Pilots flying corporate jets

Can anyone on here give me the pros and cons of flying for corporations and private jets or charter and how does one get those jobs?

Thank you

Ray,

We are all airline pilots on here, so our judgement might be a little skewed. That being said, I find that the types of jobs that you mention generally involve longer days, less predictable schedules, less stability and less compensation that airline jobs. For some reason though, some pilots love that kind of flying and do not seem to ever wish to come to the airlines.

A lot of those jobs are obtained through connections and require a surprisingly high number of flight hours.

Chris

Ray,

When you say flying private jets, corporate or charter you’re really talking about a HUGE range of flying. When I was at Xjt we did some charter flying for a while and I have a number of friends who fly corporate so I have some knowledge on the subject. As I said it’s a huge range of flying and depending on the aircraft, the owner (company), size of the operation it can be great or terrible.

This greatest pro (IMHO) is the opportunity to fly some amazing equipment literally around the world. A friend flies a Global for a large Fortune 500 company. They have a large flight department so they bid for schedules vs smaller ops with only one or two and you’re on call all the time. The flights are often different which keeps things interesting. As I said smaller ops (or single owners) are much more limited and that means if the owner wants to fly to Brazil on Christmas Eve for a cup of coffee guess who’s going? Further unlike the airlines there is no hard schedule to follow. That meeting in London that was supposed to take a day can easily turn into a week. Like the airlines generally the larger the aircraft the higher the pay but that’s not always the case particularly with older aircraft. Large ops often have a dispatcher to help with the flight planning smaller do not. You’re also usually the guy carrying the bags.

The biggest turn off for me was the airlines afford me a certain amount of safety and protection. What I mean is if the airline scheduled a flight to Salt Lake and the weather is terrible the flight will either cancel, delay or I can always chose to divert, no harm no foul. There have been incidents of corp pilots telling the owners “hey the weather is bad we need to delay or reschedule” and the owners saying “I planned a ski trip and we’re going or I’ll find someone who’ll go”. I’d never want the pressure of keeping my job as a factor in the decision making process. Also years ago I had a friend who was trying to get me to go to NetJets where he was quite happy. We were discussing the interview and he told me there’d be questions like “the owners asks you for a recommendation for a good wine for his wife’s birthday, what would you say?” or “the owner’s bichon jumps up on the center console, what would you do?”. My response was I don’t care what kind of wine he buys and I’d launch the dog out the window. Both apparently were not appropriate responses. I never applied.

I think as with most jobs you’ll find those who love it and those who don’t. As for getting in it’s more about who you know vs what. Most of my friends who are flying corporate got hired as instructors for Flight Safety or CAE and networked there.

Adam

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Nice post Adam, but allow me to add a bit of information.

I currently fly for NetJets Aviation, and I found those interview questions to be quite easy to answer (and a bit humorous, because I actually had similar situations both happen to me).

Holiday pay… at Netjets, yes. It is an additional 1.5 x your daily rate on TOP of your salary.

Do you work holidays? Yes, but you can bid them off, ask for a tour slide off the holiday or ask for a personal day off. In any case you will know well in advance if you are working - no call in the middle of the night saying the boss wants coffee in the morning in Paris!

Netjets is now, thanks to hard work from our pilot group and union, a career profession. Yes, FlightOps and FlexJet recently dissolved their union (gasp), so now that VP can fire the top half of the pilot group if he so wishes…but he won’t. He was bolstering as many high up management people do. But…that now hangs over each pilots head. Every maintenance event, fatigue call, sick call is now possibly a career ender. At NetJets, safety is first and the PIC makes the call. The ‘Owner’ cannot fire the pilots, this is a function of safety for the crew and the owners. I have never been questioned, or pressured to do a trip. Our average recovery time on a crew fatigue or maintenance event is less than one hour.

In addition, the guaranteed schedule is the 7on7off (7&7). So, with four 7 day vacations a year (after 10th year) I have 4 twenty-one day breaks in my schedule. In addition, I have 12 PTO days (paid time off days) for sick time or personal time (in essence an additional 21 day period off). Did I mention there is no commute? You can live almost anywhere (with guidelines) and change your base with only 7 day notice.

So,as your info is mostly correct, I would point out NetJets has made corporate flying as close to the airline as possible, to include AQC training program. You will experience more airport locations and weather conditions than you ever thought possible. Also, if you just absolutely need to know where you will be sleeping tonight (on the road) then this career path is not for you!

Rick

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My dad’s cousin is a Captain for Net Jets and he loves it, flew all over the world, like TLV,AUH,OSL,LHR etc. He will hit retirement age in 4 years. Flies 7 on 7 off too, has been with Net Jets over 20 years now, before that he flew for AA.