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What I've Learned...

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Well-known member
Mar 15, 2002
What I’ve learned from reading Flightinfo.com:

The majors probably won’t be hiring for another 5 years. If you are in your 20’s no problem, if you are, like me about to turn 40, so much for that dream. I’m sure someone will write back with an optimistic outlook, either way it’s too late for me.

When a company announces it is hiring, they are flooded with resumes.

Buying a type rating to get hired is PFT. I’m saying no to SWA.

FedEx…commuting to Memphis doesn’t float my boat, neither does Memphis, and neither does sitting sideways.

A corporate flight department won’t hire you unless you have a type rating. The best way to get hired by a corporation is to start as a contract pilot. How much does a G-V type rating cost? (Kidding).

Let the young guys do the regional jet thing. They need the jet time. I need more excitement and $$.

A lot of the good flying jobs are in the South and West. Don’t they fly up here in Yankee land?

Why do ROPES take a panel jobs when they can fly corporate? Must be for retirement purposes.

It’s depressing seeing 13,000 hour guys looking for jobs.

Beggars can’t be choosers.
CCDiscoB said:
What I’ve learned from reading Flightinfo.com:

A corporate flight department won’t hire you unless you have a type rating. The best way to get hired by a corporation is to start as a contract pilot. How much does a G-V type rating cost? (Kidding).

Untrue... Yes, most of the very large operators will want jet experience and probably at least one jet type rating (even though we hired a guy about 6 years ago who had 0 type rating and he worked out OK) Go get a job flying Charter, you will get Jet experience and probably eventually a type rating or 2 (on their dime)... then you can easily move on... I got 3 jet type ratings flying charter, but I wasn't typed in any of the aircraft my current employer had... they paid to type me in those...

Why do ROPES take a panel jobs when they can fly corporate? Must be for retirement purposes.

Honestly? No offense to anyone, but Corporate doesn't want them... they don't understand the job, and don't want to do the work... they need to go fishing....

Ditto on Falcon Captain's comments. Airline veterans can have a tough time adjusting to wearing several "hats" as a Corporate employee, after having alot of the support functions accomplished for them.

If you are still interested, try the charter business to get some experience. Do some salesmanship in your area and get to know the management of local companies. With some good old networking, you should be able eventually to move into the corporate arena. Corporate operators are looking for people with people skills.

Good Luck,

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FalconCapt and CitationCapt are right on!

First, for the older folks, Falcon is right ... the ex-airliners are used to having FAs, dispatchers, rampers, schedulers, etc. at their beck and call. Nothing wrong with that ... it is just an adjustment when part of the job of flying corporate is filing your own flight plans, loading baggage, brewing coffee, choosing FBOs, etc. Most people at 60+ don't want to make that adjustment, so they don't fit in to the corporate culture. (To say nothing of trying to make people who've flown steam gauges all their lives puzzle out the ultra-modern bizjet avionics!)

Personally, if I still have to be working at 60, I'll have made some financial mistakes along the way!!

Ditto the type rating comments above. I have no type ratings (nor an ATP ... 300 hours to go) but successfully landed a King Air job and recently was a close runner-up for a Beechjet FO job, both based on networking and getting to know people. Corporate operations hire people ... all but the largest departments are close-knit groups, I've found, and they want people who fit in to that group and to the company's culture. They will pay to train the right people ... so buying type ratings doesn't make too much sense, in my opinion.

Many of your observations are somewhat cynical, but they do have a kernel of truth to them. This is a rewarding business, but it is not for the faint of heart. I'm saddened when someone is driven away, but if you don't have the stomach for this stuff, go find something you'll really enjoy. If you can take the tough times (and this sure is one of those), then hold out because better days are ahead.

Tailwinds, y'all ...

As I told a guy in my corporate tool interview today:

"It's a great job, but a lousy career." When/if they call me back, I'll probably go though....

Oh, yeah. Disco flew Phantoms, the manliest jet ever. I don't think he needs "jet experience"
A good summary, but...

Hey CCDisco--that was a pretty good summary but I have to disagree on one point.

You think it's too late for a forty year old. At first glance I would've agreed (if you were a mid-life career changer, with 200 hours total time, no degree and no high performance turbine experience).

But you have a solid aviation background you just need a really good internal recommendation from someone at a really good airline and then you'd be set.

At forty, assuming you got hired this year (unlikely, but not impossible) that's still a 20 year career.

One other thing, don't look down on sitting sideways. The FE is an endangered species and quite a valuable member of the crew. It's a great experience if you look at it in terms of a CRM exercise. The dynamics of a three person crew are very different.

Lastly, thank you for not PFTing--even if I don't necessarily consider SWA a PFT airline.

Best wishes

Not rebutting your post to knock you down, but to try to cheer you up. Yes....market is tough right now. However--I'll throw out a few points you can take or leave as you best see fit.

First, don't give up on JetBlue. If I was one of the Yankee tribe, flying A320s in the NE and east coast would be great. You can make Capt in 1-2 years...so your "after 40" late start won't hurt your career earnings like not being early at AA, DAL, or UAL. You won't max pay like at the big 3/4/5 but 135-150 year + profit sharing ain't bad. I know you haven't been called yet--but keep updating. I passed on them simply because I thought a 2 hop to JFK 3-4 times a month would kill me, and after 9/11 was committed to staying in the ANG. For a guy in your neighborhood, it would be a dream job.

Other options--Frontier/SWA/Air Tran are all growing and expanding at the expense of the majors. You won't make UAL wages...but then again...nobody else is making UAL wages that has been hired since 2000, and those guys may be making concessions soon. Air Tran flys in and out of LGA, so even a NE guy like you could work for a southern company in a pinch.

I also passed on the 737 type, but when I made my choice AA, DAL, FDX, Jetblue, and a bunch of others were hiring. If I were applying today I'd rethink that decision. $7500 amortized over a 20+ year enjoyable career is peanuts. I'm not familiar with their NE routes but don't they fly into ISP? Some of these carriers may morph into more dominent companies down the road--and in the meantime working there might be a lot of fun. Check the posts from the Air tran and JetBlue guys (and gals)...they seem to be having a ball.

You say you need excitiment and dollars--all good goals. But just like when we left college, we didn't get to walk in and grab a VP job--you were expected to start in the mailroom. I may have thought of myself as a "fighter pilot" walking into my interivews and airline job, but they see you as "new hire boy". It stinks to start at the bottom again but that is just the nature of the business. That's another great reason to keep the ANG or Reserve job the first few years of your airline job--its nice to work somewhere where it feels like you matter or are part of a team...something that may be lacking in your first few years (certainly your probationary year) at a major.

As for FedEx...I'm not crazy about flying sideways, and moving to Memphis is not in my current plans. However, UPS and FedEx are very commuter friendly. On the 727, there are layovers in PVD, MHT, BOS, and a handful of other places close to your location. Many of our trips have commercial deadheads on the front or back end (or both), which means with a little work you can fly from your home base and back with a minimum of hassles. Upgrades happen relatively quickly, as lots of folks "plant" themselves in a seat to enjoy the benefits of seniority. I have met many guys there who were in a widebody FO class (A300 or MD11) at 18 months or less with the company....making about 115 bucks per hour (more if you fact in B plan, perdiem, etc). I like the crews I work with, the layovers are usually pretty good, and the flexibility to drop/add/trade trips is awesome. If I could drag my wife along on a trip here or there it would truely per the PERFECT job for me, but since I can't I am just accumlating FF miles on my deadhead legs and picking up an extra trip here or there to just buy her a ticket.

As for qualifications--you can't control the number of pilots looking for jobs, but there will always be some guys who don't get hired. Right now its tough...but you are a highly qualified military pilot who is likely very competitive. The boards are full of ideas on how to best get your resume to the top of the stack--I personally know at FedEx you need to have a sponsor approach a managment pilot. Keep swinging the bat and when you get your interview make sure you do the required prep.

Keep the faith.
Life begins at 40

I may be one of the leading opponents here of forty-somethings changing careers to aviation. I tried it and I'm a product of my experiences. I feel that I know what I'm talking about. I was over forty and had recip-only civilian CFI hours. I could not invite any real interest from the commuters. My colleagues, who had basically the same quals and were twenty-five and under, were getting that attention.

You may be over forty, Disco, but you have great quals. Military pilots almost always can cut in front of the line ahead of civilians. The airlines still love the training and background that military pilots offer. It remains a fact that current military pilots can bypass 135 or regional flying and apply successfully directly to the majors. Ex-military pilots are a major component of the over-40 and over-50 contingent that is hired by the majors. Of course, if no one is hiring, it doesn't matter how good your quals are.

I despise P-F-T as much as anyone. For me, ten years ago, P-F-T would have been the only way I could have been hired. I resented that. It is wrong for employers, in any business, to make new employees pay for their training . But, I have mixed feelings about getting the B737 type for Southwest. I don't quite consider it to be P-F-T because you have to have the type to be considered seriously. In fact, it doesn't fall under the strict definition of P-F-T because you can shop your 737 type to anyone who wants it. All that notwithstanding, if you want to play with Herb's ball you have to play by his rules.

I'd like to go back to the future with your quals, Disco. Even ten years ago, with your background I have no doubt that I would have been hired.

Keep trying.
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Usually, when you think you've got it bad and you look hard enough you can find someone in a worst situation then you are in. Well, look no further! Here I am! Forty! I give my left "you know what" to be forty! (That's easy for me to say because at my advanced age, I don't use them anymore.) Presently, I am furloughed from my second major airline. I am all civilian so, there is no other retirement fund source or ANG job to help. I'm not about to give up! I'm still going to try and get a sound, solid job with any company be it airline, corporate or charter. It's either that or start my retirement job early. ("Would you like fries with that?") I would give my right" you know what" (Note previous statement.) for a job at jetBlue but despite my 12 years of airline flying, I am not very competitive. (ie., Airbus experience,etc.) I'll keep trying. I agree with the general theme of this thread, that is don't give up. By the way, on top of all this I live in the northeast also. Take care and best of luck.

I've seen you around this forum quite a bit lately. Let me tell you I feel your pain.

I was applying everywhere in 2000 that would accapt an application, and I do mean everywhere. I was trying to get away from a corporate job that stunk. I had worked three years in jet charter and thought this one corporate job would be the end-all-be-all for me. I got into it and found out it was something different entirely. All I will say is that , especially in this case, intergrity isn't even a buzz word, let alone a value.

The only decent interview I got was from a new carrier that was interviewing everybody. The only reason I got the interview was because they felt they had to since I met the mins. With that said, I think things worked out ok. It ended up being jetBlue before they changed their hiring practices.

The point I am trying to make is don't let closed doors, and what seem like toasted dreams, sway you. Explore every single opportunity. You may not have a job on you DOS, but so what? You either have 6 months to get a job for 20 years, or twenty years to find the dream job. It all depends on how you look at it.

Any how, best of luck to you. If there is any way possible I can help, please let me know.


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