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Bemidji Beware

FBN0223

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For those seeking employment in the 135 freight business in the midwest, be wary of Bemidji Aviation. In the FAR 135 freight business there certainly are some scum bags but this operation steals the show.

Bemidji Aviation has a one year $7500.00 training contract. If you quit or are fired for a just cause (in their view) before the end of one year, you owe them $7500.00 or a large portion of that amount.

A pilot of Bemidji Aviation was recently fired without warning and was shown the training contract and reminded that not only is the pilot fired but he/she also owes Bemidji Aviation $7500.00. This pilot broke no FARs and was called a reliable pilot who did a great job by the UPS managers operating the stations.

Attempting to utilize terminated pilots as a revenue stream, in my view, is most definitely a new low.

Bemidji Aviation seems like a very poor choice for those seeking employment. Be wary!!!!
 
Last edited:

goodgig

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I seriously doubt that the fired pilot would legally have to produce the cabbage.
I would think a "good luck with that" as you were walking out the door for the last time would pretty much set the stage for that.
 

Freightdog99

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From your post I am guessing either you or a friend was recently fired from Bemidji and is a little upset. I have never worked for Bemidji, but I do know a couple who have, including a current coworker, and have heard nothing bad about Bemidji.

I have worked in the Part 135 freight world for the past 7.5 years for a company which is very similar to Bemidji and yes we have a very similar training contract. We have had more than a few pilots come through that seem like well qualified competent pilots throughout training and even for a few months on the line. However they make a bad decision or two and had to be let go. Not because they were a bad pilot, but to ensure they didn't hurt/kill himself, anyone else, or bend an airplane.

We have had our doubts about a couple of people that we continued to keep around and nothing good ever came of it. Single pilot freight in old Beech turboprops in the Midwest isn't cut out for everyone, even though most everyone thinks they can do it.

I highly doubt Bemidji is using terminated pilots as a revenue stream. Bemidji has a profitable business even with the current economy. For this pilot to be let go and Bemidji still enforce the training contract he must have done something that would justify it.

The company I work for has been bashed on this board a few times and it has only been by disgruntle former employees who have had to pay training contracts.

I know this is Flightinfo, but do not come on here and bash companies that provide a good income for fellow pilots and keep their aircraft in sound mechanical condition, especially a company you don't know much about.
 

FBN0223

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From your post I am guessing either you or a friend was recently fired from Bemidji and is a little upset. I have never worked for Bemidji, but I do know a couple who have, including a current coworker, and have heard nothing bad about Bemidji.

I have worked in the Part 135 freight world for the past 7.5 years for a company which is very similar to Bemidji and yes we have a very similar training contract. We have had more than a few pilots come through that seem like well qualified competent pilots throughout training and even for a few months on the line. However they make a bad decision or two and had to be let go. Not because they were a bad pilot, but to ensure they didn't hurt/kill himself, anyone else, or bend an airplane.

We have had our doubts about a couple of people that we continued to keep around and nothing good ever came of it. Single pilot freight in old Beech turboprops in the Midwest isn't cut out for everyone, even though most everyone thinks they can do it.

I highly doubt Bemidji is using terminated pilots as a revenue stream. Bemidji has a profitable business even with the current economy. For this pilot to be let go and Bemidji still enforce the training contract he must have done something that would justify it.

The company I work for has been bashed on this board a few times and it has only been by disgruntle former employees who have had to pay training contracts.

I know this is Flightinfo, but do not come on here and bash companies that provide a good income for fellow pilots and keep their aircraft in sound mechanical condition, especially a company you don't know much about.

1) You guessed wrong the pilot was not a friend but a reliable source.

2) I deemed the source as very reliable and I will provide information on this forum so that pilots can at least know that when going with Bemidji that they can expect to sign a training contract.

3) You have never worked for Bemidji either, so your opinion has no more merit than mine.

4) Every pilot has the right to know what he/she is getting into. No one should ever take a posting as gospel but use it to look for trends.

5) My source had a bad experience at Bemidji, that's it. Either ignore it or look further into the company before signing a training contract with them.

6) Remember, pilots occasionally do get screwed over by management. good luck.
 

gret

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From your post I am guessing either you or a friend was recently fired from Bemidji and is a little upset.


You're right. We all need to man up and deal with the issues.

People usually lose their jobs for one of two reasons. They screwed up or the company simply can't afford the plane.

One is our fault, they other is just life!

There is an old saying...don't cry about your wife's smarts...afterall she did agree to marry you!
 

FBN0223

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Hey, just trying to help. If anyone wants to sign a training contract where the company can fire you and you still owe the money, then go knock yourself out. Seemed like a bad deal to me and thought I'd give some heads up. Good luck
 

BoeingBaller

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Hey, just trying to help. If anyone wants to sign a training contract where the company can fire you and you still owe the money, then go knock yourself out. Seemed like a bad deal to me and thought I'd give some heads up. Good luck

Avantair has the same clause...
 

AJE

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I wasn't aware that Bemidji had done any hiring in the last couple years. Either way contracts are pretty standard, as well as pilots finding ways to get out of them. You can't expect to get out of a contract by trying to get let go. In today's industry there is a whole lot less turnover but I have had several coworkers in the past who just wanted to use the company get a couple hundred hours of twin time and move on. I completely understand training contracts, especially more expensive ones that involve type ratings. Companies usually have a hard time enforcing the contracts, but regardless I think it is a bad idea to burn bridges. Aviation is a small world.
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

They just hired at least one guy in the last few days.

cliff
GRB
 

cherry20's

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I have never heard any really bad about them. Talked to a bunch of them in MSP at the UPS hub and they all seemed to like their jobs... Well maintained aircraft (that look like crap) and a great time building job. Not for everyone though...
It is 135 cargo, what do you really expect? Most of them have the same contracts...

They sure do taxi fast as hell though. I think they race to see who can take off first after the morning sort. Almost been ran over by those "bee's" more than once.
 

clydefastly

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I wonder if Grandma Bemidji is still flying there. She is a nice lady at least in her 60's. She would load the cargo in the plane by herself, and usually be the first one off the cargo ramp. My cpt and I would always laugh because she could give any young 20 something freight dogger a run for their money.
 

PowerCurve

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Bemidji Aviation has been in business for a long time. As far as I can see, the owners are in it for the long haul and try their best to take care of their people and their planes. Part 135 freight is a tough industry to work and live, so anyone who does it deserves the credit. As with any job, try to ask the right questions, especially if a training contract is involved. Nonetheless, it's a freight dog job, and it aint for the faint of heart. You're on your own for the most part, and winter weather (or summer thunderstorms) in the Upper Midwest is challenging. Sorry it didn't work out for your friend. Nonetheless, I don't think Bemidji Aviation is in it for the $7,500.
 

SpauldingSmails

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I worked for Bemidji for 3 years. The airplanes look pretty rough, but everything is well maintained. I never felt abused, and rarely pushed. I made good money, made a lot of good friends and most of the pilots are professionals. During my time there, we had furloughed guys from US Airways and American. If it was really THAT terrible, those guys would have bugged out long before their recalls.

The older woman, Dawn, is still there. She is supposedly the 2nd highest time female pilot in the US.

Bemidji gave me my start, and a job when I was on hard times. Incidentally, whenever I screwed up (never anything serious) I never felt my employment was in jeopardy. The training contract is sort of BS, but you know what you're signing when you arrive.

My last year, I made $50k, flying 135 freight and charters for these guys, good luck with that at Ameriflight.
 
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