Realistic contract pilot options

airbaker

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Got a question for the more experienced corporate guys here: I'm a furloughed pilot with a major (yeah, I know I'm wearing the scarlet letter "A"). I have the ability to get funding for a type (most likely a Citation 500 series) through my unemployment.

Just wanted to know if it was at all realistic to try to find some contract work, coming out of school with a type, but no time in type. I have lots of turbojet time, over 6000 hrs, 1000 PIC turbine, but no corporate. Any suggestions? I live in the L.A. area, so there's lots of charter departments to deal with. Does it matter where I get the type? (I'm not sure if I'll be able to get funding for an expensive type-rating course like Flightsafety) What kind of pay can you expect as a contract pilot out on the West Coast for either right or left seat flying?

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
 

hawkerjet

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One major concern is how long do you expect to be out? Many companies in the LA area are hiring the furloughed folks because it could be two to three years before they can expect a call back. Talk to your prospective employer and offer them the money given to you for a type and let the company pay the rest. This way you can offer the company temporary services at a greatly reduced training cost and allows you the flexibility of picking the aircraft the company already flies. There are many companies at SNA, VNY, BUR,ONT.
 

CL60

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types and pay

airbaker,

hawkerjet's solution of offering a prospective contract employer financial help in training you is interesting. If you can pull it off, I'll be impressed. It is a compromise between buying your way into a job by offseting the opreators training expenses, and asking an operator to pay for your training when you have no experience.

Free or funded ratings can be a bit of a curse to guys in your position. (Not to mention the scarlet letter... seriously). The other pilots you fly with may carry some animosity toward you if they knew you bought your way into a job they busted their humps for. (Contract or not). Using corporate aviation as a fall back position until you get recalled might not sit well with many hard core corp. types...

Although making an equitable trade with a prospective employer can be financially good for both parties involved, you could be making a mistake by offering up your training freebie in advance. Some C/P's and/or D/O's might look at you with disdain, especially if they had to come up through the ranks the hard way. (You don't have to tell anyone how you obtained your financing). If they are only interested in the financial aspects of your offer, then you have to question their motives. If they truly want to help you out, then you may have a chance at getting started in this business.

Contract pilots have to pay for their own training anyway. Best thing to do is to get a popular type rating, find someone who is willing to pay you for sitting in the right seat, and get the experience. We all had to do it somehow when we started. It could be a long road ahead if you go this route but you could get lucky. I know many good honest pilots who worked for years before they got a decent contract business and/or corp career started.

As for daily pay rates, I think experienced Hawker captains can make $400 to $500 per day, (just an estimate). Hope this helps. If it does, next time you are on your airlines hiring board, I hope you can help out a candidate with corporate expeience.
 

airbaker

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Guys,

Thanks for the input and opinions. First let me start by saying I'm staunchly against "pay for training". I'd like to think my situation is a little different than someone with a wet commercial ticket heading over to Gulfstream to pay for 1900 time. I can totally see both sides though. I'd hate to think someone would disrespect me because I accepted money that I was absolutely qualified to receive (in order to get me back in the workforce) I've been paying my fair share of taxes, and will continue to do so for many more years.

Like you said, contract pilots are expected to pay their own way, I'm simply letting my tax dollars fund it. I'd never go to an employer and try to "low-ball" the industry by saying, "hey, hire me and I'll pay my own way". I'm saying "would you hire me as a contract pilot if I don't have any time in type." I'm perfectly willing to continue to pay my dues and fly right seat for awhile.

After reading my response, I don't want to come across as mad or defensive. I just hope I can continue flying while I wait it out. Sometimes it takes something like being grounded to realize what absolutely fantastic jobs we really have. Fly safe.
 

57FLY'N

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Airbaker,

Just wondering, you list a lr-35 as aircraft flown. There are numerouse opperators of lears in the LA area especially VNY. If you were going to get a type why not do it in something you have expirience in? There is alot of corp. exp. on the market right now with little movement to the airlines. I would not expect to sit in the left seat for a long time without substantial exp. in the aircraft.

Good Luck
 

falcondrivr

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airbaker,
having a type with no time in the a/c is almost useless in the contract world. if you have a hook or a promise from some friend for work, mabey. my advice to you is get a 737 type and apply to SWA. they are interviewing like crazy and are partial to furlowed guys. trust me on this. also, a 737 type is cheaper than any bizjet type. i have a spreadsheet of all 737 schools in the usa if you want it. get on with them and youll never be out of work again.
falcondrivr
 

airbaker

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Falcondriver,

Thanks for the response. I kinda figured it would be tough to find contract work without time in type. I do have a semi-promise from a charter outfit to fly a CE-525 after they fly with me for 25 hours. I was just hoping that once I logged a few hours with them I'd be somewhat marketable to other outfits.

In regards to SWA: I in no way want to offend any SWA pilot, as I feel they have a kickass product, but I really don't want to give up my seniority at American. Even if I'm out for several more years, I'll hopefully still land on my feet, as I'm forecast to fly Captain on widebodies for over half of my career. Of course there are no guarentees in life....I'm just trying my best to keep looking at the glass like it's half full.

Blue Skies
 

CL60

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airbaker,

A good buddy of mine is also on furlough from AA. I think he is about 2000 from the bottom of the list however has been informed that he will be recalled this May. Hope you don't have to wait too much longer... I know how awful it is to be out of the cockpit for any amount of time.

Did you ever find any contract work?

Good luck,
 

empenage

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You made your bed with American. But, What make you think when American kick you out of there bed, you have the right to slip into someone else`s bed at another house. If I got layed off at my corporate job would you let me come over and fly for a few months at american till my old job open up again. Think about it.
Proud to be corporate.
 

Boeingman

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empenage said:
What make you think when American kick you out of there bed, you have the right to slip into someone else`s bed at another house.
Because it is a free country?

Are you one of those anti airline guys because nobody would hire you?

Be honest
 

airbaker

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empanage,

Clearly I struck a nerve with you, and I fear this thread is now going to get way out of hand with a corporate vs airline debate. After reading your response I couldn't help but laugh as I envisioned a West Side Story territorial battle erupt. And you're right, I made my bed with American; it's a big pillow-top, California King with a down comforter. :)

Seriously though, I think you need to lighten up a little. Last time I checked my hours and experience don't restrict me to only airline flying. Just as you can take your hours flying corporate and go out and get an airline job (if it suits you) No doubt I'm way behind the power curve on corporate operations, but in the end we all just fly airplanes. That's the reason I started this thread; to solict professional advice from those that are involved in corporate flying.

You know, that's great that you're proud to be corporate. I sincerely think that there are definate pluses to that side of aviation, and I'm positive that the career is equally rewarding.

Good Luck in your endeavors.

PS CL60, no luck yet with contract work. I'm still fighting the bureaucratic delays in trying to secure some WIA funds for the type.
 

falcondrivr

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airbaker,
understand what youre saying about resigning your seniority at aa. my buds there seem to think they will have everyone back on the property by end of 2003.
ive been thinking more about you finding work now. with youre experience, you should be able to find work without a type. if you do get on with a company, then get the type and log some pic.
if you really feel like getting an arbitrary type, a GIV type is the most valuable and there are 1000 of them flying around this planet and alot of jobs available now. the other two most useful types are hawker and 500 series cessna.
with one or two of these types and a little networking, youll never be out of work.
also, dont apologize to empenage, hes got an airline bug up his ass.
 

empenage

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All corporate jobs are not the same, as all airline jobs are not the same. If you work for a good company and make good money and have a lot of time off ( It's good flying job ).

I have no interest in airline jobs and never have. We fly the top of the line equipment, passengers, and we work with the top of the line professionals aviation personnel in our department.

They treat us like executives in the company with stock options and all. I make about 185,000 per year, with out the options. We travel throughtout the world going to the best location and stay at the best places with an open expence account.

Our aircraft are kept in a hangar, cleaned everytime we come back and everythings works (not even a light bulb is burn out).

I have about 30 overnights year and I even know what happening at my kids school and who there frends are. If they have a program at school, I am able to trip change with other pilot with no fuss, as I would do the same for them.

Yes, I did try airline a long time a go American Eagle $12,000 a year and you pay for training. You had to have 2500 total time and 1000 hr multi. WOW Not bitter at all.
I took the job for 28,000 a year and didn't pay for training. I feel that I made the right choice back then and still feel that way.

Like I said, There is good and bad in all jobs. I would have to start at the bottom at an airline job now and I sure you would have to start at the bottom of a corporate job.

It just most people coming and looking to fill in at corporate job after Sept 11 want to start at the top. Don't we all. Good luck:cool:
 

CitationCapt

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Contract work

I saw this advertisement at avcrew.com. Maybe you can fit in there:

Contract Pilots (CA) 02/26

Sunset Aviation, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, is currently seeking to enter into contract with pilots seeking part time flying duties in one or more of the following aircraft: CE525, CE550, BE20, BE30/B300, PCXII, BE400, and HS125-800XP. Attractive daily rates and per diem working for a busy charter and management company. Flights operated under both Part 135 and 91. FlightSafety/SimuFlite and current Part 135 letter nice, but not necessary. Fax resume to Chief Pilot at 415-898-9672. No Phone calls please. Don't forget to mention that you saw the ad on AvCrew.Com.
 

beytzim

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empenage,

You have one awesome job. I think every airline pilot would be extremely jealous! However, I also think every corporate guy too!

The fact of the matter is you really lucked out. The average, I would say 95% of corporate or 135 gigs out there, barely top 100k, let alone 185k. Thirty overnights a year is far and few between for most guys. Looks like you got the best of both worlds - high pay and little work. Are you hiring?

The problem, however, is you represent the top 5% of corporate aviation (maybe 500 pilots). The laid off AA gentleman represents 50,000 pilots who work for the majors - all of them will be making 185k+, and if they live at their hubs, 30 overnights a year is plausible. In other words, you unfortunately do not represent the majority of corporate jobs out there - I wish you did. MOST corpoate guys will NEVER have a job like yours.

So, if one was to seek the highest paying job with the most time with the wife and kids - a major airline would be the statistical best bet.

beytzim
 

banned username 2

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Actually a lot of Corporate jobs top $100k.... I know quite a few that first year pay is over $100k.... The pay has come up a lot in the last few years and is continuing to climb....
 

charterpuke

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airbaker:

Try Clay Lacy Aviation at VNY (claylacy.com), Spirit Aviation at VNY (website says they are looking for King Air & Lear pilots: flyspirit.com), The Airgroup at VNY (website has some pilot positions open: theairgroup.com), AvJet at BUR (website says they are looking for PIC's & SIC's: avjet.com). Good luck.
 

CitationCapt

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Check with these guys

I see by your profile that you have some Lear time. Are you current in the 35? Interested in flying cancelled checks at night across the country?

Contact Bankair, Inc. 2406 Edmond Road, West Columbia, SC 29170 803-822-8832; Fax: 803-822-8775

Talk to Randy Russell or John Dickerson, President . Periodically they need a Lear Capt. who is qualified.
 

airbaker

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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm working a couple of angles on my end. Hopefully one will pan out soon, as unemployment doesn't quite pay the bills!

In regards to my LR-35 time. I probably shouldn't have even listed it. I have less than 50 hours flying right seat for a 91 operator years ago.

The problem I've most encountered (besides the blank look on most of their faces once they see that I'm a furloughee) is that I don't have a type rating on the equipment they operate. I keep telling them I don't mind a right seat position at all (in fact that's all I'd expect) and that I'm perfectly willing to sign a contract to make sure they get good use out of me, if they type me. So far no deal though; there's just too many qualified guys on the streets now with previous corporate time and type ratings galore. The search continues....

Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

Ty Webb

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Empenage- isn't that the @ss of the airplane? Hmmnnn

As a former 91/135 Corp. Capt. who just made the transition to airline flying, I can sure sympathize with your situation.

Although you will find some of the "Empenage" types who will use your situation to try to defend their career choice and convince themselves that they made the right choice, you will also find plenty of others who will more reasonably decide that you will probably be available for an acceptable amount of time and, like myself transitioning to 121 Ops, will scale the learning curve quickly and be an asset to their operation.

I would take whatever first position you can get- probably day-hire work (contract) in the right seat of anything. Once you're out there (and not committed to any one company) you will quickly meet others who will put you in touch with some of the better operators.

Don't offer to pay for the training (even if it is Uncle Sam's money) unless you are dealing with a real bottom-feeder (usually air ambulance, freight or older small-cabin jet operators). As someone else mentioned- the companies budget for training expenses, and it's not too likely you'll get turned loose in the left seat without time in type due to insurance requirements that really value time in type above all else.

You might want to consider using Uncle's cabbage to get a CE500 type, just to have something corporate on your cert. There is a guy out of Carlsbad who does cheap-cheap Citation types, but for PIC work, most insurers want to see simulator-based training in the past 12 months.

Anyway, with your attitude and experience, I'm sure you will do fine- it is just at the outset that it is slow and painful, but it will progress rapidly once you get out on the ramp.

Good luck- let us know how it goes!
 
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