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What makes a good charter pilot?

Old 29th Apr 2009, 08:34
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 313
What makes a good charter pilot?

I'm hoping PPRuNe's experts might be able to help me out.

I'm putting together a presentation for a group of upcoming CPL students about what makes a successful charter pilot. I have my own ideas and opinions given my background, but I'm hoping for some fresh thoughts from others that have been there, done that (or still doing that).

Examples might be how you prepare your aircraft prior to the passengers arriving or what you do en-route to keep them happy. Even thoughts from employers about what makes a good pilot would be useful.

Fingers crossed that this thread doesn't de-rail into a 'today's pilots are lazy' or Gen Y bashing session.
Ando1Bar is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 09:16
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Australia
Age: 36
Posts: 24
Have over 2 years of charter experience in the kimberley, my advice is keep it simple.

Meaning everything you do as a CPL holder can be broken down into a list of simple things, do these and you can handle most situations.

Some of these are:
1) Take at least 15 mins to complete a walk around/preflight you never know what you can miss when you rush
2) Keep neat and tidy when with passengers (especially includes language) comes down to being professional
3) A little bit of forethought goes along way, e.g does a destination have ATIS/AWIS found in a current ERSA that you have actually read!!
4) Everything is yet to be learnt, but don't forget the basics along the way.
aussie_hawk is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 10:20
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sydney
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I think a couple of important points are adaptability and professionalism. Different pax require you to act different ways, some people are very laid back and a willing to chat away with you but other people just expect you to sit there shut up and fly the plane.
TexanPilot is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 10:32
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: NZ
Posts: 656
Be ready to go 15mins before the appointed time. This includes warming the engine/s and runups complete, so you can load the pax and go.

For longer flights, have some bottled water and muesli bars etc on hand to pass around.

Ask the customer if they have arranged for transport at their destination, get the number and call ahead to give an accurate eta.

Give a business card to your customer so they can call you if plans change during the layover i.e finished early and heading back to airport etc

Sqwark2000 is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 10:52
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: @ CloudBase!
Age: 36
Posts: 95
If I could have my GA charter days over again, I would only change one or two things. I would develop a 'Scan Action Flow' for each a/c that I flew, I sadly only learnt about these once I got into the Airline world. I always got the job done, but it was generally in a different pattern each time. ie, entering the runway: strobes on, tx on, pumps on. Next day it was pumps on, tx on then strobes on. etc

The second item would be to use a checklist, as a checklist after completing the scans.

My 2 cents,
go_soaring! instead
go_soaring is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 10:59
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Apartment
Posts: 106
Meet sound weird but keep your weight under control. 75kg pilot can take a lot more payload

Like someone said earlier, be ready to go 10-15mins before hand. Act friendly even though it may be your 4th scenic for the day so that the pax feel special. It may mean repeat business or a kind word about you to your boss.

Also get familar with using digital cameras and taking a good shot. Always get a few request to take a shot of the group in front of the aircraft.

Last edited by Cessna Capt; 29th Apr 2009 at 11:01. Reason: another idea
Cessna Capt is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 12:03
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Left of reality.
Posts: 244
Cool Thin rules

Company,s aren,t looking for 100kg pilots.
Believe me they don,t last long, personallity plus.Rules.!!
Is paramount.
German arrogont dkhds, english tossers, smelly fat Euro trash, coons, ferals , stinking natives.
Love it, just smile.
No real constructive advice here but who cares.
If you can,t fly with all that going on you shouldn,t be there.
Charactor building.
multime is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 12:47
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: On the 15th floor
Age: 50
Posts: 364
Laid back and happy-go-lucky pilots are the ones that seemed to fit in well in the top end. An ability to get on well with everyone is pretty important in small towns and small companies.

Also, practical types - not afraid to look under the bonnet or get their hands dirty. Basically, picture a "bred in the country" nice guy that grew up helping dad fix the tractor - lots of common sense. That to me is the ideal charter pilot.
kellykelpie is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 14:48
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Australia
Age: 70
Posts: 302
I agree mostly with S2K however after a few years in corporate jet charter, I would add;
1) Be ready to start engines 1 hour before client says they will be ready.
2) Be friendly, but not familiar to pax. They are not "mate". They are "Sir" etc, until YOU are invited to call them by their first name.
Introduce yourself by your first name and advise them about refreshments on the way. If you cannot serve them yourself then advise them when they can help themselves.
3) Do not lie to them if there is a problem. Tell them the truth, but only offer this if there is no other way to deal with the situation.
4) Your presentation must be immaculate.
5) If jet charter, always carry passport and some close international charts. I've had clients want to go O/S when away on a trip. Very embarrassing to say that your passport is at home and will have to be couriered to you.
6) I cannot count the number of times I've changed plans whilst airborne for a client's requirement. All ok and easy to do as long as it can be done SAFELY. If you then need to stop for fuel, then stop for fuel.
Mostly, Safety is paramount. Sometimes you may have to say NO to a clients request. Don't worry, your a** is very important to you and you will be of no use to anyone if you are buried in the side of a hill.
dogcharlietree is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 17:19
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Singapore
Age: 50
Posts: 31
Remember that when you are in the aeroplane, fly it. And keep flying it.

Go on a diet if you want, wear a tie if it helps, but getting the aeroplane to the destination, legally, every time will get you the gong.

Sometimes we lose sight of the obvious in this job, especially in the GA world of idiot employers.

Good luck,
Balthazar_777 is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 17:42
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: moree caravan park
Posts: 77
Definitely agree with all the technical ones and indeed remembering Job numer 1 - getting the aeroplane and contents safely to the destination.

One big one which I'm sure most of us have faced is maintaining your own strict set of standards, and avoiding the temptation to cut corners to save time. Some days on your 15th sector it really gets hard to keep pressing yourself for your best standard, and often the temptation to blast off or cut a short circuit to get in quick is there. Fly every leg like it's the first one of the day, efficiency is certainly important, but no more so than safety, or the law

Another part of this is knowing the limits of yourself and your equipment. I'm sure most who have done time up north have had a bunch of tradies pushing them to carry more than their fair share of tools on board, or a mate who wasn't on the manifest, or trying to crack a tinnie on board. You'll get it, and it's tough at the start to stand your ground. It's funny though because as you become more confident and sure about your craft and yourself it becomes more and more enjoyable by the day to tell them to pi$$ off.

From an employers perspective, of course someone who works hard makes them happy. Again you have big days where by the end of the day it turned out nothing like it should have. People don't turn up, things change. It gets annoying, but it's your job. Don't push yourself beyond normal comfort zone, stay legal but if you crack it at your boss for a diversion for another flight on the way home because you imagined a cold one on your hand by 5pm you won't be doing yourself any favours.

Stay legal.
socks and thongs is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 22:12
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: australia
Age: 42
Posts: 367
'Scan Action Flow' for each a/c
go_soaring brilliant.

I think a couple of important points are adaptability and professionalism. Different pax require you to act different ways
Another brilliant comment

Ando1Bar, there are some really good comments in this thread for you to take not of
bizzybody is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 22:32
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Silly Old Git
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If only Ranald Dennis was around to give you a few pointers.
tinpis is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2009, 23:38
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: BAO
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"Ranald Dennis"

Tin- well said..........

A truly eloquent exponent of the "KISS" principle, if ever there was one.

S28- BE
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 00:12
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Here and there
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Always make sure that there are plenty of sick bags in the back of each seat pocket, make sure that rubbish like lolly wrappers are removed from under the seats and seat pockets from the previous flight, make sure the windows are spotless, especially if doing a scenic flight and have the seatbelts nicely presented.

Most importantly don't become complacent, even if you've done the same flight 100 times before, there's always more to learn, and have fun along the way!

Afterburner1 is offline  
Old 30th Apr 2009, 00:22
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: VXXX
Posts: 144
* Have all your clothes ironed and ready to go the night before even if your not planned to work the next day.

* Be able to receive a phone call and be dressed, flight plan in, weather checked and in the car on the way to the airport within 15 minutes.

* Check weather/ NOTAM's on your days off so you know what the big picture is which saves alot of time when you get called in on days off.

* Don't be scared to fly to new places you have never been. When someone asks you to take you somewhere with a name you cannot even pronounce on the radio all you should be worried about is the distance and bearing.

*Even if your doing 20 short sector hops a day, still do a damn safety briefing even if that just means sitting at the holding point talking in your head. Know too many that don't do it. Include your actions in emergencies in your safety brief so its clear cut what your going to do, rather than scratch your head for half a second when something does go wrong.

* Not every field is 126.70 as many like to think! Still read your ERSA/COUNTRY STRIP GUIDE, look for frequency boundaries on ERC LOW's and plot LAT/LONG of remote strips you are going to to see if it falls within one.

* Put in a SARTIME, no one cares where you are.
ksa5223 is offline  
Old 30th Apr 2009, 00:27
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,383
The ability to say "No".

Being able to recognise when its time to turn around and abort the mission.
Mr. Hat is offline  
Old 30th Apr 2009, 01:08
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Melbourne
Age: 56
Posts: 952

Fantastic advice so far.

The only "technical" tip that I haven't read yet is to save your more "common/likely" flight plans into NAIPS. Speeds up flight planning.

In one of my previous jobs we had our own folders within NAIPS. In them were folders for each of the aircraft that we flew, and within them were the saved routes. All we had to enter were the departure times and SAR times for the VFR plans.

On the non-technical side:

Lifestyle issues, esp. if you're based in a remote area or even a country town. Things like what to bring, mobile phone provider, etc.

You could give advice on CV preparation, how to search for employers, how to apply for jobs, etc.

You may also want to advise them on the pros and cons of AFAP membership.

If it were me, I'd also be advising soon-to-be CPL's that while it's good to have a career plan and to plan milestones; it's also important not to be too "Hungry" or to be in too much of a rush to get that coveted "Airline job" (if that's their ambition). Basically, to enjoy themselves while they are doing it.

Di_Vosh is offline  
Old 30th Apr 2009, 01:45
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The Shire
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No matter how quickly you climb that greasy pole, you're only ever one slip away from the bottom
The Green Goblin is offline  
Old 30th Apr 2009, 02:35
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Bagot Community
Posts: 181
The ability to cope with being continuously shafted by the operator's you work for
Bagot_Community_Locator is offline  

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