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Pilot Lifestyles

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AOPA & EAA Member
Aug 11, 2002
Hey folks,

I have a question for you. I live in Murray Kentucky. I don't know if any of you know where that is or not, but its a small town in far western Kentucky, that has a population of about 18,000 people in perminant residence. The population shoots up about 9 to 10,000 when MSU is in session. I am willing to bet that some of you are from small towns as well. I personally love this little town.

There is a senior airline pilot that lives here. He has lived here many, many years. He just drives to BNA and jump seats to Cleveland where he is based.

My dad sat next to a 767 pilot on a flight who lived in the town of Fayettville TN. He too, drove to BNA and jump seated to Chicago to go work.

There is yet another airline pilot that flies one of Northwest Airlines asia routes. He is based in Minnesota. He is a resident of a small town called "Water Valley". I mean this place is tiny and out in the middle of no where, south of Mayfield Ky.

I find this interesting yet comforting that these people can live in a small, non crime infested town and still fly for the Airlines. Is this sort of thing fairly common to people of the airline industry?

Fairly common? Yes Is it practical? If you're at a major or are a very very senior commuter pilot then yes - otherwise probably not.

When I was at a regional I lived in Cincy and was based in upstate NY - I typically flew 4 or 5 on and 2 off(sometimes 3 off if I was really really lucky that month). On my 2 days off if I was lucky and my commute options weren't full then I averaged 24 to 30 hours at home. What a life huh?? Alot of pilots commute but it's rough unless you have a really good schedule.

Been there

Murray - stopped there for gas once when coming back from Fulton, MO. Neat little airport.

I think if you want to be upwardly mobile in this industry you need to be able to move. You need to be able to move to BFE if there is a job. Eventually you will be successful or senior enough to live where you want to live, but commuting while on reserve will eventually drive you out of aviation! And who knows? Once you move out of Podunk, (JJ) you might not want to move back.
I met a pilot at the security checkpoint in SJT that just moved out there from HOU. He had a nice piece of land with a landing strip. and worked for eagle

(the only airline that flys to SJT)
I'm not an airline pilot but the day I sign on with a major, I'm moving the heck out of Southern California.

Pollution (including sound pollution), traffic (there is rarely a drive where I don't encounter at least some stop and go), crowded public areas and crime are all present here in some form or another. I live in a city where the mean salary is $85k/yr yet we have domestic distrubances up the ying yang and cops at all odd hours keeping neighbors and couples from killing each other.


I am outta here. I don't care if it means I have to add an extra 4 hours to each end of my trip to make it back home.

California is also one of the worst states in which to raise kids.

I know quite a few airline pilots that commute by jumpseating. I am not surprised nor do I blame them.
...Newark - EWR - sEWeR

If you ever plan to be a an airline pilot AND have a family or a permanent address to yourself, you almost have to commute at one point in your career. Bases open and close (especially at regionals) As you upgrade to captain, change equipment, etc, your base can change
Or..you can stay single and move from base to base and city to city like a gypsy (gypsies have more possesions than many regional pilots by the way).
jetexas said:
...Newark - EWR - sEWeR

Or..you can stay single and move from base to base and city to city like a gypsy (gypsies have more possesions than many regional pilots by the way).

not to mention self respect!

You're talking about an airline pilot who commutes. Commuting from where you live to where you are domiciled is extremely common. Pilots who do so mostly have it down to a science.

Whether it is for you is up to you. I don't think I would have commuted. I don't think I could have stood the stress of wondering if I could make it in to work on time. I am sure most pilots commute in the day before they report to work, so that kills a day off. Unless you are very senior and work very few days per month, you will lose quite a few days off by commuting.

Maybe an exception would have been if I worked for a regional that flew into the big hub where I live. Then, it might have been easier because of less distance to travel. But, commuting two-thousand miles to work, especially during busy travel periods, would not have been for me.
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