I was just curious as to how long a typical Airline ground school class lasted. I apologize if this has been posted before. Also, do you get weekends off? When do you see your family? Any thoughts would be great.
When I was a Continental intern, DC-9 ground school was two weeks, Monday through Friday, 8-5 daily. Those pilots who did not live in Houston typically non-revved home on the weekends to be with their families.
This is just ground school. New hire training would be longer. Typically, a week or two weeks for basic indoc and orientation, then two weeks of ground school, then two weeks of simulator training, then IOE, before you're released to the line. Typically, there are some breaks in there where you can go home and see your family.
HOWEVER ... life on the road is just one of the requirements of being a pilot, airline or otherwise. People coming in to this field should know that ... and more importantly, your friends and family must understand and be willing to deal with that, or you will never make it in this business! If everytime you come home from a trip, your wife/girlfriend/mother/whoever harrasses you about being gone so much, you'll be driven out of aviation against your will in no time.
I'm about to go to 757 F/O training, which will last six weeks from start to the end of IOE. Our 757/767 program (common training...I'll be able to fly both) includes a computerized systems class rather than a traditional classroom one. While they don't admit it, unless you study the systems material at home you will have a hard time in training. I'm studying pretty hard as I work up to my mid-March training date.
My 727 initial F/E training took twice as long....three months from start to end of IOE. Then I was on reserve for six months, though in this day and age we have guys that have been on reserve for four years. Reserve wouldn't be bad if you lived in your domicle but would be awful if you chose to commute.
Our contract guarantees two days off every seven days....so I think it will be weekends off. Not enough time for me to consider trying to get home and back from Spokane to Lousiville....you could do it if you lived closer.
For me, initial training lasted about 7 weeks. We would meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Weekends were off to do what we pleased, however most of us spent that time meeting up to learn memory items, profiles, or study the things we covered the past few days.
Week one was Indoc; indoc means indoctrination into the company rules and procedures. Not procedures really as in flight procedures (although some), but more like weather requirements, dispatch requirements, hazmat, security, and so on. The next two weeks were aircraft systems. We covered every part of the entire airplane, learning the schematics and how to operate everything.
Here is the class we'd work in every day: (I hope this works)
Week four was cockpit procedures training, and the oral. In CPT we would sit in a mockup of the Saab cockpit and go through each profile for normal procedures (how to fly an ILS within the aircraft operating limits, at certain speeds, etc.) and conduct emergency procedures and memory items.
Here is the CPT: (I hope this works)
The oral consisted of a discussion about some systems, things to look at during the walkaround, 100-hour limitations as an FO (for instance you can't land with greater than 15 knots crosswind in your first 100 hours, among other restrictions).
Should you get through the tests (up to this point, 5 tests: Indoc, Systems, Security, Hazmat, and Oral), then you move to sim. We conducted our sim training in Minneapolis. For most everyone it lasted two weeks, but for myself and my partner it lasted a week and a half. In the sim you go through every profile, procedure, event, emergency, abnormal, etc. in the book. 8 training sessions at 4 hours each, followed by the checkride, then a LOFT session to "fly the line." Should you make it through your sim ride, then you're off to OE.
OE for me lasted 4 days. I flew two 2-day trips, with one day off in between. I started OE the day after sim training ended, and since I agreed to fly on such short notice, they let me have off on the Saturday that weekend to go to my roommate's wedding. I think I flew 22 hours on OE. The requirement is 25 hours, however you get a credit for landings which can reduce that time up to 50%. My first 2-day trip was a little nerve-racking, but things got more comfortable on my second trip where we could actually have some fun.
On OE, you are actually flying paying passengers, with a check airman. Should you get the signoff after OE, you are then released to the line!