Real Answers from Real Pilots

Quality flight time

Hi, wanted to get your opinion on what regional airlines like to see when applying for a FO position in terms of quality flight time. Ideally, do they like to see a mix of time between CFI, working at a Part 135, part 91, others…? Other types of time or certifications that they prefer?

Pre-Covid the regional airlines couldn’t afford to be too picky, they had a hard time finding candidates with any kind of 1500 hours. We’re probably going to start seeing that again in the not too distant future. Having said that, as a former regional airline check airman, I can tell you who had the easiest/hardest time during training.

Airline flying in its most basic form is flying point A to point B in the IFR system in a jet with 2 pilots. The closer you can get to that type of flying, the easier your transition will be. CFIs that were teaching at places like ATP where the focus is on airline-style flying did well during training too. CFIs without much instrument or multi experience tended to struggle the most.


CFI time is always good but so is 135. The main thing is they don’t want to see your logbook full of 1500hrs worth of $200 hamburgers and frankly neither do you.


The airlines want to see as close to the kind of flying as they do. It’s Jet time and all IFR, so if you can get that kind of time, do it. Typically at 300 hours your options are limited so many pilots flight instruct because that’s the best gig you can get with the hours you have. Dual given is valuable and as much IfR time as you can.



Having a mixed amount of flying is not necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s invaluable. Of course diversification helps, but like the others said, focus on quality IFR with multi time. CFI, MEI, CFII time is arguably the best.



All of the above :slight_smile:

The regionals want t see quality flight time that is building upon your instrument skills. Being a CFI is a great ay to do this, if you have your Instrument Instructor rating. I personally think that teaching somebody else how to do something is really the highest level of comprehension.

Part 91 and 135 are also great ways to build experience. I think any of them are a fine path.