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What would you do?

Old 18th Aug 2018, 01:37
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: EU
Posts: 6
What would you do?

Hey fellow PPRuNe members. I'm seeking advice on my next career move. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong section. What would you do based on the information below?

EU citizen with USA green card. Eligible for citizenship in 2020
FAA ATP and EASA (Single Engine, IFR, 14 exams, radio operator), around 2200 Total time, 700 turbine, currently working for a regional carrier on the Embraer 175. Eligible for upgrade in 4 months time.

Here are the priorities in life at the moment in high to low order.
1. Minimum overnights out of base and time off. Currently I average between 14-16 days off a month.
2. Don't mind living in any base but would prefer to be near Czech Rep. Is commuting an option with most airlines?
3. Upgrade time
4. Compensation

Here's the what would you do question. Would you rather stay and upgrade or move back? If I do move back what airline would you recommend? If I stayed and upgraded realistically is direct entry captain an option?
From what I've seen I think I have the minimum hours requirement for direct entry FO. Anything else that I need to do for my EASA license?

I understand that some people might want the US lifestyle but it's not for me. I enjoy what I do and I've met some nice people along the way but I would like my roots to be back somewhere in EU.

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to reading the comments
blackmumba is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 06:56
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Either the back of a sim, or wherever Crewing send me.
Posts: 1,019
Take the Command, do 18 months or so and then try to move, DEC is then more probable.

14-16 days off a month, you’re doing very well.

Commuting will depend on who you work for, but generally not unless you get a long haul job. There is an unmentionable low cost Irish airline that has a 5 on 4 off roster pattern, so you could commute on that, but it’s far from ideal to do so.
Johnny F@rt Pants is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 16:50
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,482
Get the upgrade and another year’s experience as Captain before making the move. Upgrade first. That would be my recommendation.
Iver is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 18:55
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ziltoidia... indeed'd.
Posts: 409
@Iver I'm not being sarcastic or anything, but are you an active pilot? Not kidding, really want to know.

@blackmumba I've been in many airlines flying different types and in only one case (major carrier) DEC was offered to pilots without any time on type or related type. With your experience, if you were to take the upgrade on an ERJ175 (2.200 total and eligible in 4 months? that's low!) and stay there for a year and a half before applying in EU you would have tallied 1.500 more tops, 3.700 or 4.000 total. Enough to apply IF you are flying the correct type, definitely not enough to get offered DEC on a new type. You would be placed on a fast track for upgrade, exactly same as now if you apply to FR, VLG or any LCC. Difference would be that you can't predict how will the market be in the next couple of years but you can make sure you get on the fast track for the command now, securing your slot even if the market folds a little bit.

I can't tell you of any carrier in EU that right now would give you DEC without any time on type. Maybe FR, but I think that would require way more grand total than what you have now and solid PIC in other types.

If you want to move back to the old continent now it is a sweet moment. With your profile you can be sitting for the upgrade in about a year if you choose well.
iggy is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 21:07
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Frankfurt
Posts: 80
Ryanair offers a fast-track to CPT right now. They have never done that before, so they must be quite short of personal.
You almost meet their reuqirements with your 700hrs.

  • Does the applicant have the right to work in EU?
  • Date of Birth – (Not over 65)
  • Licence Type – a) EASA Part FCL b) JAR FCL
  • Validity of Licence – (Must be valid, applies to JAR-FCL Licences)
  • Validity of Medical – Must hold a valid EU (Part-MED) issued Class 1 medical certificate.
  • Minimum 2,100 hours total flying time
  • Minimum 1000 hours on a Multi-crew, Multi-engine JET aircraft weighing in excess of 30,000kg MTOW with an established airline, cargo operator, private operator or military transport.
  • Must hold a valid Type Rating for the Type specified above.
  • Must have operated on the Type specified within the 12 months prior to the course start date.
  • English Language Proficiency –minimum required proficiency Level is Operational Level
EDDT is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 21:22
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 1,159
Not sure if you can beat 14-16 days off in any short haul operation in Europe, working full time.
Long haul maybe yes.

Commuting is possible with most airlines, or they wouldn't be able to crew all their planes.
172_driver is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 21:30
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: U.K.
Posts: 329
Best bet if you want to go back to Czech is easyJet based in Berlin, few commuters go back to Prague, they work 5/4/5/3 on/off/on/off. Best have a look at their recruitment as either DEP RHS or wait as mentioned to upgrade then join as DEC. TR will probably be out of your pocket one way or another though
TheAirMission is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 21:32
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Frankfurt
Posts: 80
Many airlines with 14 - 17 days off short-haul and about 20 days off long-haul.

Problem : they have long seniority lists and they don't grow anymore. No ways to get in. (Legacies, national airlines).
EDDT is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2018, 16:03
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 57
Originally Posted by EDDT View Post
Many airlines with 14 - 17 days off short-haul and about 20 days off long-haul.

Problem : they have long seniority lists and they don't grow anymore. No ways to get in. (Legacies, national airlines).
You said many... Tell me three please. I will apply tomorrow.
Merovingio is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2018, 17:49
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Ireland
Posts: 35
Originally Posted by Merovingio View Post
You said many... Tell me three please. I will apply tomorrow.
Count me in.

OP I think it's a no brainer getting your command first and thus making yourself much more appealing across the pond. Easyjet comes to mind as a nice outfit for DECs here, no hours off the top of my head but a quick google will do the trick!
SliabhLuachra is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2018, 21:03
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Frankfurt
Posts: 80
Lufthansa , Air France ,Alitalia

LH: Depending on fleet we fly 550-750 block hours a year. (substract 42 days vacation, so that's approx. 10,5 months x 65 hours).

A good long haul dutyplan Airbus 380 / B747 would be 2x Shanghai (24 block hours each) and 1x Los Angeles. 3-4 days each rotation.
That gives us about 20 days off, because contract target (73 hours) is fulfilled. Usually its 3 or 4 rotations a month.

A short haul dutyplan has about 5,5hours a day of flying. Usually 13-17 days work a month. I don't see any magic here?
Don't forget the many nights away in some (good) hotel. And many duty hours due to big airports and connecting pax ( on shorthaul). No point2point ops.
So I do recommend the OP the Ryanair offer (fast track) because it's historic good times and home at night at RYR.
EDDT is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2018, 21:07
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Frankfurt
Posts: 80
Oh and as I said, no more/ little growth at network airlines. So time to captain if not much changes about 22 years.
Seniority lists...
EDDT is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2018, 23:29
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver
Posts: 97
I do have the same dilemma @blackmumba. Spanish pilot flying in the US, citizenship in the next couple of months after 6 years here.

I keep doing my research, and we have to understand that aviation in Europe is completely different, and it's a shame. Lots of pros too of course.

Days off even in a "bad" regional here beat any european carrier (except for those legacies). Even my part 135 job right now gives me 12 days off plus 4-5 reserve at home.

Pay...My korean friend is a captain at SKW, 3rd year, and he's making more than many 320 captains at some european airlines. Iberia Express, Vueling, some german LCC, etc....

Upgrade time...you know how it works here. Ryanair must be the only one offering a fast upgrade (the US definition of fast I mean).

Less overnights....Europe wins that one. Easyjet/Ryanair

It's complicated man. Each person is different, so it comes to what you really want to be honest. Right now I'm gonna stay here, flying as much as I can, and getting an upgrade. Coming back as a DEC compensates a lot more compared to paying a type rating to be an FO making "peanuts". Some pay better though. Apparently even as a PIC you may have to fund your training, so careful.
SextanteUK is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2018, 11:55
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Near Stuttgart, Germany
Posts: 1,021

Originally Posted by blackmumba View Post
Thanks for reading!

Originally Posted by blackmumba View Post
Looking forward to reading the comments
A very difficult decision indeed. As I have been in the flying business (not airline, but bizjets and instructing ATPL students) for some decades now I often find myself in the position of a career advisor... Hardly a day when I don't get a call or an email from a former student or former or present colleague or FO asking for opinions. The situation in the European airline market has gone completely bananas during this year. There are rumors around that one or more of the German carriers are threatened to get their AOCs pulled because they don't meet the minimum crew factor imposed by our authority. Or otherwise have to ground part of their fleet. They are absolutely desperate for pilots, right hand seat, left hand seat, middle seat, who cares... One Swiss carrier has just raised the maximum age for direct entry pilots to 62 years, not something that I have ever seen before. Myself and a lot of people one talks to think that this must be the usual 5 to 8 year bubble about to burst, but who knows, maybe this one lasts for another year or two?
Anyway, in order to get a foot into central European commercial aviation (airline, bizjet, corporate) there has never been a better time than now.

Personally, I would answer to the thread title "What would you do?" with: Come back to Europe! As much as I like the US for making holidays, like yourself I can't imagine living there for longer. Apart maybe from some of the pretty holiday destinations, but the cost of living there is extremely high and employment is difficult. E.g. one must be a very senior captain to be able to afford a house in San Francisco... And the lesser pay in Europe compared to (some!) US carriers is in part compensated by a lower cost of living here and the "free" extras. Like your family being included in your healthcare and social security and education at no charge at all. From primary school to postgraduate university. Ask your American colleagues how much they pay for the college and university their children attend!

What you won't easily find is the number of days off you have in your present position. As was already written above, some legacy and/or long haul carriers (e.g. Lufthansa "passage", but they are difficult to get into) will offer similar days off. In the larger bizjet sector 15on/15off or 16/14 will usually be offered, but you will be guaranteed away from home on your working days. Lots of hotel rooms in places where one would rather not be... Netjets Europe is looking for FOs right now (see the bizjet forum) with a good proportion of days off (they have a 6on/5off roster and will take you to your chosen home base which can be anywhere in Europe) but again, expect 12-15 hotel nights a month. Not my preferred way of living but a lot better of what others have offered in the past.

And concerning upgrade: You can get that here in the same time than in the US. For example join LGW (https://www.career.aero/site/de/employer/show/id/1037) on their fleet of Dash 8s and with your experience you can get your upgrade within a year. After another year you might find yourself in the LHS seat of an Eurowings (Lufthansa) Airbus. If the bubble doesn't burst in the meantime... Home every night and a minimum of 10 days off per month. Close to home. With Lufthansa employee privileges, e.g. cheap holiday flights to all those pretty spots around the United States. What more can you ask for If I would be 10 years younger this is exactly what I would do. On the other hand, nothing beats flying a corporate business jet for an owner who likes to be home for dinner which is what I am doing now.
what next is online now  
Old 20th Aug 2018, 13:32
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 276
I would highly recommend Wizzair. New 320/321s, no overnight stays - always sleep at home. Avg of 14 flying days a month (+ some avlb, stby). Several bases close to Czech, as well as decent commuting options via the network.
You should be able to upgrade within 2 years, provided you show the right qualities.

If you decided to wait for an upgrade, then work another 1500hrs as CPT - how will the situation be in Europe by then? Will anyone hires pilots? There is a chance you will be "forced" to stay in the USA for another 2-5 years. Are you happy with that?

I agree with you and "what next". The USA is amazing for a holiday, but personally, I couldn´t live there. Out of information you provided - I would move to Europe asap, while there are openings. My everyday life is a lot more important to me than work or money. You can find a lot of great companies in Europe nowadays and get it all. Stay in Europe, work for a good company, upgrade to a CPT in 2 years and well above avg money for living.
cefey is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2018, 21:04
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver
Posts: 97
To be 100% honest, if it wasn't for the pay, I would move back in a heartbeat. I lived many years in Germany and UK, and quality of life is amazing, loved it. But I need to think about my family, we invested too much in the past and now it has to be worth it.

Knowing and reading often how good the european market is right now (I mean how easy would it be to move back), is kinda painful.

Anf the US is super expensive....yes and no. Depending on where you live, and what you do with your money. You can also have an amazing quality of life here, without living in Manhattan or San Francisco. Now, god forbid you have 4 kids and they all wanna go to college haha, and of course health issues....but GOOD jobs here offer great insurances. Like with everything else, pros and cons and it always depends on who you ask.

OP, if you don't have a family to take care of, go for it man.
SextanteUK is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2018, 22:57
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver
Posts: 97
If I could ever make it to Fedex and could choose the german base, then I'd die happy 🤣
SextanteUK is offline  

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