5 things every aircraft operator should know about finding the best pilots for private flights

We’ve been in the pilot recruitment business in both commercial and private aviation for over 20 years and we know that private aviation needs differ dramatically from commercial. As we help clients solve their global needs in a market where demand is greater than supply, we help them understand how to choose the right people for their private flights.

In actual fact, it’s not that hard to find pilots who have experience with or can be trained on your aircraft. The difficulty is getting the right person for your organization who has the kind of qualities you want.

Here’s a list of the top 5 things you need to consider when recruiting someone to fly your aircraft.

  1. Do they have previous contract experience? That is, are they familiar with individual, personal service contracts and how they differ from commercial employment?  This is critical because you want someone who understands that they are not just the bus driver. Among other things, they are customer relations, catering chief and crew HR manager all at the same time as commanding the flight.  Clear understanding that they are a key part of creating a unique, exclusive customer experience is important when you choose a pilot.
  2. Is their attitude right for the job? As mentioned above, there are a lot of different duties for a pilot in private flight and that means they need to enjoy the prospect of meeting people and helping them with whatever their needs may be.  A private pilot is part of the brand.  If you’re running a charter or serving executives on your corporate jet the pilot becomes as much a part of the experience as the individual seating and champagne service.  Make sure you choose someone who enjoys that aspect and has the personality to add value.
  3. Are they a student of culture? Private flights travel to exotic locations often carrying exotic people from all walks of life. An experienced pilot who’s taken the time to get off the plane and enjoy the locations they’ve traveled to will add to the conversation and experience of your passengers who will appreciate the level of knowledge and perhaps some “insider” recommendations.
  4. What’s their safety record? Trust is one thing, proof is another. Make sure you’ve thoroughly checked out your pilot candidate’s information to ensure that they have a flawless safety record. This information is readily available and can be provided quickly so that you can judge for yourself.
  5. Do they pass all the basic checks and balances? What’s the status of their license? Do they have the right credentials for the right aircraft in the countries you will travel to? How’s their health? Do they have a good personal medical history? Conduct a criminal records check. There are all kinds of people out there and you want to know you’ve got one of the good ones.

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