Originally Posted by AllanDerby
I tried them out and decided not to take the job. It seems like good people who work there, but the owner's a cheapskate.
I think they try and make all newhire Caravan pilots sign a 1 year Training Contract. I have a couple hundred hours PIC Caravan and the best I could negotiate down to was 6 months.
They have 6 routes and most of them are in desirable locations. I guess that is how they get away with having a training contract in this environment.
The Chief Pilot told me it was $4000 on the phone. I drove to Chicago, went through 3 days of indoc and he gave me the contract to sign. He forgot to mention that there is a clause in there that says the pilot must reimburse the company for hotels, travel, and meals during training. That easily tacks on at least another $1000.
They put me up in a roach motel for route/flight training. I wouldn't normally care about that, but if you google the motel, lots of pest problems come up. Yikes, no thank you.
There are 2 reasons to work for them the way I see it.
1. You live near one of their routes.
2. You have 1200 hrs and no turbine time and no one else will hire you without a contract.
btw: If you have never flown the Caravan before and you decide to work for them make sure to order a flight safety Caravan manual off ebay first. Also, see if you can get flows and checklists from a Caravan pilot at another company. Also, order the smallest size of JetPubs cockpit posters (3 different posters) so you can practice your flows and checklists. The indoc training at PlaneMasters is good, but the ground training for the actual airplane was pretty bad. I can not believe that they are charging people for that training and do not have it better organized then that.
If the contract goes away, I will gladly remove this post.
This eventually got back around to me so I need to comment and put a few facts out there. You're entitled to your opinions and feelings but some of your info is off.
PlaneMasters doesn't have a "cheapskate owner" as far as I know. It's a group of owners / investors that sometimes change as different partners buy in or buy out. They operate aircraft management services and charter out of DuPage. The UPS feeder stuff is another side of the house. Same house, different room. And as with every business they are in the business to make money, not give it away.
Yes, PlaneMasters asks for a one year commitment. They pay you through training and like for you to stick around to try and recoup that investment they made. They have yet to actually hold anyone that I know of to that contract. But the guy who left had a legitimate reason for leaving before he finished a year. He didn't just decide he didn't like the place. Maybe that's what you were referring to with that $4000 figure.
For Indoc I was provided a ticket to O'Hare, they had a limo service arranged to pick me up, then set me up in a hotel a few blocks from the field. They were going to provide me with a rental car during my stay but the local places were all out of vehicles due to some big event locally. So the CP picked me up everyday, bought me lunch and offered to drive me anywhere if I needed anything. The hotel was within walking distance of plenty of eateries for dinner options so there was no need. Indoc was supposed to be 3 days but we chewed through it in 2 1/2, even with all my questions and frequent pee breaks. The CP seemed a bit shocked that I actually came prepared and had the assigned computer based training completed before I even arrived. I guess most guys did it at the hotel at night while they were there. Ain't going to lie, the computer based stuff was a slog that took me almost the whole week prior to get through.
They changed my ticket, and sent me home early, and had the company check pilot come down to check me out. I had never seen the inside of a Caravan before so they figured a week or two, but assured me time wouldn't matter. They'd fly with me till I felt comfortable and ready. After flying 64s for the Army and other heavier iron, the Caravan was stupid simple. So I ended up flying a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the check pilot and was doing the line check on the run by Monday. Check pilot signed me off and they sent a contract pilot down to ride along with me to make sure I was comfortable and good to go. Original plan was for him to ride with me for a week, but by Wednesday he and I both felt good to go, so they cut me loose.
PlaneMasters never asked me to pay for anything. I am issued a company credit card for pubs, charts, and anything business related - meals, incidentals if I get stuck somewhere... anything, and then issued an iPad for charts and ForeFlight as well. In addition to that each aircraft has a sheet of multiple fuel cards. UPS provides the fuel, but if you get stuck somewhere that isn't a UPS hub with UPS fuel, use the cards.
I also disagree with suggesting people run out and order a bunch of pubs, posters, or whatever else. Everything you need is provided by the company. Heck, if you make a compelling case, they'd probably purchase anything additional you felt you really needed to be good to go. The CTS (online computer training) you should have completed before Indoc is pretty comprehensive in regards to 208 systems, regs, weather, and all sorts of remedial subjects that were good refreshers. Not to mention the 208 panel poster that's hanging in the planning room at HQ, and the 2015 C-208 that sits in the hangar that PlaneMasters manages you could sit in and dry fly till your heart's content if you asked nicely. Then once you showed up to your base the aircraft sits at the field till you fly it. You're more than welcome to sit in it, take the POH home to memorize, highlight, color, copy, whatever you want. Furthermore each aircraft has an approved abbreviated, handy, kneeboard sized checklist you end up using everyday. There is no need to spend anything out of your own pocket.
The HXD run leaves HXD around 20:00, a quick hop to ARW for more load and then zip to CAE. In CAE around 21:30. There is a crew pad at CAE within a few blocks of the field to crash at so you don't have to listen to the snoring, bumping up and down the hall, and TV blaring at the UPS bunkhouse. It's a decent apartment, as I live locally I try to help out with anything the HXD might need or want for the pad. Then it's back to the ramp around 06:00, then rinse and repeat in reverse putting you back in HXD around 08:30 or 09:00.
Personally, I am a 4500TT former Army aviator, who after multiple deployments wants to see his wife and kid. I'm not particularly swayed with shoulder boards and potential 3 or 4 day trips flying 121, and this company leaves you alone to do your job. I didn't have a problem agreeing to give them at least a year. I can't recall any place not at least asking for some sort of commitment.
So different strokes for different folks. Only issue I see is that you didn't make up your mind sooner with the requested year contract. Not sure where you are in such a hurry to go in 6 months.