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AOC costs

Old 2nd Apr 2011, 21:34
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AOC costs

Can anyone provide any insight on the likely costs of obtaining an AOC for a small (ie just me and maybe one or two others) outfit?
I've been thinking about learning to fly for years and have finally bitten the bullet and started my PPL. But I'm also looking at a career change and flying whilst earning a living is appealing.

I've pretty much decided that doing an Integrate fATPL course and popping out the other end with C. £80k debt, no job and not having earned anything for about 18 months is a mugs game given the airlines approach to recruitment. So I'm thinking about other options, specifically obtaining CPL/IR and scraping enough cash together to buy a suitable aircraft and set myself up with some sort of aviation business - pleasure flights, air taxi, urgent parcel delivery etc.
But does getting the AOC entail oodles of red tape and even more costs or can it be relatively straightforward?

First time I've posted here, so please be gentle!
Sensible Flyer is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2011, 09:12
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That is not good news, perhaps I will have to keep my flying as a very expensive hobby and "stress-relief" from my current employment then!

But what about a situation where perhaps I already have an aircarft, could I not set up my company and transfer ownership of the aircraft to that compant as a sort of start-up investment? And what would stop me and the Mrs and other family members from being the postholders?

I realise I am probably not going to make pots of cash from such an organisation, but at least perhaps I can earn some sort of living whilst building hours and business. Perhaps then go for ATPL when I have a chance of being given a second look by an airline? Seems a better bet than joining the massed ranks of unemployed fATPL holders. Or maybe I'm being just as naive but in a slightly different way?
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 10:12
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Your post unfortunately reminds me of the old aviation saying,
" How do you make a small fortune in aviation?"

Start with a large one!!

With your limited knowledge you would probably rack up expenses so quickly it would astonish you.

Yes, you could buy an AOC from another company, but why do you think they are selling it? In the current climate it is very very difficult to make money in aviation, and that goes from flying clubs to air taxi, small charter companies to large airlines. By all means do your research, and the deeper you look the more obstacles you will uncover.

Yes, some people can make it work, but many others cannot.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
bingofuel is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2011, 14:36
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The initial post holder for an AOC are a Director of Operations ( who can also initially be the Chief Pilot) and a Director of Maintenance. You can look up the definitions in the FAR's but off of the top of my head, they will need to have been in management for 3 of the last 6 years. More than likely, those people have jobs already and you would have to financially entice them to come to your new start up company. If you have family members that have these qualifications to be the post holders and they are willing to leave their jobs to join your new company then you must have a lot of financial backing as they will need to be on your payroll for 6 months to one year or longer in order to get through the AOC process. There is a lot of work to do with geting all of your manuals ( GOM, GMM, SMS, Drug and Alcohol abuse, Ops Spec, etc written and aproved).

Then you have to acquire the airplane to start operations. You must have control of this aircraft so you can't borrow one. You can lease one ( but good luck trying to find a lessor who will lease to a brand new start up charter company) buy one (more cost) or finance one ( once again, it would be very difficult to find a lender who will finance a start up charter company).

Bottom line is that I think that this is a tough road to tavel and my personal opinion is that I believe that your time is better spent building time and experience.
ME Pilot is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2011, 14:52
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Like it was suggested: get your ATP and concentrate on that = only one thing to worry about and less headaches.

You could probably get 3 ATPs just to fulfill the basic requirements for an AOC and you have not flown you aircraft even once. If you have an airplane - again like it was suggested: put it on a 3rd Party AOC and you might get the odd charter now and then, however the onus is still on you, to service the aircraft according to the JAA requirements - you will end up spending more money than you are actually hoping to make, just in order to comply. Also remember, that YOU will not be flying a single hour for revenue unless you have at least a CPL and you are employed by the holder of the AOC. So adding all of this up: concentrate all your resources in obtaining the ATP for now.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 16:54
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Sensible Flyer

Sensible Flyer, may I ask why you want to blow an extra £40.000 on the integrated training, please I am not going to try to change the thread, but just wanted to know if you have considered doing modular?

At least your debts could be half, just £40.000, and you will still be left with some cash to consider other options.
Having myself done some research on the AOC issue, it is not really that simple, personally I just decided to disregard it completely.

However there does seem if you have spare money to blow, that there are companies, Air Taxi, etc. who are willing to take investments, maybe with a trade off for a job. I guess this depends on your position, I would however do some serious research before investing, as there is fairly small profit margins involved.
During your ATPL's, you should get some basic knowledge regarding AOC, and sure plenty information you can get from guys here too.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 19:20
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Thanks guys for the info and advice. Looks like I have a lot more research to do and perhaps look at ways of joining up with an existing AOC holder.

BoeingDreamer, I absolutely do not want to blow an extra £40k on the ATPL. Presently, I am intending to get my PPL, then fund hours, CPL, IR, ATPL exams with my current career and go the modular route. However there appears to be a strong sentiment (backed up by a friend who flys for an airline) that the airlines "don't like" modular ATPL pilots.
I recently saw a FlyBE/FTE scheme which was circa. £90k for a fATPL + bond for type rating. I couldn't see what it gave the prospective student that a circa. £35k fATPL course with the same school would have given, other than the "integrated" badge and security of a job at the end of it.

My master plan was to go the Modular route but it seems that could be a waste of time and money, especially if I don't also invest in multi-thousand hours of flying time. So then I started thinking about setting up my own charter/taxi/pleasure flight company to build hours until I discovered the AOC stumbling block.

Maybe I should wait again for an airline affiliated scheme, bite the bullet and apply and hope I'm one of the handful of the thousands of hopefuls that make it.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 21:00
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It is unlikely any AOC holder is going to consider adding a rookie to their existing AOC unless there was a HUGE financial gain for them. You add risk to their AOC, placing the entire operation at risk.
proceeding outbound is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2011, 21:51
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If you prefer the idea of flying Air Taxi to getting an airline job, then why don't you get a job with an existing Air Taxi company? You don't have to start another one.

Of course, the pay is modest, but it can be good fun.
CJ Driver is offline  
Old 4th Apr 2011, 22:08
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If I was you I would stick with original plan, FlyBe will be taking in also modular students. Just follow their instructions, keep to one FTO, and get avr. 90% on your ATPL's. That might seem scary today, but not that hard.

Of course if you can get into one of the schemes, but if you want to be a pilot don't put all your eggs in one basket.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 09:50
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CAA's Intentions

When the CAA drew up it's regulatory framework and charges for AOC's, was it their intention to kill off the entry level Air Taxi/Air Charter operators.
If so, why?
If not, what are they going to do about it?
The use of GA as a means of transport is available only to the mega wealthy who can afford to use King Air or Citation types and above. It is no longer available to mere mortals.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 10:14
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I think that all this is dictated by EASA, so states that want to comply will follow through with this policy. Even para-jumping clubs need their aircraft on an AOC now in order to take the guys aloft.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 14:40
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A Class A AOC = £100,000 start up, minimum £140,000/year, Included in that are freelance, part time, CAM, QM, MFO/TM and a Fulltime GOM, basic accom and admin, but not including aircraft costs.
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Old 10th Apr 2011, 18:12
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Ah well, dream on it is then!
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Old 11th Apr 2011, 08:35
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The advice about Flybe and modular training seems pretty sound. I'm not quite sure why some airlines seem to have got hung up on the integrated route. The only reason I've heard so far is that they like to be able to easily get hold of your complete training records in one go.

The modular route I took was to assess the best school for each course, so I ended up using several schools. By and large I think it worked well and I got good training.

I'm not sure the airlines are too keen on this approach at the moment, but I do believe that there are some who are not so bothered by modular students. Dont forget which forum you are on as well - from what I've seen bizjet companies treat modular and integrated students far more evenly.

The other bit of commonly given advice is to network - a lot ! It is very true that getting to know the right people can help a lot in landing a job, especially where the smaller companies are concerned.
FlyingGasMain is offline  
Old 12th Apr 2011, 20:42
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Originally Posted by Lurcherman
When the CAA drew up it's regulatory framework and charges for AOC's, was it their intention to kill off the entry level Air Taxi/Air Charter operators.
If so, why?
If not, what are they going to do about it?
Originally Posted by Propellorpilot
I think that all this is dictated by EASA, so states that want to comply will follow through with this policy. Even para-jumping clubs need their aircraft on an AOC now in order to take the guys aloft.
I touched on this in a recent post in the Spectator's balcony. The EASA regs strike me as being heavily influenced by the French (and with only a few minor differences, the CAA AOC application outline is an almost direct translation of the DGAC one).

At the root of it all seems to be
Originally Posted by bingofuel
the old aviation saying,
" How do you make a small fortune in aviation?"

Start with a large one!!
The combined forces of EASA/FAR/CAA/DGAC/etc/etc/etc seem determined to keep both commercial and general avation as a very closed shop, issuing licenses to "outsiders" only in exceptional circumstances with the effect that the industry has been following the same money-losing management strategy for the last sixty years.

It is quite unbelievable that this old joke is still appropriate when the industry is one of the few to be blessed with a piece of equipment that does not have "built-in obsolescence", a regulatory body that allows you to write your own rule book and a work force that (if you believe everything you read on the internet) is actually prepared to pay to be employed.

Time for a change!
CelticRambler is offline  
Old 13th Apr 2011, 07:20
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The combined forces of EASA/FAR/CAA/DGAC/etc/etc/etc seem determined to keep both commercial and general avation as a very closed shop, issuing licenses to "outsiders" only in exceptional circumstances with the effect that the industry has been following the same money-losing management strategy for the last sixty years.
That is strange... I deal with the CAA then JAA and now EASA a lot but I never came across this hidden agenda. Thanks for enlightening us..

ps Since you are in the know: are they also involved in the Roswell incident?
No RYR for me is offline  
Old 13th Apr 2011, 09:57
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Why a hidden agenda? Individuals living and working in a deeply rooted culture of inertia don't necessarily see how shortsighted they are - which is what prompted me to suggest the European regs were heavily influenced by the French. Monsieur Blériot would undoubtedly feel quite at home.

Being on the "fringes" of the industry until recently, I don't claim to be "in the know" - but for so many participants to be permanently on the edge of bankruptcy and expecting to lose money makes it obvious that there's a serious mental block somewhere ... and it's not in the ranks of pilots, techicians, cabin crew, airport managers or ATC.
CelticRambler is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2011, 20:32
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I have one question and thought it is appropriate for this thread. If you have set a company without AOC and you lease an ACMI/wet lease aircraft from an air operator who has AOC from a foreign country, I assume its not a problem to start to operate. All the legal paperwork/tax are to be done in the country the company is registered in but the leased aircraft and AOC belong to the foreign company.. THanks
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