Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Squawk 7700

I'm 70% done with my current book, Squak 7700, and I am not sure if I will finish it.

The book describes the journey from guy on the street to a commercial pilot. The author details his journey of getting his private license, flying night frieght, being hired by a regional airline, quitting the day he finishes IOE and going back to frieght.

The author implies it's foolish for anyone to work for a Regional Airline. That really struck a nerve with me.

I was able to relate to many of his experiences as I went through some of  them on my journey from my cubicle to the cockpit.

It should be known that regional airlines don't attempt to hold your hand on the journey to the flight deck. It's a business with thousands of employees.

There is a stressful side of flying for a regional airline. Long days, very short overnights, mechanical delays, weather delays, long stints away from homes, low pay, and more. Not to leave out the variety of backgrounds and personalities that make up the flight crews.

It took me a while to get used to having 9 hours between blocking in and reporting for duty the next day...lucky to get 5 hours of sleep.

Being away from home also took getting used to. The lowish pay (First year pay is horrible at even Major airlines) was a little hard, but now I am on 3rd year pay it's very liveable. It's all about preparation.

My wife and I saved and prepped our budgets well ahead of me applying to a regional. It helps that we had both lived in "the real world" for a few years.

Is it all worth it? Apparently it wasn't for the author.

To be fair, his airline based him in Puerto Rico, far from home.....in another country. When I was hired my wife and I both planned for the worst, that I too would be based far from home. Lucky for us it didn't happen.

I love my job. I love being able to fly my family around the country for practically free. I love seeing my extended family several times a year even though they are scattered around the United States. I love transporting military off on leave home to their families. I love flying.

Do I wish I were paid more? Sometimes. The pay disparity between Captain and First Officer is a bit larger than I think it should be. Do I wish overnights were longer? Yeah, but that's coming with the new Flight Time/Duty Time regulations. Beyond that...I'm happy.

My airline keeps the aircraft very well maintained. The training department is top notch. Ninety-nine percent of the flight crews I work with love their jobs. How many other jobs allow an employee to move work days around at whim to get time off for Doctor visits, vacations or a family function. Most "real" jobs have 8 days off a month...just the weekends. I've never had less than 10 days off....many months I have 12-14 days off.

There are certainly worse places to be.

Regionals aren't for everyone.

Just had to vent.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats, you hit the nail right on the head: "Regionals aren’t for everyone." and that's exactly why I loved this book. I read it too, cover to cover in 1 day. Couldn't put it down. I fully understand why it's endorsed by Jeff Skiles of US Airways Flight 1549 after reading it as well. There is a reality of the career that young folks want ignore just so they can "flying a shiny jet". Well, guess what folks, it ain't all glamorous, and this guy hit the nail right on the head. Excellent book. Written well, lots of interesting experiences, and I plan on passing it onto to all my friends. Squawk 7700 (dot) com, a slap in the face for those who defy reality. - Dave P. (Former regional pilot)


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