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Comments: 114 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

Spodie6 karma

What the hell are you still doing at Whiskey(?)?

EVERYONE is hiring.

Skywardbound1721 karma

If you know a guy I'm all ears, only trying to move on!

Spodie1 karma

It's all job fairs these days, brother.

Skywardbound1721 karma

Story of my life. Trying to get the the next United ALPA event, but the registration filled up last time in a few minutes

Bentumbo4 karma

how often do you hook up with stewardesses?

Skywardbound1723 karma

Ha it doesn't exactly work like that in real life. Like any other job people meet each other at work, but it isn't like that.

Bentumbo2 karma

really? because I've heard more than once that it is common.

Skywardbound1723 karma

I have seen it happen sure, but I wouldn't say in my experience its "common". Put two guys and two girls in a small group and send them traveling around for a week at a time probably helps contribute to the "hook up" effect but its more an anomaly than anything.

ctmurray3 karma

Your thoughts on the Germanwings pilot suicide using the plane (how to screen out such individuals) and recent TSA failure to stop contraband getting onto a plane?

Skywardbound1728 karma

First off I have to say the media coverage of that crash has been completely ridiculous. 90% speculation, misinformed, and unintelligent, like most coverage of aviation. Screening new pilots in my opinion isn't going make an impact on preventing a suicide of this type. An individual dead set on intentionally crashing his/her aircraft will find a way to do it. It's not like a pilot gets certificated and then they are done being screened. We are constantly under observation, most frequently by our piers. If I ever worked with someone who I felt was mental unstable you better believe I would begin to get other people involved, and I'm willing to bet most of my colleagues would agree. As far as the TSA don't even get me started, more problem then solution its not surprising that people can sneak objects through security. I think we need security I obviously don't want anyone to have a gun or a knife on my airplane, but the system now is not efficient or effective. I would like to see a wholesale evaluation of the TSA and its practices from a non bias third party

Cptn_Slow3 karma

I am looking into becoming a CFI to build time. Any suggestions on getting your CFI?

Skywardbound1723 karma

What's your experience now? My suggestion is to do it! I can give all kinds of advice but thats like saying "I want to be a pilot, any advice?" really hard to answer. Vague I know but I have several contacts who still work or own flight schools, instructors are a valuable commodity right now, you want to build time you need a CFI or a kicking corporate job ASAP.

Cptn_Slow1 karma

I just finished my commercial multi and have my single add on check ride scheduled for Monday. Both were done at WMU so I will also have a degree and I will probably be around just over 200 hrs when all is done.

Spodie2 karma

There must be something I'm missing here. Once you have a Commercial Certificate, it applies to all your Ratings.

What is a Commercial Single add on?

Skywardbound1721 karma

A commercial pilot CERTIFICATE requires you to add on RAITINGS for each applicable aircraft CATEGORY or TYPE you want to exercise. If your commercial check ride was taken in a light twin you will obtain a commercial certificate for Multi Engine Land ONLY. In order to fly commercially in a single engine airplane you have to add the Single Engine Land privileges or RAITING to the certificate with a new checkride. Google or YouTube can also explain this. Or a basic understanding of CFR .61

Skywardbound1721 karma

Yes most definitely get your CFI, if its not part of your program get it from a local FBO or flight school. Overpriced flight training is just killer when paying back loans. Your ticket says CFI not CFI from XYZ university. Remember first year FO pay is on about 18K a year take home after taxes, dues, and 401K, spending 5K on a CFI that should have cost 3K will hurt later. Use your experience in school, and never forget how to study!!! Professional aviation is all about how well you can get into the books, especially airline flying, its like a fire hose. With that being said once you know "how" to learn or teach yourself you do training anywhere and hold yourself to that high college standard. I did my training in a similar fashion, 2 year associate degree, private done before college. Did it cheap but could have been cheaper. Cheapest isn't always best but often the FBO may have competitive prices.

Cptn_Slow1 karma

Did you get your CFI at a local FBO?

Skywardbound1722 karma

No CFI-I and MEI were part of my Associate Degree but I know many 4 year programs do not include these in the core program. If you can compare the cost of the CFI-I / MEI class at WMU and three or four local schools you should get a good idea of what thats worth. If its within $500 or so thats probably the margin but a program thats 30 or 40% cheaper may be a good idea. Talk to the FBO instructor (Not the owner) and find someone you want to work with. CFI is a rating not a job don't let your school tell you that you will be a BETTER CFI with their program you learn how to be a good instructor after you become an instructor and start teaching, no amount of preparation can make you fully ready to teach.

Skywardbound1722 karma

I will say that one of my best friends got all of his pilot certificates at an FBO, works right along side of me at my airline now, is also an instructor pilot and is by far THE BEST instructor I know, having never gone to an aviation college.

The_Lion_Queen2 karma

Have you been in a dreamliner? The technological advances in that airplane amaze me, but I've never flown in one.

Skywardbound1723 karma

I have not yet flow on the 7-8 but I have been on the new age 73-8's and they are fantastic. More computer than airplane I hear they are a dream to fly, or rather watch fly. A very good friend of mine is in the first class of 78 pilots at AA, has nothing but good things to say.

Skywardbound1722 karma

Ok got to run. Thanks

omnibus342 karma

A dozen years ago I was a bus driver at philly international. We moved passengers to the remote ramp for commuter aircraft. Often enough some people were startled to see the crews who looked like high school kids. Have you ever witnessed that reaction? It happened mostly in chancy weather and when the aircraft was a Beech 19 seater.

Skywardbound1723 karma

Yes I hear that about once a day, "are you old enough to drive?!" or "did you learn how to fly yesterday?!" to which I usually respond, with a smile and a wink, "this is just an internship" or "my uncle works here and I wanted to try it out!". The reaction is usually worse when both the Captain and the FO look young. I know some guys who put up the sun shade at the gate to prevent people from looking and exclaiming at his "youthful" features.

victoralvarez2202 karma

Piloting is something I've always thought was a fascinating career path. What are your favorite parts or moments of flying?

Skywardbound1725 karma

Two parts probably: 1) I love watching a new student who knows nothing about the jet or how to fly it our way on day one go through an fairly difficult program in 10 days and come out the other side a qualified pilot, the changes you see in people are incredible and always blow me away. 2) I love sunrise's and bad weather. I just spent three days flying around the north east in rainy, misty, overcast weather. It makes things interesting and challenging. Just this week I was landing in LaGuardia and most of Manhattan had its head above the clouds. Something you cannot see from the ground.

NoMoBluepill2 karma

Hey, I'm a Navy test pilot and military flight instructor. Where'd you get your degree from?

Skywardbound1721 karma

I plan to complete my degree with University Wisconsin Oshkosh, it isn't done yet I am actively working towards it. My Associates degree is from Fox Valley Technical College

chitstain2 karma

Do you have any humorous instructor anecdotes?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Oh man you can only imagine! Yes a few specials ones, keep in mind these all took place in a simulator and NOT in an airplane. A student was hand flying (no autopilot) a single engine approach. He was following the flight director, got down to the lowest descent point on the instrument approach and had to go around. Well he forgot to push the button that would provide him guidance to raise the nose and climb, and remember the autopilot is OFF he is free to do what ever he wants with the controls. So instead of climbing he stubbornly continues to follow the flight director towards the ground, the airplane begins to call out altitudes, "100" followed shortly by "50, 40, 30, 20, 10." He is visibly agitated that he is about to crash but WILL NOT pull the nose up. When the airplane violently impacts the ground and we all endure a wicked ride until I can hit the freeze button he turns around and says "WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!" That one left me scratching my head!

When someone forgets to put the landing gear down the airplane at a certain point will sound a shrill and very annoying horn, called the gear horn. More than once I have seen students forget to put the gear down and get this horn. except they don't want to admit they don't know what the horn is, so they try secretly to keep their heads still and search the cockpit for the source of the sound all the while never saying anything to each other. It could not be more obvious something is wrong but they don't want me to scold them, so they choose to ignore it. Quite hilarious to watch them from the back scramble to figure it out. Some actually try to land and crash.

chitstain1 karma

That's hilarious! Obviously, ignoring a major alarm in the cockpit is the best way to save face with the instructor.

Skywardbound1722 karma

Oh completely like ignoring the smoke alarm, "thats nothing honey! Go back to bed!"

chitstain1 karma

Smoke alarm? Dinner must be ready

Skywardbound1721 karma

I'm actually convinced the smoke alarms only exist to inform me when the cooking in progress vastly exceeds my abilities to control it... :-/

lvl_35_ice_troll2 karma

Was getting caught part of your plan?

Skywardbound1721 karma

I'm not sure what you mean?

LegoStevenMC1 karma

Whats the weirdest thing that you have experienced on a flight?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Well it was when I was flying air ambulance before the airlines I turned around to check on our passengers in the back and a pregnant woman was attempting to pee into a sandwich bag far too small for the task. That was .... interesting...

flymach11 karma

Trying to understand the timeline; Pilot certificate at 17, 12 years in the business, CFI for five years. How did you receive your training? University? Flight Academy? Part 61 Flight School? How long have you been at the Regional? Total flight hours? FO or CA? Hours of instruction given? What is your plan for the future, i.e. Majors or other? Thanks.

Skywardbound1722 karma

I was 17 got my private, went to college (2 year degree par 61) at 18-20 years old. Flight instructed for 6 months, ran into a charter pilot job at 20, was hired at an airline at 21 (before the ATP requirement) and have been there ever since 4 years 3,000TT (but I don't fly much anymore, mostly teach) FO should be a CA by August (fingers crossed) I don't have an honest total of hours of instruction given, my guess would be about 1,000 135&121 instruction given. Future plans are Delta, United, AA, Alaska, SWA, JBU, F9 or anyone who will hire me. Just waiting in line like all the other 15,000 regional pilots for a slot up at the majors.

victoryposition1 karma

Have you had any real pucker moments?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Yes a few. Pucker moment may not be entirely accurate, but certainly some that got the juices flowing. I have experienced an aileron jam where we were unable to fully control the roll of the airplane. Lucky that happened at high altitude, in smooth air, and level flight. We followed the appropriate checklist and were able to free the jam ( which ended up being frozen water in the area of the control cable bell crank) and landed safely and without incident.

I have also experienced a pretty severe wind shear event during hurricane Sandy in Roanoke VA down at about 300 feet in moderate-sever turbulence. Needless to say we got the heck out of there and didn't go back.

Robrev61 karma

Woah, Roanoke is the last place i expected to see here. Can you go into more details about what happened?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Sure it was during Sandy (she was up the coast a bit farther at the time) extremely wind and bumpy everywhere. Winds aloft over 100 knots down in the teens and low twenties (thats abnormal) ROA was very gusty (I don't remember exactly) in the ball park of 30 gusting 45 or 50. Now high winds aren't a big deal if they aren't gusty or if they are blowing right down the runway. I could care less if the wind was 140 knots right down the runway I would just hover down and land. Thats a bit extreme but you get the picture. But 30 gusting 50 is a big deal, the margin above stall at approach speed is only 25 or so knots. So if you loose the gust you loose 25 knots thats not good. Not to mention that ROA sits in a basin surrounded on two sides by hills which create MASSIVE amounts of mechanical turbulence. It was rough, rough like stuff coming out of the cup holders, chart binders sliding off of holders, checklists askew, buttons difficult to push and the five point harness I'm wearing is an absolute necessity. So were getting rocked around pretty good coming down the approach, its visual and we can see the runway. At about 300 feet we get to the same level as the hills and suddenly find ourselves in a pretty large wind shift, the captain adds power as the speed slows and like nothing the airplane starts dropping like a stone. Must have been the back side of the "mountain" wave from the hills. The airplane gave us a "windshear" warning message we pushed the thrust levers to the firewall and focused on climbing away from the ground, not the easiest thing when you loose 35 knots of airspeed are in a 1500 foot per minute descent in moderate turbulence. We cleared the mountains no problem got above the worst of the turbulence cleaned up the airplane talked to ATC and started going back to Charlotte. Close call? Not exactly. The weather was at the limits of our comfort level but never dangerous, when confronted with a POTENTIALLY dangerous situation we followed our training expertly and got the heck out of dodge. If you ever wonder why pilots should get paid its not for what they do every day its for days like this.

Wardryer1 karma

Do we really have to turn of our cell phones?

Skywardbound1722 karma

No, but be polite to the flight attendant. Its her job to make sure you do, and if you don't listen to her then I will have to listen to her complain about you for the rest of the trip!

Wardryer1 karma

I always do, and am very polite to them but have always been curious about that. I would hate it if it was like a train, with tons of jackasses shouting into their phones. Thanks for clearing that up.

Skywardbound1722 karma

I have never ever ever ever experiences an anomaly with the airplane attributed to a passengers anything in the back. Doesn't happen. Its still the law for some silly reason but I suppose better safe than sorry. Mines not to reason why but to do or die.

Wardryer1 karma

Cannon to right of them Cannon to left of them

Skywardbound1722 karma

Well played sir, well played!

nikecat1 karma

I'm currently working on my instrument rating out of KHIO, I'll do commercial and CFI after.

What I really want to do its international commercial, if Quantas or Luftansa ever called I'd say yes in a heartbeat. Do you have any tips for reaching out effectively to larger companies to get my name on their potentials list?

Skywardbound1721 karma

No ones going to look at you without at least 1,500 commercial jet experience. At least not at the present moment. In my experience the guys getting hired have 3-6K hours 121 some type of Captain experience or prior military. Now 3k sounds like a lot but its really 2 years CFI and 3 years airline.

With that being said like was posted at the beginning of this job fairs are the way now a days to reach out to any airline. Find a job fair with the carriers you want to go work for, get a fancy resume, buy a nice suit, do some interview prep and stand in line all day. Its like being a dog at a dog show but the prize could be a great job at the company you want.

flightlevel3501 karma

Are you really allowed to fly 1500 commercial hours per year as an instructor in the US? That seems like it would exceed the standard 1200 hr max, no?

Edit: Or did you mean 2 hours as an instructor followed by 3 more with an airline? Heh, I may have misunderstood...

Skywardbound1721 karma

Yes I meant two years as a flight instructor followed by three years as a regional or major airline pilot before you achieve the requisite experience the legacy airlines like Delta, AA, and United are currently seeking from their applicants

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

Skywardbound1722 karma

Thats analogous to saying "I prefer to ride in a bus only with a driver who has driven race cars most of his career". Eliminate REGIONAL PILOT from your vocabulary. There are only PILOTS. Some are employed as charter pilots flying 747's. Does that make them less of a pilot that one who fly's at an airline? In fact both a "regional" airline and a "legacy" airline are organized under the exact same federal regulations, are under the exact same scrutiny and operate exactly the same.

Airline training is like spring training in baseball. You have to try out and show up with some skills. Then we watch you play and see if you can learn to play baseball our way. The ones who can't change their ways or don't have the skills go away. I don't care if the first baseman learned how to play a certain way all I care about is he is GOOD. Good baseball players are probably intuitive athletes, meaning skill comes naturally to them.

Good pilots are good pilots it doesn't matter what their background. The good ones want the job they are hungry for knowledge they enjoy truly what they do. Doesn't matter to me one bit what that pilot did before, my job is to teach him how not to kill everyone on board, make him speak the language of my airline , standardize him and send him to the line. Background is irrelevant.

P.S. if you are wondering if that question was insulting...it is.

Wh0rse1 karma

have you got FSX/Prepare3d ? if so , do you think the physics are as good as the real thing?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Before I started flying in 05 I played FS02/04. I think its very realistic. I can only imagine the realism has gotten better. Haven't honestly played since about 08 but I learned a lot before I started flying. Its a great tool and a fun time.

EricHardiman1 karma

What was the worst passenger experience you've ever had?

Skywardbound1722 karma

In Providence RI a woman boarded so outrageously intoxicated she tripped over HERSELF and face planted in the galley. No attempt to hold herself up or stop the fall. She was placed into the seat and pissed her pants. When we decided to pull her off the plane she was saying to the cops "Are we in Philly already? Wow that was fast!"

Clipping toe nales is probably my biggest pet peeve though. Do I come to your office, put my feet up on your desk and clip my disgusting toe nails then LEAVE them in a pile for you to clean up?

For some reason common sense is left with the checked bags and people get on the airplane with mush for brains. I understand really that its a new and sometimes traumatic experience but every now and then you see someone do something outrageous like masturbate in flight think "what the **** is wrong with you?!?!?"

EricHardiman1 karma

Thanks for the answer haha

Skywardbound1722 karma

Np

duetmasaki1 karma

I work in a restaurant, people do that there too. Some people just should not leave the house, ever.

Skywardbound1721 karma

Were trying to have a society here people!!!!!

moaningpilot1 karma

If you have a super long runway and no traffic forcing you to get down and off the runway - will you sometimes float it a bit to get an ego-strokingly smooth touchdown, or will you always smack it down straight on the zone regardless?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Here is my professional answer "yes always land according to the book"

Here is the real answer "Yes usually try to get a smooth touch down if its possible"

If its short or snow or rainy and bad visibility you better believe I'm going to put it down firm right where she needs to go but two miles of concrete on a clear day, sure ill try to get a smooth touch down.

Floating isn't part of a good touch down, its actually caused by improper airspeed control, a smooth touchdown can be made easily with a little skill and speed control in only about 500 feet. When you see an airliner float several thousand feed its all poor pilot technique. Thats not to say I'm perfect, I have certainly had my fair share of landings that always end up with me saying "Oh come on already".

reverendsteveii1 karma

As a simulator nerd with about 200 hours total time in the (virtual) cockpit, what's a good way to start toward actually becoming a pilot? Preferably one that isn't terribly expensive as I'm fresh out of school and, therefore, fresh out of money. Where do I start?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Thats basically how I got started in aviation except I was 14. The best way to get started is to do a google search for Flight School and your city name. Visit their websites and see how much a Discovery Flight costs. Should be around 50-100$. You get to fly in the pilots seat for about a half hour and spend about an hour with the instructor. Ask LOTS of questions about everything you could imagine. Its your time, you paid for it use the resource. There have been thousands of pages of text written about learning to fly. Google man its your answer about how to start.

The discovery flight is the best way to get a quick relatively cheap flight lesson.

manofcolombia1 karma

Whats the craziest thing that's gone wrong during one of your flights? Also, not sure if posting pics of your license and ID are the safest things in the world...

Skywardbound1721 karma

All the important things are blurred out I don't to anything illegal or dangerous so its not important if someone knows my first name. The FAA registry of pilots is public record anyways and it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to jump through a few hoops to find out anyones name, but thanks for your concern.

The craziest thing was probably that aileron system jam as far as an aircraft malfunction. Not being able to steer left or right is a bit unnerving, sort of like loosing your brakes on the highway thinking to yourself "I shouldn't have to stop but sometimes I need the brake pedal..." Airplanes break thats a fact of life, there are so many redundancies and alternate systems and safety procedures and checklists that the "catastrophic" failure everyone loves to read about is a statical anomaly. Sure lots of stuff has happened, computers malfunction, the autopilot randomly shuts off, a hydraulic pump fails, the wing anti ice stops working, but in each of these cases a redundant system or a simple work around is all thats needed to complete the flight safely. Its not as "holy crap!!" as some people may think

Robrev61 karma

I've always been fascinated with aircraft. I'm still in high school and i'm not really sure how to get into that career. What degrees are good to have for a career as a pilot? What can i do while under 18 to make it happen? Thanks!

Skywardbound1721 karma

I started flying when I was 15 there is no limit to how old you have to be to take lessons. Now you can't solo or fly alone until your 16 and need to be 17 to get a Private Pilots license. What you CAN do if you don't want to or can't afford lessons now is study! Buy microsoft flight sim and do the lesson tutorials. Pick up how to fly books online or at a used book store. Rod Machado, King's flight school. Look at the FAA's website and pick up FREE the Private Pilot Handbook and the Airplane Flying Handbook PDF's. Read these and study. The more you learn before you spend time paying someone to teach you the better prepared and cheaper your training will be.

As for a discovery flight for a christams or birthday. They around 50-100 dollars on average. You get about an hour with a flight instructor and a half hour ride in an airplane where YOU sit in the pilot seat and get to actually fly the plane. Ask LOTS of questions and see if you like it.

why_birds1 karma

whats the drug and alcohol screening/testing like? Would you be grounded if you had weed in your substance from like a week prior?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Random drug screening, and drug test ever time you get a First Class medical. Absolutely grounded. Any drug violations or alcohol for that matter will ground you from duty, most likely will result in FAA certificate action (I.e they take your license or suspend it pending a variety of things)

To say the least there is a "zero tolerance" policy. You use you loose simple as that.

YouStayClassyReddit1 karma

How does one get hired at one of the big league airlines?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Oh man thats a vague question. The guys I see getting hired now are either captains at a regional airline or have military experience. Most pilots have over 1000 hours of captain experience and five or more years airline flying experience. So all you have to do is come up with a resume like that, Pay 65$ to purchase a subscription to Airlineapps.com spend about a week applying, pay 175$ a pop for tickets to various career fairs, pull out half your hair watching your buddies get hired everywhere else and maybe eventually if you are lucky someone will call you for a grueling, intense, potentially massive career effecting interview.

Thats it in a nut shell

duetmasaki1 karma

Which planes have you flown, and which one(s) is/are your favorite?

Also, which aircraft would you give your left nut to fly?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Piper super cub is probably my favorite, Cessna 340 is up there as a fun little sports car of a ship. Left nut would be given for the Sr-71 / A-12, Space shuttle, Concord, Skyraider, V22.

I like machines that are interesting. F22 cool yes very cool but sort of generic, straight super fast super stealthy ok awesome. I enjoy things that are extremely unique and interesting complicated and technical. Take the shuttle, antiquated equipment running on human ingenuity and demanding absolute perfection because you only get ONE chance to make the landing. That sound wicked fun. For lefty thats worth it.

Bodhammer1 karma

How much smaller and closer together are airline seats going to get?

Skywardbound1721 karma

THIS JUST IN: airline seats will soon be benches where we just cram a bunch of you together throw on massive seat belt across everyone and watch you duke it out among yourselves!

Seriously I don't know. I hate riding in the back beacause its uncomfortable. Ask any pilot why something happens and unanimously you will hear, "if I ran the airline..."

WhereIsCharlesLee1 karma

What advice would you give to a teenager who loves aviation and is considering being a pilot?

Skywardbound1723 karma

If you love it you will always love it. NEVER stop perusing that passion. I knew I wanted to fly at 12 and every day I go to work I can't believe people actually pay me to do my job. Well most days I think that. Second and probably most important advice is DO NOT GO TO A FANCY EXPENSIVE AVIATION SCHOOL!!!!! DO NOT spend $200,000 on an aviation degree. Thousands of good four year universities and two year technical colleges around the country offer flight training programs for a fraction of the price that are as good if not better than a mega - pilot - farm style school. I went to a 2 year school spent about 40k doing it, went to work and began earning money and finished my four year degree ONLINE while EMPLOYED at an airline. Never give up and never overspend. Now is a great time to get in the business.

Try a discovery flight. Do a google search for Flight school and your town, call and check prices should be about 50-75$ for a half hour flight and about an hour of an instructors time. Ask LOTs of questions see if you enjoy flying.

ruiz120312 karma

This! Never give up on a hobby or interest you feel very passionate about. I wanted to go to school to be a pilot but, then life happened and got diagnosed as a diabetic. Now I'm an IT person who still dreams of being a pilot.

OP, is it still possible to get a class I medical cert? And is 25 too old to start thinking about going back to school to fly?

Skywardbound1723 karma

No way is 25 too old. Im 25! Class I may be difficult depending on what type of diabetes you have. A google search should clear that up, I can't speak to it with authority. I see "second career" pilots all the time at 45 and 50 years old. My best advice is keep your training costs down, investigate good affordable instruction, don't think you need to pay 135$/ hr for a beat up cessna or piper.

Super_Arsha1 karma

As someone who's thinking about changing his career into aviation, I hope you answer some questions I have in mind:

  1. Based on your experience, how different it is between training to be an airline pilot and a helicopter pilot?

  2. When flying internationally (or really long trips), what do you do during mid-flight? Do you watch a movie, sleep, or you have to steer the airplane all the time?

  3. Do the co-pilot have a specific job that meant for him?

  4. What is the worst possible weather to fly into?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Those questions are fairly generic but I will do my best, I don't have experience with all of these areas.

1) Airplanes and helicopters operate 100% differently so the training for each SPECIFIC aircraft type is different. Helicopter training is often much more expensive than airplane training 40-70% more in some cases.

2) I don't fly international but I do have some general knowledge of what an international flight entails. Flying a large airplane may be referred to as "easy" but if anything it is never easy. A more accurate word may be routine. 50% of your time is dedicated to performing flight specific tasks, radio, flight management system / autopilot, position verification (for oceanic ops) fuel management. The other 50% is basically "monitoring" the airplane. I can't speak for every other pilot but people can get fairly creative during periods of down time. Most will read various materials, look out the window, or otherwise engage in conversation (most popular). What I can say for certain is 99% of pilots, even if they are reading or talking are able to snap back into their respective rolls and attend to the aircraft at a moments notice. Its never as if both of us are not paying attention the the airplane at all.

Eliminate Co-Pilot from your vocabulary, it no longer exists. First Officer is the pilot who sits in the right seat of the cockpit. Captain is the pilot who sits in the left side of the cockpit. These terms only apply to the person who has the ultimate LEGAL authority to make decisions. When in flight the pilot rolls are divided into Pilot Flying and Pilot Monitoring. These rolls switch ever flight or ever two flights depending on the airline or the pilots preferences.

The worst weather I have flown into was probably hurricane Sandy. The worst possible weather to fly into is subject to experience, airplane type, and personal preferences. Flying into icing conditions in a Cessna Caravan can quickly become an emergency situation but any transport category jet can handle massive amounts of ice without a problem.

KWSMT1 karma

How do airlines handle call ins for pilots? Are there pilots who are paid to hang out in an airport all day on standby ready to cover a pilot to sick to work?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Yes there are pilots who sit around waiting for a call in, they are called reserves. The most junior or recently hired pilots usually fill this position. My company has two different types of pilot reserves: ready reserve and reserve. Ready reserve pilots sit in a quiet room tucked away from the masses in the terminal ready to go at a moments notice, they usually wear their uniform or have it easily accessible. A normal reserve needs to be within 2 hours of the airport. If you live in the same city you are based chances are you can sit at home and wait for the phone to ring, if you commute to work that means you're sitting in a hotel or apartment you share with many other airline employees waiting for the phone to ring or your flight back home

salacious_c1 karma

Do you ever find yourself on a large commercial plane with no passengers? If so, do you ever do anything fun that you couldn't do with passengers on board? Say if you were requested to change altitude, ever just jam the yoke and pull some Gs? Aileron roll maybe?

Skywardbound1722 karma

Ha, if only. Yes we do occasionally ferry or reposition aircraft without passengers or even flight attendants some times. The airplanes are always flown the same though, they do their job well but definitely are not aerobatic. Those experiences usually happened in the "good old days"

TahoeTweezer0 karma

With all your experience, what are the odds that you could hit a 6 story building with a commercial plane going maximum speed without hitting the ground or going over it?

Skywardbound1721 karma

Now thats asking me to step into a hornets nest. The 270 degree descending turn at speed near Vmo. It didn't happen, I could do it MAYBE in MY airplane on a good day with some practice if I was lucky. But he never did it, and the airplane didn't vanish. Airplanes don't vaporize on impact.