Avantair low-time pilot program?

BoilerUP

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There's a new ad on climbto350.com for Avantair hiring schedulers. After "9 to 12 months learning the company and working in Pilot Services", they will be trained in the Avanti as a FO. Minimums are 1000tt, "some multi engine turbine time" and actively seeking the ATP. Pay is $25K to start.

As a low-time guy myself, I think this is an excellent opportunity for pilots to come up within the ranks of a company and make their way to pilot. I'm sure they have good procedures in place to seperate the wheat from the chaff as far as piloting ability, but I'm curious what the current Avantair guys and gals (and other Frax pilots) think about this program.

Saw an Avanti in JVY a couple weeks ago and spoke briefly with the crew. Its a beautiful plane!
 

av8orboy

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Yeah but they work those guys to death. QOL? Another problem with Avantair is they sell 1/16 shares. It hard to satisfy all you customers on the busy day when you have a lot of 1/16 share owners and few or no core aircraft. I think selling 1/16 as a start-up is a very risky idea. Lastly the aircraft is a maintenance hog/ hard to get parts for. Sound like good time building though.
 
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Flying Illini

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So when is the "low time" moniker removed from your title? When does your pay bump up to that of a "normal" FO?
 

ClubORD

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$25K is the "normal" FO pay.

Pretty sad huh...I interviewed there and declined the job because of the pay rates.
 

avbug

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That doesn't sound like a bad opportunity for an inexperienced pilot, but let me ask this: aren't all the operations conducted under Part 135? Someone could come aboard as a 135 SIC, but they're still going to need to meet Part 135 PIC minimums to upgrade. Probably not a big deal, but what are the upgrade requirements for a SIC at Avantair?

I would guess that a SIC who has already spent a year in the office learning the business is going to be fairly company and customer savvy...I would guess that that individual would be a good asset to the company.

Conversely, is that person going to be an asset, if he or she hasn't flown for a year, in the cockpit? Also, what is the company paying people in the office, and is going to the cockpit a step down in pay?

If the copilot pay is twenty five grand, and it's not a step down, ouch. That is, someone going for an opportunity to fly, but having low experience, accepts a non-flying position just for the opportunity to fly a high performance turboprop, and survives on those wages for a year before ever getting in the cockpit...it's probably a great opportunity, but...

I couldn't survive on that wage. Then again, my child support is nearly more than that...

Conversely (just thinking out loud), it's still better than a lot of regionals. Then again, at the regionals, they'd be flying and moving closer to an upgrade. I have no idea what current regional upgrade times are, but I recall hearing recently that many are getting longer and longer, and even some where the promise of a quicker upgrade was a draw for many years, are slipping to not-so-quick.

Do any of the other fractional operators presently hire pilots into the right seat with that low of experience? Is there any basis for comparison, here?
 

CL604DRVR

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I believe the avanti is a single pilot AC. If so then I think the autopilot would have to be inop to require a 135 sic. Therefore you might have trouble claiming the time.

I have heard of at least one Florida 135 operator selling turbine SIC opportunities in an AC with an allegedly inoperative autopilot.
 

transpac

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CL604DRVR said:
I believe the avanti is a single pilot AC. If so then I think the autopilot would have to be inop to require a 135 sic. Therefore you might have trouble claiming the time.

I have heard of at least one Florida 135 operator selling turbine SIC opportunities in an AC with an allegedly inoperative autopilot.
As painful as it is to address an issue that has been flogged mercilessly on this board and has been the subject of numerous written opinions by the FAA Chief Counsel......

All airplanes operated under Part 135 IFR flight are required to be flown by a flight crew consisting of a qualified PIC and a qualified SIC. Operators may receive authority to substitute an autopilot for the otherwise-required SIC in airplanes that don't require a SIC by the type certificate. But, this is a privilege, not a requirement, and the operator may continue to use a qualified SIC in airplanes with or without an operative autopilot. Whether or not an autopilot is operative has absolutely zero to do with whether or not SIC time can legally be logged.
 

avbug

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Transpac is quite correct. I was going to say the same thing, and he beat me to it. Being a single pilot aircraft has nothing to do with the issue, but being operated 135 does.
 

PRO AV8R

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so flight express and airnet pistons require two pilots? None of the 210s at flight express have autopilots and I dont think they have two pilot crews???
 

RoughAir

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Part 91K ops require two pilots. Autopilot or not.

Not many flights at Avantair are flown Part 135. All flights that go international (Canada, Mexico, Carib,) are Part 135 at Avantair because of the Customs regs that require all such fract flights to be listed as "commercial"; hence the Part 135 quals of its pilots.

Sitting for 9 months to a year doing crappy paperwork/etc is not as conducive to actually flying the line. In a month or two on the "line" you as a pilot will become fully knowledgeable about the company's ops/procedures, etc. You do not need to sit at a desk to learn this, unless you were eventually angling for a managemment slot within Avantair. And I contend that a management pilot should have extensive line experience before he/she sits at a management desk.

25K for Avantair's FOs is crappy, you will work hard here (as well at other
frax), the "line" is the best way to learn this side of aviation, on the line you will see what the company is failing to do to support the crews, you will deal "first hand" with pissed off pax who show up at the plane and find out that things requested by them for their trips was not done or specified to the crews, you will deal with ATC delays, tight turnaround times between legs, etc, etc.

I would like to see "retired" or "seasoned" pilots go to the office duties and do flight following, pilot services, travel, catering, customs, owner services, etc. These people have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt on the line. They know what the "line" crews are going through on a daily basis to move that plane. Unfortunately by the time you have finished a career on the line, you are burned out and have no desire to continue in an office "support" role.

I know, I have no desire to do those things. Maybe others do. A good office support staff would be nice to have, as the "line" pilots have to sort out the errors and unrealistic tempo when they get briefed for the next days flying in the frax world. But to put low time pilots in that role just doesn't make sense; its not going to help them in the line; to me flying skills and the operational things that go with it (flt plans/customs/notams/pax relations/catering/etc, etc, etc) are more important. You can always sit at a desk later.

My 2 cents.
 

avbug

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so flight express and airnet pistons require two pilots? None of the 210s at flight express have autopilots and I dont think they have two pilot crews???

§ 135.101 Second in command required under IFR.
Except as provided in § 135.105, no person may operate an aircraft carrying passengers under IFR unless there is a second in command in the aircraft.

Regardless of weather the aircraft is approved for single pilot operations or not, or weather the company is approved for single pilot with autopilot in lieu of a SIC, under 135, the company always has the option of using the SIC (if the SIC is qualified) instead of the autopilot, under 135.101, if the flight is conducted under IFR.

To answer your question, if a company has a single pilot authorization they don't need the SIC. However, at any time, they may use the SIC because 135 always requires and permits it, even when granted a single pilot with autopilot authorization. It's part of the basic regulation. Even if the autopilot is working, if the company has a trained SIC and wishes to use the SIC instead of flying the aircraft single pilot with autopilot, the company may elect to do so.

This is just as true in a Cessna 210 as any other aircraft.
 

imacdog

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PRO AV8R said:
so flight express and airnet pistons require two pilots? None of the 210s at flight express have autopilots and I dont think they have two pilot crews???
Not required for cargo only ops.
 

NoPax

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imacdog said:
Not required for cargo only ops.
Exactly. Wecome to my world - no SIC, no Autopilot, 5 hour trips, 5 trip weeks.
 

mike1mc

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imacdog said:
Not required for cargo only ops.
Correct. The SIC requirement is only for IFR passenger-carrying operations or operations in aircraft with 10+ seats (VFR/IFR)

The references are 135.99, 135.101, and 135.105
 

Jolimon

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As a pilot for Avantair for the past 2 years, I can say that they treat they treat their employees very well. All the pilots receive profit sharing quartery. In the past, it has been as high as $4,500. They do sell 16ths, but the average ownership size is 1/8th and we average 7.5 owners per plane. We have 20 planes now and receive 1 to 2 per month for at least the next 24 months. Our average aircraft age is 2.5 years. Dispatch reliabiity is actuay really good, and the planes are very well maintained. It's a great company to work for.
 

hyper

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"I can say that they treat they treat their employees very well. All the pilots receive profit sharing quartery. In the past, it has been as high as $4,500."........."and the planes are very well maintained. It's a great company to work for."

Oh man! I 'bout blew my coffee through my nose laughing at this one! Joliman, honestly, is someone there payin' ya to say this or what!?

I'm not sure that I've ever been more lied to, used up, and taken advantage of by any other employee or business relationship in my life. I'm all for someone being satisfied with their job and more power to you, but I and many, many others there are/were on the opposite end of that spectrum.

I especially like the new payscale that stops paying the bonuses (that I rarely received), and instead pays $3,000 per year DEFERRED for 3 YEARS. Right, like we'll ever see that.....a ploy to keep people around.

Just another veiwpoint.
 

RoughAir

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Hey Joliman:

As of Aug 1, Avantair stopped profit sharing for the pilots. They went to a 3 year deferred bonus plan.

Sort of keeps you on the hook for 3 years if you want that money.
 

ClubORD

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During my interview there it was refered to as a "retention bonus."
 
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