Your First Day at Work


I’ve always been wondering what is it like for a First Officer on his/her first day of being a pilot for an airline, especially a major airline. If you could give your experiences that would be great. Thanks!



Your first day at a major is really no different from your first day at a regional. Both will start in a classroom in a training center someplace. You will be welcomed to the company, usually have a few visits from various higher level executives, fill out paperwork and learn what will be expected of you training wise for the next few weeks.

After the first day you will begin your basic Indoc training, which covers the rules and regulations of flying. From there you will move onto aircraft specific training, which generally takes several weeks.




When I read your question I heard something different then Chris so I’m not sure who’s answer you’re looking for. Sure your first day at an airline (Regional or Major) involves a lot of welcoming and paperwork, pretty run of the mill stuff. BUT your first day FLYING for an airline is a whole other beast, and to me, the Regional was the BIG one. For me the first time sitting in a jet with a Continental logo on the tail sitting on a runway at Newark Liberty Airport, where I’d seen jets like that take off my entire life was without question one of the greatest moments of my life! This was literally the culmination of years of hard work and a lifetime of dreams. Fortunately the check airman I was flying with was not only an awesome pilot but also appreciated the gravity of the event. He told me “I understand you’re probably overwhelmed, don’t worry, I got this, relax and enjoy and if you can jump in, if not don’t worry” which was great because that first flight I was useless. Fortunately I got better. First flight at a Major, while definitely as exciting, really didn’t have that same “weight” as I’d been an airline pilot for a while. Great memories.



My first day was 2 weeks ago. It felt like the Captain had me by my shirt
collar all day :joy: let me just say that the biggest plane I had flown prior
to that was a Seminole and all my experience was in general aviation.

That feeling didn’t last long though. I feel right at home now.


When I explain to people how the training works, most non-pilot people do not realize you go from flying four seater single and twin engine planes for 1500 hours and then hopefully get on with a regional and now you fly a 50-75 seat jet.

It seems like there can be different experiences depending on what Captain or Check Air Man (correct term?) you are paired with for your first leg. Can that difference affect how the airline sees you as a pilot or is there some accounting for a learning curve as you get accustomed to the larger aircraft and the new environment?

After training, before you’re “signed off” all new pilots must complete IOE (Initial Operating Experience, btw there’s also UOE, Upgrade Operating Experience) which means spending some quality time with a Check Airman. These are Instructor pilots who’ve been trained to help you transition to flying the line. Of course there’s a learning curve and they expect some dumb mistakes but the idea is a final check to make sure no one has slipped through the cracks and all airlines have a standard amount of IOE they’ll give a new pilot (usually 20-30hrs). Though rare, pilots do on occasion fail IOE and are released from the airplane. Once completing IOE new pilots will still be on “high mins” for the first 100hrs which places certain restrictions on what they can do. This usually applies to landing conditions requiring a min visibility and max winds.



Thanks for the information.

Boy if that doesn’t give you goosebumps I don’t know what will!