Your Opinion of Regional Career

Mustang

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Posts
5
Total Time
low!
Been pondering the idea of going thru the whole process to be considered for a Regional. Goal is possible for me in two or so years for me. Some real generic questions?

Given the cost of training is it really worth it, say five years down the line and sitting in the left seat of a worthwhile regional? Don't get me wrong, I am crazy about flying - just what your opinions.

Lifestyle - How tough is it to maintain some type of normal life working for a regional? Kids and a wife working and such?

Let me know your thoughts and thanks.
 

CRJ_Driver

The Man
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
224
Total Time
2000+
It's funny reading your post. No offense. You have quite a ways to go before you need to start worrying about quality of life at a regional, but I understand where you are coming from.

If you wind up at a "regional" like ACA, Comair, Air Whiskey...then you are sitting pretty. Schedules at these carriers..while perhaps not up to the mainline level are indeed excellent and the money is great.

If you wind up at Great Lakes etc...then you might be hurting a little bit.

Regardless...I wouldn't start flying and rack up the bill unless you really want to fly. I've seen it all to often after 20K or more is invested the dream of flying professionally is excused. You must be prepared for a wall to be erected in your path and you then must be prepared to drive right through that wall.

Take Care.
 

Mustang

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Posts
5
Total Time
low!
Thanks - In the process of investigating and have friends flying regionally and with United... Just want the opinions of as many as possible, so I don't waste my $ and time with a career I will not be happy with. Doing something you love for money is usally much different than a hobbie.
 

MartinFierro

Flyin' Gaucho
Joined
Jan 7, 2002
Posts
89
Total Time
is now
Hey, if you really love flying, then go for it. But before you drop the cash on it, just be sure to ask yourself if you still think it'd be worth it (to be able to fly, with advanced ratings, etc.) even if you don't end up getting your dream pilot job (whatever that may be). If you know the answer is "yes" simply because you love to fly, then hey, you bet it's worth it.

I briefly worked at Eagle before I was furloughed. As you may have read on other discussion threads, Eagle is not the best regional (as far as contract and management is concerned) to work for. Far from it. In fact, it didn't take too long before I too was frustrated with the company, to say the least. Even more so now. That said, I continue to hope that I get recalled soon. Despite all the BS one has to put up with, at the end of the day, I'm left thinking, knowing, that it's a great job. The view is great. You meet some really neat people. Gain good experience. Generally, have a lot of fun, it's challenging at times, easy at others. In the end...it's flying, 'nough said.

As for maintaining a normal lifestyle, that may be difficult. At Eagle most schedules (if you have enough seniority to get one) are 3 or 4 day trips, with 3 days off in between. So it's a lot of time away from home. Some schedules (there aren't many and they go very senior) in Miami and San Juan I believe allow you to be home almost every night.
 

jaybird

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
523
Total Time
3.0+
There is more out there than regionals. There is corporate, fractionals, and freight to name a few.
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Regional career

Very good question.

I was pushing 40 when I changed careers to full-time aviation. I was realistic about myself and my chances. I would have been happier than a pig in (unprintable) to captain a 1900 for at least several years, if not the rest of my flying days. An RJ? That would have been super wow. A BAC (Avro) 146 (which was really one of the first RJs as we know them)? Totally cool airplane. Even better!!

In those days, in the early 90s, a senior commuter captain earned in the $45K-$50K range. That would have been fine for me then and, even with no COLA, would be fine for me now.

As your seniority number improves, so does your ability to hold a good line. I drew my inspiration in part from a friend who was captain on a Metroliner. He had quite a bit of free time, even though he sat reserve as well as holding a line (don't ask me how or why; it was a small commuter).

I agree with the others that you have plenty of time to ponder regional airline flying as a career. But, in my .02 opinion, you are not out of line to consider it.

Good luck with your choice.
 
Last edited:

A1FlyBoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2002
Posts
682
Total Time
Enough
To do Or Not to Do?

What would you do if money didn't matter? Are you willing to chase jobs for several years? Many of us have had girlfriends/wives feel #2 due to our passion for flying. In somecases, perhaps they were.

No regrets.
 

Draginass

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Posts
1,852
Total Time
5000+
A regional career would probably let you enjoy a good schedule, but with much inferior relative pay and retirement. Keep in mind that even a 2nd year FO at a major usually makes more than a 10 yr RJ captain. With the practical differences between so-called regionals and majors becoming less and less, regional pilots are grossly underpaid.
 

Mustang

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Posts
5
Total Time
low!
Regional - then Major would be the goal. Typical. Dragnass - what are you doing with your career now?
 

jetexas

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
833
Total Time
8000
My advice is to keep your eyes and ears open along your entire route to the airlines. Make connections early on and continue to do so until you reach your goals. Every job I have ever gotten in aviation came from strong recommendations as well as the usual - determination, etc. Aviation is very small community, so likewise, be careful whose toes you may step on. That Private student one day as an instructor can be your Captain one day!
Shoot for the regional that has the best pay and quickest upgrade. Places like ACA, Air Whiskey, ASA, Comair seem to be in everyones focus nowadays. This can change, however. Don't 'jump' at that first job unless you are sure it is good for you for a multitude of reasons (this can sure be hard when you have beating the tarmac for a while as instructor, banner tow, etc).
Also, when you find out which airline you might want to work for, try to talk to as many of their pilots as possible (online here for example, in the terminal (if you can), etc). Get an idea of their labor contract as well! This is highly overlooked in the job search. Recruiters can promise you the stars - and deliver you to the right seat for YEARS with bad pay and work rules. Good Luck!
 

~~~^~~~

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
6,137
Total Time
7,500+
Although I love my job at the regional I fly for, I will probably leave. Right now regioanl pilots are under constant attack from ALPA (the pilots' union). It just is not worthwhile to worry about losing your job every time the mainline's union hacks come together for a meeting.

Go with a fractional outfit flying Lears, or Beech products. Then try to find a major you think will stay in business for 30 years despite the fact they are losing over $1Bn yearly.

Flying is a great job - so far a lousy career choice...
 

FL000

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,577
Total Time
1500
Thank God for the edit feature.
 
Last edited:

Wiggums

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,040
Total Time
.
~~~^~~~ said:
Although I love my job at the regional I fly for, I will probably leave. Right now regioanl pilots are under constant attack from ALPA (the pilots' union). It just is not worthwhile to worry about losing your job every time the mainline's union hacks come together for a meeting.

Go with a fractional outfit flying Lears, or Beech products. Then try to find a major you think will stay in business for 30 years despite the fact they are losing over $1Bn yearly.

Flying is a great job - so far a lousy career choice...
At this rate, regional pilot will outnumber major airline pilots soon. When regional pilots figure out that they are going to be there a long time, and fight for better work rules and pay, we'll see who ALPA comes running to for dues.
 

jcb071

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Posts
10
Total Time
7800
Love flying

It,s a very long road, and the people in your life need to understand that and if they do you are very luckly. I love to fly and will for many years to come God willing. Good Luck.:)
 

dondk

Don't you wish
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
887
Total Time
enuf
I agree with all the others, especially JETEXAS about recruiters...

I lucked out (sort of) started my regional career with a lower end 1900 operator. Lousy schedule, pay, and contract... BUT you get out of it what you put into it... I left that for a higher end regional with better pay, schedules, and contract.

I was led astray (albeit willingly) by a recruiter to where I am now. The promise of good schedules, decent pay, upgrade opportunities and a (what I thought) was decent contract. Granted 9/11 affected me as well as the rest of us, but now I am looking at a year or better of reserve, no less than 2 1/2 for upgrade (more like 4) and a schedule that may be worse than my first regional. The only thing keeping me going it the fact that I love what I do.

Before you set you sights on a particular company or lifestyle really investigate all of the options. With Flying you have many options always keep them open. If I had a chance to do it all over again I would leave myself more options, and I would research much more, and ask many more questions...


One last thing I did not see mentioned... A lot of also can depend on where you live OR where you want to live. Your lifestyle will depend on this factor... If you are in a location where a regional, fractional, or decent corporate operation is, your answer may be right in front of you. If you are like the rest of us, plan on moving several times or losing a few extra "precious days" to commuting


Wiggum's... I was thinking the same thing...UNTIL, I thought about how much we make compared to our "big" brothers and sisters. The 2% (or whatever it is) of thier annual salary is more than most regional guys make in a month. Our (regional) 2% of our annual salary is still less than our big brothers make in on a 3 or 4 day trip. I see ALPA going to the $$$$, and unless we outnumber them 4 or 5 to 1 we still will be the "little" brothers and sisters.

Best of Luck
 

kilomike

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
155
Total Time
2800
Regional careers

Mustang,

I am speaking from the perspective of a general aviation pilot who did fly for a regional carrier in the past but decided for several reasons to return to my first love, flying small aircraft for pleasure. I am pursuing a different career path in another line of work.

Flying for the regionals can be very positive but it can also be a very negative experience. Things to consider--I'll list the pros and cons.

Pros: No routine schedule (blocks of days off), travel passes, flying with some very good people (Good captains made some of my trips very enjoyable), flying some neat aircraft, opportunity to travel and experience different places and people.

Cons: Long duty days, pilot fatigue, occasionally very difficult co workers whose maturity level is questionable, being away from home for several days at a time, and last but not least, low pay.

I will caution you that it is a long hard road full of obstacles and heartache.

However, I would encourage you to at least get your private pilot license with an instrument and/or multiengine rating. I always encourage people to learn to fly, for the pleasure of it. You will always be able to enjoy day trips and the classic $100 hamburger.
It's fun and for that reason, I'll never regret having learned to fly.

If you find that you still have the desire and the job market gets better, after having a private/multi/instrument you can easily get a commercial and CFII.

Best wishes, fly safe, and always enjoy the skies.

kilomike
 

Mustang

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Posts
5
Total Time
low!
Great info from all of you. The perspectives given are valuable and much appreciated. I will take this one step at a time and check in every now in then with this great forum. I do have a chance to buy into a c172 at a decent price. May use this to build
my hours.

Thanks to all again for your views and responses.
 

~~~^~~~

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
6,137
Total Time
7,500+
I do have a chance to buy into a c172 at a decent price. May use this to build my hours
You have a great idea. I bought and sold three aircraft while building time and made money on each one. There is also much pride in ownership and possibly you can talk your employer into helping you defer some cost on trips that are incidental to your business.

All in all, getting my ratings did not cost much because of the profits I made buying and selling aircraft.

Owning an airplane is a lot of fun. Just pick a good partner and establish an account for maintainence and non-routine repairs. I roughly calculated the cost of annuals and an overhaul and divided them up by my flying hours and banked the money. That way the bills were never over whelming.

The 172 is a darn good airplane. Read some of AOPA's articles to ensure you are getting a good year model.
 
Top