How much free time would a newly hired first officer at a regional airline have for earning income with a side business?

And would this change after 2,3, or 4 or 5 years into the job?


It would have to be an online business. Either that or turning tricks in the airport bathrooms.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

It would depend on several things - the nature of the business , where you would be based, and the nature of the airline you fly for. As a low seniority pilot, if the airline has several crew bases you cannot expect to be domiciled in the same city where you live. That means if you have a geographically-based business, then quite a bit of your time off can be wasted commuting from work to home and the rest will be eaten up by ordinary day-to-day obligations, the more so if you have a family to tend to. As an example, the best schedule I ever had as a senior captain for a regional airline was 4 days on, 3 off, followed by 3 on and 4 off, for a total of 14 days working on a 28 day rotation. However, each week, at least two half-days were spent commuting since I lived several hundred miles from where I was based, so in effect, I only had 1-2 full days off at home one week at most, and 2-3 the next. Each month the schedule would change, giving different days on and off. When I added in the basic domestic chores (shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc) along with a little bit of leisure activities with family and friends, that didn't leave a whole lot of time for anything else. For most types of businesses that would have been too erratic to make it work. And, as a junior copilot, for the first few years, I typically was scheduled for flying or standby 18-20 days per month on a very erratic schedule, meaning I had very little time for anything business-related and I often couldn't commute home more than a few days per month. Unless I had a business that could be done anywhere via phone or computer, there was no possibility of earning a side income. That's not to say your experience would be the same, but unless you had a very flexible business model and you didn't have to commute a long distance between home and domicile on your days off, you shouldn't plan on a steady 2nd job. And, if there is one truism in airline flying it is this - the airline always comes first and your personal life always comes second .


Very little to none, unless they did not need sleep.


None at all. And first officer hours are really irregular.


If you plan to have a side gig, your first job has to have regular hours. A regional airline pilot doesn't know week to week when he or she will be home long enough to devote time to the business. Then there is the matter of your home base, which may not be where you actually live. You commute between your domicile and your home base on your own time. While the airline will pay for your overnight accommodation while you are away from your home base, you have to provide your own lodging while you spend the night at your home base. Many flight crews pool their money to rent a crash pad (no pun intended) near their home base airport, but for a newly hired co-pilot, paying for your primary residence and the crash pad will eat most of your income. The co-pilot on Colgan Air flight 3407 that crashed near Buffalo, NY in 2009 had her home base in Newark, NJ. She couldn't afford the crash pad so she lived with her parents . . . in Seattle. She commuted across the country (the airline employees get to fly free on the stand-by basis) and napped on the couch in the pilots lounge at the airport. These cross country flights cut into her rest time. NTSB later cited crew fatigue as a possible factor in the crash.


You'll be lucky to find enough time to sleep let alone think of a sideline.


Not much. Your spare time will mostly be at Motel 6s and Motel 8s getting some sleep for your next flight to Memphis.





Pearl L

depends on how nnany hrs he had to work and how nnuch tinne he needed for sleep