Real Answers from Real Pilots

Former USAF Pilot/Single Dad

Hi Guys,

Thanks so much for the information you provide here for us! I have done the best I could to try and answer my questions from previous posts, but my situation is interesting…

Background: I flew in the Air Force and am looking to get back into the flying world, I miss flying and the challenge of it. I have been in the business world due to some unexpected life events for the past few years. I am a single dad (divorce) with 50/50 joint custody.

Experience: Former USAF aircraft commander/Comm with single and ME (2426 TT; time includes 548 PIC ME turbine, 300 civilian hours in C-152/172, and 2 type ratings), current FAA Class 1 Medical, not IFR current.

Questions:

-My main questions deal with time at home/commuting and pay.

  1. At this point with my joint custody being 50/50 is it even logical to think about getting back into flying after a couple years break? I know this is a great time to go to the airlines and I don’t want to miss this opportunity. I could give my kids better quality time when I am home vs. the 9-5 job and things being rushed at night with homework/sports/making dinner and all that. I could also give them a better life with good pay as a major/legacy FO starting year 2 once I make it there.

  2. When an airline says you get 11 days off per month minimum, I am assuming the days off would include commuting? So these 11 days off are not “hard” days off? I ask because of my custody agreement, I have to be home 45-50% of the month.

  3. I have to raise my kids and do well for them which takes a bit of money (lol)…based on my flight experience and what you have seen in the industry how fast do you think I could get to a major/legacy FO position and receive higher pay vs. the regionals? My estimate is 3-4 years on the current hiring/upgrade trends, do this make sense or am I off here?

  4. Am I missing anything else?

Thanks !!

JnJ1(?)

First and foremost as you’re probably aware you need to get current but once that happens a Regional will snap you right up. Ok onto your questions.

  1. This is the biggest issues I see since I have no idea you’re relationship with your ex and how flexible and accommodating she is? Right off the bat newhire training is about 2 mos and while you’ll have days off in there they can (and often do) move not to mention you’ll need to study. After that as a newhire you’ll have minimum control over your schedule. All airlines have minimum days off but you’ll be getting the leftovers for a while until you build some seniority. Again how doable this will be for you is going to depend on how willing your ex is willing to work with getting 2 weeks notice of what days you’ll be available for the kids. Something you’ll obviously need to discuss and iron out.

  2. Whatever the airline’s min days off ARE hard days off and what you do on those days is your business. Commuting is a choice and frankly not the airlines problem. Fortunately I’ve never had to commute and I have a much better job then the pilots that do. If you get hired at an airline where you don’t have to that’s great or if you can relocate that’s great as well. With your custody that obviously could be an issue. If you have to again that’s entirely on you. As long as you get to work on time the airline doesn’t care (nor will they help) whether you walk, drive or fly half way around the world and yes that can (and again often does) mean on your days off.

  3. This is an unprecedented time as far as getting INTO the industry as all the Regionals are hiring like crazy. While the Majors are doing a fair amount of hiring it’s not at the rate the Regionals are AND they’re picking from a much larger pool of available pilots. What I’m saying is they’re far from desperate and can still be pretty selective. Now your military experience/career is a BIG plus but honestly I don’t know you or how you interview or present yourself? Getting hired at a Major can be somewhat nebulas and depends on factors beyond your resume. If you’re still in touch with your AF buds and some are flying for the airlines NOW is the time to start networking (not when you’re ready to move). Internal references are worth their weight in gold and can make all the difference in the world. Perfect world? Yea 3yrs to upgrade and a year in the left seat to build some turbine PIC and you could get in. Unfortunately this world isn’t perfect and 4 can easily become 7, 10 or even never. There are no guarantees.

Adam

Hello,

I am a single father, but I do not have joint custody, just visitation. I think that it would be incredibly hard, if not impossible to maintain 50/50 custody. I commute to work (that is on your time, not theirs) and just don’t see any way possible to have that much time at home, especially as a commuter.

You could possibly make it to a major in 3-4 years, but you will most likely need to upgraded to Captain at the regionals as your PIC time as low, that could add a few years.

Take a look at our schedules section, especially mine and Tory’s to get an idea of how much we are on the road.

Chris

Ok, thanks guys.