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Captain on a King Air 350 or First Officer on an A320

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Captain on a King Air 350 or First Officer on an A320

Old 3rd Mar 2019, 19:47
  #1 (permalink)  
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Captain on a King Air 350 or First Officer on an A320

Good evening chaps,

As the title says, I find myself in a position to choose between a Captain position on a King Air 350 or a First Officer position on an A320 with a low cost carrier in Europe. Both offers have their pros and cons but I am having a hard time deciding which one to go for.

Which one do you think is the best option for my aviation career?

Also, what is the average salary for a King Air Captain in Europe? I can't tell if the King Air offer is a good one or not because I don't have any data to compare it with. I tried to google it but the little information about the T&C I could find is either old or applicable in the USA.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 3rd Mar 2019, 20:55
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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You got to do what is best for you.

But, at the end of the day when the industry takes a downturn you will be far better placed to get a job somewhere on the planet with an A320 rating than you will with a kingair 350 rating.

The other side of the coin is flying the kingair will be much more fun/scary
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Old 3rd Mar 2019, 22:10
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The career move is no doubt the Airbus. But for the life experience take the king air... you have the rest of your life to sit in an airliner telling stories about when you flew a king air. 🤣

Dupre is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2019, 04:14
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Having flown the King Air for a few years I would take the A320 job. In Europe it seems King Air flying is not that well recognised amongst recruiters and even EASA seems to work against you.

If you’re flying the King Air and wish to move on, it can take a while to make that move. If you’re flying an A320 there are many many more doors that are available for you to open.

Salary - King Air Captain £70,000.

Capital Air Ambulance are currently recruiting King Air Captains and pay £72,000.

windypops is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2019, 09:07
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EAM
 
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Go for the Airbus. Even if you have thousands of PIC hours on a King Air, you will most likely not get a chance to get a DEC position on a A320 later on.
So go for the A320 and you will have a type rating that gives you good career options.

Of course it depends what you want for your career.
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Old 4th Mar 2019, 09:26
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Originally Posted by windypops View Post
Having flown the King Air for a few years I would take the A320 job. In Europe it seems King Air flying is not that well recognised amongst recruiters and even EASA seems to work against you.

If youíre flying the King Air and wish to move on, it can take a while to make that move. If youíre flying an A320 there are many many more doors that are available for you to open.

Salary - King Air Captain £70,000.

Capital Air Ambulance are currently recruiting King Air Captains and pay £72,000.

Iíve done both and would take the opposite view.
I suppose it depends on your personality and your age. If your priority is money first, take the airline job, if you enjoy the thrill of flying, take the King Air.
If you can be satisfied with living today and not always seeking Ďmoreí, I think flying the KingAir wil provide the better memories. 70k is more than enough. In the past I have said the opposite, saying that you can always move down, but not up. In theory this may be true, but in practise itís not that easy.
Choose carefully and Good Luck.
Stan Woolley is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2019, 09:54
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Join Date: Jul 1999
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Age and family. If you still have plenty of years in the industry, get on the 320 ladder. There will always be Airbus contracts worldwide,its a great rating to hold. If you have close family, they might have a say if you have to move around. Airliner flying is probably more about money than excitement but many 320 operators fly long haul on the 330 and I enjoyed that for many years.

Last edited by Capt Scribble; 4th Mar 2019 at 21:27.
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Old 4th Mar 2019, 18:06
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Getting PIC experience is great for piloting skills and character development. However, if the aim is to get into the airlines later on, at least in europe, king air experience won't help there at all. But an A320 rating and hours on type will, or 737 for that matter.

The thrill of pure flying can be had on the side if one really wants that, i have colleagues flying mainly A320s and throwing people out of perfectly fine aircraft in their spare time, or going for glider competitions, or jumping from mountains or out of aircraft. And others are perfectly happy staying at home each night and working on their family life. In the end it is about quality of life, which does include remuneration, but also stuff like distance from home, time off, roster patterns and so on. And being on an A320 makes it very easy indeed to get onto other airbus types, a CCQ (cross crew qualification, abbreviated type rating course) is not really difficult and enables a quick and painless transition to the long haul world.
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Old 4th Mar 2019, 19:29
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I REALLY SHOULDN'T BE HERE
 
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A bit like a child actor, it is easy to get type-cast in the LHS of a TP after a few years. The first few thousand hours in your logbook are good but after that they will not make you any more employable.

Take the hit hit now and within three or four years (depending on the operator) you will be earning the same as Kingair skipper but with still plenty of headroom for further pay rises in the LHS and/or training. Flying small TPs is in all likelihood more fun with more hand flying, more visual approaches etc but if you end up with one of the larger Locos you will still have the opportunity to fly to some challenging and rewarding destinations from Greek islands to Iceland and many points inbetween.
speedrestriction is online now  
Old 4th Mar 2019, 21:34
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Having done both, unless you are at either end of your career (very beginning with no family etc, or very end with no family to support any longer) take the Airbus. When you get made redundant (and you will, at some stage, everyone does) itís much easier to keep your career running with an Airbus rating.

My time in the left on light twins twins was great fun, learned a lot, scared myself and I think made me a better captain, but Iím not sure Iíd recommend it as a long term option...
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Old 5th Mar 2019, 01:47
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If you wish an airline career at some point you will have to be a First Officer .... Seniority is the key with an airline career .
I flew Twin Otters loved it.... should I have remained? maybe, but having retired as a wide body CA my retirement is pretty good. I look in that rear view mirror and would change nothing ...
Flew for an airline, laid off, went back to the Twin Otter for a couple of years Great time ... Probably will happen in your career Every company I flew for went tits up or restructured except the British Government job
Other friends retired as Dash 7 Captains and I believe just as content as I in retirement
Try the airline flying if itís not for you go back to the turbo prop Just remember airline flying one moves up the pole via seniority. The sooner you get the seniority number the sooner you get the left seat of an airliner
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Old 6th Mar 2019, 22:22
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Educated Hillbilly
 
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Just to point out the only reason Capital are offering such a high salary for a King Air Captain is because it is based in the Channel Islands; 70k doesn't go far when you consider the price of buying or renting a family home on Jersey. I think 45 to 55k is a more likely salary for a King Air pilot based in the UK mainland.
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Old 6th Mar 2019, 23:20
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If I had the choice to go back to 2003 and a choice between the twotter (seaplane in the sun) and the 737... the twotter it would be, life is full of mistakes.
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Old 7th Mar 2019, 19:39
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Depends where you want to end up in your flying career. I started mine as a F/O on a turboprop in Europe. Flying was fun, lot of sectors, lot of experience. But to find a job as an experienced F/O on a jet in a non-lowcost airline was a pain in the a... Most airlines want jet hours...
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Old 7th Mar 2019, 19:56
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I have flown most of my Career, different types of King Air. I love it, but it will not get you in anything bigger.
When i started flying Jets, i had to take the right seat in a Citation for quite a while, because managment thought i couldnt handle a Jet, after 3k hrs in KAs.
These Kids ( FOM) would have Killed themselves, if thrown into a real live KA Operation ( Mountain strips day and night or 2000ft strips with obstacles in private ops, or..)....

To step back from A320 to KA shouldnt be that great a Problem, except that you Need to learn to Fly again :-)

And Payment for a KA Captain at least in my aerea is more in the Region of 50K € bevore Tax....
In some Special Ops you might earn as much as an Airline Captain, but this Companys look for Captains with 1000th hrs on type, not for fresh meat...
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Old 7th Mar 2019, 21:00
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The OP is asking what would be the best career move, not what would be the most fun.
King Air flying can be fun, and even quite satisfying. But it is a 50 year old design and it is all too easy to end up locked into that type of operation.
Usually salary is at least partly proportional to the revenue generated by the equipment.
Hence, for career, go A320 FO, build seniority, get command.
Approaching retirement is time enough to seek out the fun jobs.
Mach E Avelli is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2019, 21:35
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Go for the Airbus for sure
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 01:59
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If you really want to be an airline pilot then A320...Novelty wears off super quick, believe me!!

If you want QOL and to enjoy life and probably live at home with no commute and appreciate flying then the KA350 for sure.

I flew both and flying a King Air was far more fun and rewarding in my opinion. I fly airlines now because I have a family to support but if I got a good King Air offer with decent roster and money I would leave airlines in a heartbeat, you aint missing anything!
Daddy Fantastic is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 09:32
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Originally Posted by Mach E Avelli View Post
The OP is asking what would be the best career move, not what would be the most fun.
King Air flying can be fun, and even quite satisfying. But it is a 50 year old design and it is all too easy to end up locked into that type of operation.
Usually salary is at least partly proportional to the revenue generated by the equipment.
Hence, for career, go A320 FO, build seniority, get command.
Approaching retirement is time enough to seek out the fun jobs.
These days I think itís worth asking the following question.
Will I be able to sustain my health throughout an airline career?
My experience is that this is a serious question which must be asked. For me I think the passion slowly started dying when I started flying for airlines, I know others who manage to separate the bad side from the good, more power to them, unfortunately I couldnít. Too many others I know have paid a dear price flying Ďthe shiny jetsí.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 10:47
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Stan Woolley has a point. Whilst I've always been a business aviation pilot, a lot of former friends and colleagues have decided to go to the airlines - almost all of em have elected to go part time, since they thought they could not cope with "the grind". Most them missed the flying side of things as well - going from ILS to ILS, fully monitored and very often on the same routes time and again isnīt for everybody. Having the thrill of visuals, VFR flying, going into small airfields etcetc. is something I would not want to have missed. So if you maybe already have that experience it might be time for you to move on - a really though choice.

Some of my former colleagues love it (the airlining) though. I have my KingAir Rating now for 29 years and still enjoy flying this airplane as a freelancer from time to time. The first 14 years of my career I spent on the KA as my main type and I enjoyed it a lot. Got to say that one learns to enjoy an APU as well - which the KA does not feature...

One thing was (and I think still is) true for sure: going "down" from the airlines to GA is way easier than vice versa. Most airline recruiters will not recognize your hours at least toward a command, that was always the case and if you are "aging" than the window to go airline will get more narrow by the day, and a command with sometimes really long times in the right seat might be unattainable at some point.
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