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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pilot Job Search

Recently I connected with two pilots who are both looking for jobs in the Seattle area. Well, one is looking for a normal earthbound job so he can spend his money flying, and playing in the sky. the other is looking for a flying job, and has been, for about five months. I’ve met numerous people on LinkedIn after I posted a comment that I worked for 8 airlines and was supporting people following their dreams. The response was amazing.

Who said there was a pilot shortage?

Maybe not at the moment, but there will be.

Fact finding mission showed there are a lot of pilots with low time. Recommendation—get your instructors license and build time. That may not be as easy as it sounds, but if you have an instructors license, and a multi-engine rating, there are always people out there that need a safety pilot and you can build multi-engine time.

The challenge is in the corporate world. The first thing that goes when the economy is down is the airplane. Conference calls, cheap flights with the airlines, etc.,— times like this it’s hard to justify the corporate plane. I suspect those will be the most difficult jobs to find these days. But they also require more hours than the airliners for insurance reasons.

Jobs like Net Jets, are actually being snatched up by retired captains. Why not? Insurance premiums are much lower with higher experienced pilots, and those guys know the worldwide system.

So with this said, what can you do?


LinkedIn people—get on Twitter. I have made fantastic friends and connections via Twitter. Twitter provides access directly to the information you want and need in your field, and the people working within your industry. Connections are essential. Pilots hear first when there is a job available in their company. There are some great people out there in Twitterland, you need to reach out and connect with those pilots working.

Who is hiring?

US Airways

Virgin America


Skywest America

Skywest Australia: ATR 72-500's—600's on order—and are looking for pilots who have a full ATPL for full-time employment. Min is 1500 hrs total with 250 ATR for FO and 2500 hrs total with 500 ATR P1. This is a tie in for Virgin Australia. Email

From what I hear, most of the commuters are hiring.

Who else?


This is a typical job I've seen come across my email:

ERJ 170/175, 190/195 Captains

Earn up to $15,000 USD/month + overtime based on 80 hours per month. Earn an additional $187.50 USD per every hour flown over 80 hours. VOR Holdings will also pay you $8,000 USD at the end of your 1st year, $12,000 USD at the end of your 2nd year, and $15,000 USD at the end of your 3rd year.

Your total compensation for three years is $575,000 USD.

After completing your three-year contract, you will be given the opportunity to upgrade to the A320 aircraft at the airline's expense and then from the A320 to the A330 also at the airline's expense.

You have the option of working:

4 weeks ON, 4 weeks OFF
6 weeks ON, 3 weeks OFF
6 weeks ON, 2 weeks OFF + 24 additional days OFF per year

Interviews will be held in Orlando, Florida during the first week of March 2012.

Requirements will are 300 hours in type and under 56 at the start of assignment. For those who think they are too old… perhaps not. If you are interested, send Peggy an email to

Peggy at VOR Holdings says, "The hottest aircraft in China is the A320, but we have opportunities for the B747-400, B747 Classic, B777, B767, B757, B737NG, B737 Classic, A340, A330, A320, EMB190 and ERJ145.

The maximum age to fly in China is 60. That is the reason that most airline want Captains less than 57. They want Captains that can work a minimum of three years."

Go to and select jobs, you'll be surprised at the number of flying positions.

There are many overseas jobs. PPRuNe is a great place to hit the message board to get a feel of what’s going on out there: PPRuNe Professional Pilots Rumor Network


For everyone on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any of the social media venues... Believe that your future employer will google your name.

Everything you say on line will be there for employers to read.

In the previous week I have read numerous comments with pilots complaining about their previous employers on LinkedIn. I've seen defeatist attitudes. I've read comments of anger and resentment for their struggles. Do you think that is the type of person a company wants to employ when they have a fleet to choose from? I don't. If nothing else, clean up the talk for your image. The side benefits will be many... but that is for another post.

So here’s the deal—Builds hours. Connect with other pilots. Get a type-rating to increase your chances. Keep that blue side up! What about going back to school to enhance that resume? More on education tomorrow.

Good luck, and Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. Excellent post Karlene.

    On this side of the Atlantic (Europe), things work a bit differently as instructing is almost never paid and airlines tend not to be interested in instructing hours.

    However, there are many different ways to increase our chances and stand out from the crowd.

    I am now flying the Boeing 737NG as a FO, was flying the Kingair Be90 and towplanes before, and I published a post on how to maximize your chances of getting a pilot job, how to get to know the right people, how to network, how to succeed basically.

    I don't want to spam your great post Karlene, just complete it :

    1. Thank you so much for the great tips! In the US they want hours. Actually, I tried to get on with America West and was shy "100" hours of their minimums. I had been flying First Officer on a 727~ I also had Flight Engineer time, too. But... The woman at AWA told me to rent a Cessna 152 and fly around the pattern for 100 hours. So...yes, all about the hours here.

      Congratulations on your 737 position!!! Way to go. You are living the dream.

  2. All good thoughts and tips Karlene!
    As it happens, I am one of those low-time pilots, I am one of those looking for a flying job pilots (or at least anything that can lead to one).

    Not much of a pilot shortage right now (although as we previously discussed, there should be, to better our industry)...but there is movement.

    Movement at the top means movement at the bottom. It's up to us to fill up from down under.

    In much of Canada, below the airlines, a lot of people go through ramp programs where they work the ramp for a while and then get offered a right seat on a Navajo, King Air, Cheyenne, and so on. For the Canadian readers, AVCANADA.CA is a good forum site to learn and ask questions to old time pilots and even chief pilots/ops managers. Some go on the infamous road trip across the country and knock on doors beginning of the season and ask for that first gig too. Perseverance and a good attitude goes a long way.

    The best part about up north/rural flying is that a lot of the places north of 60 don't have much road access still, believe it or not, so a lot of things and people have to be flown in. That's where a lot of operators find their businesses.

    Great post!

    1. Ramiel, Excellent comment and thanks for the feedback for the Canadian readers. Also, the "Attitude" I forgot to write about that essential key. Time to edit the post. :)
      You will get your job! You do have the best attitude. Keep me posted on your hour building. When my book is a movie, I might need a co-pilot for my jet. :)

    2. Haha! I'll keep you posted for sure :) and hey that's not a bad idea..i got 87% in my 9th grade drama class after all LOL!

      I'll make sure to get a decent haircut by then though :P

    3. Okay... yes, definitely a decent haircut...and no hat. Unless you want one. :)

  3. This is such amazing information, and helpful advice!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Peter. And... as long as links help people... they're golden. Those are great questions!


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