Anyone else think Eagle was a mistake?

airstang

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I am curious if anyone else out there came to work for Eagle back in the late 90's, like I did. If so, I am also curious if you left a relatively lucrative job and had your own place. In addition have you, as I have, watched my life's dream of becoming a major airline pilot shrivel and die? Nothing like being thirty and living like an impoverished college student.

I hope that I am not the only one who has had to move back in with the folks because fourth year jet pay won't allow me to make my student loan payments and rent at the same time...

I wonder how many of our passengers know that I didn't break $30k until my third year (and that's JET PAY!)

Sour grapes and all... Looking to find out if I am alone on this one.
 

flyby

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I am still a flight instructor and 34. Yeah I left a good paying career. Things could be worse for you. I feel your frustration though, its not hard to find people in this industry that have done better in less time. For some reason (at least in my experience) it seems a lot harder to find a fellow pilot who hasn't done as well.

That old 'you still have your health' line doesn't do much to help I am sure. The only advice (and I realize you probably didn't ask for it or want it) I have is to remember this... This is your life. Each of these days that goes by is one day of your life so try to enjoy it the best you can.

Good luck, and heres to things turning around for you.
 

generaltso

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I watched many, many, many people go to Eagle. Everytime I would talk to them I would ask them are you serious? Eagle is a big time mistake. I would listen to people who got all excited because they finally found that dream job.

I would talk to people who left Eagle (or who are currently there) asking why the hell any one would want to go to Eagle. It is hard when someone comes to you all excited telling you they got on with Eagle, and you have to tell them the harsh reality.

But people still go... in my opinion it is really a set back in your career. First of all if you go there in hopes of flowing through to AA, you've got a long wait. Secondly, if you go there in hopes of upgrade and building turbine PIC time, well you've got a long wait. Then when you realize the truth, and that it is horrible working there, you find another regional and start at the bottom of the list again. You've lost two years (depending on how soon you come around).

I have NEVER talked to anyone who was at Eagle for any length of time and would recommend it. I actually listened to a seminar by a former Eagle captain telling people NOT to go to Eagle.

I think the regionals work in cycles (long ones). Eagle used to be the place to be, now it is horrible. ASA used to be horrible, now it is a good place to be. And so on.

Eagle will be doing lots of hiring, I predict. Most of the furloughed guys have found other jobs. They will keep getting the jets and need staffing. And people will still go... get suckered in. Plus Eagle was losing people left and right even before 9/11. Eagle will do the most hiring out of the regionals in the next couple years (in my opinion), because turn around is faster than most other regionals.

I'm not an eagle guy but this is what I know.
 

3green

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I dont know about you but I made 40K as a third year FO. And the fact is we are getting 3-4 JET's a month for the next 4 years. Im not saying I like the place, but with 127 jet' jets and growing at 40 a year things will get beter.
 

AAflyer

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I spent 6 months at Eagle and went to AAin 98. I had been at 727 companies.(3 of them) before Eagle and was tired of getting furloughed. I needed stable work and did not want to be an FE again at another 3rd tier airline. So I lookled for a financially sound regional and applied.I used Eagle to network and get an interview at AA. Apparently that stopped shortly there after. I have mixed feelings. It helped me, but I still have many friends that feel the same way as you. Good Luck.

AAflyer
 

English

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I wouldn't say Eagle was a mistake for me, but I went into it thinking I wouldn't be there long. I was there 18 months and left for greener pastures. Those with my seniority have been displaced to other bases, and are looking at upgrades 2 years down the line- that's 4 years or more of seniority. I left and have Part 121 PIC turbine experience, two types, and a great job as a jet captain making three times what I was making at Eagle. Eagle would have been a mistake if I was planning to gain PIC turbine time there to get on with a major.
 

FLYnMONKEYS

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Quit your bitchin. I'd love to have your job right now. You've been at Eagle how long, and still only have 3600 hours? Get flying. Don't cry too hard you won't have any left when the APA puts us furloughees at the top of your list and your dreaming about this job you seem to hate so much.
 

English

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ouch...

Sure you'd love the job right now, because you are furloughed. Why didn't you go to Eagle instead of American if you love the idea of Eagle so much?
 

I.P. Freley

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With all due respect, flynmonkeys, if you aren't there you don't know what it's like and you have no right to judge the relative unhappiness of the people that ARE... But I do know where you are coming from, it seems like a bushelfull of sour grapes from whiny jet jocks, until, that is, you talk to some of them and see where they are coming from.

Displacement from bases, impossibly long upgrades, years of reserve (thus that little flying you refer to, "get flying" only helps if you are actually ALLOWED to fly), senior captains that look at FO's as being nothing more than a nuisance, work rules that could stand improvement... I have heard it all. I don't work there, either, but I've yet to find an Eagle guy/gal that likes their job. Not that I've polled ALL of them, mind you, but when the ratio is 100% of those that I HAVE talked to, it should tell you something.

I know well a guy that was unlucky enough to be a Saab FO at BizEx before they got bought... Now he's been with BizEx/AE for FIVE YEARS and has not a minute of PIC time, and won't upgrade for another year. Jet FO for life, it almost seems.
 

English

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Mr. Freley,

You write with the wisdom of an airline captain...seems your new seat suits you well!

D
 

I.P. Freley

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:)

Oh, stop it...

On second thought, don't stop, tell me again! :)
 

throttlejockey

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The plight of the Eagle pilots is not new, nor is it isolated to only Eagle.

I know of many pilots from many different carriers that are seeing their savings dwindle, and the prospect of improvements in their daily lives disappear. I do not fly for Eagle, but I have seen my position at my company reduced to being one of the top seniority FO's and scheduled for upgrade class, to being furloughed for 3 months and then returning to work at a new base, and being one of the only FO's in the company without four stripes. Do you think I may upgrade soon?

In addition, after a half of a year knocking on doors for a new job, I have resigned to the fact that I either have to stick this out or quit. Quitting is the last thing I want to do, but financially I have no choice.

The euphoria that occured in this industry over the last few years prior to September 11th, was an abburation. Now, as we all suffer from limited pay, limited benefits, and reverse career progression, the insufficent treatment of regional and commuter pilots across the country is coming home to roost.

As long as we do nothing as a group to improve our collective lot, we will continue to suffer. Those that are yet to come, and those that are below us in seniority will suffer as well.

It seems to me that the major Unions need to focus more on improving the pay at regionals, with the understanding that, in the end, improved regional pay and benefits help to strengthen and solidify the compensation packages currently being offered to the pilots at the majors.

throttlejockey
 

EagleRJ

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What about all those junior FOs at Eagle who said "F*** this place- I'm outta here" and went to Express I as Saab captains? I don't know what they're doing now, but it's not flying an airliner.

Anyone who's been in this industry a few years knows that airlines don't always grow and contract together, and it's nearly impossible to make the right long-term decision when you want to make a lateral move. For every pilot who hates working at Eagle, I can guarantee you there is another who would love to be here.
 

airstang

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Woke up on a better side of the bed...

I guess I just woke up on a better side of the bed today, but things might not be as bad as I made them out to be.

Let' s see...

Yes, I have been here at Eagle for 3 years with 0 hours PIC Turbine (at least a year away from Captain anywhere).

Yes, I have over 1000 hours of jet time, and another 1200 Turbo-Prop (guess I have been sitting on my ass).

Yes, I have been displaced once or twice, but I am still flying a jet, right?

However, I was forced into reserve for the month of March. Not senior enough to hold a line in LAX on the jet. (only 3 years) With no open trips to proffer, I flew 0 hours in March. I guess that's my fault. I should have done....what? No trips means no trips.

So the "shut up and fly" people out there can get stuffed! I WANT to fly. I NEED to fly. I have to pay bills (like old flight training debt, college degree debt, clothing, etc..) too! Zero flying means getting min. guarantee pay and no per-deim.

But don't think I got to sit at home...oh no! I was at the airport most of my reserve days, sitting standby (in uniform) and never flew. All my jepps are up to date though!

Now I know its hard for some of our Military friends out there to believe, but some of us did not have the good forune of getting Uncle Sam to subsidize our flight training. I know, I know... It's my fault for not joining the military. HELLO THERE...Not everyone gets in. I must not know the secret handshake or something. Also I just got my degree this past year and now I am getting too old for flight slots. I don't have mommy and daddy to pick up the bill either...student loans buddy...lots of them. Also, I was getting my degree WHILE I was learning to fly and instructing, so I kinda had to work to pay for it all. I know life sucks...

So, with NO ABLITY to get more flight time (our ALPA contract prohibits outside flying), and NO ABILITY to upgrade to get PIC, I see NO LIGHT at the end of "the tunnel."

Now to address the whole AA pilots have it so bad thing...

I have flown with and know several AA FLow-back guys out here in LAX domicile. They are the nicest guys I have ever met...

- Civilian backgrounds
- Glad to have a job
- AND flying as CAPTAIN in the RJ (all of them junior to me)
- ALL of them tell us how great AA has it
- ALL of them are from other regionals (that had it better)
- ALL of them have an AA job waiting for them when things pick up
(meaning: they don't need the PIC)

So, I don't know why an AA guy has any right to be bitter. When you consider you have it better in these areas...

- Retirement
- Compensation
- Work Rules / quality of life
- Scheduling System (green/red drop/pickup things)
- Rest Rules
- Reserve System
- Domicile Selection
- Medical Benefits
- Job Security (Flow back if necessary)
- Scope protection (from Evil AMR's plans to "RJ" your routes)

And to top it off, AMR management is subcontracting "your" (Eagle Feed) flying to Trans States, Chataqua, and Corporate Express. So we are all on the same receiving end of the "rogering" that is going on. Please stop dividing us up by assuming that our "Eagle whining" is without merit.

Look forward to any replies...and maybe suggestions on what everyone things is the million dollar question...

Do the 3+ year Eagle pukes stick it out or BAIL OUT?
 

AWACoff

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Airstang,
Just between you and I, get out and get another flying job to supplement your Eagle flying. Not that I EVER would do such a thing as I am suggesting (like flying a turboprop at a large skydiving center while sitting on reserve) but you could if you wanted to. As long as you don't jeopardize you flight time limits for your 6 day and calender month problems, it's legal. If you aren't doing ready reserve and have a long enough callout, it's easy to do and the dropzones would love to have a pilot with your experience. Just an idea.
 

English

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EagleRJ,

I'm one of those "junior" FOs you referenced.

I upgraded on the Saab at "another" carrier. Yes, I was furloughed for six weeks and then recalled. I could have gone back to the left seat of the Saab but I had already found a better job on a jet. I turned down the recall. I'm now logging PIC time in a jet making good money, home every night, for a great company with good benefits, yadda yadda yadda. No, you are right, I'm not the PIC of an airliner (is the Saab an airliner?)making 33k a year commuting across the country. I can't speak for others who left during the big upheaval, but for me, it was the best decision I ever made. I see those with my seniority holding terrible lines and making 23K a year. I have two type rating because I took a chance and made the jump. Since 9/11 I have been offered classes at two other regionals (one as a Saab captain) and had six corporate job offers. The types gave me options. Don't knock the choice some of us made.

airstang,

With three years...tough choice. I'd bail but I am a big risk-taker. I'd look for a corporate job where you'd get typed and get a chance to move to the left seat soon. You already have the 121 time - the majors will see that and won't look down at your corporate time. Do you have Saab time? Shuttle America is hiring Saab captains. Do you have ERJ time? EJM runs a shuttle operation on the West Coast for Intel, you'd get typed....there are options - I'd start looking!
 
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Swaayze

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Man, I can't stand it anymore. I wanna whine too!

After almost 10 years in the airline industry I thought I had it made. Now I'm right back where I started, looking for an airline to hire me. Since hindsight is 20/20 I can say I probably should've never left my Saab Captain job at Eagle. Had finally upgraded after almost 7 years in the right seat of turboprops at 2 carriers (4+ at Eagle) and was loving life and building the almighty turbine PIC, living in base in my new house, seeing friendly faces each day at work. Then I made the decision to apply to a major airline that I wasn't even sure I wanted to work for, and of course they offered me the job and I was greedy - so I went. 911 and a furlough later, recall is far from imminent. I managed less than 500 turbine PIC in my short Captaincy at Eagle, so now I'm either over or under qualified and furloughed from a major to boot. Luckily I found a (non-airline, non-turbine) flying job post 911 already, but life sure is different. Yep, guess I shoulda stayed.

I don't disagree that things may seem crappy. Everyone's situation, goals, and perceptions are different, and one man's dream job is another's joke. When I was at Eagle it was a good job, despite what you'd think from listening to the pilots. Now, with the whole TWE mess I'm sure it's worse. But don't be too quick to jump ship, the grass isn't always as green as it appears to be elsewhere. And you never know when a big dog will leave a steaming pile on your new doorstep.


There, I feel better.
 

EagleRJ

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English,

I didn't intend to slam anyone who wan't flying for an airline. That's great that you found another job that you like, and you're probably making more money than you were at Eagle or the "other" airline, with better quality of life.

Anyone's career planning should obviously include their present position in the company. I've been with Eagle for just over four years, and I was lucky enough to upgrade after two years and I've been able to hold onto it (so far). I'm just a few hours away from 1000 PIC. I know FOs here who have roughly the same seniority, but didn't follow exactly the same track, and are not looking at upgrading anytime soon. Someone in that situation would obviously be better justified to leave and go elsewhere.
 

English

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EagleRJ,

No problem. My "significant other" is a captain at Eagle so I kinda hear both sides of it on a daily basis.
 

ACWild

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"I've yet to find an Eagle guy/gal that likes their job"

To start an unofficial poll... I'd like to say that I do like my job, but I am not so crazy about my employer. Yes, the Eagle employees (not just the pilots), complain alot, but they are great people in general. I've made alot of friends here and generally look forward to flying with them.
Our relationship with our employer is like a bad marriage. It was exciting at first, but after being lied to and abused for many years, it can get very old. We're just hoping for a good marriage counselor right now.
(Just my 2,000 aachiever points).
 
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