Now this is an awesome pilot video! Thanks Mike for the link! Everyday morning.
And a copilot becomes a captain not by virtue of skill or experience, but rather when his or her seniority standing allows it. And not every copilot wants to become a captain right away. Airline seniority bidding is a complicated thing, and a pilot can often have a more comfortable quality of life — salary, aircraft assignment, schedule and choice of destinations — as a senior copilot than as a junior captain. Thus, at a given airline, there are plenty of copilots who are older and more experienced than many captains.
One of the best paragraphs that sums up who the "co-pilot" of an airliner really is or can be. I had no choice whatsoever in my progression. It took me seven years to the day to where I was able to hold a Captain seat at my previous airline and now that I've moved on, I'm back to being a First Officer / Co-Pilot / Co-Captain / Right Seat by virtue of my hire date. It will take pilots above me leaving or retiring and / or the airline expanding with more aircraft and routes before I can hold the title of Captain again. Even at that point, it'll also depends on where I am in my life in terms of having to be away more since I'll be on reserve. More on that later.
Back to the topic, I've known Captains downgrade to First Officer due to a lifestyle change where they wanted more time at home. Some are able to afford to take the 35% pay cut but in all circumstances, their skills did NOT degrade just by switching seats or epaulets. The media needs to get this right and do a better story overall on a pilot's life. I'm starting to get rather annoying. Just my Tuesday rant.
Make sure to read the entire post via Patrick Smith's AskThePilot
I've written about this topic before but in light of the upcoming tentative agreement voting window closing today at 10 EST, why not post another about the real wages of the airline pilot. In fact, I wrote a few which you can find here. My Schedule / Rest and Regulations At my airline1, we are guaranteed 75 hours a month at rates of $43.59 an hour for first officer and $74.89 an hour for captain. My first year here, I made $19.02 an hour and didn't even break the poverty level for a family of 3 let alone barely rise above the family of two2. Not to mention that my loan took 70% of my paycheck too but yes, I did chose this profession3. I didn't know what I was in for either but ignorance was / is bliss.
A portrait of these hourly pay scales becomes even more pathetic when you consider that regional airline pilots, who are paid only from the time the airline leaves the gate to the time it arrives at the destination, only are on the clock on average about 21.5 hours per week.
For a first-year co-pilot at Republic Airlines, for example, that translates into gross weekly pay of a mere $495 per week.
For a pilot with 10 years’ experience at SkyWest, the weekly gross paycheck might be around $1,312.
But, then you have to consider that these wages don’t nearly reflect the hours that regional airline co-pilots and pilots have to put into the job.
Although they may only be on the clock 21.5 hours per week or 85 hours per month,” pilots typically are away from base, and from their families, about 240 to 300 hours per month (or about 60 to 75 hours a week),” according to the Airline Pilots Association.
For the lowest paid co-pilot on Mesa Airlines earning about $22 per hour, this imbalance works out to $6.80 an hour for a 60-hour work week.
- On average, I personally safely fly 150 people a day four times a week. Just yesterday, this airline recorded over 2206 departures second to Southwest! ↩
- $17,170 for 3 / $13,690 for 2 via http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml/ ↩
- Just to clarify, I am a 7th year commercial airline pilot who recently made captain. The quality of life on a reserve schedule is a whole other topic. ↩