Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

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cdnpilot77
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#51 Post by cdnpilot77 » Wed May 13, 2015 2:51 pm

. 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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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#52 Post by tons-o-fun » Wed May 13, 2015 5:06 pm

. 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?

#53 Post by x15 » Thu May 14, 2015 6:44 pm

. 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

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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#54 Post by ScudRunner » Fri May 15, 2015 8:41 pm

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?

#55 Post by cdnpilot77 » Fri May 15, 2015 11:11 pm

. 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?

#56 Post by MartinB » Fri May 15, 2015 11:35 pm

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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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#57 Post by Tbur123 » Thu May 21, 2015 3:10 pm

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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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#58 Post by Roar » Fri May 22, 2015 12:21 pm

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?

#59 Post by ScudRunner » Sun May 24, 2015 8:30 am

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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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#60 Post by whatsitdoingnow » Sun May 24, 2015 8:28 pm

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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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#61 Post by jpilot77 » Mon May 25, 2015 12:28 pm

Corporate is not a single type of flying, you always hear about the guys who only fly a couple times a month and log 200 - 250 hours a year. I did 700 hours last year and our schedule is two weeks on a week off. I average 10 - 14 days flying per two week rotation. And this is on a private corporate aircraft. So not every corporate job is the same.
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#62 Post by goingnowherefast » Sun May 31, 2015 7:15 am

I never really aspired to be a corporate pilot, just sorta happened. Right place, right time (or was it wrong place wrong time). Some of the experiences on here are vastly different than mine. Aircraft mis-management is a better term for my experience in the corporate world. I could write a novel about all the disasters between the customer and the management company. Somehow I ended up the liaison for many aspects, which sucked because the mentality was often "shoot the messenger". Maybe I'm just no good at bullshitting, detecting loaded questions and playing politics. I just tried to be honest and provide good customer service. Pay wasn't bad, schedule was alright, but the work environment was about as toxic as Reactor 4 at Chernobyl.

I did apply for a few Citation/King Air jobs at different management companies, but no luck. I'm back in the 703 world now and loving it, doing mostly charters for government workers. Not really sure what the career goals are yet. I haven't given up on corporate, and I haven't ruled out airlines. I'm happy doing what I'm doing for now and we will see who offers a good schedule, salary and working environment in the future.
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#63 Post by NovaBoy » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:25 am

I figure I'll throw my 2 cents in here. I came up through the Lab Air, Air Nova, Jazz, then Westjet. I was pretty fortunate in my career to get upgraded fast, and hold on to my left seat. If I had stayed at Jazz I'd have in 18 years, Westjet 11 years. So I would have been sitting pretty regardless of my decision to leave the airline world. However after 9/11 the airline industry went downhill in a big way.

I'm not sure if I became bored with the airlines, or I longed for the old Air Nova days. Doesn't matter either way.

The right opportunity came along in 2005, and I left Westjet for the corporate world and haven't looked back. I was lucky and ended up with one of the oldest flight departments in Canada, great bunch of guys and great equipment. I fly about 250-300hrs a year, and every year the sked, keeps getting better and better.

It is not for everyone, We've gone through our fair share of pilots, they look at what we fly and the salary, but then realize that the lifestyle is not for everyone. There's no dispatch, so anything from 1 day trips to 2 week trips we have to deal with, flt planning, customs, rental cars, hotels, pax transport, catering etc is up to us. Oh and once you have all that set up, they go and change the sked. It's a pain in the arse sometimes, however we have ultimate control on what hotels we stay in and what we drive for a rental car. Can you say Marriott and Hertz points.

If your the type of person that likes to disappear on your down days, it will probably not work. I have a lot of days off, I just don't know it until the day is over. Which, for me is fine, I still go out and do things I want to do, I just don't venture too far from home. I do get a one week off a month and 6 weeks vacation.

For example in January I worked 4 days (not that anyone wants all that time off in January), this month I was gone for 12 days straight. My wife says I can be home for 3 weeks straight, but the one day she needs me home, I'm at work.

What I like best is the diversity of flying, one day I can be at an airstrip in woods, next week Europe, or LAX.

I've seen parts of the world I'd never have seen with Westjet or Jazz. Europe, the Caribbean, oddball places in Canada and the US. You get more freebies in the corporate world too, I've been to hockey, baseball, NASCAR, numerous free dinners by aircraft sales reps, FlightSafety reps, etc. 7 day layovers in FLL, 4 day layovers in SJU.

I've also spent hours, and hours sitting around airport FBO's and terminals in some god forsaken places. 45mins of flying and a 14hr duty day. I always say I get paid to wait and the flying is a bonus. As long as the pluses outnumber the minus's it's all good.

If you are thinking of going the corporate route, now is the time. Most of the good flight departments in Canada have guys in their late 50's and 60's, and the retirements are starting now. McCain's chief pilot is retiring in August, so if you want a good job in Florenceville, NB, dust off the resume.

That's my story, to sum it up, if you can roll with the punches, think on your feet, and get along well with others, corporate is great gig.

Plus corporate jets are way cooler than airliners. Better avionics and they perform better too.
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Re: Do people aspire to be corporate pilots?

#64 Post by tenaciousleigh » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:57 pm

Corporate aviation isn't for everyone. I will say, I wouldn't want to do anything else.

I had left flying corporate to fly some big iron and left to return to corporate flying. Way more diversity in my destinations, great hotels, don't have to eat at Burger King because the per diems suck.

The schedule can be all over the place, but I am home more than I am working.

All in all, I don't see why anyone wouldn't want to fly corporate.

Oh and for those folks that ask how big the plane you fly is? Best thing to say is "I fly a private jet". :wink:
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