Regional airlines lower bar for pilots


This story was linked on today. I’ve seen similar stories lately. Also FLYING magazine had a couple pages dedicated to this trend this month.

Trans States briefly lowered its requirement to 250 total hours last summer before raising it to 500

American Eagle has cut its minimum flight hours to 500.


This has to do with decrease in pilots. But really why would anyone pursue this career (in the current state of the market). It costs sometimes upwards of 50,000 dollars (and gas rising this cost each day) and with the current state of airlines and their relations with the pilots (removing pensions lowering pay), who would become an airline pilot? Because of this, there really is more demand then pilots. It used to be there was more pilots then demand. Now the airlines have to cater to the pilots (in training), not the other way around. I think the airlines should compensate these pilots who come out of school 50000+ in debt…pay for some of their training.


For what it’s worth:

I’ve been flying for a living for just under 4 years. I started flying 8 years ago. In that time, I paid for all of my lessons from 3 hours to ATP, got a bachelor’s degree, got married, and bought a house.

I don’t have a scrap of debt, besides a mortgage.

My point is, you don’t have to go to Embry Riddle and rack up a bunch of debt to get a flying job. You don’t have to work for an “airline” to be a “real” pilot.
There are always other options, and while I wish them the best, I don’t feel sorry for the regional pilots afflicted with SJS* because they have a ton of debt, a job that pays crap and has a cloudy future.

If regional airlines are hurting for pilots so bad, they’re doing it all backwards. There’s a limit to how far they can lower the standards, and frankly, they’ve reached it. How about keeping the minimums where they were and try doing things to RAISE the quality of life for the pilots in order to get more to apply?


I assume you built your hours as a CFI? How did you finance your time building to CFI? You didn’t work and pay for it yourself did you?

I think you are on the right path within the fractional world. Given the customer they cater to they will run their business smarter and better including the way they treat their employees.


Yes, he did. I paid for school, he paid for all his flying by working at everything from passing gas to slinging luggage at SLC and working the ramp.

It took him a while to come to the conclusion that flying was the life he wanted, but once he did he was very dedicated.


I’ve learned to believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get. I too took a similar path to James, without the CFI part. Kudos to James and proud Pop.


Bingo! Pop is very proud, we can tell. :slight_smile:

Although my field wasn’t aviation, when I was young I had a full time job and a 2nd job 3 nights a week, one of which was the full 8 hr graveyard shift on Friday nights, and I attended an expensive, private reputable college 2 nights a week carrying 8 credits. I did this for over 3 years and ate out of vending machines. However, I am proud of not only what I learned, but the name on my resume and the quality of my teachers (from the Naval Academy, NASA, etc). I paid for every penny of it and only missed one class when the snow reached over a foot deep. I goofed off one year of high school but had a 4.0 in college because I wanted it and I worked hard. When you want it bad enough, it’s still not easy, but it’s entirely attainable. And it’s never too late to start.


What was your path in lieu of CFI?


Worked earning my own money to build time for Private, Instrument, Commercial, and Multi-engine. All while working at FBO’s flying aircraft deliveries, pre and post maintenance flights, lots of ride-alongs, and some 135…ATP and Type Ratings came along the way…Like I said, I worked hard, and a little luck presented itself…

Although, a very successful relative once told me that “there is no such thing as luck…only the opportunities that you create for yourself.” That concept has worked pretty well for me too…Thanks aunt Lynn… :wink:


Just curious: what is the pay for a capt. and/or FO for a regional airline? I have heard some pretty wide ranges from darn near poverty level to about $50-60K year.

Again, just curious. I know that “left seaters” for the airlines do pretty well.