Paths to the Flight Deck
DEC, First Officer and Cadet Frequently Asked Questions
Direct Entry Captain
How does the Direct Entry Captain (DEC) program work?
Pilots with at least 950 hours of Part 121 or qualifying Part 135 time can apply as a Captain. Successful candidates will earn Captain pay until they are able to attend upgrade class. (Currently there is no delay.)
I have Captain experience at another airline. Do I get credit for my experience?
Under a new Letter of Agreement, pilots may bring their longevity at their previous Part 121 carrier to Piedmont and get credit for pay purposes. For example, if you have three full years of service at CommutAir, Endeavor, Air Wisconsin or another Part 121 carrier you would come to Piedmont on Step 4 of the Captain pay scale ($157.50/hour). Verification is required, of course.
Does being a DEC affect flow time?
No. The flow is based on company seniority only.
What bonuses are available for DECs?
Pilots with 950 or more hours of qualifying Part 121/135 time will earn an additional $15,000 in bonuses. The bonus structure would look like this:
$15,000 sign on
$15,000 for Direct Entry Captains
$7,500 E145 type rating bonus (if qualified)
$15,000 after 12 months of active service
$30,000 Captain upgrade bonus
$40,000 Captain upgrade + 1 year bonus
$40,000 Captain upgrade + 2 year bonus
$25,000 flow to American bonus
How long will I sit on reserve as a Captain?
Direct Entry Captains will fall on the seniority list based in DOH. As with every airline, that means an FO hired in 2021 who upgrades in 2022 will hold a line before a DEC hired in 2022. Because of zero pilot hiring in 2020 and early 2021, Piedmont’s fleet expansion and contractual flow, DECs hired at Piedmont can expect more rapid movement up the seniority list as the fleet expands.
Will I get my base of choice as a Direct Entry Captain?
PHL and MDT are available immediately; CLT is approximately 5 to 6 months.
Will I fly as a First Officer until upgrade?
Direct Entry Captains are currently going straight to upgrade training. If training is delayed for any reason, you will continue to earn the highest CAPTAIN rates in the industry even if you fly as an FO. Our goal is to get you in to upgrade training immediately.
Is there a training delay at Piedmont?
Currently there are no delays to enter training. Training and building seniority can begin as soon as the first officer candidate’s ATP/CTP course is completed.
I have a year of experience at another Part 121 airline. Do I qualify for additional pay?
Under a new Letter of Agreement, pilots can get credit for their time at their last 121 employer. If you completed one full year, you would start at Piedmont on Step 2 of the First Officer pay scale ($97.50/hour). If you completed two full years, you would start on Step 3 of the First Officer scale ($105/hour).
How long will a new first officer have to sit reserve?
After years of training, you’re ready to launch your pilot career and start building your hours and seniority. At Piedmont, as we grow there will be more flying available for all crew members. Trips are usually available to reserve pilots, so they can continue to build time for upgrade.
What is the current time to upgrade to captain?
Our current upgrade time is approximately 18 months.
What is a typical flight schedule for first officers?
The trips vary and are bid each month. Typical trips are three to four days in length with two to three days off. All pilots receive a minimum of 11 days off per month, and contractually, at least 65% of hard lines will have a minimum of 12 days off.
After joining Piedmont, what is the current flow time to American Airlines?
Currently our estimated flow time is five years. Under the new pilot contract agreement, captains will flow through to mainline at five years or be paid at top of scale ($213.75/hour) until they flow.
What is the current bonus structure and payout times?
$15,000 for all first officers. Click here to learn more about the bonus structure.
How many hours of Part 121 time are needed to get the Near Entry Captain $10,000 bonus?
To receive the extra $10,000 bonus, you must have at least 600 hours of Part 121 or qualifying Part 135 time.
Does Piedmont currently sponsor work visas or E3 visas?
We do not currently sponsor work visas. Candidates must be a United States citizen or have a permanent resident card with unrestricted travel in and out of the United States.
When are applications being accepted for the Cadet Program?
Applications for the Cadet Program should be completed via AirlineApps.com after you complete your Commercial Multi-Engine with Instrument Rating and 400 hours of total flight time. New cadets can be admitted into the program with 500 hours of total time.
As a cadet, do I have to work at a particular school or have a particular flying job?
No. Applicants can build their time anywhere, any way they want, if they are gaining a minimum of 60 hours a month.
As a cadet, is there pilot mentoring?
Being a cadet provides you with an opportunity to network with Piedmont pilots, Piedmont pilot recruiters and other cadets. Cadets are also invited to various exclusive cadet events.
How long does it take a cadet in the program to become a Piedmont First Officer?
The length of the cadet program depends on how many hours the cadet has when they enter the program, how many hours built as a cadet, and how many hours needed for ATP minimums.
Does Piedmont still pay for the ATP/CTP course for cadets?
Yes. Once ATP minimums are reached as a cadet, Piedmont will pay for the ATP/CTP course, including the FAA ATP written exam.
I applied for the Cadet Program on AirlineApps and received a message that Piedmont is not currently hiring cadets. Will I need to reapply once the Cadet Program officially opens?
No, you will not need to reapply. Although we are not yet interviewing, if an applicant has applied for the program through Airlineapps.com, the application will remain active until interviews begin. We recommend that applicants re-visit and update their application on a regular basis.
As a cadet, am I eligible for company benefits?
Cadets are not considered employees and do not receive company benefits. Cadets will receive financial assistance as they build time and will be invited to exclusive Piedmont cadet events.
I am interested in becoming a Cadet, but still have hours to build before reaching the 400-hour minimum. How can I be involved and stay connected with Piedmont Airlines in the meantime?
Piedmont has an active Cadet Ambassador Program that requires no minimum number of hours to join. The program was established for future cadet applicants who are interested in networking and attending events alongside pilot recruiters to spread awareness about flying for Piedmont. Ambassadors have the opportunity to network with other aviation professionals around the country and will receive invitations to exclusive Piedmont events.