Any thoughts on low time (300-500 hour) pilots working for a company overseas and then later returning to the US to fly. Possibly reducing time at a regional or going directly to a Major when returning?
I’m not aware of any foreign carriers hiring low time pilots? Most are looking for Capts with type ratings and time in type.
There are plenty of jobs overseas, but most of them are looking for very experienced pilots, not low time ones. Your fastest way to a major is most likely going to be through a regional airline in the US.
Spoke to a pilot at Cathay that says they do hire some very low time pilots. However, those pilots are put on 3-4 pilot crew aircraft (747 and 777), and pretty much the only real flying they’ll see for the first 3-4 years is in a simulator. (as far as flying an approach and landing) Their job as a new hire would be a cruise pilot. This is one of my concerns about even the possibility of going over there. (not much real flying) It is an interesting opportunity though, if someone could get hired with low time, fly there for 6 years and then return and apply to one of the larger airlines back in the USA. I also have not heard of this happening but thought I’d throw it out for discussion.
Food for thought, there was a first officer at Horizon that had a 777 type. Having that type looks attractive on paper, but he was a cruise pilot in the 777. His flying skills and radio comms were awful. Long story short, he was politely asked to leave shortly after finishing IOE. Not saying that is what your fate will be if you do the same thing. Just something to think about.
My advice, don’t try to skip corners in this industry. It’s not a race to see who can get to the top the fastest. If you want to fly overseas to say that you did it, that’s one thing. Just be cautious. Have realistic expectations about what you would be getting yourself into. Just because you’ve “flown” a 777 doesn’t mean flying at a regional will be easier. It also doesn’t mean that you will be able to skip the regionals altogether. You might? Depends on what kind of experience you have if/when you decide to come back to the US.
If you’re going to go down that path, I would continue your research. You have one connection at Cathay. What about any current US based airline pilots that flew overseas before flying in the US? Find the ones that were able to make the transition and see what they have to say.
If you’re interested in a career at Cathay and want to work your way through the ranks them by all means. But as Tory said there are no short cuts and your 777 or 747 “cruise pilot” time will not benefit you in any way.
Appreciate your input gentlemen. Your concerns are also mine as well. It’s interesting to see all the paths out there. There are all sorts of different opportunities now for young pilots. Glad to see this industry moving again and with more excitement and enthusiasm than in the not so distant past. Thanks
Certainly the pay has increased as has hiring but I don’t believe aviation ever lacked excitement and enthusiasm.
I actually went to a flight academy in Hong Kong which had ties to Cathay. They gave some briefing about this and they say that people out of their academy makes into Cathay direct normally. But I’m not sure about the quality of flying there.
Right, they might make it to Cathay as “cruise pilots” but I can assure you that no cruise pilot ever got hired straight into a major, it just doesn’t happen.
I worked for Boeing for a few years, and they - among other training providers - are pushing hard to make this a reality. My function was near the group creating this program, so I was able to see it go through its first couple of years. You can imagine what the reaction was by the vast majority of the airline pilot community. I don’t feel that they took the safety implications of a 300 hour pilot being in the right seat of a heavy seriously. That’s about all I feel comfortable saying about it, though.
Attached is their timeline. Initial year is similar to ATP, with providers like CAE here in the US. Then a two month Boeing jet bridge / type rating, and off they go. Already in place with a few Middle Eastern and Chinese carriers.
And just to make it clear - I thought it was a bad idea then and I think it’s a bad idea now. Like Adam said, there are no shortcuts when it comes to safety, and I think this is patently unsafe.
Interesting stuff Tx thank you. It’s all fine when it’s all fine but when it’s not things go bad REALLY fast. Anyone who needs an example (or simply likes a good aviation read) should check out Understanding Air France 447 (Palmer). Pilot flying was an ab initio pilot.
Thx for posting. These type of programs have been out there for some time in other parts of the world. Agree that this is a safety issue. There were a few small regionals here in the US that placed US trained but foreign pilots in the right seat to gain experience before going back to there own country.(I’m sure with the 1500 hour rule this is not going on today) Saudi and Chinese airlines also had these ab initio programs through colleges in the US and then returned back directly into their airlines. Have to agree that a much better and far safer pilot results from moving up the traditional ranks.
I agree that this is completely unsafe. Fortunately, Congress, the FAA and the public seem to agree with us.