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ordell
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Upgrading To Captain

Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:04 pm

Apologies if this is the wrong forum but none of the others seemed to match.

I know a FO with a regional who shall remain nameless (the airline and the pilot). He's taking the tests to upgrade to captain after several years. He informed me it's a series of tests, but since he's in the middle of it, he's not feeling chatty and I'm not going to push for answers.

So can some pilots here edumacate me on what it's like to go through the testing process to get promoted? I'm dying to know.
 
diverted
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:40 pm

Do you mean he's got his IATRA and is working on his ATPL? Or just an upgrade course?
 
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ordell
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:34 am

I use upgrade because he does and I see it used here and by pilots in Airways. He is making the move from the right seat to the left.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:39 am

Quoting diverted (Reply 1):
Do you mean he's got his IATRA and is working on his ATPL? Or just an upgrade course?

No one in the United States can fly for a 121 carrier without an ATP certificate.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
diverted
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:42 am

Quoting ordell (Reply 2):
I use upgrade because he does and I see it used here and by pilots in Airways. He is making the move from the right seat to the left.

Well, it's a few week deal. I'm not a pilot so this may not be 100% accurate, but a few days of ground school, followed by about a week in the sim, PPC, and then a week or so of line indoc. Then a line check and released to the line.
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:08 am

In the states at a 121 carrier if you are upgrading to the same aircraft you currently fly it's usually an abbreviated systems course with a comprehensive exam on aircraft systems at the end. You then proceed to the simulator training portion during which you will take an oral exam on company policy and procedure, aircraft systems, etc. It culminates with the type ride, essentially a check ride in the sim that evaluates your knowledge, pilot capabilities and decision making. You'll then proceed to IOE where you fly trips in the aircraft with a company check airman. During which you will have a line check with the FAA or a designee of the FAA observing you acting as Captain. Finally you have a line check which is generally two legs, one flown as pilot flying and one as pilot monitoring. Assuming you pass you are signed off as a Captain.

For a different/new type you go through a full systems course rather than an abbreviated course. Upgrade training is intense and requires a lot of focus and studying. It is different from initial training in that you are now being evaluated as a Captain and generally speaking is not as much leeway since you will be responsible for the crew, aircraft and overall safety and legality of the operation. This added responsibility adds quite a bit of pressure.
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sunrisevalley
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:34 am

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 5):
Assuming you pass you are signed off as a Captain.

You have qualified but I would expect that generally seniority rules in getting the actual appointment. ??
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:11 am

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 5):
It culminates with the type ride, essentially a check ride in the sim that evaluates your knowledge, pilot capabilities and decision making.

Again, everyone who is flying 121 must have a full type rating on the aircraft, even as a first officer, thanks to congress making new laws, a few years back.

-DiamondFlyer
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Q
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:12 am

My friend of Delta pilot captain who was 727 captain done with 727 for 8 years then he upgraded to an L1011 Captain. He's flying first time L1011 on captain. Can't you image of that? I don't know how he did but he had experienced flying for long time on Delta 36 years retired in 1990's.

Q
 
32andBelow
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:16 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 7):
Again, everyone who is flying 121 must have a full type rating on the aircraft, even as a first officer, thanks to congress making new laws, a few years back.

-DiamondFlye

It doesn't have to be a full type rating on the aircraft you are flying. Also there is an SIC type you can get if the airline has no intentions of upgrading you. You can get your ATP in pretty much any twin.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:20 am

Quoting 32andBelow (Reply 9):
It doesn't have to be a full type rating on the aircraft you are flying. Also there is an SIC type you can get if the airline has no intentions of upgrading you. You can get your ATP in pretty much any twin.

Yes, it does have to be a full PIC type rating, courtesy of the same law that brought you the ATP for 121 operations. SIC type ratings don't qualify you for 121 operations these days. Additionally, you can't just run out and get an ATP either now, you have to take a full ATP-CTP course, which requires 10 hours of motion sim time prior to being able to take the written.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
maxpower1954
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:44 am

From First Officer to Captain is an upgrade. It's from seat to seat.

From one aircraft type to another (i.e. A320 to 757/767) is transition training - captain or F/O

A downgrade is when the economy tanks, the fleet shrinks and you get bumped from captain to F/O, or in the old days from F/O to S/O. I've been downgraded four times in my glorious career. I wasn't thrilled about it but at least I wasn't furloughed. Oh wait, I WAS furloughed later - three times.

In the U.S. and most countries, it is function of seniority to upgrade to captain. You can elect to stay an F/O to avoid reserve captain and have a better lifestyle. But you have to hold the capt position by seniority. Politics and even total experience don't matter.

Once you enter training you must be able to meet the standards to qualify for the coveted four stripes. A small percentage don't make it.

From the first day of new aircraft type ground school to the last day of line training average 45-50 days at my airline.

The shortest upgrade f/o to captain i ever experienced was 2 1/2 years at Arrow Air on the DC-8-63. The longest was after 9/11 at US Airways. After flying captain for almost 11 years, US shrank by 1/2 and I was back in the right seat for eight years. I've been back in the left seat since 2009.

My jet airline part 121 career began in 1978 - 37 years of airline flying, with four more to go to retirement.

[Edited 2015-11-22 21:32:39]
 
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ordell
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:26 am

Quoting diverted (Reply 4):
Well, it's a few week deal. I'm not a pilot so this may not be 100% accurate, but a few days of ground school, followed by about a week in the sim, PPC, and then a week or so of line indoc. Then a line check and released to the line.

You might as well have written that in Chinese. I don't understand a word of it.

And he's upgrading to fly the same aircraft. His regional only has one type, one seriously disliked on this board.
 
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comairguycvg
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:11 am

Quoting ordell (Reply 12):
US shrank by 1/2 and I was back in the right seat for eight years.

I remember when I was working on the ramp in PIT with PSA in 2004, I was in the cockpit of a CRJ-200 waiting for the crew to hand out the paperwork, and both pilots said they were furloughed US mainline pilots. I thought, wow that must absolutely suck to go down to an RJ, but at least they were in the air doing something while waiting to get the call back to mainline.
Worked at: CV62, RJTA, KNLC, CV63, KNFL, OKAJ, KTRI, CV67, KMGE, KNQX, KVPS, KPIT, KCVG, KTYS, KATL
 
Woodreau
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:16 am

Quoting ordell (Reply 12):
You might as well have written that in Chinese. I don't understand a word of it.

And he's upgrading to fly the same aircraft. His regional only has one type, one seriously disliked on this board.

Every airline is different.

At my airline upgrade consists of a 2-day ground school course, 1 simulator training session, and then the proficiency check.

The proficiency check consists of two parts:
(1) a oral examination of the memory items, aircraft limitations, systems questions and
(2) a flight examination in a simulator which grades the following items: 3 landings, 2 precision approaches (1 single engine), 2 non-precision approaches (1 single engine), rejected landing, single engine go around, rejected takeoff, engine failure at V1, engine relight, Cat III autoland.

The proficiency check for the captain is the same exact one that is done to get the pilot qualified as a first officer, with the exception the F/O (after demonstrating the previous items from the left seat) has to demonstrate three more additional items from the right seat: a visual approach and landing and a rejected Cat III approach and a Cat III autoland.

After the proficiency check, the pilot then undergoes supervised flying (UOE) with a check airman at some point during his UOE, one leg (FedRide) is observed by the FAA onboard in the jumpseat.

After passing the supervised flying and FedRide, the pilot is then released to the line as a captain.

Total time for the ground school and proficiency check is 5-6 days. Another week for the supervised flying and fedride - so about 2 weeks total for upgrade.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
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barney captain
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:32 am

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 11):
The shortest upgrade f/o to captain i ever experienced was 2 1/2 years at Arrow Air on the DC-8-63. The longest was after 9/11 at US Airways. After flying captain for almost 11 years, US shrank by 1/2 and I was back in the right seat for eight years. I've been back in the left seat since 2009.

My jet airline part 121 career began in 1978 - 37 years of airline flying, with four more to go to retirement.

Max -

First, I'm happy you made it back to the left seat - God knows you've earned it (a few times it seems).

Second, as I was reading your history I was intrigued to realize we're on parallel career paths - just exactly one decade apart (minus the downgrade after 9/11).

Born in 1964, first 121 job in 1988, upgrade to Captain after 2 1/2 years at WN, 27 years of airline flying, with 14 to go until retirement.

Congratulations on your career. (I get there were some tough times however)
Southeast Of Disorder
 
Alias1024
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:55 pm

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 14):
At my airline upgrade consists of a 2-day ground school course, 1 simulator training session, and then the proficiency check.

Whoa! That's really fast.

One sim to retrain your hands and relearn the left seat sight picture after years in the right seat in pretty rough. It took me a few sims to stop reaching for switches with the wrong hand and to land on the centerline without big last minute adjustments.

Having six sims before the check ride was also a good chance to start working on command ability, which was nice since upgrade IOE is a strange dynamic. You are supposed to act as the captain, but the check airman is really the PIC and kinda acts like a safety net, so it doesn't entirely feel like you are in charge.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:15 am

Quoting Q (Reply 8):

My friend of Delta pilot captain who was 727 captain done with 727 for 8 years then he upgraded to an L1011 Captain. He's flying first time L1011 on captain. Can't you image of that? I don't know how he did but he had experienced flying for long time on Delta 36 years retired in 1990's.

Happens all the time as captains transition to another type.

Very roughly speaking, the skills involved in flying for an airline can be classified as technical (managing the aircraft and its systems) and operational (flying on the line with decisions such as fuel, diversion, etc). Of course there's overlap but changing type mainly involves the technical skills. Upgrading to captain mainly involves the operational skills.

If a captain transitions he will already have the operational skills required of his position. He now has to acquire the technical skills to fly and manage the new type. But he doesn't have to be taught about en-route alternates work or when to ask for extra fuel.

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 14):
Every airline is different.

At my airline upgrade consists of a 2-day ground school course, 1 simulator training session, and then the proficiency check.

As you say every airline is different. At my airline the command course is an intense and rather long process typically described as "brutal".
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Alias1024
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:11 am

Another thing about upgrade is that it seems like an inordinate amount of weird things happen in that first hundred hours in the left seat. Bizarre MELs you've never seen before, passenger problems, etc... I thought everyone was joking when they mentioned it, but I filled out about a half dozen irregularity reports in the first hundred hours as captain.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
e38
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:59 pm

ordell (thread starter), in Reply 12 you mentioned your friend is upgrading from first officer to captain in the same aircraft, so he has been flying this particular aircraft for a while as first officer.

This is not a big deal. He does not have any new aircraft systems to learn. He does not have any new company procedures or policies to learn. For the most part, he will have to learn the motor skills of transferring his left hand from the throttles to the yoke and his right hand from the yoke to the throttles--not particularly difficult. Also, he will need to learn the leadership aspects of being a Captain, which hopefully he has already observed and developed his own leadership style during his years as a first officer.

ordell, the challenge we have in answering your question is that every airline has slightly different procedures used to upgrade a pilot from first officer to captain. Some give an extensive systems exam; others have a rigorous oral exam, with other carriers do not. The upgrade program is designed by the individual carrier and approved by the FAA. Since you did not mentioned the specific airline he works for, it's hard to explain exactly what type of program he's going through.

Just call him up and ask him what you would like to know. You mentioned he's not particularly "chatty" right now, so he may be studying hard for an oral or written exam, but that won't last forever. I recommend just give him a call.

e38

[Edited 2015-11-24 08:23:26]

[Edited 2015-11-24 08:25:01]
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:28 pm

One item I have not seen here is that the first Capt. check out at a Part 121 carrier requires an FAA observation ride consisting of two legs. This is conducted with a Line Check Pilot in the right seat and the FAA observes normal routine flight operations before signing off on the new Captain. Now before some one jumps on me it has been a few years so this may have changed 

This is not required in subsequent Capt. upgrades to other equipment, just the initial.
 
thegman
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:22 pm

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 16):
One sim to retrain your hands and relearn the left seat sight picture after years in the right seat in pretty rough. It took me a few sims to stop reaching for switches with the wrong hand and to land on the centerline without big last minute adjustments.

Yeah, not a big deal. At my "airline" we are all qualified to fly from left or right seat and we do fly in either seat.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:36 pm

Quoting thegman (Reply 21):
Yeah, not a big deal. At my "airline" we are all qualified to fly from left or right seat and we do fly in either seat.

Is that a US Part 121 operation and if so what are the time in type mins before you can switch seats. I have seen this before but is was very conditional. Also, what type of aircraft are you referreing to?
 
thegman
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:23 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 22):

Is that a US Part 121 operation and if so what are the time in type mins before you can switch seats. I have seen this before but is was very conditional. Also, what type of aircraft are you referreing to?

No. USAF. Hence airline in quotes.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:42 pm

So once again I ask. What airplane are you flying. C17, C5 C49, C42 and then even though your check out may have been in the left seat what kind of requirements are applied before you can actually operate form the right seat of that airplane.

Careful now as I work with a bunch of C17 pilots 
 
thegman
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:35 pm

Since you want to dig: C-17.

I can find no restrictions on left v. right seat.
 
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zeke
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:23 am

Quoting thegman (Reply 25):

You are correct, the PIC does not even need to occupy a control seat. Technically the PIC could be in the jumpseat with two operating pilots (most AFMs say 2 pilots) in the window seats. The PIC does not require a window seat, or the LH seat. Not the usual line flight situation, but something that may come up in training.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:56 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 26):
You are correct, the PIC does not even need to occupy a control seat. Technically the PIC could be in the jumpseat with two operating pilots (most AFMs say 2 pilots) in the window seats. The PIC does not require a window seat, or the LH seat. Not the usual line flight situation, but something that may come up in training.

We all know that Zeke but tell me does your airline (CX) allow anyone oher than te PIC in the left saet for landing or takeoffs?

USAF training exceeds most if not all training in the US,, unless of course you are a REAL pilot and are a Naval Aviator  
 
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zeke
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:01 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 27):
We all know that Zeke but tell me does your airline (CX) allow anyone oher than te PIC in the left saet for landing or takeoffs?

Yes, however that would not be a "regular" event on day to day flights, regular flights will have a CN in the LHS and FO in the RHS. During command training an FO under training would be in the LHS, and the training CN in the RHS as PIC, there are other situations where things are mixed up as well.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:08 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 26):
Technically the PIC could be in the jumpseat with two operating pilots (most AFMs say 2 pilots) in the window seats.

Or in the crew rest with two other pilots in the window seats. 
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Alias1024
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:13 am

Quoting thegman (Reply 21):
Yeah, not a big deal. At my "airline" we are all qualified to fly from left or right seat and we do fly in either seat.

Where I work does not qualify pilots for both seats unless they are check airmen. I had seven years and almost 5,000 hours in the right seat before moving to the left. It'll throw you off for a few days.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:22 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 29):
Or in the crew rest with two other pilots in the window seats. 

Yea and we saw how ell that worked for Air France.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:12 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 31):

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 29):
Or in the crew rest with two other pilots in the window seats. 

Yea and we saw how ell that worked for Air France.

An isolated case. Captains take rest every day all over the world.

That being said, it was a wake up call for the industry and training changed because of it.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:50 pm

I know just pulling your leg. I have dozed for more dollars than most on this website 

As for the USAF left seat quals it really doesn't mean anything as when you go to work for any US Part 121 operator you will live in the right seat until you check out at Capt. The exception being long range crews who can occupy the all seats during cruise unless there is an FE position involved.
 
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ordell
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:17 pm

FYI, my friend passed and is now a captain for SkyWest.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:19 pm

Quoting ordell (Reply 34):

FYI, my friend passed and is now a captain for SkyWest.

Tell him, CONGRATULATIONS 
 
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ThrottleHold
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:28 am

It all depends on the airline.

At mine, the process is quite convoluted to say the least.
It's roughly based on seniority, with other factors thrown in. Firstly, you have to meet the minimum requirements which are 6000 hours total time, with 2500 on the type you are upgrading on. Once you meet those requirements, Flight Ops and HR will review your training and performance records. If they deem them acceptable, you are invited to begin the process.
This begins with a technical and ops procedures exam, followed by 3 separate aptitude and psychological exams, followed by am interview with a company psychologist. Passing those will lead you into an Upgrade Interview with a TRE and HR representative.
After the interview grilling, you are told if you have passed or failed the selection process to proceed with the course.
Then it's 3 weeks of groundschool, covering technical, operational, legal and Human Factors topics.
This is followed by 5 sim sessions to convert to the left hand seat, followed by a sim check ride, Low Visa Ops qualification sim and Left seat circuit bashing sim.
After that, there is 3 Line Ops Simulation some, where a TRE will subject you to various scenarios, run in real time, in the simulator. There's no scripted process, so your at the mercy of the guy on the day. Things I had included disruptive pax, engine fires, brake fires, fuel leaks, unreliable airspeed, bomb on board, medical emergencies, smoke in the cockpit, cargo fires etc.
After successfully completing those, there was a Line Ops Evaluation sim, where an examiner graded me on everything he threw at me during a 4 hour simulated line flight.
Once that is passed, then it was 12 sectors flying in the left seat with a training captain on normal line ops. Successful completion of that lead to a check ride with a senior training captain, followed by a check ride with a line check Captain.

From notification of selection for the process, to final sign off, took about 9 months.
It was a tough trek, ups and downs, but thankfully a very understanding wife. I've got colleagues who got divorced over the stress of the process.
Worth it all in the end, having 4 stripes and command of a 777 when I was 32.  

[Edited 2015-12-25 20:32:34]

[Edited 2015-12-25 20:35:00]
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:24 pm

Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 36):
Worth it all in the end, having 4 stripes and command of a 777 when I was 32.  

Must be a EK Capt? Very good work on your part 
 
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Florianopolis
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:19 pm

Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 36):
Worth it all in the end, having 4 stripes and command of a 777

777? For a moment I thought it was for the space shuttle.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:19 am

Quoting Florianopolis (Reply 38):

Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 36):
Worth it all in the end, having 4 stripes and command of a 777

777? For a moment I thought it was for the space shuttle.

Sounds quite similar to my airline actually.  
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
jhooper
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:44 am

They don't do all of that in the states. The interviews, performance reviews, etc all take place in the new hire selection process and probation period. The idea is that they're hiring future captains from the start; if they don't believe you'd hack it in the left seat, they don't hire you in the first place. It would be redundant to repeat the process when someone's number comes up for upgrade. That said, you won't find many 32-year-old 777 captains either!
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:22 am

Quoting jhooper (Reply 40):
That said, you won't find many 32-year-old 777 captains either!

Depends on the airline. At airlines with cadet programs, you'll find quite a few captains in their mid 30s.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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RE: Upgrading To Captain

Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:52 am

I know of several 777 Capt working in the ME that are in their early 30's. Back in the good ole days I knew several 707 Capt at TWA and CAL that were younger than 26.

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