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Well-known member
May 10, 2002
What's the deal at Pinnacle (aka: Express I) and Mesaba these days as far as hiring and furlough status? Any information (inculding life, pay scales, mins, etc.) would be sincerely appreciated.

"What's that mountain goat doing way up here in the clouds?"
I think that there are still 10 on furlough for Mesaba.

I think Pineapple, for the time being, is a better place to try and get on with. They are getting all the crj's for now and I think that we are getting all their old shi**y b model saabs.

Good Luck:D

c'mon according to Foley we're growing because of the new MEM flying (SARCASM)

Yea, Mesaba has been in contract negotiations since last year. No hiring. Still 10 on furlough. June 1 was our amendable date with no progress whatsoever. We're apparently filing for mediation ASAP. Look us up in a few years and maybe then we'll have the new industry leading contract and some pretty little CRJs.
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I will answer the pinnacle side...

Life... Sucks, it is that simple! Let me expand a bit...
Schedules are horrible but every few months we actually get a "reasonable" schedule. We are FAT on both positions (20-30 reserves in each base) and we have classes running 15 or so every 2 weeks until the pool is completed (about 150 remaining). Current pilot group is about 520 or so.

We are getting 2 jets a month up to 84 by mid 2004, we are currently around 38 (guess). We are eliminating all of our Saabs by end of '02 (so all of those guys will be coming over to the jet too).

Min's are 1500/300 unless you want to pay $10K. Could not even tell you what competive will be when we start to hire from the street in late Sept/Oct.

Intial claim WAS we were going to 1300 pilots by end of '03, cannot say if those numbers are even true anymore.

Pay... first year is 19.54, 2nd 23.68, Captain will be 56.81 at year 2-3 topping at 82.37 under the current contract which expires in '04.

Days off.. fairly solid 10 days for 50% of the pilot group, with the top 10-15% getting 14-16

Bases... DTW, MEM, MSP...
To hold a line.... in terms of senority.
MEM will take 8 years to hold Captain, and close to 18 months to hold a FO an line.
DTW seems to be the most junior base, Captain is running about 18-20 months to hold a line and FO is around 9 months to hold a line.
MSP varies but is starting to go more senior. Captain is about 2 years to hold a line and FO will probably end up being a year before holding a line.

I would expect the upgrades to increase as the current min's are 3500/1500/750 (TT/ME/Turbine) and we have many guys who once they hold a line will be able to upgrade in less than a year. Right now anyone who is meeting the time can upgrade (although they may sit reserve for some time).

I would look at Mesaba, as they wil be getting CRJ's and will have a better contract then we may ever have!
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Recently upgrades in both MSP and DTW went under 1 year, but that goes up and down every few months.
We have do have some crybabies here. That is the worst thing about working at Pinnacle. It is a regional, and we are treated like it. If you know that from the get go, you won't be fooled. Most of the negative things you here are from people that are pretty new and are reserve pilots. Reserve is not fun, but where is it fun? I have been here about 22 months and am holding a schedule in Memphis of 16 days off as an FO on the jet. I would also be able to hold a line in DTW as a Capt. If you don't get caught up in all the corp. BS you can be happy here.

If you don't have the times mentioned earlier, you will have to pay $10K for training. We are one of the few airlines that still have that. But, people are still paying it so why would the company quit charging for training?

I am fairly happy here. It is a regional, so life isn't as good as a major. But, if you can suck it up for a while, it is a good place to build time.
As a native memphian I am EXTREMELY interested in working for Pinnacle/Express I. I constantly update and just crossed the 1500/300 time mark. I know that its not a good time in the industry but I was wondering how to get someone's attention at Pinnacle? I always get the same postcard but nothing else. Are they currently recruiting FO's? If so what is considered competitive in the way of flight time? Any information or helpful hints would be appreciated.

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has responded so far. The input from everybody who has "been there, done that" is invaluable.

I will agree with SF3409E... we have plenty of "crybabies" at Pinnacle, not anymore than most other regionals.

Some of the "crying" is before 9/11 things at Pinnacle (Express I) was great for the jet... 90 hr lines, quick upgrades and life was sweet. About 50% of our pilot group has between 12-14 months worth of senority, and those 50% were all hired when life was good.

Post 9/11... .well we all know how the industry took it, and some of the crying is the 90 hr lines went to months of reserve, the quick upgrades were grabbed by the Saab guys (more senority and time) coming over to the jet and those lucky guys who are able to hold a line in the jet. So, the "crying" while not without a reason has some people bitter, and many "new" guys are really bitter that they cannot get over the fact that the industry went sour. I hear many guys complaining they were "lied" to during the interview or sold a fantasty. That is not true, things were sweet, but 9/11 has created an environment that these "new" guys cannot accept.

Personally, I am new (about 1 year), I got on board when life was good and looking great. I am not bitter nor "cry" over the months of reserve as it is part of life at ANY airline. I just want to ensure those other individuals who are considering a career at Pinnacle really do know the low down.

I am still amazed that I hear "stories" of how we are going to hire these "direct entry captains" (street Captains) and upgrades are less than 6 months and we are flying 90 hr lines with 16 days off.

This is what I was trying to convey to the orginal question about our company, if they know the TRUTH about how long it MAY take to upgrade OR hold a line, the CURRENT conditions of our schedules, the ACTUAL amount of aircraft we have and what we MAY get, the ACTUAL amount of pilots we have and what MAY be the total amount in time. The person can make a educated decision about whether Pinnacle may be for them or not. Some of these factors are really not expressed well within our hiring program and they should be.

So the bottom line is that if you want a job at Pinnacle and understand that we have "crybabies" like other airlines. We are overstaffed in the jet (presently), we have schedules that could be better, we have upgrades that can be quick OR lenghty, and our pay and contract then the person seeking the job can make a decision if Pinnacle is "right" for them. We all have choices and while life for me is not the great not bad at Pinnacle, I still have a job!

The last note of my soapbox speech, we have a clear disparity in our ranks... The have's and the Have not's. The difference is basically the top 30-40% of our ranks are the Have's. Decent schedule's, decent pay, no reserve, ability to upgrade at will. Then we have the rest of the pilot group, who cannot upgrade because they do not fly enough to get the time need to upgrade, the poorer schedules and things getting worse before it will get better. The very bottom half (reserves) usually get anywhere from 30 hours a month to 5 hours a month (yes, 5 hours a month), some have not even flown in months. Now those who have are near the time to upgrade and need 500 hrs... how long will it take them to get 500 hrs at 30 hrs a month or 5 hours a month? hence... the crying that the top dogs just cannot understand. It is easy to criticize when someone is flying 80+ a month and 16 days off and has the choice to upgrade or not.

Coming from a guy who looks up to the people on the bottom (the "have nots"), I'll just be happy with a place to sleep, some food, and turbine time. If anybody at Pinnacle (or anywhere else) is truly unhappy flying turboprops or jets, let me know. You can fry in a 110 degree cockpit in a plane that won't climb cuz the density altitude is in excess of 8000 or 9000 feet. Don't get me wrong... I love my job. I'm just looking forward to the next step.

'Tis better to have flown turbines and be on reserve than never to have flown turbines at all.

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