How Do I Position Myself to Fly for an Airline?

Airlines in the United States are continuing to hire pilots at a very healthy pace. As
they compete with each other for qualified pilots, a few of the airlines have
begun to lower some of the minimum requirements necessary to get an interview
with them.


ASA

One qualification that they are not lowering however is the amount of Multi-engine
time required. Graduates of ATP’s
Career Pilot Program
have more than enough Multi time when
they graduate, and I have personally heard ATP executives in
discussions about finding an affordable nationwide solution for meeting those
multi-engine requirements for graduates of other programs.

In addition, there are other solutions being offered for pilots preparing for
success when competing for a flying job with an airline.

ATP offers advanced Regional Jet systems and operations training in the Regional
Jet Standards Certification Program
for example. This program covers the
systems, limitations, and operations of the Regional Jet to prepare pilots to
excel during a Regional Airline interview as well as new-hire training at the
airline once hired.

The RJ Program is instructed by highly experienced Regional Airline Pilots who not
only teach about flying the RJ, but also how to operate professionally in the
cockpit of an airliner.

The course includes an excellent computer-based system course for the Regional
Jet
, as well as an introduction to the Flight Management System and extensive
instruction on its use. The RJ Program also orients a pilot on day-to-day operations
of the Regional Jet in the airline environment.

Learning to perform up to
airline standards will greatly increase your chances of success when you have
to do it during Initial Flight Training at your new airline. ATP’s RJ Program is
designed to help a pilot make several transitions smoothly and without the
pressure of your new job relying on the outcome.

For example, reciprocating piston
engines turning propellers respond very quickly to increases or reductions in
power. “Recips” can produce almost instantaneous thrust with the downside being
a relative lack of power and reliability. Jet engines are very reliable because
all of the internal moving parts rotate in the same direction, making them very
smooth, safe and dependable. Learning how to operate them just takes some time
and practice.

Another example of
transitioning in the RJ Program is instrumentation. Most of us spend years
perfecting our scan of the standard
instrument cluster
in general aviation aircraft we learn to fly in. Then we
climb into an aircraft with an all glass cockpit
when we get hired by an airline and we have to learn a new way to do our job. There
is a dramatic difference between the two, but once you make the transition a
glass cockpit is much more useful than steam gauges.

The most difficult transition
that has to be made is from a general aviation style single-pilot cockpit operation
to an airline crew environment. The challenge is that for the first time in a
general aviation pilot’s flying career they have to interact closely with
another aviator to safely operate an airplane. This can be much more difficult
than it sounds until you get the hang of it.

These transitions are all
important to someone hoping to do well in Initial Flight Training at an
airline. Making those transitions before you arrive at the airline you have
been dreaming about flying for is advisable and makes good common sense.

Why not take full advantage
of the rare opportunity to work for an airline? You have worked hard to get there,
be prepared to excel in your training. You will never get another chance to
make a great first impression on the Airline’s training pilots you will see
over and over again during your career.