Real Answers from Real Pilots

What aren’t we asking?

I’ve been following this site for a good month now and will hopefully be starting at ATP in March from no flight experience. I’m currently a loan officer for a top bank and do very well but hate the cubical. After reading this site for about a month you realize there have been usually about 5 of the same questions. Is ATP the best? Do I really need a 4 year degree, like really really? What’s the pay like? I’m from another country can I fly in the US? You get the idea. What I am more curious about is all the pilots on here seem to either have been in the industry a long time but also been answering hundreds of questions. What aren’t we asking? What’s something that you feel that no one is asking but really should be more focused on?

Thanks again! This is a great thing you guys are doing to help out aspiring pilots.

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Chris,

That’s really an excellent question and you’re right. Not that we mind, but yes the same questions get asked repeatedly. What bothers me about that fact is these people all aspire to be pilots. While aviation isn’t rocket science, it require not only some intelligence but more so hard work. If some one can’t be bothered to take 1 minute or 2 to read the existing information, I have a hard time believing they’ll be successful in actual airline training where much of it is self-study.

Anyway as for your question I’m not sure I’ve got a good answer as to a good question people should be asking? Personally I just think people need to relax and take this as a process. While having goals is essential, we all have to walk before we run. Flying for a Major is a significant accomplishment and one that’s attainable but it’s far from a given. I get the impression that many people just assume because they want to fly and think it’s cool they will be at Delta and they’ve only sat in back going on vacation. To me that’s like eating a really great meal and saying “you know what? I love to eat, I think I should complete on Iron Chef next week”. If you haven’t ever flown a small plane that’s imperative and take a lesson or 2 or 3 and make sure this is really something you enjoy and can excel at. Then we can talk about Delta :slight_smile:

Adam

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Chris,

I am glad you noticed a trend, we certainly have to. The original intent of this website was to answer questions about the airline pilot profession and lifestyle. Questions like how much will I be on the road? How does scheduling work? What will my role be as a first officer? And what is an average pilot day like? were what we intended for people to ask and that remains the primary purpose of the website.

I was lucky in that I grew up in an airline family, so I knew the answers to all of those questions, but so many people don’t even know a pilot at all and those answers are elusive.

So basically, any question that you have about flying or training, feel free to ask and we are happy to help.

Of course we can also tell you if you are too old or need a four year degree, too :slight_smile:

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Chris, (original poster) Thank you for stating that. I was just thinking the same thing and wanted to say something without sounding like a jerk.

One question I have that I don’t think I have found an answer to is interaction with your flight crew. My step mom is a flight attendant and tells me how important it is to keep your flight crew happy. She said that there are some pilots who will leave the plane during a lay over, eat, and come back without even offering to grab something for the attendants who cant leave the plane.

what are your Thoughts or insight on this?

Pat,

I try very hard to keep my crew happy and to work with them. I treat them with dignity and respect at all times, but I keep it professional in nature.

As to getting food for the crew, I never offer to do this. I have seen many a pilot burned by FAs who can’t find their cash, or have such complex orders that it takes a pen and paper to keep it straight, or don’t even bother to say thank you. FAs are not prohibited from getting off the airplane, they are prohibited from doing so on quick turns. If they are on a quick turn, that means that I am too and I simply might not have time to get all of their orders. They know the schedule ahead of time just like we do. They have access to ovens and refrigeration and can cook whatever they want during the flight.

Again, I treat everybody with respect, but that doesn’t mean I am their waiter.

Chris

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Pat,

Great question though difficult because we’re talking “human factors” here. The short answer is people are people and EVERYONE wants to be treated with dignity and respect. There’s also a “chicken egg” element (ie, who wronged who first). There are far to many pilots who think the FAs are just glorified wait staff and FAs who think the pilots are arrogant over paid brats. I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of maintaining good relations with all my crew but sadly people carry baggage with them. As Chris mentioned above there are pilots who’ve been burned by an FA (who’s making double what that new FO is) because all pilots are rich and there are senior FAs who take great pleasure in telling the pilot THEIR rules on THEIR plane. Pilots of course are far from innocent and there are many who are disrespectful and talk down to the FAs. Then of course there are people on both sides who’ve “hooked up” and that often results in the ENTIRE work group getting condemned when it doesn’t work out. For many once they’ve had that one bad experience they’ve mad up their minds for life. As I said I try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt and hope they’ll do the same but there are some who are set and won’t ever change. That said a smile and a good morning always seems to be a good place to start.

Adam

Thank You Chris and Adam.
That does bring up another question. As the PIC, doesn’t that make it your plane and therefore your rules? Not saying there has to be an ego trip or anything, but ultimately at the end of the day you are responsible for what happens on the plane.

Pat

Pat,

Absolutely, yes. That being said, we have our own rules that we work within and if we deviate from those rules, we had better have a darn good reason for it. Being a PIC means you are in charge, but we are still responsible to the company and the FAA.

Chris

Pat,

I suggest you ask your step-mom about that one :slight_smile:

Adam

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She is one of the “Its my plane, My rules” type

I find that to be an interesting attitude to have as it is the company’s airplane and the FAA’s rules and you had better respect both of those.

Maybe that’s why the pilot’s won’t buy her lunch? :slight_smile:

Adam

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:joy: Adam never fails to make us chuckle a bit…

Great thread!!

Adam, That may indeed be why :joy: