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Winged Sig 599

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2002
Thanks 2000 flyer; I was getting a bit of mixed reviews there. Jaydub said that corporate guys don't get a chance; and others were saying that jet pic is jet pic. Even though I have not reached the level of experience that you two have, my sense of reason would tell me that if you meet the minimums whatever the standard is at that time you would would have a fighting chance at the job. As a brand new CFI, I realize that I have about a year or so of time building before I will have to make the corporate vs. regional carrier decision. I have friends on both sides of the fence, regional and corporate. However they are just getting started, so I wanted input from those with more exerience. Here are my obervations thus far:
Pros Cons
Higher Starting Salary Long binding contracts; years before cap.
Nice accomodations Pager phone/surgically attached/beckon
Somewhat predictable scheduling call of company/ employer
Nice aircraft (multiple type ratings depending who you work for)
121 experience/possible flow through shisty salary
predictable scheduling shisty accomodations
(someone correct me if I'm wrong, or feel free to add input)

If it is one thing that I have learned thus far in my few years at this game, is that you can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather. You can plan things, but as we have all seen, it can all change at the drop of the dime. Sometimes I think you have to take what you can get, and you are undoubtedly going to have to pay dues no matter what. I must say that at this point, that I don't really think I'll lose no matter what. (both have pros and cons) I just wanted some objective viewpoints.
Winged Sig 599 said:
Pros Cons
Higher Starting Salary Long binding contracts; years before cap.
Nice accomodations Pager phone/surgically attached/beckon
Somewhat predictable scheduling call of company/ employer
Nice aircraft (multiple type ratings depending who you work for)

Keep in mind that not every corporate pilot job is the same. 121 operators seem to be more streamlined, but corporate has a wide range.

There are many corporates that do not have a pager or phone "surgically" attached to you. Some of the good ones give you a schedule weeks in advance with days off you can plan. It's the charter companies that usually have you on a short leash.

As far as upgrade times go, you'll probally do better at a corporate than you would at a Major. Heck, there were guys waiting 15-20 years at AA before they could upgrade. It might have gotten better a few years back, but now upgrade times are on there way back up again. And, "Long Binding Contracts"? I have never signed a contract in corporate. Yes, some do require a contract, but they are usually the ones that have turn over. If they have high turnover, there is a reason!

The hard part is finding the job that is right for you. Since there is such a wide variety of operations out there, it takes some homework. One other think to consider, since you just got your CFI, is the higher flight time requirements at most corporates. Typically, for a "good" corporate operation, you will need to have 3500 TT for an FO position and around 5000 TT for a Captain position. But you could always start out with a charter company usually requiring around 2000 TT for an FO.

Good Luck,

Other than flight time / experience for corporate operations, probably the second most important item is networking. The more corporate pilot's and chief pilot's you meet building time, the better. So many corporate jobs are word of mouth. If you've made a good impression on the chief pilot while chatting at the FBOs, the better you stand when they might hire because he'll know who you are and what you're like. I've seen numerous ads on various "help wanted" websites for corporate pilots for positions that are already filled. The company is just meeting the legal requirement of posting the job and accepting applications.

You are correct in your thought process about good and not so good corporations. I know specifically of one Fortune 100 company that has a hard 15-day off policy for it's pilots. Thats almost unheard of in the Part 91 biz. My job doesn't require me to carry a cell/pager. Yet I might not know my schedule much more than a few days in advance. Nor do I have schedule days off. Yet I fly with a good group of pilot's; flying excellent equipment with some great destinations. Yes, there are a few things I'd like to see improved (wouldn't we all), but in this day and age any job is better than none-at-all.

Hey Brother,

I'm furloughed but fortunate enough to have found a job flying charter. I'm pretty certain the life I'll be living for the next ? years will suck in comparison to what I've been enjoying previously. If I were not married with children I probably wouldn't give a rat's a$$. Are you married? If not, then go for the charter flying.

There is no secret formula for getting to the major's, if in fact you still want to do so, but there is something you should consider. Most pilots hired at major or national airlines come from either the commuters or the military. Since it does not sound as if you're military, then that leaves the commuters. You will meet many more pilots with your same ambitions if you fly for a commuter. I'm talking about fellow pilots and jumpseaters. I can think of close to a dozen guys I know who were hired at a major after getting either a LOR or some sort of help from someone they met either on a jumpseat or have flown with. Likewise, if your goal was to fly for a Fortune 500 company, you probably wouldn't want to spend too much time flying for a commuter. It's all about networking.

I hope that you'll soon have your pick of places to work. Good luck.

In hoc

There's a big difference between a bona fide "corporate" flight department (and a huge difference if you are talking a Fortune 100 company) and flying for a charter company. Very few ever leave a large, well-established Part 91 flight department to go fly for a regional.
599, don't take this the wrong way, but you're a long way from needing to worry about that. It's almost like a freshly minted CFI trying to decide if he should work at Delta or United, the answer is simple... the one that hires him/her first. And you're right if you do things right, you'll be successful either way.

At this point in your career, you'll be doing the same thing every CFI is doing and trying to get that first turbine job, from there you try to get that first Turbine PIC job. At some point in your career you MIGHT have to decide whether to go 121 or corporate. And I think that the general consensus on the forum is that if you truly want to work at a major, you should go work for a regional.

At this point in your career, just relax let aviation take you on its wild ride. There are a lot more things to worry about right now than regional vs. corporate. How about soloing that first student, or paying rent on CFI pay? Things might also change in the future, I had always planned on working for a major, but somehow I got stuck, IMHO, with the best job in flying (very small, very high quality corporate) and hopefully this will be my last job in aviation.

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