Question for Southwest guys

Otto

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I still have several years before I'll have the experience to get hired but I've decided that Southwest is the airline I want to work for. With that in mind, I'd like to hear some of your opinions. I'm at a decision point in my career...I've accumulated over 1000 hours of military C-130 time flying in the Guard but I'm in the hiring pool at one of the regionals. Lately though I've been wondering if I should just stay with the military flying full time since the PIC time would come a lot sooner though my total time will be lower. Knowing that I want to work for Southwest someday I was wondering...which would be the better choice for me? Do they prefer military time, 121 time, or could they care less as long as you meet the mins? What were YOUR backgrounds? Thanks for you help!
 

bigred

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Here's my advice.

1. Don't limit yourself to one airline . Southwest wasn't my first choice until I started New Hire training. The hiring situation will be totally different in a few years so prepare yourself for all the airlines.

2. Get multi engine turbine in command time. Until you're in charge of the plane, all the hours your getting are essentially worthless with regard to getting a major airline job. I know at Southwest once you meet the mins every thing above and beyond that is gravy. They don't care if it's military/121/135/charter, as long as you meet the mins. I can't speak for other airlines.

3. My inclination would be to take the regional job. You'll get hours faster, and you'll probably upgrade quicker than you think. It also expsoses you to airline flying. You can still fly with the guard and get in command time there as well. Another nice thing about the guard job is the connections you'll have with folks who are already airline pilots. Which is a big part of getting hired anywhere.

Hope this helps.
 

Little Deuce

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SWA

Stay were you are General. You only need to be military and have 2500 hours TT to get on with SWA.

Good luck
 

T44IP

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I agree. Stay where you are. If you have all multi-eng turboprop time (c-130), you actually need only 1500 TT and 1000 PIC. Since you already have 1000 TT, you will automatically meet the 1500 TT once you have your PIC built to 1000. Anything other than PIC for you right now is essentially worthless.
 

reepicheep

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bigred said:
Here's my advice.

Until you're in charge of the plane, all the hours your getting are essentially worthless with regard to getting a major airline job.
According to this philosophy, which by the way runs rampant, I should quit my US Airways A320 F/O job and find a Caravan PIC job and this will make me more "Qualified" to go to work as a Jet Blue A320 F/O?

I get the point...they want to see you upgrade somwhere along the line and fly as captain to prove you can do it, but to classify all F/O time as "worthless" would be quite myopic, if indeed that's what recruiters are doing.
 

T44IP

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the bottom line is that airlines REQUIRE a certain amount of PIC time and a certain amount of total time. If you don't have the PIC time, all the total time in the world isn't going to get an interview.
 

Flyboynfla

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I would have to agree with T44IP and Little Duece, stay where you are. I am going to take a stab in the dark and assume that you will be upgrading to Aircraft Commander soon. If that is the case you will be getting your upgrade with a type rating, all of which will be turbine PIC.
You will also be getting a decent paycheck with all the government bennies, this will also finance your 737 type rating.

Being at the bottom of some regionals senority roster puts you at risk for a furlough, serious pay deficit, lousy schedules, and possible difficult commute to work depending on where you live.

Many Southwest new hires come strictly from the Military pool. What you have is a known, why risk it?

Just my two cents, hope it helps.
 

shagadelic

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First, let me begin by saying some of the best pilots I've flown with while at SWA were pure civilian. In fact, there are quite a few former military guys I don't like flying with at all. That being said...

With over a thousand hours at a C-130 unit I would not go any where else. Every hour you spend as an FO takes you away from an hour you could have on the herk (as PIC). I sat down tonight and counted how many letters I've written for friends of mine in the military and came up with 18. Out of that, 17 were hired. I'd like to think it was my letter writing skills but I know better...they all were great guys, and had good PIC time under their belt. They did fine without civilian experience.

Once you have a type and 1000 hours PIC you will get an interview. Once you are there, it really depends on you. The biggest determining factor is not how much or where your time came from, but whether or not the person behind the desk would like to spend a four-day with you. It also helps not to have been a jerk in your military career...those things will catch up with you!!

Hope this helps...Good luck.
 

SWA/FO

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Military = better pay..

Good Luck!
 

Otto

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Guys,
Thanks for all the responses. I have to admit, I'm a little shocked...I thought there would be more people pushing the regional job as it would equal higher time. It's about time for me to upgrade to AC so you all really have me rethinking the regional job. While I have the attention of the ex Air Force guys, I have one more question. The Southwest web site leads me to believe that once I'm an AC, all of my Air Force "primary" time can be logged as PIC. Is that correct? True even if I log it in the right seat and don't carry the "A" code? Thanks again...this web site is great!!
 

cvgphil

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I have just done what you are about to do. I took the regional job where they treat you like crap and pay next to nothing. My buddies took the full time jobs at the Guard unit and they have done alot better than I have. I am going back to the Guard unit this week. The commuter was great to build total time and PIC time fast, assuming a quick upgrade.


PIC time after you become AC depends on the airline. For most airlines you can log all time after upgrade as PIC. Primary or Secondary doesn't matter. Right seat, Left seat doesn't matter. They can't tell which seat you were in or who 'signed for the aircraft' anyway. LOG IT ALL PIC
 

xhercdriver

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On the time thing--Southwest expects you to only "claim" time as PIC if you in fact signed for the jet. So if you're in the right seat, AC qualified, but the guy in the left seat is the AC on the orders, it doesn't matter if you fly hands on the whole flight and he just watches: you weren't "in command" on that flight. This may differ from what the FAA says you can "log" as PIC, but it's a lot better to be able to point to an entry in your time spreadsheet and say, "This is 25 hours where I was sitting right seat with another AC" than having to "prove" that you were the AC when in fact you weren't.

As for which flying job is "better," the demographics of SW hiring show that a higher percentage of military applicants is hired, with lower total hours. This isn't to say that either type of flying (or flyer) is "better" than the other, simply that as a military guy, you'll be part of a smaller "class" of applicants, which has traditionally been hired at a higher rate. As a civvie flyer, you're up against stiffer competition: there are more applicants with civilian backgrounds, with a LOT more hours. Realistically, if you fly for a regional for the next two years, you'll get at most 2000 additional hours, bringing you up to a total of about 3000. I don't think I've met a single civilian flyer at SWA who was hired with less than about 4000-5000 hours (don't quote me, I'm sure there are exceptions, but IMO you need a lot of time to "stand out" as a civilian applicant at SWA). Conversely, in that same two years in the military, you'll get about 1000 hours of PIC time in the Herk, and you'll be pretty much in the ballpark for total time and PIC time with the other military applicants.

Also, if you're unsuccessful at SWA and have to wait to reapply or for the other majors to crank their hiring back up, IMO the military is a better "package" of pay, benefits, and lifestyle than any regional out there, (if you can live with the deployments) and you'll still be building "quality PIC time" every time you fly...

Unless you can find a regional that has the right combination of pay, location, upgrade potential, and lifestyle for you to consider making that a "long term" job in case the opportunity at a major doesn't present itself quickly, I don't think I'd jump from a C-130 left seat into an RJ right seat.
 
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