For those who quit the regionals...

GlenQ

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For those who said screw this and jumped ship from their regional and are now working at a different job other than another airline/135, just a couple questions (specifically those of you who were like me and only have a BS in Aviation):

1)Where are you working now? (I'm having a hard time finding anyone out there who needs a former airline pilot with an aviation degree)

2)Do you regret leaving/miss the flying a lot? (Why/Why not)

(I do realize that there might be mostly current regional pilots reading this, but I figured I'd give it a shot on here)

...Thanks for the help, I'm just withering on the vine making this kind of money for this many years and I think I finally need out!
 

OPECJet

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You wouldn't be the first to have to call it quits. Keep your family ahead of your career and do what you have to do to take care of them. You can always rent a 172 from time to time for your airplane fix!

I've been out of the cockpit since October from both a medical issue and then a furlough. I miss it, but I wouldn't trade the time I've been spending with my son for anything!
 

dondk

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Most of the people I know that bolted all are back in school. A handful hit up WIA and the government is paying a portion of that 2nd degree. Most went back for health care or law/law enforcement.

missing flying? sure, missing the 0500 shows, dhd's, commuting, 3rd rate hotels, and 4 hour productivity sits in the hub of your choice? You already know that answer. Everybody will miss the "flying", all the stuff that goes with it though, you will be hard pressed to find someone who will admit they miss that.

I can tell you this... for the first few months, you will miss it dearly, 6 months later you will reflect back wondering why you ever put up with it. Do what is right for yourself and your family, this job (not a career anymore) should come second.
 

jonjuan

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Until those who graduate with degrees realize that there are no jobs out there worth having. Driving a desk or stocking shelves really sucks.
 

CLARKGRSWOLD

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Wron a a a

most of the people i know that bolted all are back in school. A handful hit up wia and the government is paying a portion of that 2nd degree. Most went back for health care or law/law enforcement.

Missing flying? Sure, missing the 0500 shows, dhd's, commuting, 3rd rate hotels, and 4 hour productivity sits in the hub of your choice? You already know that answer. Everybody will miss the "flying", all the stuff that goes with it though, you will be hard pressed to find someone who will admit they miss that.

I can tell you this... For the first few months, you will miss it dearly, 6 months later you will reflect back wondering why you ever put up with it. Do what is right for yourself and your family, this job (not a career anymore) should come second.
agree
 
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kmox29

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1)Where are you working now? (I'm having a hard time finding anyone out there who needs a former airline pilot with an aviation degree)
FAA. Aviation Safety Inspector. We're hiring. Best "non-flying" job I've had.

2)Do you regret leaving/miss the flying a lot? (Why/Why not)
No. You still have to maintain currency, so you'll either be in the sim (Air Carrier) or in rented aircraft (GA).
 

antney

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For those who said screw this and jumped ship from their regional and are now working at a different job other than another airline/135, just a couple questions (specifically those of you who were like me and only have a BS in Aviation):

1)Where are you working now? (I'm having a hard time finding anyone out there who needs a former airline pilot with an aviation degree)

2)Do you regret leaving/miss the flying a lot? (Why/Why not)

(I do realize that there might be mostly current regional pilots reading this, but I figured I'd give it a shot on here)

...Thanks for the help, I'm just withering on the vine making this kind of money for this many years and I think I finally need out!

I left flying back in 2004, at that time I was single with no girlfriend but I could not stand the life style, being gone for 4/5 days, liviing out of a suit case, heck I even moved up on the senority list pretty fast so I had most weekends and holidays off I was about 14 spots left for me to upgrade.

My main reason for leaving was I did not like the idea of being controlled by a senority list and knowning this is the amount of money I will make each year and my progression in my career is solely based upon when my number comes up. I had a BA in Aviation Management, I left flying and started my own construction company up, started by flipping house (good time then) and then I settled into a painting and drywall company. I like having my own control of my future both on my income and job security.

I am know married with 2 kids and another coming in a month. My wife stays home with my kids I am home everynight, every weekend and every holiday. I always have the opportunity to leave work to go home if someone is sick or needs something. My office is 10 minutes from my house.

There are some negatives as well, I miss the hell out of flying, ecspecially for me flying commercial aircraft with passengers, it was something I always loved. Everytime I see an airplane I stop and watch, I go out of my way when I am driving to just drive by an airport. The one thing when I start to miss flying while looking at the airplane, I remember that those pilots are maybe on day 2 of 4 or finishing a stand up line, but then another part tells me they might be off for the next 7 days too!

Everyone is different and how you will progress after you leave, I was lucky and fell into some good opportunities for me, I still have a goal to go back flying commercial in my fifties when I am financiall stabile, that is my goal not everyones also maybe not realistic, hopefully I can buy my own by then.

I havent been flying since I left as well, time and money has limited me from doing that which is terrible on my part. I still keep my CFI certificates renewed as well.

Good luck in your decision, I know it is a hard one. Lot of non flying people dont realize how hard it is to make, we have a passion for flying, I dont have a passion for construction, but in life priorities change, mine our my family now.
 

COOPERVANE

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I still love this job. The goals have changed a bit, but it blows away the alternative of working in an office. It will have to get much worse before I leave this industry.

What I think is interesting is there have been many people who asked me about this profession years ago. I advised them to get a degree in CS or any other real, useful degree. I told them the hard truth, about being away from home, about the long days......everything.

For Three of them, a real degree was just too inconvenient and slow, so they
went to an aviation university and got a "degree" while racking up 100k of debt.

Now they are whining about the lifestyle and money, the VERY thing I told them about. They want to quit. They are whining about having a useless aviation degree and having to go back to school.

Here is MY question. What has changed? Did you not do ANY research regarding this career? I want to know why, after people TOLD YOU NOT to go into this field unless you love it, and to have a backup, why you didn't listen?

Every day it seems I fly with an FO all pissed off about his career choice. They always tell me how easy it would be to leave and find a job within a week making $80,000

So go ahead and chase the next million by racking up another 89k worth of debt. Try nursing....it's so easy! No work at all

Sorry for the rant. It's just getting old
 

Mike man

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If you are young enough join the military...even if you are a few years outside of the max flying age, you can get a waiver for training.
 

35off

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waivers

If you are young enough join the military...even if you are a few years outside of the max flying age, you can get a waiver for training.
So all know, yes you can get a waiver for anything, but they will not give you one. Been there done that, you can apply for an age waiver, but I guarantee it will be denied. Also, whomever is handling your package probably will not even apply for an age waiver and or not submit your package to the board.
 

Captain Morgan

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If you are young enough join the military...even if you are a few years outside of the max flying age, you can get a waiver for training.
They don't just give out waivers like candy. You have to have a justifiable reason that they should give you a waiver. Even then, it's a long process. I just want to make sure people aren't mislead.
 

Iceman540

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If you have an engineering degree and aviation flight experience GE Aviation is looking for systems engineers.

Checkout: http://www.ge.com/careers/

Search term: Avionics

There are multiple openings in Clearwater, FL and Grand Rapids, MI

Let me know if you've got questions.
 

LXApilot

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Well, your original question was regarding pilots who has migrated from the regionals to other flying adventures... I'll bite. Here's my experience; draw from it what you will...

I always wanted to be an airline guy- I grew up around it- my father and grandfather had flown professionally. I grew up hanging on the airport fence. At age 12 I decided it was what I would do with my life. By 18 I had done my Commercial, Multi, Instrument and CFI. In college I had my own contracting company going and was content earning my CFII and MEI for college credit when luckily, my own experience in professional flying started in college when I became affiliated with a large corporation just as they were considering starting their own flight department. I was "in the right place at the right time" and rode the wave up making good money (45,000ish) while I was going to school and got my ATP and two type ratings out of the deal. We had a three man flight department that allowed me a lot of opportunity to still attend classes during my senior year. But I had always wanted to do scheduled airline flying.. some friends of mine were flying at Chautauqua (this was in 2004) and they encouraged me to turn my stuff in. I did and a few months later got an interview and was placed in the hiring pool... a few months after that I was invited for a class date and so I decided to leave both college and the corporate flying job in favor of -121 flying. That's right- I left a great job and a great education chasing the airline flying life.

I enjoyed the flying and the people I worked with at Chautauqua- it was a wonderful experience. But I missed the pay and QOL I had enjoyed flying in the corporate world. I was sitting on the Republic seniority list in mid-2005 thinking it was purgatory. I didn't see the truth, which was that I was actually pretty lucky and that there were thousands of other pilots trying to get where I was. When I saw a CE-650 taxi by us on the ramp I'd get frustrated thinking that I was typed and had a few hundred hours of PIC in that airplane and COULD be making 70-80k flying that airplane only 200-300 flight hours per year, staying in nice hotels, eating out on the company dime, etc... I also missed the opportunity to fly as PIC and not have to occasionally play "mother may I" with some of the worse Captains out there. But flying at Chautauqua was a lot of fun, I flew my legs and had fun on our overnights. Most of the people I flew with were great pilots and avid professionals. I tried to stay positive about my earning and QOL potential... but commuting on UPS all-night, barely making my bills, working 5 day trips for 20 hours credit and other things really began to burn me out. How can you be positive when PBS keeps putting your bids into denial mode? I digress...

By mid 2007 I could have upgraded to the CRJ fleet but stayed as an FO because I was a commuter and wanted the schedule. I was waiting for a PIC slot on the E-170 fleet in my home-town. When that initial vacancy for that base/seat was awarded, guys that has been with Republic for 6-7 years were too junior to get in on it. It made me really think that I'd have to be at Chautauqua another 4-5 years to make the E170 CA position in my home-town... a dismal thought. Then I got a phone call one day while laying over in Texas.

I got an offer from a charter company in my hometown to interview for a Captain position flying the CE-650. I interviewed and was offered a job starting in the 80k range. Although I wanted to stay in the -121 world and around the -121 environment, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to jump-ahead 5-6 years in relative pay. Not to mention that there would be no more commuting, benefits were going to be significantly better, etc. I made the decision to fly out the remainder of my monthly schedule and then resigned from Republic. This was July 2007. At the time I was #6 F/O in STL out of about 75 First Officers.

At the charter company I immediately liked the pay and benefits. I paid off all my bills, put some money away and started feeling better about my life. The benefits also gave me some piece-of-mind. But the schedule was only marginally improved. Although I didn't have to commute and spend 2 nights away from home in a crash-pad or on my own dime to make 6am reports or midnight block-ins; I did have to answer my phone 16 hours a day "on-call" and pop-up trips were frequent. Out to dinner with the girlfriend? too bad- you've got to come in for an undefined trip. Have plans tomorrow? Oh too bad there too. "get out here as quick as you can for a pop-up trip to Guatemala". No preparation, no packing, no ability to modify your schedule. When they called you had to answer and when they said jump-you asked "how high". A totally different dynamic from the determined schedule and work-rules of the -121 world.

It wasn't much later that they pulled a fast-one on me by displacing me to different equipment.. still as a Captain- still making the same money- but to an airplane I had little to no interest in flying. Again, the people I worked with and flew with were all fun, interesting and avid professionals. We still flew 50-60 hours a month on average (not all that different) and were gone away from home 8-10 nights a month (quite a bit better).

Eventually though- without warning- the charter market took a dive and the charter company one day called me into the office for a meeting. Here I was the lead Captain on the airplane, flying 12-15 days per month and 50-60 hours per month. I felt extremely secure. We were the busiest airplane in the fleet and I was the guy in charge of the airplane on the certificate. But in that meeting they informed me that they were going to have me laid-off because they had lost other aircraft in the fleet and had to find a place for their more senior staff. (i understood the seniority argument). I reluctantly now found myself on the street with no recourse. (couldnt have happened at an airline- they would have had to furlough everyone below me FIRST). But without a union or a contract companies are free to do whatever they need to do without constraint. Whatever their reasoning...

I was sitting on top of several years of -121 and -135 experience, solid flight time, several types and some money in the bank. I felt relatively secure and thought my prospects were good... that was October 2008.

Now here we are in February 2010. The only (professional) flying I've done since my lay-off has been a three month gig with an operator in South Florida. It didn't pan out... after making me pay for my own recurrent (should have never done it), paying all of the companies expenses on my own credit card (don't ever do it) and spending months of my own personal time (trust me- be selfish with your time) they ended up p*ssing off the aircraft owner and the owner instead broke their management agreement with the charter company and sold their jet. It put me back on the street and in an even worse financial position- but I was current/qualified for PIC in the -135 world again. (That doesnt mean D*CK!) Not to mention I had no recourse with these people (who also refused to pay me as agreed) because they threatened to bad-mouth me to any future operator (not good) or hinted at having worse done to me. <gulp!>

Now here is what I've got to show for my jump to where the "grass was greener". I'm absolutely bankrupt, I've lost all my investments, my car, my house, my credit is wrecked and the costs of all the associated hardships is incalculable. There is no outlook for positive recovery anytime soon... I've struggled with significant damage to my self-image and self-worth. I always thought it would be fun to be furloughed/laid-off with recall rights- able to just have 100% time-off for a few years. Reality is a much more sobering situation than what I always dreamed it would be like to be "on the street". I know I am not alone however, and that I am not suffering my fate alone. Thousands of our brother/sister pilots are facing the same -or worse- hardships at the same time. Some find other outlets of their time and are able to lead productive and successful times away from the cockpit- but for those of us who truly belong in the cockpit; no amount of success in sales, professional endeavors or "desk jockey" jobs will suffice.

However, if I had stayed at Republic my seniority would now hold a 17 day ON, 80 hour a month schedule as captain on the e170 in my hometown. I'd be relatively secure, probably financially sound and have good free time and a sense of solid self worth and accomplishment.

My suggestion? Look around you. In this environment don't even attempt a move to another airline or -135/corporate. It is very volatile in this industry now (and always), the smart move is to dig-in and be vigilant to protect what you DO have. I am lucky in that I am still single and do not have to carry the additional burdens of a family and children through this uncertain and trying time of unemployment. I imagine that for those in that situation, the decision to leave aviation behind for good is a much clearer one.

I for one am still hopeful- and if I had the chance today- I'd gladly start somewhere, anywhere at the bottom of the -121 world. Just my .02

I'm not sure if you have the appreciation for what you've built in aviation. I just started another of my own businesses, begrudgingly, and am having to completely renew my development of knowledge in another industry, seek its accreditation and its licenses, build my list of contacts and network within that industry, etc. It's a daunting task and one that is easier said than done!

Alright- flame away!
 

clickclickboom

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Who could flame away???


It takes some fortitude to write that. I was just sitting here thinking that the last thing i want to do today is commute to jfk for my 27hr 4 day trip that starts friday. Thanks for slapping me around a little and putting things into perspective.

Hope your situation improves soon

PS: I have over 3000 hrs of pic in the 650 and I absolutely love that plane
 

Quimby

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LXA,

That's quite a story. Good luck with your new business.
 

awacs

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All the Best

LXA,

Good story, and all the best to you! I too left a good gig flying the -650 for Flight Options to move to 121. Made Captain at Skybus for one year and it was all down hill from then on.

AWACS
 

svcta

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I grew up a in an airline household. Dad was one of the 23 year old UAL new-hires in the 60s and old-time airline lifestyle was what I knew. By the time I started flying for fun at 18 and then decided to stick with it as a career I had my sights set on an airline career, obviously. I knew all about it and I liked what I knew. At the time I started flying my friends were spending a year at a "commuter" and getting on with big carriers and life was okay.

By the time I had given up on actually flying for a living after 9/11/01 and then got sucked back in to it I ended up flying CRJs like the rest of us. I was excited to be at an airline because that is what I had set out to do and the experience was good. One furlough (during initial training) and then recalled 4 months later. . . etc. I had a buddy from years past that I had always kept up with. He was a pilot long before I was and he was the one who really got me in to flying. He had been corporate for years and had a great job and lifestyle. I had really been getting tired of being gone all the time, commuting (my choice, I know), crappy hotels, everything that has been covered here before and I asked my buddy to keep his ear to the ground just in case. One day I got a call from this friend's dad out of the blue asking if I would be interested in interviewing for a position flying a private jet (part 91) with him. I interviewed and was ultimately offered the job.

I agonized over the choice. I had set out to be an airline pilot and I knew nothing about being a corporate pilot. I figured that if I could get some corporate experience and distance myself from the airlines a bit I might be in a better position to get on with my friend's company, a Fortune 500 company with a great flight department. So after a few hours of hemming and hawing about it I called and accepted the position. It was a pay raise, at the very least and not without it's good points.

We didn't fly much at my new job. When we did it was typically to fun places. I got to do a lot of neat stuff hanging out with a extremely wealthy family who treated me very well. I absolutely missed some of the regional flying, the SOP, and I hated the degradation of my flying skills that going from 800 hours a year to 100 hours a year brings. That having been said, I had fantastic QOL, I enjoyed flying with my new "boss" and learned a lot about corporate flying. About a year and half later my friend's company was making motions to hire and I tried to throw myself in their way as much as I could and it ultimately worked out. I took about a 100% pay raise and was invited in to a flight department that is one of the greatest that I've seen with a crop of very capable and conscientious pilots that just had a great culture around them.

My experience is a overwhelmingly positive one. I left the airlines and have never really looked back save the occasional walk down memory lane or to draw on experience that gained flying under 121. For me, leaving the airlines was the best career choice that I have ever made. It is a case study in keeping good friendships alive, maintaining a good reputation, and having a goal and working toward it. I was fortunate in the sense that all of this was happening in the same location (I did have to relocate, but not too far from where I lived during my airline days). It was easy to stop by the new department from time to time, have lunch with people, etc.

It payed off for me. I would say that if you see an opportunity that looks good and it is something that you want you should go for it.
 

Full of LUV

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You Betcha....

LXA,

Good story, and all the best to you! I too left a good gig flying the -650 for Flight Options to move to 121. Made Captain at Skybus for one year and it was all down hill from then on.

AWACS
LXA, good sobering reminder of how the best of intentions can go so wrong. It happens in all industries, but the pilot profession seems to attract a much more emotionally attached crowd then the bricklayers union.

Many of us from the military have no real appreciation for the years of toil it takes to get your experience on the civil side and all you hear is how everyone started in a rj with 250 hours.

This 9/11, recession, age 65 stagnation, and transition of mainline flying to regional jobs has done more to put a sobering spin on the 121 pilot profession than any other generation.

Now we just wait for the UAV's to take over!
Luv
 

CaptainChris77

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LXApilot---GREAT post. One of the problems with this industry is too many guys got in it to "be cool." Once that wears off you find that there are a bunch of prima donnas out here in their mid/late-20's that are all upset because they have been an F/O for 2.5 years and have not upgraded.

You seem to have gotten into this industry because you grew up around it, love it, and have a passion for it.

Good for you hanging in there man. Keep on chuggin along---good things come to good people. As far as the financial situation---that is about as bad as it gets, but on the bright side, it can't get any worse!

Nice job.
 
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