Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

Welcome to Airline Pilot Forums - Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. Join our community today and start interacting with existing members. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.


User Tag List

Post Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-15-2009, 12:02 PM   #1  
Line Holder
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Sep 2007
Posts: 85
Default Article-Smaller airlines' pilots have less ex

Some smaller airlines' pilots have less experience

February 13, 2009 - 7:40pm

By DAVID KOENIG
AP Airlines Writer
DALLAS (AP) - Pilots and co-pilots for smaller, feeder airlines such as Colgan Air generally earn lower salaries and start with less experience than their counterparts at the bigger mainline carriers.
The captain of Colgan Air Flight 3407 had 3 1/2 years of experience and nearly 3,400 flight hours at the regional airline; his co-pilot had been on the job barely a year.
By contrast, the average pilot at American Airlines has been there 18 years, according to FltOps.com, a financial-planning company for pilots.
Chesley Sullenberger, who guided his crippled US Airways jet to a safe landing on the Hudson River last month, has spent 28 years and logged nearly 20,000 flight hours at his airline.
It's unclear what role, if any, the Colgan crew's experience level played in Thursday night's crash near Buffalo, N.Y., which killed all 49 people on board and one on the ground. The cause of the crash had not been determined by Friday evening, although speculation centered on ice building up on the plane's wings.
But what is clear, experts say, is that flying for regional airlines can be a grueling existence and a sacrifice that many pilots make in hopes of moving up to a major airline where the pay and hours are better.
Beginning pay for a co-captain on a regional airline can be as low as $18,000 a year, according to Louis Smith, president of FltOps.com.
"You won't make a livable income until you get in the left (captain's) seat," Smith said. "Pilots accept this as part of the game, and the companies do it because they can."
Captains on regional airlines may earn far less than the passengers they ferry around the country every day, linking major airline hubs with smaller cities.
According to IAG, an airline industry research firm, Colgan captains make about $58,000 per year and first officers or co-pilots about $27,000.
Starting pay, however, can be much lower. Colgan advertised in late 2007 for a captain's job that paid $40 per flight hour for a guaranteed 75 hours a month _ or about $36,000 a year.
The average pilot at American Airlines makes more than $138,000 a year, according to American.
At regional carriers, "The pay is not as high, the planes are smaller, and they typically have some younger pilots who have less experience when they're hired," said Kit Darby, a former United Airlines captain.
Because they operate shorter flights, regional pilots work more days to meet their limit of about 83 flying hours per month. Darby, who runs AIR Inc., a career-advice service for pilots, said many are away from home 16 or 17 days per month.
Pilots at regionals are often hired with 2,000 hours of flight experience _ much less when pilots are in demand _ compared with 5,000 to 6,000 hours for new hires at the majors, experts said.
The Colgan job listing from 2007 called for captain's applicants to have 3,000 hours, including at least 1,000 in a multiengine plane _ meaning the airline was looking for an experienced pilot, not a hobbyist or recent graduate who would probably lack the experience on multiengine aircraft.
On its Web site Friday, Colgan said it was hiring first officers or co-pilots with 1,000 hours of flying time. But in a listing last month for a co-pilot, Colgan asked for as little as 600 hours of flight time.
Horizon Air, the regional affiliate of Alaska Airlines, requires 750 hours for new co-pilots; American Eagle, the regional sister to American Airlines, requires just 500 hours.
The captain of Flight 3407, Marvin Renslow, joined Colgan Air in September 2005, and co-pilot Rebecca Shaw had flown for Colgan just over a year. A third pilot who was off-duty but aboard the plane was hired by Colgan in September 2005.
Despite repeated requests, Pinnacle Airlines of Memphis, Tenn., the parent of Colgan Air, did not say how much experience the captain and co-pilot had before they joined Colgan, or where they were trained.
While they may begin with less experience than pilots at the major airlines, pilots for regional airlines become highly skilled by performing many takeoffs and landings in their short-hop flying and by dealing with all kinds of weather _ sometimes in the same day _ said Jack Jarvis, a former Piedmont Airlines captain.
"These guys are very experienced pilots and used to those conditions," said Jarvis, now the DC-9 chief pilot for cargo airline ABX Air Inc. "They've seen a lot of this stuff."
Years ago, most airline pilots came from the military. Now many are trained at specialized schools such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daniel Webster College and the University of North Dakota, and there are flight schools that groom people for the cockpit in six months.
Flight 3407 was a Dash 8 Q400 turboprop made by Bombardier and put into service by Colgan last April. Bombardier spokesman John Arnone said the price, which was not disclosed, almost certainly included training Colgan's pilots on a simulator.
The smaller regional airlines used to be a stepping stone to better-paying jobs at the major airlines such as Delta, American and United. But since the terror attacks of 2001, that career path has been closed as the big airlines furloughed thousands of pilots.
According to FltOps.com, there are 3,100 pilots who have been furloughed at the major airlines and are waiting to be rehired, and another 930 at regional airlines. The job market for pilots is also crowded by nearly 4,000 pilots whose carriers have gone out of business.
That has forced some pilots to consider a career spent entirely at a regional carrier.
"Now lots of people at the regionals are senior pilots who like the lifestyle and aren't going anywhere," said Bill Swelbar, an airline industry researcher at MIT and a director at the parent of Hawaiian Airlines. "If I can live in my small town in Utah and fly for SkyWest, I'm pretty happy."
Flatspin is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 12:05 PM   #2  
ULTP-Ultra Low Tier Pilot
 
The Juice's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,227
Default

Well of course they usually have less experience. Experience usually means better jobs and more pay with better airlines.

This is like saying AA Baseball players are not as good as Major League players.
The Juice is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 12:57 PM   #3  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Killer51883's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2007
Position: E-170
Posts: 842
Default

you could have had chuck yeager, sully, orville wright, al haines, and niel armstrong in that crew and it wouldnt have mattered. none of them have any training on a Q400. the media needs to realize that we are all trained to a point where we are determined to be safe to fly not just by the FAA but also our companies check airmen.
Killer51883 is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:00 PM   #4  
Gets Weekends Off
 
DryMotorBoatin's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Dec 2008
Position: Seat 0B
Posts: 1,214
Default

i saw an article similar to this awhile ago...smaller airlines pilots have less sex.
DryMotorBoatin is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:03 PM   #5  
Gets Weekends Off
 
captain152's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,252
Default

I'm really trying to hold back my anger right now ...

The media will do ANYTHING to twist something even this tragic into making into a story that grips people in fear. Damn them.
captain152 is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:08 PM   #6  
Gets Weekends Off
 
EmbraerFlyer's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jul 2008
Position: CA
Posts: 397
Default

Horizon is a small airline, mainly by choice. However, the average captain at Horizon has more years in the industry than most captains and FO's a the majors. The average FO at Horizon is about 8 years, the average captain is about 18 years. To say that an FO at major has more experience because he/she is flying heavier metal just goes to show how uneducated the media is. We all know there is a lot of people that choose to stay at regional for the quality of life. If i live in Seattle and has been at Horizon for 20 years on top of the pay scale, why on earth would i accept and job with CAL to be based in EWR for $30per hour. This reporter seem really proud of him/herself, like they uncovered something new. I did like the fact that some more accurate numbers are out there like the average FO makes $18,000 instead of $40,000 that some other articles were claiming. We make less money at the regional level but to say you are here because you are inexperience is just stupid. This article failed to mention the fact that you could have 20 years at one company and if you want to go fly something bigger (if that's what you heart desire) then you have to do so a poverty level wages
EmbraerFlyer is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:13 PM   #7  
Banned
 
Joined APC: Feb 2006
Posts: 780
Default

yay, now the public knows. Thanks ALPA. Can I expect a 300% pay raise for my next check?? I can't wait. Stupid article meant to alarm people to never flying again. It's all relative, can someon ask that junior writer why an AA Captain doesn't fly for Colgan??? I can just imagine JOE Smoe looking for lights on Orbitz, honey that says operated by Mesa Airlines that sounds ****ty, let's not take it.
BURflyer is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:54 PM   #8  
Line Holder
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Sep 2007
Posts: 85
Default

Hmm..I'm not sure how the topic shifted here but the article says pretty clearly that there is no correlation as of now, to the crew's qualifications.

It further states that "flying for regional airlines can be a grueling existence and a sacrifice that many pilots make" and "These guys are very experienced pilots and used to those conditions".

What I'm reading here is that regional pilots do the same job, if not more, than a legacy carrier that may spend 8 hours aloft during 1 leg. I noticed the article after receiving a few calls from friends with similar questions this week.

Now we all know that the profession has taken a serious and sad decline as companies constantly cut 'operational' costs, but who did they negotiate with? Probably not you just starting out but rather a 'brother' leaving in a few short years. Interesting how even when something is top heavy, the bottom still gets shaved.

"Pilots accept this as part of the game, and the companies do it because they can."
Flatspin is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 02:05 PM   #9  
Gets Weekends Off
 
STILL GROUNDED's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Dec 2005
Position: Left Seat
Posts: 1,105
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain152 View Post
I'm really trying to hold back my anger right now ...

The media will do ANYTHING to twist something even this tragic into making into a story that grips people in fear. Damn them.
I know what you are saying and in your current state of mind(knowing these folks who perished), I can see your point. I do however think this article was less about scaring people and more about educating them. There were quite a few positive things said as well also pointing out reasonable estimates on our payscales. I'm sure a 10 year FO at American would feel differently, the average $138k was a little far fetched. I am sure they are lumping capt's with fo's. Anyhow, take time to breathe for yourself. You're spending a lot of time on here based on your posts. Get together with some friends talk about these wonderful people who are no longer with us. My best to everyone.
STILL GROUNDED is offline  
Old 02-15-2009, 02:12 PM   #10  
Furlough line holder
 
andy171773's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2007
Position: AE CRJ, former ATR FO, F'd Comair
Posts: 1,836
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by STILL GROUNDED View Post
I know what you are saying and in your current state of mind(knowing these folks who perished), I can see your point. I do however think this article was less about scaring people and more about educating them. There were quite a few positive things said as well also pointing out reasonable estimates on our payscales. I'm sure a 10 year FO at American would feel differently, the average $138k was a little far fetched. I am sure they are lumping capt's with fo's. Anyhow, take time to breathe for yourself. You're spending a lot of time on here based on your posts. Get together with some friends talk about these wonderful people who are no longer with us. My best to everyone.
I don't think there are any/many 10 year FOs at American

Don't forget all the furloughed guys that were gone in late 2001 and the TWA mess. The cuts went way deeper than 1999 (which would make them a 10 year FO as of now)...so the numbers might not be that far off.

Considering it's an "average"..with such a tilted pay scale (15+ year FOs...20+ year captains) i bet 138K is pretty close.
andy171773 is offline  
 
 
 

 
Post Reply
 



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"The Pinnacle pilots want your flying" usmc-sgt Regional 44 03-11-2012 02:04 PM
Be first to freeze, Comair pilots told SWAjet Regional 23 01-14-2010 07:19 AM
Alaska pilots union sees little progress in talks vagabond Union Talk 2 01-15-2009 11:15 PM
A Call to All Professional Airline Pilots winglet Regional 45 12-18-2008 05:06 PM
Dump The Pilots! vagabond Hangar Talk 15 09-26-2008 06:51 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:11 AM.