Thanks to anyone who has any type of advice for us!
There ae getting to be a few more "corporate jets" in the this country, and many of them are with larger operators, such as Sunwest or Skyservice. Get a job with Sunwest and in 5 years or so you may be a "corporate jet" pilot. It will be a very good job and you will be one of the few in Canada, outside the airlines, that get to log jet time.
A corporate pilot is someone who flies for Shaw, Syncrude, Alberta Government, Shell, Suncor, TCP, etc. (can you tell I'm from YYC?)
What is the difference? Asides from better days off, holidays, benefits, and bonuses, about 20-60 grand more a year.
If you could name more than a few dozen companies like that in Canada, I'd be suprised. My feeble math skills can tell you how easy it will be to get one of these jobs.
Say there are 50 aircraft in this role in Canada. Say 3 pilots per aircraft (some have 2 crews, many have 1), 50 times 3 equals about 150 available positions. I'm sure that at least two thirds have decided that their job hunting days are over. So asides from attrition, that leaves about 50 pilot positions. I'm guessing here, but lets assume that most guys stay at their jobs for about 5 years before moving on to something else (probably another corporate job on better equipment or with better pay). 50 pilots divided by 5 years equals about 10 job requirements for these premium positions per year.
You have very similar odds of becoming a pilot with the Snowbirds.
The hiring practices vary among these companies. Some use the companies Human Resources Dept. Others have only hired the CP's best buddies. Networking is about the only advice I could give someone. You could have 10,000 hrs on a Citation X and find that a company hired a flight instructor for the position because someone knew him from somewhere before and liked 'the cut of his jib'. Uncles, Aunts, and other lost relatives can also help you to attain one of these lofty positions. Also remember that it's a small country when it comes to aviation. Don't piss in too many coffee pots.
Once in it can either be gravy or a nightmare. So much depends on the CEO of the company. Larger flight departments with multiple airplanes can be the best job ever with a good schedule, good pay and excellent equipment. These jobs depend on retirement or loss of medical for job openings. Nobody quits Imperial Oil's flight department. They retire. On the negative, if you have an "come hell or high water, damn the torpedoes" type of CEO, life can be hell. On call 24,7. One operator profiled in a Pro Pilot magazine operating a Falcon 900 out of Singapore spends 200 to 250 days per year away from home. You were pilots, mechanics, cooks, bottlewashers and in their spare time, drove the company limo. Fortunatly, that is the extreme, especially in Canada. But there is a company in Alberta that owns a Navajo that you see in Calgary quite often and it is the prettiest looking airplane you could ever see.That airplane is flown often but it is quite obvious that there is no penny pinching when it comes to operations. Now that pilot will likely be with that company until he retires. biggest hazard is still company wealth. If times get tough, the first to go is the company airplane. I know one pilot that was 6 months into a $15,000 two year bond with a charter company when he got hired by a former boss to fly their DA900EX. He ate the bond and paid for it with his per diems while on training at Flight Safety. But he spends 6 month a year away from home.
So stick it out, keep you ears to the ground and if you hear of an opportunity, jump on it.
These feelings just don't involve anyone else.
Now a days, a fair amount (if not most) corporations will have thier airplane(s) managed by companies lie Skyservice or Execaire. It simply makes it quite simpler to them to have an airplane. They can rely on their experience to better operate the airplane. Most CEO know little about airplane and much prefer paying $X per month to have their bird managed. This way they only have to sign a check and get on board.
I agree, there are differences between flying a corporate jet and being a corporate pilot. Most management companies will try to charter out the airplane and if the owner agrees, you can easily find yourself becoming a charter pilot yet again.
There are 2 different type of Corporation; privately controlled and public. There is a major difference between the 2. Public corporation usually change CEO every 5 years (ish). One never knows what the new guy will be like. The worst that can happen is he doesn't like the airplane! This very situation happened to one of Canada's largest bank. The new CEO hated the concept of a corporate jet, and when he was appointed, the first thing he did was sell the 601. 5years later, after his time is done the guy that replaced him bought a 604 on the first day! But what do you do for those 5 years??? But you could be luckier, the new CEO could only lives in California while the head office is in YYZ and have to spend every single weekend on the road (it happens)
Privately controlled corporations are much better (IMHO). Chances are the CEO wont change that often. The CEO for the corporation I fly for recently changed, it went from the dad to the oldest son (after 30years). But I dont think I will see another change until I retire. Patern changes are few. On know what season it is. Some flight are scheduled a year ahead of time. You know where they spend Xmass. And if you are lucky, they even send you home from Europe when they go skiing the Alps over newyears. We have 10pilots, 5 tech and 1 secretairy for 3 airplanes. I can pretty much garantee my 10days off per month. The pay is great, no hope of ever making AC A340 Capt's pay, but if you average me and him out over 25years I'd be curious to see the result. But I dont think my boss will ever go bankrupt (and no, I will not say whom I work for. It is after all the reason they are with a management cie). But most importantly, I am respected by my boss. Which to me is worth more then $$.
I love my job and would recommend to everyone who wants to hear to go corporate. Unfortunately, for every job like mine there are 20 crappy ones. I guess I won the lotery.
C56X (excel) http://www.aircraft-charter-world.com/jets/citxl.htm
Unless you meant.. that Magna's GMKZ is an Excel? Then you're correct, sorry.
Does anyone know anything about London Air Services in Vancouver? I think that is a corporate gig too. What do you need to get in there?
Secondly, start prepping your self for long periods of time waiting. I highly recommend getting a blackberry, it has all your email/phone/text, and yet has brickbreaker/texas hold em/worms and facebook. Laptops with t.v shows and movies are key. That should take care of the waiting at work. Waiting at home on call, I suggest a hobby. Making wine, breeding dogs, growing facial hair, building decks, creating a mould farm. The possibilities are endless. You must grow emotionally unattached to waiting. You'll have plenty of time to practice
I work for a private corporation, same pax, routine trips and the odd surprise here and there. I highly recommend it. Most flights are at the end of the business day, so I rarely get up before noon. Fly high, fly fast. Cool machines. I can't say enough.
It takes a different kind of person to excel at this job as it is a different kind of job. You'll find yourself in a strange city in the middle of the night searching for mustard as if your job depends on it, because it might. If you're looking for a stable, predictable job, this isn't it.
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