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UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:50 am

I have a question. Thank God for all of you, cause as a new student pilot, i seem to have ALOT of questions LOL. Anyways, I was wondering lets say one got a job with Delta or American as a First officer. Entry level aircraft for Delta lets say is a Mcdonnell Douglas 88 or a Boeing 737. I am sure it takes probably 3-4 years to upgrade to captain on a particular aircraft. Once u become a Captain of a McDonnell Douglas 88 lets say, do u remain on that aircraft if you chose? or do u have to become a First officer on a another aircraft?
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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:46 am

No problem asking questions, that's how you learn. I sure had a lot when I first started. What equipment you fly and what seat you are in is based solely on seniority. If you began at DL in the MD-88, you could move to other aircraft as an FO if your seniority can hold it. You could also upgrade to Captain of any aircraft as long as your seniority can hold it. You do not have to upgrade on the same aircraft you flew as an FO.

The only exception to this is seat locks. Basically a seat lock prevents you from bidding for another aircraft or sometimes for upgrade if you have switched aircraft or seat within the last year or two. The length of seat locks varies from airline to airline, and some airlines may not have any seat lock at all. I don't know the specifics for DL.
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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:52 pm

thank you for replying, it is much appreciated. Im just basically starting out, i been flying since febuary. I got my class II medical in june, and so far have 3 logged hours. Only major thing is, i can takeoff on my own now. Anyways, so i now understand how its based on senority. LOL me working for the railroad i should know how all that works by now LOL. So once one is rated on a MD-88 lets say, and his/her senority allows him to have a decent assignment with Wednesday thursday friday on, and Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday off, he/she can remain a first officer and if he/she choses, they can become a Captain and remain on a MD-88? Lets say u decide to move on from the MD-88 onto maybe a 767-300ER? You automatically lose your Captain rating on that MD-88 and start over as a First Officer in the 767 right? Also when on reserve, u can only be called to fly aircraft you are rated on right? Example, one captain is rated on a 777. So he/she cannot be called for a MD-88 job or a job with a 737 right? Its like where i work in the MTA. I cannot be called on to work overtime in the information booth because im not rated(or in the railroad we say im not qualified) to work in the information booth in grand central? One can only be called for what they are rated on. I myself, when i left certain jobs in the railroad, i lost qualification. Example, im no longer a trackworker, so im no longer rated to cross live third rail and train traffic and so on. I could still do it based on memory of my training, but in the eyes of the book, i am no longer qualified because once u dont do a certain duty within one year, it is lost from qualification. Is it the same for First Officers and Captains of these major and regional airlines? Thanking you in advance for answering.

PS if your wondering why i wanna leave the MTA in pursuit of a airline career, i wanted to be a pilot first. Through the frustration of the MTAs employment games and unfairness in their hiring practices, it has pushed me back to my original love, which is being a Airline Transport Pilot one day.
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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:28 am

You bid what your senority holds. If the Captain on an 88 can hold Capt on the 767 he can switch. Typically most Capt don't downgrade unless they are forced due to furloughs. The pay cut is too big. As for reserve, you bid a type and either A or B seat. That is all you will fly until you bid something else. Reserve guys are on the bottom of the list for that type and seat. They only fly that one type and seat.
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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:01 am

Hey Man,

A "sorta-typical" progression would be sorta as such (We'll use Delta Airlines / Comair). This is just a rough guide how it can be:

Hired by Comair as First Officer:
Year 1: First Officer CRJ-200, JFK Base

Year 2: First Officer, CRJ-200, CVG Base

Year 5: Captain, CRJ-200 CVG Base

Year 7: Captain, CRJ-700, CVG Base

You apply for a job with many mainlines, get picked up by Delta as a First Officer, Md-88.

Year 1: First Officer Md-88 Atlanta Base

Year 5: First Officer 757/767, ATL Base, Domestic

Year 8: First Officer 757/767, JFK Base, International

Year 10: Captain Md-88, JFK Base

Year 13: Captain Md-88, ATL Base

Year 16: Captain, 757, ATL Base

Year 24: Captain, 777, ATL Base Intl

This is just a general guide. Most pilots (99.9%) do not downgrade from the left to the right seat no matter the aircraft. At most airlines the lowest Captain (Md-88 for Delta) is paid more than the most senior first officer's (777 F/O per say).

Hope that helps a bit!
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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:03 pm

I know from talking to pilots at AQ and HA that many of the more senior F/O's or Cpatains don't switch seat, base or aircraft until they have enough seniority to hold a bid line. For instance, at HA being the most senior 717 or 767 F/O has some advantages (schedule) over being the junior 717 or 767 Captain. It all depends on whats important to you (trips, schedule, commute, $$$$, etc.)

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RE: UPGRADE, And Aircraft Rating Questions

Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:55 pm

JETBLUEATASW, i think this is the best thread on about the system of being an airline pilot regarding bases and upgrades.

again, many thanks to AAR90 and others who took time to respond to that lenghthy thead!

hope it helps,


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