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View Full Version : Leave Corporate for LCC/Regional


LearPilot88
04-27-2017, 05:30 AM
Looking for career advice from some of you corporate veterans.

I'm currently a Lear 45 Captain in my late 20's, I've got a great job I currently make around 95k and my salary will go up to 120k over the next few years (may jump even higher as we've had a few captains jump to the majors). With the current hiring environment at the airlines, I'm kicking around the idea of leaving to go get some 121 time and make a run at a major airline. I know this would be a massive pay cut initially though. Thoughts?


BPWI
04-27-2017, 05:42 AM
I was exactly in your position 10 years ago. Much depends on personality. I enjoy the perks of 91 flying. The 121 ranks are booming right now, with compensation and schedule that rival most corporate environments. That being said, Director level benchmarks in the NE are quickly approaching the 500K mark. If you aren't tied to a certain city or location, business aviation nationwide has an immense level of movement today. Best of luck-

beech1980
04-27-2017, 07:17 AM
Looking for career advice from some of you corporate veterans.

I'm currently a Lear 45 Captain in my late 20's, I've got a great job I currently make around 95k and my salary will go up to 120k over the next few years (may jump even higher as we've had a few captains jump to the majors). With the current hiring environment at the airlines, I'm kicking around the idea of leaving to go get some 121 time and make a run at a major airline. I know this would be a massive pay cut initially though. Thoughts?

No way should you go to a regional. Either a legacy or LCC. You should have the qualifications to skip the regionals. I did the same path as you are considering. Took a pay cut initially but I have never looked back and regretted it. Back to six figures plus and control of MY LIFE. That's worth a lot. Good luck


HeWhoRazethAll
04-27-2017, 07:18 AM
I'm kicking around the idea of leaving to go get some 121 time and make a run at a major airline. I know this would be a massive pay cut initially though. Thoughts?

I was hardly a corporate veteran when I left for the regionals a couple years ago, and the first year was tough. I took a $50,000 pay cut. But it was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT. I'm still at a regional, but I work three days a week, have a firm 17-18 days off a month, am fielding offers from other companies including some corporate jobs I wouldn't have been a real candidate for...and haven't even upgraded yet. I travel all over the place for free during my 2 weeks of off time every month...and I don't have to mop the hangar floor, do paperwork, monitor maintenance, or sit around with my phone on.

If a major airline is your goal, every month you delay you're passing up on 20,000

livinthedream89
04-27-2017, 09:37 AM
No way should you go to a regional. Either a legacy or LCC. You should have the qualifications to skip the regionals. I did the same path as you are considering. Took a pay cut initially but I have never looked back and regretted it. Back to six figures plus and control of MY LIFE. That's worth a lot. Good luck



I'm looking at making a change as well. I fly a Phenom 300 for one owner. It's a great gig, but with the only benefits being my insurance paid for (families is not) & no raise in the foreseeable future I can't see myself staying forever.

Like the OP I would have to take a significant pay cut to go to a regional, at the same time it seems like the Legacies and LCCs are all looking for previous 121 time to even look at you. Has anyone else had experience with this or have any advice?


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beech1980
04-27-2017, 10:40 AM
I'm looking at making a change as well. I fly a Phenom 300 for one owner. It's a great gig, but with the only benefits being my insurance paid for (families is not) & no raise in the foreseeable future I can't see myself staying forever.

Like the OP I would have to take a significant pay cut to go to a regional, at the same time it seems like the Legacies and LCCs are all looking for previous 121 time to even look at you. Has anyone else had experience with this or have any advice?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I had zero 121 time. Apply and make yourself stand out. Get recommendations and probably a job fair.

BPWI
04-28-2017, 05:59 AM
I travel all over the place for free during my 2 weeks of off time every month...and I don't have to mop the hangar floor, do paperwork, monitor maintenance, or sit around with my phone on.

This type of comment leaves me shaking my head every time I hear it. If you are mopping the floor in Corporate aviation you are a janitor, not a pilot. 5 pilots to frame, so nearly every request off can be satisfied. I have a master tech per frame that does everything from clean and detail to major MX & I assure you that you do more paperwork than I. If you are going to paint a clear picture, make a apples to apples comparison. Top tier corporate will match most major airline salaries, and then some. The major crux in most decision making squarely falls on the retirement. 121 typically has a very lucrative retirement package, more so than any corporate outfit I am aware of. Different strokes for different folks. Best of luck and keep us up to date with what you decide-

Falcondrivr
04-28-2017, 07:56 AM
This type of comment leaves me shaking my head every time I hear it. If you are mopping the floor in Corporate aviation you are a janitor, not a pilot. 5 pilots to frame, so nearly every request off can be satisfied. I have a master tech per frame that does everything from clean and detail to major MX & I assure you that you do more paperwork than I. If you are going to paint a clear picture, make a apples to apples comparison. Top tier corporate will match most major airline salaries, and then some. The major crux in most decision making squarely falls on the retirement. 121 typically has a very lucrative retirement package, more so than any corporate outfit I am aware of. Different strokes for different folks. Best of luck and keep us up to date with what you decide-

Exactly. The top corporate gigs will not have you mopping the floor or any other BS.
To the OP: your age makes a difference here. Being in your 20s means that your lifetime earnings ar a 121 will be far ahead of just about any 91 gig, even taking into account the 1st couple of years at crap pay. Do a spreadsheet and you'll be shocked at the numbers...

flysooner9
04-28-2017, 09:39 AM
I'm in the exact same boat. Trying to do everything possible to avoid going BACK to a regional. Problem is my total time is less then competitive right now and I only fly 220 hours a year at my gig.

David Puddy
04-28-2017, 09:53 AM
I know two former Part 91 Citation X drivers now flying for JetBlue with no previous 121 experience. Both very happy despite the first year pay cut. The fractional pilots are leaving in droves for the airlines too.

If you are interested in one of the LCCs, do your research - some are better than others... If you meet the minimums, why not apply and see how it goes? :cool:

Bruno82
04-28-2017, 09:54 AM
I'm in the exact same boat. Trying to do everything possible to avoid going BACK to a regional. Problem is my total time is less then competitive right now and I only fly 220 hours a year at my gig.



If we would have just stayed at AE, we'd be flowing soon.

LearPilot88
04-29-2017, 05:57 AM
Thanks for all of the great replies. A ton of good info. I'm going to definitely try and avoid the regionals at all costs. If I do leave my current position it would have to be for a larger corporate aircraft, or one of the LCC's. For now I'm just going to sit tight, save up some cash then re-evaluate in 6 months or so.

flysooner9
05-01-2017, 08:21 PM
If we would have just stayed at AE, we'd be flowing soon.

Meh, i dont know about that one. I still dont regret leaving when i did. I've made double each of the last 4 years what i would have made at Envoy each of those years. I've also been flying as a captain those 4 years (albeit its only gotten me a little over 500 TPIC). However i have seen people with about the same seniority i had being hired at UAL and DAL.

Bruno82
05-03-2017, 05:05 AM
Meh, i dont know about that one. I still dont regret leaving when i did. I've made double each of the last 4 years what i would have made at Envoy each of those years. I've also been flying as a captain those 4 years (albeit its only gotten me a little over 500 TPIC). However i have seen people with about the same seniority i had being hired at UAL and DAL.

I'm in the same boat, just less quality flight time. It's been a good 5 years.

mainlineAF
05-03-2017, 05:36 AM
I was exactly in your position 10 years ago. Much depends on personality. I enjoy the perks of 91 flying. The 121 ranks are booming right now, with compensation and schedule that rival most corporate environments. That being said, Director level benchmarks in the NE are quickly approaching the 500K mark. If you aren't tied to a certain city or location, business aviation nationwide has an immense level of movement today. Best of luck-

I do not doubt there are some guys pulling 500k total compensation in the 91 world. The problem is those jobs are few and far between. For every 91 guy making 300 or more theres probably 50 121 guys doing the same.

I don't know if you've flown 121 before or not but your comment about paperwork has me curious. As a 121 captain I pull up the flight release on my phone, sign it electronically, and we go. I did wayyyyy more flt planning/paperwork flying 91.

Bottom line both are good jobs. Good to have choices.

Vital Signs
05-03-2017, 07:00 AM
Paperwork? I hope no one makes their life decision on paperwork.

aa010175
05-03-2017, 09:46 AM
Thanks for all of the great replies. A ton of good info. I'm going to definitely try and avoid the regionals at all costs. If I do leave my current position it would have to be for a larger corporate aircraft, or one of the LCC's. For now I'm just going to sit tight, save up some cash then re-evaluate in 6 months or so.

I have worked with new hire FO's that did not have any 121 time and were hired by AA. I would make the move if I was you. Now is the time. You can always go back to the corporate world. My 2 cents!

BPWI
05-05-2017, 06:02 AM
I do not doubt there are some guys pulling 500k total compensation in the 91 world. The problem is those jobs are few and far between. For every 91 guy making 300 or more theres probably 50 121 guys doing the same.

I don't know if you've flown 121 before or not but your comment about paperwork has me curious. As a 121 captain I pull up the flight release on my phone, sign it electronically, and we go. I did wayyyyy more flt planning/paperwork flying 91.

Bottom line both are good jobs. Good to have choices.

Agree wholeheartedly. We have a service that takes care of all domestic and international flight plans. Emailed to make sure requests are adhered to, and that my principal's EA has updated times. Other than the occasional hiccup overseas, I rarely have to get involved. The 500K jobs are less bountiful, but I'm not aware of any 121 job that involves you being home every night making that money inside of the cockpit.

This conversation always makes me laugh as their are plenty of jobs on both sides of the fence with amazing QOL and compensation. There is no correct answer, we all just throw our darts @ the board and hope for the best. Best of luck to the OP-

Lucky8888
05-05-2017, 04:54 PM
This conversation always makes me laugh as their are plenty of jobs on both sides of the fence with amazing QOL and compensation. There is no correct answer, we all just throw our darts @ the board and hope for the best. Best of luck to the OP-

You are exactly correct.



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