Real Answers from Real Pilots

Scheduling Question

Let’s say I live in Seattle and my carrier only flies the a330 out of Atlanta. If I am current on the a330, will my carrier pay for me for a trip to Atlanta so I can then continue my trip flying the a330?

Thank you!

Nathan,

The answer is no. You are responsible to get yourself to work just like any other job. One of the nice things about being a pilot is you can live anywhere you chose, BUT if you chose to live away from base YOU are responsible for getting yourself to work. Now the nice thing is as a pilot you are able to jumpseat (aka fly for free) on virtually every carrier in the country so it won’t cost you anything. The problem is there need to be room on the flight AND you have to get there in time for your flight. If you have an early flight in the morning you’re going to have to fly in the night before. If the night flight is full, well then you need to fly in the day before. If the weather is bad you may need to fly in 2 days before. And no, the company does not pay for your hotel before or after a trip which is why most pilots who commute get crashpads (shared apartment or hotel room) at their base.

Adam

Let’s say I fly an a320 from Seattle to Atlanta and then an a330 from Atlanta to Sao Paulo. Is it possible to hold both a rating for an a320 and a330 at the same time? How about 777 and 787?

Nathan,

You can only fly one type at a time. In order to fly a different type, you have to go through a designated training program, even if you already have that type rating (it’s called requalification). So to answer your question, no.

Now there are specific aircraft, like the 757 and 767, that share a common type rating, and in that case I believe you can fly both (Chris correct me if I’m wrong here). I have heard a rumor that the 777 and 787 also share a common type, but it’s hard for me to believe it. They don’t seem that similar to me, but I might be mistaken.

Yarden

The 757 and the 767 are a common type primarily because the cockpit designs are very similar. It always seemed liked a bit of a stretch to me as the airplanes handle very differently, but the FAA bought off on it.

The 777 and the 787 are not a common type, at least not at United. There was talk in the early days of them being combined, but in the end the FAA decided that the systems of the two airplanes were just too dissimilar.