First. Pilots do not need to be perfect, or even really good , in math. I was so horrible in math, that in college I took a zero credit remedial algebra class. I then took "real" college algebra. Never missed a class. Did all the homework. Still failed. The professor took me aside toward the end of class and said, "You are a communications major, this is the only math class you need. You tried. I will give you a C." And so it was.
I said that to say this....I made about $124 a flight hour last month. How? Well funny math.
Each month as a reserve pilot I get paid for 75 hours of flight time as long as I am available for work each day. The company adds up the number of work days in a month and divides by 75 to get how much each day is worth. For easy math each day is worth 4 hours. If I call in sick then 4 hours of my sick time are used to cover my reserve day. If I just request a day off without pay, I lose 4 hours of pay. Simple.
Now I can fly zero hours and still get paid for 75 hours. For March I flew 28 hours. Twelve of those hours (two 6 hour turns) were on my days off. Any flying I do on a day off is paid seperately. So I will be paid for 87 hours of flight.
Taking my hourly wage of $40 an hour X 87 hours of flight = $3480. Take that $3480 and divide by 28 (actual hours flown) and I get $124.29 per hour. Not too shabby. Of course there is something else to consider.
I sat airport reserve in March. So I was on duty sitting at the airport....a lot. If I took that same $3480 and divided it by the hours I sat airport reserve (approx 128 hours!), I get $27.19 per hour. Ouch. I'm not including my per diem in these numbers as that get's really complicated.
If I was more senior and could have sat at home while on reserve then the first set of numbers ($124.29) would have worked. I hope to be senior one day. I was going to be more senior during the summer. No longer. My company changed their plans on moving pilots around. So for the foreseeable future I will be the bottom guy.