corporate pilot input

boulder19

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I am getting my ratings while going to college. One day I would like to be a corporate pilot. Should I get a degree in business or should I major in something I am interested in? Would a minor in business hold any ground? Or are "they" just looking to see that you earned a BA degree?
Is going the corporate route any more secure than the commercial route? We all know there are no guarantees in life.
Thanks for any words of wisdom.
 

aero99

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I will take a stab at the first question...

A business degree is very diversified in that it covers most every industry and job type so you are not limiting yourself to a certain field. On the other side, I wouldn't get an Aviation Degree (not part of your question, but just for contrast). If things don't work out you can always get a desk job with either degree, bu t you may limit some opps with the Aviation Degree because the employeer will think your trained to do something aviation related. Same goes with an Accounting Degree or Law. Alot of companies look at a degree as just that- a degree and the fact that you have one is most important. When you start looking at a Masters you might want to specialize in an area that fits your job or your interest better.

As long as your interests are not in basket weaving or bowling I would do something that interest you. You will do better in learning it and you probably do it better.

Again, the important part to most employeers is the degree itself. Do something you are interested in and something that will help you in different industries and you should be fine.

Good luck.
 

La Rue

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and take a position on this one.


First, I am not [yet] a “corporate pilot” per se but I too strive to reach a solid position with a Fortune 50 company as apposed to the airlines others may seek. I feel that my calling is the left seat of a Citation X, G-V or Falcon 900 or 2000, not a Boeing 767.

I have always wanted to fly corporate since my childhood and so, I have [I believe] made every career move in relation to achieving that goal.

I started my ratings at age 18 and paused with my commercial rating while I concentrated on college. I attended a local community college while I sorted out my long-term plan and I decided to seek out the advice of former and current corporate pilots to answer my questions.

What I encountered was a mixed bag about 50/25/25 split. Most said it really didn’t matter as long as the degree was meaningful, not Underwater Basket Weaving or some such fad, because a larger corporate op will keep you very busy just flying and tending to the day to day functions that a specialized degree would not be put to use.

But 25% said if you land a good job with a smaller company who might only fly once or twice a week, it may be advantageous to have a practicable degree you could apply to other areas within the company as an added bonus or enticement to a company as a reason to hire you and not the other guy.

Lastly the remaining group firmly believed it was the deciding factor for them landing the job.

I guess in the end, if you, like me plan to work solely in the area of fortune 50 aviation then it wouldn’t hurt to ground yourself firmly in a well rounded education, business is good, no one would fault you or hold that against you. But if you want to ride to the lofty heights of say, Chief Pilot or Aviation Department Manager then an advanced degree with a firm understanding of business, management or some other similar type of background would be a must.

I myself Degreed in Political Science with a minor in Law and then returned to school and studied Business Administration for 3 semesters before reaching a level of total submersion in the quest for my ATP and I had to let my graduate studies go, but I do plan to return to them once I am firmly onboard a career building operation.

James
 

Old Crow

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College degrees and aviation don't matter if you're in to just be a pilot. All you need is something that shows you were willing to take the extra step to further your education over those who didn't want to go that far. Being a pilot requires a great deal more skill and knowledge than it takes to get a Bachelor's degree.

However, when I was a captain flying for a fortune 50 company, I found out why a college degree in Business Management would come in useful. Major corporations that have and depend on large flight departments require a couple of management positions. Director and Chief Pilot. Each must be qualified to hold the position based on the Management level requirements set forth within the company. Therefore if you had a degree in P.E. you may not look very attractive to the company to hold either of those postions.

But... If you only want to be a pilot...It really makes no difference.

Good luck, don't look back and wish you'd done something that would have only taken a little study time.
 

avbug

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Corporate is about as unsecure as you can get, outside the specialty flying and seasonal flying jobs. Some pay well, but talk to five corporate pilots, and you'll have probably ten stories about companies that folded in the night with no notice.

Personally, I showed up at the hangar one morning flying a corporate sabreliner, and was told to report to the CP. I was then told to sit down for a few minutes, and a member of the board of directors came into the room and sat down. Fifteen minutes later, I was out of work, and the department was selling the airplane, contracting out the flying. (Turned out they didn't. They crashed it about eight months later, instead). That on the heels of being ready to close on a house. I thought I'd be there for a long time. Just about any corporate pilot should be able to read that and say, "Uh-huh. Sounds about right."

Good flying, and corporations typically take care of you. You're also the first thing to get flushed when it's time to lose weight. A great percentage of a corporate pilot's time is spent attempting to justify the job to the company, in order to keep the job. Selling the job, in other words. It's hard for non-pilots in management to accept what a corporate airplane can do; it's most often a prestige issue. It's also a very disposable asset, as are the crews. As a result, hold on to your hat, and always have resumes out just in case. Gauranteed you'll need them, if not later, then sooner.
 

banned username 2

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avbug said:
Corporate is about as unsecure as you can get, outside the specialty flying and seasonal flying jobs.
I have to disagree with Avbug on this one... It REALLY depends on the company you work for and how they use their airplanes... I have been at my current employer (Fortune 50) for 5 years, I am the youngest pilot there (but not the most junior). The most senior pilot has over 24 years with the company. I have a lot of friends who have gone to the airlines (Not commuter, but national and majors) in the last few years.... about 80% of them are on furlough.....

avbug said:
You're also the first thing to get flushed when it's time to lose weight.
Again, it depends on the company.... unfortunately, over the last 15 months the company I work for has laid off over 40,000 workers (yes that is over forty-thousand, not a typo)... Fortunately the Flight Department has gone virtually unscathed... it is truely a businesses tool to a Global Corporation... Our Execs could never keep the schedules they do by using the airlines... This isn't saying that anything is 100% guaranteed, but I think the old myth of everytime a company hiccups financially the planes disappear is a bit outdated...

Flying for a small company or private owner the airplane may be considered a perk (disposable) but typically the large (Fortune 100) companies realize the inherent value of Corporate Aviation. (Even more-so after the tragic events of Sept. 11).

Again, every company is different... But I think if you get on with a good corporation, you could have a very lucrative and enjoyable career.... I've been here 5 years and love it... I plan to stay another 26 years until I retire at 60....

Boulder and LaRue.... If you guys have any questions about working for a large Corporate Flight Department, send me a Private Message and I'll be happy to answer them for you (if I can)

Good luck and fly safe whatever job you are in!

Falcon Capt.
 
C

C172Guy

What exactly is a Fortune 50 or a Fortune 100 corporation? Sorry, I'm an idiot.
 

FlightTraker

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Sorry, I can't answer your question, but you are not an idiot. You are just a fellow pilot looking for some answers. That's what this board is all about. We are all out here to help each other out, and maybe learn from others misfortunes or good experiences.
I am relatively new to this industry as well, and can tell you there are alot of knowledgable experienced guys and gals on this message board willing to help out. So ask away!!!



FlightTraker
 

A Squared

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>>>>What exactly is a Fortune 50 or a Fortune 100 corporation?

OK, here's what I always though it referred to:

Fortune Magazine publishes a list of the top 500 companies. I'm not sure how they're ranked, highest gross revenues, highest profits, something like that. A Fortune 500 company would be one on that list.

Disclaimer: I'm not sure I have this right, I'm throwing it out for discussion. Hopefully someone who actually knows will give us the true word. Anyway, not knowing doesn't make you an idiot.

Regards
 

boulder19

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Fortune 500 are the top most profitable companies based on revenue. go to www. fortune.com to have a look.
 

banned username 2

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A Fortune 500 Company is one who has enough annual revenue to be listed in the Fortune magazine list of the 500 largest companies (based on annual revenue (sales not profit))...

Currently #1 on the list is Exxon-Mobile with about $210.4 Billion in annual revenue and #500 on the list is Qualcomm with about $3.2 Billion in annual revenue

Fortune 100 is merely the top 100 on the list... Fortune 50 is the top 50....

Here is the list....

http://www.fortune.com/lists/F500/index.html

Generally Corporate Pilots strive to work for a Fortune 500 company because typically the pay, schedules, equipment, etc... are better than the much smaller companies....

Hope this helps...

Falcon Capt.
 
Last edited:
C

C172Guy

Hey FlightTraker, that is what I meant to say. Thanks for clearing that up, and thanks for answering my question.:D
 
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