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Return to flying after 5 years. Advice?

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Return to flying after 5 years. Advice?

Old 12th Mar 2023, 11:15
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Return to flying after 5 years. Advice?

Hi,

I quit flying few years ago (pre COVID) and worked in consulting, then in tech. Posted my story here * intended as advice for COVID-affected fellow pilots. I feel now the time has come for me to return to flying. Do you have any advice for me on how I can build my return path such that the paycheck reduction and lifestyle impact stays as intermediate and as little as possible? Here is my situation:
  • 3600 hours, mostly A320 family and A340
  • 200ish hours as A320 PIC (I left flying as a young captain)
  • Kept my A320 PIC Type Rating alive over the non-flying years
  • Turning 40 soon
  • Selected positive for LX and EW a few years ago, these selection are still valid, maybe I could use them somewhere
  • Based 15 mins from a major hub in Europe. I could imagine commuting rosters like 14/14 or 20/10 but nothing crazy like 21/7 in Asia
  • My wife is flying at our hub's legacy carrier. So this binds us somewhat to the EU region (although she could do part time and commute but wouldn't be happy)
So what I am looking for is some inspiration / advice / even specific tips on how I could build the return path: across the spectrum of "join as FO at a respectable carrier and wait for 10+ years" or "join a smaller company with prospects to enter as or become captain soon".

Honest question - I would highly appreciate kind and sincere answers.

* terms-endearment/632038-working-life-after-flying-13.html#post10897207
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 01:20
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Look, I'm 40 and i would gladly give up my left hand seat position (over 10 years in various LCC-s in Europe and Asia) for a right hand seat at a decent legacy in Europe.
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 11:16
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Hi A321drvr, thanks for your response, highly appreciated. May I ask: what was your experience over the last 10 years that shaped your opinion?
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 11:58
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Originally Posted by A321drvr
Look, I'm 40 and i would gladly give up my left hand seat position (over 10 years in various LCC-s in Europe and Asia) for a right hand seat at a decent legacy in Europe.
I just did it at 41. After 5 years in the left seat (both Airbus and Boeing) I joined a European legacy on the right hand seat.
Big low costs will kill you (unsustainable rosters) and usually don't treat you well, and regarding smaller companies, you never know if they will be around another year. Legacy is the way to go.
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 12:13
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I was lucky enough to keep my job with almost none to little loss of pay during the pandemic however i personally feel that the whole business model of LCC-s is not something I could longer support.

Constant commercial pressure is trickling down from management through different departments. Cutting corners, safety and just culture is something for the textbooks, various courses are there to satisfy the regulator, etc. No real thought behind them. Middle and upper management are completely disconnected from what aviation means for the most of us. It's just a grind with the short turnarounds, expectation to use discretion to manage avoidable disruptions, the list goes on. Cabin crew and groundstaff are even having it worse. Really feel for them. Unions are little to non existent and seniority means nothing. Local labour offices and taxman turning a blind eye to bs contracts and how things are (allocation of vacation and personal time comes to mind which is regulated in most countries labour code).

Sure, there are better ones like EZY Switzerland and some are the absolute worst (new Wizz Malta BS and Ryr Buzz in Eastern Europe, or whatever it's called along with those ACMI outfits in the Baltics).

I'm sure that some if not most of the above exists in the legacies as well although better managed and with some more constraints favoring the workforce, so to say.
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Old 19th Mar 2023, 07:56
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I dont know if it would be possible for you but i recommend not giving up your current job and try to find a flying job on a part time basis. It gives you the power to leave aviation if it is too dissapointing.

if not possible, try to get in a decent company. Just forget all those shitty crapy companies like RYR, Wizz etc. I would rather just do any other job than joining these slavery flying jobs. Ezy swiss might be indeed a good option.

I dont know how you feel about flying cargo. I made the transition to cargo and for me it was the best decision ever and i work part time as well.

With your rating you can try EAT. (Once again if it is your cup of tea ofcourse). You can commute and (i am not sure for EAT) but i think you can go part time as well.

ASL is also an option. They have a roster of 1 week on 1 week off. Star Air is also a good outfit but thats just from what i ve heard.

Take your time in making a decision and since you have experience, yes you can be picky.


Good luck.
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Old 19th Mar 2023, 16:23
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FWIW, a load of my ex colleagues have ended up in LH cargo and are pretty happy with it. Management BS seems at a lower level and there is a lot a variety and challenges. Not everyone's cup of tea, but since aviation continues on its downward spiral, could be worth a look. Very flexible work if u wanted part time.
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Old 20th Mar 2023, 06:30
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You could consider trying out business/corporate/private managed operations, but youŽd almost certainly have to make temporary sacrifices. The switch from airlines to business aviation requires a medium to long term planning perspective. You may have to cleverly start out (accept) smaller airplanes lefthand seat or larger airframes RH seat, and work you way up. If youŽre looking for time ON / time OFF in larger chunks, this could be one way. Just understand that biz aviation is not airline - in a lot ways - both positive and negative - at the end of the day its down to your personality. Welcome back to the sky and aviation, and good luck with the path ahead.
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Old 20th Mar 2023, 16:08
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Klimax , macdo , Enigma01 , A321drvr thanks for your ideas!
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Old 20th Mar 2023, 22:10
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Joe R, with your current non-flying job/qualifications, try to get a non-flying-job in the US, and once you have the right to work there, do your FAA papers and apply to the US majors.

In my opinion you are too low in command experience for a DEC in Europe. So anyways you will have to restart at the bottom. Might as well do that with a US major.
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Old 27th Mar 2023, 11:07
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I think you should appreciate your current career more and build upon that and enjoy the benefits of legal contracts, a pension and a bit of job security. Rent yourself an airplane from time to time, do a bit of flight instructing or get youserself a flight sim to satisfy the addiction. If you think anything is improving after covid, you are mistaken, you will work more hours for less money and you will be treated like scum with zero job security. If you demand a legal contract or employment you will be ignored or laughed at, some indebted kid is already waiting to do it for less. This is a dead end profession in the EU, prove me wrong.
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Old 5th Apr 2023, 20:01
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Originally Posted by level_change
I think you should appreciate your current career more and build upon that and enjoy the benefits of legal contracts, a pension and a bit of job security.
The grass always seems to be greener on the other side. Working on the ground you can have either decent pay or job security / legal contracts / pensions, but I have not seen a position that offered both. If going for better pay: there is no enjoying benefits or just the time off if your brain is completely consumed by work; there is no such thing as a "legal contract" when the contract states "all overtime is included in the compensation" and you are expected to push 70 hrs per week. Pension: "included in the compensation". Job security: a partner once said to me that I should kick out any team member that does not perform for more than five days. Yes subjective and personal experiences, nevertheless shaping my opinion that a decent flying job might be the better gig in the long run.
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Old 6th Apr 2023, 17:14
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Originally Posted by Joe R
The grass always seems to be greener on the other side. Working on the ground you can have either decent pay or job security / legal contracts / pensions, but I have not seen a position that offered both. If going for better pay: there is no enjoying benefits or just the time off if your brain is completely consumed by work; there is no such thing as a "legal contract" when the contract states "all overtime is included in the compensation" and you are expected to push 70 hrs per week. Pension: "included in the compensation". Job security: a partner once said to me that I should kick out any team member that does not perform for more than five days. Yes subjective and personal experiences, nevertheless shaping my opinion that a decent flying job might be the better gig in the long run.
I can empathise with that. Having spent a significant part of my life working outside of aviation in an office-based role, I realise how much happier I am flying for a generally decent company. Some of my work colleagues moan about how things have changed since the old days; whilst I sympathise to an extent, the world of work outside of flying can be nasty, brutal and unforgiving - especially if you are chasing an above average salary.
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Old 6th Apr 2023, 18:58
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Have you considered NetJets Europe? Right now recruitment has paused for summer. It might restart early August/September. Initial recruitment is done by Kura.
If you're on LinkedIn, you can "follow" them and get notified.
pilot jobs
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Old 6th Apr 2023, 19:24
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macdo mentioned cargo, I would thoroughly recommend it. Better than pax and less 'hassles'. And cargo airlines were the only ones that carried on as normal (if not even more) during 2020/2021.
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Old 12th Apr 2023, 20:52
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Originally Posted by Alrosa
I can empathise with that. Having spent a significant part of my life working outside of aviation in an office-based role, I realise how much happier I am flying for a generally decent company. Some of my work colleagues moan about how things have changed since the old days; whilst I sympathise to an extent, the world of work outside of flying can be nasty, brutal and unforgiving - especially if you are chasing an above average salary.
Really interesting. Having transitioned from corporate/office -> aviation, the biggest thing for me is not having to bring work home. It was always on my mind at home and I always felt a bit anxious during the busy periods at work.
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Old 13th Apr 2023, 16:10
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Your not current, a lot of things have changed on the Airbus in the last 5 years in terms of procedures. A lot of airlines require currency, and the ones who don't you would still have to pass the screening which will be a whole lot harder 5 years out of the game. Realistically it might not be that easy to walk into a job like it may seem with the current shortages, at least you can try though but maybe don't expect much - Avion express or Smartlynx probably your best options to get current then go from there.
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Old 14th Apr 2023, 17:18
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Both LX and EW are recruiting. If you have once passed the selection with them, why don’t you try with one of those?
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