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thissmallfish

Real world pilot careers and the aircraft they fly "on the way up"

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Hi guys, 

 

I'm trying to find a good site with pilot biographies that'll give me some idea what sort of planes pilots fly on their way to taking us off on holiday in the big tube liners. I'm a relative newbie to flight sims and as an engineering student and former music teacher I'm a firm believer in "learning to walk before you run". I really want to build up my simulated flight hours and progress through aircraft types in a realistic manner and I'm curious as to what exactly is realistic! I'm looking at it from a purely civilian perspective as I have no interest in the military angle. 

 

My question is... is it the same for all pilots or are there many exceptions to the rules? Are there some commercial airliner pilots who might have never done a stint in turbo props? Or are there pilots who might have only done a few months in a Cessna 172 and then got rated in a twin? What are the first jets a commercial pilot might fly? It seems an awfully big leap in technology from say a King Air to an airbus A319... but is that a leap that happens often?

 

Essentially I don't want to unrealistically leap up to a different type of plane that in the real world you wouldn't jump into. Ultimately, I can put hundreds of simulated hours in for nadda and I'd like to make my simulation education as real world equivalent as possible. 

 

At the time of writing I'd consider myself a fairly competent VFR flier, capable of pulling off a "greaser" every once in a while and I don't lose my s*** if I happen upon a few clouds! In fact, are there any online virtual "flight-training" schools. I've seen some commerical packages but they're a bit disappointing. 

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Angle of attack. Good stuff. Begin with Aviator90 (which I think is free).

 

Your question is a bit difficult to answer straight and forward, but let me try:

 

There are as many ways from scratch to a 747 cockpit as there is flight schools..

I know alot of pilots, both ex and current flying/flown 737s F50s, Dash8s, A330/A340 and so on.

They came from all sorts of background, but the common platform they all started with was a cessna

or a SEP (single engine piston).

 

The new thing now a days is that you can get a multi crew liscense.. It takes you from scratch and straight into the right seat of a 737/320. If you do it that way, you actually dont get a PPL and cant fly a cessna 172 (how ironic, right). But the fact of the matter is that when the big guys comes around my local flying club to have some laps in a C172, they often suck.. If you leave SEP-flying behind and only fly a 737, youll loose alot of the stick and rudder skills because you suddenly have yaw dampers and servos helping you out.

 

Anyways, the pilots I know come from some of theese backgrounds:

 

Military training RNoAF F-16/Orion ----> Sas/Widerøe 737/dash 8

 

Civil training single engine/twin engine pistons --------> Cessna caravan -------> 737

 

Civil training sep/mep ---------> instructor -------> 737

 

You will always do alot of time in a cessna/piper single engine piston. Then, some actually go straight to the big jets while other jump one leap at the time.

 

There are infact people that have gone from flying piston multi engines to the right seat of a 747.. It depends on luck/skills/contacts etc. 

 

Jumping from a King Air to a A319 is not a big deal if you are ATPL/ATP-rated. The King Air is in itself complex on areas the A319 is not and vice versa.

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Hi thissmallfish, in my case I started flying c172 and the seneca in the flight school, then I flew pa-28, and arrow for some time increasing my logbook, and then a big airline hired low-experienced pilots where I started to fly the md-80, later B717 and actually A320. Other people I know started directly in the A320, and others from freighters, like the metroliner, caravan or the B146 and actually fly A320, 330, 340, 380, 777 or 787. In aviation you never know in wich cockpit you will end, but normally once you fly in an airliner, you will find new jobs if you need it.

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Hi thissmallfish, in my case I started flying c172 and the seneca in the flight school, then I flew pa-28, and arrow for some time increasing my logbook, and then a big airline hired low-experienced pilots where I started to fly the md-80, later B717 and actually A320. Other people I know started directly in the A320, and others from freighters, like the metroliner, caravan or the B146 and actually fly A320, 330, 340, 380, 777 or 787. In aviation you never know in wich cockpit you will end, but normally once you fly in an airliner, you will find new jobs if you need it.

 

Thanks for the reply Nachez :) So how many hours were you in the c172 and pa-28s before you were able to bag an md-80 job? Are the line-training/type rating requirements different for pilots with different prior experience or is it "one size fits all?"

 

I hope you guys don't mind my prying I just find it all quite fascinating :-)

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Hey mate,

Here in Australia we had a huge number of Indian pilots come through to do their CPL. I've known quite a few that did a total of 200hrs in a c152, and then jumped in to a partinavia to do their instrument rating.

They then go back to India with 250hrs and jump straight into a 737, a320, or ATR.

Had another mate who did his cpl in basic singles like c172 and warriors, multi and instrument in a be76, scored a job doing bank runs in an aero commander, built up his hrs, then scored another gig flying a cirrus owner around on business trips. He built up around 800hrs, did a citation endorsement before paying up for b744 enough in the states...

Now he is right hand seat in a 744 for Korean...


Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
 

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Interesting stuff guys! Rob, are you a real-world pilot too?

I take it you mean Airliners? No, I fly privately.

 

Regards

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I take it you mean Airliners? No, I fly privately.

 

Regards

 

Anything. I'm in awe of you all! What do you fly if you don't mind my asking?

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Anything. I'm in awe of you all! What do you fly if you don't mind my asking?

This summer was a Piper Cherokee, all depends on what is available to rent, I only spend my summers in the UK, rest of the year I work abroad.

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Whenever I see these low hour F/O's it reminds of those pay to fly schemes... Especially this guy http://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/388761-a320-hard-landing-incident-kos-greece-20070705/

 

or India's 'pay someone dodgy to fly' scheme resulting in this... http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-02-27/india/28638235_1_dgca-nose-wheel-rough-landing

 

:blink:   :Shocked:

 

That was not enjoyable reading.. Very disturbing.. 

Interesting stuff guys! Rob, are you a real-world pilot too?

 

I for one fly a real machine: :t4012:

 

And no, it does not beat the air into submission.. It gently strokes it to persuade it.

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I just finished an aviation program at a college near Toronto Canada. I flew the C172 and the Piper seminole and am applying to jobs in the north. In Canada low time pilots either instruct or do a bit of bush flying to build enough hours to fly the airlines. So typically in Canada after a pilot has finished their training they move on to fly King airs, or Twin Otters, Navajos, pc- 12, etc etc. Spend 4 -5 years building up hours then move onto the big guys. 

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Whenever I see these low hour F/O's it reminds of those pay to fly schemes... Especially this guy http://theairlinewebsite.com/topic/388761-a320-hard-landing-incident-kos-greece-20070705/

 

or India's 'pay someone dodgy to fly' scheme resulting in this... http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-02-27/india/28638235_1_dgca-nose-wheel-rough-landing

 

I mentioned a similar thing on a thread in the FSX forum. With the likes of these guys:

 

http://www.caeoaa.com/

 

You can go straight from a 0 hour newbie to the RHS of a 320/737.

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I mentioned a similar thing on a thread in the FSX forum. With the likes of these guys:

 

http://www.caeoaa.com/

 

You can go straight from a 0 hour newbie to the RHS of a 320/737.

 

From the BA cadet program...

 

 

"We regret that the following will not be eligible for the programme:

  • Any candidates who have already completed any JAA / EASA ground school exams
  • Current CPL or ATPL holders.
  • Any military pilots who have commenced training at an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU)"

In other words, dont have previous and valuable experience..

 

I can understand the ATPL point, cause theyre already out there searching for jobs, but the first point??

 

Are they complete morons or am I missing something very crucial?

 

How can they refuse people who completed the PPL ground school exam??

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As I understand it, they want totally fresh cadets that they can mould in the BA-way from day 1.

 

Edit: I can understand why they want to control the standard of training from the very earliest point.

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As I understand it, they want totally fresh cadets that they can mould in the BA-way from day 1.

 

Edit: I can understand why they want to control the standard of training from the very earliest point.

 

I know that, but having made ONE, just ONE ground exam PPL does not exactly qualify for "impossible to train to our standards".. All you get, reading books and taking a ground exam, is knowledge. Thats why I find it so bizarre. What is wrong with just having knowledge without ever having been molded by an instructor?

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I'm not a real-world pilot, but two real-world instructors wrote this for FSX, with real-world student pilots in mind:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Flight-Simulator-Pilots-Training/dp/0764588222

 

The progression they take you through is like this:

 

Piper Cub - the basics: Sport Pilot License equivalent

Cessna 172 - radio navigation, GPS, weather: Private Pilot License Equivalent

Mooney Bravo - instrument flight in high-performance aircraft

Baron 58 - multi-engine flight

King Air - Introduction to turboprops

B737 - Introduction to airliners

 

While it uses the default FSX aircraft, payware equivalents could easily be substituted, e.g.

 

A2A Cub

A2A C172

RealAir Lancair/RealAir SF260/Carenado Bonanza (with Bernt Stolle patch)

RealAir Duke

RealAir Turbine Duke/Digital Aviation Cheyenne

PMDG 737

 

It's an approach that means once you move to the big stuff, you'll have done the right groundwork, even if there are more steps involved than might be the case in real life.

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I know two real world pilots (neither are interested in FS and constantly scoff me for my hobby!):-

 

Guy:

 

  • Done science A Levels then got straight into the BA Cadet program in 1998. (No PPL or previous training).
  • After training he was flying Saab 2000s for 2 years (BA's regional arm of the time), then moved to Dash 8-300s.
  • After 4 years on the TPs, he moved to the A320 programme out of Heathrow and 15 years later is still there. He has no desire to move to other types and likes the 'shorthaul lifestyle' as he now has kids.  He made left seat I think about 5 years ago, after a couple of attempts!

Martin:

 

  • Martin self funded and trained to his ATPL at Oxford Aviation Academy. He qualified in I think 2003.
  • He got into FlyBe, initially out of Birmingham I think, on the Q400.   He was there until 18 months ago when he went to EasyJet on A319/A320.   He has some 'left seat' assessments coming up early next year I believe.

 

Martin's Dad is also an ATP and came out of the RAF in the late 70s and flew for Dan Air out of Newcastle (727s I believe).  He then went to Thomas Cook / JMC for about 10 years, all on the A320, then in 2006 went to Qatar on the A330.         In 2010 he came back to the UK flying the 737 for another Charter airline (Thomson I think), and retired early last year.

 

As far as I can remember, Guy and Martin both flew PA28s to get up to the PPL and IR ratings and stuff and then I think one of them got up to his ATP in a Piper Seminole and the other in a DA-42 (can't remember which way around though!).

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Martin:

 

  • Martin self funded and trained to his ATPL at Oxford Aviation Academy. He qualified in I think 2003.
  • He got into FlyBe, initially out of Birmingham I think, on the Q400.   He was there until 18 months ago when he went to EasyJet on A319/A320.   He has some 'left seat' assessments coming up early next year I believe.

 

Yeah I know someone who did something very similar at about the same time. He went to BMI iirc and then to EJ on the A320 series. Still there and now in the LHS, though looking to reduce his hours I think.

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Ten different pilots will tell you ten different stories. From cadetships or instructing to hour building out bush or a Military career, as is often the case it is mostly being at the right place at right time when advancing ones aviation career.

 

It is a very unique fraternity. 

The path to the airlines is quite varied from country to country as well as the boom bust nature of aviation.

 

I'm more or a reader than a poster, but in my case here in Australia I took the bush pilot route to the airlines. Starting off in my home City. competing for the small crumbs of hours around my local field.

 

I trained initially on C-152/C-172, PA-28 Warrior then gained some experience on more complex Constant speed prop (Variable Pitch) and retractable undercarriage to gain my commercial licence on PA-28R Arrow and R-114 Aircraft (note the plural of aircraft is aircraft not Aircrafts!!! a small pet peeve of mine).

 

I then gained some multi-engine time for my Instrument rating on PA-44 Seminole and PN-68 Partenavia types. 

 

After being lucky enough to get some experience with an operator in my home town and luckily getting endorsed on some cool high performance piston twins I was occasionally flying PA-31 Chieftain and a B-58 Baron types.

 

I conceded though, that after a while of minimal flying, I really needed to build some hours.

 

I needed to head north. I gave up everything I knew and headed to Australia's Northern territory and jumped in the far queue with hundreds of other pilots in Darwin looking for a job. 

 

I ended up working in a bar up there for a few months, as a lot of pilots do.

 

I would say Tenacity and keenness was key here

I was able to pick up some work with a Parachute operator and did some meat bombing in C-182 for a time, before finally scoring  a much coveted charter job out bush in Arnhem land flying 2 of the territories most prolific flying utilities the Cessna C-206 and the C-210.

 

I flew those in an out of Aboriginal communities from very rough unprepared bush strips for 3 years and thousands of hours in tropical rain Mud and blisteringly hot dry seasons, before moving up to the twins, barons C-310's and PA-31's

 

I then ended up much later on Beech 1900D's and C's before moving to Perth WA after 7 years up north. Mining Charter in EMB-120 Brasilia's. then a left seat command back on the Beech 1900's

 

 After 4 or so years and yet more 1000's of hours I've finally been back in my home town flying  A-320's now for little over 4 years and yet many more hours, and soon hopefully moving the left seat again.

 

Bigger better faster a boss once said to me. my path took a little longer than most I guess, but it coincided with a bust cycle in Australian aviation due to ripple effects of 911 that had just taken place and one of our major airlines going tits up at the time.

 

I've had a lot fun doing it and met some pretty awesome guys doing it, I made some great mates as well, I scared the crap out of myself a few times too.

 

I don't regret any of it.

 

Cheers T

 

 

P.S have Look at OZx website, if your looking for some good bush scenery for FSX for that region.

it's a remarkably uncanny representation of the bush strips there and brings back a lot of memories and the occasional shiver. 

I wish they did more of the strips up there

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Norwegian Air Force pilots go through the following craft:

 

SAAB Safari -> T-6 Texan II -> T-44 Pegasus -> P-3 Orion/C-130 Hercules

                                              -> T-38 Talon -> F-16 Fighting Falcon

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*snip*

 

Fascinating read, thank you mate. I'd love to start sim-flying somewhere other than the UK but I enforce a personal rule whereby I won't move out of the UK until I've collected all the OrbX UK scenery for the area and can competently hand fly IFR. If I were flying for real, I figure that'd be my situation. 

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Sounds like a fair plan. As far as I understand, apart from the cadetship route, most of the UK guys head off to north Africa to get their hours up,

 

The Congo, Botswana Etc...This IS the real "meat and potatoes" of flying.

 

Where. you learn real stick and rudder skills in poor weather and high temps resulting in Aircraft poor performance as well as short strips for good measure.

 

This is where you can get a deeper understanding of flying an aircraft to the edge of it's legal limits as safely as possible, with wild animals running out in front of you as well.

 

At least in Australia we only had to contend with Crocs, venomous snakes,spiders and the odd errant rogue buffalo.

 

I'm not sure how you'd go with downloadable scenery for fsx though.

 

In the meantime check this out UK bush pilots:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy9_pZrT1GA

 

I'm sure it will be enough to whet your appetite. Its very similar to how it was up in the Territory in OZ minus the Lions and elephants etcetera of course.

 

Cheers

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