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Looking for Opinions/Advice

LXApilot

Owes More Than He Makes
Joined
Feb 17, 2003
Posts
262
Total Time
5 pm
Dear Readers,

I thought I would take a few minutes to seek your advice and opinions regarding my current situation. As most of you remember from a well-read previous posting; I was laid-off for over 18 months from 2008 until earlier this year. I'm grateful for the position I've been able to have this year and am thankful for the opportunities I've been given in my current position. However, I'm now staring down a few serious decisions and figured I could get a few perspectives from my fellow pilots... Here is the situation:

I've been flying as a PIC for a charter company flying the Cessna Citation 650 (again) but the company and the aircraft base is 2,000 nm away from my home, family, life and friends. It's very hard to be away - I've been at this position since April 1st and have had a total of sixteen nights back at home since then. Due to the conditions/pay situation at my current job I'm living in a cheap hotel near the fbo where our aircraft is based. Renting a one bedroom apartment is the mathematical equivalent to staying at the hotel for almost two weeks. I just cross my fingers and hope that we're "on the road" at least that much per month. I haven't ponied up the dough to purchase a car here either- to ship my car to my location would be over $1,200. I figure that at some point; I'll want to return home and that would mean another $1,200... so I've given up on having a car out here.

We fly approximately 15-25 hours per month. (Not much at all). Our company pays us an "acceptable" but not "good" salary... I'm very grateful for it- but it is below NBAA averages. Our company also does not give us "per diem" in the traditional sense. Instead, the company provides us an allowance of $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner. We pay our own meals and then later apply for reimbursement on each meal- but reimbursement is capped at the mentioned levels. I have never worked for a company that has worked in this manner. I'm grateful for getting something- but feel it is somewhat substandard.

Our company practices some strange policies... we get 8 hard days off every 3 months... but my understanding of the FAR's indicates we are supposed to get 13 days off per quarter. When I ask about making up the difference; our DO has explained that: "Our POI and I are on the same page..." explaining that on days we do not fly, they are retroactively counted as days off. Unfortunately, on these days we do not fly, myself and the first officer are not allowed to drink, we must answer our telephones and be within 60 minutes of being able to report for duty. Did I mention that they want us to meet those expectations 24 hours per day, 7 days per week? That means that if we want to go to a sporting event, the mall, beach, etc. that it is practically impossible without risking our job(s). I always believed that a day "off" meant that a crew-member was released from all company related duty- including the requirement to be available or answer the telephone. What are your opinions on that?

Also; at our company the policy is to not let the F/O fly the aircraft except on empty leg reposition flights. I believe this is extremely detrimental to the F/O's flying proficiency and development of skill and judgment on this aircraft. Furthermore, there are certain restrictions even on those empty legs... if that empty leg occurs on the first leg of the day, or in marginal conditions, then the PIC is required to fly the aircraft- further reducing the F/O's exposure to flying the aircraft. Is this a common practice at many charter companies/flight departments? When I was gaining experience I was always allowed to fly 1/2 of the legs of the aircraft. At the airlines this is also standard practice.

In addition to these practices the company also exhibits significantly hostile and unreasonable behavior towards flight crews. I won't go into too much detail because it might reveal too much on this forum... however, we are repeatedly told that we are treated this way because: "[we] just fly this little Citation" and that when we fly a "real" aircraft such as the Gulfstream, Global, BBJ then we can discuss increases in pay/work rules/days off, etc. I believe that this is also unreasonable? The Global is a great aircraft and is large for a corporate aircraft- but when placed on the ramp next to the 737 or even E190 it is quite small. It is surprising to me that company management exhibits this "big airplane" mentality which is usually reserved to certain pilots you might run into in flight operations.

In short, I'm getting burned out... I am ready to go look for work elsewhere. However, it still seems the job market is very tight and that I should preserve the position I've got. What are you all seeing/hearing out in the job market right now? In my hometown of Atlanta there is absolutely no hiring or corporate/charter jobs available in any capacity.

In addition to this conundrum I also am having to consider that a former employer has offered me the ability to go to G-450/G-550 initial in the next few months in consideration for some work I've done for them. However, their offer only lasts for another few months. There is no job associated with this training.. it is just a rating which they are willing to pay for as part of some compensation they owed to me. As many of you already know; this training is probably worth $60k and requires 5 weeks of attendance in class. My current position, described above, would never allow me the time off to attend this type rating course. To attend this class, I would have to tender my resignation. Would you quit to attend this G450/550 initial training? Would another rating be a better qualification for someone going into the contract pilot market?

I appreciate all responses and am interested to hear your opinions regarding my current position and the possible training scenario. Thanks in advance for your time.

- LXA
 

jdubya

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Posts
96
Total Time
7500
It's unfortunate that these situations exist in our business, I've been there too and it's tough, especially with a family.

In any case, I put to you that you already know the answer to your questions.

Good luck. It will work out.
 

LJ45

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Posts
1,081
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13,000
get out, get the type and hope for something better
 

ditchpilot

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Posts
193
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Why put yourself and family through such hardship. There must be a better gig closer to home. You would not do this for a non flying job.
 

gern_blanston

Airport Bum
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
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345
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Why put yourself and family through such hardship. There must be a better gig closer to home. You would not do this for a non flying job.
Exactly. You would never consider putting up with that crap in a non-flying job. So these yo-yos violate FARs on a regular basis, keep you away from your family 95% of the time, treat you like crap, cheap out on you, exhibit 'hostile and unreasonable' behavior towards you, and base their bad behavior on the 'little Citatioin' that you fly?!? You should be treated well whether your flying a PA28 or an A380.
If you're gonna' take advice from a buncha' knuckleheads on-line, jdubya is on the money. You know the answer to your questions.
Good luck.


(no offense, jdubya :) )
 

G100driver

Well-known member
Joined
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Posts
2,096
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<2mil
Getta outta your situation ... the G550 type is worth about 50k and and with experience on the aircraft you will be marketable ... Good luck!
 

FO4life

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Posts
219
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4000
What you say hits home with me. I know, I get it. You hate this job, but your working. You miss your family, you have no life, but your paying the morgage, I get it trust me.
The only difference is you got the G wizz carrot hanging in front of you. this is what I would do. See if the old company would be willing to use you for contract work after the type rating. Even if it is only one trip a month or two, you would be getting experience in the airplane. If they agree go and start searching every company that has that airpalne and send resumes, letters, or whatever stating you are intrested in contract work after XX date. IF you can get one company to say they will use you once a month, jump on it. If the old company is giving you the type only as a thank you for you services and with no flying attached. that will be a hard pill to swallow.
that is what I would do with three mouths to feed and a morgage payment.
Good luck
 

Sandhawk

Waiting on Dec 13, 2012
Joined
May 2, 2004
Posts
547
Total Time
Mucho+
In addition to this conundrum I also am having to consider that a former employer has offered me the ability to go to G-450/G-550 initial in the next few months in consideration for some work I've done for them. However, their offer only lasts for another few months. There is no job associated with this training.. it is just a rating which they are willing to pay for as part of some compensation they owed to me. As many of you already know; this training is probably worth $60k and requires 5 weeks of attendance in class. My current position, described above, would never allow me the time off to attend this type rating course. To attend this class, I would have to tender my resignation. Would you quit to attend this G450/550 initial training? Would another rating be a better qualification for someone going into the contract pilot market?


Nothing ventured, nothing gained.....

Sounds like you work for a typical dirtbag 135 charter outfit..... Those jobs are always (usually) available. I know you have to pay the bills, but will it be worth it if you lose your family over being gone that much?

Quit that crappy outfit and get that G-V rating with 450/550 differences. Network like hell while you are in school for 5 weeks, there is a decent chance you can pick up some contract work, or maybe get some leads for a job flying that aircraft.

Too many crap operators dangle the bigger airplane carrot in front of your face, but never manage to follow through. In the end, if you do get typed in a bigger jet, you are still dealing with the same bullsh!t at the same crap company, but now on a global scale. Hopefully they give you more than $10/$15/$20 for food overseas.....



In addition to these practices the company also exhibits significantly hostile and unreasonable behavior towards flight crews. I won't go into too much detail because it might reveal too much on this forum... however, we are repeatedly told that we are treated this way because: "[we] just fly this little Citation" and that when we fly a "real" aircraft such as the Gulfstream, Global, BBJ then we can discuss increases in pay/work rules/days off, etc. I believe that this is also unreasonable? The Global is a great aircraft and is large for a corporate aircraft- but when placed on the ramp next to the 737 or even E190 it is quite small. It is surprising to me that company management exhibits this "big airplane" mentality which is usually reserved to certain pilots you might run into in flight operations.


PS - I had a friend interview for a Falcon 900 part 135 job a while back. He was typed in the DA-50 and had mostly flown the 50/50EX. During the interview, the C.P. asked him how much "wide-body" time he had. My friend replied, about 1,500 hours in the 767. The C.P. said, "We meant 900 time." GMAFB
 

Gulfstream 200

Database Expert
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Posts
4,574
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I wouldn't quit any job thats paying the bills for a Gulfstream/Global type rating. You want a good job, not a rating.

A type rating is worthless without decent PIC time - or far better yet - a good connection to a good job (not contract work IMO) Id pass on the rating and put the money they owe you in your hands. The whole idea that they wont hire you, but owe you money and are willing to trade it for discounted FSI slots and no guaranteed work days etc is just rather odd IMO, but whatever....Just pay me. Never knew a bank/mortgage holder or a grocery store that took FSI Pro Cards for payment.

There are plenty of wacko Gulfstream/Global jobs just like the one you have now, and there are plenty of unemployed Gulfstream pilots. I would not want to be job shopping with a brand new type rating right now. Some may point out that a type ratings worth 50-60K....its not. Go ahead and try and sell that piece of worthless paper, its worth $hit without a good job....Also, the vast majority of good jobs dont require the rating, they require a strong network and friends.

Keep in mind people also like to hire employed people...saying you quit in todays market because your previous dirtbag company kept you on call and only gave you $45 a day for food raises flags, like it or not. Of course - no job in this $hit business is worth wrecking a family over and everyone here will tell you to run away, but everyone here wont chip in for you mortgage or healthcare next month either (LOL)

If its that bad and you can financially sit on the sidelines/contract for however long it takes to find a good job today...go for it....but I would have 2-3 years income in the bank to blow! If not I would just keep paying for my own lunches (lol) and keep shopping for a better job while you are still employed.....then smile, run, and warn others about the job.

Good Luck!
 
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svcta

"Kids these days"-AAflyer
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Posts
1,767
Total Time
SOLO!
I have a tendency to chase QOL maybe a little too hard, but it has worked out for me so far. If your obligations are met toward your current employer I would consider walking. It has been mentioned that class is a great place to network and I would agree. I'm not the world's best networker, but it makes sense. Atlanta does seem like a tough market. As big as the city is it seems like there just isn't the volume of corporate aviation there as in similar size cities. However, I have a buddy where I live who took a leave from his heavy cargo outfit to pursue life for a while and has been eaten up with contract work in everything from lears and westwinds, to king airs. Your mileage may vary, but it can be done.

The hardest career decision I ever made was leaving a known quantity flying job where I was unhappy for a new job that I didn't know anything about but that I thought might really work out for me. It turns out that I was right. Change is a frightening thing and leaving a job in this market is also scary. I don't know what I would do if I had to find a job right now, but I'm also not sure I could stand being in your situation; away from everything for a bad job. Also, I will respectfully submit that while it is easier to get a job if you have a job, people are reasonable as long as you're not a year out of currency.

Bottom line for me: Don't let fear keep you in a crap situation. I was talking with my dad recently who said that he had a medical examiner tell him years and years ago: "You guys all come in here stressed out. If the job's not working for you then you need to f**king quit." Point being that stress about this stuff will send you to an early grave. Think it over, but not too much. I've learned that I can make just about any decision in about 30 minutes of real consideration just as well as in 30 days of agonizing.

Good luck, man.
 
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ILOVEBEER

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Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Posts
240
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8
Don't walk away. Do something to piss them off (nothing major but maybe misread the schedule or forget to set your alarm clock a few times), get fired and collect unemployment while you are in G-IV training. It's a win-win situation.
 

dhc8fo

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2001
Posts
402
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lots
I am going to side with those who say that your family is more important than your current job, especially with the type-rating offer hanging in front of you. I have been laid off since the beginning of May and still have had no luck, but then, I fly a little Citation as well ;-) I just paid for my own recurrent so I can stay employable but I don't even know if I will get to use it before next year's recurrent. So I know how you're feeling.

The type is worth a lot and opens you up to a whole new market of aircraft to fly. So far, it has also been my experience that people who are going to employ as soon as the market (hopefully) picks up, are understanding about the breaks between flying and not flying because they know first-hand that the market sucks and jobs are hard to come by. I have MANY chief pilot's as friends who tell me that they would not consider that a detriment, especially when you are able to show that you have been trying hard to find something. You have skills, you have had a job, you have PIC time, you will have at least two types. You are a proven pilot.

Come home. Enjoy the family. Pick up SOMETHING to pay the bills. Network like HELL. You will definitely find something, even if it is some contract work along the way, better things will come. Good luck my friend.
 

dhc8fo

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Don't walk away. Do something to piss them off (nothing major but maybe misread the schedule or forget to set your alarm clock a few times), get fired and collect unemployment while you are in G-IV training. It's a win-win situation.

I do agree with this too :-D

Maybe demand that they start following the 135 regs....then you can also sue them AND collect unemployment! :laugh:
 

gern_blanston

Airport Bum
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Apr 26, 2005
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I have a tendency to chase QOL maybe a little too hard, but it has worked out for me so far. If your obligations are met toward your current employer I would consider walking. It has been mentioned that class is a great place to network and I would agree. I'm not the world's best networker, but it makes sense. Atlanta does seem like a tough market. As big as the city is it seems like there just isn't the volume of corporate aviation there as in similar size cities. However, I have a buddy where I live who took a leave from his heavy cargo outfit to pursue life for a while and has been eaten up with contract work in everything from lears and westwinds, to king airs. Your mileage may vary, but it can be done.

The hardest career decision I ever made was leaving a known quantity flying job where I was unhappy for a new job that I didn't know anything about but that I thought might really work out for me. It turns out that I was right. Change is a frightening thing and leaving a job in this market is also scary. I don't know what I would do if I had to find a job right now, but I'm also not sure I could stand being in your situation; away from everything for a bad job. Also, I will respectfully submit that while it is easier to get a job if you have a job, people are reasonable as long as you're not a year out of currency.

Bottom line for me: Don't let fear keep you in a crap situation. I was talking with my dad recently who said that he had a medical examiner tell him years and years ago: "You guys all come in here stressed out. If the job's not working for you then you need to f**king quit." Point being that stress about this stuff will send you to an early grave. Think it over, but not too much. I've learned that I can make just about any decision in about 30 minutes of real consideration just as well as in 30 days of agonizing.

Good luck, man.
Right on. Too many pilots take QOL out of the equation. You need to make a decent salary, but only an idiot gets into this business (or stays in this business) for the money. Any decent insurance salesman makes a couple hundred thousand a year, and he's home every night and on weekends.
There's a balance, but as my 1st flight instructor said, "a flying career is like sex: Sometimes it's hard work, but if you're not enjoying it, you're not doing it right."
 

LXApilot

Owes More Than He Makes
Joined
Feb 17, 2003
Posts
262
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Thanks everybody! I appreciate all of the different perspectives and ideas/opinions regarding my current situation. As professional pilots we often overlook the fact that our best resource may be the guy sitting across from you in the pilots lounge- it's as a collective group that we make this profession tolerable. Some of your ideas are very good- keep them coming- I will let you all know what I decide to do.
 

400A

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Don't walk away. Do something to piss them off (nothing major but maybe misread the schedule or forget to set your alarm clock a few times), get fired and collect unemployment while you are in G-IV training. It's a win-win situation.

I could not disagree with this more. Any termination on your record is detrimental. With the surplus of pilots on the street at the moment, it just gives you something else to have to explain. Even more so in the 135 business with background checks. Also, Unemployment does not always pay on a termination. In Georgia, if the terminating company fights it, you may not get it.

Something else to think about is currency. I have 2 friends on the street right now that have quickly lost currency. People will not even talk to them now.

Since NBAA is in your home town next week, I think I might drop the change to go if there is anyway you can get home.

As far as the SIC policies, they are just plain stupid. How do they ever expect these people to learn how to be PIC's. We always swapped legs unless I thought weather was a factor.
 

jdubya

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None taken gb, it is a crazy bunch on here at times.

At least it has a semblance of professionalism on the corporate forum, have you ever looked at the regional board? holy cow.
 

Gulfstream 200

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I could not disagree with this more. Any termination on your record is detrimental. With the surplus of pilots on the street at the moment, it just gives you something else to have to explain. .

400a is right on...dont think for a second that people dont call around all the time and ask about pilots. It ranges from guys you know very well who will outright tell you "Joe is a loser, run away dont walk" (lol) to guys you just know professionally who will say "who? Ohhh ya...Joe worked here from xxx until xxx, how's everything else going?"...lol...you get the picture. Of course common sense applies, if you call the low end on-demand ratty charter outfit your buddy happens to run, I dont expect all pilot departures to be hugs and kisses....but I dont expect to hear that a guy purposely missed trips in an effort to screw the operation up.

I have seen "Im gonna stick it to em'" guys lose 2-3 good opportunities just recently and they will never know why. They will say "They didn't want to pay to move me"...or..."They really wanted a rated guy"...whatever.

Its just not worth it. If you find yourself in a crappy position and just cant take it anymore just give proper notice and resign. This isn't difficult. Missing trips on purpose? c'mon, who is really going to lose here?

And of course above all, be very, very wary about taking career advice from me or from ANY pilot message board, especially from unemployed pilots or guys named ILOVEBEER......;):laugh:
 
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gern_blanston

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And of course above all, be very, very wary about taking career advice from me or from ANY pilot message board, especially from unemployed pilots or guys named ILOVEBEER......;):laugh:
Good advice. :)
 

JJET44

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May 25, 2006
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LXApilot;2058999 Also; at our company the policy is to not let the F/O fly the aircraft except on empty leg reposition flights. I believe this is extremely detrimental to the F/O's flying proficiency and development of skill and judgment on this aircraft. Furthermore said:
I sure most of us have heard a current or former employer say that they don't hire FO's, just Captains in training. Maybe your company does hire FO's just as FO's. Please don't think that I agree with this, but this could be their unrealistic mindset. It'll change once FO's start failing their recurrent checkrides because of lack of recent experience.
 
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