Is there a source with a list of employers for A&P mechanics like airlinepilotcentral for pilots? Looking in Richmond, VA

2022.12.06 18:53 U-V-A Is there a source with a list of employers for A&P mechanics like airlinepilotcentral for pilots? Looking in Richmond, VA

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2022.11.13 23:15 MurkyAd8856 Would you recommend a career as an airline pilot?

Hello all, recently I took a discovery flight and really enjoyed it. Upon talking to the flight instructor following the flight, I experienced an amount of curiosity in the field that I haven't exhibited for quite some time. I realized that I potentially had a passion for it. Following months of looking at forums, airlinepilotcentral, and even talking to a few pilots, I started to consider flying as a career. The majority of the advice I see regarding not pursuing aviation is attributed to the high barriers of entry by way of financial costs. This wouldn't really apply to me given the fact that I could bypass them through the GI Bill.
Now, I'm currently 23 and have about 42 college credits earned. Considering the airlines are hiring significantly now, I've been led to believe that within 2-3 years, by the time I start looking for employment, the industry may be experiencing the R-word (recession). No one has a crystal ball, but given the timing, and the fact that the airline industry is subject to many variables out of anyone's control, would it be wise to pursue piloting as a career? Would it be something you'd recommend? Any input/help would be much appreciated!!
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2022.10.14 20:16 Select-Storage4097 Mid-career Switch to Airlines?

Hey there! I'm in my mid-thirties with a mediocre career in aerospace engineering testing avionics. I'm just getting burnt out from office life, politics, etc. I'm currently about to get my CFI ticket and have about 500 hours. Considering I've already spent a bunch of money collecting ratings, I'm curious if the community would recommend the transition to an airline career. Based on various sites around, current entry-level pay the airlines would not be a massive pay cut at $80k to $100k ( Plus pay of a few years at the majors looks like even a first officer would outpace my current trajectory for end-of-career salary in 20 years with some killer benefits (e.g., $161 is ~$160k a year with 16% 401(k) match ?!), and unless I'm mistaken, that could only be 6 or 7 years away. I'd guess that's a year or so as a CFI, 2-3 years regionals, 3 years at a major. I only see a need to verify I can get a first class medical (got a second class a few years ago after getting a CSEL, no current medical issues), invest a year to a year and a half as a CFI and grab a CMEL with some hours to get to ATP minimums. Also curious if you'd recommend staying in my career while working part-time as a CFI or just going for it. I'd foresee a tough few years working two jobs to build the hours as well as continue a career, plus it'd mean entry into the industry nearing 40....
This is something I've thought about doing for a long time, I've just remained on the fence because when I get the ambition to jump ship, my career takes a marginally positive turn and I second-guess the decision. Now in my mid-thirties, I feel like it's make-or-break time.
Obviously, pay is a big factor. I feel my retirement is fairly well set already, but would like to make some extra cheddar to grab some real-estate and keep the option to retire as early as possible (unless I happen to absolutely love pilot life :D). Would imagine I could call it quits in 10 to 15 years if I really wanted to. Wife is supportive of the idea, we have no kids and no plans for them. We currently want to pave a path to taking it easy in mid-life while shipping around the country in our currently-being-built Vans RV and working part-time to make ends meet.
TL;DR: At 500 hours and nearing CFI checkride, should I make a jump from an underwhelming engineering career into the airlines with plans to retire in 10 to 15 years. Currently in my mid-thirties. Salary is the biggest factor, and seems like pay prospects for airlines are currently good from the start and outstanding by mid-career, and jaw-dropping if I make it to captain in the majors.
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2022.06.02 06:28 FeeProof5745 Question for any major airline pilot

Brief background on myself: all of my flying experience is military (C-130). I was hired recently by a regional airline. I get my R-ATP in a week, and will have 1500 hours in a few months, at which point I can apply to majors. With that being said, I want to go to a major airline as soon as possible.
My predicament is, I know close to nothing about the differences in lifestyle between the different major airlines. I know they're all hiring at an increased rate, and I want to be smart in my decision if I do get offers in the future. I'd like to pick a major, and stick with it to gain seniority.
I know that the pay, airframes, and bases are posted on Other than that, I do not know anything about the work/life balance. I'm hoping some major captains or FOs are willing to weigh in on some specifics from their company.
Specifically, I'd love to hear from: FedEx, UPS, Delta, American, United, Southwest... or any others. Right now fedex/UPS seems appealing based on pay, but I don't know the cons. I've heard that with Spirit you can just take a leave of absence without penalty? Is this true?

So, my questions are:
-Who do you work for?
-What's the career progression like? For example, how long from FO to CA promotion? Do they let you pick your airframe, or is it all a bid? (sorry, I know I'm naive to 121 flying)
-What are the seniojunior bases at your airline? How easy is it to switch bases? Which airframes are located at which bases?
-How many days off a month do you typically get? What's reserve like? Hotels paid for? Junior man?
-Pros/Cons? Best benefit?
-Anything else you'd like to add would be awesome, I really appreciate the insight.
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2022.05.10 00:46 bwray71 Airline Pilot Salaries at Emirates and UPS. My goals. Need advice thanks

I am getting mixed results on Airline Pilots' Salaries.
I was looking around at airline pilot central's website, which is a fantastic website, and just randomly ran across the salary of Emirates Airlines. The salary potential is so good. I can see myself going there. This is my estimate of the process.
1 Going 117K into debt at ATP flight school for 7 months to get my CFI
2 Instructing for 1.5 years to get my 1500 hours
3 Flying Regionals for a little over 1 year to get 2500 hours total.
4 Get hired on as a First Officer at Emirates after (let's round up) 4 to 5 years from my start point.
As a First Officer flying 90 hours a month, it seems you work 7 days on then 7 days off. When you start out as a First Officer taking into account your salary and your flight time you will make 100K your first year. It's actually like 97K, I did the math last night, so let's round up. More importantly, this 100K is tax-free! Emirates provides you with an apartment and pays for your municipal bills. Basically, at Emirates, all I would have to pay for is my food and entertainment. Using my rough estimate is like making 180K in the USA after you pay for your taxes, apartment, and municipal bills.
Another example is UPS. My father worked as a UPS driver for 20 years, with a pristine record, then he retired. Would this help me any in getting hired as a First Officer at UPS? A First Officer at UPS will make 192K their second year. That is amazing. How realistic are these goals?
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2021.09.29 08:30 PlanesandWhisky Pilot question about working for regionals

Background: Military aviator, will retire from the Navy likely with less than 1500 TT due to military bureaucracy type things like "needs of the Navy" and hour shortages. Additionally, when I retire in a few years it is very likely that my last job will not be a flying gig so I will not be instrument current. It seems like I am more or less guaranteed the "opportunity" to work for a regional carrier for a little bit.
Now to my question. After doing a lot of forum digging on airlinepilotcentral forums it seems like every regional pilot is unhappy with their carrier and is of the opinion that the other carriers would be better options. Endeavor pilots think it sucks and that Piedmont is better. Piedmont thinks PSA or Envoy offers the same benefits but better QOL, etc, etc, etc. My question is this, is there a regional carrier that is regarded as a good place to work by the people that actually work there?
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2021.07.09 20:44 Threeeeeeeees $HRBR: market has priced Air Wisconsin for liquidation--why that's a major mistake that presents a 270% upside opportunity

$HRBR: market has priced Air Wisconsin for liquidation--why that's a major mistake that presents a 270% upside opportunity


Following a announcement from United Airlines on June 29th regarding sunsetting their fleet of 50-seat single cabin regional jets by 2026, the markets have taken an unreasonably pessimistic view that Air Wisconsin will be on the chopping block at its next contract renewal in February 2023.
First of all, currently at $2.10, HRBR is priced BELOW even liquidation value of $2.17. Any continued operation beyond 2023 would increase HRBR’s value by at least 30-40%, and any transformative transaction would increase its value by multiple times, to $6-$10+.
This article presents overwhelming evidence suggesting a liquidation is NOT happening, and in fact the opposite is likelier—a transformed and upgraded fleet for a going concern operation way beyond 2026.
At $2.10, HRBR is essentially a risk free call option through March 2023, and only begins to bear any sort of risk after April 2022. A risk adjusted valuation of $5.65 results in 270% expected upside with potential for much more, with very limited downside.


The background for this opportunity is just as fascinating as the opportunity itself. I strongly encourage all to read this previous article which explains in detail the HRBR situation up through June 29, 2021 when this new opportunity presented itself. Here’s a quick summary and timeline:
$HRBR is now the holding company for Air Wisconsin after some interesting restructuring. Air Wisconsin now operates a fleet of 64 CRJ-200s (really old 50 seater planes on connection routes) exclusively for United Airlines through United Express through their hubs in ORD and IAD, along with some other regional airlines including Skywest, Mesa, GoJet, Commutair, Republic.
In 2019 Air Wisconsin cleared $260m of revenue, ~$60m of EBITDAR, ~$40m of UFCF.
  1. Pre 2011: HRBR was a failing bio-tech
  2. 2012: bought out for its NOLs and became the holdco for Air Wisconsin
  3. 2012 - 2020: HRBR went dark for 8 years until a shareholder sued to release filings in 2020
  4. July 10, 2020: HRBR posts its first 10K in almost a decade, posting $260m revenue while trading at ~$10m market cap because no one knew wtf this company was.
  5. Dec 26, 2020: Released research describing the ludicrous opportunity at ~$0.29, with price target of $3.60 to $4.
  6. June 29, 2021: $HRBR increased about 10x within 6 months, peaking at $3.10 on the day prior until UAL, exclusive contractor of Air Wisconsin, announced its new 2026 strategy to upgauge the fleet (increase seating), including phasing out 50 seaters (note that all of Air Wisconsin’s fleet are 50 seaters). Price tanked 45%.

The Opportunity

$HRBR is currently priced below liquidation at ~$2.10, but compelling evidence suggests a liquidation is unlikely to happen anytime soon, and on the contrary Air Wisconsin plans to expand, creating tremendous upside potential from current price
We’ll go into valuation in the following section but currently at $2.10, the market is pricing in a 2023 liquidation, likely based on the recent UAL news, but I believe the market completely misunderstood the UAL news.
United’s 2026 Strategy
The 2026 United Next strategy from UAL released on June 29, 2021 describes UAL’s 5 year strategy. Apart from operational improvements, the main strategic growth drivers are:
  1. Upgauging the fleet by ordering 270 narrowbody jets for its mainline fleet and retiring 200+ single-cabin 50 seat regional jets by 2026 (slide 13).
  2. Strengthening hubs, particularly the midcontinental hubs (slide 15-16).
HRBR Price Reaction
When I first saw this news on the morning of June 29, frankly my first thought was—great, United thinks post-COVID travel will explode, and they are adjusting their strategy to capture the upside, plus they’re upgrading their fleet particularly in the mid-continental hubs where Air Wisconsin focuses: great news for United and Air Wisconsin (HRBR).
Yes, it did cross my mind that Air Wisconsin’s fleet of CRJ-200s were exactly the type of single-cabin 50 seaters on the chopping block, but this is a 2026 strategy and I figured they had plenty of time to slowly phase out the old fleet for an upgraded one.
However, a quick look at $HRBR’s recent price chart shows the market clearly thought differently, posting a hideous ~50% drawdown in 2 days. My speculation on the trading psychology which created this opportunity:
  • Market participants saw the 2023 UAX contract renewal date, assumed Air Wisconsin’s CRJ-200 fleet was on the chopping block, put 2 and 2 together and concluded (prematurely) that United would not renew their contract with Air Wisconsin come February 2023, and HRBR would have to liquidate in 2 years.
  • Price begets narrative, and market participants saw the reaction from the market as confirmation of their fears, and either did not research or did not do it quickly enough to realize the fears were unfounded on fact, and sold.
  • Some minor selling led to more selling, and it happened so quickly that many uninformed investors panic sold on the news, or were auto-stopped out.
  • This was made worse by the massive run-up leading to the UAL news, with many short term traders looking to stay in the green, and “longer term” investors looking to lock in profits on a monumental 10x run within 6 months.
  • Market participants capitulated throughout the course of the week that perhaps this was an overreaction, and came back buying in force, driving price from lows of $1.6 to an intra-day high of $2.28 in just one and a half days.
So, what is the right price?
It is difficult to pin the “right” price per se. I have outlined 4 of the most likely scenarios below and their respective valuations and my take on probabilities of occurrence. You can tweak these on your own to come up with your risk-adjusted valuation.
Based on the evidence, I think the base and upside case are most likely, which projects a risk-adjusted value of $5.65 per share for 270% upside from $2.10.
Naturally, the upside case is imprecise; all I know for sure is, directionally, the liquidation case is extremely unlikely to happen, so buying at the current prices means the downside is extremely limited while the upside could be extremely high.

Scenarios and Valuations

These are the 4 most likely scenarios. These of course aren’t exhaustive but whatever happens to Air Wisconsin should smell like one of these. I’ve done a valuation for each case and assigned what I think is the probability of a similar scenario playing out. The valuation for the liquidation and conservative cases are obviously conservative and more precise. Naturally the upside cases are more imprecise and I am only using them as directional guidance.
To summarize:
  1. Liquidation Case: 2023 Liquidation ($2.17, 5% probability)
  2. Conservative Case: Wind Down for 2026 Liquidation ($2.77, 35%)
  3. Upside Case A: Up-gauge fleet gradually through leases (~$6, 40%)
  4. Upside Case B: Up-gauge fleet rapidly through M&A (~$10, 20%)
Using these probabilities, I arrive at a risk-adjusted valuation of ~$5.65, which is my new price target.
Let’s dive in to each scenario:

#1 Liquidation Case : 2023 Liquidation ($2.17, 5% chance)

The liquidation case describes United Airlines opting NOT to renew their contract with Air Wisconsin in Feb 2023, AND Air Wisconsin not being able to find another carrier to contract with, AND as a result Air Wisconsin liquidating the business in ‘23.
In this scenario, HRBR is worth $2.17 today.
I’ve taken a NAV approach, plus a mini DCF on the 2 remaining years of normalized UFCF of $44m each, plus the liquidation proceeds of the 64 CRJ-200 jets.
However, overwhelming evidence suggests that Air Wisconsin will not liquidate in 2023.
I hope the following series of evidence dispels ANY consideration that the liquidation case is even remotely likely.
Let’s examine:
Exhibit 1: Check out this Air Wisconsin job posting from May 27, 2021. It clearly states they already have a new CRJ-700 jet on deck, and will have a CRJ-900 in 2022. An airline going into liquidation in 2 years would not add 2 larger jets to its fleet.
Exhibit 2: Indeed, Air Wisconsin’s FAA certificate includes a CL-600-2C10 (manufacturer’s name for CRJ-700). Again, an airline wouldn’t randomly get a new class of airplanes certified if it wasn’t planning to do something with it. And if Air Wisconsin starts flying CRJ-700s, you can bet it’s not getting axed by United for years to come.
The CRJ-700 is actually leased from Elite Airways, as seen on their Wikipedia page.
In fact, active airline forums have spotted this very airplane at an Air Wisconsin hangar, so yes it is without a doubt, real.
Exhibit 3: I have spoken with a current pilot who is certified to fly 200/700/900; he confirmed the scuttlebutt above regarding new 700 and 900 jets. He also noted, helpfully, that since the 3 CRJ classes are very similar, the cost and time required to re-skill pilots is minimal. Again, this implies the upguage from 200s to 700/900s is perfectly possible for Air Wisconsin.
Another pilot confirming:
And even Air Wisconsin’s page jumping in:
Exhibit 4: Air Wisconsin is massively increasing its pilot and first officer hiring. Why would a liquidating company need 2 new hire classes every month through the rest of the year? And keep in mind, they had furloughed pilots for COVID, not laid off, so their return is not double counted here.
Exhibit 5: Another critical piece of evidence is Air Wisconsin’s new CFO. They hired Liam Mackay in January of 2021. Previously, he was Director of United Express Regional Commercial Strategy at United Airlines, aka he had the pulse on future strategy for United Express contractors like Air Wisconsin. He 100% knew about this “UAL Next” strategy before it became public, and yet still chose to uproot his family and life in Chicago, and (no offense) take up this job at a small regional airline in bumf*ck nowhere in Appleton, Wisconsin. According to the 10K, he is being paid $220k with a 50% target bonus. This is average for a company of this size and an executive of his tenure, which provides me with very high comfort in Air Wisconsin’s future as a going concern—it is basically impossible that this guy chose THIS job if he knew it was going bye-bye in 2 years.
Exhibit 6: In addition, HRBR has a dividend policy that starts PIKing in 2024. I mean, there’s no dividend to PIK if there’s no Air Wisconsin left by then, so again, liquidation in 2023 is moot.
Exhibit 7: Perhaps most compelling (but a little convoluted so bear with me), is how the different UAX fleets add up according to UAL’s new strategy. Following the math below, it is impossible for Air Wisconsin to be cut completely, as there would be no one left to cover O’Hare (ORD), which is not only an important hub for Air Wisconsin, but more importantly a mid-continental hub, which is a key hub of focus under United’s new plan.
This is what the UAX regional fleet looks like, per the latest 10Q’s from each public company, and other sources for private peers.
According to UAL, Newark (EWR) will see its entire 50 seat single cabin fleet phased out by 2021 year end. This critical tidbit is not on the deck but is voiced over by CEO Scott Kirby around the 31:00 mark on the webcast here. This means CommutAir is gone, since the CRJ-550s in GoJet’s fleet are triple cabin. CRJ 550s are 70-seater CRJ-700s modified into triple cabin 50-seaters to increase RASM (revenue per available seat mile) with First and E+ seats. United has explicitly called out they will keep the 550s in EWR and ORD on slide 19 (important again later).
This leaves Air Wisconsin and Skywest’s CRJ-200s. Well, here’s the thing, on slide 13, Kirby says they’re “cutting 200+ single cabin 50-seaters”. That means some or all of Skywest’s fleet has to go, since if you only cut CommutAir’s 132 and Air Wisconsin’s 65, that doesn’t get you to 200. But if you cut all 3, then 132 + 65 + 108 gets you to 305, in which case Kirby would have said 300+ instead of 200+. Therefore, Skywest and Air Wisconsin will both get a reduced capacity BY 2026. You can back into these numbers again with a different source here—there will be 100 CRJ-200s left…
In addition, on the same slide, United says it will keep 4% of single cabin 50-seaters servicing ORD. That is a pretty small number, and since Air Wisconsin has a lower cost to United than Skywest, it would make more sense for Air Wisconsin to get this contract. Regardless, this describes the 2026 end-state and has NO bearing on what happens between 2023 - 2026.
I hope it is clear now why it makes NO sense for United to immediately cut Air Wisconsin in 2023.
I included this first scenario not because I think it is likely, but only to set a floor for the downside. Basically, HRBR should not be worth less than ~$2.17 unless something drastic changes.
#2 Conservative Case: Wind Down for 2026 Liquidation ($2.77, 35%)
Based on the same facts as above, I think the much more reasonable conservative assumption is to think Air Wisconsin survives the 2023 renewal, but begins to wind down its capacity with United through 2026, until it is liquidated or equivalent.
In this case, I estimate HRBR to be worth ~$2.77; the valuation is very similar to the first case, using a NAV approach plus a mini DCF that stretches out to 2026 with reduced capacity post 2023, plus liquidation proceeds from the jets. This yields a VERY cheap 3.1x EBITDAR.
Even if you take the most conservative assumption that there is 0 liquidation or even metal scrap value, this case still yields ~$2.50.
While this is much more likely than the first scenario, I still think it is not the most likely case.
Mackay’s perspective Think again from Liam Mackay’s perspective: would he leave his quickly progressing UAL career and move from Chicago to rural Wisconsin to join a lower-tier company just to start winding it down in 2 years? This guy is 36, I highly doubt he’s gung ho about a job description that says: sunset this company in 2 years and kill it in 5…
What’s more likely, given his role at UAL, was that he LITERALLY created the strategy for UAX and perhaps even specifically for Air Wisconsin, and he realized how much upside there was to be had, and decided to give up his life in Chicago to go after a career-defining move.
Board perspective In addition, I keep coming back to this board. Keep in mind their board is extremely sophisticated; all 3 of them are ivy-league or Canadian equivalent PE/IB veterans. They aren’t just some legacy airline operators—they bought the HRBR shell back in 2011 for one reason—to turn a profit. Richard Bartlett, beneficiary of controlling entities Amun and Southshore, is literally an Air Wisconsin lifer and has been with the company through ups and downs for decades. Is he suddenly going to let it go now? Post COVID? When everyone and their mother is trying to revenge travel? I doubt it.
In sum, while this scenario is much more likely than a liquidation in 2023, I still think it is not the most likely. Trust me, Bartlett ACTIVELY hates minority shareholders like us (they have not returned a single email or call), but this would be a failure even in self-dealing if the board simply lets this company fade into liquidation after decades of operation. And CFO Liam Mackay would have made a massive career mistake.
#3 Upside Case A: Up-gauge fleet gradually through leases (~$6, 40%)
I think the most likely case is either of the 2 upside cases, as in Air Wisconsin continues operating as a going concern. The only difference between these 2 upside cases are whether Air Wisconsin leases or acquires their upgraded fleet through M&A.
These two valuations are more imprecise and directional, since the out years get fuzzy, but using a full DCF, I’m projecting ~$6 value (~6x EBITDAR) if Air Wisconsin gradually upgauges its owned CRJ-200 fleet 1:1 into leased 700 and 900s.
Basically, if there’s any type of transaction at all, the terminal cashflow will massively increase NPV beyond the $2.17 liquidation value to at least $6-$10
This process could take many forms, in different combinations of fleet classes, so $6 is definitely only a directional guide.
The driving assumptions are:
  1. An increase in contracted revenue per available seat miles (CRASM) due to premium mix shift (which is what UAL Next is all about really)
  2. A 1:1 gradual fleet replacement with leases
  3. Run rate OpEx based on revenue drivers
  4. Maintenance CapEx and Leases comped from MESA, which is an exclusively 70 seater fleet
Thinking again from Liam Mackay and the Board’s perspective, this scenario seems the most likely to me. If you were Mackay, drafting up this UAX strategy, and Bartlett calls your phone one day, “hey, if you guys are gonna upgrade the whole fleet but you still need 50-seaters at O’Hare, why don’t you come run the transition into a new fleet here at Air Wisconsin?”
Maybe it’s just me, but this would be interesting enough for me to give up a steady life and career in Chicago to try something like this with Air Wisconsin (I’d definitely say NO if instead I were to sunset this company in 5 years…)
#4 Upside Case B: Up-gauge fleet rapidly through M&A (~$10, 20%)
An alternative flavor to the previous upside case is instead of leasing the new fleet, Air Wisconsin undergoes some sort of M&A to acquire a better fleet. The most ideal and likely M&A target would be GoJet.
GoJet GoJet currently has a fleet of 47 CRJ-550s (converted 700s). It signed a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) in 2019 with United, to supply 75 premium CRJ-550s for the next 10 years, which would have been awesome if COVID didn’t happen. GoJet (private) is held by parent company Trans State Holdings (TSH). Pre-COVID, Trans State Holdings also held two sister companies of GoJet called Compass and Trans State Airlines.
Cue COVID and the unwinding of TSH (and I’m speculating, the end of GoJet too).
Both TSH sister companies folded in April 2020 due to COVID. GoJet itself had to pause delivery of its ~30 still pending aircraft, and operation of its 47 delivered aircraft. With spectacular market timing possibly even worse than mine, GoJet announced in early February 2020 that it would further increase its fleet, which obviously went nowhere since COVID started (just like all of us).
So now you have a holding company TSH, and its massive infrastructure designed to be upheld by the cashflow from 3 subsidiary airlines, only currently being supported by basically half an airline. No bueno.
Add to the mix that TSH’s owner Hulas Kanodia is 72 years old. This dude is ancient and is highly motivated to look for an exit of this (presumably) doomed business.
When TSA went under in 2020, its entire fleet was transferred over to ExpressJet, another United Express carrier. Could I see the same thing happening with GoJet’s fleet being transferred to Air Wisconsin? Absolutely.
Is it possible Liam Mackay came up with this very plan himself and decided to come to Air Wisconsin to execute it himself? Absolutely.
Now, this “M&A” of sorts could happen in a variety of ways and it’ll be impossible to tag a precise valuation given GoJet is private, so I’ve modeled the below all-stock acquisition of GoJet’s assets (rather than an equity sale/merger) which strips out all the hair from GoJet, and I’m sure at this point GoJet is VERY hairy.
Directionally, this projects ~$10 post dilution.
Most assumptions are similar to Scenario 3 except the type of plane, and the purchase of the assets instead of leasing.
Alternatively, Air Wisconsin could also be rolled into UAL proper like ExpressJet and CommutAir, or it could merge with GoJet or be acquired by TSH etc. A whole host of combinations could happen, but the very rough ~$10 range is what I would expect for any case where Air Wisconsin undergoes a transaction to own a large fleet of upgauged aircraft.
Again, if there’s any type of transformative transaction, the terminal cashflow will massively increase NPV beyond the $2.17 liquidation value to ~$6 - $10.

Investment Merits

  1. Incredible Risk Reward Profile The biggest highlight is the robust risk profile; the word is overused but the risk here is truly asymmetric. The 2023 liquidation value, if HRBR were to go bust in 2023, is around $2.17… As in, in the worst case if you hold through Feb 2023, you’re guaranteed around $2.17 at the very end. I hope I’ve made it crystal clear why a liquidation in 2023 is extremely unlikely. On top of that, any continued capacity agreement (Case 2) would moderately appreciate price, and any transaction (Case 3 or 4) would massively, MASSIVELY increase the value of the company to $6 - $10. At $2.10, $HRBR is basically a free call option expiring in Feb 2023.
  2. Management Alignment A very critical piece of this thesis is alignment with Liam Mackay’s and the Board’s interests. One key stakeholder, Liam Mackay, was previously the Director of United Express Commercial Strategy. He 100% knew what was going on behind the scenes and decided, at age 36, to uproot his life and solid career at United Airlines to move to Appleton, Wisconsin, to work at a lower-tier regional airline that’s about 100x smaller for a very average C-suite compensation package. Would he do that if he knew the company was liquidating in 2 years? Or even phasing out over 5 years? I contend he’d only do this if there was something truly transformative at Air Wisconsin happening soon, and Mackay of all people would be the first to know. Secondly, look at the Board. It consists of
  • Richard Bartlett: a lifer at Air Wisconsin and Princeton BA and Yale JD with 30 years of aviation and PE veteran
  • Nolan Bederman: U of Toronto JD/MBA and founder of an industrials PE firm
  • Kevin Degen: MBA from Harvard and Engineering BS from Princeton, and founder of a transportation focused Investment Bank.
  • This is the most stacked board I have ever seen in a company this small, do you really think they’d sunset this thing so quickly? Bederman is only 48, the other two are 62, they’ve got plenty of gas left to milk this cash machine.


The biggest risk, which has always been the biggest to me, is the fact that this is a controlled entity. Those 3 guys control Amun and Southshore, which controls 51% of HRBR, and they have a ton of control beyond just voting rights. Forget about any minority rights.
It’s a bit of a double edged sword that this group of investors is so sophisticated; on the one hand I’d trust them to self-deal and milk every last drop of money out of Air Wisconsin, but on the other hand I’m constantly thinking about how they might screw over minority owners.
Mitigation However, it just so happens that now is a fantastic ceasefire from this risk because their hands are tied (for now).
If I were them, here’s how I would cash out; either build a fantastic company out of Air Wisconsin and do a strategic sale to United (which would be great for equity) OR just milk the cow and pay out a special dividend when there’s nothing left to milk.
Now, the first situation would be ideal, since equity would appreciate. Indeed management laid out a buyback plan on March 31, 2021, so maybe this is in the works after all. Plus, with equity now more than 10x more valuable than last year, it has become more valuable for any potential stock deal for bigger planes. Recall that they did a pref deal with Southshore to buy out a bunch of leased jets just a few years ago—I could definitely see this happening again now that HRBR equity is so much more valuable.
On the other hand, the second situation would be super sh*tty for minority holders because you can bet that special divvy is only for preferred owners. HOWEVER, this is incredibly critical—because of the PSP payments that HRBR has taken from the government, it cannot pay any dividends before April 2022.
So the biggest risk is nullified for almost a whole year!


I hope I’ve made it clear that a liquidation is not happening in 2023. Even in that case, HRBR is worth around $2.17. Any shred of evidence of going concern would massively boost HRBR’s price to $6+.
In addition, the trade is aligned with management and the board’s interests, and despite the risk of being a controlled entity, the board’s hands are tied through April 2022 because of PSP-covenants restricting dividends.
At $2.10, HRBR is essentially a risk free call option through March 2023, and only begins to bear any sort of risk after April 2022. A risk adjusted valuation results in $5.65, a 270% upside with very limited downside.
  1. Q2 Earnings on 7/15/21
  2. More details regarding UAL strategy released by United or Air Wisconsin
  3. Flight data from Air Wisconsin’s new jets
  4. Additional certifications on FAA website
Disclaimer: At the time of writing I am long HRBR.
Full article here:
submitted by Threeeeeeeees to pennystocks [link] [comments]

2021.05.14 00:19 Wingsofgrowth Pay

Hello I am curious to know if airline pilots make as much as claims. As in do senior 737 captains really make 250+ an hour? Thank you in advance.
submitted by Wingsofgrowth to AirlinePilots [link] [comments]

2020.05.29 21:18 crimsonthrowaway2 I'm not going to flight school for the money, but some of the companies offer absurdly low compensation

According to this source mountain air cargo pays its C208 pilots $45k a year and not much more with experience. First officer in an ATR isn't much better. I would have a tough time supporting my family on some of these lower FO payscales. Considering how much time and training is required, along with the hazards of the job, I think pilots deserve a lot more than what MAC is paying their first officers.
Why was this job market so bad, even with the supposed pilot shortage pre corona? Do pilots even stay in these low paying roles? I know I wouldn't. I need at least $80k to live comfortably.
Edit: Why am I being downvoted for thinking C208 pilots with 1200+ hours deserve more than $45k/year?
submitted by crimsonthrowaway2 to flying [link] [comments]

2019.12.05 17:24 ChillGill678 Fractional/Charter Home Base

Good morning all!
I was looking through the fractional companies' pages on and I noticed that there are dozens of bases listed for NetJets and FlexJet and I just have a few questions about some information that I couldn't find or didn't see.
-Do you bid for one of these bases the same as an airline or is the process different for them? -Are you home based out of an airport or will you possibly begin each week at a different airport? -Are pilots for these companies able to commute either via airline jumpseats/deadhead or via company planes?
I can't think of any more questions at the moment, I guess I'm just surprised to see so many bases listed for them after seeing the usual 5-10ish bases for airlines. Sorry in advance if I ask any stupid questions, I just haven't heard much about these jobs' QOL/basing. Any insight is greatly appreciated!
submitted by ChillGill678 to flying [link] [comments]

2019.09.26 18:59 thejimm3r Airline Crew Bases (By Aircraft Type)

I know which airlines have domiciles at which airports (thanks, but is there a listing somewhere of which aircraft (and of course, their respective crew) are based at which airports? or is that airline-sensitive information?

for example, which aircraft does Delta base at SEA? MSP? which aircraft does United base at IAH? SFO? etc etc...
submitted by thejimm3r to flying [link] [comments]

2019.06.17 07:34 Igloooooooooo Best foreign pilot forums (particularly German)?

Hey all,
So this subreddit is heavily US based (for the most part) and I was wondering if you guys know of any other pilot/flying forums whose focus is outside the US. Could be anything really, but geared towards airline flying is what Im looking for. So far Ive got:
avcanada - for the Canadians eh. Pprune - heavy UK focus but smattering of intl too. Airlinepilotcentral - heavily US but some Canadian/international
Anyone know of any for Germany, France, Middle East etc?
submitted by Igloooooooooo to flying [link] [comments]

2019.04.18 23:23 wilgage How to trust Pilot Recruiters

Hi everyone! I've tried consulting airlinepilotcentral but all I received was a six page long response of argumentative comments. I'm a freshman in a college that has many regional airlines visit and talk to flight students about their company. It seems that every pilot recruiter I meet has the same view that their respective airline is the best thing to happen to the industry. While this is a generalization with many exceptions, how can I be sure that I'm getting accurate information from recruiters, and am not just being fed lies? I ask this because a regional FO friend of mine was telling me how he quit recruiting after being told to glorify and embellish his airline. I certainly don't want to be persuaded into an airline thinking one thing, but actually getting another. Thanks in advance!
submitted by wilgage to flying [link] [comments]

2019.04.12 18:34 madbarn Junior bases at regionals

Is there a resource that will list the most junior bases at the regionals? I’ve looked at airlinepilotcentral but it doesn’t show them according to seniority (at least I think)
submitted by madbarn to flying [link] [comments]

2019.02.23 00:35 f1racer328 Compass Pilots

Anyone fly for Compass here?
I have a few questions I’d like to ask about working there and I just have a feeling airlinepilotcentral is not the place to ask.
Feel free to comment or DM me. Thanks!
Some of my questions:
I’m curious to when their class dates are, and possibly having someone refer me if there is any type of bonus/higher chance of getting hired there.
Plus just a few general questions like how you guys enjoyed/enjoy working there. I don’t plan on commuting so Compass seems like a top pick.
Curious as to where Compass is going to go as far as their Delta contract.
Also just some other various questions. I’ve applied and haven’t heard back yet. Wondering when they usually contact applicants.
submitted by f1racer328 to flying [link] [comments]

2019.01.08 00:23 N258AA Airline Seniority (pay and bidding)

Can someone explain CA vs FO seniority a bit in terms of pay and bidding? For example: if a pilot flies w an airline for 15 years as an FO and did not upgrade ASAP (that’s possible, right?), once they do upgrade does their seniority revert? Does the 15 yr FO now yr 1 CA get paid the line 1 hourly rates I see on airlinepilotcentral? Or are they suddenly a 15 yr CA?
submitted by N258AA to flying [link] [comments]

2018.11.25 07:31 Im-Indian Endeavor pay vs other regional airlines

I'm still 2 years from the airlines (if all goes to plan) and I found myself going through some threads on airlinepilotcentral and just comparing pay scales for different regionals. From what I've gathered Endeavor is the best when it comes to pay as of now, obviously that could change.

A 3rd year cap at Endeavor makes 93 an hour on the 900 while at Envoy he would make 73. So i'm confused why anyone would chose Envoy over Endeavor..? Is there something I am not taking into account? And do you guys think other regionals will start matching Endeavor 2-3 years from now?
submitted by Im-Indian to flying [link] [comments]

2018.08.13 00:15 daddy_flies I created a chart for expected Annual Income for pilots in Canada. Looking for some feedback.

I created a chart for expected Annual Income for pilots in Canada. Looking for some feedback.
I have attached the chart below. Assumptions I made are as follows:
1) First 3 years with small operators to build hours to get interview with Jazz.
2) 6 years with Jazz, first 3 as a F/O and next 3 as a captain.
3) 6 years with Air Canada Mainline, 3 as F/O and next 3 as a captain.
4) Got data from
5) Per diems not included, just raw hourly wages.
I am not sure how realistic are the upgrade times I have taken into account. Any feedback is well appreciated.
My background: BSc in hard science, currently working on Multi-IFR. Trying to juxtapose and compare my income outlook if I just go ahead with my bachelor's, although I am sure it will bug me if I do not work as a professional pilot.
submitted by daddy_flies to flying [link] [comments]

2018.03.26 01:13 longlive737 Thoughts / Advice on 135/91k

I've got offers and interviews for SIC positions, and I'm looking for anyone who has been in this world or who has advice for one seeking to enter. I've listed the companies with my own list of pros and cons, looking for things to add to help my decision. I've been very active on AirlinePilotCentral but I know that's not the breadth of aviation on the internet.
I had an offer from Cape Air, but elected to decline it. That contract was mighty indeed, the pay was really poor compared to others, and I'd rather be in a PC-12 than a 402.
My times: 1130 TT / 1080 PIC / 215 P-P XC / 80 Night / 80 Instrument / 250 Turbine PIC / 23.8 multi /
PlaneSense (Offer)
Pros: Moderate pay, quick upgrade at 91k mins, lots of variety in the flying, PC-12, PC-24, good benefits, hotels and airfare, lots of bases with no seniority to transfer between, good overtime pay.
Cons: Training Contracts for SIC and PIC ($12k 18 mos and $8k 12 mos respectively), 8/6, CA pay is mediocre, CLASSES CANCELLED UNTIL LATE FALL, jets may take 5+ years to attain, does not reimburse at all for cost of travel to interview (shows how they feel about their pilots, IMO), likely not worth waiting it out for
Boutique Air (Offer)
Pros: Bases in DFW and DEN (my preferences), solid CA pay, King Airs that can be acquired somewhat quickly, CASS, quick upgrade (4 month seat lock may be waived), PC-12
Cons: Crew houses and overnights every trip, poor retention and labor - management relations, poor FO pay, training contracts for SIC and PIC ($8k and 12 mos, $4k and 9 mos respectively), exclusively Essential Air Service flying
Executive AirShare (Interview Upcoming)
Pros: Great SIC pay, good CA pay, good benefits, nice airplanes (Phenoms, CJs, King Air 350, LearJet (in BUF, yuck)), will reimburse for travel to interview only up to $500
Cons: Insufficient multi time (need to pay for 1.2 hours and that's a lot for a broke college kid around here), ridiculous training contracts (there are 4 contracts, 2 for FOs and 2 for CA) keeping me there 18 mos - 3 years, rumors of poor management (current COO is ex-Colgan), 10/5 (heavily considering turning down the invite to interview, especially considering it's 10 hours of driving roundtrip to get there in a 24 hours period)
Tradewind Aviation (Interview Partially Complete)
Pros: decent FO pay, great CA pay (with retention bonus can hit $100k at yr 4 CA), great overtime pay, 4/3, NO SIC TRAINING CONTRACT, many pilots I've talked to are thrilled to be there, Caribbean flying (gf is down to move with me) including company housing or bonus for own place, opportunity to get ATP and CJ type after 2-3 years, mix of scheduled 135 and charter, demonstrated interest and professionalism by paying upfront for airfare and hotel for interview in CT and will reimburse all rental car costs ($1,000+), good overtime pay, PC-12
Cons: Will be living in the NE to collect a $5k bonus (but would prefer to not be in NY forever), operations with Surf Air in TX are shaky and may not last (potentially lose opportunity to move to DFW), PIC training contract ($17k for 12 mos, but since it's my choice to upgrade this contract is more reasonable IMO), if demand is high enough may be sent to Caribbean on company schedule, not my own
At the moment, my first choice is Tradewind. I'm finishing my interview with them mid - April. My second is Boutique, third PlaneSense, and Executive fourth. Please help me add to this list!!!
submitted by longlive737 to flying [link] [comments]

2017.03.28 17:40 longlive737 Repost: What's up with United's CPP?

I posted about someone I knew getting an offer to fly for ATCA in AZ and move directly into United, skipping the regional airlines. The post was downvoted hard, and it encouraged me to do my own research on the program. According to APC
United has implemented a Career Path Program (CPP) with three companies: CommutAir, ExpressJet's E-145 and Airline Training Center of Arizona (ATCA).
The ATCA program makes no mention of the regional airlines as a pathway, and when interviewing for ATCA you undergo the same process that current CPP pilots at the regionals go through (United inteview process, the Hogan exam, etc.) According to this forum post this program will be (essentially) mirroring the unpopular Cape Air - JetBlue program. This post also seems to confirm that UAL will be hiring people without 121 experience in the future. I also spoke with a friend who was an intern at UAL last year and he confirmed that the ATCA CPP is exceptionally competitive and that it remains possible for people accepted into this program to bypass the regionals.
Important to note is that this isn't a flow, or a guaranteed job. The ExpressJet page claims United has committed to hiring 1 in 4 pilots from the CPP when these pilots become eligible.
Can anyone refute this with hard fact? The evidence I have is pointing towards a regional bypass. This seems to be in line with the current regional mindset of promoting cadet CFIs over people with more 'real-world' experience with seniority, etc.
submitted by longlive737 to flying [link] [comments]

2017.02.24 23:54 throwawayatppilot Continuing education, major loan needed, wife will be employed, minor amount of savings set aside: big life change and I need some help so I can breathe.

Throwaway account because lots of personal info. Also prepare for potentially poor formatting, I've edited this post quite a bit due to an overwhelming amount of text.
Edit for those asking about pilot salary and or telling me what they know it to be: I literally can't respond to you guys fast enough. I apologize. The original numbers I received were from a 55-year-old Delta pilot who has been with the company for more than 10 years. He was not ever in the military and he did get hired on originally only after a couple years at a minor airline. I don't care what the salary is this is something that I've wanted to do for over a decade and I've never been one to care about being incredibly rich. I know that's a hard concept for this subreddit, but I am an active member here on my main account and am very familiar with /personalfinance. Honestly, the lifestyle (and free/cheap flights in the US) of a major airline pilot is the main thing I am after. Last edit for the salary haters: Check out regionals or majors, it's up to you. Just know that ATP graduates are pretty much guaranteed a job at half of those regional airlines. The top of which is Horizon.
Edited to remove backstory as per yddeyma 's comment below. tldr: want to become airline pilot, need to go through a fast-track program that costs a lot.
Our income, expenditures, and savings Edited to remove walls of text. Instead here is a summary: * +$3200/mo average income * -$1350/mo rent (willing to move if absolutely necessary to lower) * -$600/mo utilities * -$193/mo school loans (cannot defer these any longer) * -$510/mo car loans (willing to sell one car and subtract $327/mo from this if absolutely necessary) * -$700/mo gas & groceries * -$450/mo other necessary monthly costs * -$600/mo fun money (can likely drop this to about $150 during crunch mode) * $4000 in emergency fund * $3000 in savings * $1700 in tax refund on its way
You’re likely now seeing why I’m a little overwhelmed. The monthly expenditures outweigh our income by about $750, and that’s in crunch mode. $1200 if we changed nothing.
Cost of program and other potential costs Upfront, the program costs $64,000. Oh, lord. Okay, so what else? Books/supplies/pilot geaexaminers fees all bring the total cost up to $71,715. Fortunately ATP has a partnership with Wells Fargo (yuck) and Sallie Mae (kill me now) in order to get an education loan for this amount. I can ask for up to another $5000 for living expenses as well, but this just rubs me the wrong way. Especially taking into account that the interest rate on the fixed loan can go as high as 10.99% for a 15-year term. It will likely be less due to my credit score sitting at about 750 and my wife, who would be co-signing, sitting around 725. Can I get an education loan from anyone? For this amount? I hate both of these banks with a burning passion and would rather take my business elsewhere if possible. I’m fairly clueless in this matter.
Other considerations My parents are amazing. They know my passion for flying is there and they’ve offered to help. I have no idea to what extent, but my dad is the type that if I figure some numbers out on my own and show the effort, he’ll tell me what they can afford. It likely won’t be a lot as they’re moving halfway across the country soon, but it might just be enough to get us by for the amount of time I’m without a job.
The program lasts at least 7 months, up to 9-10 if the weather isn’t great. All the trainees I’ve talked to said expect 8-9. This is the amount of time I will not have an income.
After this time, I’m guaranteed a job as a flight instructor. It’s required that I remain a flight instructor until I accumulate 1500 flight hours in order to become an airline pilot. These hours take about a year and a half to accumulate on average. So for a year and a half I’ll be making on average $10/hr before I set my own taxes aside, which comes to roughly half of what I’m currently making net at the coffee shop. This can spike to $15/hr during the summer so long as I work 50 hrs/week. This is taking into account that I stay with the lower-paying-but-better-contacts-and-network option. It sounds like most instructors get fed up with the low pay about half way through their accumulation of hours and switch to another company. Usually they’ll have gotten their minor airline offer by then because of the network of ATP.
Specific concerns I have I’ve never made less than my spending. Should I take more out on that loan for living expenses? Should I save my current savings and use that to cover the cost of going in the red for up to nine months? A little of both? It sounds like ATP can ask my lender to front more living expenses if I’m in a pinch, but that might only apply to Wells Fargo.
Can I get an education loan from someone other than Wells Fargo for $70-75k? Are interest rates any better at, say, a credit union? I hate WF, but if it’s the only way for me to achieve my dream, then I guess I have to bite the bullet.
Are there any financing options I’m not considering? Should I ask the owner of my coffee shop (who has been a great mentor to me for the last six years) if he can front me some of that amount at a lower interest rate? I can trade him some buddy passes when I get into a good airline, haha.
Should my wife seek another job? I’m really happy that she’s working less than the past and enjoying life more and don’t want to force that on her, but she has mentioned it multiple times and I genuinely think she wouldn’t mind having another job for a little while. This alone would cover our going in the red. No car would have to be sold, and there’s a chance she could get really good health insurance for me if it’s for a company like Costco.
I know I’m not considering other what-ifs so please bring those to my attention. And there’s a good chance I missed mentioning other numbers or scenarios, so please ask any questions you need. I will be treating this like an AMA, haha. I will drain my main account’s karma pool if it means I can get some help from you amazing people. Thank you in advance.
submitted by throwawayatppilot to personalfinance [link] [comments]

2016.06.17 15:36 KrisGroovy Any new, aspiring pilots. Read this

Alright, there’s lots of ways to do this and it’s been 10 years since I’ve done it so many things have changed. There’s a sequence of licenses that you have to get in order to be an airline pilot.
  1. Sport Pilot (optional)…time requirement of about 20-30 hours
  2. Private Pilot…time requirement of about 40-60 hours (40 minimum)
  3. Instrument Rating…time requirement of about 100 hours 3.5 Many options at this point but usually you build time here and make additions to your existing ratings such as Multi-Engine, Seaplane, High Performance, or Complex ratings (these have no time requirements)
  4. Commercial Rating…time requirement of about 250-275 total hours
  5. Multi-Engine if you haven’t gotten it yet
  6. Here you need to gain experience in order to get the airline license. You can do this many ways, but the most common are probably flight instruction (more ratings needed), air-taxi, freight outfits, or any other type of non-airline commercial flying you can find. This is VERY low paying and VERY long hours.
  7. Airline Transport Rating (ATP)…time requirement of 1500 hours minimum…you can get this on your own, or you can prep for it and show that you have the experience and bookwork complete and a regional airlines will currently hire you. After being hired, they will provide the flight training needed to earn the actual ATP.
There’s basically 3 tracks to take when earning these ratings (one being the military, so as a civilian, there’s 2) and you can switch back and forth between the two. They call these different options part 61 and part 141 based on the FAA regulation that governs them. Basically, part 61 is the small-time practical way to learn, and part 141 is the commercial “factory” schools. Here’s the advantages to each.
Part 141 training; Advantages: You get really good structured training geared toward making you a professional flight crew pilot. These are the types of programs offered at large schools.
The best colleges in the country for these programs are Embry Riddle (by far the best), followed by some major college programs like Western Michigan University, University of North Dakota and some others. You will earn a 4 year degree in “Aviation” from these schools. They have state of the art airplanes, simulators, instructors, and syllabi. At the current time, students graduating from these schools are being offered jobs at smaller airlines upon graduation and after logging the time required to be eligible for the Airline license. Most major programs have an exemption to the 1500 hour minimum and students who graduate from these schools become eligible for an airline license at 1000 hours. The advantage for these schools is that you get a degree with the deal and almost all major airlines require a degree (in any major) to be considered for a job.
There are also dedicated non-degree granting training companies that you can go to for the ratings in as little calendar time as possible. Some can get you all the way from start to ATP within 2 years. These include companies like ATP or American Flyers. They also have very good facilities, simulators, syllabi, and I think they get an exemption on the hours for the airline license as well, but it might be 1250 minimum for their grads. The advantage to these places over a university is that they get you done much faster, but there’s no degree that comes with it.
The disadvantages to the college programs are the cost. Training at one of these schools will cost an incredible amount of money and much of the training is unnecessary. Western Michigan and Embry Riddle I think are currently charging 200-300 per hour for flight instruction so the money you save by getting the flight hour experience exemption will be more than offset by the cost of training in the program. Also, I’ve never heard of an airline that discriminates according to degree…meaning they just need the degree as a requirement for employment…there is no advantage to an Aviation degree, or an Engineering degree, or a business degree. In fact, ask almost all pilots and they will tell you not to get the degree in aviation, or if you do, you need to double major in something else useful because if you lose your medical someday, the aviation degree is worthless, but a business degree with an aviation minor will open doors in multiple places for you. It is very common for graduates of these schools to carry $100,000-$200,000 or more in debt upon graduation.
The non-degree schools are much cheaper but they are also still expensive, though not nearly as much as the universities. The biggest disadvantage to these schools is that they are “puppy mills.” They grind students down to nothing and many people burn out in these schools. They are really good for “top-off” instruction though when trying to add one piece to your education. For example, when I had about 400 hours of time and a Commercial license already, I went to American Flyers for a two month “blitz” course and earned my Flight Instructor ratings in a very good program, but to go at that pace for all your training would kill most people’s will to continue.
That’s the major run-down of the part 141 system.
Now to the part 61 system.
This would be your “grass-roots” flight training. You can go to Port Huron airport or Marine City and find the flight instructor there and they will teach you one on one according to their routine. Every single instructor / program in this world is different. These programs are much cheaper (At Marine City right now I think you can get flight instruction for about $150 / hour). These programs are run by people who love to fly and you will have a lot of fun and learn much more about basic flying skills here. The pilots who go this route are almost always better “stick and rudder” or “old school” pilots, but may lack a bit when it comes to advanced automation and crew coordination concepts. Although the minimum time for the airline license is solid at 1500 hours, many of those hours can be logged outside a training syllabus, meaning that you can rent airplanes for 100 / hour or less and fly however you want. It is not uncommon for people who go this route to rent a Cessna for a 50 hour block for $5,000 and fly around the country or to the Bahamas with their friends or to airshows or to the grand canyon or something. So it’s much cheaper and much more fun.
The disadvantages to the part 61 route are that you are stuck with the 1500 hour min airline license requirement, and you still need to earn a degree somewhere. A common practice in this area is to do 100 hours of flight instruction earning the private and instrument certificates, then buy 100 hours to have some fun, maybe add a seaplane rating or do some aerobatic training, then do 50 hours more instruction to earn the commercial. Once you have a commercial, you begin flying for very low pay and earning your degree at the same time. Hopefully, by the time you get your degree in underwater basket weaving from University of Phoenix on-line you’ll have the required 1500 hours and regional airlines will compete to hire you.
If you go part 61, the biggest trap is to stick with an instructor that isn’t working for you. I can’t stress enough that no matter where you train, you need to shop instructors. There are great instructors who just don’t match your personality or style and they will make training hell. If you find an instructor you fit well with, things will go great. Any instructor that is worth a shit at all will encourage you to fly with other instructors and will gladly hand you off to someone you fit better with. If your instructor ever resists you flying with another instructor, you need to end it with them right away. That goes for part 141 instruction as well.
Another thing that schools do in the industry is try to sell you crap you don’t need. You need to log 1500 hours (or 1250, or whatever you need to get to the next step). A 2015 model Cirrus with full “glass” cockpit and Garmin G-1000 moving map integrated GPS that a flight school just bought for $450,000 and is charging you $250 an hour to rent logs in your logbook as “single-engine land” and “total” time…period. A 1962 Piper Cub with a venturi tube that you have to start by turning the propeller by hand that some old retired engineer let you rent for $45 an hour logs in your logbook as “single-engine land” and “total” time. Those two airplanes are exactly the same when you log them in the book. Nobody will EVER CARE about the difference between the two, but flight schools will try to sell you the fancy one. When you apply for a job or a rating, they look at your column totals. Don’t pay for junk you don’t need…that’s probably the most common and expensive mistake you can make in flight training.
A last couple of notes…
Most small airports will offer a “discovery flight” for people wanting to try it out. For about $50-$100 they’ll take you up for 30 minutes or so and let you fly a little bit and see if you like it. I know Marine City offers that…the earlier in the morning the better because that’s when the air is smoothest and you don’t want a rough ride when you’re starting out.
A good way to see if you like it is to look into getting a “Sport” pilot license. Not everywhere offers these, but you can earn one in as little as 20 hours I think. You’re restricted to very small planes, daytime only flying, and some other things, but it’s a cheap way to start and see if you like it, and it locks in a license, which is permanent.
Another thing to note is that it is UNIVERSAL that ALL pilots LOVE to talk about flying. Don’t be afraid to hunt down some numbers of different pilots and call or visit them even if you don’t know them. They’ll talk for hours. Get their email and number and send them updates religiously every 6 months or so. They WILL help you get in the door when it comes time to apply to an airline. They’ll also know a guy who flies skydivers on the weekends and they’ll tell him to let you fly skydivers to build time for free, or they’ll have a buddy that flies Leer jets to the Bahamas for rich clients and although he can’t pay you, you can fly on some trips as a non-logging co-pilot…or any number of other things. In other words, you don’t need to know people well…but your life will be MUCH easier if you know people, so keep in touch and keep your contacts…starting with me.
Last thing to tell you about is the pay. Things are changing fast right now, so this might all change.
Your first job as a flight instructor or freight dog will typically pay $15,000-$20,000 per year. You will work or be on-call literally 6 to 7 days a week, flying last minute to crappy airports in the middle of nowhere and you will be under intense pressure to do things you know are illegal and / or dangerous. You will sleep in hangars or in airplanes and you will spend nights away from home…it is not for the faint of heart. In the past, graduates of flight schools would do these jobs for 1-3 years before landing a job at a regional airline. In my case, I couldn’t get a job at all as I graduated 6 months after September 11, 2001. I joined the Air Force and flew back and forth to the war as a Navigator on cargo planes for a couple of years. Then I was lucky enough to flight instruct for a year and made about $16,000. As of right now (Nov, 2015), times are good, most graduates only have to do these jobs until they meet the experience requirements for the airline license (1000-1500 hours depending on the program you go through) but basically, that will be about 1 year of solid flying.
The next step is a regional airline…these guys are the planes that look like real airline planes but smaller (less than 100 seats). There is currently a shift underway and it’s hard to say which way it’s going. I can tell you that I was fortunate to get a job flying for a regional airline that fed Northwest Airlines making $23,000 per year (most of the people I graduated pilot school were not as lucky as I). I flew 36 seat propeller planes and 76 seat jets as a co-pilot for the next 8 years (again, I was ahead of most of my peers) and topped out at about $40,000 per year. It mainly consisted of 3-4 day trips and about 12-16 days off per month…which sounds like a lot, but you have to consider that you still put in well over 40 hours per week of work plus another 30-40 hours a week of un-paid hotel time away from home…you leave your family for days at a time (“sorry wife, the car got a flat and Junior’s sick?? Deal with it, I’ll be home in 4 days”). Currently I’m finishing up my first year as a Captain and I’ll probably make about $75-85,000. I’ve been hired at Delta Air Lines and will start there after about 9 total years at the regional. I’ve been through a bankruptcy and a very ugly merger, but overall, it wasn’t so bad.
That was my situation, BUT right now (Nov, 2015) beginning pilot pay is increasing very rapidly at the regionals. During this round of new contracts, it appears that starting co-pilot pay is going to settle in at about $40,000 per year. At my company, they are projecting about 6 years of time will be spent at a regional total before you’re competing for a major airline (3 as a co-pilot making 40-50,000 / year, and 3 as a captain making 50-75,000 / year). Many regional airlines are also offering things like guaranteed interviews and inside tracks to partner major airlines. My company offered a guaranteed interview at Delta which is how I got hired there. Others are offering straight “flows” in which you just automatically get a job at the major after fulfilling a certain amount of service at the regional.
The last stop is a Major Airline…(Delta, American, United, FedEx, Ups, Southwest). There you can make some big money and have some good time off. If you want to see the payscales, go to (it’s a great site). With a little less time and experience, you can get into what I would call a second tier airline as well (JetBlue, Spirit, Hawaiian, Frontier), they don’t pay as much, but it’s definitely enough to have a great lifestyle. As for Delta, the payscale is on par with the highest in the US passenger industry…FedEx and UPS are the best compensated pilots in the country though, and foreign airlines pay better than domestic…so if you want to fly for Emirates, you can make some MAD MONEY…but you have to work in the middle east (I wouldn’t work in the middle east for $1,000,000 per year, which coincidentally, is what some of the jumbo-jet contracts are rumored to be worth).
Delta starts at about $80,000 / year and you top out the co-pilot pay scale at 12 years and around $125-175,000. The Captain pay scale though goes well into the high $200,000 range. A senior Boeing 777 international Captain can make about $275-$300,000 per year…so there’s a lot of money there, but that’s a long road.
So realistically, a pilot graduating school today can expect to do the following: year 1 $10-20,000 freight / flight instructing year 2-4 $40-50,000 regional co-pilot year 5-7 $50-75,000 regional captain year 8-15 $75-$150,000 major co-pilot year 16-25 $150-200,000 major captain year 26 on $200,000 +
There’s a million different variations, and a million different ways to do it…maybe you’ll just want to be an African bush pilot…
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