Steering myself in the direction of a cargo career...

pavelump

Well-Known Member
I know that there are a few freight guys around on this board. What advice could you give someone such as myself (200 or so hours, working on commercial-multi) to get pointed in the right direction for UPS, FedEX, DHL, etc? I'm most likely going to be getting my Instructor certificates as well. Would a small cargo operation be considered a "stepping stone" or does it matter? And lastly, am I crazy to want to do cargo?

Thanks,
Dave
 

I_Money

Moderator
I think a major is a major regardless of if they fly boxes, or the cargo which complains about everything. The most important thing is keeping focused, working hard, and trying to get a job where you can upgrade to command on a turbine quickly. Also trying to network in these companies will eb very important, maybe even try an intership, or another position to make friends, and get your name on file.
 

WillNotFly4Food

Well-Known Member
Damn you two! I was hoping I was the only one looking at cargo. Now I have two more people to compete against...

Figured I stay up till 3am every night anyway, may as well do something while I'm awake.

The traditional airlines have been hiring more civilian pilots than military but I heard FedEx, UPS like the military guys. Any truth?
 

vipermcg

New Member
There's some articles on here about "A Day in the life of a Major/regional pilot." However, theres really not too much about a typical schedule for a cargo pilot. I know we have a few UPS/FedEx guys on here. Do you think It would be possible to get any info on this?
 

flyitup

Well-Known Member
Now I may be completely in left field, but isn’t most cargo flying done at night? If that’s the case, I can see where flying freight would be quite demanding on ones body and sleep patterns.

I have also thought about the possibility of flying cargo as opposed to people, but in reality I just want to get paid a decent wage to fly. I, along with the others, would love to hear the “day in the life” from one of you cargo guys!
 

pavelump

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I, along with the others, would love to hear the “day in the life” from one of you cargo guys!


[/ QUOTE ]

sleep. sleep. sleep.

We need a night in the life! Personally, I'm not much of a morning person so I wouldn't mind. But then again, I could live in Europe on my days off and then I'd be on the same schedule! Yeah, right.


Dave
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Well if you guys can convince seagull, a300capt or de727ups to conjure up something, I'd be more than happy to oblige!
 

flyitup

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Well if you guys can convince seagull, a300capt or de727ups to conjure up something, I'd be more than happy to oblige!


[/ QUOTE ]

Alright fellas', let's do a round of paper, rock, scissors to see who gets to write it!


In all seriousness, it would be really cool to hear from one of you if you can find the time!
 

MissedApproach

Well-Known Member
I have a good friend who's a 747 pilot for UPS out of Louisville. He knows about this site but I don't think he ever visits. I could ask him if he'd like to write something though.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Well....geee....I\'ve never felt so wanted.....

I almost don't feel qualified to talk about a typical freight pilots lifestyle because I have used my seniority to avoid the stereotype. But I'll give it my best shot...

First of all, UPS hires from all backgrounds. Anywhere from ex-military to other freight dawgs. Back when we were hiring, you needed at least a recommendation from a line pilot and 1000 PIC turbine. I had neither when I got hired in 1990, making me wonder if I'm qualified to work here after working here for 13 years...

A typical "night in the life" schedule would be going on duty at 9 pm, flying into a sort facility, and going off duty at 6am. We have sorts in Louisville, Philly, Dallas, Ontario, CA and a small one in Columbia, SC. You might fly from Seattle to Louisville, sit the sort for 4 hours, and fly to New Orleans. Or you might fly from Decatur, IL to Louisville, sit the sort for 6 hours, and fly back. Because of trip rigs, most schedules pay our minimum 75 hour a month guarantee no matter how many hours you fly. A few trips have block hours above 75 hours, so you get paid for actual flight time. We have a lot of six day on, eight day off trips, though a little bit of everything can be had. Sometimes I do a intra-Europe trip where I'm gone from home 10 days a month and off the rest. Being up all night is hard but I find it harder to readjust to being normal during my days off. All in all, I'm glad I fly freight because I get more time off, fly less, but still get paid about the same as a major pax airline 727 F/O. I never really thought about the job security issue but, as we can currently see, major freight is pretty secure, unless you are in the bottom 100 at UPS....and that's just a management tactic because we are in contract negotiations.

I never was shooting for a career at UPS....it just kinda worked out that way. I don't think it's wise to set your sights on a specific airline at the cost of ignoring others. Iain is right, any major airline job (in the past) would be considered a good job and you can't be too choosey. Let's all hope things someday get back to normal and we can all enjoy good careers.
 

albatross

New Member
The "day in the life" thing for freight pilots would be very welcome. In the meantime I would recommend reading A300's article in the perspectives section. Good stuff.
 

flyinyourShorts

New Member
Funny how over the years i'm finding other people that want a career flying freight! This is my fourth year of flying for a living, and the fourth that i've flown freight.

From the standpoint of flying for smaller freight carriers, you can expect quite a different expirence than your friends that go to commuters. You can plan on flying old and used airplanes in bad weather for not near top wages(oh yea, most of the airplanes you will be flying has NO autopilot). You can also expect alot of night flying, alot of time sitting around a hub in the middle of the night, and adjusting your life around your new nocturnal life.

On the good side of this is the expirence you build flying in the conditions you operate from day to day(or should I say night to night). There is great opprunities for lower time pilots to build turbine PIC time. And for us who just love them, the chance to fly older airplanes. My career has had me flying in some of the more cool, old, strange, and ugly airplanes you can imagine. For my age I have alot more time under my belt than all the guys I started out with, and 95% of it is PIC and half of my time is transport catagory PIC. I wouldn't have that much PIC if I had went with the commuters.

Also, depending on what kind of operation you work for, you could do all sorts of different kind of flying. If you get into an airline that flies scheduled runs plan on flying to a hub, sitting around for 3-6 hours, then flying home. If your airline does Ad-Hoc charter, you can plan on flying different places all the time hauling god knows what. I have hauled something as mundane as a radiator, to something as exotic as a male gorilla on his way to mate with a female! Also, if your doing ad-hoc, plan on living off a beeper, and not having a social life outside the crew house while your on call.

I fly freight because I like the lifestyle. I enjoy working with people, but I have never been turned on my hauling pax. Just somehting about getting out of a crew bus and walking up to an old airliner with a BIG hole cut in the side that excites me. Maybe it's also because freight airlines are the only place I can fly the airplanes I have always wanted to fly... Who knows why, but I definatly know flying freight is NOT for everybody.

Flying freight has taken me to most of the US, most ALL of the Caribbean islands, alot of Mexico, alot of Canada, and some of South America! Try going those places working for a commuter... The bad part is, I USUALLY didn't get to stay there long!

My hope is to fly for UPS one day, although I would not pass up an opprunity to go to FedEx, DHL, or Airborne. There is really good stability in freight, and there is really good pay. You just have to get over the part that the company you work for looks at you like it does its delivery drivers. Frankly, i can't wait to put that brown uniform on!

Anywho, if anybody is interested in a night in the life of a Caravan/Shorts/Convair freight pilot, just let me know....
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
My goal, since my "commuter airline" days was to fly for a freight company like UPS or FedEx. Job sercurity was most important to me and flying people had lost it's luster after enduring the airplane is "Too small" and I was "Too young" daily comments from the self loading freight. Most often heard comment over the years, "Hey, did you remember to wind up the rubber bands?"

As far as our work schedule goes, it really depends on if you commute to work or live in domicle. I live in Louisville and mostly fly "turn" lines. That means you're out and back the same day. Typically, turns lines consist of flying 3 weeks in a row (usually 4 days each week) and 1 week off.

You can fly a line consisting of morning turns or a line of evening turns. Morning trips report around 3:30am and leave around 4:30am. You'll fly outbound to a gateway somewhere, sit a couple hours and return back to Louisville arriving between 9-11:00am. Afternoon turns report around 4:00pm and depart around 5pm. You'll fly to a gateway, sit about 3-4 hours (go to dinner and/or watch TV) and return back to Louisville around midnight-2am.

I usually fly turn lines because a) I can; b) I like being home everyday; and c) No commercial deadheading! I mostly fly morning turns and occasionally fly afternoon turns when I can get them (they go very senior out of Louisville)! Currently, I'm flying afternoon DFW turns.

Commuters generally fly lines that are week on/week off and have commercial deadheads on both ends of the trips. This gives them more time at home. International crews may be gone 12-14 days and have the rest of the month off.

Sorry, this is the short version as I'm a little busy with the family this weekend.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I just remembered, freight guys don't have to worry about frequent fliers!

The guys that, when you're deadheading in uniform, seem to always start the dreaded "deadhead conversation":

Him: 'Hey, how long you been flying?'
Me: 'Oh professionally since 1993' [eyes closed, back to nap]
Him: [Nudges me] 'Wow, pretty easy job huh? Just push the go button! I hear the plane can almost taxi itself'
Me:
'Not really' [close eyes, back to nap]
Him: [Nudges me again] 'Hey, I'm a super duper mega platinum deluxe fruquent flyer, I probably fly more than you!'
Me: [nod]
Him: 'Seriously! I flew 80 segments on XYZ last year! Is this your line?'
Me: [fake snore]
Him: 'To think you guys get paid $300,000 per year! what a life! Are you married to a stewardess?'

and on and on and on...
 

pavelump

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Him: 'To think you guys get paid $300,000 per year! what a life! Are you married to a stewardess?'


[/ QUOTE ]

Just tell him, "Yeah, Sergio up in first class is my life partner." That'll probably shut him up. Maybe.


Dave
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
[ QUOTE ]
Damn you two! I was hoping I was the only one looking at cargo. Now I have two more people to compete against...


[/ QUOTE ]

$20 bucks, a crowbar and some duct tape (and maybe even some plastic sheeting) and I can take care of that for 'ya!










Just kidding?
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Ack! I didn't hear that!


But indeed, aviation is highly competitive... Do what you have to do!
 
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