Is there a Corporate Mecca?

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
I want to pursue a career in corporate flying and I would imagine that I will need to start with some sort of right seat job. Is there a corporate Mecca? A place where CFI's seem to fall into good gigs more regulary than other places. I know it's all about who you know and getting lucky so I'm trying to increase my odds by being in a good "spot."

I'm going to start my CFI here in San Diego and should realistically be done in January or February. I have 600 hours TT with 80 ME. I also have about 100hrs of part 135 time that I earned back in 2003. (I've taken some time off) I would like to instruct for a while and was thinking about moving out of San Diego to do this. San Diego is really nice but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't survive on a CFI budget. Also, there just doesn't seem to be that much corporate activity. Most often when I see a jet on the field and ask who it belongs to the answer is that it's from somewhere else. Where is this somewhere else?

I was considering looking into one of those big flight schools out in the Phoenix area. They seem to really crank out the hours and also offer the multi time that seems to be so crucial. The downside there seems like all the students are foreigners and that would not only be annoying for me but also I wouldn't be meeting any rich guys who want to buy their own plane for me to fly.

I wonder if I'm better off instructing at a FBO in a well positioned area.
My best guesses are a nice FBO in Scottsdale or someplace like that loaded with unbelievably rich people.

Any Tips?
 

aloft

New Member
Van Nuys CA, White Plains, NY, Teterboro, NJ are all major corporate jet havens. Closer to you, most of the corporate traffic is out of Palomar (Carlsbad), and John Wayne up in Santa Ana. When you're done with your CFI, I'd go teach at John Wayne or Van Nuys.
 

subpilot

Squawking 7600
If you want into corporate aviation go work at Flight Safety or Simuflight in a right seat program. You will need to CFI to make money and earn flight time as there is little to no pay from the sim program but it gets you face time with corporate flight departments.
 

wingnut

New Member
Working the line at a good sized FBO may provide you with more opportunities than a few hundred hours will. I'm not trying to discount instructing, but working the line gets a person a lot of face to face time with several different flight depts. on a day to day basis.
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
If you want into corporate aviation go work at Flight Safety or Simuflight in a right seat program. You will need to CFI to make money and earn flight time as there is little to no pay from the sim program but it gets you face time with corporate flight departments.
Not a bad idea... FlightSafety has a position posted right now for the "SIC program" (that's not what they really call it, I don't remember the term right now). I don't have any idea what the pay is as we don't use right seaters at our center.

The major populous centers on both coasts will have a heavy concentration of business aviation but as you're trying to get into the business, don't overlook the smaller, out of the way areas as well. You probably wouldn't expect Columbus, Ohio, for example, to have a big business aviation community but even taking NetJets out of the equatioin, the bizav market in Columbus is very active and vibrant.
 

JDE

Well-Known Member
I highly recommend the Right Seat Program or whatever it's called now at SimuFlite (and of course the similar program at FSI). There are several posts on here about the program.
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
Van Nuys CA, White Plains, NY, Teterboro, NJ are all major corporate jet havens. Closer to you, most of the corporate traffic is out of Palomar (Carlsbad), and John Wayne up in Santa Ana. When you're done with your CFI, I'd go teach at John Wayne or Van Nuys.

That makes sense. Thanks for the feedback!
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
If you want into corporate aviation go work at Flight Safety or Simuflight in a right seat program. You will need to CFI to make money and earn flight time as there is little to no pay from the sim program but it gets you face time with corporate flight departments.
Interesting. I'll look into this program. I've never heard of it. Although a good friend of mine went through Gulfstream in Florida as a way to get into Pinnacle/NW Airlink. Obviously that was for the commercial airline route. But he basically flew for free in order to eventually get a job...
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
Working the line at a good sized FBO may provide you with more opportunities than a few hundred hours will. I'm not trying to discount instructing, but working the line gets a person a lot of face to face time with several different flight depts. on a day to day basis.

This is funny that you mention line service. My good friend who works as an FO for Skywest is actually thinking of working line service on his days off to make more connections. Pretty amazing when you think about it. What other industry allows gas pumpers so much opportunity. Funny how things work. In a way I appreciate that those guys on the line do get a break. It seems fair that the hard work gets rewarded.

I figured I would just camp out at the airport all day. Maybe work the line and flight instruct at the same airport. Basically be at the airport all day every day and hope something good comes from the hard work. I wouldn't mind it. When I worked for a part 135 a few years ago I had zero life outside of the airport and I was really happy with it. I just like being around the airport. Not like I can afford to be doing anything else anyway if I'm living on CFI/line service budget. :)
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
Not a bad idea... FlightSafety has a position posted right now for the "SIC program" (that's not what they really call it, I don't remember the term right now). I don't have any idea what the pay is as we don't use right seaters at our center.

The major populous centers on both coasts will have a heavy concentration of business aviation but as you're trying to get into the business, don't overlook the smaller, out of the way areas as well. You probably wouldn't expect Columbus, Ohio, for example, to have a big business aviation community but even taking NetJets out of the equatioin, the bizav market in Columbus is very active and vibrant.

I'll check this program out. Thanks for the tips.
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
...a good friend of mine went through Gulfstream in Florida as a way to get into Pinnacle/NW Airlink....he basically flew for free in order to eventually get a job...
Sorry to hear your friend chose that route. I would highly discourage you following in his footsteps. There is plenty of info on this site about them. I will only say that GIA is regarded as lower than pond scum in this industry. Some eventually outgrow the stigma, some don't.

There is no GIA equivalent to corporate aviation....thank goodness. The above answers are accurate regarding working at the FBOs or talking with crews as you yourself are passing through on flights. Corp aviation is pretty difficult to break into in any market.
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear your friend chose that route. I would highly discourage you following in his footsteps. There is plenty of info on this site about them. I will only say that GIA is regarded as lower than pond scum in this industry. Some eventually outgrow the stigma, some don't.

There is no GIA equivalent to corporate aviation....thank goodness. The above answers are accurate regarding working at the FBOs or talking with crews as you yourself are passing through on flights. Corp aviation is pretty difficult to break into in any market.
I appreciate your comments about GIA. I don't plan on going there. In fact, I'm trying to stay away from the commercial airlines completely and I'm certainly not forking over a big chunk of money to try and land a job. Thanks again.
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
I appreciate your comments about GIA. I don't plan on going there. In fact, I'm trying to stay away from the commercial airlines completely and I'm certainly not forking over a big chunk of money to try and land a job. Thanks again.
The best thing I can say is, stay persistent and always keep your ear to the ground. "Connections" have a strange way of presenting themselves sometimes. It sounds like you are off to a good start. Search around for a medium to large sized flight school and one with a multiengine trainer. Keep in mind "pecking order" at those schools might keep you from twin training for a while....but it will come. I'm not sure I would pick a pilot factory because so many other instructors will be competing for the same jobs as you. Better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a little fish in a big pond. And what ever you do.....never tell another pilot about your job prospect until after you interview yourself.

As you wander from airport to airport as a CFI, talk with the corp pilots you run into and maybe ask if they will show you their plane. Over time you may build a rapport with some. At the least you will gain some good knowledge about business, schedules and aircraft involved. But do not force yourself on them or approach them with a resume in hand.
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
The best thing I can say is, stay persistent and always keep your ear to the ground. "Connections" have a strange way of presenting themselves sometimes. It sounds like you are off to a good start. Search around for a medium to large sized flight school and one with a multiengine trainer. Keep in mind "pecking order" at those schools might keep you from twin training for a while....but it will come. I'm not sure I would pick a pilot factory because so many other instructors will be competing for the same jobs as you. Better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a little fish in a big pond. And what ever you do.....never tell another pilot about your job prospect until after you interview yourself.

As you wander from airport to airport as a CFI, talk with the corp pilots you run into and maybe ask if they will show you their plane. Over time you may build a rapport with some. At the least you will gain some good knowledge about business, schedules and aircraft involved. But do not force yourself on them or approach them with a resume in hand.

Are you glad that you chose the corpoarte route? Do you feel you have better QOL than other pilots? Do you spend more nights at home? I think I will like corporate because I like the planes, I like the smaller airport terminals, my commercial pilot friends always seem worried about getting furloghed.
Thanks,
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
Are you glad that you chose the corporate route?
Yes, I am. (and more and more each day.)

Do you feel you have better QOL than other pilots?
It is definitely better than most. Keep in mind that NetJets is quite a bit different than typical corporate jobs. For me it combines the best of both worlds. We are one of the largest "airlines" in the world, but I am not tied to a pager on my days off. We get dispatch releases/performance data, but we don't go to the same 10 airports all year. On the 7/7 schedule I only have to report to work 2 times/month. We spend nights in better hotels and don't have to eat in "the food court" every day, and we have great benefits.

Do you spend more nights at home?
I spend 8 consecutive nights home and 6 consecutive nights away on the 7/7. I am able to bid my schedule quarterly or yearly to gain the most days off with the family, and I take two 21 consecutive day vacations each summer to be home while the kids are out of school.

I think I will like corporate because I like the planes, I like the smaller airport terminals, my commercial pilot friends always seem worried about getting furloughed.
It's nice to be part of an organization that continues to grow while the airlines are in turmoil.

One advantage corp guys have over the airline guys, we get to spend time in their world and are able to keep up with the airline business. Airline pilots are pretty removed from corp operations and generally have vast misconceptions about this side of the industry.....Especially as it pertains to fractional operators. It is pretty eye opening when a long time 121 pilot gets hired at a fractional, but it definitely is not for everyone.
 

SurfandSun

Well-Known Member
Great feedback. Thank you again. My wife has always been anxious about me spending time away from home and I think that you have really shed some light on the situation. Espeacially how you bid your summer schedule around your kids being out of school. I didn't even know that was possible. That' practically a school teachers summer schedule. Awesome!


So when you are 7 on with NetJets, are you flying all the time or is there down time? Also, do you get to the point where you bid your schedule with a FO that you like? I would imagine the 7 on could be good if you were friends with the FO/Captain and really bad if you were with someone you didn't like. What are the current minnimums for a FO at Netjets? I know I'm nowhere remotely close but just trying to get an idea of how many years I'v got ahead of me and what I should be doing to get there.

Yes, I am. (and more and more each day.)

It is definitely better than most. Keep in mind that NetJets is quite a bit different than typical corporate jobs. For me it combines the best of both worlds. We are one of the largest "airlines" in the world, but I am not tied to a pager on my days off. We get dispatch releases/performance data, but we don't go to the same 10 airports all year. On the 7/7 schedule I only have to report to work 2 times/month. We spend nights in better hotels and don't have to eat in "the food court" every day, and we have great benefits.


I spend 8 consecutive nights home and 6 consecutive nights away on the 7/7. I am able to bid my schedule quarterly or yearly to gain the most days off with the family, and I take two 21 consecutive day vacations each summer to be home while the kids are out of school.

It's nice to be part of an organization that continues to grow while the airlines are in turmoil.

One advantage corp guys have over the airline guys, we get to spend time in their world and are able to keep up with the airline business. Airline pilots are pretty removed from corp operations and generally have vast misconceptions about this side of the industry.....Especially as it pertains to fractional operators. It is pretty eye opening when a long time 121 pilot gets hired at a fractional, but it definitely is not for everyone.
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
Especially how you bid your summer schedule around your kids being out of school. I didn't even know that was possible. That' practically a school teachers summer schedule.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of things considered in how I do that, such as seniority in fleet/seat, number of vacation weeks available (to me). I bid a annual schedule that gets me the most important days off that year (Christmas #1) and then I bid two of my vacation periods to coincide with summer vac. One vacation week on the 7/7 schedule gets you 21 days off. We also have 5 personal days/year we can bid for to get specific dates off.

So when you are 7 on with NetJets, are you flying all the time or is there down time?
Flying is a relative term. You will be gone for 7 days. We don't do out-and-backs for a week. When we go.....we're gone. Now you might be parked in a hotel for a few days somehwere...but you won't go home until the end of your week.

...do you get to the point where you bid your schedule with a FO that you like?
All we bid is a schedule. There is nothing to allow you to bid a certain FO or PIC. It is always luck of the draw. I have had very few "stressful" tours in my 10 years here. Young or old, we tend to get along very well on the road.

What are the current minimums for a FO at NetJets?
http://netjets.com/NetJets_Pilots/Qualifications_of_a_NetJets_Pilot.asp
 

ZapBrannigan

Old School
Lets make certain that your readers understand the difference between "corporate" and "fractional". The fact that you fly a business jet does not make you a corporate pilot. As you state, Netjets is one of the world's largest "airlines" and operates very differently from any pure corporate operator.

I am not tied to a pager on my days off.
Me neither. I have a schedule of days off from the day I was hired until the day I retire. When i'm off, i'm OFF unless I volunteer to help out.

We get dispatch releases/performance data, but we don't go to the same 10 airports all year.
We get performance data from APG and fly to hundreds of airports throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America

I only have to report to work 2 times/month.
You've got me there. Fortunately I live 20 minutes from the airport and am able to park my car 50 feet from the door. Makes those 1 day trips easy when you can be in your car 10 minutes after setting the parking brake.

We spend nights in better hotels
You've got me there too. We're very cost conscious so we stay in hotels like LaQuinta, Hampton Inn, or Holiday Inn Express. We are USUALLY gone just 1 or 2 nights a week, so it doesn't bother me much.

I take two 21 consecutive day vacations each summer to be home while the kids are out of school.
You've got me there too. We get 2 weeks of vacation we can take however we like. All at once or a day here and a day there. If I push it up against my 4-day off weekend (one per month) it's not bad. But it's still tough to get things done sometimes. I wish we had a few personal days we could use each year.

It's nice to be part of an organization that continues to grow while the airlines are in turmoil.
Amen!

Airline pilots are pretty removed from corp operations and generally have vast misconceptions about this side of the industry
Boy is that the truth! Whether it be corporate or fractional, the 121 guys have no IDEA what our lives are like. I know I didn't "get it" until after I worked here for about six months. Some days I STILL don't. It's absolutely nothing like 121 in any way. Netjets is a great company with a fantastic contract and I may still apply there one of these days. For now though, I enjoy flying corporate for a large company and spending more nights at home with my family. Who knows what the future will bring?
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
Whether it be corporate or fractional, the 121 guys have no IDEA what our lives are like.
It's kind of funny sometimes though. Many think we are glorified bag boys and lav dumpers, and laugh at the "poor frac guys".....while they walk to the airport food court. Last week I flew with a newhire FO. A few weeks ago a DAL Capt (sorry Doug) asked him if he had his app in at Delta. My FO said "Are you NUTS???!!!!.....I'm not leaving here."
 

ZapBrannigan

Old School
You think THAT'S funny, our Director of Operations used to fly for Delta. He came here as an FO several years ago in order to improve his quality of life! (no more commute, very few overnights, more time with family, etc.)

I'm not saying everything is better on this side of the fence. Just most things. ;)
 
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