Category Archives: Pilot Profession


Getting to a Major Airline

This might come as a shock to many pilots but we are not special in the mind of the recruiter. We are a piece of the equation that needs to be in place to make the machine of the airline work. Yes we are a key piece, however, a piece just the same.  Doing the job correctly and not making waves is the main concern of the recruiter.

You do not have to be the best; sometimes just good enough is good enough.  Most companies now are moving towards a computer based algorithmic way of hiring.  The applicant with the most boxes checked by the algorithm gets the call for the interview.  Once you have checked a specific box focus your attention to the next box that is “checkable.”  Airlines Apps has taken a previously complicated and time-consuming endeavor and simplified the process.  Now a pilot looking for a job will fill out a basic application and then any airline that he or she wants to apply for will only have a small addendum to fill out.  Airlines are looking for ways to only interview the best applicants; the digital age has made it easier for them to run as many specific filters as they desire and refine their search criteria as appropriate. Thereby making the most effective use of their interviewers time.

Getting hired is a full time job. Often I hear how hard it is to get an interview and that why are they not calling me now.  The first question I ask is how much time have you been putting towards getting hired. The most typical response is, “well I filled out the application.”  You will need to put time and effort into getting noticed even more so this day and age because it has become very easy to gauge applicants against other applicants.  Examples of the time and effort are; going to each and every job fair, visiting forums to get the latest information on what the company is doing, or even jump seating just to talk to pilots at the airline that you are interested in.  All of the items listed are just an example of the basic things that you should be doing to get a call to interview.  Plato Rhyne, President of Airline Apps, suggests that when filling out the application do not be in a hurry and actually, read and answer, the actual question asked.  Too many times applicants make errors in punctuation and grammar.  Remember you are applying for a job that is detail oriented; make sure you act the part.

You should always look your best and be ready to subtly talk about how you are looking for a job and try to make a connection other than aviation.  You never know whom you will meet at a job fair or on the jumpseat. Going to a job fair may seem like a waste of money: you will wait in line for hours, talk to the representative for maybe five minutes and then be pushed to the side.  These job fairs are some of the best investments in your career progression out there right now.  They are all tax deductible, and the people that you meet after the job fair and during; could help you out in some way that you never imagined. Networking is a term that is thrown around a lot and not many pilots know the full reach of it.  That mainline pilot that commutes out of the same city as you, or the neighbors friend that is a pilot at XYZ airline are both people that you should build a rapport with.  That being said, do not be the guy that the first thing out of his mouth is, hey can you get me a job.  Immediately that puts a bad perception in the others mind.  Give before you get.  If it is only down to the jumpseat and you have time to spare pass it along to the mainliner, you will see him again and he will remember. Be subtle with getting on a topic of getting a job.  Let them lead the conversation to that topic.

Just like pilots have friends and visit forums about our profession so do recruiters for airlines.  There are top tier candidates that get on the radar of many recruiters and will get many job offers. These top tier candidates are only about 5% of the pilot population and worked hard to get that top slot. Each airline has their own “identity” that they try to match each candidate to; use the keywords that identify with that culture.

When a computer is scanning thousands of resumes and cover letters it does not care how you got into the stack it is only looking for the preprogrammed descriptors to narrow down the stack for a human eye to make the final cut.

By Bart Adams

First Officer / Freelance Author

Bart Adams







Works Cited.

Rhyne: Plato. 2014, (March18). Telephone Interview.


The Single Pilot and the PC-12NG

PC-12Single pilot (SP) IFR flying is a perfectly choreographed tango between the pilot and his/her skills (stick & rudder, knowledge, experience, common sense, systems management), and a dance partner (aircraft) with just as much capability. Luckily for us, the PC-12NG is the perfect dance partner. What’s more, there are many ingredients to a successful SP IFR flight. Most are taught at the very basic level of IFR training; however, as aircraft become more technologically advanced and pilots stray from the “fresh out of instrument training” mentality, the outcome is not always one that is consistently safe. Consistency and standardization are what we strive for as PC-12 drivers. We must remember the basic concepts learned on the initial IFR rating (preflight planning, SOP’s, cockpit organization, remaining AHEAD of the aircraft, utilizing time efficiently, SRM-Single pilot Resource Management, ATC management, and flying the airplane) and use these together with the latest automation to yield successful outcomes. Follow along as I take you on my SP IFR flight departing KPTK to KOXC. As the flight unfolds, I’ll run through my thought processes and procedures used to accomplish a safe flight. It is my belief that you’re only as successful as your last flight; my knowledge is not gospel. Rather, these are my techniques that I used to safely fly many SP IFR flights. Though confidence is a useful tool when making SP decisions, over-confidence WILL get the best of you. Additionally, as you progress through the article, you’ll see techniques I find useful in bold. Let’s begin.

Conditions: Late November, night, IMC.

Planning considerations:

1) Single engine precautions- Terrain, performance, weather, altitudes, etc.
2) Freezing levels (Use of on board de-icing equipment as a way to safely depart icing conditions. Not a license to stay in it)
3) Fuel: Route, approach, missed approach, and alternate fuel per FAR’s.

4) Preferred routes- Plan what you’re most likely going to receive, rather than something based on assumption.
5) Suitable destination alternate and “escape plans” to mitigate as much risk

as possible along the route.


Remember, you’re exponentially better off making as many decisions as possible while on the ground. Subsequent decisions made in the air are that much more consuming. The planning stage is now complete and we move on to aircraft prep. Stepping into the airplane, the first thing I do is organize and situate myself in a methodical manner. Luckily for the single pilot, organization is made easy due to the ample room up front- sans co-pilot. Cerebrally, I’m running through a flow and then subsequent checklist; a theme you’ll hear repeatedly. Next I place my printed flight plan and scratch sheet on a clip board (because loose papers are a single pilots’ nemesis in IMC). I keep them neatly in one place. Doing so helps facilitate (1) knowing exactly where loose leaf information is kept, and (2) makes for easy retrieval in the dark. Once situated, I configure the airplane. I’ve flown the PC-12 for a while. I understand the airplane and my procedures well; however, I still follow my flow and checklist procedures to a ‘T’. I can’t stress this enough. So many things happen simultaneously, it would be an injustice to operate otherwise. Similarly, you’ll hear me use “call outs” as if I were with a second pilot, in order to keep the standardization. After all the preflight checklists/setups are complete, I give a final check of the weather en route and at my destination (hail to the Ipad!) and we’re ready to go.

The winds are light, and the departure runway is my choice. I elect to take off from 9R- the runway that will allow me to have the ILS right behind me should I need to make a 180 back (altitude dependent). I select it in preview. Again, better to set it and forget it than struggle in IMC at 1000ft. The radar’s on (to actually see what’s ahead), checks are complete, and we’re off. Regarding NEXRAD, well, it’s a beautiful thing, but understand its limitations: Be aware of its time delay!


Advancing the power, I’m listening to the engine, sensing normal acceleration, and I’m watching the gauges simultaneously uttering my “callouts.” I rotate. No runway remaining, gear up. 400ft, I retract the flaps and at 1000ft, I’m running the climb flow and checklist. As I proceed upward, I’m hand flying with the flight director on. (No need to practice raw data flying in solid IMC) Why, you ask? Well, I like to hand fly shortly after takeoff in order to (1) understand the aircraft in the current conditions (2) bring my basic instrument scan up to speed, (3) keep things simple (automation wise) while close to the ground, and (4) have a little fun! After all, we’re Pilatus pilots; we fly because we enjoy the act of flying. Why drive a Porsche if all you want to do is sit back, set the cruise, and let the car drive you!  We’re now picking up a little ice passing through 8,000ft and I’ve turned the autopilot on enabling me to focus on other necessary tasks as SP. I do disengage the autopilot periodically to feel the handling characteristics with the ice. I’m consciously aware that the autopilot can mask symptoms of “funny aircraft behavior.” Freeing my brain from having to move control surfaces, I now have time to manage the flight, evaluate “escape plans”, should a troubling situation arise, and search for my final cruise altitude, taking into account the environment and “emergency time” as a function of altitude and thus glide distance above the ground. Again, the beauty of the PC-12 is the flexibility in altitude planning. Though my planned Altitude was 25,000ft, I’ve settled on 21,000ft. A change in plan, yes, but as long as you’re managing your tasks and again have done your homework on the ground, you’ll find that any change is not a big deal. You’re prepared. Adjust and amend are important parts of single pilot flying.


In a crew environment, things generally calm down upon leveling off. As a SP, this is when I start taking advantage of down time. We’re now level, so I begin to plan for the descent, approach, and missed approach, should I have to initiate. I do so with the following: A check of destination weather- I’m assessing the reported winds, visibility, ceiling, and any other pertinent information; an initial runway plan according to the winds and visibility; subsequently building the approach by putting it into the FMS (As an aside, I set the full approach in order to have all fixes at my fingertips),then I place ATIS in standby radio two (yes, we’re far out, but I have it in there ready to go); and lastly I pull up the plate on the chart preview, briefing/ building everything I can. Sure, I’ve flown this approach many times; however, as a SP, complacency will be your worst enemy. For that matter, complacency is the enemy of a two, three, or a four person crew! Prepared as possible for the later stages of the flight, I can now focus on talking with ATC, finding shortcuts, andmonitoring the weather below me, near me, and at my destination. This helps me understand weather trends, and then I repeat all over again. Doing so helps me to remain vigilant, ready for a change, and demonstrates good airmanship.


Beginning my initial descent, there’s no sense of urgency now that I’m prepared. I’ve listened to ATIS and I’ve already called “in range.” The descent checklist is complete; I’m ahead of the curve. Descending back into the clouds I’m now picking up ice again. Remember, as part of good SRM, use ATC to your advantage. Ask for reports ahead and listen to others in the area and always remember that you’re PIC and it’s your butt in the seat. If you don’t like something, say something!  Getting closer now, we’re leveled off on vectors to the approach. All checklists are done and the approach is loaded from earlier. I have a minute before our last vector to intercept, so now is a good time to set radio 2 active frequency to CTAF (making sure PCL lighting is the same frequency), announcing my position (still listening on radio one of course), and clicking the PCL 7 times to light up my arrival. I proceed to check outside for ice again. The GS is now coming in. I’m configuring the airplane and mentally preparing to head down. GS captured, I set the missed approach alt and I call out 1000ft above on profile; 500ft above on profile; 100ft above; minimums; runway in sight! (Autopilot off) We touch down, complete the after landing checks and taxi in. Another safe single pilot IFR flight accomplished!


The moral of this story is that the PC-12 is an inherently capable IFR airplane for single pilot flying. The systems on board and the manner in which the information is presented make the ergonomics of handling an IFR single pilot flight manageable and downright fun. Nevertheless, it’s up to you as the pilot to manage your PC-12 systems knowledge, stick and rudder skills, standardization, and workload management to facilitate a systematic and thus safe approach to flying alone. Common sense will also take you a long way.

Todd Hotes
Chief Pilot
Polymer Resources, LTD.


JetBlue Pilots Vote ALPA

JetBlue pilots overwhelmingly vote in ALPA as their CBA!  After twice rejecting bids to unionize in 2009 and 2011, JetBlue Airways pilots overwhelmingly agreed to be represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, the union said on Tuesday.  The Airlines Pilot Association said 71% of JetBlue’s 2,529 pilots voted to unionize.

ALPA said it would now focus on establishing representatives and negotiation committees and on working to negotiate the airline’s first collective bargaining agreement. It said JetBlue pilot members would immediately be entitled to ALPA’s medical advisers and insurance benefits.

Today, JetBlue pilots have voted for ALPA representation so that we have the ability to improve our professional careers,” said Captains Gustavo Rivera and Rocky Durham, co-chairmen of the JetBlue Organizing Committee.


Submit an Interview, Win an iPad!

Have you submitted your last pilot interview experience with us?  What are you waiting for?  Help your fellow pilots by sharing your experience today!  Not enough incentive to share your experience?  How about a chance to win a new iPad mini?

Submit your pilot interview experience today and possibly win a new iPad mini!

Submit your pilot interview experience here!

AA New Logo

New AA Logo and Livery Revealed!

American Airlines revealed today their new logo and aircraft livery today.  Although very modern, it is quite a departure from the old logo.  The livery is also much more modern although some are critical of the new paint scheme, particularly the tail.

Here is American’s new logo and livery for you to review:

American's New Livery

AA New Logo


Tweeting and Terminations: It can happen!

internet_researchI recently discovered Facebook.  I know what you’re thinking, “Where have you been?”  I will have to admit, it is a lot of fun to see what all of my friends are doing.   By the same token, I’m still not a huge follower of any of the social networking sites due of privacy concerns.  Needless to say, I have been very guarded with my photos and personal/family information with regards to the social networking scene.   Just as I started to “loosen up” and thought about posting some family trivia to my Facebook page, I received a call from a seasoned Captain that stopped me immediately in my tracks.

For simplicity sake we will call this person John.  John stated that he had recently been fired from a long term flying job because of a situation in his background that he had been so careful not to disclose to any of his co-workers and especially his employer.

Four years ago John was arrested and convicted of a crime.  He did exactly what the court required, completed his probation, paid his fines and then retained a lawyer to have his records expunged.  Because of the expungement proceedings, John felt that he could keep the embarrassing matter to himself and not have to discuss it with anyone, ever again.

Last month, as John was preparing for one of his trips, he received a call from his Chief Pilot.  John was asked to stop by the office before checking in for his shift.  John was greeted by the Chief Pilot, the Director of Operations, and the Director of Human Resources.  After sitting down, John was handed a piece of paper that had been printed from the internet.

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American Airlines and US Airways To Merge?

AA+USAirwaysIt appears that US Airways President Doug Parker has made a huge move towards acquiring American Airlines! Rather than negotiate with American Airlines CEO Tome Horton, US Airways went straight to the employees with their negotiations. Seems like a very smart move especially considering that the three major unions at American have seats on the unsecured creditors committee. Last Friday all three major unions at American announced their full support for a merger with US Airways. In addition the APA representing the pilot of American Airlines have agreed to the basic framework of contract terms for the combined carrier.

The APA reported to their pilots the terms of a six year contract. Should the merger go through as planned, American Airlines pilots will be among the most highly compensated of the Legacy Carriers and provide a large boost in pay for the US Airways pilots. Proposed pay for a narrow body Narrowbody Captain are as follows:

• Date of Signing Pay Rate: $172.44
• 3% annual increase for years 2-6

• Year 2: $177.61
• Year 3: $182.94
• Year 4: $188.43
• Year 5: $194.08
• Year 6: $199.90

• Parity with UAL/DAL average at the end of the contract if those companies average is higher than our pay rate

• F/O pay rate 68% of Captain rate.

We believe that a merger with American and US Airways will not only be a win-win for the pilots involved but for all pilots in the industry! There will no longer be a large spread in pay from one Legacy Carrier to the next. This should help the airlines to compete while also raising the bar for all future pilot contract negotiations at all airlines!

We invite you to please discuss the American Airlines and US Airways merger on our pilot forums.

Airline pilot resting

FAA Finalizes Rest and Duty Rules!

Airline pilot restingThe FAA has finally published their new rest and duty rules!  You can download your copy here:  Final Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Rules

There are some very notable changes and exclusions!  Such as:

  • Max duty day 14 hours
  • Max flight time is now 9 hours!
  • Cargo operations are completely exempt!  We guess its because all the cargo pilots have superhuman powers?

We look forward to hearing your comments and opinions!  Please discuss the new rules in our forums here: FAA Rest and Duty Rules Forum


A Better Captain

CaptainThe difference between the left and right seat is only a few feet, but it is many miles difference in terms of responsibility. As a new captain of a regional aircraft you will most likely feel that the fourth stripe is a pass to the good ol’ boys club, you are in charge now, you get to set the tone, you get to call the shots; as the saying goes, it is good to be the king. However, because training is being cut to the FAA minimum you might feel a bit overwhelmed when everyone is looking to you for every little answer, I am here to say this is normal. If you are reading this then you are probably looking to make yourself a better leader/captain; no matter what, your experience level may be, that is a good thing.

When you put humans in charge of other humans three things can happen for those not ready for real leadership:

  1. they focus on their own interests, needs and concerns.
  2. focus less on others .
  3. act like the rules don’t apply to them.

I have no doubt that as a Captain you will encounter one or even all three of these tendencies, we have all flown with good Captains and bad Captains; It is up to you to determine what type of Captain you want to be.

A great leader will always try to put the needs, interests and concerns of his or her underlings ahead of their own. There is not one magical thing that will make you a good captain; it is the little things that you do as a Captain that will add up, and ultimately set you apart. I always will do the first flight of the day walk around and any walk around that it is raining or snowing, not just the sunny/70 degree ones. If a crew member, that works a flight with me, is trying to make a commute I will do the last leg walk around or clean up and cross seat belts in the back to let that crew member shave off a few minutes and get going. If the trip gets delayed and we are running behind with no time for food, I will make it a point when I pick up the release to also get a slice of pizza or something for the first officer. All of these little things help to build a rapport with the crew and say we are here as a team; the better we work together the smoother the operation will go.

The best advice I can give to a new Captain is: act as if you are always being watched, because you are. It has been documented that in a tribe of baboons every member of the troop will look over at the alpha male to see how he is acting, to see how they should be acting. If he is nervous and scared they will find shelter and start to run. If he is calm and collective they will keep doing their job. You set the tone from the second you arrive. Being the first in the hotel lobby, shirt ironed, pants creased sends a message to the crew that you are there to work. With this, you will have to read each individual situation to feel how high you are setting a bar. Tommy Lessora, manager of the Giants said, “managing is like holding a dove in your hand, you hold it too tightly you kill it, you hold it too loosely it fly’s away.” You don’t want to set a tone that you are never bending and have lost touch with what it is like to be human, however you have to also let everyone know that rules have been put in place to prevent us from getting into a bad situation. This type of managing is described as being perfectly assertive, you are able to turn up the volume and go, or back off and let be at just the right time.

Being a Captain is more about the relationships with the people that you interact with and less about the flying. It is assumed that you know how to fly an airplane, now you are being paid to manage and ensure the operation is running as efficient as possible.

By Bart Adams – Line Check Airman/APD

Works Cited: Sutton, Bob. What great leaders do. Stanford University, Stanford Technology Ventures program. 11 OCT 2010. Keynote speaker.

Stuck In My seat!?

Stuck In My Seat

Stuck In My seat!?I had many responses to my previous article about obtaining as much experience as possible while waiting for hiring to resume.  Many of the responses were similar in nature so this is an attempt to answer your concerns.  For those who missed my earlier article, I encouraged those who are stuck in the regionals or at a corporate job to try to pick up another type rating to make themselves more attractive to the hiring managers.  I explained that the competition will be quite fierce once the majors start hiring again.  It is important to separate yourself as much as possible from everyone else and one way to do that is to gain as much experience as you can.

There’s good news! It appears that we may soon see some hiring trends in the majors which will free up spots below and make the whole system start to hire.  In other words, once the majors start to hire, the regionals will then need to backfill.  Once the regionals need to backfill, they will take from the schools and small operators.  Those in corporate jobs looking to go elsewhere will also start to pick up positions and the need will arise to backfill those spots. We have seen Jetblue start to hire, Airtran has brought the furlough back and is hiring, and Delta is slated to hire 300 starting in August.  But, as I mentioned, the competition will be fierce.  Let’s look at Delta. Out of the 300, some will be taken from the flow-through program with Compass.  It is anyone’s guess how many slots will be left for those applying outside of Delta.  However, with so many experienced pilots from the majors out on the street, you know it will be very competitive.

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