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Old 01-11-2017, 03:26 PM   #1  
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Default Boutique Air - Updated Info

Hello all,

Wanted to make an updated top-level post on Boutique Air since the other one is fairly popular and any posted information disappears to lower pages quickly. I'm currently a PC-12 SIC at Boutique and will be around for a while, so I'll keep this updated to the best of my ability.

Information posted will be information that is publicly available or information that you would be given during the interview process. If I inadvertently post anything that is considered sensitive information, send me a PM and I'll remove it as that isn't my intention. Other pilots should also feel free to PM me about anything I've got wrong or anything that's different at a particular base and I'll update accordingly.

Last updated January 11, 2017


About Boutique Air
Part 135 operator. Almost entirely EAS (Essential Air Service, aka subsidized) routes. Corporate offices in California.

Fleet:
~17 Pilatus PC-12s and ~2 King Air 350s.
PC-12s are executive configuration with 8 seats. All are certified for single-pilot IFR operations with autopilot, but all routes normally fly with both PIC and SIC. All have some form of GPS, most are Garmin 450/550, some 650/750, and one poor airplane has a KLN-90. All have a Stratus and iPads with ForeFlight for both PIC/SIC.
King Airs are currently only located in Denver.
Fleet is steadily increasing as we take on new routes/contracts.

Bases:
ATL, DEN, DFW, LAX, MSP, PDX, and PHX.
Denver is by far the largest base. See the current route map/schedule for details.

Commuting:
Impractical and/or a bad idea in most cases. Some pilots do it, particularly in the Denver area, but considering our schedules, it would be difficult to make work anywhere else.

Pay (source):
All pay grades have an 80 hour/month guarantee.
Captains are eligible for an extra $2k/year up to 5 years of service for retention.
LAX base has "cost of living" adjustment which is slightly higher (~$2/hour).

PC-12:
First Officer/SIC: $25.00/block hour ($24k/year at guarantee)
Captain/PIC: $62.50/block hour ($60k/year at guarantee)

King Air 350:
First Officer/SIC: $26.75/block hour ($25,680/year at guarantee)
Captain/PIC: $72.92/block hour ($70k/year at guarantee)

Upgrades (PC-12):
Upgrades generally happen right at 1200 hours and 135 mins, except in special circumstances. If you've been around since 500 TT, you can expect an upgrade right at 1200 hours in almost all cases.

Other Benefits:
Health, dental, vision, and $50k life insurance premiums are fully paid by company for all pilots. Health insurance plan is actually pretty good. Can add spouse/family for 50% of their premium.

We have CASS with jumpseat agreements for several airlines like Southwest, American, Virgin, Spirit, and others are being worked on.

KCM is apparently in the works but nobody is holding their breath on it to happen soon.


Hiring Info
All info is for PC-12 positions. King Air positions require ATP minimums.

First Officer (SIC) Qualifications (source):
500 hours total time
Instructor experience highly preferred
50 hours turbine or 75 hours instrument preferred
First class medical
Commercial single engine certificate with instrument rating

Captain (PIC) Qualifications (source):
135 IFR PIC minimums (1200 hours total time, 500 XC, 100 night, etc)
200 hours turbine or 150 instrument in flight (actual + simulated)
First class medical
Commercial single engine certificate with instrument rating

Contracts
Initial training contract of $10k for 1 year. Prorates down gradually to $4k through day 364.
Upgrade contract of $10k (? - unverified) for 9 months, assume it also prorates down (unsure of timeline/amount).

To apply:
Click on the "source" links for First Officer or Captain above and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. You'll need an up-to-date resume to upload.

After applying:
DO NOT contact Boutique Air via phone or email regarding your application. Different management sources say they receive between 30-100 resumes EACH DAY, so they've got a lot to sift through. You may visit the pages above again and upload an updated resume if your flight times or employment experience have changed significantly.

It can take a while for them to get back to you. Boutique is the type of company that you'll forget about after a month, and then out of the blue they'll call you to set up an interview. Don't sit around waiting on them unless you really want this particular job, and be prepared to wait a while even if you meet the preferred qualifications.

Interview process:
If selected, you will be contacted to arrange a phone HR interview. These are basic questions about your work experience, flight times, and simple HR questions common to any job ("tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague, what did you do", etc). You may be contacted by either phone or email to set up a time.

If you pass the HR interview, you may still experience weeks of radio silence before contacted for a phone technical interview. The technical interview consists of questions on the systems of the airplane you most recently flew, and basic IFR procedures.

If you pass the technical interview, you'll generally receive a job offer within the next few days.

Technical interview gouge:
You're not going to get one from me, and please refrain from posting any interview questions. They truly are basic IFR knowledge questions with no tricks. Pull out an old study guide from your IFR days and brush up before you get the phone call, and you'll be fine. The argument is that if you can't pass the technical interview, you have serious IFR knowledge deficiencies and you're going to have a difficult time in the condensed training environment you're about to be thrown into.


Life as a Boutique Pilot
Here's a basic rundown of the day-to-day.

Schedules:
There are generally two types of "lines" we fly, day trips and constant duty overnights (CDOs). CDOs usually go out in the evening, spend the night at a small outstation, and come back to the major hub in the morning to get pax to the big airplanes to continue their trips. PIC and SIC will generally alternate legs as PF.

Duty days can range from home reserve to 14 hours scheduled. Typical calendar days off per month is about 12. Flight hours vary from base to base, but are usually 50+ hours per month.

Time off can be requested in advance, and in my experience, is always granted if it is a reasonable request.

First Officer/SIC duties:
Include loading/unloading luggage, stocking drinks/snacks, briefing passengers, and other duties as required.

Captain/PIC duties:
Include lots of paperwork, filing flight plans, determining required fuel, and ultimately being responsible for the flight (obviously).

Crew cars/houses:
We have crew cars and houses/apartments at all overnight outstations. They are usually minimally furnished with beds and basic living room furniture, though recently there was a change to provide clean linens for each day (previously, crews usually brought sleeping bags or their own sheets). Some crew houses have a basic TV and/or internet/wi-fi, but not all.


Training
Training currently takes place in Denver and lasts about 3 weeks. There is a large crew house in Denver that you'll likely stay in if you're not based there. You may be put into a hotel if the crew house is full.

The first week is ground school and covers everything from Boutique's policies to the PC-12 and it's systems. There will be a few tests, you should have adequate time to study for them. Group up with others to review material and you'll be fine.

The next two weeks are flight training. You'll have four (five if PIC) flights in the PC-12 before your checkride. PICs will then have a day of IOE, usually in Denver. SICs will be sent home to start on the line.


Personal opinions on Boutique Air
Above information is based as much on fact as possible - this is my current opinion on Boutique for prospective pilots.

Boutique is great experience to fill the gap between flying a 172 or PA-28 and moving up to the 121 world if that's your goal. You'll be exposed to passenger operations, crew resource management, turbine aircraft systems, weather and maintenance issues, and pretty much everything else you'll encounter once you hit a 121 gig.

First Officer pay is pretty terrible, but considering SICs aren't required, it unfortunately makes sense as the SIC position is basically a (poorly) paid internship.

The PC-12s are a fun airplane to fly. They're generally kept in good shape, and several have Garmin 750s. Baggage space can be a pain in the butt, but passengers are generally understanding if bags need to be left behind until the next trip once they see the size of the airplane.

There are definitely growing pains right now - I think we're expanding faster than what was planned, and so we've been put in a tight position with airplanes and crew, but Boutique has been working to alleviate this as much as possible by increasing crew levels and acquiring more airplanes. The schedules in Denver have historically been a bit rough, but other locations seem pretty laid back.

I'd definitely recommend Boutique as a stepping stone from 500 hours to 1500 if it's something you're interested in.


Questions?
Post 'em in this thread (or the other Boutique thread, I don't really care) and myself or another Boutique pilot will do our best to answer them.
RBZL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2017, 03:35 PM   #2  
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THANKS! great information, thanks for the taking the time.
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:49 PM   #3  
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Great writeup! For me, I guess you could say that Boutique is my "dream" first flying job, so I really enjoy all the insider info being provided. There's still a lot of time before I get to apply though.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:11 PM   #4  
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Awesome write up! Thanks for posting this! My girlfriend was a CSA in DEN until a few months ago when she had to quit for a trip, and I am currently sitting ~700 TT. Unfortunately, still got about a year and a half of school left but I will be graduating with ~1200. Hoping to go to Denver and upgrade within a year or so. 2 Questions

1. Any more news internally about your new east coast routes?

2. Ideally I'd graduate and go to ground immediately thereafter, but I understand that's not how reality works. When would be the best time to submit a resume to minimize time spent waiting around early May?

Thanks
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:59 PM   #5  
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How's the ATL base looking in terms of hiring?
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:12 PM   #6  
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Got most of my hours there. Good way to build time and then jump to the 121 world. Sounds like things have been messy the last few weeks with mtx and wx.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:53 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxMar View Post
1. Any more news internally about your new east coast routes?

2. Ideally I'd graduate and go to ground immediately thereafter, but I understand that's not how reality works. When would be the best time to submit a resume to minimize time spent waiting around early May?
I haven't heard anything about east coast routes - I'll let you know if I do. As for applying, may as well start throwing your resume in now but make it clear on your cover letter that you don't expect to be available until May. They may just jump through the hiring hoops with you and stick you on the back burner for a class then, who knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiuPilot View Post
How's the ATL base looking in terms of hiring?
Haven't heard of anyone going to ATL in the last few classes, so guessing they're good there until one of the current pilots leaves/upgrades or they expand.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:24 AM   #8  
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Supposedly we were recommended for the massena, NY route over cape air. I guess it is running from BWI, ALB, to MSS or something to that effect. I haven't heard anything beyond that.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:40 AM   #9  
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One thing to add to the technical interview....if you have previously worked 135, be prepared to answer some 135 questions as well as questions about the aircraft you flew 135. Simply put if you were a proficient pilot at your last 135 job, you will be just fine for this interview.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:58 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiuPilot View Post
How's the ATL base looking in terms of hiring?
I know some of the FOs looking to leave here soon when their contracts are up.
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