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I'm thinking seriously about going to flight school at ComAir AV. Academy (b/c they say I'm "guaranteed" a job w/ Comair/Delta once I'm finished). Can I have the opinions of some veteran pilots on either the school, or more importantly, the career. Given current events and economics, would you start from scratch at 27? I would really appreciate any advice as well. Thanks.
I am a First Officer at American Eagle Airlines. Like you, I was a bit older and had a previous job when I decided to pursue an aviation career. Now, it looks like I will be searching for another career and starting over again at 41.
I was just formulating my response to articles in Flying from the last 2 months. The first, from 2 months ago, I couldn't even bear to read. Something to do with how regional airlines are a new career opportunity. The second, from the current issue, about airline seniority numbers.
I can tell you, in today's environment both articles are totally false.
The fallacy with the first article is that regional airlines have an incentive to keep a pilot for an entire career. To be quite frank, that is the last thing they want. Their life blood is to get the code share with a major airline. If they are not the lowest bidder, they will not get the code share deal. If they have a large group of pilots who have long time seniority, their payroll goes up exponentially. So they will use any method they can to get rid of people and keep a constant turnover going to whatever extent they can.
For example, without even talking to you, I know that the Comair academy has been touting how they have a great contract now with good pay and retirement. That retirement only adds to their incentive to get rid of you before you are there long enough to retire. During the times when the industry is hiring, that takes care of the attrition at the regionals. In times like these, more creative means are required. Some of the methods where I work:
-Institute a "zero-tolerance" policy of politically incorrect speech. The laws and policies that already exist are not sufficient, so use any slip of the tongue or perceived slight by anyone as an excuse to terminate someone.
-Maximize the time on duty to flight time ratio. Example: Report at 6am, do a round trip from the hub to an outstation and back, arrive at the hub at 0800. Schedule a 2.5 hour break in the hub. Depart the hub for a round trip at 1030. Schedule another long hour break, then depart for an overnight and arrive at the layover at 1930. Your on duty to flight time ratio is 13.5/4. After a few years of this, you will be fed up and quit or else your motivation will be low and you will be fatigued, and inevitably you will make a mistake and again, the company has an opportunity to terminate you.
-Schedule 6 quick turns a day with no time to eat. (Of course, if asked, the company will say that they don't expect you to go all day without eating. But these schedule designs will continue month after month even if you point this out.)
-These long breaks in the hub are in some cases, small, dirty, vermin infested lounge facilities.
As far as the seniority number issue is concerned, I am sure the author of that article, Les Abend, was being accurate from his experience. However, in today's environment, regional airline pilot seniority numbers are basically meaningless. Let me explain.
American Eagle is owned by AMR Corp. the same holding company that owns American Airlines. I have been working here for almost 4 years, and I have a seniority number. It has been steadily getting closer to the top since I came here and people above me have retired or left the company. Beacause our pay at Eagle is less than the pilots at AA, we have a totally separate seniority list, just as though we were not owned by the same company. Comair and Delta also have totally separate lists. Getting hired by Comair does not get you a seniority number at Delta. Conversely, getting hired at Delta does not get you a seniority number at Comair. Getting hired at AA does not get you a seniority number at American Eagle.
But, as you have undoubtedly heard, AA is in serious trouble and they have already furloughed 1078 pilots and are going to furlough 2500 more. But that's ok for the Eagle pilots right? Our jets are efficient and we are making a profit. We're out there on the front lines, busting our butts flying 5 or 6 legs a day, getting 10 days off a month, and making 28000 a year on 4th year pay. We're doing our part to keep our company (AMR) afloat. We're getting over 78% of our flights each day out on time over 300 days out of the year. Surely, AMR will expand our RJ fleet and this will reward our pilots with more expansion and more captain jobs, so that our FO's who came to work here knowing they wouldn't get rich, but at least motivated to do a good job so we could be captains on nice new RJ's and in return, help our company make a profit. NOT SO FAST!
Suddenly, AA pilots who are furloughed want to fly RJ's. When Les Abend got his seniority number, you took your chances. You went to work for an airline, got a number, and if they furloughed or went under, you started over, or you "considered your uncle's car lot." Today, there is "Jets for Jobs." Major airlines who own regionals or code share with regionals will ignore the seniority number of the regional pilots to give the left seat to a furloughed major airline pilot. They are able to do this because they know the regional management won't resist because they want the code share. If the regional pilots try to resist, they will be threatened with bankruptcy. Another reason is that ALPA, who represents many regionals has a conflict of interest. They want to protect the big airline pilots because that's where most of their money comes from. They give lip service to representing the regional pilots, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The fact is that they are just not interested in spending the money to fight the airline managements for the regional pilots.
If you are not already as of this date, a regional jet captain holding a line, I would be very leery of spending any money to start an aviation career(unless you are already independently wealthy, or your parents are and don't mind you mooching the rest of your life. Or maybe you have a rich wife or husband.) I would especially be leery of anyone promising you a job in exchange for your money, and I would be leery of going to work for a commuter with an intimate relationship with any group of major airline pilots. You will eventually just be "furlough bait" for them, or even if you don't lose your FO job, (you won't lost that job, trust me, nobody else wants it) they will take your left seat upgrade potential even though they don't have a seniority number at your regional. I would also be loathe to go to work for another regional represented by ALPA. Even though ALPA zealots will scream bloody murder and call you names, investigate non-union regionals like Skywest or Freedom.
You have to make the call; maybe if you start your training now, you will be in a good place when things get going again. But if you have a good job now, think twice before leaving it. Look at ALL-ATPs, compare to Comair Academy.
After deciding to leave ERAU-Daytona (for financial reasons) I took some time off and decided to move back to Ohio. I was taking classes and working full-time at a great company. I didn't want to quit and move back to flight school, so I decided to give Airline Transport Professionals, Inc. (ATP) a call.
I started in January last year with my private and most of my intrument training complete. I left ATP with my Commercial, CFI, CFII, and MEI cert/ratings in just over 2 months. This allowed me to come back to my job and have a job flying on the side, which I must say was a great advantage over leaving to go back to flight school again.
I was based in Atlanta for the duration of my training, but they have posts all over the US. After flying coast-to-coast in one of their multi-engine aircraft and stopping at other ATP locations I can say that their staff is very well educated and do a great job. If you're looking into accelerated training I would consider ATP, Inc. over Comair Academy, Westwind, or all those others. You can check them out at allatps.com or by calling 1-800-ALL-ATPS. Good luck with your training!
Be VERY careful about what Comair (Now Delta Connection) Academy is offering. They are assuring that you will get an INTERVIEW with the regional connection partners, not A JOB.
I am 34 years old IT professional. I too was thinking about giving all this up and joining the fleets of pilots. Well, instead I can work 7-8 months for $80/hr, then take the summer off to do flight instruction. As a matter of fact, I am even thinking forming a small flight school where I don't intend to make money, but at least provide good instruction (I love instructing) and keep flying without having to pay $$$ to local FBOs.
Who knows, once I retire I may actually expand my business.
Being away from home for 18K/year to start, I don't think that I will go for that..
Hello all, My name is Theodore Greer. I'm a 21 year old college student, and I was also thinking about persuing a career in aviation. Whether it be working with the mechanics of the aircraft, or being a pilot. I'd prefer the latter. After reading your posts, I just wanted to ask what the positive points are to being a pilot.
I'm not an airline pilot, only an instructor, but here are my thoughts:
* Personal Challenge and satisfaction
* I've only met two jerks in aviation (1 if you don't count me)
* You get to look out the window from the best seat in the house
* Good compensation (from what I hear) once you get past the early stages
there is nothing in this world that makes me happier than flying. I am the guy who replies in the previous posts. (The IT consultant). However, when flying becomes a job , it becomes a very tough one for years to endure.
To give you an example, the CFI friend who thought me all I know was making $10/hr 10 years ago flight instructing, I am making eight times of that, I am able to fly on my own schedule, etc. He got furloughed from his dream CRJ F/O job, and after some down time he had to give up his seniority to join another regional airline with low wages all over again.
Money should never be the driving factor they say, but when it comes to having kids, buying a house, or paying for it, $18K/year won't cut it.
Once again, aviation is really cool, is extremely satisfying, but when you are hungry, when you have your car repossed (that happened to me , when i was full time CFI) then come back and read the articles in Flying on how regionals are hiring..
Major airlines are in deep doo doo and the wages you hear about are not going to come back. There is a major consolidation going on in the airline industry now. Even 90 seat aircraft that were flown by majors (DC9s) are being replaced by non-unionized, low wage paying Freedom Airlines for instance.
you will see more and more of that.. believe me..
hi i am 13 and i want to know if a person at my age can go to flight school? please somebody send a message back to stickshifter
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