Real Answers from Real Pilots

Night Flight

I have a weird question. Do first officers get the worst hour’s due to seniority? No offense. How do all pilot’s handle being away from home? If It was my first day working with an airline would I have a choice of flying out of country or what would my options be? Thank you all

Berj,

Everything is dictated by seniority at the airlines, including your monthly schedule. New hire (and the junior) First Officers generally receive less desirable trips that their more senior counterparts.

When you begin flying for an airline you will likely be on reserve, which means that you will be phone available for when another pilot needs to be replaced for whatever reason. After that you will become a lineholder and can bid the destinations that you would like to go to. At most US regionals the bulk of your flying will be in the US, with some Canada and Mexico time in the mix.

Most of us are pretty used to being on the road. I have friends at work, friends at home, and keep in touch with people while I am away. Remember that airline pilots also enjoy an unusually high number of days off, so that really helps.

Chris

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Berj,

Due to seniority ALL pilots get the worse schedules when they’re junior (both Capts and FOs). I’m about to upgrade and that means I’m going from a decent FO schedule to what will be a pretty crappy Capt. schedule. Obviously how pilots handle being away varies by the individual. I know pilots who dread it and can’t wait to get home and others who feel a little time apart makes for a happier and healthier relationship. All depends. As Chris said when you first start out you’ll most likely be on Reserve. That means you’ll fly where and when the airline needs you to. I can pretty much guarantee that your first working day at an airline you will have ZERO choice where you go.

Adam

Chris what’s with the cadet program’s. Do I have a chance if I speak Armenian Turkish Greek & English Fluently, is their a program I should look into? I know I won’t be the captain my first year lol its a federal job right? Theirs ranks and years required or hours and experience needed correct? Is there an airline that you know of that needs Pilots who speak the languages I do? I’d love to Fly ERJ’s and SRJ’s or 717’s even 737’s I’m into that type of aircraft. Is it true bigger aircraft like example 747’s or 757’s, 767’s 777’s or the huge A380 aren’t as hard as people make them seem?

Also would my aptitude score tell me what type of aircraft I’d be flying and learning or is there a certain type every pilot has flown for X amount of year’s till they were moved to a different type of aircraft… I understand it takes a long time to learn a different plane.
I appreciate everyone’s help, maybe I can buy y’all a beer or soda if we ever cross path’s in the future. I wasn’t expecting help like this, I want to be part of the pilot community. You guys are great. Very very helpful.

Also you are right, I forgot about the time off part. It’s really not as bad as I make it seem. Sorry I’m new to this I apologize for the inconvenience. Hope all is well with everyone.

Berj,

Not sure what cadet programs you’re referring to but I’m going to assume you mean the European programs since there really aren’t any in the US. As for how they work you’d really need to contact the specific carrier for info. Your language abilities might help you at those foreign carriers just for convenience but know that English is required everywhere in the world and therefore is expected.

An airplane is an airplane and most of the larger newer aircraft are more automated which actually makes them easier to fly. There is no pilot aptitude test. If you can get through all the training and earn your Airline Transport License that’s your license to fly ANY aircraft. While you will require specific training to earn your Type Rating in that aircraft there is no “better pilots fly better airplanes”. That would mean there are sub-standard pilots flying around. As for becoming Capt that comes with time and experience and of course seniority.

Adam