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The Right Stuff and Corporate Jet Pilots

Choosing a pilot for your corporate jet should, at first glance, be an easy task to accomplish. Airline transport pilot certificate, first class medical certificate, type rating, education and experience; check!  These qualifications fit the requirements put in place by your insurance policy but are they really enough to ensure you have made the right choice?

The prospective candidate should have previous experience on the type of corporate jet you operate, or at least possess experience on an aircraft of comparable size and complexity.  The candidate should also have experience in similar operations.  For example, if you operate a Falcon 2000 in corporate jet operations, an ideal candidate would be a pilot who has operated the same aircraft in charter or corporate operations.  Less ideal candidates would be pilots with significant single pilot experience in turboprops, or pilots with numerous years of airline experience flying large airliners.  Despite common misconceptions, the experience gained by working for an airline does not adequately prepare a candidate for the unique demands of business or charter operations.  Unless the candidate has significant corporate jet experience in addition to airline experience, or you have someone else already on staff who can train the individual, it’s best to move on to a candidate who is already familiar with operating a corporate jet.

Probably the most effective screening tool you have at your disposal is the referral.  If a candidate comes to you through a referral by someone you trust, especially someone with extensive experience in business aviation, they should be placed on the short list.

Once you have narrowed the field of candidates, it’s time to begin the process of phone and in-person interviews.  Ideally, you will find a pilot with a great attitude that will be loyal and look after your best interests at all times.  I would personally overlook some of the paper qualifications mentioned if I found a candidate with “the right stuff”; meaning, the right attitude. You can train anyone to fly an aircraft, but you can’t train for attitude.  Be sure to call the recommendations provided to obtain further insight regarding the candidate.

Once a prospective employee has been selected, an offer of employment should be extended contingent upon the results of a background check.  The background check should include FAA accident/incident and enforcement records checks, criminal records check, and previous employment records check, which include training history as well as drug and alcohol testing results.  Several commercial organizations specialize in providing thorough pre-employment background checks on pilot candidates.

With a bit of luck and a lot of due diligence, you will find a crew that will safely and efficiently operate your corporate jet for years to come.

Need Assistance Hiring a Corporate Jet Pilot?

Desert Jet specializes in crew staffing.  Please contact us at (800) 284-8799 to learn more.

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