View Full Version : Moving from Europe to the US. Still possible?
21st Nov 2009, 11:11
I have alittle problem and I was thinking if anyone can advise me.
I'm a pilot working for an important company in europe, flying A320 with fairly good conditions and lifestile.
Now my girlfriend from LA is pregnant.. ( oh noo :ugh:), she want to live in Calif and I have to find a solution for us to be togheter...So I was wondering how can I convert my JAA ATPL into FAA with my TR ngs (320 and 737) and how the situation is in the US..Is it still worth doing this job down there?
Thank you in advance,
21st Nov 2009, 11:33
"Important" ? I guess it got "lost in translation".....
Go to FAA: Home (http://www.faa.gov) and type in "Chapter 21" in the search window. Download the first document in the list (a PDF file). This explains the issuance of a U.S. pilots license based on a foreign license.
As for jobs - Not following aviation news outside Spain right?
21st Nov 2009, 15:51
To be honest, you will be wasting your time and money getting the FAA license. The pilot situation in the US is 10 times worse than Europe. If you want to be with your girlfriend and baby then do it, but don't expect to get a flying job. Type Rated/Heavy jet people are everywhere over there. There are so many redundant airline pilots it is ridiculous. Go there, get a job doing something else to make money. Good luck.
21st Nov 2009, 16:50
I'm a pilot working for an important company in europe, flying A320 with fairly good conditions and lifestile
Then you are truly one of the lucky few... What lpokijuhyt says above about sums it up and even if you did find a seat you'd find Ts & Cs in the States a long way behind those offered in Europe... Vacation time is laughable. You'll find little or nothing of the safety nets we take for granted in Europe ( important if you're about to start a family). There's an underlying fear and it's very close to the surface, you see it in almost everybody due to lack of social security programs... lose your job you'll almost certainly lose your home... and have little or nothing in the way of health cover... From an employees point of view the US has a long way to go to catch up with Europe.
21st Nov 2009, 17:05
that's quite sad and disappointing...I thought Southwest, Jetblue etc were good..I know about regional jobs not being the best but i was expecting national and mayors to be a different story! We all know what difficult times is the aviation industry facing but hearing about pilots looking for different careers sounds new to me!
The problem with this job is that we can't do anything else apart from flying so what now???
What is people trying to do if not flying?
Thank you for your answers!
21st Nov 2009, 18:04
I have just returned from the US and I have never seen so many planes parked up. Tell you what you go to the US and give me your job here, I will move anywhere
21st Nov 2009, 18:18
There are many things you can do, but you have to have the mindset that nothing is beneath you. I have two good mates in the US who were pilots at major airlines up until 18 months ago. One was with Jet Blue, the other United. The Jet Blue pilot was lucky to get a job at his neighborhood supermarket in the meat department. He doesn't make that great of money, but he needed the job in order to get health insurance for him and his 2 children. I believe he makes about 10 dollars an hour. The other pilot, took a job at the hardware store (similar to Bauhaus) and I believe he works in the paint department. He seems to like it there because there are 2 other ex-pilots that work at the same store. For some reason there are many ex-pilots that work at hardware stores? The problem is transferable skills. Let's face it, you are going to have difficulty making a CV in the "real world" when most of your skills and professional experience are in a cockpit.
Man, I hope you can sort something out. Good luck
21st Nov 2009, 18:51
I feel that, in order to properly communicate the current aviation situation in the US, I must be as blunt as possible:
You WILL NOT find a job if you come to America. Your pilot ratings, be they FAA, JAA, or what have you, will be worthless for employment purposes. Pilots with five digits worth of flight hours are lining up around the block to apply for the precious few flying jobs available, all of which start out at poverty wages and show precious little improvement as longevity builds. You mentioned Southwest and JetBlue. It is true that those companies (well, Southwest at least) would pay you a wage that you would probably find agreeable. It is also true that you stand ABSOLUTELY no chance of being hired by either in the forseeable future.
Explain to your girlfriend that if she expects you to leave your home country and seek employment as a pilot in the US, your child will grow up a pauper. It's as simple as that. I see far too many young families these days who are now destitute because they were dependent on the income of the pilot father, whose paychecks have recently gone from meager to non-existant.
21st Nov 2009, 19:00
Hahahhah........... Hahahhahahah........... You are serious right? You do know what you're getting yourself into right?
It's a BLOODBATH here. Honestly. You'll be at the bottom of some regional somewhere if you're lucky! Nobody is hiring. AT ALL!!! Compass, but only a very few are getting called to be on reserve and get treated like a :mad: (I would use a better word, but I'm trying to be as honest and truthful as I can). You'll earn $23-25 (edit, just wanted to clarify, that is PER HOUR) TOPS in the first year. I hate to say it, once you find out that you can't support your Girlfriend and child chances are she'll leave you too. I know, I know, I'm being dramatic here, but trust me, I've see it happen to MANY, MANY people so I'm only saying what I've seen.
Trust me, you don't know how lucky you are flying your equipment in Europe and earning good money. And admittedly have 'good conditions and lifestyle'. Keep that good condition and lifestyle and fund it to buy a nice house here and set yourself up before you even decide to slit your own throat.
I'm in the process of doing it the other way around. Almost done with JAA Exams (2 to go) and then I'm outta here. As much as I enjoy my life here (in terms of lifestyle), on food stamp wages it gets old fast. Downgraded, almost furloughed, it's just not worth it. There is no hope here. I have folks much senior to myself (and in positions I envy) tell me that they've been moving backwards in seat, aircraft, position and pay for the past 10 years. You see it so much that I hold no hope here any more. I still have the European right to live way out, I just feel for the rest of my aviating brothers here stateside that have to make it work here. Not to say Europe is WAY better right now, but still, I'd say somewhat better.
Again to reiterate, think hard about what you're doing. Go to www.airlinepilotcentral.com and look at the payscale and then tell me you can support yourself and your Girlfriend and child in LA. Hate to tell you the ugly truth but on that kind of money you wouldn't be able to afford to live in Compton (crap part of CA).
Now, if your Girlfriend makes tons of cash, then forget all of what I've said above and make the move yesterday! It's a great place other than the obove said. I love FL and would hate to move (yet, sad part is I might have to). Shame.
21st Nov 2009, 19:33
"Nobody is hiring. AT ALL!!!"
Not entirely the case....Allegiant had a few MD80 classes this summer, Compass is taking apps and so is Delta (doesn't mean that hiring will necessary follow, but it's positive), have a friend just hired at Air Transport International, looks like Virgin America has some kind of hiring; but considering there are so many people furloughed from other airlines and the economy is still very bad, it would be tough to get work here at the moment, especially without a lot of inside help.
21st Nov 2009, 20:26
Mick you're technically correct. But for the masses nobody is hiring. Taking applications and hiring are two very different things. I think there's supposed to be a 'careers fair' up in LGA today. A few airlines showing up just for 'PR', but like you say Compass are hiring, VA got something going on and Allegiant are also hiring (inside help is what it'll take there), I know many with apps in there, nobody is getting called.
I'm all for optimism, but there really isn't enough around to share. Hopefully to a better 2010 for us all.
21st Nov 2009, 20:54
Your first and biggest problem is converting your American girlfriend to your American wife so that you can even start the processes to qualify for the visas to come here.
As other posters have pointed out, the US airline industry is removing airframes from service faster than pilots are retiring, so there might be a job here or a job there, but the overall trend is still very negative.
I'm afraid that "British Guy" with that flair for colorful language that most Brits seem to posses, has it pretty well right.
21st Nov 2009, 22:38
Yeah, I agree with you, BritishGuy. Even thought there is a little bit of hiring going on, my friend at ATI had some good internal connections (of course, he was an awesome candidate too), but for the most part it is slim pickings and many highly qualified widebody crewmembers are on the street. Another friend applied to Allegiant during their last window, but no call.
And BigJoeRice brings up the other important issue.....Green Card/Citizenship takes time and coordination. It took me 3.5 years for the Green Card, a 5 year wait, then 1.5 years for the Citizenship.
Best of luck and congrats on the baby, zumzum!
21st Nov 2009, 22:46
Take all the advice you've been given here... it's pretty unanimous ( I came a short while ago... laughed at what people were offering to pay me to fly and took an instructor position with FSI)...
Maybe you should sell the idea to your lady that a couple of years in Europe would be a good bet while you wait for things to improve... you'll get the best healthcare for the child and she'll get to see Paris/Rome/Greece, the South of France etc... she can always go back to the US later...
This just isn't the time to be relocating... Best wishes to you both... Good luck for the future :ok:
22nd Nov 2009, 02:21
Guys I'm really impressed by the level of response and I really appreciate that!
Your advice is great and I'll defenitively keep into consideration all this. I understand how hard it is at the moment. Even here in Europe T&C are getting worse day afeter day and usually Europe reach US conditions after 10 years. That's the rule. So I'm prepared for the worse.. I know about green card and all that but before thinking about it is good to know how the situation is and I'm sorry if many of you are on the street right now. Things will get better, I'm sure! and I think I'll keep my precious job down here wich pay me good money compared to what i've read ( How can you survive with 25$ an hour?).
I was wondering what do you think about Unions role in all this. Here are still fairly strong and is what is saving us atm. Do you think is a Unions problem down there? i.e. too weak and not working in the interest of pilots?
Thank you all
22nd Nov 2009, 10:17
Lack of Union representation plays a major part in the lack of decent Ts&Cs but it goes further than that.. As I said, there's an unhealthy fear that one senses, just below the surface due to lack of social security programs. Also that working hard towards our first heart-attack will impress the guys at the top and when the axe comes around we'll avoid the chop. There's also the effect of the perpetual myth that the US is a land of success and that simply by working your butt off "you can make it " ... this helps generate a culture of independant striving for the top rather than a concern for the general good... this striving for individual success works against a coordinated effort to improve the groups welfare as a whole.
I work with FSI, a Berkshire Hathaway company owned by Warren Buffet and a company that you might expect to offer excellent working conditions... in fact, we get just 10 days holiday per year for the first 5 years! (With no time off for Easter and a guaranteed one day for Xmas) The Farnborough center being in the UK has to offer competitive conditions resulting in the people there getting ( I believe ) 30+ days per year..
The culture is such that when I mentioned to a colleague that we had a minimum of 30 days holiday in th UK his response was ... "WOW... That's way too much" .
The shareholders love this sort of naive dedication to the company and are laughing all the way to the Caymen Islands.
American companies (inc FSI) love to foster another myth that we're all part of a large family and that we're all as vital to the operation as the CEO be our position ever so humble... fact is we're about as vital as the photo-copier and like the photo-copier will be out of the door the moment the company spots the opportunity to increase its profit margins...
Like many of my generation I loathed the excesses of the large Unions that brought the UK to its knees in the 70s but over here the pendulum is way too far in the other direction...
Tony Blair made a statement in Parliament in defense of the US stating that he "judged a country by how many people wanted to live there "... My immediate reaction was that it wasn't 'how many' that mattered but 'who' wanted to live there... the fact that a queue of Haitians, Guatamalans and people from Somalia is always forming outside of a US embassy doesn't necessarily indicate that the streets here really are paved with gold.
22nd Nov 2009, 13:07
The advice given here is spot on. Many years ago, I was in a similar position, working for an Major European Airline and getting married to a US citizen with both of us wanting to live in the US rather than Europe.
At first, I tried to join some of the US major airlines, but my flight time back then was not competitive for the US industry. I ended up joining a Long Haul Operator in Europe and commuting to the US for almost 10 years. Once I had significantly more jet time, I did get job offers from the US, but luckily never accepted one - just did not feel right.
Today, I work for a major Asian Carrier, based in the US and feel very very lucky about making the right decisions along the way. Forget the US airline industry. It will be in ruins until some serious changes in legislation are passed - and who knows when, or even if that will happen.
Try to find a job with an Asian company on a long-haul fleet with basing in the USA.
22nd Nov 2009, 17:52
Zum zum, this is the best advice out there so far.....
"Try to find a job with an Asian company on a long-haul fleet with basing in the USA"
That's probably the way to go, just so long as Cathay open their doors on the recruitment from (I think they're only hiring S/Os at the moment). Korean is also an alternative.
22nd Nov 2009, 18:20
As one who made the move from Europe to the US a few years ago I can tell you to stay where you are and try to work it out with your girlfriend. I already had the FAA (and JAA) license so that was no issue for me. The grass is far from greener over here, especially if you're a pilot.
I have pretty much realized that I belong in Europe and that the life as a pilot is usually much better over there. The T&C's offered in the US are in most cases laughable. First good chance I get I will pack the bags and head back east.
23rd Nov 2009, 08:48
the Asian company option sounds a good idea. I will have a look at it even if Cathay reduced T&C tremendously compared to the past.
Again is a shame what's happening in the US and I hope things will improve. And again things here are slightly better but the situation is getting worse day after day here with pilots willing to spend 30K eur for 500 hours on Jet and companies ready to take them...
I heard thad after the Udson river accident government is trying to improve the situation. What do you think? Is that possible? Or because of the Financial Crisis companies will persuade them again?
23rd Nov 2009, 15:49
Actually, most of the recent government activity has been in response to The Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, NY. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colgan_Air_Flight_3407) Legislators are all shouting over each other for changes to rest rules that will be aimed more at inconveniencing commuters than addressing pilot fatigue. There is little hope on our end that they will produce laws that will actually improve the situation.
Oh, and for a laugh, feel free to peruse The Pilot Professionalism Assurance Act (http://www.airlinereporter.com/?p=2188), their genius response to the Northwest Airlines aircraft falling out of radio contact for an hour. It should give you an idea of the general aim of future aviation-related legislation.
3rd Dec 2009, 21:55
It was mentioned earlier, takes a long time to get, but there is no need to have an employer sponsor you. Like you say, SoCal App, an employer is not going to sponsor anyone. Instead, the eligibility would come from having an American child or marrying his girlfriend. Immigration attorneys are best for these things.
26th Dec 2009, 18:56
zumzum, you have a lot of good advice, I can just offer good luck.
Have they also something like Child in the Balloon Hoax Mitigation Act?
27th Dec 2009, 12:13
COPA is looking for 737 pilot, maybe you want to check their web-page!
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Copa Airlines-Vuelos directos a Sudamérica, Centro América y el Caribe (http://www.copaair.com/sites/GS/ES/Pages/homepage.aspx)
5th Jan 2010, 05:53
zumzum - lots of doomsday advice for you here. As a European living and working in the US I don't think the economy here is as horrible as some folks want you to think BUT if you're unemployed right now, there are few if any flying jobs available... Recession, remember?
I think Europe tends to trail the US a few years in the economical cycle so I do believe we (the US) will recover sooner and probably stronger than the EU countries will but of course there are no guarantees.
In the long run, I think the enormous strains of the €uro project will catch up with most EU countries in the next 5-10 years and unless the politicians somehow resolve the incredible budget imbalance between the wealthy and the poor EU nations the unemployment in Europe will rise and 5 years from now there might be more flying jobs here in the US than in Europe again...
Then again, what the h... do I know, I'm just an aluminum tube driver... ;)
Zumzum - Your main problem is to decide if you want to give up a pretty good job (from what you described) for the uncertainty of a "girlfriend" - yeah, unless this is a wife-to-be I wouldn't even consider it (however, I'd definitely support the child).
5th Jan 2010, 05:59
Mango P - you're using the typical leftist scare mongering. I know my mother waited in line for over a year for a cancer brain surgery in Scandinavia - how's that for your "safety net you took for granted"? ...and this is not a unique occurrence. Don't want to turn this thread into a pro- and anti-america mudslinging party but please stick to what you prefer without belittling what you dislike.
19th Jan 2010, 09:19
thanks for all your precious advices!
Time goes by and the pregnancy is going well...5 months to go now!
The US way is becoming less and less possible. I'm realizing how difficult it can be and I know that there are tons of pilots with thousands of hours on the book desperate for a job.
And then the money! I would need a 130.000USD ( yes, I'm serious) job to, at least, match what I'm making now in Europe.
COPA is a good option but pay is veeery low but thanks! I appreciate your advice!
I'm actually thinking on some contractor jobs in Japan. That might be interesting. But again, a lot to do ( change licences, new TR, new home) for not even being able to stay where I wanna stay...:ugh:
I think I'll wait for better times!
hugs to all of you!
24th Jan 2010, 07:35
Do you know if really copa is hiring contract pilots 737 rated ?? any chance to have as base lax for an expat european pilot? thanksss
24th Jan 2010, 12:16
Mango P - you're using the typical leftist scare mongering. I know my mother waited in line for over a year for a cancer brain surgery in Scandinavia
That may be... but then again maybe they decided that she could survive that period without excessive deterioration.... I don't know much about Scandinavia.. did she survive OK ? I hope so..
I do know that high costs of health insurance have lead to major problems (including the early death of a friend) here in the US... I'm amazed at the resistance to adoption of a health insurance overhaul ... people here are like turkeys screeching in support of Christmas... So far the Health Insurance industry has spent close to 100 million dollars in advertising to resist a health industry overhaul... they don't do that unless there's much more than that in it for them.
Part of the problem here is that people are living under two misconceptions..
1. That America is the best country in the world.
2. That if it is American it must be the best in the world.
Laughably... the high cost health plans are referred to as 'Cadillac Plans'... nobody here sees the irony... Cadillac = Overpriced, pooly engineered, all flash and chrome with no inner substance.
Michael Moores 'Sicko' should be compulsory viewing for every American.
25th Jan 2010, 11:57
I don't check this forum very often...
...That may be... but then again maybe they decided that she could survive that period without excessive deterioration.... I don't know much about Scandinavia...
No it's strictly first come first serve. ...oh and if you're "older" as in not working a younger (more productive) person might bypass you.
...did she survive OK ? I hope so...
Yes and thank you. My sister and my aunt are both nurses - connections helped to "speed up" the process.
...I'm amazed at the resistance to adoption of a health insurance overhaul ... people here are like turkeys screeching in support of Christmas... So far the Health Insurance industry has spent close to 100 million dollars in advertising to resist a health industry overhaul... they don't do that unless there's much more than that in it for them...
I'm not surprised at all, I'm proud of it. Overhaul is not what is currently happening. We shouldn't be turning into Pelosistan but we are...
...Part of the problem here is that people are living under two misconceptions..
1. That America is the best country in the world.
2. That if it is American it must be the best in the world.
Laughably... the high cost health plans are referred to as 'Cadillac Plans'... nobody here sees the irony... Cadillac = Overpriced, pooly engineered, all flash and chrome with no inner substance...
Lot's of rhetoric for sure but it comes from both sides. Overall I think we have it pretty good and simply need to improve our system. Pelosi/Reid/Obama plan is NOT what we need.
...Michael Moores 'Sicko' should be compulsory viewing for every American...
Disagree. Anyone who has watched that Pravda propaganda movie should be sent to Cuba each time they get sick.
Also, Michael Moore and Al Gore should be barred from eating food for at least 3 months to save our earth from global warming.
Just my 1/2 penny which equals 1/4 Obama centavos.
PS. I'm not an Obama hater, I respect him and enjoy his speeches. However my initial belief that he'd be a centrist President has been shattered into tiny, almost invisible pieces.
So let's agree to disagree.