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747400sp
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Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:42 pm

When you look at giant jets like B747s, C-5 Galaxys, An 124s, A380s and the An 225, it would look like a cool job , be a pilot on one of these big girls. Now you also have to think, there are also down sides to flying such a big jet, for example, at LAX, it looks like it's a pain in the neck, to taxi an A380 to runway 25. I would not mind piloting one of these giant babies, but I would like to know, what are pros and con of flying such big jets?



PS: Spelling check not working.
 
Rj111
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:53 pm

Con: You'll probably be on long-haul which means you won't have a life.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:49 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
I would not mind piloting one of these giant babies, but I would like to know, what are pros and con of flying such big jets?

Just a few...

Pros:

Big wings and control surfaces
Occasional overpowered takeoffs when light and nobody's keeping track
Excellent system and engine reliability
Can generally rely on the autopilot
Several types of communications equipment
Don't have to get hands dirty on the preflight check if you don't want to
They come with charts on a computer screen these days
Weather is generally not a factor for your flight unless there's a typhoon, blizzard past minimums or major supercell spawning tornadoes
You get to tell women what a big girl you drive

Cons:

Foreign hotels and food poisoning
Many many hours of relative boredom
Severely disturbed circadian rhythm for years
Often eat bad food, even worse if you have to make it yourself doing cargo hauling
You generally need a runway to land on if you have any real trouble
You generally won't walk away if you have any real trouble

In some ways flying the little stuff here and there is nicer.
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Western727
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:09 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 1):
Con: You'll probably be on long-hau

I know a retired UA pilot who requested a transfer from the DC-10 to the 727 years ago for this very reason. While he loved the -10, he dreaded flying the DC-10-30 on UA's long-haul routes.
Jack @ AUS
 
Mir
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:23 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 1):
Con: You'll probably be on long-haul which means you won't have a life.

I'd rather do a couple of three-or-four day trips a month and be home the rest of the time than have the schedule of a regional pilot.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:39 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 1):
Con: You'll probably be on long-haul which means you won't have a life.

That is very debatable. It's mostly pretty senior crews that fly those. At my airline it was common for the long haul pilots to fly say a US-Europe route, requiring a 2 or 3 day rest stay in Europe, and when they got back in the states they would not have to fly again until about a month or so. Not too bad if you ask me, considering you're being paid a six figure salary.
 
747400sp
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:48 pm

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 5):
That is very debatable. It's mostly pretty senior crews that fly those. At my airline it was common for the long haul pilots to fly say a US-Europe route, requiring a 2 or 3 day rest stay in Europe, and when they got back in the states they would not have to fly again until about a month or so. Not too bad if you ask me, considering you're being paid a six figure salary.

That a great job!
 
saab2000
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:58 pm

In the US the crews of a large widebody are far more likely to have a normal life than pilots on smaller jets.

I am in the middle of a 4-day trip right now. Not commutable on either end. Start at 5AM on day one and finish about 8PM on day 4.

Pros:

- More money
- Fewer legs per day
- Better trip pairings

Negatives:

- Fatigue on the circadian rhythm stuff

There's a reason pilots almost always bid to larger equipment rather than to smaller stuff, though being senior on smaller equipment is occasionally more desirable than being junior on larger equipment.
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B777LRF
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:10 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 5):
That is very debatable. It's mostly pretty senior crews that fly those. At my airline it was common for the long haul pilots to fly say a US-Europe route, requiring a 2 or 3 day rest stay in Europe, and when they got back in the states they would not have to fly again until about a month or so. Not too bad if you ask me, considering you're being paid a six figure salary.

Sadly, at least on the other side of the pond, those days are long gone. On most flights EU-US, exception being flights to the US West Coast, it's nothing more than a 24 hour layover then back home for 2 days rest - repeat. If you're working a 9 on -5 off schedule, that means 6 return trips across the pond a month. Sure, working "only" 12 days a month sounds great, but in reality it's pretty tough going with the constant timezone changes. You'll also be away from home for 18 days a month, which can be an issue too.

The last airline I flew for didn't pay according to size of aeroplane, but seniority only. That, at least over here, is not that unusal albeit most airlines does pay according to MTOW. Howver, that meant the boys and girls flying the big iron did so because it suited them, not because they "had" to in order to make more money. I tried it, didn't like it, went back to short- and medium-haul before packing in and joining the dark side (i.e. senior management) with another company.
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Alias1024
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:38 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 5):
At my airline it was common for the long haul pilots to fly say a US-Europe route, requiring a 2 or 3 day rest stay in Europe, and when they got back in the states they would not have to fly again until about a month or so.

Two days of flying a month?
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PGNCS
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:59 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 9):
Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 5):
At my airline it was common for the long haul pilots to fly say a US-Europe route, requiring a 2 or 3 day rest stay in Europe, and when they got back in the states they would not have to fly again until about a month or so.

Two days of flying a month?

I flew International for years, and the assertion that crews routinely fly two days a month for a six figure salary are laughable. There may be reserve pilots on call 18-20 days a month that only get used once, but that's not the norm, and they are still on the hook about two thirds of the time.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 5):
It's mostly pretty senior crews that fly those.

They may be senior; at most US carriers the bigger planes pay more, hence senior guys fly them. There are many guys who hate International that fly it for the money. I did for a few years until I couldn't stand it anymore.

To answer the original question, I don't care about the size of the aircraft and would far prefer flying domestically on an A-320 or MD-80 to flying International on a 767 or 747.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:45 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 1):
Con: You'll probably be on long-haul which means you won't have a life.

Very very much depends on the airline. In East Asia, for example, widebodies routinely serve routes less than 3 hours long. Then again the same aircraft may also be flying long haul. At CX, which has only widebodies, 330/340 pilots fly both to Manila (2 hours) and to Frankfurt (12½ hours). It can be a very varied schedule.

People are different. Some actually like long-haul. Some like short haul (many senior pilots in Europe just do Eurotrips and come home almost every night). Some like a variation.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:13 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 9):
Two days of flying a month?

Usually more but yes it wasn't unheard of.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 10):
I flew International for years, and the assertion that crews routinely fly two days a month for a six figure salary are laughable.

This was told to me straight in the face by several pilots who did that. Mind you, they were VERY senior, top 100 IIRC.

This was just over two years ago before the crisis hit so who knows if that still happens.
 
747400sp
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:19 am

I know some pilot, wish they could go back to the days when AA, DL, UA, TWA and PA was flying 747 on routes like LAX-JFK, ORD, DFW and ATL .
 
PGNCS
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:21 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 12):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 10):
I flew International for years, and the assertion that crews routinely fly two days a month for a six figure salary are laughable.

This was told to me straight in the face by several pilots who did that. Mind you, they were VERY senior, top 100 IIRC.

This was just over two years ago before the crisis hit so who knows if that still happens.

Like I said it can happen; see my explanation vis-a-vis reserve coverage. I flown International a lot in the last 10 years, and no regular monthly schedule I have ever seen at my carrier (or have heard of from my friends that fly at the other majors) has two days of flying, two days in Europe, and 26 days off to make $100,000 or more in a year. Why would the airlines schedule this? The least number of days I have ever seen in a regular International schedule without dropping trips (and pay) is nine days in a month, although it's possible that other carriers do it in a couple less days. Those are agonizing trips.
 
lowrider
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:33 am

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 2):
Just a few...

Having flown both I would agree with most of those. I could care less how big the plane is. I am more interested in where is goes. For example, I wouldn't care if it was a GV or the 747, it is similar flying.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 2):
Foreign hotels and food poisoning

Oh the horror stories I could tell...

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 2):
Severely disturbed circadian rhythm for years

This one can be life shortening

One additional significant con I can think of is that long range planes tend to lead to long trips. This leads to long stretches away from family. This is tough if you have small kids or value time with your family.
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Alias1024
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:13 am

It would make no sense for the airline to build schedules for lineholders that have four or five days of duty for the month. The one exception I can think of was ATA. The international charters led to some strange trips like a flight to Japan, one week layover, and one flight back to the US. I've been told that many of the crew members would just non-rev home for a few days then non-rev back out to Japan for the return leg.
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 10):
There may be reserve pilots on call 18-20 days a month that only get used once, but that's not the norm, and they are still on the hook about two thirds of the time.

Exactly. Being a reserve when you live in domicile and aren't getting called can be nice, but you are still the airline's bitch most of the month.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:55 am

Quoting lowrider (Reply 15):
One additional significant con I can think of is that long range planes tend to lead to long trips. This leads to long stretches away from family. This is tough if you have small kids or value time with your family.

It can. Then again many short haul pilots in the US are away from home 4-6 days flying a big bunch of legs. They can't go home during that time. So that's really the same length as some long haul trips. However the long haul pilot's workday is much less stressful. They don't have to take off land 2-6 times a day the whole week.

As I said it depends on the airline. In Europe, with fewer hubs per airline, pilots will tend to come back to the same airport and have a bigger chance of going home at the end of the day.

As a whole, I think long haul can be less stressful because for any given stretch of flying hours they spend less time in crowded airspace around airports. While cruise is perhaps not exactly relaxing, it is certainly calmer than approach, landing and taxiing.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Rj111
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:24 am

From what i've heard cruise can be utterly boring.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:28 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 18):
From what i've heard cruise can be utterly boring.

Of course. But here, again, some people prefer lots of short flights and others prefer fewer long ones, despite the cruise.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
lowrider
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RE: Pros And Cons Of Piloting A Giant Jet?

Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:34 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
Then again many short haul pilots in the US are away from home 4-6 days flying a big bunch of legs

True, but worst case scenerio, if thier monthly bid doesn't work out they way they would like, they are gone for 12 to 13 days. If my bid doesnt work out, I am gone for 36+ days. It doesn't happen often, maybe once a year for me, but that is a good chunk of time to be gone. A lot can happen at home and this can seem like an eternity to a small kid. This has lead to divorce for some of my co-workers. Overall I like my job, but this is one of the biggest downsides, in my opinion.
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