Flying the Line: Express Jet Airlines

ExpressJet Airlines serves as the regional jet carrier for Continental Airlines, providing domestic jet service as well as flights to many locations in Mexico and Canada.

Embraer Regional Jet (ERJ)

ExpressJet flies the new EMB-135 and EMB-145 aircraft produced in Brazil. Equipped with the most modern glass cockpits and Flight Management Systems (FMS), ExpressJet’s young fleet is growing with deliveries of several new EMB-145XR aircraft each month.

Interview process

Currently ExpressJet is accepting resumes and conducting interviews. The minimum requirements are 600 hours of total time and 100 hours of multiengine time. The process begins with an on-line application on the company’s web site at www.expressjet.com. After submitting general information online, the applicant will be called by a recruiter who will conduct a phone interview. This interview consists of some basic questions about the current aircraft the applicant is flying and some multiengine flight principals such as Vmc. A successful phone interview will result in a formal interview at the airline’s Houston training facility. A round trip ticket will be provided and a one-day, three-part interview will be done.

The first portion of the interview is a company overview, done by one of the recruiting staff, and a thorough review of all logbooks, ratings, and medical certificate. The second part is a technical interview done by some of the airline’s Captains, First Officers, and Check Airmen. Finally, there is a human resource segment that covers more of a personal interview and review of qualifications. Once the interview is complete the applicant is informed of a decision. If offered a position, an application is started that day and a class date assigned.

At the time of the interview, I held a commercial multi-engine pilot certificate, instrument rating, and multi-engine instrument flight instructor certificates. I held a current first class medical, and had approximately 950 hours–about 600 of which was multi-engine built while instructing at ATP. I had also completed ATP’s Regional Jet Standards Certification Program prior to the interview.

New Hire

As a newly hired First Officer, my flight time was a little lower than the class average, but I had much more multi-engine time than most. The majority of the pilots in my class were flight instructors. Only three new hires were from other airlines.

Training is a two-month process that is very fast paced and demanding. The first week is a formal introduction to the company and policies. The next phase is a two-week course including ERJ systems classes and 5 ERJ flight-training device (FTD) sessions. After the systems exam and final FTD checkout, there is an Oral exam with a check airman. The final phase is the full flight simulator (FFS). This is a two-week process with 6 sessions and a final check ride with a check airman. After passing the simulator checkride you are a crewmember and begin 25-35 hours of Initial Operating Experience (IOE). IOE is intended to show you how all the things you learned come together in the real world environment.A final IOE check completes all the required training and you are then flying the line.

During training housing was provided at a local hotel with shuttle service to the training center. Travel to and from home was also provided on weekends. Food was not included, however breakfast at the hotel was free. Per-diem was paid to all new hires but not the minimum 75-hour salary. Approximately $1100 was paid for the entire training process, and received during the second week.

New Hires begin to receive pay after completing the simulator check ride. Once IOE is completed the newly hired First Officer is flying the line as a reserve pilot.