I am a CRJ200 (Bombardier Regional Jet) Captain for Air Wisconsin based in Atlanta, Georgia. We codeshare with AirTran Airways as AirTran Jet Connect in Atlanta and with United Airlines as United Express in Denver, Chicago, and Appleton, Wisconsin. Our destinations cover 63 destinations in 27 states, from San Francisco to Miami, Washington, Winnipeg Canada, Edmonton Canada over to Eugene, Oregon.
Passenger emplanements have grown 30 percent over last year, we take 2 CRJ orders a month, and are actively hiring pilots.
I have worked for Air Wisconsin for over three years and despite the major growth, the company has retained it's small company charm and is a fun place to work. Generally, you fly with people you know. Management is friendly and first name and crews have the latitude to operate independently. While we will also soon take a pay cut, our contract and work rules are one of the better in the regional airlines.
Flying the CRJ is exciting. Chicago O'Hare and Atlanta Hartsfield are fast paced. While scanning the moving map for courses and afternoon thunderstorms, we are accelerating to 250kts off the runway for traffic spacing and running checklists. On the other end sometimes it is challenging in a swept wing jet doing short dog leg base to final visual pattern approaches avoiding Cessna traffic into a 6000 foot runway at a small airport.
Starting pilots can expect to start in the CRJ, with pay in the middle twenties as a new hire and middle thirties after a one year probation. Pilot pay is base on a line pilot guarantee of 75 hours per month, even on reserve, time and half overtime pay, mechanical and cancellation pay, duty rig pay, and even a commuting pilot clause. We have twelve days off minimum with fourteen to eighteen being the norm.
Captain upgrade time for me was one year to the Dornier and two and half years to the CRJ. Captain pay is middle fifty to middle sixties. Due to 9/11, upgrades have gone to about three to three and half years for now, but with our steady growth, it may go down soon.
Typically, applicants have scheduled airline experience. Competitive qualifications are around 3500 hours time, 1500 hours multi-engine, and turbine experience. A four-year degree and recommendation are very helpful.
Good luck in your career!
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