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Lowest Pilot Salary?  
User currently offlineBahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1834 posts, RR: 10
Posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 22416 times:

Since we love to discuss high paid pilots, why don't we discuss the lowest paid pilots?
The criteria should be for lowest paid full time pilot jobs... Should we also sctrict it to Part 121 or should we include charters as well?

Hmm....

Discuss..


Earthbound misfit I
76 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15831 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 22407 times:

GoJet? Really I think you can pick just about any US regional carrier. Some of those wages are rediculously low. Especially when you think of how much those guys spent on flight school.


Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2572 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 22288 times:

GoJet: 1st year FO $23/hr, top $35/hr. Top captain $84/hr.

Mesa: 1st year FO $19/hr, top $35/hr. Top captain $100/hr (after 20 years).

Colgan: 1st year FO $21/hr, top $32/hr. Top captain $78/hr (15 years)

Great Lakes: 1st year FO $16/hr, top $21/hr. Top captain $48/hr (10 years)

If a new-hire FO works 80 hours a month at Great Lakes, he will make $1280 per month, or $15,360 per year. That's the same as someone working a 40 hour/week job for $7.38/hr. A 10 year veteran Captain at Great Lakes makes the equivilent of a 40 hour/week job at $22.15/hr.

This info and more can be found at: http://www.willflyforfood.com/airlinepilotpay/

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineC680 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 22244 times:

Glufstream - you pay *them* to fly.


My happy place is FL470 - what's yours?
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 22227 times:

Not to make Great Lakes look better (they really aren't) but they fly under 135 rules so their pilots can fly 120 hours a month.

80 hours of credit per month is a very good guide to go off. Most airlines guarantee 70-75 hours minimum credit per month. Hal gives a great example.

This is what the public needs to understand. Working a 40 hour week yields 160 hours pay per month. Based on that, most first year FOs are somewhere in the $11-12 an hour range. Now remember that they are only paid for the time they are off the blocks (IE: Taxi, flight) NOT when they're doing preflight/postflight duties. I might be on duty for 12 hours but only get paid for 6 hours of that time. The rest of the time, I'm in uniform, I'm on duty, I represent the company. I call that working. So now I'm making about $6 an hour.

Flight attendants have it even worse. They're making somewhere around $15 an hour.

The people working on that next flight (and directly responsible for your safety) you take are making less than the lady that handed you your extra value meal in the terminal. Even on a legacy carrier only about $10 of your ticket goes to paying the crew. On a regional it's closer to $4.

[Edited 2009-05-29 13:49:59]


DMI
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15831 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 22213 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 4):
Flight attendants have it even worse. They're making somewhere around $15 an hour.

Great Lakes doesn't have any flight attendants do they?



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 22153 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 4):
Now remember that they are only paid for the time they are off the blocks (IE: Taxi, flight) NOT when they're doing preflight/postflight duties. I might be on duty for 12 hours but only get paid for 6 hours of that time. The rest of the time, I'm in uniform, I'm on duty, I represent the company. I call that working. So now I'm making about $6 an hour.

I'll start with something like your disclaimer: the following isn't intended to make this look better, because it isn't good.

That said, you are making per diem the whole time you are away from base. It's not a ton of money (looks like $1.65/hour for you), but it's nevertheless money.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineBzwebner From United States of America, joined May 2009, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 22086 times:

I was working full time traffic reporting...

I was making $15 per flight hour...

Lets just say, LOTS of Ramen noodles, lots of noodles indeed!



Ben Zwebner, Ferry Pilot & Flight Instructor
User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3539 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 22053 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):
Great Lakes doesn't have any flight attendants do they?

Don't know why they would - 19 seaters don't require F/As.

But yeah - Great Lakes totally pay the lowest.

But with the kind of flying they do - I'm sure you come out of that program as a pretty darn proficient pilot. Not that that's any excuse for paying pennies.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2485 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 21991 times:
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Quoting Planespotting (Reply 8):
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):
Great Lakes doesn't have any flight attendants do they?



Quoting Planespotting (Reply 8):
Don't know why they would - 19 seaters don't require F/As.

Well, for their EMB 120s they operate.



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlinePiedmontINT From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 21775 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 4):
Not to make Great Lakes look better (they really aren't) but they fly under 135 rules so their pilots can fly 120 hours a month.

Um.. ZK is a 121 carrier. If they could make their pilots fly 120 hours in a month I'm sure they would  Yeah sure


User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 21628 times:

You're right, but on the 1900 they can fly up to 120 hours a month because it's 19 seats.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):
That said, you are making per diem the whole time you are away from base. It's not a ton of money (looks like $1.65/hour for you), but it's nevertheless money.

Which won't even buy you dinner in Canada and makes it next to impossible to have a healthy diet on the road. You're basically limited to fast food, or doing what I do which is packing a lunchbox. Our hourly rate is lower in every city we fly to than what the DOT and IRS allow by a long shot.



DMI
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 21613 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 11):
Which won't even buy you dinner in Canada and makes it next to impossible to have a healthy diet on the road. You're basically limited to fast food, or doing what I do which is packing a lunchbox.

Again, I didn't say anything about the sufficiency of it, but nevertheless, money is money is money.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 21562 times:

Back in the early 90's I was working my first AMT job out of school. It was a small CNY commuter, Mohawk. One night we were doing a cockpit phase insp. When we pulled up the cockpit floor we found a FO's paystub. We were shocked to find those guys were making only $13K a year. Our attitudes to the flight crews changed after that night. They wern't the 'Prima Donnas' that our CEO made them out to be. We found out most of the mechanics were making almost as much as the Cpts. As a side note. Most of those 13K FO's 20 years later are doing OK if they are still flying.

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15831 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 21524 times:



Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 13):
Most of those 13K FO's 20 years later are doing OK if they are still flying.

That's just it. An awful lot of guys work at companies that go out of business and have to start all over. The experience does help them land a new job, but the still almost always start right at the bottom again.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 21434 times:

almost every profession that has been around a while has a "pay your dues until you fall into the right job and do your time" when you first start off. just look at doctors who work 100+ hrs a week making peanuts with your lives in their hands for the 4 years of residency

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15831 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 21429 times:



Quoting 413X3 (Reply 15):
just look at doctors who work 100+ hrs a week making peanuts with your lives in their hands for the 4 years of residency

Yeah, but doctors don't have to go back and do residency over if their hospital closes.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 21288 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
Great Lakes: 1st year FO $16/hr, top $21/hr. Top captain $48/hr (10 years)

Hence why they're known as GreatMistakes  duck 


User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 21035 times:



Quoting 413X3 (Reply 15):
almost every profession that has been around a while has a "pay your dues until you fall into the right job and do your time" when you first start off. just look at doctors who work 100+ hrs a week making peanuts with your lives in their hands for the 4 years of residency



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 16):
Yeah, but doctors don't have to go back and do residency over if their hospital closes.

Exactly what I was going to say. Doc's only have to do it once. Pilots have to do it everytime they change airlines.


User currently offlineJokestar From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 20969 times:

Should Great Lakes have a tips jar at 1L?

User currently offlineManu From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 406 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 19371 times:



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 18):
Exactly what I was going to say. Doc's only have to do it once. Pilots have to do it everytime they change airlines.

However, a doctor will have to repeat residency again if changing fields, moving to a new country or possibly getting into trouble. I know many doctors don't want to move to Canada because we won't recognize their residency in countries like India, the Caribbean or even some European places.

This also causes a short fall with the number of doctors available in Canada. So I am not saying it is a good practice.

The whole seniority thing at airlines I have always had trouble with. I know it is a real mess when two airlines merge (thinking about CP and AC especially--even met the lawyer who represented the CP group for the seniority negotiations).

I think the pilots organization should mirror the doctor's in a way. An org is set up to administer and track their experience and then that is used to insert them into the seniority list. As well, they can negotiate to get put into the seniority list at an interview--more open market concept.

I am not in the airline industry, so this is completely an outsiders view, with some experience for the CP/AC merger...


User currently offlineFRAspotter From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2361 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 19305 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
If a new-hire FO works 80 hours a month at Great Lakes, he will make $1280 per month, or $15,360 per year.

That's around the same pay per month as a brand new recruit in the US Military. Except new recruits in the military have fewer living expenses to worry about (living quarters provided by military, dining hall facilities, etc.) Isn't the "poverty line" somewhere around $20,000?



"Drunk drivers run stop signs. Stoners wait for them to turn green."
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 19294 times:
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Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
If a new-hire FO works 80 hours a month at Great Lakes, he will make $1280 per month, or $15,360 per year. That's the same as someone working a 40 hour/week job for $7.38/hr

I made more than that working at McDonald's 15 years ago.

It is insane that these companies can pay their crews such low figures. I am amazed they find people who will do the job. People complain about low pay for policemen, teachers, firemen, etc. They have it made compared to regional pilots. Starting pay at my school district is $36,000 a year, more than double a Great Lakes FO can hope to get.

I had a pilot once tell me that he felt like a better educated truck driver, after seeing these figures I say he was a better educated lower paid truck driver.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 18635 times:

I was looking at pay scales the other day for my routine dose of reality after I get out of college, and I saw something that absolutely floored me. Airline Pilot Central reported that if you get hired at Cape Air as an F/O on the 402 (first off, they have F/Os on those?) you start at $9 an hour! $9! That is absolutely atrocious. I make more than that working ramp here for Comair. How is it that anybody would be willing to do that, or do most of their pilots get hired straight into the PIC seat? On top of that, why are their minimums for the Cessna so darn high?

User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 24, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 18629 times:



Quoting Manu (Reply 20):
Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 18):
Exactly what I was going to say. Doc's only have to do it once. Pilots have to do it everytime they change airlines.

However, a doctor will have to repeat residency again if changing fields, moving to a new country or possibly getting into trouble.

The two aren't even close. Imagine a pilot working for Airline A, based out of Airport X. He puts in his dues, goes through the ridiculously low pay, and rises through the ranks to become a captain with a decent salary that allows him to support a family with a decent (not great) standard of living. Airline A loses money and goes out of business. The pilot has the experience to get hired on with Airline B, also based out of Airport X. He's now trying to support his family on wages that can only barely support himself. I can't think of many other professions that do it that way.

A doctor who is limited to working in one country if he doesn't want to repeat residency is in much better shape. Sure, a Canadian doctor might be unable to leave Canada, but there are plenty of hospitals in Canada to choose from. Pilots are restricted to working for ONE airline if they don't want to start over at the bottom of the barrel.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
25 413X3 : single pilot operations. that's why. Lower time jobs have you sitting as the first officer and gaining experience.
26 413X3 : can you give some examples of this? if you are at that airline that closes you have probably built up enough time to move up and get hired into a hig
27 Mir : If you get hired at an airline, you are put on the bottom of the seniority list. Your position on the seniority list determines many things, includin
28 AirGabon : Maybe Sudan Airways?
29 Bobs89irocz : When i started at my airline i was making $24/hr. Honestly i made enough money to live...I didnt have to pay rent though. I just stayed in my parents
30 Cubsrule : All of this, I think, makes the argument that arises from the doctor-pilot comparison more of a question of nationwide seniority than of pay. If a pi
31 Cbphoto : While ZK IS a 121 carrier, we do operate under Part 135 rules. So yes, we are legally allowed to fly 120 hours a month, 1200 hours a year. We were "g
32 Post contains links Aviateur : Untrue. It doesn't happen that way. Imagine you’re an airline captain. You’ve been with the same company for 20 year now, and you’re making a r
33 Acey559 : Makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.
34 Mir : That's not my quote, it's 413X3's. If you read my reply #27, you'll see I make very much the same point as you. -Mir
35 IAirAllie : Not a very good comparison. I saw a study that showed if you factored in all the military benefits (retirement, GI bill, medical, etc) it is closer t
36 SLUAviator : In 2007, I went from flight instructing to Great Lakes to my current airline. I made a whopping $11,000 and change for the year. It was brutal. I divi
37 Falstaff : Who do those rampers work for? I can't imagine an airline paying flight crews less than the guys who put bags on the plane. Those guys do a lot of ha
38 Borism : Is this seniority BS only widespread in North America? Haven't heard such horror stories here in Europe, I guess it's the same at large "legacy" carri
39 Pilotpip : Seniority is how it works in the UK as well. I don't feel it's BS. What it prevents is lots of management butt-kissing and politics playing into who u
40 HAL : 100% correct. The comparison between doctors and pilots can only be taken so far, because unlike doctors, we are all supposed to have the same basic
41 Mir : It's not BS, but I believe that the inability to switch from airline to airline without going back to square one is a big reason why the industry can
42 SLuaviator : Rampers who work for the mainlines usually do OK. DGS, Swissport, Servisair and other ground handling companies do not pay as well. Rampers only need
43 Borism : I don't quite understand your argument guys. Does seniority really equals more safety? Or what does seniority mean in real life? I guess it does mean
44 Pilotpip : Then please tell us how to fairly devise a system to allow pilots to advance to higher paying positions, better paying aircraft and better schedules w
45 BMI727 : Seniority may seem like a horrible way to determine promotions, but it prevents a lot of problems that could occur.
46 Cubsrule : Not permitting someone with five failed checkrides to upgrade (to DH4 captain) might be a good start... I'm not sure that gets us there, but I do thi
47 Luv2cattlecall : If it was that bad, then why do you chose to stay with them and/or in the same industry? The fact that there are so many pilots willing to take these
48 Mir : So where is the line? Should two checkride failures be a disqualifier? Three? Four? -Mir
49 Pilotpip : Ok, so what if he got nervous on a private checkride and failed it, then instrument, then commercial, then multi and CFI. But passed the second and h
50 PhilSquares : After sitting back and reading this post, I can't do it anymore. The issue about checkrides, in my opinion, is a red herring. If someone is an attorn
51 413X3 : Wait a second, an attorney can lose a case and still be a very good attorney. But a checkride is a test of your basic flying skills, attention to deta
52 Mir : I hear many stories of failed checkrides in my current job. Some of them are legitimate failures, but others are over ridiculously trivial things. No
53 Cubsrule : If that's true, what is the point of giving checkrides? I'm not sure I agree with this argument. Safety is the minimum qualification for a pilot, but
54 Luv2cattlecall : I usually defend management's pay, by pointing out that you need to pay $$ to get great leaders (Bethune, for example), and that even the CEO of the
55 PhilSquares : Well then, the same is true for a pilot. But, what criteria do you suggest you use for an attorney? Billable hours, appeals overturned, malpractice s
56 Cubsrule : No, I saw it. Maybe the problem is that I don't understand how these checkrides that wildly vary (as you detail) can possibly validate the training p
57 Ual777 : I agree. I think the whole DE situation is flawed. Guys that make $350-450 dollars per checkride. If they WANT to fail you; they WILL, whether it be
58 PhilSquares : First of all, I don't want to hijack this thread but I will try to answer the questions posed. You can talk to any pilot at any airline, if you doubt
59 Cubsrule : I guess, then, that the line would be a more appropriate place to evaluate pilots. So if we get rid of the poor evaluators, can we use checkrides to
60 PhilSquares : Do we live in a perfect world? The seniority issue also allows pilots to have more experience at that one airline. There are different "cultures" fro
61 Cubsrule : This is an important point, and one that I think often gets lost in the discussion about a nationwide seniority list. But I wonder whether that effec
62 PhilSquares : The aircraft is the same but the SOPs might be vastly different. So, that argument holds no water at all. Ok, so how do we differentiate experience?
63 Cubsrule : Are you arguing that they are so different that they negate, say, a 15,000 hour time difference? I honestly don't know the answer to that, but thus f
64 PhilSquares : I can tell you people have a hard time "unlearning" things when they move from one company to another on the same aircraft. It's not quite as simple
65 Cubsrule : Ahh, you and I made two different assumptions, and the different results given our two different assumptions is fairly telling. I assumed that your t
66 PhilSquares : The problem is the regionals have been viewed as a stepping stone to the majors. Both sides (labor and management) are guilty of perpetuating this st
67 Cubsrule : Even if we "fixed" regional pay and work rules, I suspect that regionals would, in general, remain a stepping stone. My sense is that most pilots wou
68 Mir : It really depends. If the pay for those two trips were the same, some might be inclined to take the ORD-STL trips. Sure, there are more of them, but
69 PhilSquares : Not at all. First of all, the majors don't operate exclusively long haul flights. Secondly there are plenty of pilots that I know who are very happy
70 Cubsrule : They don't, but each major has some types that are exclusively or nearly exclusively longhaul AA: 772 CO: 772 DL: 744, International 757/767, 772 UA:
71 BMI727 : Perhaps DL A330 pilots would be a better example. Do they prefer the longer TATL and transPac segments or the shorter Intra Asian routes? It is certa
72 Cubsrule : That's another great example. When I suggested AA 767 pilots, I was thinking of Europe (including ORD-DME, which is longer than several of AA's 777 f
73 413X3 : I didn't mean fail "A" checkride, but failing 5 and not being fired or at least ordered retraining or more training is ridiculous
74 Mir : I think it is, because it allows the most experienced people to remain scattered across the fleet rather than forcing them to congregate in the large
75 Cubsrule : The trouble is that with carrier-specific seniority it's really tough to solve this problem-- but carrier-specific seniority has some advantages (whi
76 PhilSquares : I don't know where you are getting your information, but anytime a checkride is failed, especially at an airline, there is additional training requir
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