Hiring a Flight Crew for Your Private Jet
VREF Aircraft Value Reference often gets asked to help locate pilots, or even recomend a management company. If you're one of the tens of thousands of people who own an aircraft, you may want to know how to hire a crew. With a shortage of qualified pilots, it can be a challenge to locate a pilot to hire permanently. If you are not an owner/operator, the process of finding the right company to manage your aircraft can be daunting. If you decide to start your own flight department, the process requires numerous full-time employees. Either way, the key to success is both patience and research. Hiring a pilot, however, is by far the most essential part of the entire process, as no other asset is worth more than you or your family's life. Safety of flight is the top priority, and the right pilot will have the personality and skill set to take you anywhere your heart's desire literally. In the complicated world we live in today, a pilot is in command of more than just the aircraft; he or she also has to deal with security issues as well. Here's everything you need to know about hiring a pilot for your private jet.
Private Jet Pilots: The Basics
So how do you find a pilot or management company? The best place to start is to ask for some referrals from other people you are already doing business within the industry. If you have an insurance broker, ask them for some references. Another good source is your aircraft broker. Typically they will have relationships with a management company or even some pilots that could help. The best piece of advice I can possibly give is to start the interview and proposal process well before you commit to a purchase. You will want the management company involved before Pre-Buy to make sure the aircraft will conform to their Part 135 certificate. This is a mandatory requirement if you plan to charter your plane out. When doing your research, some often overlooked qualifications that you should look for would be whether or not the management company already operates the aircraft model you are looking to buy. This will not only assist you in quickly willing down your potential list, but it will also identify who the major operators are in your area. I would advise against hiring a company that has no experience in your aircraft type. For one, you will be dealing with a limited crew, and for two, your potential operating costs will be higher. If you are hiring a pilot or two, then you will primarily be dealing with salaries and availability. Keep in mind that hiring a full-time pilot will require you to pay for benefits, including insurance, and recurrent training.
What to Consider
Consider what you will be using your aircraft for, is it primarily for personal use with immediate family? Or will you be flying business associates, customers, and possibly allowing charter? Will you be operating within the continental United States, or will you perhaps require a crew with international operational knowledge? Will your crew be doing other things like overseeing your ground travel and logistics? Will they be assisting with security issues? Like all services, rarely does one size fit all. When assessing possible crew hires, never overlook experience, and be sure to complete a thorough background check to ensure the pilot never had a medical issue.
Finding the Right People for You
Locating the proper crew can be difficult, and you may be forced to hire someone based on availability. There are operators looking to fill pilot shortages than ever before. It is essential to understand that with any professional with thousands of hours of experience that they will demand a high salary and you get what you pay for. Next time you're waiting to take off ask your fellow private flyers if they have any recommendations. Referrals from trusted friends and other aircraft owners are more often than not how people find their perfect team.
Building the perfect team for your private jet is challenging to manage alone. If you want expert advice on how to do it right, don't hesitate to contact our VREF for all of the information and advice you'll need.