View Full Version : Turbo Prop Job or Not
Hi, wanted some advice. I have been working for a small turbo prop operator for a few years now on the ground. During this time, I have trained and become a bit of an expert in IT and electronics engineering, which is what my current day to day role involves. I also hold a frozen ATPL just like thousands of other people at the moment. It seems, I now have the offer of jumping in the right hand seat full time. This was my long term plan. I know that the situation in our wonderful game changes all the time but I just wondered what peoples opinion was of flying a turbo prop for a couple of years, gaining 1500 or so hours and then maybe moving on to an airline. Is this level of experience still something airlines are interested in or should I give up on the flight deck as so many people here say and continue in IT and engineering. I'm 33 so I know I ain't an integrated 23 year old with a MPL. Just wondered if this level of experience counts anymore. Thanks for your advice and opinions.
4th Apr 2012, 16:24
Same age bracket here (when I started) and identical scenario (albeit I was a FI with the option to continue in a better FTO, give RYR a chance or...take what I have got right now) but nothing to fall back onto shall my medical go to hell...:uhoh:
Going small-TP route will most likely trap you in but it really depends what kind of job the operator does. If it is charter and corporate transport you might find yourself spending some valuable time in FBOs around UK/EU. Use that time wisely and make connections with bizjet crews etc. and...there could be the next rung of your career ladder. Networking is the key!
The usual well-informed here on the RN will howl that TP experience is worth nothing to airlines and right now they might be quite right. BUT...those hours still attracted the attention of some jet operators, so I would not agree they are totally useless. However an A320 or B737 SSTR without 500-ish hrs on type is also equally useless. Just take a look at the latest issue of Flightglobal. Gone are the days when the "admission-ticked" within LCC or jet-ops were a "mere" 20-25K for sim+base-check. Now the price has perhaps doubled, you need line-training, recent experience and for me if it was out of reach before, well guess now...
Bottom line...hold tight on your IT-skills and keep them sharp. Make the switch if that is you gut's feeling but maintain a foot in the door with your actual job: freelance, self-contract in your time off...whatever. Aviation is not a place where you can relax, every honeymoon is VERY short-lived, full of compromises and comes to a very high price.
4th Apr 2012, 17:18
What kind of TP is it and does the operator have any other types that you could migrate up to? (i.e. jets).
TP flying does (to a certain extent) pigeon-hole you. As for moving on up to jets and larger operators, right now I would agree with the majority and say that if that is your ultimate desire, then (with the current market conditions) you're best to look at getting on with one of the loco's. However, that means submitting to the heinous SSTR system and forking out mucho cash. Your call on that one.
For the future - if the market did ever change - being an experienced TP pilot may create openings for you with jet operators. Just not right now.
My operator fortunately has both types, so there's a chance to move from one to the other - bonus.
As others have said - I would get some time RHS and keep your IT skills sharp. Keep as many irons in the fire as you can. I assume this TP is a JAR 25 aircraft and RHS is loggable as P2?
Best of luck :ok:
Dan the weegie
4th Apr 2012, 19:39
There's no secret ingredient, if you want to fly RHS in a TP then do so :) it doesn't pay that badly and no pilot in the world will suggest it's bad experience. There's plenty of TP guys that I know of that have gone on to Jets and plenty I know of that weren't. I don't know many people who managed to get a job, with the exception of integrated guys, without knowing people in the right area.
Hours are definitely worth something, Turboprops are fun but if it's not what you want to do then don't because you'll be miserable thinking that you're above the job and the guy sitting next to you wont much like you for it either. That way doom lies.
I like flying TPs, I'm sure I'd like to fly jets but I like what I'm doing and I like it a hell of a lot more than standing in a server room for 8 hours a day wanting to pee.
4th Apr 2012, 22:37
The fact that you have to ask if its worth doing tells me that you have already made up your mind. You have had a fATPL for a while now and your seriously asking if you should take a job being handed to you on a plate? Everyone is whining about TP pidgeon holing but can you honestly say that having 1000 hours in a TP won't put you in a better position than someone with only 250 hours?
The no progression from TP thing has only seemed to come to light since the global slow down. Before 2008 no one seemed to have a problem. It's all supply and demand. Demand now is for type rated + 500 hours or be a cadet from a seriously overpriced feeder flight school. This situation wont last forever. Get in your TP and use that licence that cost you a small fortune.
5th Apr 2012, 05:41
For :mad: 's sake YES TAKE IT. It's a very simple decision and it's the best flying experience you'll ever gain.
Just because this internet forum is exclusively populated with wet-behind-the-ears, spoon fed, 18 year old mummy's boy FATPL nitwits whose only interest is discussing the best way to piss 30 grand down the drain on P2F schemes, it doesn't mean the real world actually works like that.
No doubt in the answers to this thread you'll get a range of answers and umms and ahhs and P2F marketers masquerading as pilots, but I give you a simple challenge, get off the computer, go to your nearest airport and stick your head into the nearest crew room and ask the boys and girls who actually fly for a living what they think, you'll only get one response. Guaranteed.
Once you've got a couple thousand hours of multi engine, multi crew turboprop, the world really is your oyster, and the vast majority of real airlines (i.e. ones that don't treat the RHS as a paying passenger) still value that experience.
Ok, here is a 35 old (young) not wet behind ears anymore guy. I'm having +1000 jet hours in GA. First of all, what operations are they doing? Scheduled flights or corporate. If it's corporate, be prepared. Low flying, a lot of standby days, low payment and the always never ending bs of GA companies. I would stay with the IT business. You will have a lot better outlook. Nowadays a pilot has to think about his marketvalue. So stay with the IT man and try to fly funwise.
5th Apr 2012, 12:49
Hi BIGS, if you donít take the opportunity thereís a whole bunch of people reading this (myself included) who would form a very disorderly queue to take your place. Iím sure you could wangle some freelance IT trickery for the days that you are not rostered to fly, that way you keep a valuable skill up to date if the flying doesnít work out and you keep an extra income. Sincere best wishes whatever your final choice and I hope it works out well for you.
Thanks very much for everybody's advice. You would be surprised how much it helps to get the opinion of other professionals. Cheers.
5th Apr 2012, 21:00
Hey BIGS , I was once told by a Captain 'Never turn down your first job and never turn down your first command'
Personally I would take it with both hands. I know a couple of guys that fly TP's and they say that it is the best flying you can have , certainly in a hands on way. Lots of hand flying , the way I definitely want to go.
I would give my right arm for the chance , so if they want a one armed FO please drop me a PM.
Good luck whichever way you decide !
5th Apr 2012, 22:36
if you want a flying job then take the right hand seat.
qatar are taking heavy turboprop captains onto jets right now.
this game has always been about supply and demand and of course,fortuitous timing,just like most opportunities in life.
anyhow,jet jobs ain't always that satisfying.alot to be said for skirting around weather in a turboprop.never make a fortune,but you will have lots of fun.
7th Apr 2012, 17:54
"never make a fortune,but you will have lots of fun." - And that's exactly why we do it!
Take the job BIGS. Good luck!
Grab the opportunity. Aviation is cyclical and the experience will stand to you. I started on TPs and it was my most enjoyable flying to date.