What would you consider "adequate" staffing for a part 91 flight department with 3 airplanes? Each airplane flies between 250-400 hours a year. There are the occasional trips to europe, but most of the flying is domestic transcons.
9 minimum, 10 - 12 would work better, especially if your flying transcontinentally. You could also form a pretty decent schedule with that staffing ratio. Now, getting the principals to sign off on that is another battle.
Thanks for the input guys and I am familiar with the rhetoric on Flight Info, like 'don't do anything my flight department wouldn't do', so give me a real world number. We rarely use contract guys and we seem to fair pretty well on far fewer guys, however, I do feel we are understaffed. So forget the "in a perfect world" numbers and tell me what is an acceptable number. In an AVERAGE world and if the job is a really good job, what is the minimum staffing level for a 3 aircraft flight department where you would accecpt a job?
All three aircraft are the same type and there are no SIC's. All PIC's
If all three aircaft are flying you want three per aircraft. what do you do more sit around or fly. if only one or two fly at a time then two per aircraft. here is the thing you need to cover the plane with some one on vacation and some one sick, or at school. If you can't cover the schedule with two guys out, you don't have enough.
I'll add that it also depends on what else you have going on in the department. Do you train once or twice a year? How often do you do other training - jet upset, water survival, attend CASS/Safety Standdown, NBAA, etc. Another factor could be compensation; what if your company's culture won't support a salary that keeps guys running hard year round happy but doesn't blink about another pilot? That investment in another pilot not only adds scheduling flexibility but maybe reduces turnover.
Just don't get sucked into a minimal staffing model then start adding things like ISBAO certification and chasing "world class" status without realizing the implications. Boiled frog happens more often than you think.
9 Captains will work out to be, between 12 and 16 days on a month on average, thats covering 4 weeks of vacation a year per pilot and training every 6 months. This is for 3 planes Based on 350 - 450 flight hours a year each