I spent a lil over two years with IFL(Independent Flight Leasing or Idiots, F*!kups and Losers or however you wanna put it). IFL is primarily an FAA Part 125 operation(CV580/5800 and B727-100), although they do operate Part 135 with the C208's and I believe they may now be getting in to a lil bit of 121( don't quote me on that though).
For the most part, it was a very, very good experience. Like anywhere you work, you have your sticks in the mud etc. But as a whole, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything; made a lot of good friends and had a lot of great experience flying some classic heavy iron.
As for the duty day, Part 125 is like 121 on steroids. We were basically on call 24/7, put in a rotation of crews. Sometimes depending on sickness, personal days off etc. you could be paired with the same person for maybe a week or more, but that was a rarity and we ended up flying with a lot of different people. The Duty days could and usually did last 16 hours. Average duty day was more or less 10-12 hrs unless you were doing short runs, which in that case the "dispatchers" would most likely find another trip for ya. In addition, we could extend the duty day 2 extra hours depending on delays. One thing most people are not aware of about 125, is that in addition to the 16-hour duty day, we could also fly up to 16 hours. I have done this on occasion but is very rare. As well, we can Part 91 non-rev it home after a 16 hour day and being on call 24/7 having been up the whole day and just settling in to bed and then your pager goes off and you have a trip from Detroit to Laredo down to Leon or Saltillo, Mexico. These can make for some very long days. As far as crew rest goes, during busy times, plan on 8-10 hrs maybe 12 depending on who you are paired up with. Again, there are times where you might be at the top of the rotation and be on call for 2 days straight etc. One never knows I guess.
As far as pay goes, FOs start around 18k/year and after 6months to a year or longer(18months I think) it goes up to about 24k within a year. This also includes a mileage gaurantee. You are guaranteed 15,000mi as an FO and for every mile over, you get an additional .10, which can add up during the busy months and there are incentives such as border crossings in to Mexico which are 100$, perdiem is 20$/day and wait time on freight is 25$/hour after the first hour is up(allowing lead time). For Capts, pay is in low 40s with a 10,000mi guarantee and .25/mi over 10k. Health benefits are for the most part very good, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan(PPO) with a 10$ co-pay I believe. Dental is reasonable as well.
As far as where to live, there is no such thing as commuting. FOs have 20 minutes upon being paged to be at the ops and start getting things ready, Capts have 30mins. So basically, You are gonna wanna live real close. Traffic- wise, Waterford sucks, M59 and Airport road is a bear and living 8.6miles away, took all of 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. More or less, you can get away with 25mins if you are on the ball and have stuff ready. Aircraft and crew are to be in the air within an hour of being paged, 95% of the time, they are.
The last couple years had been pretty slow, but would have occasional busy spurts and I believe they are picking back up. I have had months where I may have logged 30-50hrs and some where I have logged 130hrs(on rare occassions) and averaged approx 70-90hrs/month. There are also times where you could spend as long as five days on the road waiting for a trip. This was the case when being out-based and being away from "home". Family life? What family life. Some had families and I can't imagine it was always conducive to it.
Manglement, errr.. Management, on a whole is pretty darn good, the owner is a great guy, a bit outspoken and eccentric(just don't put your hands in your pockets when he is around you...Don't ask!) The president, DO and CP are all great individuals and dont' have anything bad to speak of.
The only drawback to the whole job, is the schedule, or lack there of. If you can grin-and-bear-it, its a really, really good experience. It makes 12-14hr days in commuters etc look like a cake walk(no offence intended).
The biggest plus of the job are the aircraft, not a whole lot of people these days can say they have flown a Convair and even fewer can say they have flown a CV5800(stretched 580, glass cockpit and D22 Allisons). It makes for some great conversation with old timers and in interviews.
Anyway, that is my Two-cents worth, more like 10- dollars worth!
Any other questions, feel free to post or send a message.
Here's a link to check out some pics of present and past aircraft operated by IFL:
One thing I forgot to mention, albeit an important one.
Maintenance.... Facilities and Mechanics are Top- notch, and great people. I cannot say a single detrimental thing about these guys or their work.
Ground Crew... Wonderful bunch of guys, again, can't say a bad word about them.
Main Base/Ops, PTK.
Additional bases: IWA(Williams-Gateway) Metro Phoenix area.
I know they have a small out-station down
near MFE(Mcallen, TX) and I believe are starting one in South Florida as well, where, i couldn't tell ya.
I too agree with you. For the most part, IFL being a part 125 operator has no age 60 rule and thus is a good place to get good experience and move on to bigger and better things. A lot of the captains have been former airline guys or life-long freight dogs or are just gluttons for punishment. But yes, get your experience and move on.
You're making me nervous..... You playin' with yerself? Classic AR, that's for sure.
IFL is a great place to work if you don't mind the freightdog schedule. Excellent people to work with and great equipment. Being on call with six scheduled days off is a little tough, but you get used to it. As was previously mentioned, it's all the little things (border crossings, loading freight, wait time, etc.) that make you money. It's all above and beyond your monthly guarantee, so that's a bonus.
All the line pilots are excellent (I can think of two I didn't like flying with) and everyone in management (except the eccentric gray haired fella) is great. Even the eccentric guy is fun to listen to, but don't take what he says personally. He's crude to everyone.
EX580FR8Dawg covered it, I'll agree with everything he (or she) said. Great experience for any pilot.
Ah yes, busting your balls all night to make it to Saltillo by daybreak. Deadhead back to Laredo for a revenue flight to Phoenix, just make sure you hustle so you don't bust duty day!! Then deadhead the airplane home because it's hopping right now!! You haven't had sleep in 36 hours? Just come home and we'll let you have eight hours off!! The good old days..... It would have been a great job if they gave us a week on/ week off schedule.
Yes the 36+ hour days, getting back at 7am from A Pontiac- Mansfield-Laredo- Saltillo- Laredo- St Louis- DetroitCity trip then heading over to the P.L.I. in your slacks and Tshirt for a bucket o' beers with the 3rd shifters! Ahhh the memories!
I worked there a short time, the CV-580 is a dream to fly, one of the most honest airplanes I have every flown. Stable, responsive, over powered, great stopping power. One lever for each engine, kinda like a jet, no condition levers, RPM levers, just a go stick than that reads in horsepower to the prop. It was kinda like a baby Electra, boost out.
Im afraid to be the bearer of bad tidings celloman, but they dont have a website and competitive minimums from what i hear from my buddies that are still there would be somewhere in the 15-2000hr range and 2-500hrs multi.
I guess the only thing I could reccomend is keep doing what you are doing and things will fall in to place. Unless you are comming from a school that has a contract with a regional or whatever it may be, its gonna be hard to get a job other than dropping bouncers out of a 182 or 206.
Good Luck! Remember.... a lil presistence and hard work never hurt anyone.
Monterey Center: Transauto 141, Climb and maintain FL220
Transauto 141: Royer, Climb and maintain FL220, Transauto 141