba and Horizon have bad ones (over 5 years). I'm curious to know if this is cyclical. Perhaps Chautaqua will slow down on the upgrades, and since there hasnt been to many at airlines like mesaba it will start picking up soon. Is this generally how it works. It would make sense, that you dont want to be stuck as an FO for 7 years, you want to get to CAPT asap to get your PIC time if youre looking into moving on in aviation which i am. Anyone have a take on this? Thanks!

Patrick
 
Old 05-16-2005, 12:40 PM   #2  
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I personally wouldn't worry about upgrade times...especially in today's environment.....the upgrade times will change quickly depending on growth, attrition and equipment.....just pick the airline that lives where you want to live, and that you would feel comfortable staying at for a while should the industry not turn around.....picking a good company has become more important than picking a company that will let you get to your ultimate career goals quickly.....
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:12 PM   #3  
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I have to disagree with the above post.

Getting PIC time is so important . Go fly for even a Great Lakes if it means 2-5 year faster upgrade times.
 
Old 05-16-2005, 06:47 PM   #4  
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Mesaba's upgrade WAS 5 years until the announcement of the CRJs. It has been steadily been falling to under 5 years (I think 4 and a half years as of the last award) and WILL continue to fall. How much? All depends how many CRJs we get. We're getting 15 confirmed and 20 on option, which is most likely to be excercised at a later date. As long as there are new airplanes showing up on property, upgrade times will continue to go more and more junior.

But when a company stops receiving new aircraft (i.e. Pinnacle this Fall), your upgrade and movement up the seniority list is based solely off attrition and since only a few "big airlines" are hiring (Continental, FedEx, AirTran?, SWA) attrition will be small, not like the good ol days of the mid to late 90s. upgrade times will go from 1 to maybe 3 or 4 fours.

Sure PIC is great, but make sure you have a seat at the right airline when the music stops. This industry has proved to be one of the most predictable and unpredictable. Who woulda thought legacies like Pan Am would have vanished? TWA? Life may always be greener on the other side, but if your airline liquidates because of mismanagement (which is out of your control), you're SOL. good luck!

Last edited by CRM1337; 05-16-2005 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 05-16-2005, 07:18 PM   #5  
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I completely agree. To often i'm told "screw that airline, do you want to be an FO for 7 years?" And then i'm told "Screw Great Lakes, they work without a contract" What one pilot says about Express Jet, is the same thing the express jet pilot says about chaqutaqua, all seems very subjective. So many options and so many potential outcomes. Thanks for the input!

J
 
Old 05-18-2005, 10:06 AM   #6  
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Pat,

If your career goal is to get to flying large equipment in short time, then Commutair, Great Lakes and Colgan are viable options. You'll certainly get your turbine PIC faster then at MOST regionals. That MAY enable you to speed up you ascent to larger equipment.

However, if corporate culture, good maintenance, good equpiment with decent schedules, pay and quality of life are important then you may think twice about the above companies.

I'm in my late 20s. I value those things stated above more than turbine PIC. I realize I have several more years until I see the left seat. So what. I like where I'm at. By the time I have enough turbine PIC to leave, I may not want to. Either way, I'll be in my early 30s with more than 25 yrs of flying in front of me, and a world of choices. I'm just trying to enjoy my ride.

Do your homework and figure out what you want. Best wishes in your searches.
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:12 PM   #7  
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Smile Live for the moment...

Quote:
Originally Posted by launchpad
I personally wouldn't worry about upgrade times...especially in today's environment.....the upgrade times will change quickly depending on growth, attrition and equipment.....just pick the airline that lives where you want to live, and that you would feel comfortable staying at for a while should the industry not turn around.....picking a good company has become more important than picking a company that will let you get to your ultimate career goals quickly.....
Could'nt agree more... I work for Skywest and love the job. It took me 4 years to upgrade, but the last class guys with 13 months in the company were awarded classes. PIC is important for one day the industry will turn around and you may want to go somewhere else, but it's important not to lose sight of what you are doing, providing a service to the public, and if you enjoy what you do, you'll do that so much better and without being bitter, which unfortunetly so many pilots do.
We all expect to make good money and have good schedules as pilots, but ultimately we fly because we love planes, so, pick the airline you want to fly for, that's close to your home and enjoy.
Good luck,
Fabio.
 
Old 06-11-2005, 06:55 PM   #8  
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At ExpressJet upgrade is around 4-41/2 years now, but is going down. If you come here expect at least 3 years or longer to upgrade.
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Old 06-13-2005, 05:44 AM   #9  
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Colgan is a viable option for you. The upgrade times have fluctuated over the past 3 years from 2 years down to 12 months. there are some guys in training for upgrade right now that have not had a yearly FO PC. However the boom is over for now. I predict the upgrade will be more like 18 months. A factor driving this in my opinion is the fact that 1 or 2 out of a class about 6 or 8 has been sent home somtimes prior to the checkride. The fact is that low time guys need to be sharp if they plan to upgrade fast. It has forced Colgan to hire "Street Captains" and there is an availibility of SAAB typed folks out there with the likes of Chicago Express and Eagle.

Colgan is a great place and if Quality of life is important to you I reccomend it. However, that is if you live at your base. If you commute it could seem like a bad quality of life.

P
 
Old 06-16-2005, 05:47 AM   #10  
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Default Horizon Upgrade Times

Horizon is very slow to upgrade. Currently it takes about 7 years to reach the left seat. After upgrade they are slow to get off reserve, about 1 to three years. By the time you have 1000 hours of turbine PIC time you are old and don't care anymore. Horizon is a career killer. I have seen it many times.
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