Go Back   Airline Pilot Central Forums - Find your next job as a Pilot > >
Fractional NetJets, FlexJet, etc
 

Welcome to Airline Pilot Forums - Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. Join our community today and start interacting with existing members. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.


User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-04-2009, 08:28 AM   #1  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: May 2009
Posts: 158
Default A Review of Avantair

Several Avantair pilots have either quit or have been “released” in the past several months. I chose to quit. As these public forums are designed to do, I can only give my overall personal perspective and experience at Avantair. Avantair’s management reads these public forums all the time, so don’t expect current employees to chime in unless they have only good things to say.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Planes/Pilots: The schedule is 7-on, 7-off (for now). The East Coast based pilots seem to have earlier starts and later finishes in comparison to the West Coast flyers. You start with 1 week paid vacation. You get 7 sick days, but it is a nightmare to use, as I discuss below. They have a marginal medical insurance plan. I suppose it is better than nothing if you really need one. I chose to decline the medical insurance. The retirement plan isn’t worth mentioning. The company is based at PIE in Clearwater, Florida. Domiciles are scattered across the country, but are only about 1/3 of what NetJets offers.

The Avanti’s are nice planes to fly, very quite, and roomy in the back. But, they handle very poorly on the ground due to an oversensitive hydraulic nose-wheel steering system and the lack of anti-skid brakes. Avantair has had several off-runway incidents and many, many blown tires. There have been aborted take-off’s because of steering systems that have a mind of their own.

The F.O.’s cannot fly with passengers on board until the F.O. gets 225 hours in the Avanti. Approximately 2/3 of the leg-times are live legs and about 1/3 are repo’s. As a result, it takes several months before the F.O. will gain enough flying time to actually get to fly the plane with a passenger on board. The F.O.’s aren’t allowed to do any night take-offs or landings either. The F.O.s don’t get Blackberry’s. FO’s must use their own cell phone and will get a small stipend from the company to help cover a portion of the cost for national calling.

Avantair has a PAC Board that tries it’s best to represent the pilots. As with any company, the PAC can only suggest and ask for things. Only a union contract will pull the pilots into the 21st century with pay and work rules. Some of the pilots are considering talks with one of the unions to see about representation. They need it.

The Good: Avantair seems like a solvent company. They have a unique niche in the market that appeals to a certain class of economic flyer. They are still growing, although aircraft orders have slowed down quite a bit. The vast majority of the pilots are professionals who take safety and their job seriously, but as with any company there are always a few who don’t use a checklist, or consistently have incidents/accidents, etc. Nearly every pilot likes the Chief Pilot. He is very personable and easy to talk to. The only problem is that at times, upper management tries to do his job for him. A lot of micro-management goes on.

Their stock value peaked around $5 per share in early 2008 and in December 08 fell to less than 50 cents per share. It is now trading around $1.75 per share. The pilots who bought in at the beginning lost their [email protected]@es, but the prices are slowing climbing up. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The folks in Pilot Services do a pretty good job helping the pilots. The same number of personnel are now handling twice the number of pilots and aircraft as they did in the past, so we were starting to see some problems as a result.

The Bad: Avantair isn’t very pilot friendly. Right off the bat, they make you sign a contract that forbids you from flying another Avanti for 1 year after you leave Avantair. That doesn’t make sense to pilots who make their living flying planes. The D.O. has said that 90% of the pilots are happy with their job and 10% are not. He doesn’t speak with the same people I flew with. I saw about a 50/50 split at best, and most of them don’t care for the D.O. Standardization is still a problem. It was very hard to find 2 guys who did things the same way. Perhaps the new Procedures Manual will help address that ongoing problem.

It is “expected” that you will carry maintenance problems with you. We had one day where 17 planes (1/3 of the fleet) were in maintenance at the same time for repair/inspection. I was personally on 2 flights that really concerned me. On one flight we were asked if we were OK with continuing a flight at night with scattered IMC conditions at our destination……with an inoperative #1 gyro. The company knew that gyro couldn’t be MEL’ed. We refused, of course. On another flight we were told to keep flying a plane with low oil pressure in flight. I think some captains are intimidated into not grounding a plane when it needs to be.

More than one crew was “convinced by management” to fly out of Hamilton, Montana in the summer even though they didn’t meet the minimum take-off requirements as required by our OP Specs. The company doesn’t want to tell the owner’s “no” and the pilots were expected to put their careers at risk by violating the GOM.

Avantair policy manuals where changed to start charging its pilots $10 for crew meals. If you are given a 29 minute turn-around in the middle of the day and can’t grab any lunch, get ready to grab your wallet if you want a crew meal.

The sick-day policy sucked. You get 7 days per year. If you are sick more than 2 days they expect you to pay for a doctor’s visit and get a note. After three sick days they won’t send you out on your tour at all because they don’t think it is cost effective to airline you out at that point. If you are sick more than three days, be prepared to either lose some pay or burn all 7 sick days.

In December, 08 the company tried floating the idea of going from a 7-7 schedule to an 8-6 schedule of some sort. The details were never finalized because the pilots pitched a fit and many threatened to quit. That idea is idle for now.

Avantair is in the process of dropping its crew-to-plane ratio from 4.2 down to 3.8. This will put a huge squeeze on the pilots. As more of us quit and more planes are bought, that ratio will be reached and then hiring should have to start again. That might be good news for some of you that are looking for “anything.”

The Ugly: Pay! When I hired in I was told that upgrades to captain were running 9-12 months. I accepted the sub-standard F.O. pay on the premise that I would pay my dues the first year and get upgraded. That didn’t happen. Upgrades at Avantair were completely stopped in December 08. The training department is now telling FO’s to expect a second full year as an FO. Avantair thinks it’s second-year F.O.s are worth a whopping $37,000 per year. Due to the upgrade stoppage and insulting pay….I turned in my notice at my 1-year mark with the company. I can bartend 2 night per week and make more money than Avantair pays it’s FO’s, never being away from home, never missing a holiday or a kid’s birthday. It didn’t make financial sense for me personally to stay at Avantair.

As of today, F.O’s are expected to take the captain check-ride at their 12th month of employment (instead of an FO re-currency check), but not expect the actual upgrade or get the captain pay raise. The F.O.s are also required to do the captain “6-month checks” as a captain would, but not get captain pay. That puts the F.O. at risk for busting a check-ride, of which no compensation even exists.

There has been a recent rash of failures during upgrade/re-currency checks. I’m not sure if a lot of pilots suddenly became bad pilots, or if the company is tightening up things because of the number of resumes on their desks. The consensus seems to be the latter of the two.

I quit working overtime for them when most of my overtime pay wouldn’t show up on my paychecks. I shouldn’t have to keep calling them to get my pay straightened out. They did eventually give me all of my overtime pay, but it took several weeks and many, many calls and e-mails.

Synopsis: One guy who posts here says it is the best job he has ever had. It probably is. For me, it was the second worst job I’ve ever had. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Good luck.

Last edited by BeenThereDoneIt; 05-04-2009 at 08:47 AM.
BeenThereDoneIt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 10:32 AM   #2  
Gets Weekends Off
 
NoJoy's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Mar 2005
Position: LAMA/P180/747
Posts: 356
Default

Hey thanks for the unbiased review-Did you previously come from an airline background? Do you think that you are done flying for good as a career? Times are tough and finding a job for most folks will be challenging. But family comes first, and if the company you are flying for is hinding not helping, then I understand-
NoJoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #3  
Gets Weekends Off
 
lear 31 pilot's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Aug 2007
Position: Left
Posts: 297
Default

Its always good to here some straight talk. Thank you for such a good look into Avantair.
lear 31 pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 11:56 AM   #4  
Gets Weekends Off
 
UCLAbruins's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Apr 2007
Position: F/O- G-V/550
Posts: 1,156
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeenThereDoneIt View Post
Several Avantair pilots have either quit or have been “released” in the past several months. I chose to quit. As these public forums are designed to do, I can only give my overall personal perspective and experience at Avantair. Avantair’s management reads these public forums all the time, so don’t expect current employees to chime in unless they have only good things to say.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Planes/Pilots: The schedule is 7-on, 7-off (for now). The East Coast based pilots seem to have earlier starts and later finishes in comparison to the West Coast flyers. You start with 1 week paid vacation. You get 7 sick days, but it is a nightmare to use, as I discuss below. They have a marginal medical insurance plan. I suppose it is better than nothing if you really need one. I chose to decline the medical insurance. The retirement plan isn’t worth mentioning. The company is based at PIE in Clearwater, Florida. Domiciles are scattered across the country, but are only about 1/3 of what NetJets offers.

The Avanti’s are nice planes to fly, very quite, and roomy in the back. But, they handle very poorly on the ground due to an oversensitive hydraulic nose-wheel steering system and the lack of anti-skid brakes. Avantair has had several off-runway incidents and many, many blown tires. There have been aborted take-off’s because of steering systems that have a mind of their own.

The F.O.’s cannot fly with passengers on board until the F.O. gets 225 hours in the Avanti. Approximately 2/3 of the leg-times are live legs and about 1/3 are repo’s. As a result, it takes several months before the F.O. will gain enough flying time to actually get to fly the plane with a passenger on board. The F.O.’s aren’t allowed to do any night take-offs or landings either. The F.O.s don’t get Blackberry’s. FO’s must use their own cell phone and will get a small stipend from the company to help cover a portion of the cost for national calling.

Avantair has a PAC Board that tries it’s best to represent the pilots. As with any company, the PAC can only suggest and ask for things. Only a union contract will pull the pilots into the 21st century with pay and work rules. Some of the pilots are considering talks with one of the unions to see about representation. They need it.

The Good: Avantair seems like a solvent company. They have a unique niche in the market that appeals to a certain class of economic flyer. They are still growing, although aircraft orders have slowed down quite a bit. The vast majority of the pilots are professionals who take safety and their job seriously, but as with any company there are always a few who don’t use a checklist, or consistently have incidents/accidents, etc. Nearly every pilot likes the Chief Pilot. He is very personable and easy to talk to. The only problem is that at times, upper management tries to do his job for him. A lot of micro-management goes on.

Their stock value peaked around $5 per share in early 2008 and in December 08 fell to less than 50 cents per share. It is now trading around $1.75 per share. The pilots who bought in at the beginning lost their [email protected]@es, but the prices are slowing climbing up. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The folks in Pilot Services do a pretty good job helping the pilots. The same number of personnel are now handling twice the number of pilots and aircraft as they did in the past, so we were starting to see some problems as a result.

The Bad: Avantair isn’t very pilot friendly. Right off the bat, they make you sign a contract that forbids you from flying another Avanti for 1 year after you leave Avantair. That doesn’t make sense to pilots who make their living flying planes. The D.O. has said that 90% of the pilots are happy with their job and 10% are not. He doesn’t speak with the same people I flew with. I saw about a 50/50 split at best, and most of them don’t care for the D.O. Standardization is still a problem. It was very hard to find 2 guys who did things the same way. Perhaps the new Procedures Manual will help address that ongoing problem.

It is “expected” that you will carry maintenance problems with you. We had one day where 17 planes (1/3 of the fleet) were in maintenance at the same time for repair/inspection. I was personally on 2 flights that really concerned me. On one flight we were asked if we were OK with continuing a flight at night with scattered IMC conditions at our destination……with an inoperative #1 gyro. The company knew that gyro couldn’t be MEL’ed. We refused, of course. On another flight we were told to keep flying a plane with low oil pressure in flight. I think some captains are intimidated into not grounding a plane when it needs to be.

More than one crew was “convinced by management” to fly out of Hamilton, Montana in the summer even though they didn’t meet the minimum take-off requirements as required by our OP Specs. The company doesn’t want to tell the owner’s “no” and the pilots were expected to put their careers at risk by violating the GOM.

Avantair policy manuals where changed to start charging its pilots $10 for crew meals. If you are given a 29 minute turn-around in the middle of the day and can’t grab any lunch, get ready to grab your wallet if you want a crew meal.

The sick-day policy sucked. You get 7 days per year. If you are sick more than 2 days they expect you to pay for a doctor’s visit and get a note. After three sick days they won’t send you out on your tour at all because they don’t think it is cost effective to airline you out at that point. If you are sick more than three days, be prepared to either lose some pay or burn all 7 sick days.

In December, 08 the company tried floating the idea of going from a 7-7 schedule to an 8-6 schedule of some sort. The details were never finalized because the pilots pitched a fit and many threatened to quit. That idea is idle for now.

Avantair is in the process of dropping its crew-to-plane ratio from 4.2 down to 3.8. This will put a huge squeeze on the pilots. As more of us quit and more planes are bought, that ratio will be reached and then hiring should have to start again. That might be good news for some of you that are looking for “anything.”

The Ugly: Pay! When I hired in I was told that upgrades to captain were running 9-12 months. I accepted the sub-standard F.O. pay on the premise that I would pay my dues the first year and get upgraded. That didn’t happen. Upgrades at Avantair were completely stopped in December 08. The training department is now telling FO’s to expect a second full year as an FO. Avantair thinks it’s second-year F.O.s are worth a whopping $37,000 per year. Due to the upgrade stoppage and insulting pay….I turned in my notice at my 1-year mark with the company. I can bartend 2 night per week and make more money than Avantair pays it’s FO’s, never being away from home, never missing a holiday or a kid’s birthday. It didn’t make financial sense for me personally to stay at Avantair.

As of today, F.O’s are expected to take the captain check-ride at their 12th month of employment (instead of an FO re-currency check), but not expect the actual upgrade or get the captain pay raise. The F.O.s are also required to do the captain “6-month checks” as a captain would, but not get captain pay. That puts the F.O. at risk for busting a check-ride, of which no compensation even exists.

There has been a recent rash of failures during upgrade/re-currency checks. I’m not sure if a lot of pilots suddenly became bad pilots, or if the company is tightening up things because of the number of resumes on their desks. The consensus seems to be the latter of the two.

I quit working overtime for them when most of my overtime pay wouldn’t show up on my paychecks. I shouldn’t have to keep calling them to get my pay straightened out. They did eventually give me all of my overtime pay, but it took several weeks and many, many calls and e-mails.

Synopsis: One guy who posts here says it is the best job he has ever had. It probably is. For me, it was the second worst job I’ve ever had. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Good luck.
Great post, one the best I've seen here..... Fair and to the point, we need info like this, unfortunately nobody seems to want to post things like that.......... It lets the rest of the industry know where we stand and maybe apprecite our jobs a little more............. Some will come here and question your decision to "resign in this environment"...... Be ready for that.
UCLAbruins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 12:01 PM   #5  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Nov 2006
Posts: 124
Default

Very unbiased and informative, thanks!!
JPilot77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 12:42 PM   #6  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Position: Any seat that pays
Posts: 219
Default

That was the best post I have very read on any of these pilot forums. Very interesting and well written. Maybe you should become a writer.
loudgarrettdriver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 01:02 PM   #7  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: May 2009
Posts: 158
Default

I've always flown corporate, never the airlines. To those who may question how I could resign in this economy.....heck, I couldn't afford to STAY there. Financially, I was going backwards every month. 1 year of suffering was one thing, but having to work for Walmart wages for a second year was out of the question.
BeenThereDoneIt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 02:11 PM   #8  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Feb 2006
Posts: 469
Default

So a big reason you quit was the pay. Fair enough. You have to spend another year as an FO. Who IS upgrading? No one is really. That isn't really Avantair's fault, is it? I'm sure they would love to be growing and making lots of money, delivering airplanes, and upgrading crews. First and second year FO pay just about anywhere is a joke, except at some of the majors.
chignutsak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 04:47 PM   #9  
Gets Weekends Off
 
FalconFlyer's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2008
Position: B737 FO
Posts: 236
Default

First year pay at other fractionals is very reasonable I think... XOJET, Netjets, and CS were all over 50k.

Great post benthere and sorry it didn't work out for ya.
FalconFlyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 05:19 PM   #10  
Line Holder
 
Joined APC: Oct 2008
Position: 737, Gulfstream G-IV, Gulfstream G200, King Air 350,
Posts: 51
Default

None of the bad is surprising. Entire organization was troubled from the very beginning. When they were based at SWF with the original 3 Avanti's(395, 102, 103), the scams to the prospective owners abounded, and the checks bounced. Steve is an attorney, and his double speak was evident back then. Sounds as though nothing has changed, other than that Steve has been able to convince a string of investors to continue to keep the company afloat. That said, there is a nitch for the Avanti in a fractional model.
NYSPK9 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
 

 
Reply
 



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Avantair Runs Off Runway in SLC freightdog Fractional 6 12-21-2008 09:26 AM
Avantair questions PC12Flyer Fractional 23 12-14-2008 08:46 PM
Avantair results Dude222 Fractional 1 09-24-2008 04:53 AM
NJ "upon review you will receive..." letter pekay Fractional 16 09-02-2008 07:22 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:26 AM.


vBulletin® v3.9.3.5, Copyright ©2000-2019, MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Website Copyright ©2000 - 2017 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1