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An Airline Pilot's Life?  
User currently offlinenipoel123 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2011, 267 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 10316 times:

Hi everyone,

I just joined A.net, so I'm not sure if this is the right forum.

I would like to know what airline pilots do, apart from flying. Are there any airline pilots out there who could give me a description of what a working day looks like? I don't mind whether it's flying for a regional or a major carrier, in fact I would like both 'lives', so I can get a good picture of what such a life looks like.

Thanks in advance,

Nick


one mile of road leads to nowhere, one mile of runway leads to anywhere
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 10290 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
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Quoting nipoel123 (Thread starter):

Hi nipoel123 and welcome to airliners.net.

A pilots life? Well, it is a job like every other job working in shifts. You are gone from home for a couple of days and enjoying your layover there, depending where you are.

When you get back home you are sharing time with friends, family as much as you can. Good thing is, when you are at home, you have the whole day off and can enjoy morning to evening. Not like in a 9-5 job where you share the evenings and weekends with your partner.
On the other hand you have to work on holidays, christmas easter, new years etc. So for families with children that sucks at time.
Next problem is the sleeping pattern, there is simply none - especially on long haul. You have red eye flights, 9+ hours time difference, nothing you get used to. So once you are back home you are tired for a day or two.

It is my dream job and I don't want to do anything else. I like flying around the globe, seeing nice places, meeting nice people and doing stuff everywhere - and getting paid for it  

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlinelalib From Pakistan, joined Feb 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10035 times:

Damn I wish I was a pilot. As a teenager I was fascinated but then dropped the idea and opted for Maritime Law instead.

I have met a few pilots in HK. They seem happy. Earn big bucks working for Cathay Pacific or Dragonair.

Most live in an area near the airport 20-30 mins away. have nice apartments, the kids go to school in the same neighborhood. And when they are off work they hang out with their buddies.

But yeah - the hours can't be easy long flights, crankiness - thats the only drawback I can think of.


User currently offlinefoxxray From France, joined May 2005, 381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9694 times:

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 1):
Hi nipoel123 and welcome to airliners.net.

A pilots life? Well, it is a job like every other job working in shifts. You are gone from home for a couple of days and enjoying your layover there, depending where you are.

When you get back home you are sharing time with friends, family as much as you can. Good thing is, when you are at home, you have the whole day off and can enjoy morning to evening. Not like in a 9-5 job where you share the evenings and weekends with your partner.
On the other hand you have to work on holidays, christmas easter, new years etc. So for families with children that sucks at time.
Next problem is the sleeping pattern, there is simply none - especially on long haul. You have red eye flights, 9+ hours time difference, nothing you get used to. So once you are back home you are tired for a day or two.

It is my dream job and I don't want to do anything else. I like flying around the globe, seeing nice places, meeting nice people and doing stuff everywhere - and getting paid for it

wilco737

Nice  

Here is the life of a private business aircraft pilot !

Waiting all day long at home (or not to far away from the airport) in case the owner needs to go somewhere... Sometimes with less than a 2 hours notice (!) and sometimes when everything is ready and you are waiting for your passengers, the flight is canceled   

I'm not only the pilot, i'm also in charge of flights operations, ...

It's a very nice job but very tiring !!!

[Edited 2011-04-15 06:07:00]

User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9641 times:
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Quoting foxxray (Reply 3):

Hey foxxray,

pretty tiring for you indeed. I hear you. I am pretty happy that my roster is (more or less) pretty fixed and not a lot changes take place.

I hope you still like your job? Or would you prefer doing something else instead?

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlinenipoel123 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2011, 267 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 9495 times:

Thanks for all the replies already!

Wilco, you fly for Lufthansa don't you? At least that's what I made out of your posts (not in this thread of course).
How's your roster? What education did you have?

I'm now in the third year of Dutch High School, at the highest level (bilingual education, too), and have to make some decisions regarding my Courses for the coming years. Any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.



one mile of road leads to nowhere, one mile of runway leads to anywhere
User currently offlineRG787 From Brazil, joined Nov 2010, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8588 times:

Quoting nipoel123 (Reply 5):
I'm now in the third year of Dutch High School, at the highest level (bilingual education, too), and have to make some decisions regarding my Courses for the coming years. Any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.

Same here, I'm finishing high school, with some certificates in english. Sometime ago there were a series of threads here based on some videos from youtube, and most people said being a pilot sucked and stuff, but I remember that most posts were from americans, it would be nice to hear something from another place.
By the end of this year I must decide what course I want in university and I have grades for law (that's hard over here) on a good university and I am having some trouble deciding if I want university or if I should start my classes for being a pilot, the latest which has to be done in another city.


User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8502 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
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Quoting nipoel123 (Reply 5):
Wilco, you fly for Lufthansa don't you?

Yes.

Quoting nipoel123 (Reply 5):
How's your roster? What education did you have?

It is usually 4-5 trips a month. Depending on the length. Gves me 13 days off a month, rest on trips.

Quoting nipoel123 (Reply 5):
Any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.

I cannot really give you any advice to be honest. I was lucky enough to be accepted to the LH scholarship and LH flight training course. So right after school I started training and right after training I was sitting in the 737 cockpit. I don't know how this is all in the Netherlands. Sorry....

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlinefoxxray From France, joined May 2005, 381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8464 times:

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):

Yes, i still like my job, but i'm looking to join a major airline ! I'm dreaming of fixed (as you said, more or less) rosters...  


User currently offlineairbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 440 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8465 times:

Well Nick,

Here's a point of view from a countryman of yours.

Started my trip yesterday morning at 10 a.m. local time, went to Prague and back and then to Cardiff to spend the night, arrived there at 6 pm, went to the hotel, had dinner with the crew, did some shopping at the mall and then watched tv to eventually sleep by 2230. Alarm went of at 5 am this morning. Had breakfast, got in the crew bus. Waited for a slot upon departure out of Cardiff. Then after homebase continued on to Cologne and arrived at the hotel at 11 am. Did a bit of emailing and surfing till 1 pm, then met with the crew to sit on a terrace all afternoon in the sun and have some drinks whilst praising our job and complaining about the company (that's what we do a lot of the time), but most of all having a good laugh, then had a pizza and went back to the hotel and i'm writing this for you now. Then 2 more days away from home and on workday 6 a dayshift, starting and ending at home. Then 3 days off where i'm going to do all the regular stuff that other people do, see my girlfriend, see friends, do some washing, clean the house, do some home improvement, go boating, do some cooking, relax, etc and then after 3 days at home I have 2 days of standby duty and then 5 days off again.

I work 18 days out of 28 on average and some days/months are easy and others are heavy. I should get on to long haul in about 2 years time and then get a bit more time off at home.

This is my roster for part of the comming month, i left all the times out and the home base......

MON 2 TRF XXX MRS XX
DIN 3 Leave
WOE 4 Leave
DON 5 Leave
VRY 6 XXX CGN XXX LPL
ZAT 7 LPL XXX BRS
ZON 8 BRS XXX PRG XXX DUS
MAA 9 DUS XXX TRD XXX BRS
DIN 10 BRS XXX MUC XXX
WOE 11 Simulator training (TSTR1)
DON 12 Leave
VRY 13 Leave
ZAT 14 Leave
ZON 15 XXX DUS XXX BRE
MAA 16 BRE XXX GOT XXX NUE
DIN 17 NUE XXX BHX XXX

[Edited 2011-04-15 10:11:52]


FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlineKevinPDX From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8366 times:

Nipoel123,

As a teenager I wanted to be a pilot for an airline but instead chose a career in engineering and got my flight ratings to enjoy as a hobby. Now that I am almost 20 years into my engineering career I often wish I had chosen to go the airline pilot route. I enjoy my engineering career but it's always in the back of my mind that I would enjoy flying even more.......

In any event, my opinion is that you should follow the path that you think you will enjoy the most. There are up and downsides to every career choice, flying will be no different. Don't follow the money or worries of an unstable career, do what you will enjoy the most. You will be at it a long time so you need to enjoy it while you are at it. You can always get an education in something else so you have a good fallback position if flying doesn't work out for whatever reason.

Oh to be 18 again with the fork in the road ahead of me instead of behind me.................

Good luck in whatever choice you make. BTW, check out www.willflyforfood.com and go to the forums for good information on the career from all points of view.

KevinPDX


User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8366 times:
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Quoting airbuster (Reply 9):
I should get on to long haul in about 2 years time and then get a bit more time off at home.

And those days at home you spend trying to get into a proper sleeping pattern and until then you are like a zombie, not knowing what time and sleeping while walking  You need these more days off at home on long haul...

Quoting foxxray (Reply 8):
I'm dreaming of fixed (as you said, more or less) rosters...  

I can perfectly understand that! Nothing beats a stable fixed roster to plan your life around it.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineairbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 440 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8115 times:

Quoting KevinPDX (Reply 10):
In any event, my opinion is that you should follow the path that you think you will enjoy the most.

Exactly!

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 11):
You need these more days off at home on long haul...

Been there wilco, Cruise relief on the mighty 11 for 1,5 years. And as far as i can remeber, i preffered it. Got home early in the morning, had 3 hours of sleep and by day 2 i was up and running quite well. Also I love to have enough time at the destination to really visit the place and do stuff. The flying is best on shorthaul, the life is great on longhaul.



FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 8077 times:
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Quoting airbuster (Reply 12):
Been there wilco, Cruise relief on the mighty 11 for 1,5 years. And as far as i can remeber, i preffered it. Got home early in the morning, had 3 hours of sleep and by day 2 i was up and running quite well. Also I love to have enough time at the destination to really visit the place and do stuff. The flying is best on shorthaul, the life is great on longhaul.

Always great to see how different people are. I prefer the short haul, can't wait to go back. Sure you have more time at the destinations, but I did the job mostly because of the flying. I love handflying and you simply don't do that on long haul a lot. Yesterday maybe 8 minutes after take off and 2 minutes before landing... On short haul I felt more comfortable, stable sleeping pattern... And I prefered to actually work and not just sitting there and watching the autopilot doing his job 

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlinebahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1772 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7989 times:

11 days off a month , for 584 dollars net per paycheck..


Earthbound misfit I
User currently offlineklm77 From Canada, joined Sep 2009, 168 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7547 times:

I always wanted to ask a pilot this question but never had the chance. I am currently in my last year of high school and will be attending aviation school next year. Every time I go flying as a passenger, I always listen to trance music and get these euphoric moments and goosebumps just by looking out the window and seeing how we are gliding above the world. I know that pilots don't listen to music while flying (Not that I've heard of), but how does it feel to be up in the air all the time, and getting to see at times some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world? That's something i'm defiantly looking forward too, along with the flying of course 

[Edited 2011-04-15 11:04:03]

User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8967 posts, RR: 76
Reply 16, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7536 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting klm77 (Reply 15):
but how does it feel to be up in the air all the time, and getting to see at times some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world?

Sure it is great to be up there, sunglasses on, enjoying the ground scenery or the cloud formations or northerlin lights etc etc. It is for sure stunning at times. No doubt.

wilco737
  



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 17, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7521 times:

I suspect like most jobs, this one is largely what you make of it. The mindset you approach it with will largely determine your level of satisfaction once you get past all the entry level hoops. I typically work 17 to 18 days a month at a non-sched freight hauler. As such, duty days and rest periods can be all over the board. I may be back to back trips with min rest the whole time, I might sit for a week and never even hear of an airplane. It took me a while to learn to not care where we go at this company. We may go someplace cool, or horrible, stay a while, then go somewhere else. Guys that obsess over layovers drive themselves nuts here. This schedule is rough on the body and not too easy on the family. If the opportunity presents itself, I will probably go back to short haul work until all kids are out of the house.

The job isn't perfect, but it is good enough that I don't want to do anything else.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 804 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7500 times:

Quoting nipoel123 (Thread starter):
Here is the life of a private business aircraft pilot !

Waiting all day long at home (or not to far away from the airport) in case the owner needs to go somewhere... Sometimes with less than a 2 hours notice (!) and sometimes when everything is ready and you are waiting for your passengers, the flight is canceled

This is true for some but in the business pilot world there is no "standard" job. As was said..it's what you make of it.

I've been on bizjets for 20+ years and of course, like everyone, started at the bottom. Long days, short nights, last minute changes, dissapointments, excitement...but it was always an adventure and I liked that. Not sure I would want to still be doing that now though. "Paid my dues".

Now I am on the Global Express in US as a more traditional corporate pilot. Scheduled days off. Trips booked weeks ahead of time. 12-14 nights per month away from home, most of it at Marriott of some sort and most of it within US with the occasional Europe trip.

I still very much enjoy the travel and as an avid runner I get out to run just about anywhere I go and have a lot of fun checking out the sights.

Best of all: I look forward to a day of flying now as much as I did at the beginning in the C 152, 1981.

As was mentioned, a supportive and independent spouse is a must if one wants to fly and have a family too.

26.2


User currently offlineSpeedbird741 From Portugal, joined Aug 2008, 654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 7408 times:

Quoting nipoel123 (Reply 5):
Any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.

I too went through this debate with myself not so long ago (at all). Although I am not a pilot and not close to being one, I have asked a good number of pilots this question. Essentially, most (if not all) European carriers do not require you to hold a university degree or (much less) to have university studies in any particular area. The possibility of you becoming a pilot will not be annulled if you major in history or if you do not major in anything at all. However, if there is only one position open and you are a holder of a degree in engineering/physics/chemestry when all others studied management/history/arts (all else being constant and equal), you can be sure to be selected. I wish you the best of luck my friend!

Speedbird741



Boa noite Faro, Air Portugal 257 climbing flight level 340
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7352 times:

Quoting nipoel123 (Thread starter):
Are there any airline pilots out there who could give me a description of what a working day looks like?

Well one thing for sure is that flying isn't as glamorous as it used to be, especially when you're a fledgling regional pilot (in the US at least). I was aiming for working at an airline but frankly after looking how many of my friends flying in regionals are treated and just how much drama there is in the industry it really turned me away. So I'm shooting for corporate. I guess I rather be a limo driver rather than a bus driver, as some people seem to view pilots nowadays  

This is the current reality of many younger US pilots. I have friends having a much tougher time than these guys in the video:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/flyingcheap/view/

Still, the many senior pilots I've come to know have plenty of bitching about their jobs as well, even with 6 digit plus salaries. I guess most of us pilots are just a bitchy lot 

[Edited 2011-04-15 17:35:20]

User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7110 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7325 times:

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 7):
I cannot really give you any advice to be honest. I was lucky enough to be accepted to the LH scholarship and LH flight training course. So right after school I started training and right after training I was sitting in the 737 cockpit. I don't know how this is all in the Netherlands. Sorry....

Oh how it is so much different in the US!

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 20):
This is the current reality of many younger US pilots. I have friends having a much tougher time than these guys in the video:

Exactly and as great of a career being an airline pilot can be, I think everyone who wants to aspire for the job should see things like this at first. It took me a while but I realized I did not want to take the chance of maybe never seeing a Major Airline job or widebody etc.. The money and benefits are not there in the airlines anymore. But at the same time some people just need to follow their dream. I have changed my mind so much on what I want to do a career I wish I got paid every time I changed my mind. Anyway there are there plus and minuses of course. Last week I had a 50 year old CRJ-200 Captain and the next flight a 35 year old A320 FO its a lot of hard work and some luck. Also networking so important in aviation industry!
When I win the lotto of make a few million I will go after that commercial pilot job  



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 22, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7219 times:

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 7):

It is usually 4-5 trips a month. Depending on the length. Gves me 13 days off a month, rest on trips.

Whats the Stretch of continous scheduled Holidays like approx.....



Think of the brighter side!
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