Real Answers from Real Pilots

Part 135 TPIC vs 121 Jet SIC

Hello,

I’m trying to map out my career progression (5-7 years) with the ultimate goal of going to a legacy/major. I’m debating whether going to a regional once I qualify for R-ATP mins, or staying at my 135 job and upgrading as a captain to build TPIC.

I fly the shorts (SD3) and falcon 20 as SIC and have the opportunity to upgrade in the shorts and build TPIC in about 4-6 months. If I don’t stay here for the captain upgrade, I plan on going to a regional once I get 1250 TT(R-ATP qualified). Either case, I understand that most likely I’ll have to go to a regional in the future but my specific question is should I go now or get that 1000 TPIC box checked first while I can and then go?

I actually really enjoy my job for now, the pay is good, and the schedule is okay (on demand hauling auto parts). Both airplanes are just shy of 30k mtow and require 2 pilots. So far it’s been excellent experience.

I realize upgrade times are reducing for the regionals but between IOE and having at least 1000 with Company and 2500TT getting that TPIC might be 3-4 years away. I figure I can get that boxed checked and slug it out on-demand sooner than going to a regional and waiting for an upgrade.

In sum, is 1000 TPIC multi time (steam gauge) better than SIC glass Jet time? I understand 3500 TT 0 PIC regional FOs can get to majors but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Thanks again! Love the effort you guys put into these forums.

Eric

Eric,

Good question and I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong answer. Virtually every Major wants to see some TPIC. That said while the Shorts qualifies, the vast majority of pilots I see getting hired are Regional CAs. You can’t hold 135 PIC until you have 1200 and if you can get hired at 1250 that’s how I’d go. With all the current incentives (hiring bonuses, retention bonuses, fast upgrade) I think the choice is easy. I have no clue what you’re earning now but I don’t see you saving any time, and you’ll be getting all the bennies of flying for an airline. Better equipment, better flying. Your call but I’d jump ship.

Adam

Eric,

That is a tough one, there are advantages to both. One on hand, you can check the TPC now, but it isn’t a jet. The other thing to consider is that it isn’t just about checking certain boxes. I can’t say this for certain, but the airlines seem to like to hire other airline pilots. It makes sense, an RJ pilot gets how airlines work and understands the job, the lifestyle and the 121 regulations, whereas a charter pilot operates in a completely different world. I would lean towards going to the regionals myself, but that is just my opinion.

Chris