Vintage Restoration
Hi all!

Well in the near future I may have a blessed opportunity to get a great flying job in Chicago. The schedule for this company is very similar to airline schedules, ie. bidding 3 and 4 day trips. New hires have reserve schedules, like commuters... it all works about the same.

Anyways, right now I live 2 hours south of Chicago in Champaign, IL, and really would like to continue living here. I have a great apartment, great roommates, cheap cost of living, very nice town, and all my friends and girlfriend live here. If I get this job, however, I'm concerned that my hopes of being able to commute via car (the 2 hour drive) will become a nightmare. Then I'll be stuck with an apartment which I wouldn't really be using much, and living at home with my parents.

For those with experience commuting, will this hope I have of commuting the 2 hours just simply be too difficult? With a 3-on/2-off, 3-on/3-off, 4-on/3-off type schedule, will driving back and forth just kill me? How early before a flight will I need to leave, if it takes like 40 minutes to get to the hangar from the parking lot, and you need to be there an hour early? I'd need to leave like 4 hours early? (5:00 AM show time, OUCH!!!) Will the major cost-of-living/quality-of-life differences between here and Chicago be cancelled out when factoring in gas costs and car maintenance? I'm sure it would be easier if I could jumpseat... not an option though.

Basically, I really want to be able to commute to Chicago, but I'm afraid that I'm thinking it will be easier said than done. I'm hoping to get some input from some people who commute...

Thanks in advance!!
First of all you need to clarify wether you're bidding 3 or 4 day "trips" or 3 or 4 day "duty periods". If you know you're going to start flying on day 1 and not come home until day 3 that's one thing but if there's a possibility that your 3 day 'trip' could sometimes be 3 one day trips that's a totally different situation.

Basically if living in CMI is important enough to you then you'll find a way to make it work. Gas and vehicle maint. - probably not that big of a deal. 2 hour drive, 40 minutes to the hangar, 1 hour show time - you're leaving home a minimum of 4 hours before the flight. If this a corporate job(kinda sounds like it) it's very common to have 6 to 7am shows. For a 0600 show yo'd have to get out of bed at 130am - are you going to have the disicpline to go to bed early enough to get adequate rest?

2 hour drive is going to suck - I have a 35 minute drive and sometimes that's enough to make me want to put the ole Beretta to my head(not quite that bad) but living where I do is important enough to me to endure it. Consider the safety issues - after a 14 hour duty day(not uncommon at all) or at 2am in the morning on the way to work are you going to mentally awake enough to make that drive? Weather in Northen IL in the winter time has the tendency to be a little snowy - how will you handle it then.? Does that 2 hour drive factor in traffic? Depending on which airport you're going to (I assume ORD if it takes you 40 minutes to get across the parking lot to the hangar) rush hours can be 'sporting' to say the least.

The drive is going to be he!! - no way around that. It all comes down to how important is to you to stay living where you're at.

My commute is 40 min. maybe 15 miles of it is State highway vs Interstate. We never, ever... pick up our pax at our home base, so the normal gig is ramp out at 6:00 to be on deck at HPN or TEB at 6:30 for a 7am pick up.

Show time is one hour prior, but I tend to be early, so figure I am at the hanger at 4:30.

At that hour there is virtually no one around, I can get a cup of coffee, and take a nice long relaxing preflight. make sure everything is how *I* like it before the captain even shows up. Some captains don't give a you know what about the little things, I like to have the cabin set up with the minor things addressed.

So for me that means 3-3:15 wake up. out the door well before 3:45. Live on a ship with 80 other guys using the same head, and you learn how to get ready fast.

oh and it helps to have the coffee pot in the kitchen on a timer...

So could I do it with a two hour commute? Sure if the trips were solid. and I knew monday was the work day no two ways about it. if you are looking at a 135 op, the days on may be on call days on, so be sure you have the big picture before you make the call (on where to live not to take the job.... take the job, no matter what...)


chicks dig guys who live with their parents...
I think you can live a two hour drive away but, if it were me, I wouldn't plan on going home unless you have the next day off. You might only have ten hours off between duty periods, no way it's worth it to spend 4 hours of that driving. So, if you expect to have a crash pad or stay with friends in Chicago between duty periods, I think you could commute home on your days off.

I'm based in Louisville but haven't been there yet this year...seniority is everything...
I would hardly consider a 2 hr drive to be "commuting."

Living in Orlando and working in San Juan or Philly - that's commuting!

Seriously, 2hr drive for a good schedule should be no problem. If you are driving up to be 8hr airpost reserve, well then that's bad.

If they have a 1 1/2 to 2hr callout for reserve I would bid reserve!
OK, I'll spill the beans. I don't like telling people about it because a) I don't want to jinx myself, and b) I feel uncomfortable talking about things like this. But it's a possible job with a 121 regional carrier. I've completed all my interviews/sim check/written eval, and just am waiting in hopes of getting a class date in like July or August.

The company has short call (2 hour) and long call (9 hour) reserve. I figure I'd try to get as much long call as possible.

I figure if I have an early show or get home from a 14-hour duty date late, I can crash at my parents house or one of the crashpads. But, if I'm living in CMI, I don't want to be away SO much that it becomes pointless to commute.

IF this happens.
I am not an airline pilot so I don't have experience with this personally.

But my friend flew a 777 for United out of JFK even though he lives in Washington DC. Of course I think the trip schedules are different for them.

How is the traffic in that area? I had to commute 50 miles in Washington DC traffic for 8 months and it drove me nuts.

For a few years my aunt commuted to JFK from SLC, just becuase she loved flying to Europe. It involved alot of time away from home, but in the end she was able to make it work.