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Pay for Time or Training?

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Is the Alpine Air FO program PFT and/or a good way to build time/experience?

  • This is just as lame as PFT

    Votes: 137 68.5%
  • This is a great way to build time/experience

    Votes: 29 14.5%
  • While the experience is good, the method is questionable

    Votes: 34 17.0%

  • Total voters


Seeing the light
Nov 27, 2001
I had this discussion with a friend, and wanted more input from other pilots, specifically those of you who fly for 121 ops.

He paid 13,000 and logged over 300 hours with the Alpine Air FO program (http://www.alpine-air.com/fo/) He contends that his price per hour after getting paid like 10 bucks and hour or so comes to around 40 bucks or so per. For multi-time and great experience, he contends that it couldn't be better. It prepared him for real world weather, schedules, etc. all in a turbo prop.

Is that PFT, or just paying for time, as would any other wannabe regional FO who is looking to get an interview? He said that his time and resulting experience with Alpine is no comparison to the normal route of a CFI splitting 100 hours with his buddy in an Aztec, shooting approaches, doing engine out stuff, or instructing as an MEI doing the same basic stuff over and over. He also said that it was looked at favorably by the interviewer at XYZ airline, who hired him (but he's now on furlough).

1. So, is this a good way to gain experience?
2. Is this looked upon as a bad thing? Why? Why not?
3. Who is better prepared for a rigorous 121 groundschool, the
Alpine guy or the MEI with 80 ME hours dual-given?
4. All other things being equal (4 yr. degree, TT, etc.), who will get
the job?

not trying to start a PFT flame war, please. Your responses (121 folks) is much appreciated.
This is only my opinion but I first think it's stupid for some newly rated Comm pilot to go spend 30,000 or whatever bucks for a glorified KingAir ride. I have been told that HR departments of the airlines due infact frown upon such time. I think the HR junkies at these airlines would much rather see a prospective employee dig and claw his way through the ranks of instructing and always looking for larger horizans then someone thats lifts the gear handle and calls out V1 every so often. Im not trying to start flame bait here, but if I was to interview two guys side my side and were exactly the same, I would take the guy who was independant over the other guy.

Granted, the twin time looks good, but its not just the time, it's the quality of the time and were it cam from.

I actually think that a CFI has more to offer then someone spending their hard earned cash for time rather than an additional rating.
Just my 2 cents.

Bobby, chime in here please.
If you are not trying to start a PFT flame war you are off to a bad start

This topic has been beat to death in several threads. Why dont you go back an review them instead of posting more flamebait

The answer is the same as its always been. You can spin it, cook it, paint it, dress it up any way you like. Its still paying for a job you dont qualify for or PFT as the companies that sell it like to put it.
Here is one that might clarify it for you

American Airlines called me last week. For $300,000 dollars I can be an MD-80 FO for 3 years. Since Ill fly 3,000 hrs that works out to $100 an hr for an MD-80. Thats a better deal than renting an Aztec!
If the $13,000 is a training contract cost which works its way down to zero over two years, that's one thing.

If paying the money entitles you to a FIXED amount of time with the company, after which another guy with $13,000 takes your place, then it is PFT, no doubt about it. You have taken the place of a person who would otherwise have to be HIRED and PAID, and would be kept on for a possible upgrade when the time came. If the operation is single pilot, and you take no FAA ride to become qualified on the aircraft, aren't you just watching?
I'm with fly dog!!!

I shunned the PFT, nor did I have rich parents to pay for it. I am from the era of pilots who fought that battle when comair was the place to go for PFT. I am not furloed, flying for a major, and always tip my hat at the comair guys, and have had the pleasure of tipping it to one whom I had the argument with when we were at the same level. The look on his face was priceless.

I also own a bar, if you have no bartending experience, I invite any pilot who has paid for training to come and bartend for me for free, I will give you the experience you need to land the top nightclub jobs, you'll be making the big bucks within a year or so

I don't support, but somewhat agree with the previous post, My question is,

" if you did not have access to the money, what would you do?"
The only time a professional pilot should be paying for training (job) would be if he/she were a contract pilot or looking for such work. Down in my neck of the woods there is a lot of contract corporate work and most employers only use contract pilots due to the seasonal nature of work, etc. There are many professional contract pilots that maintain their currency at Simuflite or Flight Safety on their own nickel. However those same pilots are getting $500-$800 a day for contract work and are not taking away work from more skilled or experienced pilots for little or no pay.

Dont even try to equate renting a 172 to buying a King Air job. That chicken dont fly
Somebody ring? :)

I realize that P-F-T technically means that if you get the job you must pay for your training. This program is tantamount to P-F-T and not smart at all. Maybe worse, because the time logged may be questionable at best and bogus at worst. As stupid as I regard H.R. people to be, they are smart enough to pick up on these programs and will not give them much credence. Then, as soon as some board captain reviews your friend's logbook, he/she will pick up on it and may send your friend home.

The $13K your friend paid is a year's salary for a lot of entry-level people. If your friend had that kind of money sitting idle, he/she should have done one or more of the following: (1) spend it on a CFI, a real credential with which to earn money and gain experience; (2) put it into the bank or something where it can draw interest or earn dividends; (3) repay as much of his/her student loans as possible.

Spending that kind of money on a program which will appear questionable is not good judgment, in my .02 opinion.

Once again, I have no problem with so-called training contracts, as long as no money changes hands between the new-hire and company. I appreciate how companies invest time and money in training new pilots and want to protect that investment. Paying for your training as a condition of employment is dead wrong, for ANY industry.

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