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Airline Pilot Jobs scenario

Pilot Jobs – The Ever Changing Market
Guest Post by Matthew Keegan

If you are from India, and looking for Pilot Jobs in India, then you should read the other post. If you want to work as an airline pilot, and looking for airline pilot jobs, then continue reading on. If you are considering aviation as a career, and want to learn more about how to become an airline pilot, read this 8 Steps to an Airline Pilot Career. To become an airline pilot you would need to get your Commercial Pilot certificate, or license, then accumulate or build flight time to qualify for an Airline Pilot job opening. And lastly, if you are a non-US individual, you should read about how to become a pilot in the United States as well.

So you are looking for work as an airline pilot, you can’t help but notice that the news is constantly filled with information [mostly negative] about the job situation for the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, news-media only get part of the story right as the airline industry is always in a state of flux. Pilot jobs are available, but you must broaden your horizons beyond the conventional ways in which most pilots go about finding work. Let’s take a look at some of the options available to you.

Independence Air’s recent demise has thrown hundreds of Airbus pilots out of work in the US. Press reports have been painting a gloomy picture of this event, which was not unexpected by airline experts. Still, the future isn’t completely gloomy for these very same pilots, as Virgin America is expected to take flight in about one year. They plan on operating a fleet consisting of as many as 105 Airbus aircraft.

The legacy carriers have been presenting some of the most challenges for potential pilots as few, if any, are hiring. Most are in the process or have nearly completed the process of extracting “give backs” in the form of wages and benefits from their current pilot ranks. In addition, as pilots retire, available pilot jobs are filled from their lengthy lists of furloughed crew members. Certainly, the legacy carriers – American, Continental, United, Delta, Northwest, and USAirways – are currently not worth exploring as a place to look for pilot jobs.

Pilot jobs are available through many of the regional carriers. Some of these carriers include Chautauqua, Republic, Comair, Big Sky, American Eagle, Air Wisconsin, Great Lakes, and others. Pilot pay is very low, but the opportunity to fly can be very good with the regional carriers. These carriers typically fly Embraer ERJs, Canadair CRJs, or British Aerospace regional jets carrying passenger loads ranging from 50 to 100 seats.

Charter carriers have typically been a fairly good source for pilot jobs. These Part 121 operators consist of a bevy of airlines including World Airways, North American, Miami Air, Sun Country, and Ryan International. From time to time pilot job opportunities are posted directly on each airline’s web site. Check in often for the latest hiring news.

Then there is the assortment of start up airlines that have recently hired or are in the process of hiring. As you know, the failure rate for start ups is very high, but for many crew members a seat is a seat especially one that allows you to accumulate valuable and needed flight time. Two recent start ups that have taken flight include EOS Airlines and Maxjet Airways. As mentioned previously, Virgin America Airlines is in the process of passing through all of its regulatory hurdles and Primaris Airlines will be expanding its fleet over the next few years in its quest to become a full fledged airline flying scheduled routes. Other start up carriers worth watching for future pilot jobs include: Fly First Class, Baltia, and Mexus.

Discount carriers typically offer the best chance for finding pilots jobs. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways lead the pack, but Mesa, Spirit, Alaska, Horizon, Midwest, and USA3000 have all listed pilot jobs within the past year or are planning to do so in the coming months. Pay is an issue, much lower than the legacy carriers, but you can find work.

Beyond contacting the companies directly, there are helpful web sites filled with pilot job opportunities or, at the very least, interview gouges and banter. The internet has a myriad of sites available, so I will start from the top: Aviation Employment Board, Climbto350, Flight International, Fliteinfo, Jet Movements, Landings, Parc Aviation, PPrune, Student Pilot, Thirty Thousand Feet, U.S. Aviation, and Will Fly For Food.

Finally, for the pilot who is willing to look well beyond the U.S., opportunities can exist with carriers based in the Emirates, India, China, Vietnam, and other destinations. If it is flight time you want, many have exactly what you need.

Pilot jobs are available and with a little digging and some sleuthing you can uncover for yourself a good list of companies that are worth a look. As mentioned, the industry is in a constant state of flux but the savvy pilot can work that to his or her advantage by staying on top of industry trends.

Matthew Keegan is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. You can preview samples from his high performing site at The Article Writer.

Flight Training loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify, and you should definitely ask yourself these 5 questions before you begin your flight training. and here is an explanation of the pilot certificates and licenses available, both as a career pilot or as a recreational or hobby pilot.

10 ways to build Flight Time for Airline Pilot Job

So now that you got yourself a Commercial Pilot Certificate or CPL as it is known outside of the United States, how do you go about building that flight time or flight experience to make it to that first airline pilot job interview? Airline hiring has traditionally been a roller-coaster ride. There are times when even the pilots with a few weeks old commercial certificate get hired immediately by a Regional Airline, and then there are times like right now that it is almost impossible to even find an airline employer that is even accepting job applications. This has been the way of an airline pilot job prospective ever since the dawn of commercial aviation, and probably will `always be the same.

What do we do in the meanwhile, until that first airline job? We “build time” or flight experience, and keep doing it until we achieve our goal. Here are a few popular ways that airline pilots have traditionally used to gain that well needed flight time before they got hired:

  1. Flight Instructor: Becoming a flight instructor has been one of the top choices for time building since a long time now. And if you ask me, it is one of the best ways, as you not only build that pilot time, but you gain valuable real life aviation experience. The more you teach, the more you learn. And any employer, including the airlines value the flight experience gained as a flight instructor.
  2. Banner Tow Pilots: If you live in or close to a metropolitan like San Francisco, you can find yourself a job (mostly part time) as a banner tow pilot. These jobs are mostly seasonal and on call type, and the pay rate can vary on either side of the peak. However, it is a great experience, and lots of fun. You won’t get rich at this job, but if you end up with the right company, you can expect pretty consistent flight time.
  3. Aerial Photography: Similar to the Banner Tow pilot job, but if you can market yourself the proper way (nowadays with the internet it is not as difficult as it used to be), you can pick up quiet a few clients. And who are your clients? Well, could be the photographers, marketing companies, and a lot of others as well. And if you want to go the easy way, just find a job with an existing aerial photography company in your area.
  4. Glider Tow Pilots: Gliders can be launched up in the air by various means, like winch tow, self launch, rocket propelled etc. However one of the most commonly used method is aero-launch, where a powered aircraft “pulls” the glider with a tow and takes it up to a certain altitude before the glider pilot releases the tow hitch. Busy over the weekends, and in the summers. And they always need pilots. Pay is usually not the greatest, but hey, it is always a fun weekend, and occasional glider rides as well.
  5. Skydiver Pilots: Similar to the Glider Tow pilot job. Launch skydivers up there instead of the gliders, and again busy during the weekends and holidays, and occasional chances at skydiving yourself.
  6. Traffic Watch Pilots: The companies who provide traffic watch aircraft and pilots usually are contracted by the local news and/or law enforcement agencies. These jobs are usually pretty consistent (scheduling and pay), and normally can get you a pretty consistent flow of flight time. 4-6 hours a day, 5 days a week is the average. And you can find them in just about any metro area.
  7. Safety Pilot: This is not really a job, but can always add some flight time in your logbook. Use a blog, or a pilot forum and offer your services as a safety pilot to instrument rated, or current instrument student pilots. Use simple business cards to hand out at the local aviation safety meetings, or post them over at the local FBO bulletin boards. The trick here would be to stand out from among the crowd. Offer the advantages of why you and not the other guy, and you will see occasionally opportunities coming your way. The best thing I have always liked about this way: as most pilots contacting you would be aircraft owners, you will get to experience all kinds of makes and models, big and small aircraft.
  8. Aircraft Ferry Pilots: There are companies who can hire you as a ferry pilot. I know a few myself. But, my suggestion here is: contact as many aircraft dealers as possible, and introduce yourself. These folks are usually the first ones who know about an upcoming ferry request, and usually are the ones who recommend it to the new aircraft owners. A few relationships can turn into great cross-country time for you. And you get to stay in nice motels / hotels all over the country, and if you get lucky, even internationally. I know of pilots (former students of mine) who have delivered general aviation aircraft half way across the globe!
  9. Aircraft Sales: Working as an aircraft sales person always gets you some flight time as a result of demonstration flights. And usually pays good if you can sell aircraft as well. There are a lot of pilots who have accepted these jobs as a full time career, and are happy with it.
  10. Charter Pilots: Air Ambulance, bank checks, cargo operators, courier sub-contractors, fractional ownership management, and similar part 135 operators are available all over the country. Pick the one you think you can work with, and offer your services. Negotiations and relationships can go long ways in these kinds of jobs. Really, there is no limit, and tremendous growth potential for the right candidate here.

I am just a 6-seater Pilot

I logged into my facebook account today and an instant message popped up. It was Rohan. A former student at a former flight school American School of Aviation, where I held the position of a Chief Flight Instructor for over 6 years. I had not talked to him in a while, and had completely lost track of his whereabouts. First thing first, I added him as a friend so we can stay in touch from now on. What a great thing this facebook is!

Then I just followed the norm, and asked him what he was up to nowadays. To my shocking surprise, he broke a long chain of “looking for an airline job” rhetoric. He told me, “I have started working (since) about 8 months ago, sir”. “Really”, I said. “Congratulations Rohan! What kind of job? A pilot job”? And he replies back with an affirmative. I was very happy for him.

With the industry situation today, I have not heard of many fresh commercial pilot certificate holders getting a pilot job anywhere. And he tells me he has been working since about 8 months now. So, my next thing was, “Le’me see some pics man!”. I asked him how come there are no job pictures on his profile, and just some old birthday party pictures. To this he replies, “I am just a 6-seater pilot, sir”.

Huh!! What is wrong with this? Just a few hours ago I was talking to another former student, Santhosh, and he was telling me that he has a job, working as a software engineer, but how desperate he is to get a pilot job. And here is this one, he has a job, and here he is telling me that he did not post any pictures of him in the cockpit while at job, because he is just a 6-seater pilot!

My dear pilots, the fun of flying is not necessarily proportional to the number of seats behind you. It is not. And no, don’t tell me higher the number of seats, higher the responsibility. This is not true either. Would you be lesser responsible or fly with lesser amount of precision if there was only One passenger in the airplane? Being a pilot, at least for me, means, me, my machine, and the wild blue yonder. Heck, he is saying it’s just a 6-seater, and I would give up a nights sleep for a single seater anytime!!

Anyways, he did upload some pictures, and I am attaching a couple of them here in this post. And the aircraft that he flies is a Piper Aztec. And he gets paid to do so!

Congratulations again Rohan. I am very proud of you and happy for you. All the best.