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Astra SPX Corporate Pilot

Pilot's Blog

Pilot Details
Company Toronto
Based in Toronto
Age 31
Gender Male
Pilot's Blog

Hello everyone, well, I started out my flight training at a flight college and learned as much as I could earning a diploma. Hard work really pays off in this industry. Over the years, I succeeded through various piston jobs that led to a twin piston job, and high performance turboprop job along the way. Being in the right place at the right time landed me laid off, but being upgraded from the turboprop to the jet. Once again, a good work ethic will help you, but also a little luck is also needed!

We fly corporate executives, and sometimes famous people around. One of my biggest challenges to date was getting up to speed with flying at 460kts (Mach 0.82) and cruising at 45,000'. The job is a most enjoyable one, but not very good at buliding time. Most guys flying at this stage aren't wanting to build any more time though. We fly approximately 300-400 hours per year, and most trips include at least a 2 night layover, which gives you time to check out the sights, and meet the people. However, family life may suffer, being away from home quite often, but with an understanding partner, it can work out.

The pay is on par with other outfits in Canada, and the support from dispatch is great. They look after setting up our customs, arranging hotels, rental cars etc. We have a flight planning service that plans for us as well. We just make a phone call, give them our particulars, and soon after, our flight plan arrives with routing, and its been given to FSS. We fly the owners around as a "private" flight, and when they aren't using the aircraft, our services are chartered out to other clients, who charter the plane "commercially." We have flown bands around on tour, presidents of major companies, and also familes going on holiday.

90% of the trips are pre planned, and viewable on the companies planning software, however, days off will follow to suit the schedule of the travellers. We get at least 3 days off in 17, but its hard to plan on which 3 in a row you will get. In most cases, there is only one crew for the airplane, but having a diverse fleet of over 10 seperate aircraft of different sizes, it is possible to take an aircraft, and crew "off line" and give the trip to another crew.

There is an "on call" portion to the job, but it usually entails one weekend a month, from 7 am to 7 pm. When you are "on call" you have to be able to launch inside of 2 hours, so living an hour from the airport is not a problem. Other times when you are not flying, they can call you for a trip, but there is not the same "pressure" of being able to launch inside of 2 hours. It could be for a trip later that evening, or perhaps one the next morning. This doesn't seem to happen very often either, which is a great change, coming from a medevac background of sleeping with the pager.

Being an FO, I do get some left seat time as well. On empty legs, with prior permission from the captain and chief pilot, I do get to fly from the left, and also after the annual recurrency left seat training at Flight Safety, it is also legal to fly left seat with the owners on board for a "private flight" and log PIC.

Most people in the corporate world have aspirations of flying for the airlines, and I am no different. I hope to one day take my jet experience, and use it in the airline world, but if that door doesn't open, the corporate world is a very comfortable place to hang your hat for years to come.

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