Hey guys I just wanted to hear what anyone of this forum thinks about going to ATP with the goal of becoming a corporate or charter pilot? I’ve been speaking with ATP admissions and am quite excited (and a bit nervous!) about potentially starting to train soon. I have always been attracted to corporate/private jets and would love if anyone who went that route to explain some challenges or problems with trying to get into those positions. I have looked into Netjets and see the requirements are very similar to Regional Airline hiring requirements. Also what do you think about the potential earnings of flying a private jet and paying back the flight training loans?
I appreciate any advice or information anyone contributes!
My former Regional did some charter work and I have friends that have flown charter/corporate as well.
During my many conversations the overall answer to your question seems to be it depends on who you’re working for. Some love it, others do not. There are great corp gigs and not so great corp gigs. Many make the comparison that flying for the airlines is like being a bus driver and flying corporate you’re a limo driver. While driving a limo may sound more prestigious, it also involves a much higher level of customer attention and personal service. Years ago a friend of mine went to fly for NetJets and suggested I join him. He told me the interview was very different than the one we had for our Regional job. Two of the questions he said he was asked were “you’re flying and the customers bichon hops up on the center pedestal, what do you do?” and “the customer said he’s meeting his wife for dinner, he’s supposed to pick up the wine, what do you recommend?”. When I responded “throw the dog out the window and not my problem” he suggested perhaps corp wasn’t for me.
Scheduling can also be an issue. At the airlines we bid for our schedules and as we gain seniority the better schedule we get. While some large corporations have large fight dept with similar practices most do not and you’re basically on call 24/7. That means if Jay-Z and Beyonce want to fly to Columbia for a cup of coffee on Christmas eve that’s what you’re doing and no you’re not bringing your girlfriend.
For me the biggest issue is the potential safety concerns. If I’m supposed to fly to Denver and they’re a blizzard we’re not going. There have been many cases where owners have pushed their pilots (or even threatened their jobs) for saying a particular flight was unsafe and the pilot recommended not going. That’s simply not a situation I’d ever like to find myself in.
Finally as for pay some pay very, well others do not. Like the airlines much of that is based on the operator, the equipment and your experience level.
Certainly some interesting points to think about. I suppose I wouldn’t mind having a more personal relationship with a passenger/customer while maintaining that professional pilot standing.
Thanks for the reply!
Ha very well said, Adam. The fact that the passengers are often your employers is what turns me off about corporate.
My step father uses Flexjet a lot, he called me a few weeks ago to tell me that both of his pilots were ATP grads.
I have never flown corporate, but I have known many pilots that have. The jobs, much like airline jobs, run the gauntlet of great to not-so-great, with everything inbetween. Norfolk Southern (the railroad) has a rather large flight department, when those jobs come open they are highly coveted as the job has great pay, railroad benefits, and pretty decent job security. I have seen other jobs that were not so attractive, it all can vary so much. The requirements for jobs like this often fall in-between those of a regional and major airline job.
Great pay compared to other corporate jobs or great pay as in it rivals what the major airline pilots earn?
I think Chris means great pay as it relates to regional pay. Most corporate jobs pay more than regionals do. The pay scales for a corporate job tend to start high and gradually taper off. Airline pay scales start lower and if you can make it to a major they far exceed most corporate jobs.
Great pay as compared to regional pay or other corporate flight departments. It is pretty darn tough to beat the pay at the legacy major airlines.