Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Discussion of topics related to corporate aviation throughout the world.

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Jasper
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by Jasper »

I am sorry x15, but you are deluded if you even believe half of what you just posted. We all make choices for our own reasons and the smart choices are made for your own benefit not because you don't care for the strut or hairstyle of the other guys doing what suits them. That thought process echoes the pilot vs engineer attitudes of years past.

Nobody is better because of their choices or circumstances. They are better because they take pride in what they do without the belittlement of others.

I started my aviation career wanting to get into ATC. A private licence led to a flying career that has encompassed everything from floats to airline and corporate. I came through in the era of deregulation and mergers and acquisitions so airlines were anything but stable. I chose the corporate route because there was an employment opportunity that excluded having to go to the desert. That fit the needs of my young family and my wife's desires. It turned out that I found I was cut out to be a very good corporate pilot and had the attention to details an airline job did not require. I have also paid for it in having a series of micro-careers with a self funded pension as opposed to a nice AC pension. There are tradeoffs and everyone needs to determine what they are willing to give and wanting to take.

There is no right or wrong unless you are talking about your own needs and desires and not someone else.
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golden hawk
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by golden hawk »

Corporate pilots get better hotels. Airline pilots get bed bugs
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scopiton
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by scopiton »

Nobody is better because of their choices or circumstances. They are better because they take pride in what they do without the belittlement of others.
those are well-rounded.
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up on one
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by up on one »

I have always aspired to be a corporate pilot but I have a long way to get there. I have started research on a few operators which will eventually help achieve my goal but for now I enjoy circling at mins and landing on gravel strips.

If any of you gurus have any advice of where to begin or tips in general I would greatly appreciate it.
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Jasper
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by Jasper »

up on one wrote:I have always aspired to be a corporate pilot but I have a long way to get there. I have started research on a few operators which will eventually help achieve my goal but for now I enjoy circling at mins and landing on gravel strips.

If any of you gurus have any advice of where to begin or tips in general I would greatly appreciate it.
Get as close as you can to relevant experience. ie: twin turbine in an IFR environment. More important, become well known amongst corporate operators. ie: network. Be aware of your image. Look professional when in the vicinity of other professionals. Learn to be discreet and never speak poorly of individuals or employers.
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x15
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by x15 »

up on one wrote:I have always aspired to be a corporate pilot but I have a long way to get there. I have started research on a few operators which will eventually help achieve my goal but for now I enjoy circling at mins and landing on gravel strips.

If any of you gurus have any advice of where to begin or tips in general I would greatly appreciate it.

Check your PM
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by RVR6000 »

Tried the corporate gig now at the airlines. Hands down prefer the airlines.

No longer waiting endless hours at FBOs, splitting duty days to make trips work.
Grooming airplanes
No set schedules, or guaranteed days off. Yes lots of days off but being on-call constantly
Running around town prior to flights to pick-up catering, making sure you got the sandwich order correctly.
Just too many non pilot related duties.
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Jasper
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by Jasper »

RVR6000 wrote:Tried the corporate gig now at the airlines. Hands down prefer the airlines.

No longer waiting endless hours at FBOs, splitting duty days to make trips work.
Grooming airplanes
No set schedules, or guaranteed days off. Yes lots of days off but being on-call constantly
Running around town prior to flights to pick-up catering, making sure you got the sandwich order correctly.
Just too many non pilot related duties.
Sounds more like you aspired to be an airline pilot and used corporate as your stepping stone.
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scopiton
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by scopiton »

agreed... and a kind of corporate where a handler doesn't seem to be an option.
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ScudRunner
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by ScudRunner »

Never set out to be either, I liked flying up north the freedom to be my own boss so to speak and it was always something different. When I started at a small scheduled carrier I was bored as hell, same thing everyday.
I didn't know it then, but airlines weren't for me. I perhaps like many young pilots thought "man if I could only get to an airline, life would be made".

I progressed in my career, and flew some big iron. I really started hating aviation, it wasn't at all what I imagined it would be.
Friends went to airlines and all they did was complain about schedule, pay, co workers, unions.

A couple of twists of fate I found my self in a corporate jet, the fun came back (except for the odd midnight medivac fill in). Pay could be more of course, but I am in the club. I am skipper but we do the odd co captain trip and its nice to get to know your co workers. I get along with all of them and when I need time off it is never really an issue.
Sometimes you get a turd of a trip but that's they way the cookie breaks at times, however landing somewhere kicking the pax out and cranking up the tunes in the cabin, cracking a beer and finish off the meat and cheese tray usually makes things just a little better.

When I had my first born I was scheduled to fly the day he was born, all my co workers knew what was up and volunteered to cover that trip and I was able to be at home for a month straight with full pay after his birth, it was not an issue.

I get to stay at some nice hotels, I rack up points to use on my vacation time, I put what I can on a personal credit card and get even more points for hotel/travel. Rental cars same thing and usually we get to spend a few nights in some pretty nice places and some down right weird or unique spots.

45 minutes after landing in the Caymans I am on a yacht pounding beers and swimming with stingrays, Pacquiao vs. Márquezin in Las Vegas yup client got us tickets and showed me how to roll dice at his private table. Sitting in the pits on race day and private suites to NHL games, these are things I could never afford to do myself and I doubt any airline pilot would get as a perk.

I get to rub shoulders with the business elites and several top CEO know me by name, how many of you can get business advice from the top guys? Yes since I have tons of time off I have other ventures I am involved in, I think I know I really want to be the guy in the back of the jet not always driving.

I guess I am thankful I wasn't smart enough to make it to the airlines.
Who knows I may wind up there one day but not if I can help it.
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cdnpilot77
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by cdnpilot77 »

. wrote:Never set out to be either, I liked flying up north the freedom to be my own boss so to speak and it was always something different. When I started at a small scheduled carrier I was bored as hell, same thing everyday.
I didn't know it then, but airlines weren't for me. I perhaps like many young pilots thought "man if I could only get to an airline, life would be made".

I progressed in my career, and flew some big iron. I really started hating aviation, it wasn't at all what I imagined it would be.
Friends went to airlines and all they did was complain about schedule, pay, co workers, unions.

A couple of twists of fate I found my self in a corporate jet, the fun came back (except for the odd midnight medivac fill in). Pay could be more of course, but I am in the club. I am skipper but we do the odd co captain trip and its nice to get to know your co workers. I get along with all of them and when I need time off it is never really an issue.
Sometimes you get a turd of a trip but that's they way the cookie breaks at times, however landing somewhere kicking the pax out and cranking up the tunes in the cabin, cracking a beer and finish off the meat and cheese tray usually makes things just a little better.

When I had my first born I was scheduled to fly the day he was born, all my co workers knew what was up and volunteered to cover that trip and I was able to be at home for a month straight with full pay after his birth, it was not an issue.

I get to stay at some nice hotels, I rack up points to use on my vacation time, I put what I can on a personal credit card and get even more points for hotel/travel. Rental cars same thing and usually we get to spend a few nights in some pretty nice places and some down right weird or unique spots.

45 minutes after landing in the Caymans I am on a yacht pounding beers and swimming with stingrays, Pacquiao vs. Márquezin in Las Vegas yup client got us tickets and showed me how to roll dice at his private table. Sitting in the pits on race day and private suites to NHL games, these are things I could never afford to do myself and I doubt any airline pilot would get as a perk.

I get to rub shoulders with the business elites and several top CEO know me by name, how many of you can get business advice from the top guys? Yes since I have tons of time off I have other ventures I am involved in, I think I know I really want to be the guy in the back of the jet not always driving.

I guess I am thankful I wasn't smart enough to make it to the airlines.
Who knows I may wind up there one day but not if I can help it.
Yup...everything he said...only I never flown any big iron.
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tons-o-fun
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by tons-o-fun »

. wrote:Never set out to be either, I liked flying up north the freedom to be my own boss so to speak and it was always something different. When I started at a small scheduled carrier I was bored as hell, same thing everyday.
I didn't know it then, but airlines weren't for me. I perhaps like many young pilots thought "man if I could only get to an airline, life would be made".

I progressed in my career, and flew some big iron. I really started hating aviation, it wasn't at all what I imagined it would be.
Friends went to airlines and all they did was complain about schedule, pay, co workers, unions.

A couple of twists of fate I found my self in a corporate jet, the fun came back (except for the odd midnight medivac fill in). Pay could be more of course, but I am in the club. I am skipper but we do the odd co captain trip and its nice to get to know your co workers. I get along with all of them and when I need time off it is never really an issue.
Sometimes you get a turd of a trip but that's they way the cookie breaks at times, however landing somewhere kicking the pax out and cranking up the tunes in the cabin, cracking a beer and finish off the meat and cheese tray usually makes things just a little better.

When I had my first born I was scheduled to fly the day he was born, all my co workers knew what was up and volunteered to cover that trip and I was able to be at home for a month straight with full pay after his birth, it was not an issue.

I get to stay at some nice hotels, I rack up points to use on my vacation time, I put what I can on a personal credit card and get even more points for hotel/travel. Rental cars same thing and usually we get to spend a few nights in some pretty nice places and some down right weird or unique spots.

45 minutes after landing in the Caymans I am on a yacht pounding beers and swimming with stingrays, Pacquiao vs. Márquezin in Las Vegas yup client got us tickets and showed me how to roll dice at his private table. Sitting in the pits on race day and private suites to NHL games, these are things I could never afford to do myself and I doubt any airline pilot would get as a perk.

I get to rub shoulders with the business elites and several top CEO know me by name, how many of you can get business advice from the top guys? Yes since I have tons of time off I have other ventures I am involved in, I think I know I really want to be the guy in the back of the jet not always driving.

I guess I am thankful I wasn't smart enough to make it to the airlines.
Who knows I may wind up there one day but not if I can help it.
Nailed it. 8)
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by x15 »

. wrote:Never set out to be either, I liked flying up north the freedom to be my own boss so to speak and it was always something different. When I started at a small scheduled carrier I was bored as hell, same thing everyday.
I didn't know it then, but airlines weren't for me. I perhaps like many young pilots thought "man if I could only get to an airline, life would be made".

I progressed in my career, and flew some big iron. I really started hating aviation, it wasn't at all what I imagined it would be.
Friends went to airlines and all they did was complain about schedule, pay, co workers, unions.

A couple of twists of fate I found my self in a corporate jet, the fun came back (except for the odd midnight medivac fill in). Pay could be more of course, but I am in the club. I am skipper but we do the odd co captain trip and its nice to get to know your co workers. I get along with all of them and when I need time off it is never really an issue.
Sometimes you get a turd of a trip but that's they way the cookie breaks at times, however landing somewhere kicking the pax out and cranking up the tunes in the cabin, cracking a beer and finish off the meat and cheese tray usually makes things just a little better.

When I had my first born I was scheduled to fly the day he was born, all my co workers knew what was up and volunteered to cover that trip and I was able to be at home for a month straight with full pay after his birth, it was not an issue.

I get to stay at some nice hotels, I rack up points to use on my vacation time, I put what I can on a personal credit card and get even more points for hotel/travel. Rental cars same thing and usually we get to spend a few nights in some pretty nice places and some down right weird or unique spots.

45 minutes after landing in the Caymans I am on a yacht pounding beers and swimming with stingrays, Pacquiao vs. Márquezin in Las Vegas yup client got us tickets and showed me how to roll dice at his private table. Sitting in the pits on race day and private suites to NHL games, these are things I could never afford to do myself and I doubt any airline pilot would get as a perk.

I get to rub shoulders with the business elites and several top CEO know me by name, how many of you can get business advice from the top guys? Yes since I have tons of time off I have other ventures I am involved in, I think I know I really want to be the guy in the back of the jet not always driving.

I guess I am thankful I wasn't smart enough to make it to the airlines.
Who knows I may wind up there one day but not if I can help it.
Shhhhh!! Don't tell em. Now all the airlines guys know ;) lol

+1
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by ScudRunner »

Ah crap forgot the first rule of Corporate flying never talk about to airline pilots.

I hate my job its horrible i wish I could get on with Encore and go to Grande Prairie 10 times a day and work 21 days a month for 30 grand. Mark my word kids corporate pilots can barely tie a tie think about it how many of them do you see with the noose around their neck, there is a reason!
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by cdnpilot77 »

. wrote:Ah crap forgot the first rule of Corporate flying never talk about to airline pilots.

I hate my job its horrible i wish I could get on with Encore and go to Grande Prairie 10 times a day and work 21 days a month for 30 grand. Mark my word kids corporate pilots can barely tie a tie think about it how many of them do you see with the noose around their neck, there is a reason!
Yup.....everything he said!!
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by MartinB »

I aspire to be a corporate pilot. The majority of my classmates in my college program drool at the thought of flying 777's at Air Canada, but I would much prefer a great corporate gig like that of ., C208, and Jet Jockey. The lifestyle of a corporate pilot seems to be a better fit for me. I'd love to be able to interact with my passengers who will more than likely be the kind of folks with which you could have intelligent conversations. The variety of flying is also something that I would find enjoyable. Doing AC rapidair's all day would get real old, real fast. I also love the fact that in corporate aviation, pilots are much more involved with planning for flights. Also, the crews you fly with are extremely professional and enjoyable to chat with. From what I gather from my airline pilot friends, everything is done for you. All the pilots do is go to the briefing room, print the flight plan made for them by the dispatchers, hop into the plane, autopilot on at 400', and then repeat or head to the crappy hotel along with your crew comprised of "slam-clickers!" I have no idea how I'd go about a career in corporate though. I'm guessing it's all about who you know.. If there are any corporate pilots that could shoot me a pm me to guide me in the right direction, I would appreciate it so much!

Cheers,
Martin
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Tbur123
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by Tbur123 »

Great read here guys, lots of good info.

I'd have to say I'm definitely looking at the corporate world with hungry eyes and it's something that appeals to my interests over the commercial world. That being said, family interests come into play as well.

One thing I'd like to ask from the experienced corporate guys is, “what does down time typically look like”.

Some of you mention you fly 200-400 hrs per year and still maintain a full time salary. This sounds fantastic, but what does it really look like as far as going out on weekends and having a social life? My wife and I live in the Calgary area and love venturing out to Canmore / Banff for the odd weekend... is this an option in the corporate world or would a guy need to stay close to home in order to jump in the car when the bell rings for multiple days at a time?

This compared to the commercial world where you know what your schedule is in advance with days off being “day’s off”.

Thanks everyone, really enjoy the reading!

T.
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Roar
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by Roar »

Tbur123,
There is no one answer to your question. It all depends on the company and/or the owner of the aircraft.
It can go from flying all the time in a fractional outfit like AirSprint or Aurora to only flying when the owner calls to go somewhere. Some jobs require you stay within two hrs of the plane others require their pilots to be at the office when not flying.
In my case I know my schedule from the owner 6 months in advance, the odd time a trip may pop up but usually with 24 notice. I fly between 200-250hrs a year so that leaves plenty of time at home.
The lifestyle comes down to what you can negotiate at time of hire.
Cheers,
Roar
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by ScudRunner »

Like Roar said it varies company to company, presently working a 10 on 4 off over the weekend schedule so every second weekend is a long weekend.

Management companies make their money off managing a companies or well to do persons aircraft for them. Some of these operators also have owned aircraft belonging to the management company so typically what happens is they promise those owners of a jet the world telling them they will "make money" back on charters just to get their aircraft under their management. Then once signed up that owners plane is the last to be chartered out as the company wants their own metal flying first. So if you get on at a company like that it's best to be on a managed aircraft so you will fly less and have a slightly more consistent schedule.

Trouble with fractional like Air Sprint, Aurora is you will land in Scottsdale and think your going to shut er down and grab a pint, but your then sent to Saskatoon via Vancouver, try to pack that suitcase for January! oh and just because you got to Scottsdale and shuter down doesn't mean you can grab a pint at the hotel if you got duty day left your potentially going somewhere so if you sit in Cancun for 3 days its never 5 o'clock somewhere.

For the 24 hour call out folks your basically off until told to report in 24 hours for a flight. Not bad depending on your situation and depending on pilot coverage you could be on holiday. What I mean by that is if there are 3 pilots on the plane you coordinate with each other so that two are around. However operators like that their is usually just 2 pilots so your pretty much married to the owners schedule and plan holidays when the birds in maintenance.

Other smaller POC operators you could be a mix of scheduled days off or just on call pretty much all the time. Once again this is a mixed bag, I know some guys who fly for people or a company that love operating the jet so your all over and banging out tons of hours. Others have to google map where their hangar is and find a manual to figure out how to start the thing again.

In house is often considered the holy grail of Bizjet jobs stock option pension plans etc etc, this can be amazing but some operations will send you on the road with the CEO and you have no idea when your going to be back. Awesome if your young and single but if you want any sort of life outside hotels and airports good luck. How long do you think your wifes going to like hearing "I don't know when ill be home". The other downside is you may think you have the perfect gig but the first thing to go in a downturn or a new bean counter takes over is the typically the jet. A great gig can go south in a hurry just ask the boys at Shell in YYC, must have been a kick to the balls when 3 Falcons show up on your ramp to tell you your out of a job but Flair will pay you a quarter of what your making so their is that.
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whatsitdoingnow
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

Post by whatsitdoingnow »

Roar and . have pretty much nailed it. The combination of the type of outfit, be it pure corporate, private or management company and the owner you fly for can vary so much. You can work for the cheap management company and have the greatest owner and schedule or you can work for a great company but have a real piece of work for an owner. You just don't know until you start to fly there.

However, my personal opinion is that the tide might start to change a little for the better for the biz jet pilots in Canada. Now the Air Canada and West Jet have basically decreed that they will be hiring most if not all of their pilots from their regional feeders, anyone on the fence about where they want to end up will be wise to go to the regionals and not corporate. The days of going from corporate to big red or teal are over unless you are willing to sell your soul (and house, wife and kids) and join a regional where the race to the bottom is in full swing. So maybe only those who are confident that this is the route they want to take will apply and that might help the supply and demand. A long shot I guess, but lets see how it pans out.
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