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State of the Industry?

ePilot22

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So what is it like to be a regional pilot? I have been reading through the threads here and for the most part I'm getting a picture of an industry that doesn't match my apparent delusional expectations.

From strikes and scabs to contracts and negotiations, planes under this color and that size, my turf and your scope, what is all this and when is the flying going on and how much time is actually spent flying?

Just to save some time and a few post, yes, I am low time, no I'm not a scab and I'm not willing to fly for free. I am a CFI and currently instructing and more than willing to do so for at least another year (need to finish school). I will eventually have the time and experience required for the regionals and this is going to be the next step. What I'm looking for here and from those that post is what to REALLY expect when it's time to take that next step.

I don't want to have any misconceptions of what flying for the airlines is going to be like. Thanks to all that post something constructive and helpful.
 

Skaff

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It depends on where you are. I got lucky at Skywest, a good company and got a quick upgrade. One thing that you'll notice once you get to an airline is that complainers are always the most vocal, although their are alot of happy pilots out there. Just hope that your first airline choice is the right airline choice (furloughs, ect.)
 

Ward

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Hello ePilot.

I began school about, geesh, 18 years ago to become a professional pilot and I must say I'm very disappointed with the outcome. Obviously the industry is not meeting my expectations. Fortunately for you, you have an opportunity to get opinions from those "in the field" to manage any expectations you may have. I did not have this opportunity since I didn't know anyone in the industry and the Internet isn't what it is today.

Tell me, what are your expectations in terms of income (short- and long-term), retirement, and quality-of-life?

Ward
 

Crash Pad

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Switch majors... Get out now while you still can. The ship has sailed for most of us. If you do this job for a year you have zero useful job skills. With no pension, lowering wages, etc... you will eventually need another job... When your 60.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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Crash Pad said:
Switch majors... Get out now while you still can. The ship has sailed for most of us. If you do this job for a year you have zero useful job skills. With no pension, lowering wages, etc... you will eventually need another job... When your 60.
That is a little extreme, don't you think? Is it really that bad? Even if you stay with a regional for your career, you can make a decent living, especially once you upgrade. I think some of you allow the current state of the industry to fog your thinking so much, that you cannot focus on anything but the bad. There is too much of a 'dooms-day' like attitude about the industry. I would just be thankful you have a job period, because there are plenty of people, even outside of aviation, who do not right now. Things can always be better, and things could always be worse; regardless of how good or bad things are.
 

ePilot22

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Expectations

Ward said:
Tell me, what are your expectations in terms of income (short- and long-term), retirement, and quality-of-life?
Good Question! I guess I really never thought to far past the whole" I want to be a pilot thing".

Money is not a big concern, I don't say that because my parents have money, they don't or because I'll fly for cheap, I won't. If I wanted/expected to make a fortune I would be in another profession. Initially I would expect somewhere from $14 to $20k per year, increasing to maybe the $60 to $80k range through 5-10 years.

Retirement, well that starts now and through my own financial planning. I don't expect a lot from an employer. Counting on someone else for my retirement could set me up for falling short of my goals.

QOL, as far as a big house and nice cars, nope, don't really care. Family and kids? Currently single so I guess I would have to start with a girlfriend and they really don't go for the above statement or the fact that I don't mind traveling as needed or wanted! So the 9-5 is not what I'm looking for either.

Work Environment, now there's the catch! If the stuff I deal with at my flight club now is just the beginning of my career then I'm in for a real shock. Managers that know little or nothing about what it is to instruct, but love to tell you how to do your job. MX, what is that? Let's just leave it a that! Other pilots that don't care about students, quality of instruction...blah, blah, blah. I'm sure all of you have been there and done this.

Most of the pilots I know are where I'm at. Thinking that Great Lakes, Colgan, Big Sky....etc is the great airline that ever will change their life and everything will be perfect. But again after reading here and talking to the few regional pilots I do know, MESA and Sky West, Sky West guy is Ex TSA and Lakes, both seem to try for the "angles" i.e. less flying, more money. Seems to be a lack of love for flying. I may just be naive, but that's why I'm asking.

airjackson said:
Go educate yourself. Or, if that proves too difficult, go f-ck yourself. Cheers.
The above quote is from another regional thread, but I'm trying to do the first before I end up doing the latter. Simple but true!

Thanks!

EDIT: I'm finishing up a BS in Finance, the whole "eggs in one basket thing". My first flight instructor recommended that I not get a degree in Aviation for the reasons stated in an earlier post.
 
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Crash Pad

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Ok let me calm it down a bit. Here goes.
I do this job for the travel and the travel alone. That will soon be stripped to crap at my current employer.
I do love flying. Actually that is a lie. I used to love flying. Flying at an airline is just like sitting in the back with a better view. I don't see many passengers who want to fly 20 days a month 4+ legs a day... Because it gets old.
Here is what I love about the job... Overnights... The old kind "Great Lakes" style (only lakers will know what that means). Drinking and raising hell all night in some sh!thole outstation. Talking about it the next day and then doing it again the next night. Those have gone too. Everyone at the regionals has settled in for the duration so tearing up the town with a 54 year old isn't what it used to be.

Pay. Sure as a Captain you might break $100 dollars an hour when you hit 18 years or so... If you are 22 now you will be 40 then. Current inflation rates etc... $100 an hour won't be what it used to be. Don't forget you are now 40 with a family, kids, tuition, etc... I know the industry will rebound in a couple of years.... NWA is looking for $61 an hour for top end FO on the DC9. Delta is looking for $89 an hour for a 12 year captain on the 100 seat model. JetBlue is already there. What this means is regionals will be forced to cut pay to compete with mainline rates.
Like I said I do this for the travel... So move on to the big boys and take the 777 across the pond. Sounds good I'll meet you there! Then I can go on the overnights that I love in Munich, Milan, Buenos Aires, or Tokyo... With a huge crew of 58 year old hotties...
Oh and before I forget I have been lucky. Mesaba, ACA (FlyI), Comair, I'm sure I'm forgetting some have turned into a loss of job and or a dead end career if you don't have the PIC. All of those companies were highly regarded at one point in my career. I remember when I wished I could just get a shot with one of those guys. Shows you what I know.
So in closing let me restate. Change your major. Pilot is like joining a frat or being a stripper. Sure it is fun for a couple of years but then you need to get a real job.
 
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Superpilot92

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Dont let some of the unhappy people sway you. This is a great job in a horrible industry. The job in general is great. I get alot more time off then i would with any other job and eventually will make decent money. First year pay sucks but it gets better. Do everything you can to get on with a good company and dont settle. I am not going to get into what company is better because of pay but more of how the pilots are treated and the contracts they are under IE work rules. Every person i know that went to Mesa hated it and got out ASAP and everyone i know that went to Skywest, XJET, Eagle have enjoyed it. Yeah it could be better and you could make more money but once you make Capt. you can make pretty good money. If you come in to this job with a good realistic mindset you should be happy. Just dont be that guy who says i would fly for free if i could just fly a jet. At some point this becomes a job and we deserve to get paid right for the amount of responsibility this job entitles. Just my opinion but keep flying and working your way up. Hopefully the industry will see its upswing within a few years. Good luck
 

great cornholio

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Dude its all about how you look at it. There are some days that I really just want to quit and get out of the airlines. Then there are times at work were you see something and it puts it back in perspective. IE shooting starts, nice sunsets, sunrise, or a clear night on the east coast up in the high 20s low 30s and you are abeam DC Baltimore area and can look up to coast and see the lights of Philly, New York, and Boston all at the same time. I can never imagine sitting behind a desk every day. Heck even sleeping in the same bed for more than 4 or 5 nights in a row freaks me out now. I'm currently single and could actually live off of my FO pay. However I see how little that pay really is and am willing to fight for more pay. Hence the no vote I gave about a month ago for something that gets discussed on here too much so I won't hijack this thread with that kind of stuff. Besides that its the best job I can think of. However you have to remember that it is a job and you will get burnt out every once in a while. And for me about once a year or so I try to fly some GA just for fun. No release, no pax, no gate agents, just get to go up and fly just to keep the fun in it a little bit.
 

ePilot22

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Thanks

great cornholio said:
Dude its all about how you look at it. There are some days that I really just want to quit and get out of the airlines. Then there are times at work were you see something and it puts it back in perspective.
This is true for any aspect of life, I guess it applies to being a pilot as well! Work sucks, that's why it's called work. We take something we love to do and do it as work and it's bound become undesirable.

great cornholio said:
I can never imagine sitting behind a desk every day.
I don't need to, 40 hours a week and I don't even get a window!

Thanks to all that have posted so far, I appreciate it!
 

J32driver

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For starters, whoever told you to go get a finance degree gave you the best advice ever. It sounds like your expectations are in line with the current pay.

What you need to understand is you will live in a hotel 16 to 18 days a month away from the ones you love. That is by far the hardest part of this job.

I generally like the people I fly with, I don't have a boss staring over my shoulder, I make enough to pay the bills. But I'm in my 7th year and I'm going to be working this Christmas. I'm looking forward to a cold hotel room, and starving because the restaurants will all be closed.

Other than that, it beats working for a living!
 

FlyinPiker

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J32driver said:
But I'm in my 7th year and I'm going to be working this Christmas. I'm looking forward to a cold hotel room, and starving because the restaurants will all be closed.
Hopefully these hotels in the Northeast still have a bountiful supply of Chinese Resturants like the midwest. X-mas just wouldn't be the same without Fried Rice and my "roadie" of Captain Morgan.
 

ferlo

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20 years

2 regionals

2 majors

1 furlough

2 chapt. 7 BK's

Missed countelss holidays, special events, parties, birthdays, you name it.

Pay and benefits have been sliding for decades.


I would never, ever do it again. You could get lucky and you might do okay, but the majority of the guys I know wish they never started down this path. You can always fly your own/rented airplane.
 
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WMUSIGPI

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ferlo said:
I would never, ever do it again. You could get lucky and you might do okay, but the majority of the guys I know wish they never started down this path. You can always fly your own/rented airplane.
AMEN!

I haven't been around as long but I'd get the accounting or engineering degree and buy my own plane for fun if could do it all over again.
 

rgd

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Read carefully what all these guys are saying, make up your mind and go forward with whatever it is. Just do me a favor. If you go ahead with being a pilot, remember that you picked the career, it didn't pick you. So save the bitching and moaning about how bad it sucks, how your getting screwed by management, XYZ airline is taking your flying, your pay sucks, your contract sucks, your quality of life is in the toilet, scheduling is out to get you, your lowering the bar, they are lowering the bar and all the finger pointing and blaming of everyone else for your decision. It is a career, and it is going to be good for some, bad for others. It will have highlights and lowlights. You will love it and you will hate it. It is just like life, it ain't fair. So don't gripe about it when it kicks you in the teeth, and don't gloat when you kick it in the teeth. You go in knowing that you are promised nothing, just like most other careers, and you will at least be able to live a somewhat happier life than the rest of us.
 

Maiko

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Any expectations in this industry is delusional. Think of, lets say any bus line ie. Greyhound or Suburban and picture yourself in the drivers seat. Thats what this industry has become. Don't forget to go to Wendys for a 20 oz pop.
Smart move would be freighters.
Good luck and happy drivin, I mean flyin
Cheers
ePilot22 said:
So what is it like to be a regional pilot? I have been reading through the threads here and for the most part I'm getting a picture of an industry that doesn't match my apparent delusional expectations.

From strikes and scabs to contracts and negotiations, planes under this color and that size, my turf and your scope, what is all this and when is the flying going on and how much time is actually spent flying?

Just to save some time and a few post, yes, I am low time, no I'm not a scab and I'm not willing to fly for free. I am a CFI and currently instructing and more than willing to do so for at least another year (need to finish school). I will eventually have the time and experience required for the regionals and this is going to be the next step. What I'm looking for here and from those that post is what to REALLY expect when it's time to take that next step.

I don't want to have any misconceptions of what flying for the airlines is going to be like. Thanks to all that post something constructive and helpful.
 

ePilot22

BuyTheTicket~TakeTheRide
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Any more insights?

What no more love? Some 600 views and only 15 post. Do you guys really have no opinion of your industry? I realize the "hate or love it" thing, but that's not what I'm looking for.

I'm just looking for an expectation of what life at the regionals wiil be like. What do you do day to day? What is the flying like? You know - life.

Maiko said:
Smart move would be freighters.
Originally this is what I had planned on doing. Two reasons for the change of mind, (1) part 135 IFR mins means a longer time flight instructing, (2) I was told that if I want to go airlines at some point in my career, then to do it asap. Before this I was thinking about doing something like Lakes (121) until I met the 135 mins, but I've heard that's, well lets just say stupid!

There is a fellow flight instructor with 1200TT and almost 300 ME. He would like to go to Sky West. However he was offer a freight job, but he has to have 1500TT and 500 ME. Seems pretty high to fly boxes, when one could be flying PX with less time and in a safer environment i.e. 2 crew.

Anyway, I'm not trying to start a debate on 135 vs. 121. Again I'm looking for insight in regional airline life.

Thanks again to all that have contributed!!
 

FN FAL

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PilotOnTheRise said:
That is a little extreme, don't you think? Is it really that bad? Even if you stay with a regional for your career, you can make a decent living, especially once you upgrade. I think some of you allow the current state of the industry to fog your thinking so much, that you cannot focus on anything but the bad. There is too much of a 'dooms-day' like attitude about the industry. I would just be thankful you have a job period, because there are plenty of people, even outside of aviation, who do not right now. Things can always be better, and things could always be worse; regardless of how good or bad things are.
I think you make a good point, because how can you make it to the majors if you don't want it more than the other guy. It's a lack of want that these guys possess, these frowsy ne'er do wells that claim that life owes them something. You have more than half a chance as long as you want it more than the other guy.
 

great cornholio

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ePilot22 said:
I'm just looking for an expectation of what life at the regionals wiil be like. What do you do day to day? What is the flying like? You know - life.
I've been at 2 airlines so far and flown three different aircraft. Beech 1900, EMB 145, and finally the BA 4100. Each plane has had its own kind of flying. When I was flying the 1900 we would have up to 12 legs a day. The EMB would average about 4 legs a day. I haven't been on the J41 that much but it seems that most days are about 5 leg days. The duty days for each plane have been about the same with an average day being from about 10 to 14 hours long. The jet was nicer because the legs were longer so if the weather sucked in your part of the country you usually werent in the crappy wx all day. IE one leg would be from Portland ME to Ohare. So if the wx sucked in PWM then it was usually good in ORD. However the turboprops were not so nice. You usually stick to a smaller part of the country. IE If the wx sucks in Pittsburgh its most likely gonna suck right down the road in Beckley WV. So in the turboprops if the wx sucked you would shoot 8 to 12 approaches down to mins that day. As far as days off go I've had as many as 14 and as little as 8 in a month. One month I had 23 days off, but that was cause I got my wisdom teeth pulled and milked the doctors note for a few extra days. As far as holidays go I think I've had 1 thanksgiving off and worked pretty much every other holiday in the past 3 years. I got lucky last year and got done with work sometime during xmas evening at my base, which lucky for me is where I live. Thats pretty much all I can think of for a cliff notes of how life has been for me at the regionals. My old airline did not do overnights. Instead they did outstation basing. So you were always at your base at the end of the night. Which is awesome if you live in or near that base. If you don't then you have to live out of a crashpad for 1/2 of the month. My current airline does have overnights so like it was said before you have to get used to stayin in hotel rooms for 1/2 of the month. I would say that one of the worst things about regionals would be having to commute to sit reserve. Well hope that helps.
 
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