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TP Command or Jet F/O?

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TP Command or Jet F/O?

Old 23rd Dec 2016, 22:08
  #1 (permalink)  
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TP Command or Jet F/O?


I am a F/O on the ATR72-600 and in the beginning of next year I may upgrade to captain.
But a few months ago I applied to another airline that operates A320, with only one more interview and sim left in the assessment (if I pass I have to self fund the TR), I'm now thinking between both if i succeed. (Salary would be similar)

I know that there is no definite answer to this question and that I will have to do the decision on my own at the end, but I wanted to hear some different opinions about this topic.
So what's more worth in your opinion?
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Old 23rd Dec 2016, 23:06
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My types were not similar, being smaller and less pax capacity, lower weights. But I was also in a position to move to LH seat on a turboprop or RH seat on a jet. For me the jet was a huge upgrade and would open more doors in the future than the turboprop command time would ever do.

I think companies, or better, HR departments still generally tend to look at jet time as worth more than turboprop time, so that could play a role. But self sponsoring the type would be a pretty big con for me personally. Your current company does not have any further progression opportunities beyond LH seat ATR? If they do it might be worth it to stick around.

There no easy single answer as you said, I'm not even sure I added anything useful in this post . I tend to lean towards the jet with the motto "it's easier to move down in size of planes to fly than it is to move up".
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Old 23rd Dec 2016, 23:28
  #3 (permalink)  
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If you want to fly go left seat turboprop, but unfortunately if you want a career that will pay the bills comfortably over time, then it get your ass in a jet as soon as you can.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 03:02
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+1 for the jet.

Get your ass in a jet ASAP. Especially when it is such a common and useful type as the A320.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 07:15
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Had to make a very similar decision myself about a year ago. There's a million variables but the factor that swung it for me was knowing that when the bottom falls out of the industry again, I'd be better off / more marketable having a 320 rating than a t'prop. Of course having to pay for it myself would probably make me think twice. Good luck with the decision anyway.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 08:21
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Never turn down your first command.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 09:05
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Chesty is right. I was in the same situation a couple of years ago and took ATR command (actually was even a bit forced into it, instead of going for a RH seat in a jet).

It didn't feel entirely right at the time - I felt I was stuck on the ATR for eternity (my PPRuNe moniker reflects my then-frustration ). However, it turned out to be 4 years or so, and it was a great way to gain command experience and sharpen my flying skills. ATR is perfect for that.

When the tide turned and I got a jet TR, I briefly had to go back to the RH seat. However, my previous command experience allowed me to upgrade in minimum time (500 hours on type, or so) and the process has been a breeze. Couple of years later I am flying happily as a widebody CA. Some of the guys that took the jet while I got the ATR command (10 years ago) are still F/Os, or at least upgraded to jet CA much later.

I know it is a bit market-dependent and know some guys who had been stuck on a TP forever and can't get out of it. Still, I would not totally disparage the idea of ATR command...
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 19:14
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Chesty was right about 5-10 years ago, before paying for a type rating became the norm. I am in no way defending the pay to fly schemes, but they have changed the game for all Turboprop guys. Now most HR departments ( Granted not all), will put low hour jet rated guys at the top of the CV pile, above experienced TP guys. I agree with Chestys thinking, and in an ideal world the things you will learn by moving to the left will rapidly develop you as a pilot. If only major HR departments thought the same.

The only ATR of any benefit is the 72/600, with a operation that is fully PBN approved, flying into major airports.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 19:28
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That's one of those one-liners from way back, that disregards all variables about a situation...

My first command would have been on a sub 10.000kg, sub 20 pax turboprop that just about no one flies anymore, and that most employers don't seem to consider as valid experience at all. It would have gotten me nowhere soon, and I was making command decisions for a few years from the RH seat already due to severely subpar LH-seaters in my previous company (not implying I'm one of the skygods but these people were beyond belief).

Meanwhile, I will have the total time to be considered for LH seat within a year or so after switching to a jet, and have already been told that I will get the chance ASAP. Not spending that money before I have it in my pocket, but still... screw that old adage . Times change and one-liners should not guide your decision IMHO.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 20:05
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If i were you, i would go for the command. Later on you can still apply for captain NTR position. Me, i have couple of thousand hours on jet but very little pic hours. I feel there is still a gap between fo and captain experience. The step to go from the right to the left is much much higher than swapping from type and perhaps more valuable.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 20:30
  #11 (permalink)  
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Never turn down your first command.
I don't agree as it is entirely subjective to each pilot when facing these decisions. I've turned down 2 jet command opportunities to carry on my chosen career path and I made the right choice (for me) both times, no question.

If you want to move airlines periodically throughout your career or feel your current mob aren't a one-stop-shop then fair enough but jet hours are unfortunately more relevant than TP command hours if you want to work for anyone other than a regional TP operator. If the crap hits the fan on a global scale for the aviation business, and you are relying on TP PIC time to get you a job, then you will be up against an awful lot of people with the same or possibly more relevant hours chasing very few openings. I'd argue then it's a case of sit and wait (years?) or open your wallet and pay for a TR on a jet.

A good situation? No, a command of any sort SHOULD be more important than any form of P2 hours, but this is the modern aviation job market, and I can't see it changing unless EASA imposes USA style minimum experience requirements for a medium jet F/O. It won't ever happen.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 21:48
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Perhaps not of your concern yet, what's the future lifestyle prospects in the two different jobs? I left a low cost carrier (left seat) for a career airline (right seat) where I can get part time to be with kids, part time for studying, summer holidays, proper seniroty list and a whole range of other benefits. Your situation may be entirely different to mine, it's however a perspective to consider.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 23:17
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I was TP FO for 7 years, decided to upgrade to CPT on TP three years ago instead of going RH on jet, had a wonderful time, good salary and learned a lot and now I am starting on 747 as FO.

In the end you have to decide what suits you best - type, roster, company stability, quality of life, career progression, salary..

It seems to me that TP stigma is finally slowly fading away.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 00:39
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From someone at the opposite end of an aviation career, I agree with 172_driver. Really consider the lifestyle pros and cons. Sitting in an A320 will not compensate you if at the same time you have an unhappy personal life.

If you can, I know its not always possible, make the job fit your life not the other way around.

Good luck.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 06:43
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Command time is viewed much more favorably and therefore I would not turn it down. Once you have 1000 hrs PIC then you can consider looking elsewhere.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 10:59
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Ask one question: do you want to be on the turboprop for the rest of your career? If the answer is no, then do as so many others do every day. Get the job that you want in stead of the command that you will only enjoy for a year.

So many good friends have left an almost guaranteed jet command at my low cost to join a long haul operator because their dream was to fly 'heavy metal'. No one told them not to turn down a command. Choose your path.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 15:30
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If the 320 operator is for a seniority based airline, then get in as soon as you can. If it's BA, or similar, seniority is king.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 19:34
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There is no absolute correct answer to this dilemma.

Is the A320 operator a place where you would be happy spending most of your career?
If so, take a position if offered, especially if it is an airline where progression is governed by seniority.

If it is not a long term choice, will it help you get a job with a carrier where you would like to stay? Probably.

The cost of A320 Training is probably similar to the upgrade training on the ATR, which you will probably have to repay if you want leave within 2-3 years.

I understand the advice to take Command but it is of less value in f you intend moving to an airline where entry is at FO level only.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 19:56
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I always remember a sentence of an old Captain...

" at the end, an aircraft is an aircraft...after few month of glamorous it doesn't matter if is B747 Atr or Airbus, they are just machines. What really matter is lifestyle in the company."

I always try to apply this.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 23:07
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If the Airbus is in a desirable location for you, I would go for it.
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