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View Full Version : Warning Signs


MOGuy
12-21-2016, 04:59 AM
Hi,

I might have the opportunity to interview with a 500 company flight department. I have worked a wide variety of flying jobs and I'd like to get some input on this.
I have flown part 91/135 for a small ma and pa operation where I was always on call, pay and benefits sucked and could rarely get anytime off. I now work for a large on demand charter where we have a set schedule and benefits are decent. What I'd like to get intel on are signs I should be looking for to tell if this would be a good place to work or a horrible place. I've never worked for a strictly 91 operation for such a large company. I'm aware that there will mostly like be some on call and a few thing different but I really would like some input on the red flags I should look for. I these days with the industry as is it could be a selling of the job to the applicant that it's all peaches and cream. So if you work or have worked for a great/bad place I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks in advance.


SrfNFly227
12-21-2016, 05:14 AM
I would definitely ask what the pilot rotation is. It is not normal for large departments to just leave the crews on call all the time, so there should be some sort of schedule.

Office time can be another big indicator. Good departments may have you come in occasionally, but never M-F.

How old are the airplanes and do they have any firm orders for new ones? How many pilots per plane? Is everyone PIC typed and considered a Captain, or do they have First Officers?

Those questions are a good start. They'll give you an idea of QOL as well as health of the department.

Bucknut
12-21-2016, 05:43 AM
I would try to find out if the pilots hang out together or know each other. Is it strictly civilian background of pilots or is it strictly former military. Corporate can be extremely cliquish. I did some contract work and asked if the pilots ever go out and do things together. The answer was no, After three days of flying with the director of training I could see why. What other duties are required and how long the flight department has been around. Are you going to be flying the owner around or executives? Owners can be very demanding and may not care about your personal life. Some owners are known to pressure pilots into doing trips that they may not be comfortable with. Executives tend to have to answer to an HR department which helps keep them from being too demanding.


MOGuy
12-21-2016, 05:54 AM
Great information so far! If I get an interview I will definitely take these questions as a foundation.

Quick edit: I know they have 3 airplanes. 2-2009 G450 and a G280 (unsure year).

What would be a good pilot ratio for that amount of metal?

Falcondrivr
12-21-2016, 07:00 AM
I'll add: What is the pilot turnover? A great department will have very little turnover. We just went 10 years with 0 people leaving. Broke the streak when our most junior person went to United (33 years old, who wouldn't?)
If pilots are staying for long carreers, there's a good indicator of the overall QOL.

Lucky8888
12-21-2016, 03:57 PM
I'll add: What is the pilot turnover? A great department will have very little turnover. We just went 10 years with 0 people leaving. Broke the streak when our most junior person went to United (33 years old, who wouldn't?)
If pilots are staying for long carreers, there's a good indicator of the overall QOL.

Same here. We started our flight ops 5 years ago and have had only 1 person leave (went to American) that was also our most "junior" person (35 years old). We knew he was going to leave at some time when we hired him so he left with our blessing and best wishes.

TapRack
12-22-2016, 10:56 AM
I'll add: What is the pilot turnover? A great department will have very little turnover. We just went 10 years with 0 people leaving. Broke the streak when our most junior person went to United (33 years old, who wouldn't?)
If pilots are staying for long carreers, there's a good indicator of the overall QOL.

Wow, that's awesome.

I've got to wear a jacket at work because of the draft from the revolving door. :(

MOGuy
12-23-2016, 05:52 PM
I'll put it out there too. I'm 34 and everyone is telling my I'm dumb for even considering a corporate over a legacy. I know there's a lot of money to be made at a legacy but if the corporate offer 6 figure pay, a flexible schedule, vacation and no commuting why is that bad of a career path? In my 15 years of flying the 121 has not appeared anymore stable than 91, actually less...

galaxy flyer
12-24-2016, 07:47 AM
Depends on what you like, how money you need and how much your wife (or you :confused:) spend.

I'm a tediophobe, boredom and being trapped by seniority doesn't fit well. The money is good enough, too. Last trip, airline to Lisbon, spend a day on the town, operate back to the US with a delightful couple; position to Cancun, fly pax to SFO, then home-- not normal flying.

GF

Mink
12-24-2016, 08:20 AM
In my short time (7 years) in corporate aviation (former mil, a little time at the majors), it seems to me the breakdown goes a bit like this: 10% of the jobs are like winning the lottery with great pay, great schedules, great people. Another 15% are pretty good in that there's good pay but maybe the schedule sucks (or vice versa), or there's some other factor that falls into "if we could only fix XYZ this place would be perfect..." category. And the other 75% of corporate jobs are [email protected] - nothing more than a stepping stone to something (hopefully) better.

I'd say the best gauge to determine what kind of job it is you're pursuing is to ask around about the culture in the flight department (corp aviation is a small world), and look at the turnover rate. Especially now, when pilot employment opportunities are growing, there's no need to stick it out at a $hit job. If a flight department you're interested in has a hard time keeping people I'd say that's your #1 sign that maybe you ought to look elsewhere for that dream job.

Good luck.

Indyjetav8er
12-24-2016, 10:47 AM
What is the plan for the aircraft? What is the plan for replacement?
How much flying is not business related and used for personal?
Do they have Rah rah cool-aid tasting meetings? What has a priority, Flying or project management for hr appeasement?
Do they have x#of capt and x# of copilots?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

BPWI
12-24-2016, 06:20 PM
Great information so far! If I get an interview I will definitely take these questions as a foundation.

Quick edit: I know they have 3 airplanes. 2-2009 G450 and a G280 (unsure year).

What would be a good pilot ratio for that amount of metal?

If they fly a fair amount of International, you should have 10-11 crew, 1-2 MX Techs. Not sure I am totally onboard with some of previous comments. Usually if you are completely honest with the line pilots over the course of the interview, they will reciprocate. I worked for a very stable (job wise) F250 company, but the schedule was super volatile. Now I sit around flying 250hrs a year with 5 guys to a frame (wk on-wk/off). Volatility is non event due to the staffing levels. If I left to go to a major, it would take me nearly 9 years to match my current salary. IMHO, be brutally honest and transparent with your intentions. It's the best way to ensure you are making the right decision. Best of luck!

NatGeo
12-25-2016, 09:55 AM
I'll add: What is the pilot turnover? A great department will have very little turnover. We just went 10 years with 0 people leaving. Broke the streak when our most junior person went to United (33 years old, who wouldn't?)
If pilots are staying for long carreers, there's a good indicator of the overall QOL.

That is a good one. If everyone you meet has started within the last 3 months it is a definite sign.

Airhoss
12-25-2016, 11:45 AM
I am a legacy guy now but did the corporate gig in my early days. I worked a for a F500 company that was a great company. The flight department was run by a guy who wasn't so great. He required his pilots to be at the hanger Monday to Friday 07:00 to 16:00 no matter what the flight schedule was. And of course if a weekend trip came up you were required to go do that too.

The majority of our trips were business, however we did some personal trips for friends of the boss and the boss himself. The only time I ever had problems were on personal trips. I had to tell the big boss that he was welcome to fly himself to his hunting ranch in Texas with a VFR only private strip when the weather was 3 OVC in FRDZ. He was not happy but he's still alive he threatened to fire me. The chairmen of the board later thanked me.

I would never work for a company that requires you to be at the hanger mon to fri. As mentioned before it's a major warning sign. That company tended to run through a pilot on average every one to two years. Another huge warning sign.

MOGuy
12-26-2016, 04:03 PM
Everybody. These are such great response Post and very valuable information, thank you all very much! Still haven't had a call back but have not had a tbnt email either. I will be taking every single post in here point to take with me if I get an interview and use them as a viable guideline. Regardless of the outcome it would be awesome to put a "Red Flag" guideline post for any future prospects to the corporate world.

Thank you again for all who have posted, your experience is greatly valued!

🍻

phfly505
03-08-2017, 02:50 PM
In my short time (7 years) in corporate aviation (former mil, a little time at the majors), it seems to me the breakdown goes a bit like this: 10% of the jobs are like winning the lottery with great pay, great schedules, great people. Another 15% are pretty good in that there's good pay but maybe the schedule sucks (or vice versa), or there's some other factor that falls into "if we could only fix XYZ this place would be perfect..." category. And the other 75% of corporate jobs are [email protected] - nothing more than a stepping stone to something (hopefully) better.

I'd say the best gauge to determine what kind of job it is you're pursuing is to ask around about the culture in the flight department (corp aviation is a small world), and look at the turnover rate. Especially now, when pilot employment opportunities are growing, there's no need to stick it out at a $hit job. If a flight department you're interested in has a hard time keeping people I'd say that's your #1 sign that maybe you ought to look elsewhere for that dream job.

Good luck.

This is by far the best explanation I have read in regards to corporate aviation. He's right about the 10 and 15% club. You never know about a corporate position until you actually are on property. I've gotten to work for some great companies, and I've worked for terrible chief pilots who have no business flying aircraft and managing flight departments.

I'm done with corporate and I'm running to the airlines. The worst airline schedule is ten times better then having live on a terrible corporate schedule.



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