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Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2000 9:43 am

Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 5:06 am

I am deciding a career to go into and I wanted to be a pilot since I was 2 but I heard that pilots have to be away from home a lot and I plan to have a family SO I wanted to know do regional pilots have to be away a shorter amount or is it the same and how is the pay scale for regional pilots thanks a lot for info this is helping me decide my future
Posts: 1216
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 5:57 am

Hi Gregjet,

Most pilots who want to be airline pilots do not aspire to be "just" regional pilots. I work for Air Wisconsin, a "regional" airline", but I hope oneday to work for a "legacy" carrier. I used to work for SWISS International, but due to layoffs there, I have returned to the US to work.

Anyway, with regards to your question, the pay at a regional is not great, but with time at the airline it becomes better and better, especially at some of the more reputable airlines.

More important than pay, though, is lifestyle. At least it is to me. You mention that you want to be at home enough and have a family. This is a very important thing to you and you will want to make your choices accordingly. I am in hotels about 8-12 nights per month. But I also have a decent number of days off.

One issue to be aware of is that it is very often not possible to live where you work. I work in Washington Dulles, but I would like to live in Minneapolis. This makes for a commute of several hours.

The career is a wonderful career with many rewards. But as you already see, it is not perfect. Like any career, it has its plusses and minuses. I do not like living in a hotel, but the view from the "front office" makes it worth it, to me at least.

Every pilot has their own personal reasons for wanting to fly. Be aware that the industry is going through a period of great turmoil and that right now it is tough. But it is also a cyclical (sp) industry and by the time you are ready it may well be great. Nobody knows. I hope to work at United or AA someday and fly 777s! But to be honest, right now there is ZERO chance of that happening in the next few years.

Get your licenses, fly safely and enjoy your flying. Those are the most important pieces of advice I can give.
Posts: 1867
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:02 am

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:00 am

I suggest, you get in contact with your local airline, or an airline that flys in to your local airport, i always wanted to see what an ATC tower looked like, so i got in contact with the ATC company and they setup a date for me to go.
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RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:01 am

When regional pilots are dispatched, do they fly back and forth on one route each day they fly, for example would they fly DEN-ASE-DEN-ASE-DEN-ASE and stay with the plane until their day ends, or do they go to many cities each day?
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:23 am


There are different types of schedules. But basically we fly similar schedules that the "mainline" pilots fly.

For example, on Friday I start a 4-day trip and the first day I go IAD - MCI, then MCI - DEN, finally I finish up with DEN - MKE. None of these is a "regional" airport. But that is another story....

Anyway, my 4-day trip has many different destinations and I will not see my home airport until the final flight of the final day on Monday.

But we have other days which are out-and-back types of days. For example, last week I had three days where all I flew was IAD to ATL and back to IAD. These were relatively easy days, but still added up to about 7 hours from check-in to check-out.
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RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:51 am


Saab2000: Thank you very much about that, now, let's say im from Colombia, can I fly with a Mexican airline ? Does natonality matters??? Also are you a Cap. Or a F/O ? What equipment do you fly ?, how much money do you earn a year or monthly ?

Thank's for your info again !

P.S. Welcome to my respected users list
UAL Bagsmasher
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:52 pm

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:10 am

Hey Saab2000, have you heard what's going on w/ the ACARS installations? I heard that the 146's they did have bugs with the system and aren't working too well.
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 11:55 am


Regarding your nationality.... well, I don't know. I am in the unusual situation of having both FAA and JAA licenses. Also, I can work in both Europe and the US. I have met very few people who are in this situation. Can you work in Mexico? I don't know. The only thing you can do is to find out if Columbia and Mexico might have any agreements on working relationships. Good Luck and Safe Flying! Have fun!

I fly on the CRJ-200 and work as an F/O. Had I been able to stay at SWISS, I probably would have been upgrading now, but the situation there is not so great. At least I have a job. Most of my colleagues who lost their jobs did not get so lucky.

How much money do I earn..... ???? Secret.....  Smile/happy/getting dizzy... The information is available online. I am not ashamed of it, but for the US, especially in Washington, it is not much. But I do not think it prudent to discuss my wage on an open forum. Sorry...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

UAL Bagsmasher,

At risk of divulging company info, there have been some hiccups with the ACARS installation. It is our plan to continue to implement these. United wants us to have them, and it will be a huge plus when they are finally up and running. The priority is on safety for the time being and we are concentrating on having it right rather than rushing to have all of our aircraft outfitted ASAP.

As with any new technology (for us at least) there is a learning curve. Once it is functional though, it will be great! I think having it will be better than not having it.

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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:30 pm


As someone who is finishing up an aviation degree, I might be able to offer a different perspective on your career planning.

It's great to plan ahead like you are, but remember to keep your options open. In 8-10 years, when you're about ready to get your first flying job, you will almost certainly have different preferences, priorities, likes, dislikes, etc. The job that looks attractive to you now may not appeal to you at all in the future. I mean, who's to say you won't get to fly a seaplane one day and then decide that's what you want to do for a living? Stay focused on your goal, but also keep your mind open to other possibilities.

Here's a link to another post you might find informative:

You're already doing the right thing by following the industry on here. That will give you a great heads-up on how things work. Or, at the very least, the current status of Northwest's DC-9 fleet. : ) In all seriousness, though, you've got access to a LOT of knowledge on these forums, so keep asking questions and gathering information. If you have any questions about the college end of things, just ask.

Best of luck,

Intentionally Left Blank
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RE: Questions For Regional Pilots

Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:20 pm


Southfield, MI! Hey that's where I was born.

You are still young and have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do. If you start saving now, you could get your PPL in H.S. I suggest getting your Private and Instrument before deciding to go full on and spend lots of money to pursue a pilot career. Often people imagine what airline life is like, and "living the dream" as an airline pilot is not quite the same as "living the reality" everyday.

True, a fair amount of time is spent away from home, but depending on the company and your base it may not be as much as others. I live 100 miles from my base and often get overnights at home. So, while I am 'gone' on a trip I am at home for one night of 3 overnights too! Plus, some guys get schedules that are 2 day trips (1 night away and then home again) back to back. There are also some schedules that are day trips where you begin and end in domicile everyday. My schedule is 6 on, 2 off, 5 on, 3 off, 4 on and the rest of the month off (even without vacation). I get an overnight at home each week. So while I get worked hard at the start, I have the end of the month off to kick back! The schedules can vary widely by carrier, so it really depends on where (airline) someone works that affects their lifestyle. My trips are all within 500 miles of my base, where other carriers pilots may end up on overnights a time zone or two away from their base.

If you want to get more informed about the career visit It's the premier forum on the web for aspiring pilots. They have message boards to ask advice too.

As far as pay, it's awful start out. Basically is you can get $1800 a month to start, that's good. (Ask your parents what they think about that!) This link is very popular for pay info-

Good Luck