My Piedmont Training Outline

Over a course of approximately 6 months, I went from studying company policy and procedures to getting operational experience in an Embraer 145 (EMB-145). Below is a synopsis of what it is like to train at Piedmont Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group. A majority of the training was held at the American Airlines Flight Training Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Piedmont Airlines trains via the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) which is a voluntary alternative to traditional regulatory training that many airlines conduct.

The footprint of training consists of a series of ground and validations (also known as ‘gateways’) to proceed onward. The footprint of my training that I completed is as follows:

IGT (Indoctrination Ground Training) - 5 Days

During this time, we were exposed to Piedmont Airlines policies and procedures, following multiple presentations from departments like:

  • Human Resources
  • Safety Department
  • Union (ALPA)
  • Chief Pilot

This phase of training takes 5 days to complete and by the end of the week, completed a 50-question exam which demonstrates the knowledge of material covered in class, and reading material from the Flight Operations Manual (FOM).

Home Study - 7 to 10 Days

After completing IGT, we returned home to begin the next phase of training, Computer Based Training (‘Home Study’). We covered systems related to the EMB-145 through our learning hub portal. I didn’t find this to be extremely difficult as Piedmont really laid the foundation of how to study and provided the necessary tools for us to use; It comes down to the learner to be disciplined and take the time to thoroughly go through the material. And as you guess right, on the last day we completed a validation exam to proceed onward. During this week it also gave us an opportunity to start memorizing limitations, QRH memory items, and flows. I took my tigerboard (“flightdeck poster”) and made a homemade layout where I could “sit” in the “flightdeck” and go through the ‘actions’ of performing my duties as I would in a simulator/airplane:

QGT (Qualification Ground Training) - 13 Days

Since I was not a Direct-Entry Captain (DEC), I did not have to return for the Captain Upgrade Training (CUT) which was two days prior. The first two days back at the training center, we were exposed to Non-Aircraft Specific (NAS) material. We got our AA ID and KCM badges. On the third day we began our systems training in-person, reviewing material covered in our HS course. After 6 days of systems training, we had systems validation which was 100 questions in length. On the 7th day we finished any final material that had not yet been discussed and/or covered.

QPT (Qualification Procedures Training) - 8 DAYS

This week consisted of flat panel trainers and computer software that simulates the functions of the Embraer 145. There were 5 sessions and 2 days off before the evaluation. Each training session we utilized a 4 hour block to go over a phase of flight; e.g., Day 1 consisted of preflight to taxi for takeoff. Each lesson we briefed for two hours and debriefed an hour. At the conclusion of Day 5, my partner and I utilized the two days off to practice everything and review previously learned material through our training. For our evaluation we were given standardization criteria to meet and proceeded throughout the evaluation. We were also exposed to what we should expect in the next stage, Simulator Training.

Since I have been through training, they have implemented electronic flight trainers; we used poster mock-ups during my training.

QU “FT” (Qualification Maneuver Training) - 9 DAYS

During these sessions I was exposed to procedures and maneuvers that could be performed during everyday operation. You (as the learner) will also see and experience extended envelope training (EET) and other awareness training which could arise in an emergency situation if something happened. These sessions are extremely important to be prepared in because they allow you the opportunity to see the effects and how to handle the emergency situation. Just about every lesson we conducted multiple approaches to landings, approach to missed/go-arounds, single-engine approach to landings and missed/go-arounds. During one of my sim lessons I probably did a dozen V1 cuts (instructor encouraged exercise) to “perfect” the amount of rudder control needed during a failed engine on takeoff.

LOFT (Line Oriented Flight Training) - 5 DAYS

After completing the Maneuvers Validation gateway, I began LOFT and was exposed to everyday line operations. I found myself flying two legs in a sim lesson, with scenarios like gate to gate, with maybe a problem my partner and I had to figure out. Each lesson is built upon the previous one and expected to conduct at line pace. At the end I completed my checkride (LOE) and when all went well, officially typed and given my stripes.

OE (Operational Experience)

In OE you will fly for an X number of hours with a check airman, for First Officers at Piedmont it is currently minimum 40 hours with a sign off. Captains and other airlines may differ, along with personal progression. After IOE, you can expect to consolidate your hours under 14 CFR § 121.434 - Operating experience, operating cycles, and consolidation of knowledge and skills - Operating experience operating cycles, and consolidation of knowledge and skills. Every airline operates their IOE/OE differently. You will want to consult with your training program specifically on how many hours they require for OE.

Line Qualified - :smiley:

I was officially signed off in May by my check airmen. :flight_departure:

Disclaimer: This information was provided from a personal experience; training timeline may differ during your attendance. Please refer to my posting My Training Timeline at Piedmont for a breakdown of my training timeline.


Brady, thank you. I appreciate the thorough summary of your experience. Very helpful.


I am thankful to have the opportunity to post about my training through Piedmont Airlines. Everything during training went smooth (regardless of the backlog that was slightly expected and encountered). I met a lot of super friendly people and was provided everything I needed to succeed.


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