When dreams come true... (long)

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by LDJones, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I had dinner with a United captain a couple weeks ago who said he's been a captain 18 years on the equipment he's on now, it's not the big stuff, it's not international or fancy in any way... he's the BOTTOM line holder or dang close to it here in DEN.:.

    "But I get to DRIVE TO WORK... and live in Denver!" ... he said multiple times that evening.

    He hates commuting with a passion.

    Another guy at that dinner said he's thinking he doesn't care anymore and may bid somewhere else. They had a heated and funny discussion that went something like...

    "Don't do it man. You won't be back here for five years if you do!"

    "But I could get weekends off, and wife and kids would like that..."

    "And spend all of both days commuting anyway..."


    This banter went on for hours. Fun to listen to.

    The commuting discussion all ended when the somehwhat junior guy flying 767s for a cargo outfit showed up late after getting in from commuting. He'd been "enjoying" a little too much of the Middle East lately he said. The other guys knew not to rub it in. :)

    They all got a little kick out of me talking about students probably trying to kill me starting this year.

    One joked, "You get really fast at saving your own butt when you're teaching. You fix it and the student didn't even realize they were about to kill you both. My airplane... Your airplane!" LOL.

    Fun folks. Met them all through the wife's singing habit. The wives were all engrossed in a completely different conversation across the room. I poked my nose into that one for a couple of minutes and then backed away slowly back over to the airplane talk. LOL.
     
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  2. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Greetings. Sorry I've been out of touch, but it's been a busy spring!

    I could have upgraded in January or February if I was willing to commute to DTW, our most junior domicile. Most of my ground school study group, all but one junior to me, have upgraded and are sitting reserve as Captains.

    But not me. I'm doing this because I enjoy it immensely. I would NOT enjoy commuting! MSP-DTW is one of or toughest commutes. Not going to do it.

    So my bid is in for upgrade, but only in MSP where I live. I recently updated it so I'll take the upgrade if it comes before June 20th, otherwise I'm holding off til after my son's wedding in September. And if I wait that long, I'll probably push it off til after the first of next year and enjoy my sweet schedule and time off for the holidays.

    This month so far I've worked two, had four off, worked three, have ten off (displaced for training...paid to not fly!), will fly three, have four off, then finish with a three day. All in our 700/900s which pay a premium and are our best trips.

    So Quality of Life trumps stripes and $$. Captain will come soon enough. I'm loving the gig I have right now!
     
  3. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No idea what was going on there. At my airline, once you upgrade to CA you can pick up FO trips while waiting on IOE as long as you're still right-seat qualified. (Meaning you're still in your FO 13 month qualification window.) That's why I wanted to make sure I got through CQ this year before upgrading if it happened. You can pick up time and a half open time trips at CA pay for doing your old FO duties...a pretty good gig!
     
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  4. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I could add to my previous message that I haven't had to work a weekend in over a year and a half, or about three months off IOE. Having a wife that works a normal work week, that's pretty huge....especially to her! As they say, if momma ain't happy...

    Hence, another reason to delay upgrading.

    The beautiful thing about seniority is that, by holding off, when I finally do upgrade I'll slide in right ahead of all those junior to me who've already upgraded. So holding off until you can hold a line is not unheard of. The CA I just flew a three day with held off upgrading two years, til he could slide into a line holder position. I won't wait that long, as reserve in base won't bother me. I'll just be teaching students while waiting for crew support to call!
     
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  5. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Honest question, don't know. Can that run a risk of bumping you up against timing out for a day/crew rest numbers, like if they call you in on reserve for a standing overnight?
     
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  6. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nope. Flight instructing isn't considered "commercial flying" so doesn't count against our FAR 117 time limits.
     
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  7. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, I just finished my second CQ, our annual recurrent training. I'm exhausted.

    I'm a pretty laid back guy. My average stress level hovers around a 1.0. Nothing really causes me angst.

    Except CQ.

    My stress level has been at a 9.9 since Monday. I hate it.

    Day One is just a classroom day. Very laid back. That's the easy part except for all the dread running through your mind knowing what's ahead.

    Then Day Two hits. It's called the the Maneuvers Valudation or MV. The sim chews you up and spits you out. Engines failing. Systems failing. CAT II approaches on one engine with a single-engined missed approach. It was exhausting.

    You go back to your hotel spent...then realize you still have to review for the Knowledge Validation (KV) and Line Oriented Evaluation (LOE) the next day.

    So, up at 5 am to continue your review.

    The KV is a two hour oral on all the regs, policies, systems, procedures and anything else they can think of. It feels like a checkride oral on steroids because of the intricacies of 121 regs and airline Ops Specs, plus a myriad of complex jet systems.

    So I survived that, but without some embarrassing stump the chump moments. I knew I could have done better, but he passed me. I swear, I'm going start prepping for next year's KV starting TOMORROW!

    Then back into the monster...but the -700 monster this time rather than the lowly -200 we did the MV in. This is a simulated line flight from power up to shut down. It's what we do every day so it's generally easier than the MV. Except they always throw one or two mechanical issues or ATC glitches to mess you up. At 23,000' ATC advised of crossing traffic 1,000' above. Nothing in sight on the visuals. Then BOOM, I'm on a 90 degree knife edge!! Kick the autopilot off, roll her wings level, pitch to regain assigned altitude and re-engage the autopilot.

    That was fun.

    Then we get an icing report from SEA. Naturally it's our wing anti-ice that's been deferred. Time for a diversion. Off to PDX we go...after the obligatory ATC traffic delay and holding procedure.

    There was more, but I'm too tired to type any more. I need to be up at 4:15a to catch my early flight home in the morning, followed by a full day of students.

    That sounds positively relaxing at this point.
     
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  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    That's quite the couple of days you had there!

    Ironically, another line Captain at a completely different company I talked at length with recently said the merger his company went through some time ago, completely trashed their training. (Trying not to name names here...)

    He's typed in about six different Boeings and likes domestic so he's on the 73.

    He said he actually misses the workouts like yours that the trainers used to give him.

    He recently went to training and said he showed up and kids half his age had bid the training roles and when he showed up they ran a couple easy scenarios that were already hinted at in some online training they had to do prior, and then they literally said, "Is there anything else you'd like to do? We always learn more about the real airplane from you guys when you come here than we seem to teach."

    It's almost sad, he said.

    Only mention it because you'd probably miss it if things went that way where you are. I've go no dog in the fight either way, but it didn't sound like anyone was giving him anything challenging anymore. Some of that's experience, but the way he was talking, this is a lot deeper.

    Again, no dog in the fight at all just sharing what he said. He thinks it's all related to a "retired Air Force" mentality that took over the training department. Whatever that means.
     
  9. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    We'll return to the flight in a few minutes. In the meantime, let's take a look at what else is happening in the world of airlines. United has announced a new nonstop from LAX to SIN. 18+ hours gate to gate. That's a long time to be crammed in a coach seat, don't you think? FO Jones needn't worry, the equipment he flies doesn't have the legs for a trip like that.

    Let's see how that landing went. Back to Shep for his feedback.
     
  10. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Greetings, fellow POAers. I've been remiss in posting but have kinda fallen into a sweet routine of bidding for great, high-credit trips to places I like to go, then filling my off days with students and an occasional law client! I currently am number 8 FO in MSP which means I pretty much get everything I want and have whatever days off I want/need. It's been awesome!

    My plan was to hold off upgrading to Captain until next year, enjoying my sweet schedule thru the Holidays. But then ten CA slots were announced for November, with two classes available, 11/9 & 11/26. So I bid for the 26th on the theory that it will be after Thansgiving and I should be able to complete ground and sims before Christmas. Then there's usually a week or two wait for IOE which means I'd be sitting home for the holidays being paid at Captain rates!!

    Well, surprise, surprise, yesterday I was awarded the 11/26 upgrade class!

    I'm psyched and freaked at the same time. I'm finally feeling ready to slide over to the left seat and am excited to do so, but dread the idea of going back into an intense study grind. Fortunately, ground is only eight days and I have almost two months to review and get a jump on the materials. And I've been through it all before and actually kinda know the jet now! (Just over 1,700 hours in the CRJ, to date.)

    So, wish me luck. Hopefully my Christmas present this year will be a Fourth Stripe and some scrambled eggs on the bill of my hat. Expect more updates through the process now that I have something new to share.

    Loren
     
  11. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude

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    Congrats Jonesy!
     
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  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Loren, congratulations! Very happy to hear this.

    I did have one question. I thought I recalled (perhaps incorrectly) that when you hired on that you expected to stay as an FO due to age restrictions on 121 ops. I assume that something changed (most likely the need for captains)? Just curious about the dynamics at play there.
     
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  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Congrats man! Good luck. Looking forward to hearing about the upgrade.
     
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  14. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh, no. I always intended to upgrade. I had hoped that it would come earlier this year but we opened DTW which became the junior base and they poured all new hires and upgrades into there. I had no interest in commuting to reserve so I stayed in the right seat.

    The beauty of our seniority system is the only penalty for delaying an upgrade is the lost income. When you upgrade you slide in at your seniority even if many below you upgraded sooner. Once I upgrade I'll probably be close to holding a line (a defined flying schedule) rather than sitting reserve and taking the crumbs that fall your way on a minimum monthly guarantee.

    My friend and study group partner was the first of our group to upgrade last January. He's one number ahead of me in MSP seniority. He's sat reserve for 7 months (commuting) and just got back to MSP in September and will hold a line in October, bidding 92%. If things keep moving by the time I start bidding in January I'll probably hold a line and be above 90%.

    So, I definitely wanted to be a Captain, but without sacrificing my quality of life. Pretty selfish, eh?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'd have made the same choice for sure! Quality of life matters most! :yes:
     
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  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Living the [actual] dream... LOL. :)
     
  17. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Still pinch myself occasionally. It's still the best job in the world.
     
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  18. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First day of captain upgrade under my belt. A day focused on leadership and professionalism. Quite thought-provoking. I got 100% on the follow-up test, but would be quite surprised if anyone got less than that...it was pretty much a gimme if you paid any attention at all.

    Also a sign of the times when a company with pretty devout religious roots (see Utah/SLC) starts a training class on a Sunday! That’s been unheard of in times past.

    We’re the second class going through the new upgrade “footprint” which reduced upgrade ground school from eight days down to five days. In lieu of the three days of systems training they removed, they bumped the number of CBT modules from 30 to 55! For the last three weeks I’ve been glued to my computer every free hour going through these training modules. Most were about 1.5 hours to complete. It was grueling.

    But it’s also been good. I’ve picked up on a lot of little systems details that I’ve either forgotten or never quite grasped three years ago. It helps to go through it after having spent 2.5 years actually flying the machine!

    One of my study group members from initial training is also going through upgrade with me so I have a built-in study buddy plus sim partner. She’s a great kid and always fun to have around. Also met two young guys who are classmates on the flight out so we had an instant study group with the four of us. We’ve been hitting it hard from the start, which bodes well, I hope!

    So, four more days of ground, then a Systems Validation test and a 700/900 Limitations test, then off to sims. I think we will learn our sim schedule tomorrow.

    If you’re a person of faith, whisper a prayer for me!
     
  19. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh, with respect to seniority, my buddy who is just senior to me has moved from 97% in September to 75% in December. Two other friends who transferred back to MSP and are junior to me, both are holding lines in MSP. All that to say it looks like I’ll have a line and maybe one that’s halfway decent by the time I’m bidding in January for February flying. Seems like the timing is working out well.

    Now just to get through the training!
     
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  20. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'll make it Loren. I was at ASA and the IPs there wanted to see us pass, were very accommodating, and open to additional one-on-one training if needed. I even had one IP that offered to come in on his day off to help me when I first went to the 200. I'm sure the SKYW training department is along the same lines. Of course the key is attitude, if you have a good one they'll bend over backwards to get you through. Enjoy it, you'll do fine.
     
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  21. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Good luck man! You’ll do fine.
     
  22. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Loren, do you feel like, “I decided I would retire so I could study my *** off...”, yet? LOL. Goood stuff. Makes me chuckle.
     
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  23. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What a week! It's been surprisingly relaxed despite the intensity of the review. Probably because it is a review...not that much that's new, but taking everything to the next level of understanding. Our instructor's have been amazing. Our systems instructor has been a Captain on the CRJ for 19 years and knows it like the back of his hand. Talk about a wealth of knowledge. I've already added him to my phone as the go-to guy when I have a technical systems question. (Which he encouraged us to do, mind you!) Some pretty amazing stories were included along the way.

    Our study group was focused and sharp, which made the evening study sessions pretty productive. Ended up with a 93% on the 100 question systems exam (Systems Validation). It should have been 95%. Somewhere between my brain and the mouse the cursor decided to pick a different answer than the one I THOUGHT I was clicking on a couple of questions. I hate when I do that! But I'll take the 93. Just happy to have that behind me.

    A little relaxation tonight, then I'll hit it hard again practicing flows and callouts in preparation for the Procedures training Monday followed by the Procedures Validation (practical exam) on Tuesday.

    So I've cleared a big hurdle, but have three more major events to go. I'll keep you posted.
    fullsizeoutput_180b.jpeg
     
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  24. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Congrats Loren, I knew you would make it, actually had no doubts. My cousin recently gave up his job at Generous Electric to go fly for PSA, he is FO now and flying on standby. Called him before Thanksgiving and he was lounging on a beech in Biloxi MS. Said it is great to not have to work any more.
     
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  25. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    BZ, I really enjoy reading about your experience!
     
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  26. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    WooHoo!
    Go Loren!. Go Loren!
    Living the dream.
     
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  27. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Sounds good. But, even if I had the hours and ratings, I'm too old now. Being retired is great. Have fun!
     
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  28. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What, you mean slapping them upon the back of the head anytime they screw up is not considered 'leadership' ?

    Here is your patch:
    1000_hrs_powerpoint.gif



    You'll be fine. The peer group you'll be compared against are millenials ;-)

    Glad to hear that you are still enjoying it. I am still waiting to hear your name called out on a flight that I am on, but recently Delta has moved most of my milk-run to A321 and MD90s.
     
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  29. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I definitely earned that patch!

    Actually, I have to say I've been impressed by a few of my millennial classmates. They've been pretty sharp and came prepared. I think they'll do well. It will be interesting to see what I find once out on the line with the brand new ones in the right seat.
     
  30. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    Been reading through this thread the past few days. Very good.

    I was going to say @denverpilot (I realize this is two years ago from where I'm quoting so it may have changed more) but we have a flight school here in Atlanta that is owned by a couple of Delta pilots and do the instructing. They also have a Redbird sim there that Planesense uses to do evaluation. Apparently Delta doesn't mind either.
     
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  31. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Seems less prevalent an issue as in days long past. But thanks for the info.
     
  32. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    @LDJones, I've just spent several days reading through this entire thread. I couldn't 'put it down'. Inspiring! I really appreciate (and I'm sure everybody here does) taking the time to relate your experience the past few years. This is just a classic thread. Since they've started hiring old folks like me, I'd really love to do it but with my low hours I just wouldn't have enough time to build hours and still have enough time to fly before having to retire at 65. If I would have heard about this just even two years ago (I've just recently discovered this 'shortage') when you started this thread I would have had the time to fly 2 or 3 years (one person told me that he knew someone just hired at 62 or 63, and they told him if they could get 18 months out of you they would hire you). I could come close to getting the hours needed and get hired, but I'd have to become an instructor and fly my tail off for the next year and a half and hope I could get 80-100 hours a month.

    Keep the thread going for sure. It's an inspiration to many of us.
     
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  33. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    You still have to get permission from your employer before flying for pay outside of 121 world. If those guys own the company and do stuff in the sim they aren't required to get the approval letter. Mine got denied when I was a new-hire at Delta even though the request was likely to be less than 100 hours a year. That was in 2015, so maybe times have changed - I understand the idea behind the rule; but like many good ideas-turned-regulations there are specific circumstances that are really apples and oranges but still end up covered by the reg.
     
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  34. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Great narratives and glad it’s working for you. Lots of signs up around here at FBOs to hire replacement CFIs and IIs this last year because they’re all flocking to the airlines.
     
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  35. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, it has really been a challenge for flight schools to staff their teaching ranks. It even hit my little school's maintenance. Our mechanic, and my good friend, has watched with a bit of envy my journey the last three years. We both did our ATP written tests in the same week to beat the deadline in 2014, then I helped finish up his ATP last year just before his written expired. We added his initial Flight Instructor this summer. He finally took the plunge, I put in a recommendation and he finished ground school last week and hit the sims yesterday. He's in his early to mid-50s.

    He was awarded MSP so, hopefully, we will get to fly together early next year, if all goes well!
     
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  36. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Great to see you posting about this again, I remember reading it and hanging on every word. Congratulations on upgrade.

    Inspired in part by you writing this I took a run at the airlines myself. I did not end up going to Skywest but am finishing up my first year at PSA. Its been a great experience and very fun job.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to you and your family.
     
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  37. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    It's great to discover a thread like this a year or 2 into it. You can read it for several days without having to wait on new posts. Not so much after you catch up. lol.

    I wish I had discovered this thread when it started though. I could have built my time over the last 2 years and applied to the regionals. Pretty much too late now.

    And congrats on PSA!
     
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  38. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
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    Akron, Ohio
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    Jim_CAK
    Brian - I am in the same boat (or plane). I am too old to make the transition to the airlines but I am exploring options to do some part time flying. Do keep in mind there are other flying jobs out there beside the airlines. The strong pull from the airlines is opening up a lot of those "time building" jobs. I talked to an acquaintance that flys for a small cargo outfit and they are struggling to hold onto pilots. If you have any interest in flying for hire - even part time, keep working your way through your ratings.
     
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  39. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    BrianATL
    Thanks Jim. Exactly what I'm going to do.
     
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  40. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jonesy
    Congrats on the PSA gig! That’s terrific. Merry Christmas!
     
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