Real Answers from Real Pilots

Regional captain transition

(Kevin Dickerson) #1

Given the current demand for airline pilots and the drastic increase in demand over the next 10-15 years, how quick can someone expect to transition from FO to CPT in the regionals as a new hire? Will all of the movement from forced retirements directly translate to faster upgrades in seat and/or airframe for remaining pilots? I know it varies a lot but is there anyone who would be willing to throw out an average? Thank you for your help!



I think that five years to upgrade from FO to Captain is a pretty realistic average. However, this can vary widely from one regional to the next. At some places upgrade time can be less than two years, at others it can be upwards of eight years. It really depends on the health of that particular airline and whether pilots enjoy life there so much that they are staying there by choice.

If you are looking to upgrade quickly my suggestion would be to apply to regionals that are expanding or have a large number of pilots leaving for the majors. There are websites out there that show this kind of information that you will undoubtedly become familiar with as you go through the application and interview process.


(Kevin Dickerson) #3

Thanks Chris.

Do you happen to have any of those website addresses? Thanks again for the information. Makes a lot of sense, look for the regional that pilots want to get out of! Lol



Kevin, is one of the main ones, on there you can find when the most junior Captains were hired for most of the airlines. As you instruct and your friends go off to the airlines you will also learn from there and gain insight into which airlines might best suit your needs.


(Derek Post) #5


I’m currently at SkyWest and I’m looking at a 27-30 month upgrade. Currently seniority is skyrocketing but as with anything in life that movement could stop as fast as it started. Currently I think the upgrade time is about where it needs to be. Any quicker and you’d miss out on valuable experience gained while flying with a senior captain. Good luck

FO / SkyWest