So, what is a corporate pilot?
Corporate pilots (sometimes colloquially referred to as “private pilots”) are pilots who fly for a living but who do not work for a large airline. In some cases, they work for corporations that have purchased private jets for the purpose of transporting executives.
My Initial Aviation Goals
When my flight lessons began about five years ago, the airlines were not something that particularly interested me. Once my flight training had begun, when someone asked me “So, What do you want to do with this new found aviation hobby (aka “What do you want to be when you grow up…”)?, I usually kept pretty quiet. The progression of my training and experience was steady and continuous. All I knew for certain was that I loved flying and wanted more, more, more! What was my end goal with all of these flight lessons, money spent, and countless study hours? Being a corporate pilot was always tucked away in the back of mind as something I’d love the opportunity to be a part of. If I could fly for an aviation company, it felt to me as if all of the training would have been for a good purpose.
I REALLY wanted the chance to fly a jet with a smaller corporation that would allow familiarity with all of the individuals that made up the company and the businesses and families they served. I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced flying in a private airplane myself. It is great because you aren’t tied to landing only at large airports, the pilots are personable and able to interact with the passengers, and the entire affair is customized. It’s a comfortable, remarkable experience that I’ve never taken for granted. Providing that type of experience to others appeals to me.
Honestly, these dreams weren’t something I voiced often to inquiring minds because I feared my age would limit the opportunities for me (and that they’d look at the wrinkles on my face and try to hide their doubt). And, I was a bit superstitious. If I muttered the words out loud, would that jinx me somehow? It was never a door I closed, however. New possibilities revolving around airplanes were always of interest to me. One of the pieces of advice others often gave me were to “network, network, network.” I was hopeful that if I got to know enough people in the aviation community, something would open up to me and I’d find the perfect fit. I can testify to how important networking is, especially in the corporate aviation world. I’ve submitted countless resumes and applications to many organizations looking for corporate pilots. However, it was one of the private aviation operators my family had used in the past that wound up being the company offering me my first corporate pilot opportunity, in a jet!
It wasn’t just out of the blue though! They didn’t reach out to me, specifically. I had kept in touch with one of the chief pilots and company manager throughout my entire flight training journey. I’d occasionally reach out to him, asking for advice on pilot-related topics. The company hangar was near my hangar at one point and I’d walk over occasionally just to say hello. There was no hidden agenda in visiting with them. I just wanted to be around the airplanes and see what they were up to!!
Everything came together at the right time. My flight hours were nearing 1,000 and I’d been picking up ferry flights, along with working a small amount as a CFI. I made a call seeking advice to the private aviation company manager. He began asking me more specific questions about my experience, hours, etc. and proceeded to tell me how badly he needed pilots. I revealed to him that I would L-O-V-E to fly a jet! We discussed the type-ratings needed, off I went to training, and now, here I am, rated in two types and flying SIC as a corporate pilot for him.
My first flight had me so excited there was little sleep had the night before. I was nervous and down right giddy, at the same time. I couldn’t have asked for a more ideal first flight. It was an early start (as many corporate flights are) which included a gorgeous sunrise. We flew over the Smoky Mountains (in, what I consider, my home state of Tennessee) to Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville, Florida?!?!? You’ve got to be kidding me!?! The city of my birth. A friend of mine said you’re “born again” with your new life and career as a pilot.
We spent the day in Jacksonville and returned home that night to catch the sunset over the Smokies. One of the most beautiful sights and definitely a flight I will never forget. I had to pinch myself to believe it was real throughout that entire day. Everything seemed to come together and it definitely appeared as if that day was specifically planned out for me by God himself.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences in this new chapter of my life. From stay-at-home mom, to flyGIRL business owner and entrepreneur, to professional, corporate pilot. Wow-the twists and turns that have taken place. The sacrifices, blood, sweat, and (literal) tears. Anything really is possible!