Real Answers from Real Pilots

Downtime

I’ve been reading that pilots spend about 85hrs/month flying… What is the total time commitment required each month?

The reason I ask is because the starting salaries at the regionals seem abysmal… I have skills that would allow me to make nearly equal pay part time. But I’m basing that on being able to work another 80hrs a month (~170 hrs/month).

Stephen,

Flying is a full time job, with low seniority I think it would be very difficult to work a second job, unless ir was all on line. To fly 85 hours per month you will basically be on the road 18 days per month.

Regional salaries have come up quite a bit as of recently, take a look at them on www.pilotjobs.com.

Chris

I should have clarified. The part time work would be mobile via a laptop. I was curious as to how many additional hours beyond the 85 flying hours are used up in a month. Is there an hour at the beginning and end of each flight – pre-flight checks, weather briefings etc…?

Or maybe another way to ask the question is what else does an airline pilot for the job do besides flying the aircraft?

Stephen,

Generally (it can vary by airline and operation) you’re required to show up about an hour before departure time (aka “go time”). There’s also some time after to shutdown, debrief whatever. BUT, this is the airline industry and unless you’ve never been to an airport you’re probably aware of the dreaded “DELAY”. Delays are caused by weather, maintenance, passenger issues, airport congestion and just about anything else you can think of. depending on where you’re based it could be a relatively minor concern (I’m based in HNL where it’s beautiful ALL the time) or a concern EVERY DAY (say IAH in the summer, ORD or EWR in the winter). These delays can add minutes, hours, even days to your schedule. Back when I was in EWR I was once supposed to do a very easy YOW turn, well Hurricane Sandy hit when we got to YOW, my 4hr trip turned into 4 days.

Bottomline is if there’s something you can do on your laptop whenever you have the time you’ll be fine but if it’s something that requires any kind of set schedule or appts you will not. At least for a while.

Adam

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