What Might Your Business Aviation Career Look Like?
While everyone’s pilot career develops differently, it’s also true that hard work and dedication are the foundations of success in the aviation industry. Here, three pilots share real life stories about how their careers took shape.
David’s Career Advice:
- Private aviation pilots are on the front lines with the customer and therefore they must be committed to delivering top notch service.
- If you don’t know anyone in the industry, make your own connections. “Find a place where you know pilots will be sitting around, like a flight school. Pilots love to talk about flying.”
- Connections are critical to career progression. Never underestimate the power of networking and try not to burn any bridges.
- Identify the company you want to work for and pursue them. Aviation is a small community. Find someone you know who knows someone and then you can start making connections. He added: “If you cold call the chief pilot at AirSprint, they will answer the phone and talk with you.”
- It’s rare that the grass is actually greener somewhere else. Contemplate each career move carefully to avoid lateral changes that won’t make you any happier.
Karen's Career Advice:
- Corporate flying is really about customer service. You’re not just up front, you have a lot of face-to-face interaction with the passengers.
- “I’ve seen ups and downs in the industry,” she said. “No matter where it is, it will swing around again. If you can get your foot in the door, do anything in aviation while you wait. Fuel planes, clean them, just get in there and ask questions. A positive attitude and a good work ethic are key.”
- Although she was never an Air Cadet, Karen recommends the program to young people, and encourages them to train somewhere that offers a degree or a diploma in addition to pilot licences and ratings.
- Find a mentor if you can. Karen has two: her husband, who is an AME, and the employer who gave her that first job on the Cessna 340.
- If you want it bad enough, it will happen. “I wasn’t going to give up, so no matter what I had to do, I was going to keep doing it.”
Eric's Career Advice:
- Business aviation isn’t for everybody. “Over time, you figure out that the people who do like it have certain qualities,” he said. “You really need a good work ethic and must be prepared to do whatever it takes.”
- While you’re busy doing what it takes, focus on building your network. Interact with pilots and make contacts wherever you can.
- Take safety very seriously and be disciplined in your approach to safe operations, no matter what job you’re doing.
- To be a good business aviation pilot, you have to be an effective communicator.
- “Be open-minded and willing to take whatever opportunities come your way, especially in the beginning. You never know where they will lead.”