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Pilot Schedules  
User currently offline707jetclipper From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 10 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 10587 times:

Hi!

Recently I have been wondering what a typical airline pilot's schedule during a given month is like. I am under the impression that it is usually either 4 days working and 3 days off or 3 days working and 4 days off. What type of role does seniority play in this?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNorCal From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2459 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10559 times:

It can vary greatly depending on the company you work for and the type of schedule you want, your seniority, and the type of aircraft you fly. I'll give you the basics and others can add on to what I say, like I said it varies.

You can do day lines, 2 day, 3 day, 4 day trips etc.

- A pilot who commutes might want to do a long 4 day trip so that he/she can maximise their time off between trips.

- A pilot who lives in base might want day lines so he/she can be home with their family at nights.

- Some domestic pilots choose to do things called high speed turns, where they will take the last flight to an out station and then take the first flight back the next morning. The advantage being you can do a second job during the day and fly at nights. I personally think this is a very tough life style because even on the best on night (no delays) you end up getting an 8-9 hour layover. That doesn't translate into sleep time because time spent traveling to the hotel and spent getting ready the next morning is counted as part of the layover. Some guys like earning the extra money and live off of 6-7 hours of sleep a night.

- Some pilots bid their lines to get maximum time on the overnights

- Some bid their lines based on where you overnight

- Some bid for max days off

- Some bid for max block time (basically the time we spend flying) to get higher pay

- Some bid for weekends off

There are a ton of choices out there, but the biggest thing is having seniority. With out seniority you get stuck on reserve and that sucks. You basically sit at home and wait for crew scheduling to call you and give you a trip. They usually give you 2 hours or less (depends on the airline's contract) notice to get to the airport so you can't really do a whole lot. Some pilots do a home based buisness or a hobby. If you don't find something then you'll end up going crazy, believe me I've been there.

These are just some examples, I'm sure others will have more.


User currently offlineCX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6587 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10528 times:

Just to add, not every airline goes off seniority either. Where I am, the rosters are pretty much all based on everyone being on a level playing field. You can request certain trips, layovers or days off per month and put in a number of requests. The company will try to approve everyones first request before moving onto everyones second etc... It makes it fair for everyone.

User currently offlineNWA757boy From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 676 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10513 times:

At NW, 747 and A330 pilots have trips up to 13 days. Those are worth roughly 70 hours. Pretty good trip, just do one a month and you are done.

Domestically, there are trips up to 5 days.

Some guys like turns, others like long trips so they don't have to commute as much.


User currently offlineBoeingFever777 From United States of America, joined exactly 5 years ago today! , 409 posts, RR: 54
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 10462 times:

My Uncle is Sr. Intl. Capt/Check-Airman for AA on 757/767.

They bid, eat, sleep, breath, holiday, everything... etc, based on Seniority.

Typical month for flying for him:

ORD-LAX-ORD 763 check-ride
ORD-FCO-ORD 763 check-ride
DFW-OGG-DFW 763
DFW-CDG-DFW 763

12-14 days off each month.

When asked he will always do check-rides on 757/767.

Domestic check-rides include: LAS, LAX, MCO, STL, EGE
International check-rides include: FCO, BRU, FRA, CDG... etc



Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre.
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 10414 times:

My schedule is 2 weeks on then 1 week off. During that 2 weeks I am on call on a pager to go anywhere, anytime with a 45 minute to 2 hour wheels in the well response time, 24/7. If we go to Europe or S. America, we get a 3 hour call out.

I can't wait to get to the point when I actually know what I am doing a month or more in advance, heck I'd take a week in advance!



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8968 posts, RR: 76
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 10366 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

We have trips with different length. Shortes is 3 days and longeser currently 13 days. In total I have 10 days off a month. And the rest is divided in flying and off. The longer the trip, the more time off after it.

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineTito From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 125 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 10337 times:

Ultra long haul flying results in reaching one's monthly limit (or overtime trigger) quite quickly.

I fly 5 to 6 legs (HKG-LAX, LAX-HKG) before reaching my limit for the month. So that results in a schedule of three 3 day trips per month. I average twenty days off per month.

That's a big difference from a few years ago when I would fly 6 legs a day, 10 days off!

If you can handle the jet lag, international flying is definitely something to shoot for, lifestyle wise.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10263 times:

Typically I work about 18 days on followed by 12 days off. You simply bid if you want to work the first, 2nd half of the month, or the middle. Some guys stay out longer for overtime, but by the 18th day I am usually pretty ready to get home.


Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10240 times:

Lately at my airline, I have been working 18-20 days/mo, 50-60 legs/mo, 80-95/hrs month.

One must also remember that while many airline pilots get more days off than those in other careers, our days on are spent working/away from home all day. Our only time at home is our days off. There are some times I would kill to be able to go home and see my family, eat a home cooked meal, and sleep in my own bed every single day. I can barely imagine how great it would be...


User currently offlineAirbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10116 times:

17 work / 11 off in 28. Some of those 17 days are reserves where i don't get called out and sometimes finishing early in the morning from a flight or starting late in the evening thus resulting in even more days at home than those 11. I find myself at home about 14 whole days in 28. The others can be to max 5 day trips but also day trips doing 4 flights.


FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4913 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10088 times:

I work long single day cycles.

This month I fly 3 YYZ-SEA-YYZ, 4 YYZ-PHX-YYZ and 2 YYZ-YLW-YYZ. The total is about 82 flying hours, in 9 days. 22 days off.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8968 posts, RR: 76
Reply 12, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10080 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 11):
This month I fly 3 YYZ-SEA-YYZ, 4 YYZ-PHX-YYZ and 2 YYZ-YLW-YYZ. The total is about 82 flying hours, in 9 days. 22 days off.

 banghead  I need to change the airline. IF I am lucky I have 10 days off a months. Ok, this months it is 22 days, but I have 18 days vacation.

Best month I've ever had was 15 days off (no vacation)

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 10059 times:



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 11):
The total is about 82 flying hours, in 9 days. 22 days off.

I believe we call that "The Rock Star Schedule". Very nice.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4913 posts, RR: 43
Reply 14, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 9963 times:



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 13):
I believe we call that "The Rock Star Schedule". Very nice.

Yes, but it comes with a price.

With 22 years with the airline, I could be B767 Captain at the bottom, (on reserve all the time, with 10 guaranteed days off a month) or A320 Captain about 40% from the top (with 16 days off a month) or doing what I am right now .... EMJ Captain as blockholder number 2 out of 275 in YYZ.

The difference? I make about $65,000 less a year on the EMJ, than the B767!



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offline707jetclipper From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 10 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9819 times:

I appreciate everybody's responses so far. Something that reading them has made me wonder, however, is what the maximum amount of flying hours allowed per month as well as per day are without and with overtime in the United States.

User currently offlineAirbalticfan From United States of America, joined May 2008, 263 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9808 times:

Just wanted to tell you guys how much I admire you -PILOTS!,Thank you for doing GREAT JOB to take us safelyv from places to places!Thank you!

User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9760 times:



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 14):
Yes, but it comes with a price.

It always does.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9758 times:



Quoting 707jetclipper (Reply 15):
I appreciate everybody's responses so far. Something that reading them has made me wonder, however, is what the maximum amount of flying hours allowed per month as well as per day are without and with overtime in the United States.

Part 135(unscheduled airline type stuff)
10 hours of flight in any 24 hour period for 2 crew airplanes(8 for 1 crew)
500 in any calender quarter
800 in any 2 consecutive quarters
1400 in any calender year

Our standard duty day is 14 hours, however, once we are done flying for hire, we are part 91 and can fly until we are tired.

As far as major airline stuff, I am not sure just yet, I know they have 16 hour duty days with 8 hours of flight? Someone can fill you in on that I am sure shortly....



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineVinnieWinnie From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 772 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9701 times:



Quoting BoeingFever777 (Reply 4):
Capt/Check-Airman

What is a Check-Airman exactly? And what does he do?


User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 9698 times:

Quoting VinnieWinnie (Reply 19):
What is a Check-Airman exactly? And what does he do?

A Check Airman, at least at my company, is in charge of routine and initial checkrides.

Every 6 months our Captains have to go on a check ride with a Check Airman and pass it, there is a basic oral test and flight test that covers a stall series, steep turns, non-precision approaches, ILS approaches and a single engine approach along with a simulated engine failure after takeoff(they pull it to idle).

The FO's do just about the same test, just every 12 months if they want to stay in the airplane. Initial check rides have the same flight portion for new FO's as well but have a deeper oral portion since they are new to the plane. A Check Airman cannot give a type rating, that is up to a Designated Examiner, which is the next blessing you can get from the FAA.

Sometimes the plane is taken out on a maintenance test flight or flown for dedicated training, but most of the time, check rides are done on a 91 leg after a trip at my company.

At a place like a major airline, the Check Airman may just do a line check, making sure the pilot does what he is supposed to do on a normal flight.

[Edited 2008-09-11 06:48:16]


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineBigSaabowski From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9667 times:

With larger planes, all checks with the exception of a line check are conducted in a simulator. At my airline, both Captains and FOs have to pass a check ride every 12 months, and have a Line-Oriented Flight Training session(LOFT) every 12 months. That way there is some kind of simulator event every 6 months. Captains also have to pass an annual line-check, where a Check Airman sits in a jumpseat during a revenue flight.

Quoting 707jetclipper (Reply 15):
I appreciate everybody's responses so far. Something that reading them has made me wonder, however, is what the maximum amount of flying hours allowed per month as well as per day are without and with overtime in the United States.

In a U.S. 121 airline (scheduled), there is a limit of 8 block hours a day for domestic flights, 30 a week, 100 a month, and 1000 a calendar year.


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