I can’t imagine NOT wanting to hand fly the plane! Are there some company’s whose operating procedures limit that?
Yes and no. In some situations it’s safer and smarter to keep the automation on. On the other “hand” hand flying is encouraged to stay proficient.
What Ben is talking about are the pilots that have their reasons for keeping the automation on. He says it’s a lack of passion. I’ve only encountered that once. My experience was just the opposite. I could use as much or as little automation as I wanted.
It’s usually the paranoid ones that are particular about the automation. The ones that recently oversped the flaps, for example. I don’t argue. Our objective is to keep everyone safe. If we do that we protect our certificates.
I use the autopilot extensively. While my airline does encourage hand flying, there are times when it simply is not appropriate. Low visibility approaches and high work load situations are perfect examples of this. Whenever the autopilot is off, the workload goes up for both pilots.
At some point, the job becomes less about flying and more about systems management.
As Chris said it’s about workload management. Beautiful day and low workload, go crazy but if it’s not the autopilot is a tool that was created to lighten the load. As an airline pilot your primary responsibility is not what you enjoy it’s about safety and regulatory compliance and often that’s turning on the AP. When you’re handflying that’s all your doing, flying the plane. That means the Pilot Monitoring (aka the other guy) is responsible for the radios and ALL changes to the flight management system and flight control panel (all inputs to the FMS, heading changes, course changes, altitude changes etc). Departing JFK and there’s weather, you’re dodging t-storms and getting frequency changes, vectors and crossing restrictions every 5 seconds and the PM has flames coming off his fingers is NOT the time to practice your skills. Further, bust an altitude, suffer a lateral deviation or worse and the very first question you’ll be asked is why wasn’t the AP on?
Now flying from HNL to KOA on a beautiful VFR day, sure.
Kyle I am 29, I was a heavy equipment mechanic, auto mechanic, and helicopter mechanic prior to that. I was in the same boat as you. Tired of beating myself up and just not having the quality of life I wanted. I made a plan a year ago to sell my things rent my house and get my shit together so I can take this on. I start training March 8th. What I am saying is it is completely possible you just have to make a plan and stick to it. I am even moving to Texas to start this, and I can’t be more excited. If you need anything or need help making a plan I am more than happy to help.
Hey I’m glad there is someone in the exact same boat as me! Lol. I’ve been a mechanic for awhile now and also work for family and I’m starting to realize this is something I do not want to do for the rest of my life. I also own a house and my plan is to rent it out while In the ATP program or cadet program, personaly it would be dumb for me to sell because it’s a good investment, I mean that’s cash would be nice to have but in the long run not worth it. There is an ATP school in Sacramento and I do have an associates degree so I don’t think I’ll have any problem getting accepted. I’ve also been thinking about the American airline cadet program. The plan is to start mid year get a loan because I don’t have that much cash, rent my house and and go for it. I believe it’s somthing I can do and be good at if I set my mind to it.
Sorry for the late response man. I completely understand, getting beat up and coming home covered in dirt/grease every day starts to get old. I made thee decision over a year ago and I’m leaving this Saturday to Texas from Illinois to start this. Just keep a goal in mind and push for it. Do whatever you have to do. It really sets in when you start selling furniture and realize there’s no turning back. Everything is set up for me and I couldn’t be happier. Just make sure you plan, plan a lot, have the cash, find the needed supplies, make budgets! I sold my beloved truck for a Prius just to save money. Gonna be a crazy ride.
Find me on insta @12packlife I’ll respond quicker there and I can show you some things I found to make this whole process easier/cheaper.
Hey Kyle how are you doing? I also live here in Reno, NV and work at the air guard base at the airport. I just recently got accepted to the American Airlines Cadet Academy so if you have any questions let me know.
Alright cool thanks a lot I will do that!
Oh cool what are the odds haha yeah I started filling out the application haven’t finished it yet. Is there anything I need to know and what are the qualifications for getting accepted and the right steps to take in my application process?
I would highly recommend putting all you can in terms of letters of recommendation and what not, I personally did not do that, but I have a ton of knowledge from working on planes. In terms of getting selected you go through a couple of interviews. Some people here back right away, some wait weeks to hear back. It just depends
How long did it take you to hear back after the video interview?
I heard about 2 weeks later to get the video interview going, most people don’t understand that they receive tons of applications sometimes yours will take longer than the next person. Just believe in yourself and be positive.