Best Route to Corporate Flying

Discussion of topics related to corporate aviation throughout the world.

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Jellyman
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Best Route to Corporate Flying

#1 Post by Jellyman » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:32 pm

Hello,

I am looking to have a positive discussion on what is the best route to take into the corporate jet world. I am a 2800hr pilot with my ATPL. I currently fly Caravans and Twin Otters, but want to get some info for when I am ready to move on. The reason I ask is because I have very little real IFR time and was wondering if that is something Corporate operaters look at when hiring F/O's. Do I need to find a way to get some actual IFR time before approaching corporate jet operators or is that something they overlook if you have as many hours as I do.

And no I do not want to work at an Airline, but if I have to go to a commuter to gain IFR operational experience I will. Thats kinda the question really. Any ideas?

Cheers and fly safe.
:)
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Roar
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#2 Post by Roar » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:10 pm

Jellyman:

The short answer to your question on what the best route into the Corporate world is, simply have a close friend working at the flight department you want into. We all know aviation is about who you know and in the corporate world this is taken to the extreme. Most jobs are never advertised as one of the pilots working there will have a friend waiting for a spot to open up, and if they do advertise the position requirements are such that only the person they want to hire will meet all the requirements.
Jellyman wrote: is that something they overlook if you have as many hours as I do.
. Not to dismiss your experience but 2800hrs is not a lot of time for a corporate job especially since you stated you don't have a lot of IFR time. Not all but most Corporate operators don't hire FO's they run a Co-Captain System, so you would need the time and experience to fulfill a direct entry Captain to be realistically considered.
You would be better off going after a FO spot for a 704 charter/fractional operator (i.e. Air Sprint, Sky Service Ect.) to gain the experience.
By all means send out resumes to the companies you want to work for, it never hurts to try. Just be aware its a long shot.
Hope that answers some of your questions.
Cheers,
Roar
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Changes in Latitudes
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#3 Post by Changes in Latitudes » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:24 am

2800 hours "could" get you into a corporate job if you have the right connection and you're the right fit. A lot of corporate flying comes down to the usual suspects such as experience and connections but there's a lot of emphasis on attitude. The person sitting next to you has to be able to tolerate you for a full day of flying, a possible week long layover and then the return trip home. Be cognizant of that with everyone you interact with along the way.

Definitely get yourself in closer to the corporate circle and, like Mr. Roar said, a company like Air Sprint is a step in the right direction. You want to be in a position where you're immersed in the FBO atmosphere and you're interacting with ramp agents, customer service people, fuelers, etc. Treat them kindly and with respect. You'd be surprised at how often someone will drop a phrase like "ABC just bought a Citation, MR. A looking for a first officer...".

It's simply a right place and right time scenario in the end, but don't discount the flying you have done either. A lot of aviators started their careers slugging it out in a Caravan, Twin Otter, 748 or Navajo to move on to a charter operation or even a regional 705 then into a very nice corporate position. Many roads lead to Rome.

Good luck!
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#4 Post by CorpPilot » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:20 am

Changes in Latitudes wrote:2800 hours "could" get you into a corporate job if you have the right connection and you're the right fit. A lot of corporate flying comes down to the usual suspects such as experience and connections but there's a lot of emphasis on attitude. The person sitting next to you has to be able to tolerate you for a full day of flying, a possible week long layover and then the return trip home. Be cognizant of that with everyone you interact with along the way.

Definitely get yourself in closer to the corporate circle and, like Mr. Roar said, a company like Air Sprint is a step in the right direction. You want to be in a position where you're immersed in the FBO atmosphere and you're interacting with ramp agents, customer service people, fuelers, etc. Treat them kindly and with respect. You'd be surprised at how often someone will drop a phrase like "ABC just bought a Citation, MR. A looking for a first officer...".

It's simply a right place and right time scenario in the end, but don't discount the flying you have done either. A lot of aviators started their careers slugging it out in a Caravan, Twin Otter, 748 or Navajo to move on to a charter operation or even a regional 705 then into a very nice corporate position. Many roads lead to Rome.

Good luck!

Spot on! I would add that once at a company like Air Sprint and the likes, make small talk with some of the guys on the bigger machines.... Ask for advice and forge friendships along that way. Get to know the guys and gals who are at your fbo as they will likely be the ones recommending you for the next gig. Keep your head up and enjoy the journey..... I look back on my days of Navajos and cheyennes as my formative years with many happy (and scary) moments.

Cheers,
CP
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#5 Post by Jellyman » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:10 am

Thanks everyone for the replies and the PM's. It definately seems like my best options would be a corporate charter/management company. I have been doing some research on these companies and can see it as my next step. Some great advice from everyone and look forward to the rest of my journey. Thanks again, greatly appreciated.

Cheers and Fly Safe.
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#6 Post by Sulako » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:22 am

Attitude and networking are the most important non-flying parts of getting a corporate gig. How do you present yourself as someone who will get along with the customers, the other flight crew and the management? I'd suggest that if you are going to apply to a corporate place, you do lots of homework on the actual operation (where do they fly, who do they fly, what do they fly, what is the corporate philosophy etc etc), and tailor your approach individually to that outfit. It's more work, but it'll put you in the top 1% of applicants. I do so love the "To Whom It May Concern" cover letters :)

Do your damnedest to talk to a pilot who actually works at the company you are applying to. Buy them a beer and say "Tell me all about yourself". Voila, instant inside information, and you have also made a new friend who can tell you who makes the hiring decisions, what they are based on, and if there are any juicy tidbits you can use to get an edge over the other 300 pilots who also applied that week. Corporate aviation in Canada is a really small world - the same names keep coming up over and over again, and word travels fast about who is a 'good guy/gal', and who isn't. Good luck in your job hunt!
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#7 Post by iSight » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:12 am

Doing some research and thought I'd add a few questions to this old thread...

I'm in a similar boat as the OP was (slightly less TT, half is PIC from instructing days, building ME from the RS of a king air). Movement is almost non existent at the company I work at. Would it be foolish to make a move to a regional airline to get RS time on a Q or RJ to round the resume? Would corporate operators even care about RS Q & RJ time over RS KA time? I could see some of the cons (hard to network flying airline routes, airline is more hands off in flight planning and customer service). Are there any pros?

Thoughts?
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#8 Post by Confliction » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:15 pm

You need turbine pic time unless you have some really great contacts in the corporate world.

So regionals might be a waste of time...if airlines are not your route of choice.
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#9 Post by whistlerboy02 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:36 pm

You need a bunch more time and experience to crack into corporate, airlines would be the fastest way or medevac. A lot of guys around here are old medevac drivers and as a result would be impressed/sympathetic if they see that on a resume.
Personally Id say don't bounce around too much from company to company, don't burn any bridges with old employers and co workers, demonstrate a good work ethic, and do what Sulako says, he's hired and fired more than most.
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#10 Post by Outlaw58 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:29 am

As someone who is trying to break in the corporate world as well, I want to say thanks to all the comments on this thread. Very insightful.

As for me, I am approaching the Corporate industry from a a whole different angle and experience (5200TT, mostly military Helos, no laughing please!)

At 47 with wife and kids, my options are limited, I have not found one stepping stone yet that would make it viable to reconcile family and work, and the increasing unlikeliness that I will be able to go present position direct Corporate has made it so that I am starting to consider that it might never happen.

Nevertheless, I am consistently making baby steps towards acquiring valuable fixed wing experience and who knows, maybe the stars will align.

Good luck in your endeavors jellyman, keep us up to date :)

JP
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#11 Post by straightandlevel » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:22 pm

JP please pm me if you are still around.
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whatsitdoingnow
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#12 Post by whatsitdoingnow » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:24 pm

People tend to group all of the biz jet operations under the Corporate name, and it's certainly understandable as very little information is out there on these companies. However, pure corporate flying is generally when you work for a particular company that owns the plane, has its own flight department and you fly the management/employees around such as Walmart, Sobeys etc. These are generally considered the best biz jet jobs from a lifestyle and pay perspective, however they are becoming a bit of a rarity as companies have to justify the costs. The flight department is also one of the first departments to get the chop when things turn south.

Fractional ownership companies, as the name suggests, manage the aircraft and pilots for people who are happy to own anything from 1/2 a plane to 1/16th of an aircraft. The owners pay a fixed rate per flight hour to cover costs. Air Sprint is a good example of this. They seem to becoming more popular for those who don't have 10-50 million dollars to drop on a ride.

Aircraft Management companies work on a similar model to the fractional ownership companies, except the aircraft owners tend to have their own individual aircraft. These individuals also tend to have a much higher net worth. Management companies seem to get a little bit of a bad rap for working conditions and pay, however, I think the tide is starting to change due to supply. Execair, Skyservice and Chartright in YYZ are a good example of this. Some have just Captains flying (co-captians) and others have F.O's too. Just make sure you have the requirements to upgrade when the time comes- and it does take a while! You will most likely fly between 150-400 hours a year so upgrades can take 5-10 years or more.

As far as getting a job with one of these types of companies, knowing someone and having a great attitude is key. Unlike Airlines, where you can be socially inept and awkward as long as you tick the boxes, the business jet world requires these skills most. If you come to an interview with 2500+ hours, then we know you can fly and any weaknesses can be trained out of you. What we can't generally change is your lack of personal skills, and an HR department/CP will smell this from a mile away. They know that you are required to work/live and play with other crew members for long periods of time and there needs to be a good relationship for this to work. More often than not, the current Captain may also be in the interview or ask to meet you for their input. And of course, you will most likely meet the owner of the aircraft to ensure they like you too! Remember, you could be flying their family around and they need to be able to trust you impeccably.

Having a friend or someone on the inside is a big factor but is not the be all and end all. As many people have said before, the aviation community is a small world so make sure your reputation is a clean one.

The business Jet world can be a rewarding career. It certainly isn't for everyone and some people don't like the potential lack of schedule and the constant changes to plans, however, I personally enjoy the uncertainty of not knowing when and where I'm off to next.

If you're interested, get your resume in. The company I work for are having a hard time finding anyone!


Hope this helps
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#13 Post by whatsitdoingnow » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:39 pm

I should add that even if a company doesn't have a current position to fill, they like to have a handful of potential candidates that they can call upon should one become available, they can't always afford to waste time advertising as there is no real capacity to cover the shortfall.
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Re: Best Route to Corporate Flying

#14 Post by SuperchargedRS » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:01 pm

The high paying Corp jobs are all about who you know and if you're the kind of guy they want to work with. Of course be a ATPL and have the standard issue skill set, but aside from being insurable, it's all attitude and who you know.
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