Hello all. I’ve spent the past couple days lurking on the site and decided to join. My background, 37 years old (I think lol), married, 2 kids. 14 years in the Air National Guard as an Avionics person (mainly dealing with instruments rather than the COMM side). I currently work as a contractor doing NDT on T-38 and T-6 planes making around say 80k a year and a guaranteed pension when I hit 65 with the Union we have here where I would draw around 4K a month starting in the year 2042.
I’ve read most of the threads here and at a couple other airline forums. A couple questions that I still wonder is right now being 37, if I started at say 40 at ATP in the DFW area, then spent 2-3 years as an instructor, then moved to a Regional how long would you venture to say it would take me to reach my current salary. I’ve saw some pay charts that say CA can max out at a regional around 120k a year. I know I’m in the older age group and honestly being at a regional for life is fine with me. Also, how does ATP assign what location you would instruct at? I honesty would love to go the ATP route, but there is also a part 61 school where I’m located at where I’m pretty sure I could get my PPL, commercial, and maybe CFI. After that could I theoretically instruct there for free while maintaining my current job until I built up my hours? My current job runs 3 shifts, so would it be possible to work 40 hours a work and instruct on the side when they needed me or would this be frowned upon? Honestly I’d love to become employed by Envoy as its in my back yard almost even though I’ve heard it’s on the lesser side for pay and other benefits. My main goal is to have a job I love and enjoy the perks of the free travel when I have time, even though I’m not sure how much time that would be from looking at some of y’alls schedules. Oh and one last question before I end the rambling, when you retire do you lose the perk of being able to fly standby for free? I also apologize in advance for any typos as I typed this from the iPhone and might have fat fingered one or more things.
Once at a regional, you could make $80k as a 3-4 year captain, sooner if you become a check airman or work at some capacity in the training department.
ATP asks for your preferred locations and assigns one to you according to company need.
Students that pay for flight instruction at a flight school don’t want part-time instructors. If your goal is to eventually get to an airline, you need to be more committed about getting there. If you end up teaching for ATP, you won’t be able to sustain a job outside of instruction.
I’m not sure about your last question. I’m sure the other mentors know. I want to say that you get to keep the benefits, but I don’t know. Neither do I know what the requirements are to receive them.
Thanks Tory for the information. I like many others am here to learn.
Tory answered y9our questions very well. As for travel benefits in retirement, generally one is able to keep said benefits after they retire, but they travel at a lower pass status. Of course this varies with each airline.
I was about to ask the same thing. I’m in a similar situation (36 years old, starting from zero, would be happy at a regional for 25 years…at least I think I would, can’t be sure until you actually get there, right?). With such a high cost of training, is $80k the highest a senior regional captain can expect at a regional? Is 6 figures out of the question? Or is a major the only option for that?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but cant older gentlemen who are starting in their 40’s go overseas and make around $200,000 a year? Once they have accumulated enough hours as a Captain.
That is correct, but those jobs do often require a large amount of flight time. There is also a reason why those jobs pay so well, some of them do not have the best work rules.
Chris I’m no expert, but I have looked at some pay scales and I think six figures is definitely possible. Say I make 80k at my current job. I believe if I was a 12 year captain for a regional I’d be making around 120k or so right now. Of course that’s also dependent on the airline, which I just read PSA has given their employees a nice pay bump. I’m also considering that pay raises you should expect whenever a new CBA is negotiated and such for cost of inflation. The others here can correct me if I’m wrong as I’m strictly going off what I’ve read.
Six figures as a regional captain is definitely possible. There are some check airman that I know that make over $200k.
Wow - I had no idea that was possible. As an older career-change guy who might never make it to a major that’s encouraging, thanks for posting that.
When I was a Capt and instructor at ExpressJet I was I the low 6-figures.
Highest at SkyWest that I heard from a CA was in the training department where credit was at a ridiculous high and min days off. Somewhere around 150k. I would say getting anywhere above 150k at a regional would be extremely rare with current pay scales. Even with checkairmen override (of sometimes as much as 30$/hr), I’d expect no more than 150. The majority of CAs average 100-130k.
Thank you for the replies, everyone. That is really great news to me. Even low 6’s is still a very appealing number to me. I am very happy that this topic came up.
One question I also have is what are the weekends like at ATP? Being in the Air National Guard I usually do my training once every quarter. Would this be possible while attending ATP?
The occasional drill weekend is not a problem but the 2 weeks would be. You should try and start your ATP training so they don’t conflict.
Adam yes that’s what I intend to do. If I was able to start during the month following two weeks of annual training I’d be set. Of course I could always skip the two weeks of annual training provider my commander allowed its. Thanks again for all the answers you and the others have provided. Of course I’m a ways off from starting my training.
Another question I have since I read most of the mentors here for their PPL somewhere besides ATP is what estimate would you give for completing the rest of the training at ATP? Do you still get an accelerated class option if you don’t attend ATP for everything including the PPL?
If you start ATP with your PPL you will earn your Instrument, Multiengine, Commerical (SE and ME) and all three CFIs in 6mos. I don’t know if you’ve looked at other schools but that’s pretty accelerated and there is no “option”. That training would take years elsewhere.
As yo are aware, I attended another school for my PPL. It was anything but accelerated. What should have taken three months took a year and a half. This is the way that the vast majority of flight schools operate. They might promise more, but rarely have the resources to back it up.
Thanks Chris and Adam. I’m trying to do my due dilegence here on the forums before asking many of the same redundant questions. One thing I wonder is how often are pilots paid: monthly, bills-weekly. Also I’m still trying to read up more on line numbers and one topic I tried to read up on from another forum was flow and how it might affect you if you take a job with Envoy vs PSA regarding line numbers and such vs the Cadet program. So much to learn in so little time it seems. Thanks again you guys as I wish I had found y’all years ago.
Pilots are generally paid twice per month.
I am not sure what you mean by “line numbers”. Can you clarify?