If you are thinking what aviation career path to choose, a job of business aviation pilot must cross your mind. As you may have noticed business aviation industry is climbing rapidly, as the collective world economy returns to strong growth. Global Business Aviation Outlook of 2017 shows that 8,300 new private jets will be delivered in the next 10 years. It is almost $249 billion investment, which will result in the delivery of 830 new aircraft annually and hundreds of job vacancies for pilots. Sounds promising, right?
In addition to that, flying across the world at the controls of some of the most luxurious aircraft could seem, for many pilots, as a dream job. The role of the private jet pilot is often glamorised, but this job is also much more than just flying the plane and seeing some of the best places in the world. A private jet pilot job is full of responsibilities and challenges.
Farhad Ahmadov shares his insights of years of experience in business aviation: private jet pilot job specification, benefits, drawbacks, and other details, like his personal path to career in aviation, not knowing how long the trip will take and what it means to perform a sudden take-off.
Why did you decide to work in the private aviation sector?
During my job searching period I never separated pilot jobs by sectors or fields of operation. At the beginning of the pilot career the most important thing is to get more flight hours, which means experience, and only then you are able to choose. So, it was not a decision to start my pilot career in private aviation. The decision was to fly a plane in general and I was lucky to get a good offer from private aviation.
What personality traits and skills helped you to get job in private aviation field at first?
It is not a secret that employers ask for references about you. It means our assessment starts way before the assessment day. As far as I have noticed assessors firstly evaluate our attitude and background education, asking your previous employers and ATO’s staff about your behaviour. As later my colleagues revealed, I received a positive feedback from my instructors and ATO’s director, which helped them a lot in evaluating me as a potential candidate.
And another important thing is SIM-check. Nobody was expecting us to know all procedures and fly an aircraft as if we were experienced pilots. The only thing needed was our basic flying skills in controlling an airplane, which I passed successfully. Thanks to my instructors.
Could you tell us more about your job specifications?
The main specification I would mention is that we are free from routine. Our job starts not one hour before the departure, it starts when we decide to be on the plane and it depends on how much time we need for the preparation since options vary due to many factors which we need to determine ourselves. Commercial pilots come to the plane, get their briefing package with the plane already checked and systems ready for a flight. But we always get our plane “cold and dark”, and we start to test every system for serviceability.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of being a private pilot?
The benefits of being a private pilot is travelling and seeing a lot of beautiful places, unusual destinations where you can see the city itself, get acquainted with people, culture and cuisine. Flying with the same crew members helps us to get to know each other better, we can spend many days working, having meals together, going out or doing sports and we even keep chatting our off duty periods, what makes us more like friends and family.
As a single man without a family I find it beneficiary to work away from home-base, but some pilots who have a family would mark it as a drawback of being a private pilot. One of other negative aspects is unpredictable schedule. Sometimes you can get a notification about a flight a week in advance, sometimes one hour before the flight. You have to be ready to take a flight whenever you are on duty. Also you cannot plan anything 1 or 2 days before and after the duty, because everything can change suddenly and not for better.
In your opinion, is private aviation all about famous and rich people, or has it already become a commodity affordable to a wider audience?
In my opinion private aviation is becoming more affordable to a wider audience. There are some programmes for people who can make an annual payment which is lower than buying a flight and having a seat reserved for a flight to particular destinations.
Would you like to change your workplace? If the answer is ‘yes’, what are the motives?
No, I would not like to change my workplace. I am happy to be a part of our friendly team and to fly a beautiful airplane.
Do you have any advice for those who dream of becoming a pilot?