Looking for a Career in BizAv? What to Expect…

How can aspiring pilots carve out careers in the field of Business Aviation? What are the benefits and challenges ahead, and how can experienced corporate pilots be used to help ensure your success? Aviation Director Andre Fodor shares some thoughts...

Andre Fodor  |  29th March 2024
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    Andre Fodor
    Andre Fodor

    With a focused approach on global excellence and creativity, Andre Fodor has managed flight operations...

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    What does it take to build a career flying private jets


    During a recent contract to accept and deliver a new aircraft belonging to a European operation, I was paired with a pilot in his mid-twenties.

    He was outstanding. His cockpit procedures and proficiency were immaculate, and to top it off he was also an experienced aircraft mechanic. I spent a week working with him and made a new friend.

    I am always interested in people’s stories of how they embarked on their aviation careers. In the case of this young pilot, his father owned an aircraft maintenance shop where he had received an apprenticeship and became a mechanic while he was still in high school. His pilot licenses quickly followed, setting him on the path towards professional flying.

    Everybody’s story is different. My own love of aviation came when my father took me to the airport’s fence line to watch airplanes because we couldn’t afford to do much else at weekends. During my teens I became an avid amateur radio operator and loved hearing radio stations from around the world. It was this combination of experiences that gave me the itch to fly.

    The lure of the skies, the excitement and lifestyle, the precision of flying and the adventure of travel have long captivated people’s dreams of becoming pilots, flight attendants and aviation mechanics. Of the many paths to a career in aviation, though, one stands out for its professionalism, exclusivity, sophistication, and tailored service: Business Aviation.

    So how can aspiring pilots carve out careers in this field? What are the benefits and challenges, and what part can experienced corporate pilots play to help ensure their success? Let’s explore...

    While private flying is the epitome of efficient and luxurious transportation, it also represents the culmination of a lifetime of hard work that enabled our principles to afford those benefits. Because we cater to a select clientele, it is essential for Business Aviation pilots to see themselves as ambassadors of the comfort, safety, and discretion the private aircraft offers.

    I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the allure of Business Aviation lies not only in its clientele but the aircraft themselves; the sleek airframes and state-of-the-art technology meticulously maintained to the highest standards are sublime.

    And the icing on the cake is the autonomy and flexibility afforded me as a corporate aviation professional. Corporate pilots often enjoy greater freedom in flight planning and execution than our airline counterparts. And that autonomy fosters a sense of ownership and accountability for every aspect of the flights we undertake.

    The Personal Benefits of Corporate Flying

    Today, the compensation and benefits associated with Business Aviation have become more competitive, better reflecting the demands of our profession and our enhanced skillset that enables us to navigate the complexities of airspace and technology.

    Experienced corporate pilots may enjoy lucrative salaries, comprehensive healthcare plans, and generous benefits, making it a financially rewarding career path. Indeed, it is only fair to expect to be well remunerated for the dedication, proficiency, skill, and schedule flexibility required of us to do our jobs well.

    The rewards of flying in Business Aviation can extend far beyond the cockpit, though, depending on how you view the job.

    As corporate aviators, we have the opportunity to travel to diverse destinations, experience different cultures, and forge meaningful connections with passengers and colleagues alike. Each flight can be seen as an opportunity to showcase professionalism, expertise, and dedication, earning the trust and respect of those we serve. And, of course, occasionally the destinations are superb!

    The Personal Challenges of Corporate Flying

    For all the attractions of corporate flying, however, it is not a trade without challenges. The demanding nature of the profession requires pilots to maintain the highest standards of proficiency, undergo continuous and recurrent training, and stay abreast of industry developments and trends.

    The unpredictable nature of flight schedules and the need for flexibility undoubtedly impacts work-life balance, too, necessitating a strong commitment to the profession and most importantly a solid personal life structure.

    Are you Ready to Become a Corporate Pilot?

    Aspiring pilots must prepare to navigate a rigorous hiring process, demonstrating exceptional people skills and customer service qualifications.

    From obtaining the necessary certifications and flight hours to honing interpersonal skills and professionalism, the journey to becoming a corporate pilot will demand dedication, perseverance, and resilience. It is more than likely to take you outside of your comfort zone.

    It is important to remember that proficiency, training and check rides are career-life events. You will need to learn to embrace these challenges as milestones of your continuous skill development, instead of fearing what is unavoidable.

    Finally, if you feel that this could be the career path for you, reach out to those already working in the profession and get your questions answered. If you can find an experienced professional within the industry to pass on their tips, advice and knowledge, you will give yourself the best chance to succeed.

    And if you are a veteran of private aviation, consider becoming a mentor! Offer your assistance and share your expertise with the next generation. The rewards of transferring those experiences and knowledge are plentiful, and your contribution will be imperative towards the continuing safety and reliably high standards that we worked so hard to build.

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