Real Answers from Real Pilots

Can pilots fly different aircraft for a regional?

I figured that when it comes to the majors, pilots will bid on a certain type of plane they want to fly, and they only end up flying that plane when they get it (737,787,777 etc.)

Is this a little different with the regionals; are pilots only assigned to only one type of plane in the regional’s fleet or is there more freedom to get to fly for example a CRJ-700 one day, and then an Embraer 175 the next?

Thomas,

It’s the same at the Regionals as it is at the Majors. You’ll bid or be assigned 1 aircraft and that’s what you’ll be trained and “typed” in. There are exceptions if an airline has aircraft that share a type. For instance when I was at ExpressJet we flew both the E135 and the E145 because they were literally identical (I believe it’s the same for the CRJ 700 and 900). But the ERJ and CRJ are different enough that while you could be typed in both an airline can’t allow you switching back and forth unless you change your bid. Also you’ll find different aircraft types will have different bases and operations.

Adam

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Thomas,

Like Adam said, the regionals follow the same model as the majors, limiting pilots to one type at a time. I am on the CRJ at SkyWest, and we have CRJ-200, -700 and -900 which all share the same type so I can fly all three.

Yarden

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Once you get the majors and get hired as a 737 pilot for example. Can you down the road transfer and get typed into a larger aircraft like a 777 in the same airline? Would that start your seniority all over again?

Jorge,

EVERYTHING at the airlines is based on seniority. The more senior you are the more opportunities you have to fly what you want. Periodically the airlines have “bids” which is your opportunity to switch airplanes. If your seniority is such that you can get to another airplane, you will be trained and “typed” in that airplane. You may be junior in that airplane or not dependent on your relative seniority on that airplane but no your seniority wouldn’t restart. Your seniority progresses as long as you stay at the same airline.

BTW, don’t assume you’ll start on a 737. For some reason people assume that bigger is better or is more senior. There are many factors that determine the seniority of an aircraft (schedules, routes etc). You could very well be assigned the 777 day one.

Adam

Jorge,

Pilots can go up to bigger equipment, but can also go back down to smaller equipment. I recently transferred from the 757 and 767 back to the 737 so that I could enjoy the benefits of being a senior pilot on the airplane.

Chris