Right now I commute from SLC to Houston to work, so I need to allot time to get on a flight to get to work. Once I am in Houston, I am constantly checking weather observations and forecasts on my smartphone. I go to the crew room or gate and meet my Captain. We get going on our pre-flight routine, including safety briefs and pre-flight inspections.
From the time passengers start boarding to about when we climb through 10,000 feet is really busy. During cruise flight I prep for descent and arrival, along with the usual fuel checks and frequency changes. On arrival, 18,000 ft to the gate is always pretty busy as well.
About 20 hours. I’m on duty (at the airport, preparing for a flight) probably about 30 hours a week.
You have to be on top of FAA regulations, company policies and procedures, ATC, training, etc. Once you think you have something figured out, you have another thing to move on to.
The best part is when the auto pilot is off. My last job was all hands-on flying, so I like to flex my flying muscles as much as I can. There is no better feeling than working for a landing in rough weather or breaking out of the clouds in a turn. A close second is getting out on the town on overnights and exploring local restaurants.
Of course. Every job has negatives. It’s all about whether the positives outweigh the negatives. First year pay at the regionals is tight. I’ve been preparing for that and it is making it a little bit easier. Right now the hardest part is time away from family. FaceTime helps.
Right now all the regionals are desperate for pilots, so there is a lot of competition. Over the next five years we are going to see upgrade times at the regionals plummet. I think (and hope!) that there will be a lot of movement from the regionals to the majors.
As a new hire, you need to roll with the punches. There are many opportunities for growth and learning, so being teachable is one of the biggest things I recommend.
[Special thanks to UVU Aviation Advisor Marilyn Riddle for putting together these alumni spotlights. Watch for them throughout the school year.]