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From airline to corporate jet pilot

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From airline to corporate jet pilot

Old 17th Nov 2013, 01:10
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
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From airline to corporate jet pilot

I'm thinking of making the transition from airline pilot to corporate jet. Apart from the obvious differences, like the adhoc nature of corporate jet flying, what other differences are there from those who have made the transition? I know, on the whole, the differences may depend on specific company operating procedures, but as I have little experience in this matter, I'd be interested in having an insight on how things are done generally in the corporate jet world. In particular;

1. I've been told that corporate pilots fly a lot less than airline pilots. Roughly, how many hours a month are people averaging out there?

2. Loading and balance - are there dispatchers or is the loadsheet task done by the pilots?

3. Ground handling, are the pilots generally organizing fuel from themselves, ie contacting the refuellers and paying the bills, or are there ground handlers that do this?

4. Catering, again are there ground handlers that do this?

As I said above, I realize that all this may be different for different companies, but I'm just after a general overview and how it is for the company that you fly for.
VH DSJ is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 08:49
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Think twice before joining the corporate business. Be prepared in the best case to have a roster (which is just a paper thing because they will call you on off days anyway and if you say "no", they will be pissed off), a hire or fire attitude and fear management. Never be able to plan anything in your private life cause they will call you on the off days anyway. Even if you have a lot of experience, THEY DONT CARE. If you dont have the rating (thats the magic word for them), you simply dont get in. Investing in people is a dirty expression in aviation.Etc. How do i know? Well, this corporate guy had it and is now in the process of leaving aviation and applying for a job outside aviation. Im really looking forward to it.

Good luck and all the best if you enter this business.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 08:53
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as you say different for each operation but

In general be prepared to do everything by yourself, i.e. have the contacts set up, the back ground knowledge of passengers likes and hates.

The fuel suppliers have CC that you should have, or a contract supplier. Depends on various factors, mostly related to cost.
Catering is normally the responsibility of the CC, but you should be able to advise her as to what might be the best supplier, cost v quality.

Load sheets, I have heard of them,,,, and sometimes completed. It is your responsibility.

Ground handling, again passenger or company preference, but you need to know who is in the market place.

Number of hours, again wildly variable, it might be 10 hours in month 1, and 100 in month 2...but expect an annual total of perhaps 500.

Hotels, again if lucky your choice.

Perhaps use your own credit card, but usually after a few months you should get a company credit card. There will never be enough credit remaining, so know the accountants home phone number.

Pay might be on time, but until you know the company, be prepared to expect up to 1 moths delay.

Hope you enjoy this mad world of corporate aviation....Glf
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 09:12
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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VH DSJ

You've been mollycoddled for to long! My advice would be for you to stay in the airlines. I think you're going to have a shock in the Corporate world.

No offence, just saying.

Daygo
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 09:37
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Be prepared to do all your own flight planning - usually last thing at night after a long days flying for the early flight the next morning that has just been booked. Be prepared to have to use your own CC when the company card is maxed out. Be prepared to make outrageous safety decisions or face losing your job. Be prepared to lose your job at the drop of a hat the moment the aircraft owner decides to sell it. Even if he buys another aircraft, he probably won't keep you as crew as you won't be type-rated on his new plane.

You will fly typically 300-400 hours per year, but you will spend far more time waiting around at airports than on airlines, and you will get a lot less days off since you are effectively on standby 24/7.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 09:37
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VH DSJ The first thing is to find someone who is willing to give you a job, if you already haven't one lined up.

Unless you are an exceptional individual, you will need someone to bankroll your type rating (endorsement as you say down there). There are plenty of corporate crews on the market who have recent type experience.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 10:03
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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2 Guys, one FAR/JAR25 airplane, OPS mainly in EUR, EEUR, AFR, sometimes ASIA.

1. I've been told that corporate pilots fly a lot less than airline pilots. Roughly, how many hours a month are people averaging out there?
This year we will be doing 360hrs. We do an average of 1,75hrs/leg. We often have one or two overnights in one sortie. The guys in the next Hangar do 150hrs annually and stay almost exclusivly in EUR.

2. Loading and balance - are there dispatchers or is the loadsheet task done by the pilots?
I do all the flightplanning including W&B. The main difference for our ops is, that we know who/what (we don´t do any cargo) is flying. We don`t see LMCs often.

3. Ground handling, are the pilots generally organizing fuel from themselves, ie contacting the refuellers and paying the bills, or are there ground handlers that do this?
That depends on where we fly to, there are airports without handlers, there some which have mandatory handling. As for fuel, we have a fuel broker, we get info on the various suppliers and their prices, rest we do ourselves. We usually pay either by invoice or company creditcard. In AFR we get cash to work our way. I get all invoices to review and okay them to accounting.

4. Catering, again are there ground handlers that do this?
As before, sometimes yes, sometimes no. In Afrika we usually stay in the best hotels and take catering from them.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 11:40
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VHDSJ,

I have experience in both Airline and Business sector.

For me either you like it or hate it. Of course it depends from the operator/owner you are flying for.

Yes i have a standard roster and they do not change it, i can organize my personal life for months ahead, they do not call me on my days off and i am flying around 550 hrs/yr. no catering / loadsheet issues, as everything is organized by our offices.

Always it depends for who you are flying for.

I hope it will helps.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 12:38
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Hi!

From what I see it very much depends if you fly for a private owner, corporate owner or public transport company (AOC holdrr). There are some large AOC bizjet companies who operate not very differently from airlines so coming from the airline environment this might be the best choice. I fly both for a corporate owner (very relaxed, you know all your passengers, no catering is required, most flying dates are fixed at least two weeks in advance, almost always back home in the evening) and a small AOC holding company. Not big enough for proper crew rostering (the most difficult thing to adapt to: Not knowing when your next flight will be and how long you will be away) but luckily big enough for it's own maintenance and OPS department with dispatchers and everything. Which means we only have to fly the aircraft (and tidy it up away from home) with everything else being taken care of.

Flying for a private owner can be heaven or hell, from what I see it is more often hell than heaven.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 13:38
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from what I see it is more often hell than heaven
I think you'll find the folks who are in the "heaven" job don't tend to go on forums to vent & grumble, so you just don't hear about them as much.

To the OP, I'm an airline to corporate convert, & absolutely loved it. If you are prepared to roll your sleeves up & get involved with all the areas you never normally see in the airlines, you'll do fine. Not every job is perfect, but when you do find one that is the right fit, you won't be sorry to took the step.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 13:58
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Load sheets, I have heard of them,,,, and sometimes completed. It is your responsibility.
tut tut tut.... remember that this is a requirement for SAFA checks For a small fee, redeemable in the Irish Village, i will send you an excel sheet that you can use for the Gulfstream.

In the corporate world its not just who you work FOR, but who you work WITH

Mutt
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 16:12
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humour me.......

naturally we complete all our paperwork....... in advance.... glf
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 19:05
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VH DSJ

It's not as bad as some here will want you to think. There are as many happy stories as sad. While never an airline pilot I have been a charter/corporate pilot for 25 years and it has been a great run. No regrets. Good money, good equipment, and good people. By the way, I have had 3 jobs in that 25 years and with each change a substantial step up.

The ones who gripe are usually the same ones with an attitude so it's no wonder they end up with the miserable jobs. Chin up and smile...it works.

To answer your question...300 hours and about 80 nights away from home per year.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 01:02
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Left the serious airlines about 4 years ago, to go corporate/private.. No regrets.. Doing an average of 250H a year.. Prob. around 60-80 nights away per year.. All planning completed by in house ops department.. Doing our own load sheet (takes about 2 min on iPad).. Fuelling and handling by handlers.. Catering planned by CC.. Earning lots of hotel and airline points (something you don't do in the airlines) - to be used for your private travels..

Only real downside, compared with the airlines, would be not having ID-travel access and not having a roster a month in advance.

Good luck bro'
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 18:35
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Airline and Corporate are as different as chalk and cheese, but then so too are Corporate flying for a private owner when compared with a Charter Operator..

One man's private owner can be a dream to work for, while another can be an hole, and similarly charter operators range from very good employers to outright thieves, cheats and cowboys.

My advise would be to stay where you are until you find a job in corporate that you have thoroughly checked out, vetted and are sure is an outfit you certainly want to join.
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 04:50
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deefer dog,

Good advice
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 23:00
  #17 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
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Thank you all for your advice and information. It sure helps in making my decision to move across to the world of corporate flying. A lot to consider as the two types of operations, as mentioned above, are chalk and cheese. I guess they key, as with any flying job, is to be lucky enough to end up with a good operator.

Cheers!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 18:41
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An airline operates aircraft as its primary busines and employs professional airmen that fly airplanes for a living.

Corporations and individual aircraft owners employ chauffers whose vehicles happen to be airplanes .... which are used mostly to gratify the egos of CEOs and owners.

Yes, I've done both but went the opposite way from your plan, i.e., corporate to airline; best thing that ever happened to me. Would never have dreamed of going back, and I happened to drive for a large, multi-national corporation, with several aircraft, several pilots and a so-called "flight department". We were still just glorified chauffers.

Guess I have a bad attitude but I did not become a professional pilot because I wanted to drive somebody's limousine or carry his baggage and golf clubs, or be at his beck-and-call 24/7. Apart from that, it's hard to stay proficient when you only fly 200 - 400 hours in a year.

To each his own. I wish you luck.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 19:25
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Hello!

All more or less correct (if that "chauffeur" stuff was really expected from you), but I object to:

it's hard to stay proficient when you only fly 200 - 400 hours in a year.
It is not the flying hours that make you proficient, but the number of sectors/take-offs/landings. Sitting in the middle of Europe, we rarely fly longer than one hour legs, which means that in my 300 - 350 hours I do almost 400 approaches and landings. At least twice as many as most longhaul pilots who fly straight and level for 1000 hours per year!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 19:52
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What next .......
It is not the flying hours that make you proficient, but the number of sectors/take-offs/landings. Sitting in the middle of Europe, we rarely fly longer than one hour legs, which means that in my 300 - 350 hours I do almost 400 approaches and landings. At least twice as many as most longhaul pilots who fly straight and level for 1000 hours per year!
Kudos to you, sir. I couldn't agree more! Hours are not the appropriate criteria but rather what one does in those hours. Thanks for pointing that out .... I just got carried away as it were.

[Caveat: If one flys from NY to Paris or London to Dubai it takes just as much straight and level in a G550 as it does in a B787. Most folks flying around in large business aircraft are not flying one-hour sectors. That kind of short-haul flying is more suited to a Cessna or a Hawker].

Now about the chauffer stuff ..... I don't mean to disparage chauffers; a good one is worth his weight in gold, especially if you own a Rolls. It's just that I prefer to be a pilot.

Last edited by surplus1; 20th Nov 2013 at 20:03.
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