Before I started I naively thought I would fly close to 1000 hours a year. In reality with vacation, reserve and just life I've averaged around 566 hours a year.
I'm now topped out on First Officer pay. That means if I'm still a First Officer next year I get no extra monetary incentive.
When I started 7 years ago I made right around $24 an hour. Today I make around $43 an hour.
It's been rough. Many have had it worse.
I've learned a lot over the years. If I could give some advice to new airline pilots:
- The roughest landings are on calm wind VFR days (as you don't try as hard).
- Some pilots are just bitter, don't let it affect you.
- Take something from every pilot you fly with...good and bad...learn something every flight
- Flight attendants do more than serve coffee and give emergency demos....when the crap hits the fan they literally save lives.
- There is a faint connection between the seat belt sign and turbulence
- Airplane coffee all taste bad. I'd like to say it's an acquired taste...but I'd be a liar
- Always set two alarm clocks. I've never missed a van time as I always have a backup
- 95% of the time things go smoothly. You are prepared and trained for that other 5%
- If the other pilot is doing something wrong. Speak up. Both of your certificates are on the line.
Not super deep thoughts. Just stuff I would have like to have told myself.
I've had a lot of ups and downs. Pun intended. I can't imagine myself doing anything else.
Each year I've said by the next I'd be Captain. Well.....here's to hoping.