Corp Life after 121


Well-Known Member
So I have had time to think about things lately in regards to my aviation career. Right now I am just the dime a dozen RJ FO in the 121 world. However after nearly a year in and about to face a furlough it got me thinking more about the corporate life. Honestly as many of you know I never thought I'd even think about this world and eventually making this jump. However after long discussion with the fiance, whom is about to graduate with her Doctorate of Phsyical Therapy next spring, we went down the road about being on the road as much as I currently am with the 121 world. I know later in the 121 world there's a great chance of being home more, but I dont know if she would make it that long. One thing I did speak with her about was that many companies out there have gone to the 7 on 7 off schedules. Honestly I never thought I would like this either, but after spending 4 days on the road and then only having 2-3 days off this option has become more appealing.

In the end of that rant above I guess I am wondering how many of you all went through the 121 world and then got out to pursue this other side of aviation? I know obviously a lot of the jobs out there are whom you know and not what you know type of jobs. Also I personally would not mind relocating later on, but I know she really wants to stay in the Indy area (more so the state of Indiana or near by IL/Ohio). Again I am just trying to get thoughts out of you all who have made a great career on this side of the world. Any input would be great. As you probably can tell by this ramble of a post I am confused as to what move I will take next and just looking for others input on things.


Well-Known Member
I did not go the 121 route, but am am currently charter pilot. One thing to keep in mind, is that the corporate jobs are not going to be that easy to get either. These types jobs have always been who you know, and are getting tougher to get with the influx of pilots looking for work.

And a little more food for thought, my boss told me a couple of weeks ago that he would hire a pilot that was already doing corporate/charter work before he would hire an airline guy (that was IF we needed any pilots). I am not just throwing that out there, but I have a friend that flies for a regional airline that may be facing furlough, and I was trying to get some info out of my boss wether or not he would interview the guy. Unfortunately, we don't need anyone right now, and my boss doesn't know anyone locally that does.


Old School
Welcome to the realization that many, many, many 121 pilots have made over the last 7 years. 121 is not, for most people, the panacea we were led to believe it might be. As many readers know by now, I was born and bred part 121. I did -- or so I thought I did -- all the right things. I soloed at 16, pvt at 17, commercial multi at 18. By my freshman year of college I was a CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI and working for the university by the time I was 20. Immediately after graduation I was hired flying freight and before I turned 23 I was flying for a regional.

Fast forward about 10 years and I had gone from the regional to an LCC to a major... then back to a regional...and then another after that. Finally I managed to find myself at a Fortune 500 corporate flight department.

What surprised me was that when the recall letter came, it really wasn't all that hard to say "no thanks".

While I was waiting for the recall my wife and I had a son. We moved a few times, and finally settled into a new life. The corporate department (at the time) barely ever flew overnights. So I spent a lot of time at home when it really counted (when the baby was young).

Now we fly more overnights, but still nowhere near as many as I did over a 30 day period in the airlines. (I just whine about it more these days). The vacation is better. The benefits are better. The retirement is about the same. The equipment is better. The job stability (notice I say stability in lew of security) APPEARS to be better.

Whats funny is I never set out to GET this job. I was on an overnight in the town I now live in. The Captain and FA were slam-clickers so I rented a car out of boredom. Found my way to a little GA airport where there were 5 or 6 corporate jets on the ramp. I saw a few guys talking in the parking lot, walked up, and asked them who owned the jets. They gave me a tour and I went back to the hotel.

That night I thought to myself, "I didn't even KNOW that XYZ had an airplane, much less multiple airplanes!"

Over the next few months I was able to wrangle an interview. I didn't go to the interview to get the job -- but just because I was curious. Well, it turned out I liked what I saw. a LOT.

And the rest, as they say, is luck. ;)

Remember before you start looking that "corporate" is an umbrella term.

91 - Corporations or individuals with anything from one airplane to a fleet (very little flying comparitively. Lots of day trips, very few holidays, weekends, etc)

91K - Fractionals. Basically airlines that fly corporate jets - These are where you'll likely find that 7 on 7 off you were talking about (lots of weekends, holidays, and rich kids going to the Bahamas who will trash your airplane and grind cheerios into the floor)

135 - Charter ... seedy characters in baseball caps sitting around airports in Miami begging for work. (j/k)

If you have any questions about 91 lifestyle vs. 121, drop me a line.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I can actually give some advice on this one... I made the transition from 121 to 135... I had been 121 for the last 4 years but couldn't upgrade due to age... Also the 2 leg commute with only 2-3 days off at a time wasn't working for me and im a QOL guy. I was about to totally drop aviation but found a 135 operation that lets you live where you want and its a 7/7 schedule. Where im at now I can say its a hell of a lot better than 121. I have my own company cell phone and credit card. Pay for me as a F/O here is captains pay at the regional I was at. They typed me in the plane and I got my ATP since I was finally old enough. I don't have the stress of commuting anymore. Its a lot more work than 121 though. But you gotta do what makes you happy... Thats just my 2 cents.


Well-Known Member
I would love to ditch the 121 life and find a good corporate outfit/flight department to fly for. Just seems like it's hard to find that job.. like was mentioned, it pretty much seems like a lot of people just 'fall' into it, by knowing someone. Problem is, I don't know someone! Any other ways to stumble upon these jobs?


Well-Known Member
I would love to ditch the 121 life and find a good corporate outfit/flight department to fly for. Just seems like it's hard to find that job.. like was mentioned, it pretty much seems like a lot of people just 'fall' into it, by knowing someone. Problem is, I don't know someone! Any other ways to stumble upon these jobs?
Network at the local airport hangars or get on or Both helped me get my 135 job and make the switch from 121 to 135.