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Old 05-21-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
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Exclamation Seeking Your Corporate Part 91 Experiences

Hello Everyone,

I am new to both the forums and corporate flying in general. Looking for information and personal experiences from those who don't mind sharing. Especially (but not limited to those with experience on Citations and Challengers). I have an offer from a regional but am also interested in corporate part 91 flying.

While I understand that there are good and bad things to everything and a wide range of experiences and opinions, here is what I'm looking at:

1. Airlines: Pretty structured flying and procedures intensive. Low pay initially but worth in on the long run. Can become routine.

2. "Charter/135": Fairly structured as well. Interesting destinations which keep you on your toes and provide variety. Descent pay at times but some may take to interpreting rules loosely in the interest of profit (enough said).

3. Companies with flight departments flying part 91: While some have very capable planes, they have the least regulation. Potentially, good pay. Also, very high potential for fun/interesting flying.

I'm very drawn to the "airlines" because of the income potential after paying my dues for a while and the greater adherence to procedures and safety. At the same time, I believe that could also be found with a part 91 operator and potentially have a better schedule right from the start, BUT, am a bit skeptical as profit seems to at times override safety and regulations making for not so fun moments (again POTENTIALLY). So with that......

Do these part 91 operators generally listen, are reasonable when input is given regarding safety or being mostly type A and results driven, they disregard advice?

Experiences flying the CE-500/560, Challenger 604

Any experiences are welcomed as are any things to keep in mind which could help me find out culture, safety, and general environment of a potential part 91 company.

Thanks to everyone in advance....
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Do these part 91 operators generally listen, are reasonable when input is given regarding safety or being mostly type A and results driven, they disregard advice?
That's the reason why I've never seriously considered Part 91 flying unless it's for a large company like Coca Cola Or Walmart that have a scheduled flight department.
Flying for some guy who thinks that he-who-has-the-money-makes-the-rules no thanks.
I'd like some protection from regs, OpSpecs, GOM and oh yeah..a decent Chief Pilot.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
That's the reason why I've never seriously considered Part 91 flying unless it's for a large company like Coca Cola Or Walmart that have a scheduled flight department.
Flying for some guy who thinks that he-who-has-the-money-makes-the-rules no thanks.
I'd like some protection from regs, OpSpecs, GOM and oh yeah..a decent Chief Pilot.
Lots of part 91 departments have all of those things.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:37 AM   #4
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I think the problem with your thesis is that you are generalizing all of the categories. There are probably still some airlines with a crappy safety culture that you wouldn't want to work for. I know there are 135 ops that are nightmares incarnate. With Part 91 you have everything in the spectrum.
You asked for experiences, so here's mine:

Part 91 for Fortune 150ish publicly traded company. The "publicly traded" is important for your QOL. It means any non-business use of the aircraft gets charged to the user as imputed income. That translates to almost no weekend flying at our company.

We have an ops manual that incorporates a SMS. The manual was signed by the CEO as company policy. We do not violate the manual for any reason. Our passengers know this, and know that we have the CEO's ear. Of course we get asked to do borderline things (duty times, etc...) frequently. In the 12 + years I've been here I've never been second guessed when I've said no with a professional explanation.
We are paid average, (or maybe low average?) for the aircraft we operate (large cabin Falcons.) Benefits commensurate with a large manufacturing corporation, 5 weeks paid vacation after a couple of years, stock, 401k match, discount programs, etc...

We staff at 3 pilots per aircraft. Every pilot flies around 350 hours a year, or 8-10 days a month average. We are not expected to show up at the hangar on non-flying days. While we are a pretty diverse group, our culture is one of professionalism. I can't imagine anyone skipping a checklist or operating against SOP.

So my experience is that there are really good Part 91 operators out there. Also really bad ones. In my opinion one of the best ways to tell the difference is pilot turnover. My company has had a flight department since 1984. We have had 7 pilots leave in all that time. Only 2 left to other flying jobs (United and Southwest.) the other 5 were retirements or career changes, one of which to upper management of our company. We've had one pilot opening in the last 10 years, to replace the United pilot last summer.

Personally, I started flying in 1984 too. I've watched the industry boom and bust. If I were in my 20s or 30s now, I'd go to 121. The career earnings of even the best 91 gig aren't going to compare to 30+ years of mainline 121 pay. However, the trade off is endless hub flying, TSA, and dealing with passengers, in the terminal and in the air.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:40 AM   #5
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My department ran pretty much like my AMC squadron as to rules and scheduling, including set crew rest times, post-trip recovery days and monthly hard days off. We also had a scheduled 36-hour break every eight days. It helped that we were mostly ex-service.

Some of the most interesting and demanding flying, too.

What Falcondrvr is true.

GF
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:04 AM   #6
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Good gawd. Who wants to have more excitement as they get older? You want less not more. More stability, more structure. Not constantly looking for a job at age 50. Varied flying? Just hub turns for me or maybe to europe and back. Not kleening the lavs and having rich guy telling me when to shine his shooz. Nope.
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Two-percent View Post
Good gawd. Who wants to have more excitement as they get older? You want less not more. More stability, more structure. Not constantly looking for a job at age 50. Varied flying? Just hub turns for me or maybe to europe and back. Not kleening the lavs and having rich guy telling me when to shine his shooz. Nope.
I've never cleaned a lav or shined any shoes other than my own. Not to mention I average working 1-2 days a week, very few weekends, no holidays, and when we are gone for more than a couple of days in a row it is in a nice location and I get to go out and enjoy it. But you were saying?
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:29 PM   #8
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I too have never shined anyone's shoes or cleaned the airplane. As a corporate pilot there is good and bad just like the airlines. For some the airlines are the end all be all but like the previous poster I never have to complain to anyone about the crappy hotels or wonder if they'll reimburse me for any of my meals or rental cars. My point is do your research about the company you'll work for and it will be a good choice whichever you way you decide.
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:38 PM   #9
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2%

Maybe you're a "mammonoid", but us tediophobes hate tedium. Few things better than opening an email with tickets to Easter Island or Dubai. Flying is all about adventure; a good friend is 70+ is is still excited to go somewhere he's never been.

GF
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:59 AM   #10
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I was CP of a small 91 flight department (one Citation, one Cirrus) and greatly enjoyed the job and the experience.

There were a few things that were a PITA - battles that you really shouldn't have to fight, created by people that either refused to say "No" previous to you or somebody who knew just enough to form an opinion - but in the grand scheme I had an excellent boss who understood the limitations (and realities - $$$) of operating turbine aircraft and largely left me alone to manage as I saw fit.

Airplanes were impeccably maintained.

All expenses on AMEX Platinum card, nothing reasonable was ever questioned ("unreasonable" expenses were explained and rationalized). Cleaned oil off the belly of our Cirrus every so often but never cleaned the jet more than wiping bugs and spot stain removing in the cabin. Never did "b-work".

HMFIC was very good to me, flexible with family health concerns.

So why did I leave? I was in my very early 30s working for a principal who was in his late 50s and basically topped out on earning potential, and didn't want to miss a massive hiring wave and end up looking for work when my children were nearing college.

I appreciate that experience, and I'm a better pilot for it.
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