Real Answers from Real Pilots

Different Types of Aircraft and Training to Fly Them?

Hello, whomever this may concern :slightly_smiling_face:
I understand that pilots are typically allowed to fly only one type of aircraft at a time. Are there specific planes that require more experience to fly than others, or does that kind of thing vary from airline to airline?
If a pilot was just hired at an airline, could they train for, and then fly, (specifically) a Boeing 787?

Do the airlines choose which pilots fly which aircraft, and if so can you choose which planes you want to fly as you gain seniority?
Do you learn to fly whichever specific aircraft you’d be flying before, or after you’ve been hired? (I’m guessing after, depending on the planes that airline had in its fleet, but of course I could be wrong.)

Mandy,

There are a lot of questions in your post, let me try to answer them.

Basically, all jets are complicated airplanes, no matter how large or small they are. It takes several weeks to train for a new jet and that training will cover everything you need to know about flying that particular jet.
When you are hired by an airline you will be awarded a slot on an airplane. Typically (almost always) the new hires get awarded the smaller airplanes, like the 737 or Airbus 320, you will then commence training on the airplane. At the regional airlines the smaller RJs tend to go to the new hires. As you progress up the seniority list you will be eligible to bid for the spots on the larger airplanes as they become available to you.

Chris

Mandy,

I just want to clarify what Chris said. While it’s true most newhires will get the smaller planes when they start, it’s not due to the complexity or difficulty of the airplane. It’s simply a matter that you get paid more to fly bigger planes (or they have better trips/routes) so those planes generally go senior. If for some reason a large plane flew lousy routes no one wanted you could be hired and trained onto that plane.

Adam

Thank you so much, both of you!