Flight training for commercial pilots

Hi, just curious how many hours per year commercial pilots (both regional and major) spend on flight training (both actual and simulator) outside of flying their typical schedules? Does this vary among airlines?


Recurrent training can actually vary from airline to airline. Most airlines these days operate under AQP (Advanced Qualification Program) which gives them some flexibility and can allow them to train every 18mos instead of yearly but the majority do recurrent every year. It’s usually a 3 day session in the sim combined with a day or 2 of classroom, online training or a combination of both.

The first day of sim is to knock the rust off. It’s usually non jeopardy and includes some “hot items”, first look maneuvers and the opportunity for practice of what’s to come. Day 2 is the MV (Maneuvers Validation) which can me jeopardy or but depending on the carrier. Finally comes the LOE (Line Operations Evaluation) which is a jeopardy event and is essential a flight in the sim done in real
time. Instruction is over. You’re given your paperwork, the plane is parked at the gate and you do your thing. There’s usually a surprise or two and the idea is to see how you operate as a crew.

All and all its really not bad and gives us the opportunity to see things we don’t usually see on the line without ending up on the 6 o’clock news.



Initial training is the biggest chunk of time you’ll spend in the training environment. It happens only once per airplane. From there, you’ll be back for recurrent training that Adam spoke about yearly.
You’ll continue with only recurrent until you upgrade and go to upgrade training or move airplanes. Then you go back to initial training for that new airplane.

It’s initial type training. It ranges from 2-3 months long with a combination of in class sessions, CBTs, hands on in a ground trainer and in the simulator. In all you’ll come out with about 25 hours of sim time and a new type.

About half the time of initial typically. About one month, unless you upgrade on a different airplane. Then you have an initial for the new plane and upgrade combined. Same footprint, CBTs, ground school, ground trainer and sim.

Yearly, just a few days of ground and sim.


Hannah (or whoever else wants to answer),

When you go do initial or your upgrade do you go stay in that city for those 1-3 months or do you commute?


When I went through my initial training a few months ago, I generally would stay wherever my training was taking place. I was free to do whatever I wanted with my days off, so I would sometimes try to get on a flight home for the weekend or however much time off I had, but it was my responsibility to make sure I was back in time for the next day of class or sim lesson.

The company policy for leaving during training might vary from one airline to the next and the difficulty of commuting to and from training can vary depending on where home is and where your training is taking place.



The portions that are CBTs or virtual you can do at home. However once you’re in ground or sims full time you’ll be up in a hotel near the training facility. If you have few days off in a row you are allowed to go home but you must make it back for your required training events.



I have always gone home only days off. After awhile, even the nicest hotel feels restricting and it is important to get home to be with family. There have been a few times where I have had a single layoff in-between training events. For those times I have usually rented a car and gone up to visit friends in Vail (our training center is in Denver).