Ok I need some help here. As an old crusty I cannot begin to fathom this pilots perspective. Completely blows me away. If you agree with them Id honestly like to hear the rationale because I’m truly lost here and my head is about to explode!
Thank you, Adam
Plain and simple. Don’t sign a legal contract if you don’t intend to uphold your side of the deal. I learned this the hard way. Started instructing in St. Augustine and signed a non-compete. Florida is very pro-employer by the way. Well in 2020 the pandemic forced the majority of our international flight school students to return to their country as countries began locking down their borders. I went from a 40 hour a week to a 2 hour week within a month. I had to break contract as I couldn’t pay the bills. The owner was vehement on enforcing litigation if I started instructing anywhere within a 50 mile radius of the school. I put my other life skills to use and became a patrol officer until an opportunity arose for me to get back into instructing. Thankfully I am making way more than I was as an officer.
Point of the story is most of my peers from ATP are already in the airlines. I’m now just hitting 900 hours and will hopefully be at 1500 by September. In the end I have gained a lot of experience and a second career skill in law enforcement. Regardless I hope people take a moment after they read this post and ponder carefully before signing that dotted line…Don’t commit if you can’t commit. If you do, be prepared to pay if you break contract.
Thanks for adding your experience @mdtaft. Training contracts are not unusual. I had one at the part 135 carrier I was at. From the company’s point of view, they are investing ALOT of money in to training you, the return on that investment is your time. If you decide to leave before the time commitment, you’ll be paying back the cost of your type rating. You wouldn’t walk in to a flight school and expect free training towards a private pilot certificate. The same logic applies to type ratings.
The moral of the story: read and understand what you’re committing to. In the ever changing market of the aviation industry it can be tempting to hop around always looking for the next best resume building opportunity but be careful what you agree to.
From my understanding, these contracts can’t be enforced in court so companies will threaten to take you to court as a scare tactic. In most cases, the legal fees for the company will rack up more than in this case $20k. But then again if you call the bluff then the companies only action is to delay for a year to cause you frustration, irritation and money if you have a lawyer.
I’m not a lawyer but scare tactics or not how about character, ethics, honor, morality, you know, things like that? Call me old fashioned but if I give my word I live up to it. Whether it’s convenient or not.
This pilot needed a job when things got tough and one was offered (no one put a gun to her head) but that job came with certain (VERY well defined) conditions and she accepted them. Are you saying she (and others) shouldn’t worry about it and company that bailed her out should take a hit because the industry got better and there are other now opportunities?
Guess this one should be changed:
CFR 61.153(c) candidates for an ATP license must “be of good moral character”.
I pulled this quote from you in another post.
we are living in unprecedented times my friend.
Whether it’s a scare tactic or not, I could not in good conscience violate the non-compete even though all my peers told me to go find another instructing job because my employer would never find out.
I have a strong passion for aviation and flying, but there’s one thing I learned as a patrol officer that is wisdom for anyone in any career. In law enforcement you are a liability to your agency and not an asset. Can get fired even for political reasons now a days too. Another saying we have is that “you can love your agency, but your agency will never love you back.” I was taught that being a police officer is not who you are, but what you do for a living. I can same the same for being a pilot. Being a pilot is not who I am, but what I do for a living and enjoy doing it for a living.
In terms of training contracts, non-competes, etc. It is a binding agreement between you and that company. My situation was the economy grinded to almost a halt in 2020. I knew the consequences of breaking contract and I did what I had to do in the interim to make ends meet. This girl broke contract to find more money, QOL, whatever. As I said before don’t commit to something if you are not prepared to pay the consequences for breaking that commitment. If people don’t like working for a company that uses contracts to get returns on their investment, then don’t work for that company. We are living in “unprecedented times” and there are plenty of opportunities, so weigh your options carefully and choose what best works for you.
I wrote a long-winded version, but I’m gonna stick to 4 points.
Pilots should strongly avoid signing training contracts! If you are willing to, only sign pro-rated ones & make sure you really do background on company / know what you’re getting into.
I have never heard a bad thing about Ameriflight’s management. I’ve talked to them a few times since 2018 and they seemed supportive to their pilots during our conversations. I have no personal flying with them. Their flying is mostly hand-flying 135 cargo and is obviously different than going to a Regional 121 carrier.
Although there are definitely unethical companies that use training contracts in an abusive manner, I do not see it here with this pilots particular case. If both the Employee and Employer act in good faith when signing and during employment; if something comes up, either party can end the relationship within the terms of the contract. Want to leave early, pay the penalty. That would be the moral, ethical and honorable thing to do and shouldn’t be a black spot on someone’s record.
During my interview prep last month for a Legacy they mentioned that they were hearing from airlines that some applicants are acting like they are owed the job. This blew my mind and is a very bad look. I am honored to have a CJO after 6 years of flying! It took my Dad 13 years to get a CJO from FDX in the 90s. It’s a different time, and different “grind”. Be proud of what you achieved, but acknowledge others pilots struggles and accomplishments. Stay humble.
“Entitlement” is now the latest buzz word for the current generation and i dont want to use it here…
“Sucks to be her” i believe is more appropriate. If you dont understand terms and conditions, dont sign things.
Ive never signed any contract like that but its safe to assume if a company pays for something or give you a bonus, the want a return on the investment.
But yes, its bananas.
I got my commercial driving license training through the company I’m still with. I believe for training to be mostly free, I had to work for them for a year. It only makes sense. And I would second another point here. Don’t sign a training contract with a company you arent sure you can see working for at least the length of the contract. And if the world goes sideways you’re on the hook unfortunately. Hopefully you find a contract with an out for catastrophic events.