aaden
Posts: 776
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:49 am

Airline Pilots

Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:15 pm

ever since i can remember I have wanted to fly. I have given serous thought to trying to become an airline pilot. for about a year or two now, I been reading articles about how the industry is collapsing. I have also herd from a few not all pilots that after a couple years it becomes like another job and does not have the same excitement too it as it once had. some seem as if it wasn't/isn't worth it. spending all that money to start out as rj pilot and make 25-30k a year struggleing to pay back your loans. so I'd appreciate any input into the situation that you fellow pilots could give. feel free to comment if you are not a pilot thought too.
 
FBU 4EVER!
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:53 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:49 pm

Wait a couple of years and the airlines will pay you for going to flight school! At least that is how it looks now.In 2010,50% of today's commercial pilots will have retired.Many countries are considering upping retirement age to 65 years to counter the shortage.There are not enough students at flight schools at this time to fill all the expected vacancies.
Europe alone will have a shortfall of several thousand pilots 2-3 years from now.
I have some 30 years of experience as a commercial pilot now,and am still enjoying my job!
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
HAL
Posts: 1743
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:02 pm

The thing to remember about this profession, is that it is constantly changing. Many people decide to become pilots based on the images they remember from movies or TV shows from years past. Those images were mostly fabricated anyway, and life as a pilot in the pre-deregulation era wasn't as rosy as people remember. The pay wasn't great, the work hours long, and the flying itself was much more dangerous than it is today. The planes were more primitive and less user-friendly. If you would like a brief overview of what life at a major airline is like today, go to the trip-report section on this website and look for reports by myself or Seven3Seven. They are fairly accurate examples of life at the majors today.

Beyond the day-to-day operations though, the most important thing to remember is this: if you want to be a pilot, do it because you love flying, not because you want the image, money, or prestige. Most of those are lacking in today's industry anyway, and for the majority of airline pilots, haven't been there at any time in their career anyway. If you want to be an airline pilot, you should know that you won't spend a year as a regional FO, upgrade, spend another year as Captain then move on to a major. It will probably take much longer than that. Be patient and enjoy where you are and what you are doing at the moment. There are some things you just can't control, like the economy and hiring trends at the airlines. Be patient, and enjoy the moment.

There are always a small minority of pilots who, mostly through sheer luck, get a job at a major at a young age and retire at the top of the seniority list flying widebodies to Europe or Asia. The vast majority of airline pilots however spend years flying night freight, or bouncing around down low with 20 or 30 passengers shuttling between Pittsburgh and Flint. They will never become the most senior pilots at a major because there are a few people already there, just as young or younger than they are, who will always be ahead of them. If you make it to a major at 23 years old, congratulations! You beat the odds! If not, like I said before, enjoy where you are and be patient.

At the two larger airlines I've flown for over the past few years, there are always a few pilots whose goal in life seems to be to complain. They complain about their pay, their management, and their co-workers. Those pilots also seem to be the ones making the most comments to the media and on forums such as this about how lousy the profession has become. Yet at both airlines the vast majority of pilots love their job, and come to work with a sense of enjoyment and professionalism. Of course there are often problems along the way. Three years ago I was furloughed from what I thought would be my permanent job, and I have only come back to it in the last month. During those three years though I flew the Alaskan bush, and piloted the Airbus A320 for America West. Those are experiences I will treasure for the rest of my life. Was it stressful losing my job at Hawaiian? Of course. But I knew years ago that it was a possibility that I could get furloughed. I didn't buy the Porche, or the beach house in Hawaii. I understood the limitations of the profession, and didn't get caught up in the trappings and the 'appearance' of the job. What I did though, was this: I remembered that I love flying. It's really that simple. The people I have worked with over the last few years that truly enjoyed the job all had the same attitude. I spent several years at Hawaiian before getting furloughed, and then suddenly found myself out of a job. A few months later I was trying to de-ice a Piper Navajo on the ramp in Fairbanks Alaska in -40 degree weather. Yet even there I found amazingly professional pilots who loved their job and took pride in doing it well. They loved flying, and it showed.

Of course it will be different for everyone who gets into the industry. It couldn't be any other way. However, success in a career as a pilot is most dependent on that one quality - love of the job. What it comes down to is this; if you plan to fly for a living, get educated on the industry today. Learn as much as you can about what is going on and what life is really like. Learn what the pay scales are, and decide if you can live for years on that salary. Learn what the work rules are, and what kind of trips you may be flying. Learn not only about the majors, but what avenues you have to travel to get there. Learn about the night freight operations, about the regionals, and about the military. As I mentioned before I went from flying across the Pacific in a widebody to hauling six passengers and all their groceries from Fairbanks to Ft. Yukon. From there I went to flying frequent red-eyes out of Las Vegas with loads of drunken gamblers onboard. On most of those trips, after flying all night across the country, I had the sunrise burn into my eyeballs as we made our descent into Ft. Lauderdale or Boston or Raleigh. Yet, I still enjoyed it, because it was flying. I was prepared, as was my family. That isn't to say it wasn't hard, because it most certainly was. But patience was key, and now I am back at Hawaiian, flying across the Pacific again.

One other factor is not to be too picky in where you fly. If you have your heart set on one particular airline, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. There can be long stretches of time where an airline isn't hiring at all, and if you happen to be focused on being an XYZ pilot instead of just a pilot, then you are limiting yourself too much. For example American and United haven't hired pilots since around 9/11, but in the years since then Continental, America West and FedEX have hired a large number of pilots. My own father flew for United for 37 years. I did interview there, but wasn't offered the job. My career has turned out OK though anyway, so I'm not disappointed. It should be for the love of flying that you pursue the career, not for any one particular uniform.

Whatever stage of the career you are in, if you love flying, you will enjoy the job. How do you keep that love? Be prepared and aware; know exactly what the career can hold for you. If there are no surprises, the love of the job comes so much easier. And whatever stage you are at, strive to be as professional as you can. As a flight instructor, your first goal should not be just to gain hours, but to pass on a professional attitude to all your students, whether they are planning on becoming commercial pilots or not. As a pilot at a regional, don't take shortcuts. Act professional and follow the prescribed procedures. Not only will that make you a better pilot, but it will make you a safer on too.

Barring the invention of a fountain-of-youth pill, the pilots now flying at the majors will have to retire someday. That opens up new slots for people to be hired, gain experience, and climb the seniority ladder themselves. Just don't forget to enjoy the trip. If the only day you enjoy in the career is the day you retire, then you shouldn't have been there to begin with.

And finally this - yes, the original poster had some spelling and grammar problems. If your replies exist only to berate and belittle him though, shame on you. Positive remarks would be so much more helpful than simply slamming him. It's all a part of everyone's growth, and maybe if he can learn from his mistakes, then he (and the rest of us) will be better for it.

Good luck on your career choices AAden, and if you or anyone else has more questions feel free to post them, or e-mail me.

HAL

[Edited 2006-06-19 12:06:35]
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
bahadir
Posts: 1295
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:08 pm

HAL,
as another pilot, I really appreciate the long and very informative reply. Welcome to my respected users list.
Earthbound misfit I
 
foxdelta
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:11 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:03 am

HAL,

Well said and good luck with your "new" job.

Cheers,  airplane 
 
Mainliner
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 6:34 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:10 am

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
ever since i can remember I have wanted to fly.

I've had the same dream my whole life...I've always wanted to fly for the majors. I guess it helped that my parents always supported my dream (emotionally, not financially)...they told me that if I really, truly want to fly, there's no reason why I shouldn't. And that's the same advice I'd give you. Yes, the airlines are in turmoil, but what you have to remember is that this is a cyclic industry. I do believe that we will see an end to the turmoil eventually; when it is over, things will definately not be the same as they were in the 90's...just like they weren't the same in the 90's as they were in the 70's and 80's.

The industry will evolve, but that won't change the fact that flying is a rewarding career. I do agree, it is frustrating to think of the obstacles ahead; I'm beginning my senior year at college, and have only about half the minimum flight hours required to be hired by the regionals...needless to say, I'll be flight instructing for a while. It's definately not easy, but it never was...I guess that's what makes it so fulfilling once you eventually make it to where you always wanted to be.

If flying is your dream, go for it. There's no reason not to work hard for something that you love. And if flying is what you really want to do, through shear persistence and hard work, it will come to you in time.
Every flight counts.
 
CaptainJon
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:21 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:47 am

Well I hope it isnt too late to ask questions myself, but I am 25 years old, and also ever since I first step onto a 727 I wanted to pilot airplanes. I was fascinated with all the controls, and gauges, etc. I knew it would be for me. But I saw it as a dream, like every young kid did when they wanted to be a police man, fire man, etc., and yet some do eventually realise their dreams, but for me, I later learned I was good with computers, and I eventually studied it in college and now work full time in the field. But everytime I look in the sky I wonder if I would want to do that for a career. I do still have tremendous amount of loans to pay off from school, and I did take an introductory flying course, and I do want to continue and finish my training but I need to save up so I can easily pay for it.

As for my questions, which direction should I go in? It would be great to work for CO, UA, etc., but at my current age and how much more work I will need to get beyond private, is it worth it? Should I stay in the field I am in? I know even with my entry level job now I will probably be making more money here than if I switch to airlines, but where else? Corporate jet pilot? Charter jet pilot? And of course I do want to eventually get married and have children. I know pilots live by the suitcase and aren't home a lot...And I would want to spend much time as possible with my future wife and children--so how is home life for pilots? It would be great to just fly Skyhawks on nice weekends, but it would also be great firing up turbofans and flying across country or even the oceans. I love to travel, and I love flying...so what other questions should I ask? I always day-dream about it and wonder if I should really go for it.

Any suggestions?? I'll end my rambling now--so I hope to hear some responses....Thanks all...
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:24 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:33 am

Don't let the current events stop you,the airlines were going to Haades in a handbasket when I finished high school in the early 80's,they've been there and back several times since.After I earned my PP, I shouldn't have listened to the doomsayers,I should have kept going,they= guys who did are still loving the job no matter what the times are doing to them...all I can say is good luck and go for it!!
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
Parabolica
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:15 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:41 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 5):
Just don't forget to enjoy the trip. If the only day you enjoy in the career is the day you retire, then you shouldn't have been there to begin with.

Beautifully said, HAL. And applicable to so many things in life besides flying.

Enjoy your new career, and best of luck to AAden

P-
oh please let there never be cell phones in airliners...
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3944
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:42 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 5):
And finally this - yes, the original poster had some spelling and grammar problems. If your replies exist only to berate and belittle him though, shame on you. Positive remarks would be so much more helpful than simply slamming him. It's all a part of everyone's growth, and maybe if he can learn from his mistakes, then he (and the rest of us) will be better for it.

Hal I hope AAden prints and frames your reply.
And my thoughts exactly on the belittling, all of us in this field or those deeply interested in it may not have the luxury to learn the use of spell checker or take a grammer course, but stick and rudder we know.  Smile
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
pilotaydin
Posts: 2099
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:30 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:47 am

also remember buddy that you can look at flight training all over the world, not just the usa, check out some schools in australia or europe, it would be easier to get into airlines with more pay and larger aircraft if u go there  Wink
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:45 am

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
spending all that money to start out as rj pilot and make 25-30k a year struggleing to pay back your loans. so I'd appreciate any input into the situation that you fellow pilots could give. feel free to comment if you are not a pilot thought too.

This is true for every person that went to college. It's not only for pilot profession. People are deep in debt for many many years. Actually pilot schooling is cheap compared to other schools out there such as Medical or Business schooling. Those guys easily pay over 100K for school on top of that they have to pay for the 4 year college also. So if you look at it from a different angle it's not so bad for pilots.

It's nice to hear from current pilots but they are soo far away from your current position. There is no use in dreaming about or even thinking about which company you would like to work at. Right now the only thing you can do is get a license and see if you really like flying. And dare I say, stay away from the pilot profession at least here in the U.S and get a job where you will have a quality of life. I know that at 20 years old you probably don't care about pensions or medical benefits or 401ks and would just rather travel the world in your 777. But the reality is that life is difficult and some pilots right now are 55 years old and do not have any money to pay for their own funeral much less retirement because the company lost all their retirement money. Imagine that, 55 years old and you will have no money to live after you hit age 60. I know of a United captain who got furloughed, he's pretty old, he works at Home Depot now and he probably won't be going back because of his age. Think twice.

[Edited 2006-06-19 19:48:31]

[Edited 2006-06-19 19:51:23]
 
CentPIT
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:48 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:51 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 5):
And finally this - yes, the original poster had some spelling and grammar problems. If your replies exist only to berate and belittle him though, shame on you. Positive remarks would be so much more helpful than simply slamming him. It's all a part of everyone's growth, and maybe if he can learn from his mistakes, then he (and the rest of us) will be better for it.

I didn't think there was anyone with this mentality left on earth. I sincerely thank you for your post, it has touched me with more than just advice! Welcome to my RR!

 wave 
Pittsburgh International: US Airways---160 daily departures! (52 destinations)
 
EasternSon
Posts: 637
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:07 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:22 am

I'm right there with you AAden, I've always dreamt of it, ever since I flew with my father, sitting in the jumpseat of a DC9, when I was eight years old.

I struggled for along time with the question of whether or not to go full-steam at a commercial license and fly with one of the the big guys.

I have to let you know what ultimately made my decision. This is not a sob story, so forgive me if it comes across this way, but the end of Eastern Airlines broke my father's heart. Just as HAL described, he was one of the true pilot's pilots in the industry. He LOVED flying, and that was why he did it. He flew on B720s flying crappy routes at crazy hours. He finally moved up to some bigger equipment after years of dreaming of flying internationally. He met his wife (my mother, an Eastern Stewardess.) He started flying DC9s as a Captain, and thought it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

The last years with Eastern took so much out of him. It may be be his fault for believing in and loving the airline so much, but he really felt betrayed when, after so many years of being a huge proponent of Eastern and having so many good memories tied to the airline, he got dropped on his ass. Now, after all those years of flying and loving it, getting him to talk about anything aviation related is like pulling teeth.

After seeing that, and having a good friend get furloughed right after getting hired by a major while his wife pregnant and have to declare bankruptcy, I can only tell you that I decided against it.

Instead, I found a portion of the industry that has great potential for the future. I get to work with aircraft and keep an eye on the industry without worrying too much about having a job in six months. I still get to fly two or three weeks out of the month. I, regrettably, just don't get to sit in the cockpit anymore. But, I can still get my private license and fly anytime I want (for 1/10 of the price.)

Long story short, and as fatalistic as it may be, if you go into it for the love of flying, be prepared to have your heart broken by an industry that really doesn't care that much about you.
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
777-200
Posts: 959
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2000 11:11 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:30 am

Well said HAL!!

Another site you might want to check out is http://www.jetcareers.com , it has alot of perspective artcles and has helped me alot along the way!
Another Day, Another Dollar.... Young Jeezy
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:39 am

Also keep in mind that nobody is hiring anymore. I would guess majors hire maybe around 3 thousand pilots a year. I read somewhere that currently in the U.S there are around 600K pilots and a smaller percentage are commercial pilots. Still that 3 thousand is way too little. What does this mean? It means that you will have to do lower end flying such as regional or cargo flying for a longer time until slots open up for you. Flying in the U.S is done. Unless there is that pilot shortage that every body talks about, job out look will be grim. There are way too many overqualified pilots and not enough jobs. A large u.s pilot population are flying in Asia, Middle East, Europe or at Walmar or Burger King, that's how desperate people are.

[Edited 2006-06-19 20:40:12]
 
MD88Captain
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 9:50 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:57 am

Do yourself a favor. Concentrate on something that truly pays big bucks. Treat aviation like a mistress. Be able to afford your mistress and caress her when you want to.

98% of aviation predictions are wrong. Ten years ago aviation experts predicted huge increases in flying hours and a dire shortage of pilots. A million other sure thing predictions are now obviously wrong. As an industry the airlines have always sucked. Oh, it can get in your bloodstream, but it still sucks. Working for airlines will always suck. The actual flying is great and the rest sucks.

Do something very lucrative and fly your own machine. There are many thousands of very, very talented pilots that will just never get on with a major. That was their goal and it will never be achieved. And it had nothing to do with their talent.
 
CaptainJon
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:21 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:07 am

Regardless of pay, how rewarding is it to fly for corporations, or charter flights, etc.? Can one actually earn a living doing it? I saw a thing on discovery wings channel about a guy whos a corporate jet pilot, showing how before the flight he buys a dozen of krispy kreme doughnuts, etc for his passengers--he seems to really love doing his job--says its more of a 9-5 deal, no layovers (usually) and can bring cool gifts for his families when he goes away. Sounds like a lot of fun. But dunno about the money in it. It seems like a lot of investment into the training with little return on the investment. I think I rather win the lotto, buy my own gulfstream and enjoy life  Smile...but i dunno really
 
BA787
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:40 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:25 am

I have a question about this profession as well and i would appreciate educated response.

I have wanted to be an commercial pilot for years and have chosen my GCSE's to try and fulfill this. One major thing standing in my way is my eyesight. I am short sighted but wear contact lenses and glasses. I would be willing to have any surgery necessary to fulfill my dream

Does anyone know the guidelines for vision within the industry and whether surgery would solve the problem. The CAA site wasn't particularly helpful.

Also can mild asthmatics become pilots.

If any of you think it doesn't warrant post space, I would appreciate an instant message.

Cheers Tom

P.S. Nice to be back with friends Big grin
 
PITrules
Posts: 2109
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 11:27 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:32 am

Quoting HAL:
Three years ago I was furloughed from what I thought would be my permanent job, and I have only come back to it in the last month. During those three years though I flew the Alaskan bush, and piloted the Airbus A320 for America West. Those are experiences I will treasure for the rest of my life.

HAL, are you the one whose story I read in AOPAPilot a few months ago? Either way, nice story, and nice reply.
FLYi
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:13 am

Quoting BA787 (Reply 18):

Does anyone know the guidelines for vision within the industry and whether surgery would solve the problem. The CAA site wasn't particularly helpful.

Here in the states, as long as you can see with glasses, you can fly. As far as eye surgery I think it's not allowed. But there's no need for surgery anyways so why have it?

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 17):
Regardless of pay, how rewarding is it to fly for corporations

Corporate flying is probably the best form of pro flying, don't confuse it with charter flying however, the trouble is that you need a little luck and connections to find a job flying for corporations. Plus you need a lot of hours. But if you make it, you easily make over 10k a month and have very nice benefits and you fly intersting and important people. You might even make a connection or two with these guys and get free stuff Smile I've talked to a few pilots at VNY. I've heard of people here in Los Angeles flying for hollywood studios and other companies with money to burn, that make over 200k. Although this pilot community is probably less than 1 thousand in the whole U.S. So you have a better chance at playing the lottery than getting a flying job for these rich corporations.
 
KingAir200
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:37 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:08 am

I am not a commercial pilot, but my father is, so I like to think that I kind of know what I'm talking about. From the day I was born, it seemed predetermined that I was going to be a commercial pilot. My dad would always joke about my sister and I being hired as pilots by two different airlines, so my parents could have pass privledges on three different airlines. My interest in being a pilot has wained since then, probably because I don't want to feel like my dad and his pilot friends, working in a dead end career, flying the same airplane for 20 years, pay cuts, the list goes on.

That being said, if you want to be a pilot, be prepared to spend time away from your family, miss your kids' activities, eat at restaurants all the time, get up sometimes at 4:30 AM, stay at dumpy layover hotels in cities like MOT, GFK, AZO, don't think that every layover is 33 hours on the beach in Miami, because it generally isn't , work holidays (if you're real junior), amongst other things.

However, if those don't bother you, the free or almost free travel is cool, along with flying an airplane around, which, from what I hear, is a neat experience. My dad loves the flying itself, which, along with paying the bills, is the only reason why he does it. Remember, this isn't Pan Am as depicted in the movie Catch Me If You Can. It just isn't like that anymore.

Look, I don't want to sound too negative, but that is just my opinion. Keep in mind that it is your career, not somebody else's, so do whatever you feel is the best option for you.

[Edited 2006-06-19 23:26:46]
 
747luvr
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 1:39 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:21 am

HAL...perfectly put! AAden...just don't let anyone persuade you not to become an airline pilot. From the age of 7, thru my 23rd bday, when I got married I was hellbent on going to the majors. 9/11 happened, and my wife convinced me not to "waste" the money on my education for my ATP...while I have some regrets...I'm ok. Point being- listen and do what YOU want, not what SOMEONE else suggests/pressures you into not doing. Good Luck!

747LUVR
 
HAL
Posts: 1743
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:41 am

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 6):
Well I hope it isnt too late to ask questions myself, but I am 25 years old, and also ever since I first step onto a 727 I wanted to pilot airplanes.

Jon, no it isn't too late. I didn't start flying until I was out of college, and had to wait through the recession and 1st gulf war to get my first flying job, 11 years after my first lesson. I was hired at my first airline when I was 38, but have enjoyed every minute of the flying I've done. Be patient, but as I said above, don't limit yourself to looking at one particular route to your career. Be patient, and always keep your options open.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 11):
It's nice to hear from current pilots but they are soo far away from your current position.



Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 11):
And dare I say, stay away from the pilot profession at least here in the U.S and get a job where you will have a quality of life.

I think I may have to disagree with you. I was sitting on the outermost edges of the profession just a few years ago as a flight instructor, so it wasn't that long ago for me. I do remember quite well what it was like and with all the turmoil in the industry I have kept tabs on what is involved with the job search and hiring requirements. Also, I know what the foreign airlines have in the way of quality of life, pay etc. They certainly aren't any better than the US airlines, nor worse either. The industry has rapidly come to a plateau in QOL issues around the world, so picking one over the other doesn't make too much sense. Just do your homework and choose what you think is best for you.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 15):
Also keep in mind that nobody is hiring anymore.

As I said, United, Northwest, and Delta may not be hiring, but Continental, FedEx, UPS, Frontier, AirTran, and Southwest are. Even America West was until the merger us USAirways happened. To restate: If you focus on just one or two airlines, you will be disappointed. Keep your options open.

Quoting MD88Captain (Reply 16):
98% of aviation predictions are wrong. Ten years ago aviation experts predicted huge increases in flying hours and a dire shortage of pilots. A million other sure thing predictions are now obviously wrong. As an industry the airlines have always sucked. Oh, it can get in your bloodstream, but it still sucks. Working for airlines will always suck. The actual flying is great and the rest sucks.

Most likely an example of the person who will only enjoy his retirement day. If you get too involved and get to feeling like it is a personal attack when pay is cut or a domicile closes, then you will end up feeling this way. Airlines are a business. Period. They have to make money to keep flying. They allow us to do a job we love. Pilots though - because of the type of job we do - tend to have big egos. And we also tend to believe that we are in charge of everything, including the company itself. However we are merely employees whose jobs are at the whim of management. You can enjoy the people you work with, and enjoy the job. Just don't think of it as an entitlement.

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 17):
Regardless of pay, how rewarding is it to fly for corporations, or charter flights, etc.? Can one actually earn a living doing it?

Quite a few people do this and love it. Netjets, Flight Options, and others are based here in the US as fractional corporate operations. In the pilot job websites there are countless ads for individual corporate positions too. The pay isn't as high as the airlines, although it certainly is liveable, and the work conditions are somewhat different. But if you like a more personal touch with your passengers, then try this route.

Quoting BA787 (Reply 18):
Does anyone know the guidelines for vision within the industry and whether surgery would solve the problem.

I'm afraid I don't know the rules in the UK. In the US I've heard that Lasik has been approved, but I don't know for sure.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 19):
HAL, are you the one whose story I read in AOPAPilot a few months ago? Either way, nice story, and nice reply.

Yes, that was me. It was fun to write, and hopefully there's more articles coming.

I know that for some I may have made things sound a little too rosy. It's just that I've had a chance to follow the industry with an insiders view, with all its ups and downs from when my father started flying in 1937 until today. I think it gives me a little perspective that others may not have. Be prepared, and take control of your own career.

HAL

[Edited 2006-06-20 00:47:21]
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Mir
Posts: 19108
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:23 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
If you would like a brief overview of what life at a major airline is like today, go to the trip-report section on this website and look for reports by myself or Seven3Seven.

Speaking of those, when are you going to write another one? I think I'm in withdrawal....  

Quoting BA787 (Reply 18):
One major thing standing in my way is my eyesight. I am short sighted but wear contact lenses and glasses. I would be willing to have any surgery necessary to fulfill my dream

I wear contacts and glasses, and had no problems getting my medical certificate. The only caveat is that my medical states that I have to wear contacts or glasses while flying (as if I would think of not wearing them). In the US, your vision only has to be correctable to 20/20, it doesn't have to be 20/20 unaided. If you have some sort of extenuating circumstances, then an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner - you in the UK might have a different term for them, but if you call your local flight school they should be able to give you a list of them in your area) would be the person to talk to. You're going to need to talk to them anyways to get your medical certificate.

-Mir

[Edited 2006-06-20 01:24:38]
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
aaden
Posts: 776
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:49 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:17 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 9):
Hal I hope AAden prints and frames your reply.

I'll do something like that
 
Lono
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2004 5:47 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:22 am

Go for it..... Imagine going to college... and making 30k a year...driving to and from your crappy job.... or becoming a pilot making 30K a year and you get paid to fly... how cool is that...?? Eventually you will make bank and enjoy your job even more doing what you dreamed... do it!!!
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
 
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HAWK21M
Posts: 29917
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RE: Airline Pilots

Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:05 pm

Very Well said HAL.
 bigthumbsup 
Currently out here Aviation is Booming & There is a Severe Shortage of Pilots & AMEs.This should continue for another couple of years.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
PhilSquares
Posts: 3371
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2004 6:06 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:30 am

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
so I'd appreciate any input into the situation that you fellow pilots could give. feel free to comment if you are not a pilot thought too.

After sitting on the sidelines for a while, I thought I'd offer my views.

My oldest is off to Uni this fall. He, too, has always wanted to be an airline pilot. He has seen the good and the bad, but what he remembers the most is the best. Good layovers, good hotels, time off, first class travel. He really never got to see the 16+ hour legs, the min rest layovers, the constant scrutiny and the increase in the BS level over the years. He wasn't around when I was in the military, so that world is completely alien to him.

I have tried to stay neutral in his decision. It's his life and he has to do what's right for him. However, about 8 months, he asked me for my opinion. For me, I have the best job in the world, but I also have 30 years experience and the seniority to go along with that. I don't have to worry about being at the bottom of any seniority list, I don't have to study for my ATPL, I don't have to live from paycheck to paycheck. But, if I were looking at doing it all over today, I probably wouldn't do it.

Why? The list is long and varied. First, the instability in the industry is at an all time high. Yes, it's been there all along, I remember TWA advertising for pilots with just a PPL! Those days are long gone. The cost of training, either via the military in commitment or civilian in $$ and crap jobs is just too expensive. If one chooses they can be a physician and get the same job satisfaction.

I guess if someone wants to take crap jobs for a while, and move slowely to the "big leagues" then it's fine. But there are countless other career paths to follow where the rewards are greater, the job satisfaction is higher and the regulations/scrutiny is much less.
Fly fast, live slow
 
CaptainJon
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:21 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:43 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 23):
Jon, no it isn't too late. I didn't start flying until I was out of college, and had to wait through the recession and 1st gulf war to get my first flying job, 11 years after my first lesson. I was hired at my first airline when I was 38, but have enjoyed every minute of the flying I've done. Be patient, but as I said above, don't limit yourself to looking at one particular route to your career. Be patient, and always keep your options open.

Thanks HAL. I will def keep all options open. As a passenger I love CO and would love to fly for them as well, currently I live very close to EWR but I am still young and live with my parents (nothing beats free rent). As where I want to go when I move out--I dont know. Though I'll take any flying job really. I hope to start and finish my PPL this year, though its hard and I thikn weekends are best, now its getting darker later, do schools tend to stay open later for lessons, like I can go after work? I plan on learning at either N07 or CDW. I know from the first lesson I had I loved flying but I dont want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars if I later decide I dont want to do it. I know i just spent a fortune for my college education in computer science and now i dont think i want a career in that field anymore...im so confused!
 
tu204
Posts: 1429
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:36 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:10 am

Who said that the industry is collapsing? Maybe in the United States, but in the rest of the world it is expanding and rapidly. I still have not recieved my diploma and I already have multiple offers from several companies in China and southeast asia that want to provide me with free housing and an ok starting salary. If you are worried about the money - don't be!
I do not dream about movie stars, they must dream about me for I am real and they are not. - Alexander Popov
 
757MDE
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:45 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:10 pm

Welcome to my RU HAL.

I'm almost in the same position as AAden, only that I'm going to try the military... if I can't make it there for some reason I'll figure out another way to get in the cockpit...

Thanks!
Quisiera volveraamartevolveraquerertevolveratenertecerrrrcaademígirl! Mis ojos lloran porrr ti...
 
tu204
Posts: 1429
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:36 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:21 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 27):
Currently out here Aviation is Booming & There is a Severe Shortage of Pilots & AMEs.This should continue for another couple of years.
regds
MEL

I second that. One of your low cost carriers was one of the companies that offered me a position. It is based in Chennai.  Smile
I do not dream about movie stars, they must dream about me for I am real and they are not. - Alexander Popov
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 29917
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:15 pm

Quoting Tu204 (Reply 32):
. One of your low cost carriers was one of the companies that offered me a position. It is based in Chennai.

Are you referring to the E-170 Operators.They are not considered LCC.However They are Keen on Recruitment last month.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
vs773er
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:19 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:00 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 19):
I have a question about this profession as well and i would appreciate educated response.

I have wanted to be an commercial pilot for years and have chosen my GCSE's to try and fulfill this. One major thing standing in my way is my eyesight. I am short sighted but wear contact lenses and glasses. I would be willing to have any surgery necessary to fulfill my dream

Does anyone know the guidelines for vision within the industry and whether surgery would solve the problem. The CAA site wasn't particularly helpful

BA787,
For 3 years now I have desperately tried to find out the answers to my eyesight questions. I have a pretty bad astigmatism in one eye. I am 0.50 of a dioptre out on one side and my AXIS is apparently has been too far out.

This time last year I attempted to contact 3/4 of local CAA registered docs to give me definitive answer as the CAA could not determine it unless I undertook the official medical which cost £££'s. After a speaking with the chief med examiner at Gatwick one informed me there was no chance I'd be excepted under the regulations at the time.

This was another bitter blow, one that was expected though. So I have opted to believe that it is fate & pursue another career 110% and keep the passion for aviation alive through a.net & x.plane!!!! (sad as it is!)

HOWEVER...
I read this thread yesterday morning, and my hopes slightly lifted when I read that there may well be a shortage of pilots in years to come. I started to dream maybe the JAR would amend or update their eyesight regulations to reflect today's technology - then swiftly faced reality and by lunchtime had forgotten about it.

Then, out of the blue, 4pm in the avo, one of the nurses @ the CAA called me. (Something they do not normally do!) to make me aware of, would you believe, amendments in the regs!!! She asked I forward my prescription through again for examination.
Apparently (and sure someone on here will inform us!?) the JAR's regs on this may be being updated after all and the amount of 'deviations' allowed are to be reviewed.

I have done as she asked and will wait and see.

Email the CAA your current eyesight prescription and they always respond. They are very helpful although if you would like a quicker response you can find a registered list of CAA registered docs, maybe local to you whom will assist you.

So, as for the rest of us, what do we conclude from this? Is there to be a new regulatory group for, or in place of the JAA!!?!??! Do these new regulations reflect the industry's future predictions as to pilot shortages?

Cheers
Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations...
 
clintoncutty
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:41 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:03 pm

lets just pray that there will be a pilot shortage. if there is...

































im calling the 747
 
CaptainJon
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:21 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:30 pm

Quoting Vs773er (Reply 34):
Email the CAA your current eyesight prescription and they always respond. They are very helpful although if you would like a quicker response you can find a registered list of CAA registered docs, maybe local to you whom will assist you.

Does the same go for the FAA? I also have astingmatism, slightly, don't wear glasses yet but feel I should. I am going to an eye doctor in September, so I will get my prescription I am sure.

Also, I suffer from migraines on the occasion, would that alone be grounds of not getting a class-1 medical?

And my last question is about family life. So any airline pilots here married with children? Is it hard raising your kids being a pilot? All I know is, I don't want the typical 9-5 job but I also want to spend time with my family (which of course doesn't exist just yet...) but I am sure I will have one several years in the future...
 
vs773er
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:19 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:00 pm

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 36):
Does the same go for the FAA? I also have astingmatism, slightly, don't wear glasses yet but feel I should. I am going to an eye doctor in September, so I will get my prescription I am sure.

I have been told that the regulations for sight are less stringent in the US.
In the words of a 744 Cpt friend of mine "How can your eyes be bad, I walk through terminals in the states and always see Captains with glasses like milk bottle bottoms!"

There is a large spectrum of variables for astigmatism's - i've been told in over 75% of cases they are well inside the parameters, CAA parameters anyways.
Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations...
 
AA717driver
Posts: 1502
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2002 8:27 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:34 pm

I always wanted to fly. If I wasn't a pilot, I'd be standing by the road holding a sign asking for food...

I started flying after college--an act of desperation since I didn't have 20/20 as a kid and no airline would hire you without it (since changed). I had given up on my dream and just drifted through school not knowing what I would do in life.

Anyway, I made it to Captain at TWA. Got laid off after AA bought them. A lot of my friends were getting out of aviation. I told my wife that whatever I did, it would involve flying--"that's what I do".

Now, I'm flying in the corporate sector and enjoy what I'm doing. If all you've ever wanted to do is fly--then do it. There are a lot of people on this board who didn't take the leap and they regret it. I hate hearing stories like that because any of us who are in the business could have easily been sidetracked away from flying.

You won't get rich and it sure as he!! isn't glamorous but it's a blast and you'll see and do things 99.9% of the world's population can't imagine. Just keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed.TC

P.S.--Please remember one thing--almost every pilot I know looks back and admits that flying the really big airplanes wasn't the most enjoyable period in their careers. Flying a 767-300 across the pond is neat--for about the first couple of months. I had a blast flying E110's and SD360's. The most fun was the 717. Let those who are in it for the money and glamour fly the big iron, go have fun! Big grin
FL450, M.85
 
Greyhound
Posts: 1012
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:37 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:00 am

AAden... thanks for doing this thread.... I have many of the same concerns you do. I'm currently at the end of my Navy enlistment and looking at what I want to do when I get out.... I've looked seriously at two flight schools... ATP back in AZ or WA or Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK. But a big concern for me was as you stated:

Quoting AAden (Thread starter):
spending all that money to start out as rj pilot and make 25-30k a year struggleing to pay back your loans

I could put up with not making bank right away. I know everyone starts from the bottom up and you need to get experience before getting on at a major airline. I have a large family though... so going to school and trying to pay back loans on a really low salary is some cause for concern. Then again, I am in the Navy... even with benefits it's not like I'm rolling in dough...  Wink

Quoting HAL (Reply 23):
Jon, no it isn't too late. I didn't start flying until I was out of college, and had to wait through the recession and 1st gulf war to get my first flying job, 11 years after my first lesson. I was hired at my first airline when I was 38, but have enjoyed every minute of the flying I've done. Be patient, but as I said above, don't limit yourself to looking at one particular route to your career. Be patient, and always keep your options open.

Thanks HAL. I really needed to read something like that. Like I said above, I'm almost out of the Navy and switching careers. I am only 26, so I'm still young, but I've had concerns over starting a first career when I'm in my mid to late 30's. I put you on my RU list. Thanks again.

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 36):
And my last question is about family life. So any airline pilots here married with children? Is it hard raising your kids being a pilot? All I know is, I don't want the typical 9-5 job but I also want to spend time with my family (which of course doesn't exist just yet...) but I am sure I will have one several years in the future...

I have that same question... I've been assigned away from my family for 6 1/2 months now and it sucks. My little boy is just over 8 months old and I haven't seen him since December. I know it wouldn't be that bad, but I've still got the same concerns CaptainJon...
29th, Let's Go!
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 29917
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:30 am

Quoting Greyhound (Reply 39):
I've been assigned away from my family for 6 1/2 months now and it sucks. My little boy is just over 8 months old and I haven't seen him since December. I know it wouldn't be that bad, but I've still got the same concerns CaptainJon...

I know a few Pilots that are Staying away from The country leave alone the City & they get Homesick a lot.But if they have no options & the $ is good.There is an Adjustment to be made.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
BA787
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:40 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 1:08 am

Quoting Vs773er (Reply 34):

This sounds really good Big grin, I won't get my hopes up. I have been on a 737 flight simulater at Knaresborough and the instructor said low-cost flying was more interestiong that flag carriers from the pilots point of view. Is this true or just his opinion?

Cheers Tom
 
HAL
Posts: 1743
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:27 am

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 36):
So any airline pilots here married with children?

Most married pilots that I know of have a family, just as with people outside aviation. I am married myself (19 years) and have a boy who turns 5 today. There certainly are stresses that the career can put on a marriage, but I don't think they are worse than other professions. Just different.

I won't say it is easy, but my wife and I went into this knowing what the lifestyle was. When I was furloughed from HA and went to Alaska, there was no jumpseat agreement for the airline I worked for, so I only got home when I could afford a ticket, about every 6 to 8 weeks. That was tough, but we kept in contact every day by phone, and now I'm back to a more regular schedule. Again, like I said in my original post, be patient.

It does seem that if you are married to someone who is in (or familiar with) the aviation industry it goes a bit smoother. Or, as I did, get married before you begin the journey and your spouse will learn as you do what life as a pilot's spouse is like.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
BA787
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:40 pm

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:30 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 42):

Cant't be any worse than a Doctor who works every hour God sends

Tom
 
cxb744
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:31 am

RE: Airline Pilots

Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:40 am

AAden,

As so many have said, this is one of the last "romantic" careers. Do it because you love it, and not for any other reason. Take HAL's advise seriously (btw, HAL, welcome to my respected users list). You will "plateau" and hit what seem like insurmountable obstacles; learn from them and press on. If you have one or two airlines you would REALLY like to work for, have MANY different paths to get there.

Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!

MW
What is it? It's A 747-400, but that's not important right now.

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