Real Answers from Real Pilots

Researching First Job Opportunities

(Adam Gonzales) #1

Hello all!

I should have approximately 250 hours total time after completing flight training.
Does anyone know of any companies hiring pilots with less than 500 hours total time? I did research and couldn’t find any. The lowest I found are Cape Air, Air Choice One, and Ameriflight requiring 500 hours total time. Would really appreciate the help. Looking for solid answers or links, no opinions please, thanks! :slight_smile:



I am not aware of anybody other than flight schools that hire pilots with less than 500 hours.




Yea I’m thinking finding a pilot job (other than instructing) with 250hrs is a long shot at best. Maybe banner tow or traffic watch but those are hard to find.


(Adam Gonzales) #4

Thanks for the response fellas, I appreciate it! My research concurs. If do find anything I’ll be back to post.

(Eric Cogan) #5

Slightly unrelated, but I was wondering if most/all ATP flight instructors schedule an interview/commit to a regional ASAP, or if there was/is any reason to wait until you have more hours etc.

What kind of things are regionals looking for in a hire? (I’ve read the basic requirements on their websites, I mean outside of that). What makes candidates stand out besides PIC hours and good exam scores/pass rates?

What do they hate to see/have a hard time getting over? Car accidents, speeding tickets, drug and alcohol charges…? Or “not much” at the moment?

What can an ATP student do to constantly be improving their chances to get hired at the regional they want ASAP? How important is scoring 90+ on written exams? Are checkrides “scored”, or is it pass/no pass?

Apart from unusual circumstances that I know DO happen but are far from normal, is there any way to skip regional and go straight to the majors, if flying transatlantic were your dream for instance? Or would that be a cadet-program-only type of dream?

Good thread. Adam Gonzales, what’s the hurry between 250 hours and 500…? Isn’t that just a couple months of instructing vigorously?



The Regionals are all in a hiring frenzy and ALL are making offers to everyone they can. I’ve been at a Major for 6yrs and I still receive recruitment emails almost daily. I do believe most people are a little to anxious to sign on with a specific Regional. As a new pilot in training you’ve had little exposure to the aviation world. The deeper you get the more you “hear” and more exposure you get and opportunities to talk to pilots at the different airlines and get a better idea of where you should go vs just grabbing the first deal that sounds good. This industry is very dynamic and there may be a better deal 6mos away. What’s the rush? Now to your questions:

  1. 1500hrs and a pulse. That answer came from a friend of mine who’s currently a Regional recruiter. As for test scores there are no such things. The airlines don’t see your written scores and the other exams are pass/fail.

  2. Drugs and alcohol are a problem since the FAA has a problem issuing you a medical. Beyond that the bar has sadly been lowered significantly.

  3. Again I don’t think you should get hired ASAP and there are no scores. Regardless you will get hired provided you PASS all you checkrides. Fail more than 2 and you lose your guaranteed instructor position making time building a challenge.

  4. Really? You know people who have gone from flight instructing directly to a Major because I’ve been doing this for 15yrs and know ALOT of pilots and other than EXTENSIVE military or corporate experience and hours have yet to meet a single pilot who bypassed the Regionals. That’s a fantasy. First, most Majors have some TURBINE PIC requirement. Second what would possibly cause Delta to hire an instructor with 1500hrs over a Regional Capt with 5,000?



Some commit early, others wait; it really just depends on the CFI and what their goals are. If I were instructing today, I would lean towards committing early to take advantage of tuition reimbursement.

The regionals are looking for a good guy/gal that is easy to work with and who they wouldn’t mind spending four days on a flight deck with. Beyond that, they are looking for the obvious flight time, but also a preponderance of other criteria, basically what you mentioned. Drug and alcohol charges are a big deal, make that huge deal and will often end an interview right there. Speeding tickets also matter, if they show a pattern.

By the time you interview, your written exam scores will not matter and check rides are just pass and fail. Just be a good CFI, have a good pass rate, build your hours, have a clean record and be a decent person and you should do fine.

I have never once heard of somebody going straight to the majors. I spent twenty-two months at ExpressJet before going to Continental, which was just about a record, but I still did twenty-two months. That took some serious connections and a lot of extra work on my part. The airlines are not in the business of making dreams come true and almost every pilot has the dream of flying the big airplanes around the world, there are no exceptions made for any reason, especially for dreams.


(Eric Cogan) #8

Really helpful Adam & Chris, thanks for sharing all that. Interesting about the different options as far as interviewing asap and getting compensated faster, vs possibly waiting for something better. Worth thinking about. Does the seniority clock start ticking as soon as they’re reimbursing tuition, or not until you’re a 1500 hr FO? Are there any ways motivated ATP instructors can build their hours more quickly, or is it mostly luck of the draw/weather/students who need training?

Good to know everyone has to pay their dues to sing the blues! Don’t know why I thought I had read otherwise.

Appreciate everyone’s time, answers and patience.



The seniority clock doesn’t start till you’re sitting in class Day 1 at a Regional. As long as we’re on the subject early sign on, build your time fast, early class date, none of that matters if you wash out of newhire training at a Regional which has been on the rise. While there are different theories on the subject I believe it’s because everyone is so focused on getting to that Major they see EVERYTHING before that as obstacles or simply boxes that need to be checked. The process is long NOT to ensure everyone “pays their dues” it’s so they actually gain some knowledge and experience along the way. Trust me I’ve flown with both types AND it’s a good thing these airplanes have redundant systems and ATC has eyes on you.


(Eric Cogan) #10

What does new-hire training usually look like? 3 months super-intensive, ATP-Style, living/breathing/dreaming aviation? Did you enjoy it, hate it, or a bit of each? If any former ATP students want to talk about their new-hire training/life directly after joining their regional, I’d be very interested.

It’s been said before that ATP isn’t the end of studying/learning, more like the beginning. Are washouts in ATP/Regional training generally (always) self-inflicted? Are we talking people who thought it would be easy/don’t study/aren’t serious, or do a certain number of people always wash out even though they’re giving it their utmost effort?

Two quick Q’s:

Can we private message members on the forum?
And is Alaska Air considered a Major or Regional? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them mentioned one way or another on this forum




I guess it varies from airline to airline and individual but for newhire training was literally the most challenging experience of my life. While ATP gives you a taste it was nothing compared to the airline training. It wasn’t a question of enjoying it or not, it’s just constant saturation. Regulations, company policies, systems, flows, and then of course sim.

For me it was the scariest part of this whole journey. You see we all take the “leap”, go to flight school, instruct, build time with this goal/dream of becoming an airline pilot. You interview, get hired and you’re like “Wow! I made it!” and the world is a beautiful place! You show up day 1, everyone is super nice, the first few days are HR and paperwork, union lunch, uniform fitting (very exciting), and you’re thinking la ti da this isn’t so bad and then it starts. Now everything is digital but when I attended you got this STACK of manual that are the size of dictionaries (if you know what those look like?) and the water starts to rise and doesn’t stop until you’re just trying to keep a nostril dry. And then someone gets cut. For me I’ve always been strong in the knowledge dept so the book stuff while difficult was manageable. It was the sim that kicked my butt. It’s a jet and everything is happening twice as fast, the sim is hyper sensitive and unlike props there’s turbine lag so you need to anticipate EVERYTHING (if you’re reacting you’re too late). Inevitably EVERYONE has a BAD sim session (hopefully it’s just one). It completely rattles your confidence, your hear about another guy washing out and you start seeing this whole dream that’s SOOOOO CLOSE slipping away (me and a friend had a standing joke that continues to this day “so this is where it ends…”). That sir is when you either dig DEEP or crumble and I’ve seen both. Fortunately I was able to rise above but it was not easy. Things may be different now with the demand but even so, you washout of newhire training and you’ll have a hard time getting another shot. Scary stuff.

As to why people washout it’s all the above. Yes some don’t work hard enough and often it’s self inflicted but other times it’s not. I know mommy, daddy and the purple dinosaur told you all you can do/be anything and everyone gets a trophy etc but the reality is (and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news) no you can’t and not everyone can be an airline pilot. It isn’t winning the Olympics or rocket science but it does require a certain level of intelligence and coordination. I’ve seen people work really hard and fail. Those are the people I have sympathy for, if you’re a slacker you get none.

I don’t believe you can message but you can post your contact info?

Alaska is a Major but not a Legacy carrier.


(Andrew Lopez ) #12

Is it possible to get the contact info of your friend that’s a recruiter. I have a couple questions that I would liked answer before I start ATP. @Adam


Not if I want to keep him as a friend! :wink:

You’re more than welcome to call any of the Regionals hiring depts. I’m sure they’ll be happy to talk with you.


(Andrew Lopez ) #14

Understood. I spoke to envoy recruiter today I explained to him pretty much what I posted yesterday and he said AAG isn’t to fond of those red flags but some other airlines would turn a blind eye as sad as that sounds I’m trying to find “that” airline and see if they have a cadet program or at least get the go ahead in reinsurance that I can get hired so I can start the school if not it’s back to maintenance for me. Thanks. @Adam

(Tony) #15

Thanks for sharing that Adam. i was just about to post a question as to which step along the way had the steepest or most difficult learning curve…ppl, instrument, through CFI to ATP etc. Sounds like the last step before getting that first or second seat is the hardest.



Others may have a different answer but for me newhire training was BY FAR the biggest challenge.



For me it was the instrument flying, I found all of the simulator work to be tiring and so was having to really focus on the instruments. But with time, I got used to it and now feel just as comfortable flying on instruments (maybe even more so) than I do looking out the window.

(Adam Gonzales) #18

You’re right @Eric, shouldn’t take long between 250-500 hrs. The main reason for starting the thread was to see if I could skip the expense of CFI, CFII, MEI and get a job for maybe 135 ops (more chances to fly instead of being grounded because of beginning private pilots being grounded due to wind, etc. I found this webpage that shows we’ll need 500 hrs total time for 135 ops…