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Escaping 121

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Oct 27, 2003
I'm sure I'm not the only one to ask, but here goes....

Just getting fed up with the 121 options out there. Where would be a good place to start job hunting for a coporate gig with no contacts?

Any web site suggestions would be great, if you think that would be the way to go. I know, I know.... its all who you know, networking, etc., etc., just curious where to start my journey.

I would (and did) frequent the local airports often. Get your name and face out there so if a job does arise, they'll know who you are. That is the first step to corp. aviation. WHO YOU KNOW!!!!
2 things that hurt 121 guys without them knowing it is if they have a B737 type without ever having a 737 job (SWA, Here I come as soon as I get the time) and having the F/E written completed (Fedex, Here I come to sit sideways as soon as I have the time). If you have either of those on your resume, take it off before sending it to a 91 operator. What helps a 121 guy is if they have a job already instead of being furloughed. Most 91 departments will have reservations about hiring a guy that is furloughed, as he will potentially take a hike as soon as he gets called back. It happens more than you think. Remember the Comair guys that NJA hired during Comair's strike? They went back to Comair after just a few weeks for a contract not much better than they went on strike for. Also, dont be shy about letting the potential employer know that you are not afraid to get your hands dirty and you are no stranger to hard work. I have met so many 121 guys that whine about having to hump bags, going back to serve the pax, not having a hard schedule, yadda yadda yadda. 91 Corporate and 121 Airline are 2 different worlds, so you have to make sure you let these people know you want to leave 121 cause you are bored showing up and the plane is ready to go and you don't have much responsibility or any extra duties. You appreciate your time at the airline cause you got a tremondous amount of experience with winter ops (snow, ice, stiff X-Winds to contaminated runways, etc), but you are not content just flying your trip, walking away from the airplane, and going home until it's time for your next gig; you want to be in an environment where you can contribute to its smooth flowing operation and success (read office duties). Also, you are right, a lot of the time it is who you know, not what you know, but I and many others I know found their current or a previous jobs going into it cold, not knowing a single person in town, much les the flight department. One last thing: The Chief Pilot at some corporate operator is NOT going to be impressed with your Boeing type ratings. He gonna think you were just swinging the gear, the PIC did all the flying, and the auto-land and autopilot did all the flying if it was your leg. He might ask how it was flying big iron like that, but you are by no means impressing him with your 757/767 intl experience. It's like the guy that goes to buy a race horse. The owner turns the horse loose in the paddock and the horse gallops at full speed right into a tree. The would-be buyer interjects, "HEY! What's going on here? You must think I am a fool. You are trying to sell me a blind horse!!!". The owner says, "Blind???? That horse ain't blind; he just dont give a FU#K!!". Same with the CP And your airline time; he ain't gonna give a fu#k. Odds are he tried to fly for the airlines and got the thanks but no thanks letter, so you might be struggling from the word go as he might be bitter about the airline guys that did make it. Now, go in there with your Boeing time insisting you are worth every penny of the 70K you are demanding, informing him of what an asset you are cause you can clean up this flight department, letting him know you'll be needing a hard schedule cause weekends and holidays are days you don't work coupled with the fact that you can't be gone all time cause you have a wife and kid, and that wet-behind-the-ears cocky attitude; you'll find out just how fast 'Homey don't play that', cause Homey don't hire guys like that. Good luck to you.
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Your not telling us much about your 121 time. International, cargo, or maybe just regional in nature. All fine, but each one brings a little different flavor to the applicant. Do you have some type ratings? Give a few more clues and maybe there is something, somewhere that we can point at, or at least share a hint or two.
HawkerF/O nailed it. Another piece of advice......get something corporate on your resume, and get out of 121. Most corporate operators are very wary of hiring a pure 121 guys simply for the reasons that Hawker said, plus a few others. If you get a 135 gig or something like that, and get some corporate experience on your resume, and maybe a type or two, you'll find that it'll get a LOT easier. Find a charter job, even if it's sitting right seat, and start getting some corp time. Minimize the airline stuff on your resume. If you have any previous corp experience, highlight it. My old boss used to tell me he'd NEVER hire an airline guy, for every reason that Hawker said. He'd say that it took him hiring 2 at another company to teach him the lesson to never do it again. I'm a former airline guy myself, and I know how it is. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do about the airline mantra in some folks' eyes except get as far away from it as possible. :) Of course, these days, as bad as the airlines are getting, it's getting more and more commonplace for someone to do what you're doing. It might be getting easier.
I agree that it's all who you know, but if you find the right operator and get that corporate dream job -- it's better than you ever imagined it could be.

Best kept secret in aviation.
I would recommend that you change your thinking on the whole matter.

People will most likely not be receptive to someone "escaping 121". There has been alot of great advice on the thread thus far. I would add that getting crystal clear in your own mind on what you want in a job, and then begin looking for it. Taking a job just to get out of 121 will probably leave you very unfulfilled and just as unhappy as you are now in a short time.

I would suggest putting to paper what you want.

Here are some thought starters:

My Values
Company Values

I can guarantee you that if you at least get clear on those few, and submit it to paper, it will not only help you find the job you want, but it will help you interview stronger.

Most employers want someone with a plan. They know that happy employees are ones that take responsibility for their own lot and ask for help when they need it, as opposed to the ones that sit back and get pissed when their needs are not met.

Good luck with the transition and keep us informed.
FlyFlyFly has some great advise. Put it to paper and really look hard at the type of individual you are. Most of my flying has been in the 121 environment but after getting furloughed I luckily landed a corporate gig in my hometown. It turned out to be a real eye opener. Needless to say I think I reinforced all this guy's prejudices about hiring a "airline" guy. Oh well, I did my best. He gave me a chance and it paid the bills for a year. We parted ways with a sour taste left in both of our mouths. Our personalities were 180 degrees apart. The point(s) is corporate jobs are as different as the companies that operate the planes, some awesome, some crappy. But corporate is very very different from the "pretty much everthing is done for us" 121 environment. As I have seen on this board and experienced myself, finding a dream corporate job is like trying to hit the lotto. IMHO
You might want to try a fractional. it's a blend between having it all done for you 121 world and the corp/charter world.

Plus it comes with the union fight just like the 121 carriers. :)

You might want to do that for a little while and then you have a free type.
I was really open-minded when I made the switch last year. But it's taken nearly 18 months to get comfortable with the job and all the stuff it entails.

You have to look at this as changing career fields. The 91 job requires such incredible flexibility and the ability handle a wide variety of tasks--it's nothing like 121.

Getting paid what I was as a capt. for a major airline was like stealing from the company. Getting paid what I am now--I'm getting ripped off! :D TC

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