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mmx747
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:21 am

Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:15 pm

I'm asking these questions here because google wouldn't give me a straight answer.

What does a weekly short-haul pilot schedule normally look like? How many legs per day? How many days off per week?

Same question goes for long-haul pilots.
Do you for example fly LHR-LAX, stay 1 night then fly back the next day?


Thank you. :D
Last edited by atcsundevil on Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title edited for clarity
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6086
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:22 pm

There's no "straight answer" because it is very variable, both long and short haul. In the US, bid periods are normally monthly. Domestic flying is typically 3 days work, 3 days off; but that varies at lot, but rarely longer than 4-5 days working. Long haul depends on flying time. LAX-LHR would likely be 20-30 hour layover and because it's about 21 hours of flying would be 4 trips per month.

GF
 
BravoOne
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:37 pm

As GF says this is hard one answer as there are so many variables

I have flown 10 day international trips, 3 day international trips and everything in-between. Generally speaking flying trips on the Pacific produces more time per duty period, but not always. A KAX-LHR-LAX turn would roduce a little more time than 21 hours, but GF is probably thinking in terms of his Galaxy rocket ship.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:54 am

Take-off to touchdown, not block times, so yes a bit more 21; maybe schedule would closer to 23. As a 3-day trip, it be a 12-day month, say 3-on, 4 off. Long three-day trip.

GF
 
Woodreau
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:08 am

Schedules for pilots also depend on the seniority of the pilot.

For domestic flying, it could be as good as 3-days-on/4-off work weeks, but usually 4-on/3-off but as bad as 6-on/4-off

The 3 days on could be a single 3-day trip or 3 1-day turn trips.
The 4 days on could be a single 4-day trip or 2 2-day trips.

Trips could be 3,4 or 5 legs a day or as little as 1 or 2 leg days, depending on block time and rest requirements

Usually the smaller the plane the more legs per day.

For example as a 1900 pilot, my work week was 4days on-3 days off, with 9 legs per day (36 legs for the 4 days) and 30 hours of flying in those 4 days.

As a 320 domestic pilot, now I just fly an average of 2 legs per day - so 8 legs and 18-22 hours of flying for a 4-day trip.
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N353SK
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:24 am

As others have previously said, it really depends on airline, aircraft, and seniority.

A junior Delta 717 pilot will do 5 leg days regularly, for example ATL-CHA-ATL-TYS-ATL-PNS.

A senior American 737 pilot might do nothing but ORD-Florida-ORD day trips all month.

The answer is that it depends on 1000 different factors!
 
thepinkmachine
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:00 am

As others say above, 'it depends', however in my neck of the woods, where seniority doesn't count for much, the following seems to be the benchmark:

Shorthaul:
2-4 sectors per day, 12-15 flying days per month, plus a couple of standbys

Long haul:
4 trips per month seems to be the norm, with usually 24h layovers. Longer layovers down route only happen if destination is not served daily.

There might be more or less flying than the above, depending on airline/base/fleet/season. Surprisingly, LCCs generally offer very efficient rosters. You often fly max hours, but at the same time waste little time downroute, so you're either working hard, or you're off.
"Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis - and I still have my hands on the wheel…"
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:48 pm

Always amazed me that non-US airlines didn't use seniority for bidding schedule, equipment and advancement.

GF
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:38 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Always amazed me that non-US airlines didn't use seniority for bidding schedule, equipment and advancement.

GF


That's not quite true. Or at least it depends on the airline. The rest of think the US system seems much too "strict seniority". We seem to obsess about it less than the US guys. :D

At my airline (outside the US) seniority is not the be all and end all like in the US but it does determine:
- Rank upgrade offers.
- Whether you get a specific layover/trip/flight/time-off request for a given monthly roster. Like if two guys bid the same, the guy with most seniority gets it.
- Fleet transfers.

You could say that we have "weighted seniority". Even the most senior guys have the occasional crap duty, and the most junior guys get sweet patterns with regularity.. Personally I like this way more, but I've only worked this way.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:08 pm

I'm sure that if there are an Atlas or Kallita pilots looking at this they are rolling their eyes as a ten trip would be a rapid turn in their eye.

Times change and what we see today is not indicative of the past. TWA use to have 12 day 707 around the world trips, that with careful bidding you could wrap up a whole years flying with only ten trip to the airport. Seven day layovers in Nairobi were very senior as well, so you can see that what works for one person does not always do the same for everyone.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:38 pm

Not sure about current long haul schedules at DL but as a commuter back before red tails merged, you could find 10-12 day trips in the bid packet. After computers took over you could also request long trips. These trips would usually cover your monthly hour minimum (72-80 hours) and if this was your bag, then only required one commute per month.
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:54 pm

Some airlines in the US have continuous duty overnight options as well, where you start your duty day late in the evening, fly one leg out, get a few hours in the hotel and operate the first flight back to the hub in the morning. Great if you can handle the schedule and even better if you live in base.
From my cold, dead hands
 
Flow2706
Posts: 240
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:20 pm

Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:12 pm

It's really depending on the Airline and even within one airline there may be differences between contracts and fleet...my previous airline (medium sized European hybrid carrier operating 320/321s and 330s) used a strict 5 on, 3 off scheme for permanent employed A320 pilots (except part time pilots which had 4 on, 4 off). A320 pilots working as contractors through an agency had 5 on 2 off (even though that usually did not happen...) and A330 pilots had no fixed rostering rules. On the 320, we used to fly either 2 or 4 sectors a day - occasionally you also got 3 sectors into an overnight, but overnights were rather uncommon on the 320 fleet and you got them only maybe once or twice a month.
At my present airline (rapidly growing, but at the moment rather unknown/small European charter airline using 320/321s) has no fixed rostering in place - you get whatever the company gives you (but we have a bidding system in place and because the company is still rather small its even possible to just send an email to planing with your roster preferences - this probably wouldn't work in a major company...). Due to the nature of the business we mostly get two sectors a day (the average sector length is longer than in the previous "hybrid" company, so four sectors a day usually won't work because of duty time limits), but in the recent months we've seen a quite a few days with three sectors (out of an overnight at a nice holiday destination - which helps to make the long day more bearable ;-) ) and since I'm here I only once had four sectors. We do have a lot of Standbys in this company which is not so popular, but a necessary evil (charter business requires a high flexibility on part of the operator, so the company needs to have a lot of people on standby).
As you see rostering is totally different between companys, depending on business model and other factors (f.e. home base, at my present employer the main airport has no night curfew/jet ban, so we have many departures at 3 or 4 am...)
 
VSMUT
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:36 pm

For me on the ATR, I've had periods where I worked 2 months non-stop without coming home (but with weekends off in some foreign city), and months where I only flew twice. We luckily don't have any seniority system, so everybody gets a fair share of nice and not-so-nice destinations, which is appropriate since some FOs tend to fly more than Captains.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:40 am

Starlionblue wrote:

At my airline (outside the US) seniority is not the be all and end all like in the US but it does determine:
- Rank upgrade offers.
- Whether you get a specific layover/trip/flight/time-off request for a given monthly roster. Like if two guys bid the same, the guy with most seniority gets it.
- Fleet transfers.


Sounds like a US carrier to me...
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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Starlionblue
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Schedule questions for commercial pilots

Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:03 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

At my airline (outside the US) seniority is not the be all and end all like in the US but it does determine:
- Rank upgrade offers.
- Whether you get a specific layover/trip/flight/time-off request for a given monthly roster. Like if two guys bid the same, the guy with most seniority gets it.
- Fleet transfers.


Sounds like a US carrier to me...


There are differences. For example even rather senior guys often do crap patterns.,
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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