Northern Air Charter

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powerbrian
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Northern Air Charter

#1 Post by powerbrian » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:20 pm

I saw a little while back that they were looking for flight crew .
Does anyone have any information on them specifically for a first officer ?
Pay, schedule, flight time , work conditions etc.

Please feel free to pm me. Thanks
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7dirty7
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#2 Post by 7dirty7 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:57 pm

pay is around 45, 10 on 5 off sched, 25-35 hours a month and decent work conditions
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#3 Post by PointyEngine » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:17 pm

Turn over is phenomenal, and they prefer first officers who are already type rated. Pay and schedule is certainly one of the better offers available currently.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#4 Post by 7dirty7 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:33 pm

PointyEngine wrote:Turn over is phenomenal, and they prefer first officers who are already type rated. Pay and schedule is certainly one of the better offers available currently.
not many type rated Fos coming mostly Captains
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#5 Post by powerbrian » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:06 am

The pay is around 45? During these times that seems quite good for a 1900/king air fo
That and peace river is not a bad town . Why such a high turnover rate?
Flying 25-35 hours a month, what else do they have their first officers doing ? Working the ramp ? Office work?
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#6 Post by CFIT » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:06 am

They have rampies and office people for ramp and office work.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#7 Post by powerbrian » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:35 am

CFIT wrote:They have rampies and office people for ramp and office work.
Yes the only reason I ask is because of how little the pilots fly and so some of these northern operators will have their fo's doing a few things to keep busy.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#8 Post by PointyEngine » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:56 am

F.Os just fly. They work on call, but come in, fly, fuel and wipe down the plane then go home.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#9 Post by Flypilot » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:36 pm

I ran into the owner last summer during the airshow, I was quite surprised at how unfriendly he was. As far as working for them I think it's good for captains but FOs I hear aren't treated with a whole lot of respect by the owner and to me that's a big downer.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#10 Post by Cessna driver » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:04 pm

Flypilot wrote:I ran into the owner last summer during the airshow, I was quite surprised at how unfriendly he was. As far as working for them I think it's good for captains but FOs I hear aren't treated with a whole lot of respect by the owner and to me that's a big downer.

Have heard the same from numerous pilots that used to work there
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#11 Post by PointyEngine » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:33 am

Flypilot wrote:I ran into the owner last summer during the airshow, I was quite surprised at how unfriendly he was. As far as working for them I think it's good for captains but FOs I hear aren't treated with a whole lot of respect by the owner and to me that's a big downer.

+1
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#12 Post by co-joe » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:59 pm

PointyEngine wrote:
Flypilot wrote:I ran into the owner last summer during the airshow, I was quite surprised at how unfriendly he was. As far as working for them I think it's good for captains but FOs I hear aren't treated with a whole lot of respect by the owner and to me that's a big downer.

+1
I met a guy who had worked for him and told me that every single night to this day, before he goes to bed, he prayes to god that Mr King would spontaneously combust. :lol:
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#13 Post by Alberta_x51 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:41 am

On one occasion, Rob King offered me a job and I accepted.
As soon as I arrived the job offer was withdrawn.

I quit another job to take that job offer and it left me
in a terrible situation that took a long time to recover from.

Anyone thinking of working for them needs to understand that
your employment will end rapidly after a short period of time
for no apparent reason.

Their turnover rate is astronomical and it has nothing to do
with the pilots hired.
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wingnut!
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#14 Post by wingnut! » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:54 am

I for one can say Mr. King was a good person to work for, and I appreciate all that he did for me.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#15 Post by flythatwing » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:29 am

Any idea how much a PPCed Navajo captain would make there? What kind of work/schedule/hours and career progression ? Layoff season is approaching quickly here and I am Intersted in a position with a little bit of stability and career progression within the same company. Thanks!
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#16 Post by SPR » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:59 pm

flythatwing wrote:Any idea how much a PPCed Navajo captain would make there? What kind of work/schedule/hours and career progression ? Layoff season is approaching quickly here and I am Intersted in a position with a little bit of stability and career progression within the same company. Thanks!
They don't fly the Navajo enough to have crews exclusively for it. They like to tell new FOs that if they do well they'll get some PIC time on the Ho, but in reality only the senior captains ever fly it. When I was there, which wasn't that recently, only the 1900 captains were flying it, and even that was only once every couple of weeks. If you don't have a King Air PPC, time on a Navajo probably won't help you out.
They also like to tell new guys that they only need 1600 hours to get upgraded on the King Air 100, but there are so many people in line for that slot that there's not much chance of it happening within two years. They also want a certain amount of experience as FO doing the sched to Edmonton before they'll put you as captain on that run, which means that first you have to get into the right seat of the 100, but since it flies more than the 200s on the medevacs that's also a harder position to get. Alberta Health requirements mandate 100 hours PIC on type to fly medevacs, but they group the 100 and 200; FOs who are upgrading need to get right seat on the 100, then left seat on the 100, and once they've got their hundred hours of PIC they can go left seat on the 200. Despite what they tell you, it's not a quick upgrade, and a lot of people leave because they expected it would happen in half or a third of the time that it was going to.
Having a King Air PPC is pretty much essential, because they don't train unless they absolutely have to. They attract people with experience with good pay (and promises of multi-PIC) but once those new pilots realize its not as rosy as it seemed when they were hired, they take their experience elsewhere. The turnover is subsequently huge. If they hired pilots fresh out of school, or ever bothered to give their rampies flying positions, they could keep those pilots around for a few years at least. Instead, they get people who are close to an upgrade with PPCs, which saves them money on flight training, but then those pilots leave for greener pastures after six months.
Medevacs are pretty standard for Alberta: 10 on/5 off, decent pay for a King Air, and about 300-400 hours per year. There are lots of calls at 4 am, and lots of 12-14 hour days. The aircraft has to be in the air within 30 minutes of getting the call, which is fine for crews in Edmonton and Calgary who are at the airport for their shift, but the Peace River airport is 15 minutes out of town; there's not a chance of going to get groceries or do anything away from home while you're on call. Ten days of sitting in front of the TV waiting for your phone to ring gets to you. They're also perpetually understaffed, and even though they're supposed to have four crews available (two per aircraft so one can fly while the other resets) they were down as low as two at times. They got really lucky there were no calls while those crews were resetting. A lot of the time I went straight back on call once my rest period was up, and going ten days straight without being able to get a haircut or groceries, or have any time to relax without the worry of being called, burned me out; all I did that whole period was work and sleep. I've worked a lot of fourteen-hour days, and I still do sometimes, but when you don't know when or where you're going and getting called at all hours of the day, it gets pretty rough. The schedule is supposed to be set ahead of time and kept pretty steady so you can plan stuff in the future, except for 90% of the time when it changes without notice. Oh, and your five days off are now reduced to three because they need you to start your next ten-on early to cover for a lack of crews, and for the next one you have to take a first aid course for two of your days off. And that thing that's incredibly important that you can't get out of and which you told management about when you were hired? That thing you said is so important that you wouldn't take the job if you couldn't get the time off, and which management guaranteed was safe? Yeah, you need to work for that day now.
FOs have to fuel and wipe the planes down after the flight, which in the winter means freezing while standing over the wing and waiting around for the plane to warm up in the hangar so the cleaners don't freeze, potentially adding an hour to an already long day. The on-call FOs also wash the planes on Saturday mornings, meaning less time to catch up on sleep; it's pretty awful getting up after working a 14-hour day, and only getting eight hours to reset, to show up early on a Saturday and realize that you have to wash six planes by yourself because no one else showed up.
Company culture is pretty standard. There are lots of decent people with a few less-pleasant characters, and one person in particular in management who was a nightmare. RK pretty much ignored me because I was just an FO; after I'd worked there for a couple of months he asked me who the hell I was and what the hell I was doing in his hangar, because he hadn't bothered to meet me before that. SK, on the other hand, was always a pleasure to deal with and helped with anything I needed. When I started, management gave me the impression that the company was like a family and that everyone had barbecues together and hung out together; that wasn't what I found at all, and I never really felt welcome there.
Peace River is a decent town compared to a lot of places further north, but it's a long, long, long way up, and it can be expensive. It's a four-hour drive to Edmonton, and in winter that highway is treacherous, to put it mildly. The only flights south are with NAC, and although employees can fly for nearly free it's all standby and the planes are usually full. If you really need to be somewhere, you have to drop hundreds just to get to Edmonton or Calgary, and if you're going somewhere further afield that's just the start. If you have to write your ATPL exams and need to get to the city, it's not going to be a quick or cheap venture. If you don't like fishing and snowmobiling, there's not much to do in PR, and the restaurants are average at best. Rentals are absurdly expensive, if you can find them at all, but real estate is cheap if you're ready to buy. It's a nice small town for raising a family too.
If you know what you're getting into, and you want to live in a small, cold prairie town, NAC is probably a good choice. If you know you won't be flying much and that it will probably take at least a couple of years to upgrade, but you don't care because you want to settle down, you'll probably enjoy it. It pays fairly well, and if you move there with no desire to move back to Toronto or wherever at the first opportunity you can make a comfortable life for yourself. Just don't plan on getting to the airlines any time soon, or think about rotating from another city, or expect that management will do anything to make your life easier.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#17 Post by Optimus Primer » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:43 pm

^ Great post.Thanks for an honest, inside look into this company. It would be great if other people could share their experiences at various companies so that others can make an informed decision on their next place of employment.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#18 Post by flythatwing » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:04 am

Thank you for one of the best posts I have read on here for a very long time time SPR.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#19 Post by Bech741 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:00 pm

SPR - I worked at NAC a while ago as well; when Rob first purchased the 1900. BE20 FO's were flying the PA31.. But you're right, I think it only flew a couple of times a week..

I really enjoyed my time at Northern Air. When I went on course for my current job, there were 6 BE20/02 drivers. All from different companies. I am pretty sure I had the best gig in Peace. Schedule and pay are well above industry standard.

RK takes pride in maintaining his equipment. The operation is really safe, I never felt pressured into flying where I didn't feel comfortable.

To be honest… I don't know what you're talking about sitting at home watching TV not being able to go to the grocery store. When I was there I was golfing almost everyday on company provided passes, and throwing some rocks at the local curling club. If I got a call from PFCC I would just drop everything and go to the airport.

Yea. F/O's go in and spend 3 hours washing airplanes on Saturdays. It kinda sucked after being at the Moon Saloon/Rivers the night before.. But hey, thats the only thing thats expected of you outside of flying.

I had a good experience working there. I would do it again without question.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#20 Post by SPR » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:28 am

Bech741 wrote:SPR - I worked at NAC a while ago as well; when Rob first purchased the 1900. BE20 FO's were flying the PA31.. But you're right, I think it only flew a couple of times a week..

I really enjoyed my time at Northern Air. When I went on course for my current job, there were 6 BE20/02 drivers. All from different companies. I am pretty sure I had the best gig in Peace. Schedule and pay are well above industry standard.

RK takes pride in maintaining his equipment. The operation is really safe, I never felt pressured into flying where I didn't feel comfortable.

To be honest… I don't know what you're talking about sitting at home watching TV not being able to go to the grocery store. When I was there I was golfing almost everyday on company provided passes, and throwing some rocks at the local curling club. If I got a call from PFCC I would just drop everything and go to the airport.

Yea. F/O's go in and spend 3 hours washing airplanes on Saturdays. It kinda sucked after being at the Moon Saloon/Rivers the night before.. But hey, thats the only thing thats expected of you outside of flying.

I had a good experience working there. I would do it again without question.
Bech741, I'm only relaying my experience, and seeing as NAC bought the 1900 in 2009, according to the civil aircraft register, I'm going to assume I was there a lot more recently than you. The Navajo didn't fly a couple of times a week, it was a couple of times a month, and the only pilots I ever saw touch it were the 1900 captains. A lot of companies have stopped chartering piston aircraft, so I suspect that a lot of the charters that were done on the Navajo five years ago are now done on the King Air.
I was able to go to the grocery store when I was on call, but it wasn't usually worth it because I'd get called out and have to leave a cart full of groceries in the middle of the store. I had to take my flight suit and gear with me wherever I went, and if I wasn't absolutely ready to go there was no way I was making the 30-minute departure time. I don't know how you got out to the airport so quickly, because from the crew house it was at least a fifteen minute drive, more once winter hit and the roads were bad, and not much better once I found a place in Peace River. I couldn't go to a movie, go have a sit-down meal, get a haircut, or do anything that might get ruined by getting called in the middle of it. It wasn't that I couldn't do those things, it was that I didn't want to show up for work with half of my hair cut.
If you're implying that you went drinking at the Moon Saloon/Rivers, I don't know how you managed to pull that off. When I was there, I got eight hours to reset and I was back on call. Sometimes it was number three or four on the list, but 95% of the time it was number one or two. They were chronically understaffed, and there was simply no opportunity to do anything fun most of the time. Things might have been different five years ago, but that's how it was when I was there.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#21 Post by 7dirty7 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:24 pm

I have spoken to most of the fo's that work there currently and I hear that the quality of life is good, only real complaints are not enough flying,which leads to long upgrade times.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#22 Post by 7dirty7 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:53 pm

[quote=I'm going to assume I was there a lot more recently than you. Things might have been different five years ago, but that's how it was when I was there.[/quote]

How recent SPR ? 6 months? a year? 2?
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#23 Post by Spinner200 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:00 pm

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Re: Northern Air Charter

#24 Post by SPR » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:15 am

7dirty7, I'm not going to post when exactly I was there on a public forum, but it was within the past couple of years. Obviously if they've stopped using the 100 it wasn't that recently, but I would bet not that much has changed since my time there.
Spinner, again I can only relate my own experience. I don't think I have a chip on my shoulder, as NAC was better than the place I worked at before, but not as good as where I'm at now. It just wasn't what I expected, and a lot of that expectation was based on what I was told by management when I was hired. A lot of what they said turned out not to be true, which still would have been fine if it had the lifestyle I was looking for. I was exhausted all the time and frequently had my five days off cut to three. There were a number of pilots who had more than 1600 hours waiting for their upgrades, and in my time there a couple of them left for greener pastures because there weren't going to be any opportunities for a while. When I left, one of the captains told me it was the best decision I could make for my career, and that I probably wouldn't have been upgraded for another year at least based on the wait times. As for doing stuff while you're on call, again I'm just telling you how it was for me. You can go to a restaurant, but you have to be ready to throw down cash and leave a half-eaten meal; you can go to the gym as long as you're willing to go to work sweaty and unwashed. All of the activities that were listed are things where you can drop what you're doing and get to the airport, but that doesn't work if you're getting a haircut, or want to go fishing, or need to get some work done on your car. There are only so many things that you can do in a town the size of Peace River that you can stop doing in an instant, and eventually it gets boring. I went several days where the only food I had at home was raw pasta and canned beans because every time I went to the grocery store I ended up running back out to the car to go to the airport; that was also an issue with crew scheduling and the fact that I went straight back onto first or second call once I was reset. As for getting to the airport in 30 minutes, I once got stuck behind a school bus that made two stops before it turned out of my way, and I got to the airport with five minutes to spare; when the road was snowy or icy it usually took me 20 minutes to get out there. There's no margin of error on a dispatch time that tight, especially when you can't live within 15 minutes of the airport, but it will always be your own fault if you're late.
There was nothing wrong with NAC. I was never asked to do anything illegal, and maintenance is fine. A lot of people like the lifestyle. But, you have to be willing to work to CARs maximum fourteen days in a row if they require you to cover more than your standard ten. You have to be willing to take calls at all hours of the day with no notice, get eight hours of rest, and go straight back to work. You have to understand that you won't be flying the Navajo, and you'll probably be so far down the list for upgrades that it's not going to happen in the year that management quotes. You have to realize that you won't be flying 500-600 hours a year like they tell you, it's more like 300. You have to not plan anything and know that you won't be able to make any appointments because you never know when you'll be going to work. You have to know that even though management says they'll be accommodating with your time-off requests, they either don't care or didn't schedule enough pilots to cover those days off. This is all just my personal experience, so it's not exactly what everyone will find, but the job wasn't what it was made out to be when I was hired. I'll reiterate that a lot of people are happy flying for Alberta medevac operators with these conditions, but it wasn't the lifestyle I was looking for.
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Re: Northern Air Charter

#25 Post by DanWEC » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:08 pm

SPR, let me preface what I'm about to say by saying I have absolutely no idea what it's like at NAC, but which exactly is it- very little flying time or CARS max? Don't get me wrong, not trying to start a piss here, but most of what you're saying is that you were worked constantly with no time to do anything that resembles a life, but on the other hand you're saying the flying time was very minimal.

Again, I'm speaking from the outside here.
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