Please Help, Central Air Southwest vs. Ram Air Freight

MrPink1911

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I have received job opportunities with both companies and would like some feed back from those who have "been there and done that"..... I am a CFI that is preparing to take the next step in developing my career and feel that some time flying freight is important in skill developement. Anyway, I am interested in hearing about the companies and also the "other" stuff, like the communities you work in, social life, opportunities to make $$$ on the side, because we all know that pay is not great, and other cost of living intangibles that I may have over looked!!! Thank you all for your input!!!
 

NoPax

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I don't know anything about RAM Air Freight, but Central Air Southwest (once you get over the pay) is a place for some quality single-pilot IFR experience.

I've posted in the past about CASW, so maybe you could do a search on them. This has been my experience over the past 10 months:

Management have been good to me, but I don't ask for much.
Maintenance is good - they've taken care of everything I've asked for while I sleep - oil changes, minor squawks.
TKS, Strikefinder & VFR GPS
No autopilot - has pros and cons - it'll keep you awake at least.
1800 RVR authorized minimum (if its on the IAP)
Standardized Cockpit
Picking-up more routes
Its a simple airplane (eg fuel system)
Six-month "gentleman's agreement" for 'training'
- no resumes or interviews (you will get fired)
Mid-west bases and cost of living
Lots of flight time (my avg. 105/month)
Minimum Equipment List
Approved Aircraft Inspection Program
Outstations are best - no stress/office politics etc./no one to impress

Groundschool is very good on the airplane, hardly any on regs, except rest requirements and HAZMAT.

Since I hadn't flown 135 before, I trained for 2 days, did SIC checkride, and rode along a few KC routes. Then at the end of the week, did PIC checkride.

Assigned base after PIC checkride - could be anywhere they need pilots.
No support for the move to base - hotel & food at own expense until you find a place.
Pay is 1-15th, 16th-end. Pays per route flown. Route pay isn't much better than probationary on Lubbock route (04)
They help with a move only if they loose your route - $500 I think.
Lubbock has apartments for around 350/month - descent 1 bed 1 bath
I'm in a 2 bed 1 bath house for 650/month (with wife and dogs)
Probably best if you aren't married

You'll need to read 135 and know it cold (more to protect yourself) Just the general & recip cargo only parts, the rest you can skip or keep for another day. (true of most places)

There are other places to go, like Airnet, if you want to transition to the LR-Jet.
There are no transitions to the Turbo Commander at CASW that I know about. Its the CP DO and most senior Pilot's airplane.

I'm soon to move on, and I'll definately miss flying the Commander
 
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T-Storm Chaser

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As a former employee of Ram Air Freight, I will give you the scoop.

Managment: Not bad, but not the best in the world. CP can be very irratating

Aircraft: I'm sure you have seen the website for the types, several singles but mostly multi-engine

Maint: Average for freight, they will fix it if they need to, but expect to fly aircraft that have some minor issues. They do have MELs.

Pay: Sucks any way you look at it. Who can live on $85/day?

Bases: Most of them are pretty good, some of them are not.

Upgrade time: Pretty darn fast. you will be flying a twin engine within 2 months of finishing groundschool. Might be alot less time, depending on need.

Training: Good, they are thourough. Expect at least a week or two(not paid).

Work enviornment: Avoid managment if possible. There are a few strange birds there, but most of the poeple are really great. You all are in the same boat together so why not have fun?

I don't miss management or the pay, but I definitely miss the people and the good times (especially us former Package guys).
 

Way2Broke

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You should read this thread on Central Air Southwest, if you want more info I can put you in touch with pilots still flying for them, just private message me for the e-mails. Just ignore the fact that I can not spell in my posts there. If I had it to do again I would go to Ram Air, they encourage their pilots to move on to better things, unlike CAS. Either way use freight flying for what it is there for and do your job well. Good luck.
http://forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?t=38946&highlight=Central+air+southwest
 
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flygirl_1313

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Ram Air

I started with Ram Air in January of this year. They put you up in a hotel during your training. It's not paid, but your only cost for that week, is food. Hotel(Extended Stay america, if I remember right) is very close to the airport. You start in the Lance. You rotate through a few runs to get some good experience. Within 3 weeks, I was in training for the Seneca. I was moved down to Macon, GA. Macon isn't the greatest place in the world, but it is over 100 hours a month of twin time and you can live cheaply down there. Most of the time you can get a twin run very quickly if you are willing to move to an outbase. Twin runs are hard to get in Raleigh. So if you keep an open mind and are open to moving, tell Ram that and you will be upgraded (to a mighty twin) and be able to start logging that twin time.

I was at Ram for 9 months. I just left 3 weeks ago. I never had a problem with management. All you need to do is do your job. All the bags that go in, MUST come out!! Banks are paying good money and will lose big money if those bags do not arrive. They will yank the contract from us in a heartbeat if it becomes cronic. The pay is not great, but most of them aren't. But its just like any job... if you do your job, you keep it. If you don't do your job, expect to get chastised for it. Simple as that. If you leave on good terms with Ram, they will always take you back. We have had numerous guys come back over the last year, after getting furloughed to fly freight, just so they can keep flying, until something else comes up. Mx is pretty good. They won't make you fly an unairworthy airplane, but the planes aren't perfect either. All planes have IFR certified GPS. Which is so nice to have.

Ram is also very good about giving you time off. If you need time off to go and interview, its never been a problem. They know they are a stepping stone to the regionals, etc. They know they won't keep people forever. And they have always been supportive of the good employee's to move on and advance. They are a good company and are good to good employee's. (We just bought out Package Express and it's been a tough transition for the Package guys/gals.)

PS-I've had many friends at Central Air. Mx is shady at the out bases. Management is good or bad, depending on the experience. Pay sucks, just like everyone else. Good luck and fly safe.
 
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Way2Broke

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NoPax said:
I had applied there along with Central, but Central called back first, with faster training etc. and was the better option for me at the time.
I grabbed this from another post of yours only to illustrate a point. Fast training is never a reason to go somewhere. Thorough training on the other hand is. There is absolutely no reason you should ever have to self teach part 135, when those are the rules the company you are flying for is operating under. If the rules have not been taught to you then how can the company expect that you follow them? I do agree that if they do not teach them to you that you MUST cover them on your own. However, the regs have to be covered in training, per the regs. Kindove ironic isn't it. I do not want to take your quote out of context so I will post the link to it here. Please do not take this as a rip on you, just my opinion.

http://forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?t=64858
 

CaravanMan

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I've been at CASW for a few months now and I have been treated very fairly. NoPax hit the nail on the head with them. I am MKC based, so I'm there with all the "Big Wigs" and everyone has been great. I know we need people right now, and if you get hired you can pretty much expect to get placed in Michigan or Omaha right now; I know we have some people there that are trying to get elsewhere. With that said, turnover is usually quick because they do only ask a 6 month stay. Even if you get stuck somewhere you don't want to be, it probably won't be for long. The Commander is a very easy twin to fly. You won't leave a training session with one leg shaking after single-engine workouts, lol! I have never felt pressured to go in anything (WX) that I felt was unsafe, but they do expect you to make a wise decision. As far as MX goes...never had a problem. They take care of their planes and swap them out ASAP when they're due to come in. Remember, these AC-500s are getting old, so some look like turds, but it really is a great airplane. The 6 month pay is low, so get yourself a SugaMama like I've got and you'll do fine...besides, it IS only 6 months. If you want a lot of twin time, come on over. If I had it to do all over again, I would still come here. ;)

Hey NoPax, eat some Jack in the Box for me!! :D
 

NoPax

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Way2Broke said:
I grabbed this from another post of yours only to illustrate a point. Fast training is never a reason to go somewhere. Thorough training on the other hand is. There is absolutely no reason you should ever have to self teach part 135, when those are the rules the company you are flying for is operating under. If the rules have not been taught to you then how can the company expect that you follow them? I do agree that if they do not teach them to you that you MUST cover them on your own. However, the regs have to be covered in training, per the regs. Kindove ironic isn't it. I do not want to take your quote out of context so I will post the link to it here. Please do not take this as a rip on you, just my opinion.

http://forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?t=64858
Your absolutly correct - go to the most thorough training.

Needs must. My personal situation required me to get paid as quickly as possible. I had read up on the 135 regs before I came here so was no biggy.

I was just another broke flight instructor, without a sugar-momma.

The Ops Specs are covered in training, and those interpret the regs, and are FAA approved (the thinnest ops specs I've ever seen btw). The company believes in exercising common-sense, and keeping it simple. Central is also not under FAA scutiny as their house is in order.

I've been ramped three times in 10 months, twice after I diverted due to TS and wanted to sit them out, and recently at my home base. Each time I got the impression that the FAA were there to look at another operator.

As I said in the other post, 105 hours per month multi, makes your numbers very competitive after 10 months.

I'm not going to get into the whole single-engine IFR/icing debate. I'll save that for another time.

No offense taken so long as its kept constructive
 
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MonkeyWrench

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not another ram air thread....just search it.

Ram air's maintance is awsome, don't listen to these guys
 

T-Storm Chaser

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MonkeyWrench said:
not another ram air thread....just search it.

Ram air's maintance is awsome, don't listen to these guys
What the heck are you smoking? Get me some of that stuff cause it must be pretty good. RAF maint. is OK. There hasn't been any kind of improvement over the maint. at PE and the maint. at RAF. The same problems still exist and RAF maint. knows about the problems. You all seriously need to fix the throttle quadrant on 5***Q, come on it has been like that for months. Oh yeah, and the heater too. It's easy to say that everything is all well and good when you are not the one flying it.
 

RamDaddy

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MonkeyWrench said:
not another ram air thread....just search it.

Ram air's maintance is awsome, don't listen to these guys

Yep, they've got the NTSB reports to prove it....we won't mention the multipul 4BW fuel pump issues....
 

flygirl_1313

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Every plane has its quirks... every plane. It's just like every car has it's quirks. You'll find that at every company under the sun. If not, let me know who they are. Each plane has a personality and issues all its own. That doesn't make it unairworthy. RAF is a good company. i don't know what Pa. Ex situation was. All the people I met there, while I was working at RAF, were very nice. Granted it was the pilots not the mechanics. You need to go to a company where you can trust Mx... RAF is that company.
 

StarHustler

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RAF Mtc is 'OK' but that is it. It is a typical low budget check hauler. They fix what they have to and leave the rest to chance. If you go there, bear that in mind. Get your time in and get out -like the rest of us did. I would ignore any post by Monkey-Butt, he takes every opportunity to slam any and all pilots while butchering the English language. Let his lack of an education be your guide to any Mtc. shortcomings.
 

Way2Broke

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NoPax said:
No offense taken so long as its kept constructive
I'm not one of those rip everyone a new one type of guys. Those guys are lame. We would all be better off if this entire board was kept more constructive.
 

MonkeyWrench

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RamDaddy said:
Yep, they've got the NTSB reports to prove it....we won't mention the multipul *** fuel pump issues....
You find an final NTSB report on that plane, and try to blame the maintance for it. On top of a lack of NTSB report you should remember that it was a package express aircraft, Ram air has thier own 145 repair station certifcate. That aircraft was never on it.

And for one more correction, there was only one fuel pump issue. The other time had nothing to do with a fuel pump, unless you expect a fuel pump to be able to pump fuel while the fuel is in the "off" position.

For those in the know, Off is a three letter word, meaning to not be on....
 

RamDaddy

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MonkeyWrench said:
You find an final NTSB report on that plane, and try to blame the maintance for it. On top of a lack of NTSB report you should remember that it was a package express aircraft, Ram air has thier own 145 repair station certifcate. That aircraft was never on it.

And for one more correction, there was only one fuel pump issue. The other time had nothing to do with a fuel pump, unless you expect a fuel pump to be able to pump fuel while the fuel is in the "off" position.

For those in the know, Off is a three letter word, meaning to not be on....
You need to re-check your NTSBs.
I promise you don't want to continue this conversation. There are way more maint. issues that were 'glossed over.' It never looked good for the wrenches.
 

MonkeyWrench

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RamDaddy said:
You need to re-check your NTSBs.
I promise you don't want to continue this conversation. There are way more maint. issues that were 'glossed over.' It never looked good for the wrenches.
its funny cause i've had this conversation with plenty of people in person, something i think your not willing to do.

The first problem wasn't the pump. But the engine was sent out for a sudden stop inspection cause it had a nice little thud into the ground. When it came back (with said fuel pump) it ran fine, it ran fine on the test stand to. It was hung with a internal problem. Not anything people at the hanger had anything to do with, or any means of checking. The place that did the inspection competely looked over that pump, and there isn't anything that the people that hung the engine could have done to find that problem, sort of re-doing the sudden stop inspection.

If there was a problem in that hanger i would have no trouble admitting it, but it wasn't. You have some mission to make those people look bad cause your mad about your pay and your boss's additude toward you. Every time you come on a board and say somthing like that, trying to make good people look bad you end up making yourself look more cowardly. Everyone here who cares knows who i am and i never denyed it when they approched me about what i had posted. You on the other hand hide over there waiting for someone to post about ram so you can just bad mouth them.

Pretty much everything i post about pilots is a joke, and i'm sure most of them see that.

If you hate ram so much move on to a new job, i'm sure sense your such an ACE pilot you can land on in no time.

To get back to the original topic of the thread. Most people prolly haven't flown with both, but most of the RAM pilots I still talk to said it was a fine place to build time.
 

Way2Broke

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MonkeyWrench said:
And for one more correction, there was only one fuel pump issue. The other time had nothing to do with a fuel pump, unless you expect a fuel pump to be able to pump fuel while the fuel is in the "off" position.

For those in the know, Off is a three letter word, meaning to not be on....
:nuts: I finally understand. Can you explain what low and high means while your at it. I know what all these switches do, well, except for that one. Its always been a mystery to me. Care to explain what exactly happened that lead to an NTSB report, some of us are in the dark. Sorry, the thread is getting a bit hijacked here. :puke: Cool, I finally got to use the pukey guy!
 

Dodge4SRT

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I can tell you that I worked at Central Air Southwest and would do it all over again. The experience that you get is priceless. I don't know a whole lot about Ram Air though, but if you have any questions about CASW, just ask.
 

8inMan

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Does anyone know anything about their minneapolis base? Is it just one run or a couple? How easy would that be to get?
 
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