I’ll be honest — I never really considered the corporate side of things. I wanted to be an airline pilot for years and finally met that goal this year. In 2008, when I first started my airplane training, I joined the Army and flew helicopters because I didn’t have the money to finish and the economy was in the tank. I’ve always been fixated on the airlines and namely because I always heard negative things about the corporate side.I’ve always been a corporate guy, and here I shall remain. At 35 I have had an extremely fortunate career - Small part 91 flight department manager, true world wide operations as a demo pilot for one of the major business jet OEM’s and now CAM on an amazing account at one of the top management companies.
I hardly know any corporate pilots staying on the 91 side of the industry - the young guys are starting their careers in CJ’s and Hawkers and likely will be moving to 121 in the coming years, and when I go to industry events, 9/10 of my colleagues in management are at least 15 years older than me. That’s not a a sometimes thing, that is the rule in my experience.
As awesome as the times seem to be for the airline guys, I encourage people to really consider what an amazing opportunity is also at hand within business aviation. The departments you want to work for have gotten the memo, and pay is becoming very respectable. In my personal network I don’t know anyone flying a large cabin business jet making less than mid 200’s, and super mids like Challengers and Falcons are easily approaching if not exceeding the 200 mark.
The times are great for everyone right now, but it won’t last forever. Position yourself in a place that you will be happy to spend the next ten years because this could end overnight. Short of being in a true dream job, I really think people are going to look back on this time period in the future and really question why you didn’t have upward career progression, because if you aren’t, you're just being lazy or not in touch with our industry.
Either way, happy jobs to all, and for the young dudes, really consider the potential for the other side of the industry. If and when it all falls, I’m putting my money on being in a global or other large cabin business jet at a stable department rather than furloughed mainline 320 or 737 FO.
Where would you recommend I go to educate myself about the corporate side of the jet world? I’m curious about the true pros and cons of airlines vs. corporate and how one infiltrates the industry and progresses in the corporate aviation world.