Transition from CFI to regional jet

DLconnection

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As the regional airlines transition from the turboprops to the all jet fleets, the new hires are being sent right into the jet. I know that most pilots have worked there way from flight instruction to cargo to regional flying the turboprops then finally to the jets.

The question that I have is how are the people doing in these NH classes that have gone straight from flight instruction to a regional jet? COMAIR and COex (when they were hiring) were putting flight instructors into the jets. How tough was that transition? Was there a big washout rate? If there was.....what was the hardest thing about the transition that caused the washout?
 

pilotdad

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My son was in about the same position as you are. I do not know if you have a college degree, but he does have the aviation degree and went to instructing for a year right out of college. With recommendations from two former instructors, he landed a FO job in the RJ having only a few hours more than you. The amount of material he had to learn seemed overwhelming, but he did fine and loves the job. The college prep served him well. I don't know the washout rate, but if you are intelligent, there should not be a problem. I hope this helps.
 

VelcroJetDriver

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ACA hires Embryo-Riddle interns with 600 hours TT into the CRJ and FRJ. It's not impossible, but it is tough. Expect to be fire-hosed with information, not just systems but Indoc stuff as well (basically non-systems like FOM, Ops-Specs ...)

I would suggest the following to anyone with low time going into the right seat of an RJ:

Get as much done as possible before you start class:

1) Buy a copy of the 121 FARs and review those regs.
2) Do some research on high altitude/high speed aerodynamics.
The "Turbine Pilot's Flight Manual" is a good start.
3) See if you can get RJ systems overview off the Internet.
4) See if the company will send you manuals in advance.

I was always a week behind in both my new-hire and upgrade classes (studying subjects even AFTER the test.)

Do not get discouraged with your first few sim sessions. You will be humbled. As with any 121 carrier, the trick is getting the calls right, you must have the mindset of a trained monkey.

Oh yeah, its all attitude and flying by the numbers in jets. Love your Flight Director ... be one with your Glass ...
 

Timebuilder

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Although the Lear situation that I am in now doesn't directly correlate to the RJ (I'm 135 and they are 121) I can tell you the proper preparation is key. The Turbine Pilot's Flight Manual is a good start, along with Linda Pendelton's Flying Jets. I also used the Jeppeson Powerplant text, and everything else I could find on turbine engines. My Aerostar flying helped, too, since it flies somewhat like a jet.

Flight directors are a product of divine inspiration. Compared to an approach using raw data, it's amazing.

If you can find the callouts used by the airline in question, that's a plus, too.
 

Ty Webb

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Sorry, Pilotdad; I know you're proud of your son (and his degree), but that degree has very little to do with success at a regional. It has much more to do with attitude, aptitude, preparation, discipline and experience.

The problem with low-time pilots coming from a "bridge" or "transition" program is that, while they can fly the profiles and make the call-outs, they really don't have the experience yet to be a fully contributing crew member, and this deficiency becomes even more apparent when it comes time for them to upgrade.

As a former 135 jet Captain and a present 121 B717 F/O, I can tell you that if I could go to a newhire class and select a pilot to fly with, I would choose a 2000 hr former freight dog with no college over a 1200tt Riddle grad without question, and so would 99% of the captains out there.

Not to say that these programs aren't turning out guys that make it through training, but when the chips are down, I will take the guy with real-world experience over classroom experience, any and every day.
 

FR8mastr

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I'm a captain at a 121 regional and I agree, flying around the pattern for a thousand hours being scared to death by students does not make up for experience flying to "mins" on raw data. It can be done obviously, but try to tell the prospective airline guy, to be humble because he really has alot to learn. In some cases the pilot instructed for awhile, then goes into the right seat of something, a year later upgrades and all of a sudden you have a captian that has never been in a cloud without an autopilot and probably has never faced any kind of adverse situation inwhich he or she is now totally responsible. It doesnt take much of an imagination to see what could happen here.
 

onetaco

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DLconnection,
I made the transition you're talking about. At 850 hours I got a job flying an RJ. At that time the biggest plane I'd flown was a Seneca I (100 hrs). The answer to your question is yes it is difficult. There is NO book you can read, to amount of studying, or memorizing that helps you learn what a 45,000 lb. jet feels like. NO, my masters degree DIDNT help either. It just took time to get the feel of the sim, and the actual aircraft.

Luckily the company I worked for had a train to proficiency policy (within reason), and the couple extra aircraft sessions it took me were no big deal.

Yes, a freight job would prepare you well for a future job at the regionals/majors. However, when I was offered a job in the RJ I didn't say "no thanks I think I'll go fly freight."

Good luck!!
 

EOpilot

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All right, I'll give it a shot.

I was a flight instructor at a Florida licence factory when a bunch of us had the opportunity to start as FEs on a 727. The largest plane I had flown up until that point had been a Seminole. I had about 650 hours total time.

In ground school the information came at you fast and furious. The studying was relentless, the systems were intricate and complex, and what the h*ll are ops specs??? It was about the most fun I'd ever had. We formed study groups, made flash cards, quizzed each other on the drive to class, and banged out some d*mn fine scores on the dreaded "systems test".

But here's the difference. Learning to be an FE is one thing. Basically if you can memorize a few patterns, read from a book, and keep good notes (a healthy dose of common sense is also a must), you can be an FE. But I pitied the poor fool who had to try to figure out the plane from the right seat. We hired quite a few guys direct to FO and the Captains were forced to do a lot of babysitting. I saw a few guys who were so fixated on flying an ILS that they blocked out every other sight and sound. (Like the gear warning horn, Captain reminding him about flaps, red lights indicating gear unsafe, tower asking to slow to approach speed). Some people can do it, some cannot.

As for me, I'm ever so grateful that I was able to watch from the back seat for two years before I ever had to fly it. Just knowing where the switches and gauges are is a big advantage. Too bad I didn't make it to the left seat before the company's demise.

:(

Oh well, dem is the breaks. But I feel pretty confident in my ability to take on the next groundschool and the next aircraft.

Boy, do I need a job.
 

pilotdad

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TY

All I meant from the college serving him well was that it was great preparation for the amount of material he had to learn for class. It was not in reference to any flight skills. However, yes I am proud of him and it seemes most of the captains he has flown with think he is doing a super job. Without going into specifics, he has even gotten a couple of captains out of some jams so I think he will do fine. I would probably agree with you that a freighter with over 2000 hours would end up head and shoulders above a newbie from college in experience.
 

g159av8tor

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Pilots fail out of training for many reasons. Some cannot drink fast enough from the fire hose, a few start out real strong out of the gate and then realize too late that training is not a sprint but a marathon, while others freak out near the end and implode under the pressure.

Does a degree help? Depends. Its not so much the material that you paid so dearly for that went out one ear and out the other that was the benefit. What matters to the recruiter and interviewer is the effort and dedication you put in attaing that degree. A good GPA (3.0) helps.

I flew G-Is and Lear 35s 135 and 91 for 2.5 years (and almost 1900 hours) after graduating ERAU before going to a regional with nearly 3600 hours. My flying experience will help in the sim, and my degrees will help in the classroom; but most of all, its your attitude that will make or break you. Everybody in the class is part of a team and we all pool our experiences and resources to get each other through training. Good luck!

Tailwinds...
 

skydiverdriver

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I went from piston to turboprop to a CRJ, and I wish it were the CRJ BEFORE the turboprop. It is so much easier to fly. Don't worry, all planes fly the same. Some just go faster in cruise. Good luck.
 

skydiverdriver

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Oh, one other difference between pilots who come to RJ's right from seminoles, and people with airline/heavier aircraft experience. It's their attitude. Some of these new guys think they are so hot because they can fly the jet well, but it's because it's so easy to fly. I'm sure some of these guys would be way out of their league in a complex turboprop. Also, since I work for one of the better regionals, they complain about everything. Well, unless you have worked at another airline, you have no idea how good you have it here. Most people would be happy that they even have a good flying job, these days. But, the new kids seem to have no appreciation for that. I have heard that we had to fire a couple of FO's on probation, just for their attitude. Just a small warning, so be careful. Good luck to all.
 

Ty Webb

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Skydiverdriver, you crack me up. I bet you'd eat dog-doo if it was served in a Comair bowl . . . . Bet you have Comair vanity plates on your car!

I would think the guys who were displaced from another airline would be more unhappy than the former Seminole fondlers. If I were on reserve for a year and doing the same job for half the pay, I'd be disgruntled, too.

On the t-prop issue- A t-prop may take more hands-on attention to fly, but operating the jet is where the knowlege and experience come into play. Reference the incident report on the RJ incident at ROA and how those two seasoned :rolleyes: turboprop pilots got into a little trouble with the "easier" RJ . . . . .

There are a fair number of EMB120 and B1900 skippers out there with just over 2000tt and they seem to be doing a credible job, but I don't want to see a 2000tt captain in a DC9, period.
 
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dogg

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DL CONNECTION:

The transition that you will make from n=B/172 or seneca/duchess to flying an airline jet wether it is a crj or 737 is large indeed. It can be done however if you are willing to start today preparing.

A couple of things not to get caught up in first: Op Specs and 121 regs. Do not spend lots of time studying or filling your head with them. They are different at every airline and the interpretation of 121 regs by each airline varies. If you can get a buddies CFM which should include op specs, take a look at it, note how it is laid out and what kind of information is there but don't memorize it.

Do practice ifr flying(ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT) . Practice dme arcs, holding and approaches. If you have access to an airplane with an hsi and an rmi use it.tryto use the same techniques ie speed, altitude etc evey time. This prepares you to do things by a "profile" which will be taught to you by your airline.

If you have a computer, install ASA's ON TOP 7.0. It is around 100.00 and is a great "needle recognition" trainer. You can use it to do things over and over so that your situational awareness is excellent and it does have a beech 1900 that will allow approaches to practiced at 140 kts which is about the approach speed of every jet + or - 10 knots.

Spend a little time thinking about descent profile planning. Most jets work well with 3-1 plus five which is to say that at 3 times your dme that will be your altitude IE 3 times 40 dme would be 12,000 ft plus 5 would put you at 12,000 ft at 45 dme from the runway.

Of course in a crj you have fms that will tell you all this and in the real world atc will tell you where to go, how high to be and ho w fast to be but if you can figure this stuff out on your own you will be ahead of the game and you situational awareness will be much greater.

If you are the type that likes to read pick up a copy of turbine pilots flight manual and also flying the big jets. Mostly anecdotal stuff on flying jets but it will at least expose you to it.

All of this stuff is just to get you in the mindset to go to and get through training.

As soon as you get to training, try to get a hold of your profiles, memory items and limitations. This is the stuff that you need to have cold in your first sim session. You will be fed lots of FLUFF in ground school but you will survive training if needle recognition, situational awareness, profiles memory items and limitations are automatic good luck
 

skydiverdriver

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Ty,
Come on over, we'll fire you too. I think if I got furloughed from another airline, especially one that went out of business, I would be upset about the drop in pay, but not at the airline I was working for. I would be upset at the one I left. I think I would be appreciative of the one that gave me a chance to fly again, and not worry about furloughes or going out of business. That is what I mean by the new kids having no idea of how good they have it. You, on the other hand, sound a bit envious. Good day sir.
 

FR8mastr

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Ty, to call those two in ROA "seasoned" is an insult two anybody that really has experience. Their "experience" would not have even gotten them a job flying a P.O.S. cheiftain in the middle of the night a few years ago. The only reason that they were even there is because of the horrible pay at their airline. Turnover was very high, combined with the rapid expansion of their airline. Just because some pilot finds thier way into a jet does not make them a grizzled veteran! Remember this "captain" and I use that term loosely, pretty much stalled the plane and crashed into the runway causing extensive damage because, "there is no missed procedure to this runway". Then demonstrating command decision making did'nt even officially tell anyone, jeopardizing all subsequent crews and passengers. This is exactly what can happen when you upgrade someone with most of thier very little time in the right seat either flight instructing or as an FO. They have never had to make an important decision in their lives. This incident doesnt even qualify as that, just horrible stick and rudder skills and NO EXPERIENCE!
 

bobbysamd

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Flying RJs

Great discussion.

You need to hone your instrument skills and perhaps change some of your instrument thought processes. We taught pitch + power = performance to our Alitalia students at FSI. These were guys who were training from the beginning to fly jets, even though we were teaching them in Cadets and Seminoles. The AI is everything. Why do you think the attitude display is so large in jet equipment as compared to your Cessna? You have to to think in terms of a particular power, degrees of pitch and trim setting to obtain a particular performance. A good instrument instructor should have taught you to think in those terms already.

I like the idea of practicing DME arcs and with HSIs and RMIs. Not the usual procedures and instruments you find in your 172. You can practice them in the sim. I used to spend many a Sunday afternoon in the sim lab cranking up the winds to full and flying arcs and approaches as fast as possible to build my skills.

Sure, a low-time pilot can learn to fly RJs, or any airplane if he/she was taught properly, but experience does matter. Look at it this way. Let's say you've played only high school baseball and have knocked the horsehide off the ball. Now, all of a sudden you're in the National League facing Randy Johnson. Sure, if you're a good ballplayer you might get a hit off him after seeing him a few times. But, someone whose played in the minor leagues for years and has seen all kinds of pitchers will probably do better sooner.

I believe that college matters not so much from the education but the good study habits you (hopefully) build. That can help you deal with the firehose.

I agree with Timebuilder about getting a copy of the Turbine Pilot's Flight Manual. It has a lot more than the technicalities of flying turbine equipment; it includes weather and some comments about job issues facing pilots. Good diagrams, too. I believe it was Linda Pendleton who wrote an excellent series about turbine equipment that appeared in the AOPA magazine last summer.
 

Ty Webb

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When I referred to those two in the ROA incident as "seasoned", I was being a little sarcastic- I have edited it now.

Skydiverdriver, you continue to crack me up. Re-read my post. Read my profile. If you think that I would give up my B717 job and its pay, schedule and work rules to come fly a Barbie Funjet with you, you are even more of a Kool-aid drinker than I gave you credit for.

Not envious, just incredulous.
 
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