How to Become a Corporate Pilot

If you are a professional pilot and are looking for other options besides joining as an airline pilot, you could consider becoming a corporate pilot which also makes for an exciting and rewarding career. Also known as business aviation, corporate aviation is much in demand today and has become a lucrative alternative to the job of an airline pilot.

How do go about becoming a Corporate Pilot?

  1. The very first criteria is that you need to have completed 16 years of age and should clear a class 3 medical exam to prove that you are physically and mentally fit.
  2. You should then join an FAA approved flight school and train for your private pilot’s license. You need 40 hours of academic instructions where you would be taught about aviation systems and navigation. Most students need around 55-70 hours to complete this basic training.
  3. Along with the ground instruction, you also need to accumulate 40 hours of flying experience out of which 20 hours should comprise of solo flying time.
  4. Then you have to undergo a written and practical exam assessed by FAA officials. If you clear the test successfully, you would be awarded your private pilot’s license which authorizes you to fly privately without being paid for doing so.
  5. Your next step would be to aim for the Commercial pilot’s license and for this you need to be at least 18 years old. To be eligible for this license you should have gathered more than 150 hours of flying experience and 20 hours training in an aircraft having retractable landing gear, powered either by a turbine or a pitch propeller. You also need to have flown solo on a cross country flight
  6. You would then be eligible to appear for the written and flight test which would earn you your commercial license
  7. You also need to acquire some additional ratings like instrument rating and night rating to increase your employability and boost your chances of getting hired

What exactly is the job of a corporate pilot?

Many companies today own their own aircraft to fly their top executives, guests and clients to and from business trips. Celebrities and VIPs too own aircraft or charter one for their business and personal trips as well. Corporate pilots work for such companies and fly these company passengers, clients and VIPs to their destinations. They have to be on stand-by for many days at a stretch and could be called in at short notice. Corporate pilots have to plan every aspect of the flight including the route, weather, airports and even arrange for in flight meals and catering for passengers. You have to be immune and ever ready for last minute changes of plans and willing to fly the clients according to their requirements.

What makes corporate flying a good career option?

  • Business aviation has become a flourishing career as it extends several opportunities that are unavailable even to airlineĀ  pilots
  • Business aircraft are equipped with all the latest state of the art technology and are fully capable of venturing out on international flights
  • The heightened security constraints and general increase in commercial air traffic has resulted in frequent delays which has prompted most executives to buy their own aircraft or charter one to cater to their travel requirements
  • Corporate aviation pays salaries that are very competitive and on par with those paid to commercial pilots
  • Today even younger executives are entitled to fly increasing the need for corporate aircraft and pilots

Advantages and disadvantages

The job of a corporate pilot remains relatively unaffected during economic recessions when airlines drastically cut down on their staff and many pilots find themselves out of a job. A corporate pilot will make quicker progress to the top and therefore it proves to be a rewarding career option.

The flip side is that it has irregular flight schedules and demands too much flexibility from the corporate pilot. You may be called in to fly for several consecutive days, holidays and weekends notwithstanding. However this is usually compensated for by extra off days to spend with family.

The disadvantages are quite minimal if you consider the salary and career growth of a corporate pilot. So if you decide to choose this career, go ahead as the prospects are bright and opportunities abundant.


Related Content:

  1. How to Become a Commercial Pilot
  2. How to Become a Jet Pilot
  3. How to Become a Pilot in Australia
  4. How to Become a Pilot UK
  5. How to Become a Pilot in India

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