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  • 35

The U.S. Airline Pilots Who Barely Make Minimum Wage

Soumis
 
You really have to love what you do, or be exceedingly patient, to consider becoming a regional airline pilot. Aviation consultant Kit Darby says regional airline co-pilots and pilots, in the lower ranks, at least, don’t make a living wage. In fact, the mechanic at your local gas station, or even the taxi driver who drives along the streets of your town, sometimes taking trips of a longer duration than regional flights, may be pulling down more cash per hour than the bottom rungs of first… (skift.com) Plus d'info...

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THRUSTT
THRUSTT 8
Amazing how Shit Darby and all these interview prep. consultants are pulling in big money for a bag of bullshit!!!
DennisSchaal
Dennis Schaal 2
Tell us what you really think:)
Av8nut
Michael Fuquay 13
It seems obvious that those becoming pilots don't do it for the pay. It's because they hate to sleep and they love hotel rooms.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 12
And the hot women..
TXCAVU
Here! Here!
Derg
Roland Dent 2
We know your hot Elizabeth..no need to show off.
tduggan2010
Tim Duggan 2
"you're"....
DennisSchaal
Dennis Schaal 5
Fyi, here http://skift.com/2013/08/29/regional-airlines-pilot-shortage-is-heading-toward-the-perfect-storm/ is basically the second part to the above story, published today, that's all about the regional airline pilot shortage, which comes as United and Delta are starting to hire, and the regionals are feeling pressure because of the new ATP requirements.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
This article deserves its' own squawk!
Doubletrack
Dave Barnette 9
Who takes a job and not knowing what's involved? let's spend the time and money to become a Pilot and then complain about the pay and hours knowing what's involved before we applied for the job.
dwilson100k
Don Wilson 1
You think the minimum wage workers at McDonalds knew what they would be doing when they accepted the job for min wage? Turnover is 80% because they thought it would be easy.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
Of that "80%", 95% of them are high school kids just making spending money for themselves until they graduate and move on to college or quit because they dont feel like working. Find a real comparison.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
since when was burger tossing in the same league as aviation..get the heck out of here
eckstrombryan
Bryan Eckstrom 3
this go for FA's that work for those airlines also , not just the pilots
preacher1
preacher1 1
I really doubt it as DAL and AA both either just had or are in the process of a big FA hiring drive, but the total time increase to 1500 hours is what's going to crimp the rank of the pilots.
mpradel
Marcus Pradel 3
I don't know how it doesn't get discussed more here.. but it's not the airline who can just start paying a little better for the start-up pilots.. those wages were defined by the union!

Most US airlines pilot rosters are very top heavy right now with almost 50% of pilots over 55 years of age. All of those guys will be gone in the next 10 years!
preacher1
preacher1 2
While it may not be as much as the legacy carriers, Regionals treat their senior Captains fairly well. It is noted that there are many who have passed up big iron jobs to stay regional, simply because it's not a bad living and they like flying RJ's, where they live, or something that makes it tolerable. Naturally that doesn't fit all but it plainly says that ALL must pay their dues, regardless of what path you choose. Maybe after all the shakeout, that path may be more clearly defined over the next while.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 2
You also need a college degree.. This costs well over 50k also.. So indeed it does cost 100s to become an airline pilot.
conmanflyer
connor oslie 1
A college degree, not an embry riddle college degree. :p the way most people describe it, i can just go get a degree in underwater basket weaving and be good!
edgetl
Just shows how passionate pilots are. I've always felt I was a very passionate aviation enthusiast. So much so that I finally decided to start pilot training. However, the 21hrs of training burned through my stupidly cashed in young 401k and a recent job move to NYC left me financially unable to continue flying. At times I feel there isn't many people as passionate about aviation as me but when you read an article like this it proves that most airline pilots are. As much as I want to continue my training (almost to the point of depression) I can't afford the $5k to $7k required to finish it. So the fact that pilots have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get an ATP and college degree only to make less than minimum wage proves just how passionate they are about flying. Something I'll remember the next time I'm boarding one of those "scary and unsafe" RJs ;-)
cdierking44
Chris Dierking 2
I wouldn't say they've spent hundreds of thousands, most pilots spend about $50-60K then become a flight instructor to build time..
vanstaalduinenj
Not undermining the important work and the huge responsibilities of a flight crew, but after a recent trip to Detroit, I would caution anyone going there and verbally complain about "only" getting paid 36$ and hour.
The 200$+ airline and CARGO pilot days are/were good......very good, and unlike Detroit problems.....I can't see amercian or united start hiring Mexican and Chinese pilots they can pay 1/10 of the salary to for the same work.....Atleast not yet....
aircmdr
you have to check United .. they have been hiring "Americans" from other countries, aliens, for years. I had a captain friend tell me that some of the copilots he flew with couldn't speak English.
TXCAVU
And 4 years at ERAU (including ATP) costs how much now?
capnaux
Eric Auxier 1
It's sad that this is the only professional industry where: 1. you spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a minimum wage job, that 2. you may never be able to leave, 3. when you do, you start at the bottom again, and 4. if you have a medical hiccup or minor "mistake"--so long, Charlie.

Brutal, brutal business....

But, inexplicably—WORTH IT ALL!!!!
jagerardi
jagerardi 1
So, minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the lowest-paid pilots make $19.00/hour, or over 2-1/2 times minimum wage.

Why the alarmist headline?

..Joe
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Actually if you consider that pilots are only paid for flight time, pilots for regional/commuter airlines have lots of short legs in a day. So these pilots are effectively only paid for about half the time they are on duty. They aren't paid for pre-flight preparation, like walk-around inspections, weight and furl calculations and checklists.

If they're only paid wheels-up time (as opposed to gate to gate closed-door time) pilots are even paid for taxiing the plane on the airfield, nor waiting in line to takeoff because of weather or traffic delays).

This doesn't take into consideration the commute which may be anything from a hour or two drive/ public transport/ employee bus from a distant lot to flying in from a distant airport for work.

So if you consider that these pilots are only paid for about half of their duty time, $19/hr flight time results in an effective rate of about $9.50/hr duty time. That is only slightly higher than minimum wage burger flippers.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 0
Now if there were a clearly defined career path from $7-$9/hr burger flipper to a $250,000/year burger flipper working only 5 days a month, surrounded by beautiful professional women in uniform while staying in hotels all over the world, with all kinds of women drooling over a butter man in uniform, you wouldn't see as much turn-over in burger flipping either. And you'd see thousands of men spending the thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to get the necessary instruction and time on small iron (backyard grills) in order to get that intro-level burger flipping job, an maybe some day move up to the big iron with the big boys.

But alas, all we can do is dream.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
* Clearly defined career path to $250,000 year flipping burgers only 5 days a month, with all kinds of women drooling over a BURGER man in uniform, you wouldn't see as much turn-over in burger flipping either.
Derg
Roland Dent 0
Journo tactic no news no job
jjdenike
james denike 1
hey, if I was as half as smart as I thought I was when I first started flying, I would have become a plumber and plumbing contractor and been now flying my own CJ bought with cash. But enough winging. As pilots, we are our own worst enemies. Nothing short of a national strike will ever change the situation for the Regionals.
latinpilot
juan Malave 1
Its true...You really have to love it to spend about $95k and 5 year of your life just to to start working in the regionals for $22/hr. Its ridiculous what you make if you compare with other jobs that pays more and doesn't have the training that a pilot does.IT would be interesting to see in the comings years with shortages of pilots and the mandatory retirements what the future would be.
ctopanga
Cate Becker 1
There was a really good Frontline program done on this a few years ago, if anyone's interested: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/flyingcheap/view/
sanukjim
Yeah, but he will tell you that "He are an aeroplane pilot" Whoopee!
tduggan2010
Tim Duggan 1
Hello....I may be a little bit late to this 'party', and for gosh sakes, I AM for higher pay at ALL levels for pilots...even the so-called 'entry" levels. In fact, this is a BIG issue for each and every working airline pilot in the USA (I'm retired, but I still have a brain on this issue).

There are forces that have eroded pilots' pay rates over the last decade (or so)...partly due to Management's ability to supplement routes usually flown by the "MAINLINE" jets via outsourcing to the "Regionals" or (Name-the-Term) contracted companies, sometimes wholly-owned subsidiaries of the MAINLINE company!!

Now...at first blush looking at the article, I noted this:

>>>"For a pilot with 10 years’ experience at SkyWest, the weekly gross paycheck might be around $1,312."<<<

OK....I looked at the article's chart, viewed "SkyWest" (Full disclosure...I never flew for them, although they bought up a commuter airline that I USED to fly for, before I went to a Major).

Back to my point...on the chart, the "Ten-year" rate for a SkyWest pilot (I presume that is the left seat, or Captain) is $61 per hour. This makes me think that the article author is off a bit. Given a MAX per 12 months of 1,000 hours actual flight time, it works out to an average of 83 hours per month. 83 X 61 = $5063 gross pay. Divide that by 4 (for a "weekly" gross paycheck, it's $1265,

OK...we are still looking at $60,000 per year (plus overs, and per diem, etc, etc) for a Captain in a turboprop airplane.

Thing is, the Commuter airlines may (or may not) keep a guy/gal that long before he/she decides to hit the "big iron". Often, that IS a pay cut, in a short term.

Every pilot faces these decisions...and, as I noted at the beginning of my rant...Managements take advantage, whenever possible.

OK...I'm "done", for now....(stepping off of the soap-box...).
TXCAVU
Feel better?
StarFlyr
StarFlyr 1
PROBATION, ever heard of it? Re the quotes of 1st year pay on the majors on the list, do the highest pay airlines pay $55K the entire first year or is the the point where they enter the $55K level. If I remember correctly on TWA, we made around $550 a month for the first year, but when we crossed the "probation" line, our pay jumped to around $1800 monthly. The price you pay to join the union pay scale.

I'm not shedding any tears for these junior bird men.
TXCAVU
TWA pilots were dealt a low blow.
fredrok
Fred White 1
I've said it a millions times: as long as they agree to the responsibility of operating a multi million dollar asset containing multiple lives for the equivalent of poverty, then you reap what you sow. There's no one to blame in this circle but the pilots whoring themselves out for cheap labor.

I've had a successful career as a professional pilot without working cheap even once. I just had the balls to say "no thank you" when offered crap. They can too.
carjcapt
Jim Smith 1
Almost 9 years ago I was making $120.00 per hour flying 85 hours a month at the premier regional airline in the country. Uh oh...was that the cause of that airline shutting down September of last year???
TXCAVU
Where are you now?
carjcapt
Jim Smith 1
Retired in 2004 making that per hour. Now I'm collecting SS and loving it.
ssobol
Stefan Sobol 1
A regional pilot making $20/hour gets $1600/month BEFORE TAXES. Remember, the FAA restricts airline pilot flying to no more than 100 hours/month. You can't (legally) work overtime as a pilot to take home more money.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 0
It's been a few years since 3rd grade math class, but $20/hr x 100 hrs is still $2,000 a far as I know, BEFORE taxes. After tax is anyone's guess.

$24,000 (+ perdiem) starting salary for a young first officer is respectable if not luxurious. It will go up dramatically if there is a pilot shortage resulting from demand created by retirements, poaching by majors, and airline growth, all combined with the new 1500 hr requirement that may limit the supply of qualified pilots.

Salary does step to, close to or greater than, $100,000 in about 10 years or so in many cases. Can go even higher with a switch to a major.
ssobol
Stefan Sobol 1
The average airline pilot is paid for between 75 and 85 hours/month. The $1600 comes from the average amount of hours/month a pilot is likely to be paid for. The FAA max of 100/month limits the annual compensation for flying to 1200 hours x the rate. The per diem rate for pilots is paid per hour away from base while on the job. A pilot may get a $1 or two/hour.

One thing about commuting. Pilots have an opportunity to commute easier than most people. However, just like the guy who works at McDonald's, they can choose where to live. If a pilot decides to live on the other side of the country from his base, that's his choice and good for him. But, he shouldn't be whining about how far he has to commute. I could live in SEA and work in MIA (I'm not a pilot) and my employer really can't say or do anything about it so long as I show up on time and am able to do the work they hired me for. How I manage to get there and how long it takes is not my employers concern.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
"How I manage to get there and how long it takes is not my employers concern."

Well that may be true. But it is or ought to be the employer's an regulator's concern that the employee show up ready for duty. Particularly for airline pilots, when they are at the command of expensive planes with souls onboard and souls being overflown on the ground. Getting adequate rest prior to flying should be just as important as not drinking alcohol in the hours before flight duty, and not just an afterthought.

All pilots from day 1 should be provided sufficient pay so that they can afford a place/ hotel room near the duty airport (at least for the night prior to flying), or the airline should provide simple sleeping quarters to insure the pilots commanding their planes get adequate rest.

All pilots pay does not need to go up. The folks already earning $150k-$250k and only working a handful of days a month are already doing fine. But at the lowest steps, we'd all benefit from those pilots getting a few more dollars. At least enough, so that they are never forced to pass on getting a hotel room prior to flight duty only because they can't afford it. Or in the alternative, unlimited free hotel room passes for any night before flight duty (without any questions or negative repercussions for using them).

[This poster has been suspended.]

PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
You miss + per diem. $24k+ not just $24k

This wouldn't be for a widebody captain with experience, but a starting salary for a first officer on the smallest turboprops with no commercial passenger aircraft experience. A year flying in the right seat with lots of great captains next to you is much better training for working your way up to larger planes, than banner towing and any other such atrempt to build up hours. Even instructing, which may be helpful for a few hundred hours, after a while of that, nothing else beats getting a job in that seat for actual learning to be a great pilot.

As long as pay increases substantially over the first few years, reflecting the value of experience acquired on the job. Everyone's got to start somewhere. Some get a shortcut to the majors (military training). For everyone else, they've got the regionals.

At least in aviation, there is a clearly defined career path that leads up to substantially high pay for essentially part-time working hours as a captain on big iron for the majors.

[This poster has been suspended.]

PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Maybe 250 hours isn't enough. And I certainly can't vouch for riddle nor its' grads. But an apprentice program, based out of regional airlines affiliated with majors, can do a lot to help train great pilots. But you've got to put them next to great pilots (that would have to be paid handsomely).

But there's a lot of room for improvement between 250 hr riddle grads, and $150k for every pilot and first officer on every plane everywhere everyday, even the smallest turboprops, starting on the very first day the pilot arrives to a job on any airline of any size.
rw812
Michael Smith 1
Yea, that's right - just throw money at it. Every one knows that something more expensive is better than something that is less expensive - NOT!

[This poster has been suspended.]

JD345
JD345 1
They could get rid of all the corporate folks and require all the pilots to have MBAs.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
From bad to worse.

Sure get rid of all non-essential personnel. But pilots only job should be to command the planes in an effecient and SAFE manner. No need to dilute pilot's responsibility for safety (of plane and passengers) with other corporate responsibilities.

Sure it helps to have good pilots running the asylum. A good airline will be better from having good pilots helping make decisions, but it should be a self-selected sub-group of pilots who not only understand flight operations from years of command, but took the initiative to get further business training, and ate doubly an asset to the operation.
JD345
JD345 1
That's my point. Every industry has variations on the "management vs. grunts" theme. They'll go back and forth, but in the end one cannot survive without the other. MBAs can't fly airplanes and ATPs can't run billion dollar companies.
wasclywabbit
John Berry 1
What I find perplexing is the amount of conflicting information out there about the supply/demand of pilots over the next few years. With the number of Vietnam era pilots being forced into retirement and the overall growth of airlines globally I fail to see how there won't be a substantial increase in demand for pilots. Add in the new US regs increasing hours for a ATP cert as well as the need for a 4 year degree in order to be able to get in with fewer hours and I don't see how the regionals won't have to raise wages in order to get qualified applicants. The Air Force, long a training ground for the airlines are increasing pilot pay in order to fend off the talent outflow which will further exacerbate the problem.

There is no real opportunity to "outsource" the positions as they have in manufacturing as the non-US carriers (mostly Asian) are having a hard enough time attracting enough talent to facilitate their own growth.

If I were a young man I would certainly look to aviation as a possible career choice. No it's not perfect but every job has its own level of brain damage associated with it.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 1
The real problem is the boomers and their pensions. The senior guys fly 5 days a month and rake in 220k +. And about the Riddle kids.. You can't blame them for being PFJ's, blame their boomer parents. They are the ones who coddle these kids and pump out 100's of thousands for their schooling even tho the kids themselves never worked a real day in their lives. Taking a 20k job isn't a big deal to Gavin JR because he didn't have to pay for the schooling! Supply and demand.
aircmdr
I will agree to a point. Unfortunately, the retirees at United don't have pensions. I have a friend that is retired United, 75y/o and selling boats because he needs an income. OK, when he was making the 200K he probably bought too many sports cars.
Remember this .. "life isn't fair ... get use to it"
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 2
Agreed. My generation doesn't even know what a pension is. I've been pumping 5 to 15% into my 401k since I was 21 years old in hopes that I can retire sometime before age 90. If I made 200k in one year, I'd have more than enough to retire in like 5 years or even less. Do I need a 3000 sq ft house and a BMW? Nope. My 800 sq foot apartment and my paid off 09 Chevy Malibu will do fine for the next 10 years. Although I do wish I could afford a house and a family life, but the taxes in the NE are way too high for it to even be considered. People like me were forced to choose between bankruptcy and a starving family, or debt slavery and no family. I didn't have the heart to start a family I can't afford to support. So I do agree that pilots deserve a very high salary, rest, and quality of life.. But not if they are dead weight and only making 5 flights a month.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 2
Oh, and I also have to pay for my own health insurance.
preacher1
preacher1 2
"The senior guys fly 5 days a month and rake in 220k +." I don't think there are many, if any, raking that in anymore, but it is to be remembered that the senior guys did pay their dues earlier in an environment of which we speak here, so to a point, they are now reaping some rewards. It made a better than average living and there was a study out the other day that the divorce rate was highest in the world among airline pilots. It takes a special type woman to hang around thru it all.
Derg
Roland Dent 3
Supply and demand...too many pilots chasing too few jobs. Might as well become a mnok in a monastry these days. At least you get fed and have a roof.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Easy for us old folks to look back and see where we went wrong Wayne. My advice to the "kids" these days is to make a life decision. Move to Shenzen in China get a japanese wife and a Toyota and you are set for life. The USA has had the juices sucked..a good life in other far away places.
preacher1
preacher1 3
You and I are the fortunate ones. Our children are the ones that will miss out on what we grew up with and have to endure the fallout. This "I want it all right now" generation cannot be expected to commit to anything so long term as life, setting goals, and looking a few years down the line to accomplish them.
Derg
Roland Dent 2
Yes...I am a product of a WW2 war marriage and every job I went for I got hired. I was blue collar raised and I remain ble collar despite the success I had. The opportunities are still there but you gotta move around to get the benefit. For the "kids" I make sure they know how to turn their hand and brain to anything. They know that a street sweeper is equal to them no matter how many quals they have or what job they do. All the kids want stuff. Mine were brought up trawling breakers yards and to value people not money. They stigg get what they want but it is at least 20 years old.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I know what you mean. Mine was brought up to have a pretty good head on his shoulders with goal setting and all that. His wife is about 4 years younger, barely legal age when they married and brought up entirely different. It has been a trip but he is getting a business built, working his butt off to do it, and hopefully will have it there well before goal. She is finally starting to see what it's all about and is helping some now. It will be rough but I believe he will make it. Of course Dad will help him but he is not coming to me except for advice right now, and that is good.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d20-EIF8Bfs

Listen the words in this song Wayne. My mother was a Slav just like this lady..in fact she looked exactly like her.. The Nazi beheaded my uncle and my mother was "on the run" three years. People think I am German. I get used to it no way am I German. I am CZ.
ready4pullback
Harold Foster 1
Are there alot of Japanese cars and women in China? Last time I checked, that description fit SoCal to a T. Theres still plenty of juice, you just need the appropriate straw. When there is alot of juice, the diameter doesnt matter (read: large straw = large debt, big house, fancy car, trophy wife, etc.) but when you're trying to get that last little bit out of the bottom, you need either a smaller straw, or alot more suction. I'll take the smaller straw. And will thankfully drink the portions from people who have either given up hope, or moved to a communist country where the largest consumers of high end purses are, ahem, men.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Nvr been to SoCal. Sounds to me like those people have it all worked out.

GuamPilot
Michael Wendt 1
These articles never mention that pilots are limited to 1000 hors a year and because of weekly/monthly limitations you can rarely work ore than 900. Working 40 hours a week equals 2080 hours, so take these published pilot wages and cut it in half to make a comparison.
yayro
Rob Lowe 1
...except that many pilots get paid per flight hour, not hour on duty. So, take the number of hours to which a pilot is "limited" and double it to make a comparison.
aircmdr
Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns states that learning to fly would take a complete career to recover the costs. The liberal left has prices America out of most markets. Foreign pilots are hired first, then sent to training. mostly in America, with a job waiting when they obtain all their licenses. I read Cole's story below. Sorry, tuck your tail and find another career .. if you can.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf -4
I thought high fuel prices killed the industry.. Isn't that a RIGHT WING issue? (Think Haliburton) Believe me I hate what's going on today as much as the next guy, but let's not forget about Bush and how he was the worst president in US history. All of them are crooked. They love it this way, that way fools at the bottom argue over nonsense causing a diversion while the top gets away with murder and millions.
preacher1
preacher1 10
Not gonna start a political argument here except that if you think Bush was the worst President we have ever had, you either haven't looked at this one very close or are too young to have anything to compare too.
notawog
eric andresen 5
boo hoo! bush this and left wing that. Grow up! No one ever said life was fair and those that try and make it "fair" only fail miserably. The point of having a job is to make a living for your family. If you can't make a living flying an airplane then move along to something that pays! I love fly fishing and am very passionate about it but you don't see me crying about the low pay that might encompass it. Just because you've spent time in the "trenches" doesn't mean you are entitled to the primo right seat on a 757 flying your one leg each day 15 days a month with no commute. Quit crying and move along.
aircmdr
probably both. Glad I am old enough to have watched this country fold. As I mentioned, the one thing that destroyed this country ..... POLITICS.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Unfortunately, you are correct and I am going to finish my coffee as well. In 08 we sort of turned things over to the younger generation and we see what has been done with it. They have simply administered the coup de'grace to that which was already on a downhill slide. Funny though, whether enough or not will be seen, but they are slowly but surely rediscovering some of the old ways that they discarded. I don't know just how religious you are but I am certainly praying that the Lord hurries up and gives me the strength to endure til he does.LOL
WtfWtf
WtfWtf -7
Yea, I'm sure Wallstreet and right wing big oil had nothing to do with our downfall. I'm also sure that the Iraq oil i mean war was justified, and that Bush didn't run up the national deficit that we face today. Oh, and the disparity between the rich and the "middle" class was the LOWEST ever under Bush. Yup. Keep dreaming guys..
WyomingCowboy
J C Hancock 4
WtfWtf...your attitude sucks. Yup, just blame it on someone else. You must be a miserable SOB. This blog is about pilot wages....you're just feeling sorry for yourself and think it is somebody else's fault. WISE UP!
preacher1
preacher1 6
No need to discuss oil or wall street. I'll take a little issue on the debt as the Dems took control of congress in the midterm of his last term and were primed and ready, when O took, over to give away the store. That much is history to be read and/or understood by those that lived thru it.
aircmdr
you are right about all being crooked, but you have a guy living in the WH now that is a born and raised Marxist. Its taken about 70 years for the country to fail as it has. Liberalism is a big part, but certainly not everything. The pie can be cut in to many slices for blame. Automation, outsource, everyone wants BIG MONEY. Its not there any more.
I am going to finish my cup of coffee and enjoy my retirement.
Lunarstorm777
(v)e Same 3
Wow, the first person on here that I've seen acknowledge that things didn't suddenly implode out of the blue in the last 5 years. I dunno about it taking the last 70 years per say or that it was liberalism that did things in, but I completely agree this has been coming for a very long time now. I guess I see the other side of the equation as being the real cause IMHO. I mean, we all let those vampires back in the 80's suck the industry dry (country in general really). Its like they picked up a bad Ayn Rand novel and did just what it said to do, made a killing for themselves and left everyone else hang.... R.I.P. Eastern.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I have long said that the country took a big step toward hell in the early 80's. With the advent of easy cash thru junk bonds, corporate raiders started in and decimated, sold off, spun & sold off subsidiaries of viable companies and left them a virtual shell of themselves and many folks unemployed or without a secure future, and the class wars started. Add to that, with 3 years, all 3 transport modes wee deregulated and thrown out into the open market, with some of these folks not even knowing how to figure their cost per pax or ton of freight. Over the years it has bled out and recovered somewhat but it is what it is. It will never go back to the glory days.

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 4
I'm pretty much agreeing with all that, but what is that 1500 hours gonna consist of. I don't know how they'll do it but I don't think 7-800 hours of pattern flying or banner pulling or a music degree is substitute for quality Right Seat time in a RJ. You can only go so far. I know there are several other ways that one can pay his dues but there ought to be a clear hiring path from RJ up thru big iron and a lower time requirement for an RJ right seat. Colgan was a knee jerk reaction and I really feel it will muddy up everything. I don't know the answer but I don't think the 1500 hr rule is it.
FedExCargoPilot
If I remember correctly, the captain on Colgan Air had 3,000 something hours of experience and the first officer had 2,000 hours. I don't really see what this 1500 hour thing is going to do. The rest requirements, the pay and the training just were not there.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Actually check out the facts...
"The crew of four was led by Captain Marvin Renslow, age 47, of Lutz, Florida, who was hired by Colgan in 2005 and had flown 3,263 hours. 110 of these hours were on the Dash-8 Q400 (all 110 as captain).[9][10] He became a pilot in command in 2007. First Officer Rebecca Lynne Shaw, age 24, of Maple Valley, Washington,[11][12][13] was hired by Colgan in January 2008, and had flown 2,200 hours, 772 of them in the Q400 (colloquially stated in aviation as "time in type")"

Fatigue was a major contributor to this crash, but I find it odd that the captain not only had 110 hours on type, but that they were all as Captain. Captains should have lots of experience (eg TT or total hours flying) but they should also build up some hours on type as an apprentice to a more experienced pilot.

Preacher's right on one thing. That 1500 hour rule, that resulted because of the Colgan crash, would've have prevented it.
FedExCargoPilot
What the airlines here should do is do what they do in Europe. Select candidates based on literacy, psychological, etc, and train them to their standards. I'm sure there will be a shortage, its economics, 100 dollars plus an instructor to fly a cessna is very demanding, and to get 1500 hours? especially to work making 16K a year, I hope things do change..
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
All I want is pilots that when things go wrong can recover and get the plane and its' passengers safely back to the ground. Most pilots can capably handle 99% of piloting duties without much issue. It's that 1% that separates the good pilots from the not do good.

It's not easy to test for good piloting instincts and inflight situational awareness before someone is a pilot and has been in the seat making the decisions that can be life or death, when competency is deficient.

Maybe you can test for ability to act decisively and appropriately in a sim AFTER you trained a pilot to actually fly, but there's not much worth testing in advance of learning to fly.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I think piloting is kinda like a lot of stuff in that good pilots are born, not made. You can tell from the jump seat if you got a pilot or button pusher. IMHO
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Exactly!

"Select candidates based on literacy, psychological, etc, and train them to their standards" might work to find and train button pushers, but you prob can't tell if they'll be a good pilot without seeing how they actually perform in the seat.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You are correct in that both had plenty of TT. I remember something about the FO actually had more hours than the Capt. I have slept since then, BUT I think you are correct and that rest, or lack of it, was the key issue.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Actually, if I remember correctly, the rest requirements for the trip and all were met. It was the DH and/or that previous 8 that was violated. It happens everywhere and has been for a long time. A friend of mine from here in Arkansas is a retired PanAm driver. After moving up here, he would drive 70-75mi.to LIT or FSM, DH to either coast, fly his trip and do the same in reverse. There were a couple of 24hr stretches in there and his only rest was on layover on the turnaround. They had lived close to MIA for 12 years but had to get back up here to be close to her Mom & Dad in failing health so there are always reasons.
aircmdr
you are preaching to the choir, Preacher. Most pilots are building time doing touch and goes. Unfortunately, nothing is getting better. I am glad I am retired and was able to complete the challenger. Now I am watching young instructors try to build time to get a job that doesn't exist. Good luck guys
preacher1
preacher1 3
Yeah, I know. Same thing for me. I hung it up in 09 just before they changed the age 60 rule, did fill in and back part time doing fill in and training but I'll be hanging it up for good in the spring or sooner. Since Jan.1, I have hired 4 guys that were in the trenches out there and they are more than grateful to get this 135 opportunity and out of the jungle, starting on a King Air the 1st of the year and 1 fixing to grab right seat on a 767 after having left on a CRJ. Point is, these 4 guys are fortunate; it's the other 1000+ out there that aren't going to be so fortunate.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 0
Right on Phil!!!

[This poster has been suspended.]

PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
That's unrealistic. There are no regional aircraft that could support salaries like that for 2 pilots on every leg every day.

Now, if you said that for all big iron (large passenger jets over 100 passengers, 737 and A320 and up) captains with at least one year of jet experience, than I might agree with you. But there are lots of turboprops and small jets that just can't support the economics to justify salaries like that.

Without all those turboprops and small jets that make do many more aviation jobs possible, all those regional pilots would be pulling banners or selling cars. There just wouldn't be enough planes flying on the mainline carriers for most of them to have jobs.

Might still be a good idea from a safety perspective to have fewer planes with fewer pilots with lots more expereince.

But the regional pilots wouldn't necessarily be better off. Most wouldn't even be seeing the inside of a cockpit (other than maybe a C-152 or C-172) while paying for every hour and every gallon of fuel.
JD345
JD345 1
A school bus driver shouldn't make less than $90,000 a year.
maldonado1973
Jose Maldonado -1
I don't understand why pilots nag and complain so much about their pay and salaries. This is corporate america were offer and demand rules. Any job that doesn't pay fairly you should quite. Don't get me wrong, I do know that most pilots qualify for gov stamps, but no body is putting a gun on their head to fly. Hell, some pilots I know are even willing to fly for free. So to me, they are just plain blank STUPID passioned PROFESSIONAL aviation lovers. And yes, the gen public now you are under paid. In fact, we all know AND WE DON'T CARE. Passion doesn't pay bills, nor bring food to my table. If pilots and flight attendants are willing to take it, let them have it... They are taking it with a smile...and no accidents. So, don't bring safety because is proven, just go to the NTSB. Pilots are safe, professional and STUPIDS.... just facts! Sorry!
rw812
Michael Smith -2
1. $19 is not minimum wage.
2. Flying commercially is, by regulation, a part time job
3. When did it become the accepted standard that a person starting a new job must make the biggest bucks?
4. No one is forced to be a pilot. If you don't like the salary then get another job.
5. The article doesn't indicate any per diem that is also paid in addition to the salary. This is often tax-free.
6. Why does more salary mean a safer pilot. After all, it's his butt that's also in the plane.
7. Why aren't the money-hungry leeches (i.e. union bosses)demanding more money. After all, it's a win-win situation for those scums of the earth Pilots get higher pay, union bosses get higher pay. Pilots strike and get no pay, union leeches still get high salaries.
tduggan2010
Tim Duggan 2
1> $19 per hour? You realize that pilots working for airlines can only fly a MAX of 1,000 hours/year, correct?

Put that into a "9-5" work week format @40/week and 50 wks/year? Now, it is a realistic $9.50 per "hour".

2> Wrong on SO many levels. The most junior pilot gets AT MOST nine days off per month.

3> That was never "argued".

4> OK...great, next time your Granny wants to fly to Boston, YOU take her.

5> Per Diem (taxable)?? Read this: http://www.alpa.org/portals/alpa/magazine/2005/Jan2005_travelexpenses.htm

6> Worries about bills, family issues, and general feelings of anger and resentment against management can have an impact.

7> Really? You don't know much about the way labor/mgmnt negotiations work, I guess? Nor about the way the Association pays its Officers and other staff employees?

[This poster has been suspended.]

JetMech24
JetMech24 2
1. Isn't that per diem on a constant revolving clock, even during rest times?
2. Away from home more than 7 days? How in the he** can you NOT expect that if you choose to be a professional pilot?
3. They never settled for less either.
4. Does not even deserve a comment.
5. Just how much FREE money should be paid?
6. Also attracts more idiots wanting to cash in.
7. Yes, unions are waste and a rip-off.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
3. Actually, for doctors after they pay for many years to be trained (university/medical school), their first few years of paid work as a doctor, they are paid low wages to be a intern/resident, and are overworked with not enough sleep, in order to get more on the job training. Then later in life they make big bucks that help justify all those years invested in preparation. Remind you of another profession?

No one here who is familiar with piloting skills, can tell me that a freshly-minted wet-behind-the-ears pilot is just as good as a captain who's been in the seat for over 10 years, and encountered many different situations in that time. I won't be convinced that inexperienced and experienced pilots should be paid the same.

Doctor interns and new pilots should be paid a living wage and should be able to get enough rest to not jeopardize their patients/passengers safety. But they need not make the big bucks the very first day they sit in the seat.

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