From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #7



Hello everyone!! I am currently ONE WEEK away from my instrument checkride!!! Time is flying by, and I have been keeping myself busy! The last month has included a lot of flying, ground school, and passing my instrument and instructor instrument exams! I do not even know where to begin with this update!

After completing my private pilot checkride, I moved straight into instrument flying. I almost feel as if I am learning how to fly again. Instrument flying is so different from VFR flight rules. I now have to wear “foggles” to make sure I can only look at my flight instruments when I fly….so that means no more looking outside! I also am able to fly in the child’s, which has been a blast. I had to complete twenty hours of instrument time build before starting my instrument training. The time build was a lot of fun! I flew from DuPage to Oshkosh, WI which was somewhere I have always wanted to fly; now I just have to fly in for the air show! I also flew over part of Lake Michigan when I went from DuPage to Lansing, MI for another cross country flight. In my time build I learned how to pick up IFR clearances, how to fly solely on the flight instruments, and how to land using various instrument approaches. It is A LOT to think about while still flying an airplane.




Once I was finished with my time build, I then completed numerous flight simulator lessons. These consisted of flying different approaches, departure and arrival procedures, holding patterns, DME ARCS, and more unusual attitude flying. After completing the simulator time, I then went out for my flights where I practiced everything I learned in the simulator now in the airplane. Instrument flying is a lot of fun, but it sure is different. There is so much more to think about, and everything happens so fast! I am becoming a lot more comfortable with multitasking, and am getting better with reading approach plates while communicating with air traffic control while still trying to fly the plane.




Somewhere between all of my flying and ground school I also passed my instrument and flight instructor written exams! These two tests were extremely difficult because of the amount of questions there were to study. The exam is only sixty questions, but then there are over 1,200 questions to study from. It is a huge relief to have these exams finished! Next week will continue to be extremely busy as I prepare for my checkride. I am continuing to work hard, and am over a month ahead in my program. I am looking forward to telling you all about my instrument checkride, and what will be up next in my ATP program!!

Aviation Vocab 101: Work Rules

Work Rules Breakdown

Frequently, in the recruiting conversation, the term “work rules” is repeated consistently. However, do you really know what these work rules are and how they benefit you? Do you really know how these work rules apply to your job as a future pilot? With more than a dozen work rules for each airline it can become overwhelming to remember it all. There’s a lot to think about when you’re making your decision on where to begin your commercial aviation career. We aim to help you make the smart choice for your future by giving you the information you need to make an informed decision. Below you can find some of our work rules, and information to help you make the right decision for you.

Per Diem: Term to describe the method used by flight crewmembers to account for their meals and incidental expenses paid by the company while they are on the road

At ExpressJet we offer a per diem rate of $1.85/hr. effective on the date we signed our new contract extension and an increase to $1.90/hr. effective 18 months after your date of signing. That currently adds up to $44.40 per 24 hour day away from home.

Pay Protection: Guaranteed pay

Crewmembers receive full pay protection for cancelled or reassigned flights at ExpressJet. If your flights/trip becomes cancelled, you are still paid at the same rate as if you were still flying a trip.

Deadhead Pay: From time to time the airline needs to reposition crewmembers to another city to fly their next flight. They fly as passengers in the back with the passengers, and here at ExpressJet our crewmembers are paid their full hourly rate to do so.

We provide 100% deadhead pay when crewmembers are repositioning for work.

Duty/Trip Rig Pay: Trip rig pay is based on time away from base. Duty rig pay is the amount of time based on the duration of time spent on duty.

At ExpressJet we offer duty/trip rig pay on top of pay for time in the air.

Our ERJ trip rigs are:
4 day trip = Minimum 15 hours of pay
3.75 hours of min day pay for an off day pick up
3 hours of min day pay for a calendar day layover on a trip
2 hours of min day pay for a flying day during a trip

Our CRJ duty rigs are:
Paid 1 minute for every 2 minutes of work up to 12 hours (1:2)
Paid 1 minute for every 1 minute of work after 12 hours (1:1)
3.87 hours of min day pay

Profit Sharing: A benefit where employees are able to receive a direct share of the profits made.

ExpressJet’s Scoreboard Rewards program rewards our people for company performance. All employees receive equal monetary rewards based on meeting our performance goals, paid out quarterly. In addition, we offer a profit-sharing program that shares our company’s profits with all team members. Our pilots will receive a minimum guaranteed profit-sharing payout for 2016 ($1,000) and 2017 ($1,500). Total value of profit sharing payments shall be equal to 6% of the net profit of ExpressJet Airlines, distributed equally among all eligible pilots, or the minimum guarantees, whichever is higher.

We want to help you make the smart choice for your future by providing you with the information you need to know. If you have any questions about our industry leading work rules, visit or contact

Check out the other articles in our Aviation Vocab 101 Series:

Updated: ExpressJet announces path to United



Updated 3/15: We’re still clarifying program details for internal candidates, but we do have some additional information about how it’ll work for new hire pilots. See updates below!

On Feb. 17, ExpressJet pilots voted in contract extensions that raise first year pay to $37-40/hr. Today, we’re excited to share details of our agreement with United for a Career Pathway Program that facilitates ExpressJet’s ability to offer its United Express pilots a path to United Airlines. Compensation and career progression just got better at ExpressJet.

What is the Career Pathway Program?
ExpressJet’s agreement with United for the Career Pathway Program offers a path to United for qualified ERJ pilots, subject to the full terms and limitations of the Career Pathway Program. This program offers a flight officer position at United, pending successful completion of an interview at United and fulfilling all established criteria and program requirements.

Is this a flow?
Not exactly. For so long as ExpressJet supports United’s operations, United has committed to hiring up to 1 in 4 new hire pilots each year from program participants at ExpressJet based upon those pilots’ meeting or exceeding the established program requirements.

New: How does the program work for a new hire pilot?
To be accepted into the Career Pathway Program, new hire pilots must complete four simple steps:

  1. Interview and be hired by ExpressJet into an eligible pilot position (currently our ERJ fleet)
  2. Complete United’s personality inventory test during training, then after completing ExpressJet’s training interview with United representatives
  3. Fly with the best at ExpressJet until your United slot comes up
  4. Begin your dream job at United

Who is eligible?
All ExpressJet pilots who support, or are qualified to support, our United Express operation, are eligible. Currently, all United Express operations are supported by our ERJ fleet so ExpressJet ERJ pilots are eligible. This program complements our already-strong hiring relationship with United, and we expect to continue to see CRJ pilots hired by United into the future outside of the Career Pathway Program.

How are candidates selected to move to United?
Movement to and employment by United will be in seniority order of those who apply and are eligible for the program, and who remain in the program in good standing with all program requirements for an established period of time. We’re still finalizing details, but expect to have an open enrollment period for existing ERJ pilots.

Why do we have to complete an interview?
Both ExpressJet and United expect pilots to continually develop in their careers, and we believe that knowing you’ll interview for a position encourages self-improvement while still giving our pilots the best career progression opportunities.

Does this impact the JetBlue University and Advanced Gateway Programs?
While ExpressJet pilots will have to choose which program to pursue, the JetBlue Gateways are still available to all eligible team members.

Look for additional details in the coming weeks, and learn more about ExpressJet’s Career Development opportunities at

ExpressJet pilots ratify contract extensions; raise first year pay to $37-40/hr

09-24 ExpressJet Livery-364

One of our guiding principles, ExpressJet is continuously working to improve our company. We strive to beat our last performance metric, to provide the best service, to be the best place to work. The desire to “win” for us isn’t for the industry accolades, but to reaffirm to our team members that their hard work is noticed and valued.

We were a great regional airline before, and today we are even better.

On Feb. 17, ExpressJet pilots voted in extensions to our existing contracts that provide an unmatched total compensation package while retaining the superior work rules that define who we are as an organization. Here are some of the highlights of the new extensions:

  • First year pay rates at $37 (CRJ200/ERJ) and $40 (CRJ700/900)
  • Per diem increased to $1.85 on date of signing and $1.90 on date of signing + 18 months
  • $1.50/hr increase for all pay rates
  • Profit sharing program that guarantees a minimum payout of $1,000 for 2016 and $1,500 for 2017

Additionally, the contract extensions add improvements to our already industry-leading work rules. The new work rules add to schedule flexibility, offer improved compensation practices and clarify contract language. More information on ExpressJet’s contract extensions can be found at

Flying with the best just got better.

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