What shops to be looking at...

RickJames

Impressive Member
I'm around 3 months away from having ATP minimums. Currently acquiring the requisite 500 cross-country with everything else in the bag and then some. Just looking for recommendations from JC'ers on where to consider applying whether it be 91/121/135 is immaterial. I'm open to all suggestions. Anything from favorite all around to favorite work culture, favorite views, best maintenance, best equipment, best pay, etc. Any place you worked and hated to leave or wouldn't be heart-broken to be at again, hypothetically. Thanks to all.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
If you're that broad, IMO narrow it down to 121 airlines. Huge sign on bonuses/pay increases, and quick movement at almost every regional. Where do you live? Where do you want to live? Pick companies that will give you the best seniority movement, pay, and QOL.
 

RickJames

Impressive Member
If you're that broad, IMO narrow it down to 121 airlines. Huge sign on bonuses/pay increases, and quick movement at almost every regional. Where do you live? Where do you want to live? Pick companies that will give you the best seniority movement, pay, and QOL.
Thanks.
Currently living on the outskirts of BFE.
Would like to live anywhere with a view.
Skywest is attractive among others.

I was hoping to hear about the shops people have had great work experiences at. I'm not in a position where I need to support anyone other than myself so income from a 121 doesn't necessarily outweigh the personal satisfaction other professional flying opportunities may have to offer, whether that be derived from location, equipment, or mission.
 

RickJames

Impressive Member
You don't need 500 hours cross country. It's reducible to 200 and you'll just be issued a restricted ATP.
Good to know. I did agree to a term of service with my current shop, nothing on paper but I gave my word and that's my bond. Besides my degree from Riddle is pre-Level C FSTD requirement for the ATP putting me in a gray area as to whether the 141 curriculum I went through still counts for anything under the new regs. Unfortunately no one at Riddle has been able to give me heads or tails to that end, but I'm happy at my gig for now getting 100 hours a month, all cross country.
 

Finny

Well-Known Member
Good to know. I did agree to a term of service with my current shop, nothing on paper but I gave my word and that's my bond. Besides my degree from Riddle is pre-Level C FSTD requirement for the ATP putting me in a gray area as to whether the 141 curriculum I went through still counts for anything under the new regs. Unfortunately no one at Riddle has been able to give me heads or tails to that end, but I'm happy at my gig for now getting 100 hours a month, all cross country.
The recruiters at the regionals you'll interview at will be able to help you with that as well. I'd ask them rather than waiting on Riddle to get back to you.
 

Yakob

Grand Prognosticator Nominee
Good to know. I did agree to a term of service with my current shop, nothing on paper but I gave my word and that's my bond. Besides my degree from Riddle is pre-Level C FSTD requirement for the ATP putting me in a gray area as to whether the 141 curriculum I went through still counts for anything under the new regs. Unfortunately no one at Riddle has been able to give me heads or tails to that end, but I'm happy at my gig for now getting 100 hours a month, all cross country.
You don't need an approved degree for the 200-hour reduced Cross Country time requirement, the degrees or military flight training are only required to get a restricted ATP with reduced total time. So you would be eligible for a Restricted ATP at 1500TT and 200 cross country as long as you meet all the other experience requirements.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.160 (See section F of 14 CFR 61.160)

It sounds like you are open to almost any employer, so it's hard to give specific advice. A 121 employer might be the best idea as in the long run you would probably be able to make the most money in 121, at least if you can eventually make it to a major. Out of the 121 regionals Endeavor, Envoy, Piedmont and PSA pay the most right now, so one of those might be the best choice. The last 3 of those might also be a good choice because of the flow to American, which could come in handy if you can't get hired at a major otherwise.You mentioned you're interested in SkyWest and they wouldn't be a bad choice either. They don't pay as well as some of the other regionals, but they have a relatively stable history. They also provide feed for four different mainline partners, so there eggs are in several different nest-boxes. They have quite a few outstanding orders for new aircraft as well, and they are the largest regional so no other regional can match their economy of scale. This probably allows them to undercut much of their competition, which is important in the regional airline industry as the mainline partners are looking for the cheapest regional feed possible.

Interviewing at a few of the companies you're interested in should help you decide where to go.

Also, I know you said you're not in a huge hurry to leave but if you do go to a 121 airline it would be best to do so sooner rather than later, since seniority is everything in the airlines. Also keep in mind they may not be hiring forever, and it's already been 8 years since the last recession so we are just about due for another one.
 

chrisreedrules

Master Blaster
This is sort of a loaded question. But I'll throw my 2 cents out there...

I've worked at just about every type of flying operation around. Flew traffic watch, skydivers, flight instructed everything from private pilots to ATPs, pictometry-type stuff, frequency testing for the FCC, and I dabbled briefly in charter and corporate aviation in King Airs, Lear, and a CJ. I've now been at a 121 regional for shy of 3 years.

The most fun I've ever had flying was frequency testing/picto stuff and flight instructing. I won't get into it but I had a great thing going with both of those jobs and in hindsight it was a lot of fun. But, they were still a "stepping stone" on the path I wanted my career to ultimately take.

Charter/Corporate aviation is okay. I think it suits some people better than it suited me. It gave me my first turbine experience and showed me how diverse aviation can be. I met some great friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. That being said, "I'm not a 'yes man'." And what I'm about to say isn't meant to imply that ALL Charter/Corporate pilots are "yes men" (or women) so bare with me. I don't want to come into the office on my days off and/or wash the airplane. I don't want to empty the lav. I don't want to throw bags. I don't want to have to feel like I have to suck up to the boss so I can hopefully sit in the left seat one day if the guy over there decides to quit or retires. I don't want to tell the customer they can't bring their 3 extra friends and their 20 extra bags. I had no problem doing it at the time. But it's just not what I want to be doing long-term. Of course not every outfit is like that and the times have certainly changed a bit, but that was my experience. It just wasn't for me.

I've been at PSA now for the better part of 3 years. I have to commute to work up in CLT instead of driving 10 minutes to the airport, but that's okay with me because this job (for what it is) is leaps and bounds better than any other (jet) job I've ever had. I didn't sit much reserve here, and I held a line in my base of choice within 6 months. Fast forward a couple years and I'm a senior FO who has been bypassing upgrade for several months (for reasons that are my own) although that is going to change here pretty soon. This year I have not been off less than 15 days in a month save for 1 month I decided I was going to make some extra coin and I was off 13 days. Most months I'm off 17-19 days thanks to our SAP (schedule adjustment period) and I credit anywhere from 65 to maybe 80 hours in an "average month". I haven't spent a single holiday away from my family and I haven't missed one single important engagement thanks to it. I'm on track to credit around $65,000 this year and I feel like I barely work. When I upgrade I will still be able to hold a line in a commutable base and take advantage of the SAP and I'll likely make about $75,000 (could make more but I don't like to work too much truthfully). Some people say living in base can't be beat, and that may be true in most cases. That being said my commute is pretty short/painless and I'm actually Home more than I would be if I lived in base because I can bid overnights in my hometown. Some months I've had 4-5 overnights here.

So in my opinion 121 is leaps and bounds and night/day better than anything else. However I've had a really great experience so far and I know it hasn't been as good to many out there. This industry is all about timing and so far I've been pretty lucky. I'll just add this little bit of advice I heard from an older pilot who was at the twilight of his career. He said that if he and the other older guys he still talked to could have gone back, most would have just stuck it out in 121 instead of pursuing 135/91 flying. He said the pilots he knew who were the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest (cliche huh?) over the long term of their career were all airline guys. They had the most overall career earnings, better retirements, and much better career stability. To echo what others have already said to you above. Seniority really is EVERYTHING in this industry. Do not wait one class date longer than you absolutely have to. I took a 6 month break between my last job and PSA and I regret it to this day. It can be the difference between years of reserve and holding a line. The difference between years of having holidays with your family and sitting in a crash pad on reserve over Christmas. The difference between a successful marriage and a bitter divorce. It is everything.
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
Hit every pitch thrown your way and swing for the fences.

SJI, Cactus, Critter...
 

AdamTheAviator

Well-Known Member
Also, I know you said you're not in a huge hurry to leave but if you do go to a 121 airline it would be best to do so sooner rather than later, since seniority is everything in the airlines. Also keep in mind they may not be hiring forever, and it's already been 8 years since the last recession so we are just about due for another one.
This. All of this is true.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
Most months I'm off 17-19 days thanks to our SAP (schedule adjustment period) and I credit anywhere from 65 to maybe 80 hours in an "average month". I haven't spent a single holiday away from my family and I haven't missed one single important engagement thanks to it.
It makes me smile when I hear things like this. PSA management had NO idea what they were getting in to when we said "it happens before the reserve grid gets built?" and they said "sure... we're ok with that."
 
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