Real Answers from Real Pilots

Scheduling and Location Questions

Some of these might sound like weird questions but I’m trying to think ahead for the purpose of working out a plan A, B, C and so on.

Say I did ATP and then became CFI with them. I know that they don’t guarantee what location you get to do CFI at, but does anyone know how likely or unlikely it is to get to be hired at the same school you trained at? This might be my biggest concern at this point in my path.

If there isn’t a spot open at your location and you are hired as a CFI somewhere other than ATP, does this interfere with tuition reimbursement?

This is probably a dumb question, but say I went to the closest job opening as a CFI and it’s still far from my family and I had to stay in the area until my days off. Would ATP fly me home each weekend? I’ll be shocked if the answer is yes but I enjoy being shocked so I’m asking.

What is the average scheduling like as a regional pilot… work and time off balance and all that? I heard international pilots work for long periods of time and then get long periods of time off also. Is regional similar?

Finally, regardless of where I did CFI, and I get a regional job at an airport that is far away from my family… as a regional pilot, would I be able to fly home each time I have time off… you know, perks of being a pilot and all that? I know people who work at the airport and they get something called buddy passes so I wonder if pilots get them and how many are they allotted each month?

Ryan,

You’ve got multiple questions on here so I’ll do my best to work through them. Don’t hold me to this but I’m pretty sure when you become a CFI for ATP, you pick 3 locations that YOU want to work at. You will go to one of those be it your first or third. If I’m not mistaken you can put in for a transfer and when a position comes available at the location you want (if your not already there) then you will relocate. I’ve never asked anyone or gone through this I’m just going off things that I’ve read. ATP will not fly you home if you are not located at the school that you attended. The planes are for training purposes only.

If you accept a CFI job somewhere other than ATP then you are NOT eligible for the tuition reimbursement. You get tuition reimbursement after you have been a CFI and acquired 300-500 hours and interviewed with an ATP partnered airline. They check your progress with ATP so if you aren’t working there, how can they track your progress?

Schedules are different for each airline but they are basically all the same. As a new pilot you will probably be on reserve for a while. If you live next to the airport then you can stay home unless you are called. If you stay in another state from the airport you fly from them you commute there and wait to be called. I have heard that you have to remain at the airport for your reserve time then can leave after and return to your hotel (someone else will have to verify that one.) If needed you can commute from home to the out of area airport that you are based at. From what I can tell most schedules are 3-4 day trips once you hold a line but while on reserve you may not have to fly at all. Check the schedules sections on there. Pay attention to the mentors position at the airline when you look at them because some are more senior than others so their schedule will seem better (for good reason)

I think that is all your questions but I’m not 100% sure because I’m on my phone and can’t go back to check them without deleting all of what I just typed. Always check other posts before posting, you will more than likely find your answer in there. I hope this helps you.

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Jeremy did an excellent job answering these questions and really covered them very well. Let us know what other questions you have.

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Hey Ryan,

Unfortunately no one, but management, knows the likelihood of getting
assigned to the base you trained at. The statistics are constantly changing
because the method for assigning CFIs to bases keeps changing. I will say
this; however, the airlines assign pilots to bases in a similar way. So,
make sure you give yourself enough time to consider if this is the right
career for you.

If you work anywhere else besides ATP, you will be ineligible for
reimbursement. If you’re already receiving reimbursement and decide to
leave later, you have to give the money back.

ATP will not pay for your airfare, except to and from things like CFI
school, standardization and sometimes during the crew cross country phase
of the program.

Take a look at the schedules section to get an idea of a pilot’s lifestyle.

Airlines have jumpseat agreements with each other. Pilots get to fly for
free for business or pleasure. Buddy passes are usually reserved for
friends and relatives. At Horizon, I am given 20 buddy passes per year.
They are each valid for a one way ticket at 90% off, before taxes.

Tory

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Wonderful information. Thank you all for taking the time to do this.

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No problem at all. Let us know what other questions you may have.

Chris