Tag Archives: NetJets

PRVATE JETS-JUSTIFIABLE DECADENCE

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As every aspect of commercial aviation travel seems to deteriorate, it is now time to consider the options. The first and easiest option is to jump into the road machine, wind the Maserati up to about 85 mph, set cruise control, and tune into XM on the Bose sound system, while avoiding screaming kids and undesirable seat companions (applicable for trips less than 400 miles).

The alternative mode for longer distance travel is to “just take the jet.”

“Taking the jet,” terminology was derived from my eight years as a Learjet jet charter pilot who also flew the rich and famous in their own personal Learjet. All of the onerous inconveniences, irritants, etc., that all commercial jet travelers are familiar with are erased. You will drive your car through the gate at the FBO (private jet terminal) and park next to your aircraft. The “ramp rats,” as they are affectionately referred to, will be very happy with the 20 dollar tip that they received for this task. You will then climb in the airplane that is supplied with current newspapers magazines, gourmet edible delicacies, and fine quality alcoholic drinks, just to mention a few of the amenities.

Yes there is a catch! You must bring a big bag of cash or a healthy platinum American Express card. If it is necessary to take out a second mortgage or home equity loan, it will be well worth the investment. A typical private jet flight that would serve eight passengers from New York to Miami would exceed $10,000. But, as the old saying goes, “if you have to ask how much, you probably can’t afford it.” Keep in mind there are options: a smaller turboprop or reciprocating propeller driven aircraft could be chartered at a much lesser tariff.

Nearly every small airport will have airplanes for charter— sometimes they can provide even single-engine aircraft at a relatively reasonable price. However, if you’re going very far, the extra money will get you there in rock star luxury and you will want to “take the jet,” or at least the turboprop. The largest jet charter company in the U.S. is NetJets. It is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire-Hathaway. It is extremely well-run and probably the safest charter operator in the country. If you want to go with the A-team simply Google NetJets or call 877-538-4458.
There are many other viable jet charter services and a few of them are listed below:
1. Air Charter Service, Inc.; 516-432-5901
2. Flight Options; 877-703-2348
3. AvJet; 818-841-6190
4. Hop-A-Jet; 954-771-5779
5. Presidential; 888-772-8622
6. Luxury Air Jets; 646-397-5387
7. Jet Partners; 866-235-2852
8. Prive Jets; 866-967-7483
9. Executive Jet Management; 877-356-5387
10. Blue Star Jets; 866-JET-TIME
11. Piaggio Avanti (Evo Jets); 877-970-5387

This represents a few of the jet charter options, but there are many more. A Google search for any of the above named charters will take you to a page that will provide an immediate quote for your suggested flight or flights. Warning! Traveling on your own private jet may be addictive.

This blog is prepared by Allen Morris, a retired commercial pilot, who spent most of the 70s decade as a Learjet charter pilot. His jaw-dropping stories are available by reading The Rogue Aviator (In the Back Alleys of Aviation) written by Ace Abbott (pen name) http://therogueaviator.com/

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IMPENDING PILOT SHORTAGE: MYTH OR REALITY?

Pilot shortage A PILOTLESS AIRPLANEimage017

For several decades young aspiring professional pilots have been tantalized by the aviation oracles, as they were continually told that a pilot shortage is just around the corner. Once again, the impending pilot shortage discussion is intensifying. This time it could be for real. However, the next question is: are the young potential aviators listening or do they care? After a couple decades or more of pilot pay and benefits diminishing while training cost increased, far fewer young people are electing to commit to a career as a professional pilot.
Spending up to $200,000 for the required aviation credentials to be hired by an airline for a starting salary of $22,000 a year is not very enticing. Worse yet, the rookie pilot might be condemned to a job as a banner tow pilot, a pipeline surveillance pilot, or perhaps become caught in the ugly web of being a night freight pilot (often referred to as a “freight dog”). The lifestyle of a freight dog can be researched by reading, The Rogue Aviator; (http://www.therogueaviator.com/). While the brass ring is still there on the horizon it will only be grabbed by the more fortunate few. For every professional pilot making $200,000 a year, there are 10 professional pilots making less than $60,000 per year.
After the horrific crash of Continental flight 3407 operated by Colgan air in Buffalo, New York, a congressional subcommittee on aviation safety was immediately implemented. Everyone’s favorite pilot, Sully Sullenberger was in attendance. When asked what needed to be done to enhance commercial airline safety, Captain Sully of Hudson River fame, pulled no punches. He stated unequivocally that paying the pilots an honest salary was a critical element towards the long-term safety factor. Four years later, entry-level pilot salaries, and all too often salaries of more experienced pilots, remain embarrassingly low. “This too, shall pass.”
Now to the good news! This upcoming pilot shortage is for real. In August of this year, the FAA has mandated, with a few caveats, that airline pilots must have a minimum of 1500 hours total time and an Airline Transport Pilot rating to work for a FAR 121 (airline parameters) aviation company. Currently, the minimum requirement is 250 hours. On January 14, 2014 the long-overdue revised duty and flight time limitations for commercial pilots will take effect. The more restrictive limitations will require the airlines to hire more pilots.
The equally critical factor in this equation is that the inordinate number of airline pilots that will be forced into retirement by the age 65 rule, will open many doors for new hire pilots. Furthermore, corporate aviation is booming and those jobs with companies such as NetJets, Marquis Jet, etc. are becoming quite desirable for the professional pilot. Overseas pilot jobs, particularly in China, will be extremely plentiful. The pilot shortage will drive salaries skyward. Everything is cyclical and this current down cycle for the pilot community is destined to improve significantly. I will also state—after a 36 year aviation career that took me to 44 countries with 25 employer changes—that an aviation career can be an exciting Odyssey. Take your pilot passion and create for yourself an adventuresome career.

ASPIRING CAREER PILOTS-HOPE ON THE HORIZON

HARVEY HOP; 37,000 HOURS OF HAVING FUN IN THE JET

It has been tough times in recent years for those young pilots that want to earn a living while flying airplanes. Despite the increased cost of jet fuel and the still slumbering U.S. economy there is an optimistic future—at least for the next decade or so. Despite the projected furloughs of several hundred pilots at American Airlines there is still optimism in the future for those people that want to commit to a career as a pilot. It won’t be a walk in the park and it will be a long time before you will reach that six figure income plateau. If you start at the bottom of the commercial pilot heap as a regional carrier pilot, you better have a little extra earning potential (such as a working spouse) because you are going to be mired into a despicable low income for a few years. On the other side of the coin, you will be building flight time and gaining experience while not setting in a cubicle or waiting for the unemployment compensation to  run out.

Corporate aviation is actually doing quite well as the recession had very little effect on those wealthy one percent who can afford this wonderful amenity—once you have had the private jet experience, the thought of sitting back in the cabin on a commercial jet is emotionally trying. Companies such as FlexJet, Marquis Jets, Delta Private Jets, and Piaggio Avanti Charter, just to name a few, employ thousands of pilots. Although the starting salary might only be in the $35,000 to $40,000 per year category, it is a nice lifestyle and you do not end up in low end hotels, or engage in high-speed “bag-drags” around ORD or PHL, without enough time to get a bite to eat. Most captains in the private jet charter world are making at least $70,000 per year. If you can wriggle into the corporate flight department the salaries and benefits then become quite livable with captains frequently being rewarded with $150,000 per annum salaries for keeping “Mr. Big” comfortable and safe. Quite often, the CEOs and executives form a very strong bond with their pilots and the ensuing rewards can be very profound—five star hotels and restaurants and golf at Pebble Beach, for instance.

The major factor in this projected upcoming shortage of pilots is related to mass retirements in the next few years amongst the major airlines, UPS, and FEDEX. The long overdue and absurdly slowly implemented revised FAR 121 flight and duty times will result in a need amongst all airlines to hire more pilots since the new rules result in many instances, of less flight or duty time available from each pilot. Also, many senior pilots are capitalizing on overseas pilot positions. Airlines such as JAL, KAL, Cathay Pacific, and many airlines in the Middle East are constantly in search of U.S. trained pilots. Commercial aviation in India and China is burgeoning and there will be pilot openings for those that will venture away to another culture and lifestyle to make a decent living as a pilot. In China, there are numerous “expatriate” communities evolving for those people who want to be close to their fellow westerners. Quite often these overseas jobs appear onerous but can provide wonderful travel experiences while greatly broadening one’s horizons while being exposed to different cultures. Near the end of my career I very reluctantly took a job flying freight out of Liege’ Belgium and it turned out to be the high point of my aviation career. My book, The Rogue Aviator; in the Back Alleys of Aviation elaborates on this wonderful excursion (www.therogueaviator.com).

An aviation career is similar to every flight that you experience in that it is an adventure. If you pursue your pilot career as an adventure, the “back alleys of aviation” can become tolerable. There is a near certainty that you will miss birthdays and anniversaries and work many weekends but in my 36 year career that took me to 44 countries, the positives trumped the negatives by a wide margin. If you pursue an aviation career to achieve wealth and leisure you will possibly spend a lot of time in the doldrums crying in your beer. The aviation career may not be a bed of roses, but very few retired pilots ever look back and say, “Darn, I wish I had sold insurance.” If you want inspiration to keep the nose to the grindstone in order to pursue that career, my book, The Rogue Aviator will provide such. I will issue a small caveat and that is the rapidly decreasing supply of fossil fuels will require a lot of innovation regarding a source of energy to provide the thrust that creates the lift. Meanwhile, “keep your airspeed up in the turns.”

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueavitor.com)