corporate->major transition

Winged Sig 599

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Posts
55
Total Time
Enough
To any of you corporate pilots who have transitioned to the Majors, or are thinking about it, or just have advice I have a few questions. I am about to begin the wonderful world of flight instruction. I am looking at instructing at a place that offers an upgrade to their corporate department after about six months. They move you to King Air 200's or Hawker 800 XP's. My main question is regarding quality and quantity of time for the majors. How much longer would it take to acquire time to be competitive for a major airline working in the corporate world versus say working for a regional carrier or commuter? Will they accept the regional guy with lower time because of previous 121 experience, or would the corporate guy be just as competitive?? How is the corporate pay and lifestyle versus a regional guy?
Thanks in advance for any input-
 

2000flyer

EASY FLYER
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,586
Total Time
5700+
Tough Question

Sig,

Given the times (read post 9/11, bankrupt companies, downsizing), the competitive minimums are going up about the same velocity as the space shuttle's ascent. It's truly an employer's market right now with very qualified pilots applying for positions of interest.

I believe over the short term (1-2 years), both quality and quantity will rule who gets the interviews. I would estimate competitive minimum times for the majors will be 5000-6000 hours total, and a good quantity of jet PIC time. There are (and probably soon to be more) furloughed pilots competing for any slots that open at the majors. The big question would be if they'll hold out for their company to call them back or take a new position elsewhere.

Obviously, Part 121 time is definitely quality time when looking to move up the food chain. It is my humble opinion that regional operations will do very well if they can survive their code-share partners financial woes. As I'm sure you've been reading, more and more RJ's are joining regional fleets. I know this is very concerning to main-line pilots, but it is a reality. Current scope clauses are limiting the number of RJ's code-partners can operate, but more and more are operating under their own name as well as a code partner (ie. ACA).

I won't pretend to have intimate knowlege of the "airline" environment. Most of what I've learned is through trade magazines, friends and relatives that fly for the majors.

Again, in my humble opinion, a 4000 hour regional pilot would have an edge over a 4000 hour corporate pilot when trying to get an interview, especially with so few airlines hiring right now. However, once in the interview when the entire picture of you and your qualifications are put together, both stand as good a chance as the other in getting hired.

With regard to lifestyle and pay, it all depends on what you want. Corporate pilots may or may not have a schedule, many carry pagers or cellphones. You may fly 28 days a month or 5, depending on the corporation. Pay varies with equipment, though it's my experience that you'll start off at a higher wage at a corporate job over a regional. Upgrades at corporate jobs can be within months to many years depending on their needs. I know of one corporation where you'll be a turbo-prop FO for 4-5 years before upgrading to captian. 7-10 years before moving into their jets. Obviously they are very stable and retain pilots easily.


I hope my input has helped. Best of luck with your career.

Regards,

2000Flyer
 
Last edited:

CL60

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Posts
230
Total Time
1.1yrs
Better re-think options

Winged Sig 599,

Gotta agree with 2000flyer.

Now that AA is announcing more layoffs and US air has filed for chaptrer 11 and United is threatening to do the same by the Spring... Maybe you'd better think about another career venue in aviation. The airlines for any newbie these days is risky at best.

As to your question... a lifelong committment to one career is a plus with any employer.


Good luck,
 

banned username 2

Banned
Banned User
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
3,254
Winged Sig 599 said:
I am looking at instructing at a place that offers an upgrade to their corporate department after about six months. They move you to King Air 200's or Hawker 800 XP's.
Is this place a CORPORATE operator or a CHARtER operator... I don't know many Corporate Operators who have their own flight schools attached...

I think you are possibly confusing apples and oranges...

I agree with CL60... I don't think many "Majors" will be hiring for many years to come... I saw one estimate that said they didn't expect AA to start any new hiring until after 2009...

Make sure you have a REALISTIC view of the industry and your potential career path before you blindly push ahead...

Good Luck and Fly Safe!
 

bigsky

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2002
Posts
375
Total Time
11500
I think it is most important to find a job where you can be happy for a few years as there most likely wont be much movement for awhile. As far as experience I would say the single most important factor is pic turbine time. That seems to open more doors than part 121 time. Most of my time is part 121 but I only have 800 pic turbine- I cant even submit an application to any of the airlines currently hiring as they require 1000(fedex, ups, jetblue, swa)
 

CL60

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Posts
230
Total Time
1.1yrs
Winged Sig 599,

How is the corporate pay and lifestyle versus a regional guy?
Almost missed this on your original post.

Most legitimate corporate operators pay new guys much better than any regional pays their junior pilots. Our company starts captains off in the high 5 figures to low 6 figures range with a 15% to 25% bonus every year. F/Os start in the $40's or %50's I think. What do regionals start their guys at? $15,000 to $20,000 per year??

If you do get a good corporate flying job, you will probably not want to take a 75% first year pay cut to go to any airline unless that is your ultimate goal.

As for the lifestyle issue, there is absolutely no way to compare my job to a regional job. My QOL is fantastic even when compared to a senior pilot's QOL at a major airline.

Good luck,
 

banned username 2

Banned
Banned User
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
3,254
Winged Sig 599 said:
How is the corporate pay and lifestyle versus a regional guy?
We are starting our new hires at $75,000-$80,000 first year pay (plus bonuses)... plus when we are on the road we are on full expense accounts... First-class hotels, rental cars, all meals paid, company paid cell phone, company paid calling card...

You don't get this at the Regionals (they pay for your crew hotel can you say Ramada Inn? or Holiday Inn?), you don't get rental cars or meals paid (only per diem, usually about $1.50 per hour) and if you call home it is on your dime...

I think most regionals first year pay is around $20,000 ± $3,000...

I worked 5 days in July (that means 26 days off (at home))...

Decent pay and very good quality of life...

No comparison.... Apples and Oranges...
 
Last edited:

JayDub

Make it so.
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
254
Total Time
3000+
Most majors won't give corporate guys a chance. jetBlue reserves a few slots to interview each month for folks w/ corporate experience. Airtran has quite a few guys that flew corporate exclusively. Other than that, it is extremely hit or miss. I would not suggest flying corporate or charter if flying for the airlines is your goal.

Also remember Falcon Capt et al work for Class-A operations. They are the exception by far. If you ever get to work for a quality operation, it will be after paying dues at crappy places. Believe me, crappy in the corporate/charter world is much harder to take than in the airline world. Atleast at an airline your seniority counts for something.

JayDub
 

2000flyer

EASY FLYER
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,586
Total Time
5700+
I'll take exception to Jay's comments on corporate folks moving to the majors. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all the people I know who were flying corporate and are now at the majors (DAL, AAL, UAL, etc). Like I mentioned in my first post, you're flight time (primarily) gets you the interview, YOU win or lose the job!

Regards,
2000Flyer
 

sleepy

Living The Dream!
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
Posts
1,569
Total Time
8,500
Maybe this will help. I worked for a charter outfit, then was hired by a Fortune 100 corporate flight department. The money was good, but I hated corporate flying (where I worked you never new your schedule in advance). I always wanted to work for a major airline, so when the opportunity to fly for an airline (large national air cargo outfit) was available, I took it. I ended up furloughed from that airline. I now work for the worlds largest regional airline (at 1/3 the pay I was making in the corporate job).

Here are the things I learned/know:

1. There are some great corporate jobs, and then there are ones like I had.

2. The major airline will not hire anybody for years, and when they do hire again they perfer military guys, not corporate guys.

3. nothing is very certain in aviation, even the best corporate job can turn fractional. Also, watch out for mergers.

4. If you really want to work for a major airline, you should get a job with a good regional airline (note that our hiring minimums have raised considerably since 911). After military pilots, most major airlines seem to prefer guys with Part 121 PIC time.
 

JetPilot500

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2001
Posts
335
Total Time
5,400
tradewinds

Is this flight instructing company out of Pontiac. If it is I have Instructed there and I have seen about 15 to 20 people go through there and are now working in the majors, regionals, cargo, larger corporate, and every other job available in aviaton.
It's got great crews and good aircraft with some good flying. Good luck, I enjoyed it all except for one pilot (JJK)!!!:)
 

501261

Consigliere
Joined
May 27, 2002
Posts
829
Total Time
-
That seems to be a big problem on this board where everybody lumps flying business jets in as corporate flying. There is a big difference between flying charter and flying for a "Class A" corporate flight department. Seems like 599's original question was regarding a charter flight department.

Quite honestly flying charter will almost always suck; at best it is a well paying job that has a poor quality of life (being on the pager, etc.). On the other end it is very poor paying job that builds a lot of flight time, while having absolutely no quality of life.

Regional flying is not bad, you will make OK money and have a pretty good quality of life, but it will almost always be a stepping stone until you reach the majors. It is also a pretty good stepping stone, since most of the major's prefer having 121 PIC time on a resume to someone that doesn't.

Corporate flying runs the gamut, but on a smaller scale so does 121 flying. Can you honestly compare Delta's lifestyles with Atlas's? Well compare "Owner's flying his own 340, Inc., insurance wants someone to ride along" to Nike's GV operation. On the lower end some corporate flying is some of the worst flying imaginable, on the high end the quality of life and pay exceeds even the best 121 job.

Getting those high end corporate jobs is harder than getting a great 121 job since you not only need to have a few type ratings, but you also need to know someone in the department that will actually want to spend a bunch of time with you, but that is also why the benefits and quality of life can exceed that of a major.

There is some truth to Jay's comment about hiring corporate guys, but read into it a little more. You will not see "Class A" corporate guys applying for 121 jobs; they have it pretty much made. So the corporate guys that are out there looking for that major job are the ones that haven't made it to that "class A" corporate.

The bottom line is if you want to fly for an airline get the first 121 job you can get and go up the 121 ladder. If you take 2 pilots, 1 with 1000 hours PIC 121 time, and one with 1000 hours PIC corporate; the 121 captain will get the first INTERVIEW, who gets the JOB is completely up to the people involved.
 

501261

Consigliere
Joined
May 27, 2002
Posts
829
Total Time
-
Oh and Jaydub, I flew your airline last week on a redeye to JFK and I loved it! I'll tell you as a passenger, I am looking to fly Jetblue whenever it is close to where I need to go! That DirecTV system makes all the difference in the world going cross country! Personally I'd rather fly Jetblue than domestic first class on AA, UA, CO or DA.

Too bad I'm already booked on AA to the NBAA.
 

Texan

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Posts
21
Total Time
Some
My two cents!

It all depends on what your long term goals are in aviation.

Facts about both.

1. You network better with the airline industry in the airlines( Regionals).

2. You will have a schedule, even if it sucks it beats no schedule at all, which is the case at most (not all) corporate jobs. Unless you are a guy that enjoys being home every night with out a schedule, Airlines are better. IMO

3. You will fly 800-1000 hrs a year at a regional probably in a RJ with nice equip. AT corporate you will probably fly state of the art equipment, 400-600 a year is about as much as you ever hear of except with a few exceptions. For every hour you fly think about how many you sit on the ground.( I am not talking about Fractionals) 300-400 is more closer to an average I would guess.

4. Pay is better short term at Corporate. They usually dangle a bigger and better piece of equipment in your face to entice you to stay and build a future. If big is what you want, Day one at a regional you will probably fly a 48000 lbs RJ AC bigger than 95% of all corporat A/C.

5.For all those corporate guys who have never been to a Major Airline interview, I can tell you, you dont realize how many military guys you are competing with ( as a civilian) until you get there. And then 121 time almost always looks better than 91.

6. You will work your a$$ off at a Regional, But IMO it is the most fun I have ever had in aviation. If you are young you will be around alot of younger pilots and make some great friends. Competition ends once you get the job. Senority takes over. IN corporate this is not usually the case.

I have done both and was with one of the best corp jobs around. If you really want to be an airline pilot, then get on with a regional that is growing fast with a resonable upgrade time. As soon as you meet the quals of the majors start sending stuff off and get lots of Letters of Rec. Upgrade as fast as you can.

Good luck and Roll the Dice
 
Last edited:

banned username 2

Banned
Banned User
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
3,254
Texan...

You said "I have done both and was with one of the best corp jobs around."

No offense but just curious which "Best" Corporate operator still flies 30 year old Falcon 20's? If you want PM me and tell me, I am really curious who you worked for that it was so bad you left...
 

501261

Consigliere
Joined
May 27, 2002
Posts
829
Total Time
-
Good point Falcon Capt. No offense Texan, but you’re not going to see "Class A corporate" people applying anywhere. You're just as likely to see a United 747 captain applying for a job as you are to see GLEX pilots applying!
 

LA Confidential

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Posts
64
Total Time
Alot
Reason you don’t see many “Class A” corporate types flying for the airlines has more to do with them not applying than it does them not being offered the job.

Our F/O’s would take about a 40 to 50% cut in pay if they left within the first 24 months of employment to go to the airlines. After their 24 month probation is up and they are reevaluated prior to their 36-month anniversary they can expect to be pushing 75 to 85 grand, base floor for a first year skipper is $102,000 for us, average upgrade time is running four years.

And airline QOL is not even comparable to the QOL of a sharply run Fortune op.

Company paid for my relocation, we don’t wear uniforms so I have a clothing allotment given to me every three months, rental cars at all stops where ground transportation or courtesy cars are not provided, hotels that in reality only your CEO et al would dare put on a company charge card.

Absolutely everything is paid for while I’m on the road regardless where were at, be it just across the state or across the Pacific Ocean.

I’m not belittling 121 commuter/major flying at all; I’m just saying that comparison of the two is nearly impossible… apples to oranges.
 

Texan

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Posts
21
Total Time
Some
Falcon Capt

Check your Private Message, The 20 was a diffrent gig. I agree apples to oranges. Its is difficult to transition from an Apple to an Orange. Not in skill though. Its all who you know and what you want.
 

Mr Freeze

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Posts
63
Total Time
6200
I have sent resumes to every Fractional and Regional that is currently hiring and haven't heard anything. Times are Tough.

In my personal opinion in order to be competitive in todays job market, you need at least 5000 hours or more to be concidered. People are on the streets with more PIC turbine than I have total time.

Flying for a Regional Airline will build time at a faster rate than most Corp jobs.

121 experience is preferable. ASA and ACA require 121 experience as part of their minimum qualifications and both of them are Regionals. That could be the reson why I haven't heard anything back from them.

Best of luck to you.
 

Lymond

New member
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Posts
4
Total Time
12,000
I've been feeding myself since age nineteen with a stick and a rudder; there are no guaranteed avenues to the majors; unless you happen to be a "special case" courtesy of the EEOC -- in which case you can pretty much call your career path much like Ruth called his shot. (Or rather, they call you. And you pick.)

In my life I have flight instructed, flown charter, sprayed crops, towed banners, been a regional f/o & captain; flight engineer, f/o and captain for a major airline; been furloughed, taken leaves -- been the chief pilot for a 91 jet operation, gone back to the majors, taken leave again and currently fly as a line captain for a Fortune 30 company.

I made career changes during economic recession, national emergency and even the long, bull market of the 1990's.

My point is -- the path to success is a subjective one: if you feel you have been successful; guess what? You have been! Doesn't matter what your paystub says. The key to landing your dream job isn't a pocket full of type ratings, a pile of hours or choosing your steps to carefully fill in a resume like a five year-old doing a coloring book. Believe me. It's all about not being someone who is hard to get along with, who is enthusiastic (without being sycophantic) and above all: who can stand and deliver regardless. That's it -- write your own ticket.

You're only limited by your personality and imagination. Or lack thereof...

I've never met anyone who sent shotgun resumes -- and found a job they liked.
 
Top