Confessions of a Regional Pilot—Part 2

NOTE: Last week, we met Jonny McB, a young pilot just starting out in his flying career.

You can say that “he’s made it”—he’s achieved his dream of flying for a living! But what are his goals and expectations for his future, and what advice does he have for those of you dreaming of following in his footsteps?

This week, we explore those issues!



Dr. Evil Review

I simply have to say again, I’ve been overwhelmed by your comments & reviews pouring in on Amazon, GoodReads, etc., over our free book giveaway 2 weeks ago! Did you enjoy

The Last Bush Pilots

There I Wuz!


Code Name: Dodger?

There’s still time to write a review! I read them ALL with great care—and so do other readers looking for a new book—greatly humbled by your words, folks!


Link to all books, in Print or Kindle:


What do aviation, weather, and Ferris Bueller have in common?

In case you missed it, I was interviewed by TV Meteorologist, Stephanie Ortmann on

WeatherNationTV, Direct TV’s weather station, for National Aviation Day.

Direct Link to video:

You can also watch their live stream online at

And now, Part 2 of

Confessions of a Regional Pilot!


You really need to love flying to make it your career.  Make sure you can get a First Class medical.  The biggest thing that gets everyone is money. You need to plan, plan, plan.Jonny McB


BauruSaoPauloAirportAre you interested in being hired by a major airline?

Yes, most definitely.  At 26 years old it only makes sense to move up.  After being a captain for 1-3 years at my regional, I plan on moving on up if the industry is doing well.

Many pilots take up Real Estate or start their own business for extra income and in case the flying career falls through. Do you have a “fall-back” career in mind?

Flying is my passion, and nothing else really “sparks” in my eye.  I did some insurance sales in college and really enjoyed it and I have thought as that being my back up plan.  I’m more of a worker than an entrepreneur and so my business model is to live with the money I have and to save for retirement early.  I already have my 401k going and I am properly insured.  Overall I’m a people person and enjoy doing anything to better people’s lives.

What is your biggest dream in this career? What do you think your chances are of achieving them?

My dream is to fly a 767 to Brazil, and travel to the world with my family.

I lived in Brazil for a couple years and that’s where I met my wife.  I love other cultures and traveling, and so the dream is to travel the world whether working or while on vacation.  The dream is to fly a 767 to Brazil and get to spend time in my favorite places with my family.  With the industry the way it is I think that my chances to do just that are just at the end of the tunnel.

How do you feel about the possibility that you will be “stuck” at a regional airline for your career. Would you stay in the business?


Meet me in Rio!

The possibility is less than I think it has been in the past.  The industry is hiring like crazy right now and I think the upgrade time will be quick.  If I get “stuck” or even decided to stay at a regional I would still be happy.  At a regional you can be home more and still make decent pay.

It’s all about quality of life and loving your job, whether you’re in a jet carrying 50 passengers to Fargo or 300 to Rio de Janeiro.*

*(Cap’n Aux Note: ^^Awesome!!^^)

How long did it take, from the day you took your first flying lesson, to the day you were hired by your current airline?

Short story — 6 years.  I started flying officially in the fall of 2006, even though I had flown a couple times before for fun and did a lot of online flight simulation.  I took a 2 year break after getting my private pilot’s license to go live in Brazil as a missionary.  Once back in 2009 I finished my 7 semesters of college in 3 and a half years, then flight instructed for 1.  I was hired at the beginning of 2014 at my airline.


Taking wife-to-be Fernanda up for her first flight. Talk about a romantic date!



Who says flying has to be all business? Off to March Madness with da boyz!

Now that you are an “airline pilot,” what do you tell kids who say they want to be one?

You really need to love flying if you want to make it your career.  I highly recommend going on a couple intro flights and making sure you can get a first class medical before choosing this as a career.  The biggest thing that gets everyone after that is money.  I know so many people who would love to be airline pilots but just can’t afford it.

I never started a rating unless I had ALL the money to get it done, and then I did exactly that.

Training —  Once you decide you want to do this as a career, you need to plan, plan, plan.  I never started a rating unless I had ALL the money to get it done, and then I did exactly that:  I got the rating.  The faster you do your training the less time it will take you to get your skills to FAA standards and the less money you’ll spend on “keeping your skills up”.  I snagged my private in 3 and a half months, instrument in 4, commercial in 4, multi-engine add on in 2 months, CFI in 1 year, and finally CFII and MEI in 3 months.  That’s the key.

I know so many people who started their private with only a couple grand and then once they got half way through they have to stop because they run out of cash.  With that their skills weaken, weather comes in, etc, etc and they lose all of the money they put in to their training since months go by and they basically have to start over again.


Cap’n Jonny, on descent into KGEG!

The other big thing I would recommend is to get your ratings as quickly as possible.  If you’re doing a 4 year degree, try to become a CFI and get a job by your junior year.*  If you do that, you could have all of your hours before you even graduate.  No waiting after graduation to be at an airline.

(*That’s what I did!—Cap’n Aux)

From your perspective, where you are today, what is your general feeling on the state of the industry, and the benefits of a career as an airline pilot?

Job satisfaction for me is watching the passengers get off the plane, knowing that I’m helping others.

If you love aviation and travelling this job is for you.  Every day and flight is different and a new challenge.  If you have a hard time being away from home, working weekends and holidays and missing events, this job is not for you.  I feel no greater satisfaction than getting to know why people are travelling and making sure they get to their destination safely.  Watching the passengers get off the airplane is one of the greatest feelings I get.  Job satisfaction for me is knowing that I’m helping others achieve their goals.  Whether it be for their careers, visiting family, life long dreams of travelling or whatever it may be, I love helping them achieve that.

It helps to have a loving and supportive spouse!

What do you think of the “looming pilot shortage?”

I think it’s definitely there but not as quickly as they say.  I think once the need is big enough and the airlines are hiring so quick, that more people will start to get into aviation again.  It’s nice for people like me just getting into the industry and who are young.  The quicker you can get in, the better.

Many kids who dream of flying get discouraged when they run into burned-out pilots. From the left seat of a major airline, it’s easy for me to say, “It’s all about your attitude.” But for you, at the beginning of your career, away from home and getting paid such low wages, what keeps you from falling into that “burned-out pilot syndrome?”

Attitude is everything.  Yes, first year pay is low, but in the end it pays off.

I totally agree with you that attitude is everything.  Yes the first year pay is low, but in the end it pays off.  Commuting to reserve also takes away a lot of time at home.  However, with some good planning and research, and yes a little bit of luck, it has been a great job.  I knew what I was getting myself into, and I got based in SLC right out of IOE (I was based in MSP for the first month and a half).  My parents live in SLC and so I’ve luckily never had to pay for a crash-pad or a hotel.  It’s probably going to take another year to get based in PHX but at least I have a base where I live that I can get to eventually.

I highly recommend moving to your base if you plan on staying there long.  It’s not worth the money and time you’ll lose commuting.Jonny McB

I highly recommend moving to your base if you plan on staying there long.  It’s not worth the money and time you’ll lose commuting.  SLC isn’t a bad commute since it’s close and I have family nearby.  In the end, quality of life is everything, even more important than how much you make or what equipment you fly.  Flying is flying.

Me Jonny McB Wmk

Thank you, Jonny McB, for your words of wisdom!

Well, there you have it folks, straight from someone who’s perhaps just a little bit ahead of you!

I would like to say that I agree with him on the “Looming Pilot Shortage”—it’s still out there, looming, but is coming slower than we’d like.

Nevertheless, your dream of flying for a living is DOABLE! But you WON’T make 777 Cap’n any time soon.

So, again, take Jonny McB’s advice and enjoy the adventure

Quality of life and loving your job is everything, whether carrying 50 passengers to Fargo or 300 to Rio de Janeiro. Flying is flying!Jonny McB

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