Aviators' Thoughts

My job search and business aviation as seen on AviationWeek

The Pros and Cons of Corporate Aviation

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Whew! What a week. As I write this the Dow Jones Industrials have been on a wild ride. I was almost expecting brokers to be jumping out windows like in October of 1929. We havent reached that point yet.

The last weeks events got me thinking about the pros and cons of the corporate pilot lifestyle. I know this has been a subject of great debate amongst all pilots since each branch (Fractional, Corporate, Airline) thinks its the best place to be. Dont think I forgot about you cargo guys either, as you say “the passengers never complain” :).

Having flown corporate in the past, I can tell you the pluses are many. Certainly it depends upon who you work for, some places are better than others, but here is what I experienced on the plus side.

1.) You get to fly with the same people, this is great especially with the executives since you get to know them on a first name basis. You may even strike up friendships with these people if your corporation is very close knit or family oriented. This can also be true with the guy you sit next to as well. If you got alot in common or get along real well, it makes the flight much more relaxing. On the other side, if the guy is a ****, you are stuck with him!

2.) You dont fly as much as other parts of the industry…..Again, depending on who you work for, you dont have to fly quite as much as you would in the airlines or fractional. I remember one trip to Montana where we spent a WEEK there and we ate, drank, even white water rafted. Not a bad gig. Now, that dosent mean you wont fly and sometimes fly alot, but I always found alot of down time that I used well.

3.) Your pay is higher and you fly to some great places. Most pay in corporate is higher than first year airline (though airlines top out higher) and around the same as fractional (depends on the company). So you can sit right seat and make some money. At the same time you actually spend some time going to some REALLY nice places. Theres nothing like a couple of days in the Carribean or out in Aspen (though getting into Aspen is a b—tch!  I think that was the part I most enjoyed. This is not to say you might have a few days in say, Gary Indiana (though I have nothing against Indiana). Just not quite the same level.

So what could go wrong in this paradise? Heres what.

1.) You can find yourself out of job VERY quickly. This is not like the airlines where furloughs are announced. A bad quarter, a new CEO a merger and guess what? Its time to sell the “non-core assets”….WHICH MEANS YOU AND THE FLIGHT DEPARTMENT. IF you hear those words come out of the owners mouth, its time to polish your resume.

2.) You do ALOT more side work. Dispatch, weather, flight planning? Guess what? Its all on you or on your crew. So be prepared for that. I actually enjoyed it. If there was a problem I couldnt blame it on someone else (and wouldnt). I have to take responsibility for it. At the same time, doing it right makes you a hero (if just in your own mind). Also be prepared for alot of office time and runs to get things like supplies and stock. You arent just expected to sit and fly, you are going to work for that pay. (This is not to say that airline pilots for fractional dont work their butts off.)

3.) It may take years and years to upgrade. Be prepared to sit in the right seat (unless you were a direct hire captain) for a LONG time. Now a days though, it seems like everyone is sitting in the same seat for a while. In the better companies, pilots stay for many years and of course they have good reason too.

So a corporate job is not for everyone, but it does have its benefits. The individual decision is up to you.

Just remeber to have fun out there!


Written by tdwnds1

September 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

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