I am writing this blog from a nice hotel room in Charlotte. We flew from Salisbury to Philly in the morning; then Roanoake; Charlotte; and a round trip to Greensboro. Thunderstorms were up there, but nothing serious and we circumvented all of them. Had a caution light in Greensboro that delayed us in the airplane for an hour with the engines turning – 26 VAC buss caution. We worked it with maintenance and the tower; and finally MEL’d it and left.

The crew van in Charlotte was normal – late by over an hour. This time there weren’t enough rooms for us, and our hotel was switched to the four points. I like this hotel far better than our normal one – it is right next to things to do, and near where I stayed for training. Today is round trips to Florence and Charlottesville, and an overnight in Augusta. I wish I could sleep later and eat better. Working on that. Home tomorrow.

I posted an old blog out there related to my ATP ride. These blogs are archived locally, and I pull them up as needed. Once I switched to using WordPress instead of manually building my own HTML pages, those older formats dropped off. I’ll resurface those as the topics arise, or I get my book writing in higher gear.

Now for a few more questions:

Q: As a pilot would you have a chance to be involved in non-flying Piedmont Airlines corporate activities, such as setting up training programs, analysis of aircraft for future purchase, business operations, gate operations, maintenance, recruiting, etc.?

A: Funny you should ask that. Piedmont is looking for full and part time ground and simulator instructors, as I understand it. I’ve submitted my resume for their consideration, as I think I’d make a very good instructor in simulators. I’d certainly do ground school as needed, but my interest is in teaching in the sims.

I have no interest in moving the Charlotte, so I’d only be interested if I could keep flying the Dash while I’m doing it, and continue to live at home with a reasonable schedule. I have not seen line pilots, particularly newer ones, involved with aircraft purchases and so forth. I am no expert, but by observation I think those are reserved for the Chief and Assistant Chief pilots.

I believe the union – ALPA – also has line pilots who review these decisions, but I will stop talking at this point. I really have no first hand knowledge.

Q: As flight crew, to what extent do you get involved with servicing the aircraft and handling the passengers?

A: I am responsible for pre-flighting the aircraft, but no one in the flight crew is permitted to ‘fix’ or ‘maintain’ anything. That is all done by working with maintenance and leaving a paper trail in the process. The Flight Attendant interacts directly with the passengers, and there may be a rare occurrence where she is occupied with a task and you help greet them as they board.

In emergencies, once the FO tasks are completed and the aircraft is being evacuated, the FO would be expected to help corral the loose passengers in a safe area. This would ensure they don’t get run over by emergency vehicles. The FA knows how to get them all out though, and would ┬álead that effort.

The Captain and FO does interact with fuelers to ensure proper loading, and baggage handlers to perform weight and balance. We communicate with ramp personnel to get the airplane in and stopped; out and started.

Q: Are you a member of a labor union for pilots (e.g., ALPA, or the regional airline equivalent)? If so, do you have to be? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

A: Yes – isn’t that a riot!? 35 years in management and now I’m in a union. I am on probation for the first year by the company and ALPA doesn’t charge me dues. In just a few months though, I’ll be a card-carrying and dues paying union member for the first time in my life.

You don’t have a choice whether to pay dues or not, so you might as well participate. I do understand the need for a union, and I plan to walk a fair and balanced line as I participate. Having said that – I have very little experience to draw on related to this subject from this perspective in this industry. More later.

Q: How do your friends and family view your career change?

A: I have been supported in this decision by everyone; including those I left behind at PHI. Bev and I work hard to bridge the gaps in our availability and stay connected with our circles of close friends. Some of my closest friends worry about my future and think I should have ridden my utility career further. Most, I think, are proud of what my wife Beverly and I had to courage to do – retire early and pursue our dreams. Still – I’m sure some of them think I’m an idiot, but they mean that in the nicest way possible.

Q: From the Piedmont Airlines website, it seems as if the airline may hire a pilot if he/she meets the 1500 hours minimum, but does not necessarily yet have an ATP (however, the candidate must be able to obtain the Restricted ATP and have passed the ATP written). Is the Restricted ATP requirement at Piedmont Airlines somehow tied to a pilot candidate obtaining an FAA-approved A.S. or B.S. degree in Aviation?

A: You have to verify this with Piedmont, since it changes and I am not taking the time to research this further. My answer here is an educated guess.

You do not need an ATP walking in the door – just the ability to earn one in training. I do not recall about the written needing to be completed in advance, but that sounds right. I had my ATP 5 years ago, so I didn’t pay much attention. Save your money and do what you can here.

I believe that there are no obligations for obtaining any degrees whatsoever. Some mainline carriers require entry level candidates to have a degree, so I’ve heard, but not the regionals as I understand it. If you get into a regional that has a ‘Flow Program’, I believe you can progress to the mainline without the degree as well.

Q: What are the realistic minimums Piedmont Airlines is looking for in a pilot new hire?

A: This one you need to research on your own. I’d suggest you call them and talk with them – I can give you a contact if you like. I’d do this and build a realistic plan for getting to where you need to be. There are exceptions, I think, for certain schools and the military that lower the total hour requirements. In any event – make the call and build a plan.

Fly safe – looking forward to installed the new goPro Here 4 in my PA30 and going flying after this trip.

By fdorrin

Recently rated Gulfstream 280 pilot, working on instructor qualifications. WestWind and Astra corporate jet flight instructor. Contract corporate pilot. Own and operate a PA30 Twin Comanche. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; Typed in DHC-8, B-25, IAI-1124, IAI1125, G100, G280. Retired engineer / executive - Delmarva Power, Conectiv Energy, and PEPCO Holdings, Inc.