Hey everyone, are there any “Home Daily” pilot jobs that you can actually make a good living doing? Here in Seattle I have a friend who is a CFI with about 1200 flights hours and he makes 26/hr. Even when his schedule is 100% full he, as you all know, makes nowhere near what the majors make, regionals, or even some of the alleged high paying Aerial Applicator jobs that require much less flight time than him. Seniority, flight time, size of the aircraft/potential passengers and much more can make a difference in pay but are there any jobs for new pilots with around 250 flight hours and instrument ratings where they can make a decent amount of money and build a career out of it if they never want or plan on doing regionals or the majors and be home daily. Excluding being a CFI. Unrealistic hopes aside I’m still very curious if this is possible.
Honestly, I cannot think of many. I have heard of a few corporate jobs where the pilots tend to be home most nights, but these are very few and far between and usually do not pay anywhere near what the airlines pay.
The nature of being a pilot means transporting people or goods to far away places, this means nights on the road. It is simply a fact of the career.
I for one enjoy it. I am in Mexico City now, preparing to head to Washington DC. Yesterday I had amazing tacos and saw the gaveled “Halls of Montezuma”. Now I am headed home for four days off.
Look for a FedEx feeder. My friend just applied and I know two other pilots that flew Caravans for those types of companies and both claimed to be home every night.
If you’re in Seattle I’d also look into Kenmore, Seaplane Scenics, Northwest Seaplane, Friday Harbor Seaplanes, etc.
Low time high paying flying jobs is almost an oxymoron. While you may not aspire to fly for the airlines, there are thousands who do and are willing to work cheap. I’m afraid you’re going to have to suck it up on the pay at least to you get to 500hrs. At that point more opportunities will open up.
Will I just want to piggyback off what Adam said. He’s right, I would take any job you can. 1500 will open more doors. But in the meantime I wouldn’t let that stop you from applying to wherever you are interested.
That sounds quite awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. Safe flying.
Thanks for the specifics about Seattle and FedEx I’ll certainly look into it.
Your replies are always entertaining and informative. I read a decent amount on here before creating a profile and I usually look for your replies so thanks.
Unfortunately, your options are quite limited at around 250 hours. Aside from flight instructing, there aren’t too many jobs out there. Some of the Alaska 135 freight operators do hire FOs between 250-500 hours but it can be very challenging to get on up there. I was one of them though that was hired at 250 hours with no connections. Look at ACE Air Cargo. They are a really great company with excellent people. Home every night and you will make more than a CFI. Plus you will fly a lot (80-100 hours plus) in a large multi engine turboprop.
As far as down the road goes, I would say that the best flying jobs where you are home every night are either freight or EMS (medevac). I have done both and I can tell you that medevac flying is more enjoyable, has a better QOL, and has the same or better pay as freight.
In the freight world, the FedEx or UPS feeders are where you will be home every night. Generally single-pilot IFR and you work between 4-6 days per week. You will make in the range of $60-100k per year. In my opinion, I loved flying freight and the pay was excellent. You will always get major holidays off in the feeder world (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc.). These flying jobs usually require 135 IFR PIC mins (1200 TT, 500 XC, etc.). However, I did not like the regular work schedule as much. I worked a 6 day schedule (Monday nights through Saturday days) for a UPS feeder, where you fly one leg from the outstation to the hub at night and then back to the outstation each day. I also worked a Monday through Friday schedule for another freight contract but that had four legs per day. They were not bad schedules by any means however, in the long run, I wanted more days off.
I currently fly for a Part 135 medevac operator and I think it is one of the best flying jobs out there. 7 days on/7 days off, $100k base pay, I live where I am based, and I am single-pilot (I do prefer this type of flying). Now, just like other flying jobs, not all operations are created equal. Most EMS operations contract out the aviation side to a company like Air Methods. My company is in-house so I cannot comment on the difference between an in-house and a contract operation. In addition, a lot of operators have bases in rural areas however, some companies have bases in major cities. Commuting for a medevac job is not ideal unless you are waiting for a closer base to open up. Research to see what operators are in the WA area. I believe Aero Air and Air Methods have the major hospital contracts out there, with the former having a PC-12 base at BFI. As far as pay goes in the medevac world, it seems to start between $70-100k and slightly increase over time. Standard schedule in the industry is either 7 on/7 off or 14 on/14 off. The qualifications to fly EMS are quite high though. Generally, 2500TT, 1000 PIC, 300 turboprop, etc. This is to meet CAMTS (an EMS thing) requirements. Overall, I don’t see myself leaving this type of flying.
Hopefully this helps. As others said, there are some corporate operators where you are home every night but it is usually few and far between.
As others have said. It’s very difficult to find high paying jobs with low time. It simply is because you haven’t accrued enough experience yet. Low time hours, comes with low paying jobs until you put in your time. Eventually when you get your 1500 hours, more doors will open. If being home daily is something you’re interested in, the part 135 world has plenty of those opportunities. Get your ATP and then start applying. I know of three places specifically that you put your resume in and they place you with “out and back” contract jobs. First officers can make $600 a day and captains can make about $900 a day and you’d be home each night.
Hi, I’ve found this to be a very informative and relevant post. As a potential career changer with some family obligations, being home daily would be highly desirable (although occasional overnights are ok)…my follow up questions are:
are there airline/part 135, etc opportunities you’re aware of that have this type of schedule in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento areas?
is it possible as a regional airline commuter to fly back home on some nights - during a 4 day trip for example - where there may be a long layover to allow for this? For example, on day 2 there is enough time to fly back home on an hour flight and be back to that city the next morning to resume the rest of the trip? Is that allowed?
Adam, believe you have a great home daily schedule living in Hawaii! I actually used to work at HA on the management side in 2011 for a few years but decided to move back to the mainland but hope to visit soon again… there are some great folks at HA!
I can touch on the part 135 things a bit… so there are companies that do a lot of out and backs. For example, Medivac, some cargo operations and sight seeing and small charter operations. Mokelele airlines is on in particular (since you mentioned Hawaii) that would have you home every night. If you get your atp, there are a ton of high paying contract jobs that are day turns as well, although this wouldnt necessarily be consistent work but it could connect you to a company that could be. Most corporate gigs are out and backs, taking business reps to their meeting and back but could have a night gone here or there. The 135 world is very diverse compared to 121. Some jobs are completely awful, low paying and have bad reputations. While others are wonderful with great quality of life, benefits and pretty good pay. You just have to do your research and ask around.
135 is Hannah and she covered that well.
While it’s possible, I wouldn’t count on it. First you need to be awarded those trips. Maybe you’ll get them but until you’re senior maybe you won’t. More important you’re rolling the dice. If a flight gets canceled and you can’t get back, you’re in trouble. If your flight cancels and they need you elsewhere or reassign you, you’re in trouble. Very dodgy.
Now if you decide you want to move back to Hawaii, Hawaiian InterIsland flying is really the gig you want. 717 pilots are home every night, we have no overnights. Regardless of seniority or anything else you will be in your own bed every night. Further, while the pay is good, it’s the lowest at the airline so you have no problem getting awarded it right off the bat and staying there if you choose.
Hannah and Adam covered your questions well.
As I am from Sacramento I have a few Pilot friends that found flying jobs that allowed them to be home every night or most nights. Just like Hannah said, cargo and corporate. One thing that all of my friends who took those jobs have in common is that they were all CFIs before they were able to get into those jobs. So, it’s possible. Just be prepared knowing that you’ll have to build some experience beforehand.
Start networking early. Never know who you’ll meet. They may be the ones to give you a recommendation.
- I am going to say no, it is not possible to fly home on overnights. Most overnights at a regional are relatively short, say 12-18 hours. That is not enough time to fly home and often times, you are either flying the first flight out in the morning, or the last flight in. And if something happens and you are not in position, it will not be good for you. Only at the majors do you tend to see really long overnights, but those are by definition further away and thus you also cannot fly home. As an airline pilot, you will be gone from home many nights per month, there is no way around it.
Mahalo Adam, will keep HA in mind!
Tony, Hannah, and Chris thank you for the info and the Part 135 resources. I thought I’d share this recent article on Mokulele pilots who made a big difference…
Interesting article. Thank you for sharing.
Literally everyone thank you kindly.
I have some buddies who fly Barons and PC12 for medical cargo. New guys will always have the overnight shift but they are home almost every day. Salary $50-100k+ bonuses on top.
A lot of places pay for your type rating and because of that will have the 1st year pay be low as well as having a commitment contract.
The jobs and pay are out there but its all about networking. Definitely going to have to get your hours up to 500 to get your foot in the door of most places.
Checkout Aviation Career Mentorship page on FB for job listings and answers to many of your non-airline related questions.