Real Answers from Real Pilots

Prop Vs. Jet

Hello Gentleman,

I just wanted to ask a quick question. What’s more important to build, PIC time in a prop plane with an airline like Silver Airways or SIC time in an RJ with a company like Express Jet?

Thank You,
Yuran D.

Yuran,

I would say jet time is better because it more closely resembles the operations that you’ll have at the majors, but that is just my opinion. Adam and Chris probably have a better answer for you.

Yarden

Yuran,

The real goal is PIC time in a jet. With that in mind I would say that the SIC jet time is better as it is a stepping stone to jet PIC time. If I had to pick solely from the constraints of your question I would still say jet SIC time as jets are just in a whole different league than turbo props and are of course the same type of airline that the majors are flying.

Chris

Chris and Yarden,

Thank you, guys! I was just curious since I had gotten mixed reviews on it. The thing that Silver Airways has going for them is the fact that they advertise being home every night if you’re at a Florida base. But since pilots, love traveling this may or may not be appealing to certain people.

Either way, thank you for answering the question!

Yuran D.

Yuran,

I’m going to disagree with the guys on this one. Silver Airways (while small) does fly Saab 340’s which are not just props, they’re turbo-props and turbo-prop time IS turbine time (just like turbo-fans). I have no idea what they pay or what kind of upgrade time etc is so I don’t know if that’s a route I’d take but Turbine PIC will trump Turbine SIC.

Adam

Adam,

Thanks for your input! From my research, I found that they offer $37/hour (though it goes down to $36/hour your second year), but I don’t know how many hours their pilots are flying. Also, their upgrade time is from 15-24 months.

Yuran

Yuran,

Definitely worth investigating? That said a lot can change by the time you’re ready but I give them consideraction.

Adam

Adam,

Good to go. Thank you for your time, Adam!!

Yuran

I’ve always assumed (and garnered from numerous sources) that the order of importance in log time would be:

Single Piston Time
Multi Piston Time
Single Turboprop Time
Multi Turboprop SIC
Turbofan SIC
Multi Turboprop PIC
Turbofan PIC

This is assuming there are no odd Single Turbofan’s out there in service that I don’t know of, and that all the Piston and Single Turboprop time is always better as PIC than SIC. I suppose it’s just been told to me on a few occasions that PIC time in something like a Corporate KingAir, SAAB, or Beech 1900 would trump SIC in an RJ, having to do with the fact that “turbine multi is turbine multi” and PIC is generally more appealing to airline recruiters than SIC as long as both are multi-turbine time… Obviously I’m no professional, so please correct me if my assumption is faulty for some reason!

Turbine time is not all the same, some airlines have weight requirements when considering flight time, often this excludes the Beech 1900. Don’t get me wrong, being a Captain on a turboprop is a bid deal and is certainly a big step towards the majors, I just think that Captain jet time is so much better that I would really focus on making that happen.

Chris

Fair enough! Thanks Chris!

Hello Thomas,

Although I am no expert on this, and Adam and Chris will probably have more educated answers for you, this is my opinion:
The typical requirement at a mainline carrier is 1000hrs of turbine PIC time. Flying the Saab 340 at Silver Airways meets those requirements so you will definitely be eligible for hire. With that said, if it comes down to choosing between you with 1000hrs turboprop PIC and another guy with 1000hrs turbojet PIC, I’d assume the recruiters will lean towards the other guy.

Yarden

Thomas,

As Yarden said, the mins at the Majors state “turbine” time and a turboprop definitely qualifies. Personally I’ve seen no preference given to jet guys vs prop. That said keep in mind due to the nature of the flying, it’s considerably easier to build those 1,000hrs going Mach.80 vs 250kts.

Adam

I agree Thomas. While I’m not sure I’d call it a regret in my case, I do believe I would’ve benefited from some turboprop time. If nothing else than to “check the box”.

Adam

Thomas,

Some might disagree with me on this, but I feel that pilots that fly turbo props are less attractive to the major airlines than pilots that fly jets. The bottom line is that the majors all fly jets and even though turbo props can be challenging they involve a different skill set than flying jets do. Jet RJ time is far more similar to the type of flying that the majors do than turbo prop time is, therefore RJ pilots are more attractive to the majors than turbo prop pilots are.

Chris

Having flown both turboprop and jet engines (C-12/BE-200 vs B-1 bomber), I find jet engines much easier to fly. I don’t have to worry about over speeding a jet engine and it is 1 control per engine (throttle) vs 3 for the turboprop (condition levers, prop, and throttle). Of course the B-1 also had the benefit of afterburners but not thrust reversers.

Just my 2 cents.

Ryan

I got my start in Beech 1900’s and for me it was an asset when I left the regional for my second job because my interviewing Chief Pilot was an old Beech guy too.

There was a time when I was looking at a Major and I had a very senior friend in the training department. He threw me in the 777 sim because his recommendation would carry more weight having “flown with me”. I did very well and it wasn’t because I’m naturally good… It was because I had 3500 hrs hand-flying 1900’s (no AP) in the NE United States. To this day I don’t fear any sim or training event.

During my career I don’t believe the turbo-prop hindered me in any way, in fact it led me out of the regionals much faster than my buddies that were hired into RJ’s (we had the same hire date). A good portion of how we progress in this field is attitude and luck.

All I know is when I was at ExpressJet, the CommutAir Q-400 guys were getting picked up by Continental and we weren’t. Here at Hawaiian they grab the Island Air prop guys long before they touch any of the jet guys from anywhere else (but that’s probably more about geography).

Adam

Unless you want to fly for Alaska Airlines. I’ve been told Horizon has a flow-thru.

Adam

Thomas,

Horizon is taking delivery of E175s, they are parking most of the Q400s last time I checked. I would give it another look if you are really interested in turboprop time because you might be able to get in while they still have them on the line and then just transition into the Embraer.

Yarden