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NetJets, XO Jet, Vista Jet, etc. Pilots...

ThePilotist

New member
I am interested in possibly pursuing one of the major 135 operators in the US and I am curious about the quality of life from those who are currently working for any of them. Are there important considerations for 135 operators that differ from that of airlines/cargo? I was originally set on the airline path but COVID has tempered my desire for that route to a certain degree and I have become more interested in the 135 route lately. I would really just like to hear from some current pilots as to the lifestyle and whether y'all would recommend that route. Thx.
 

mmdollinger

New member
I can help you with three letters... QOL. Quality of life. Schedule wise, 135 is not going to be as predictable as 121. By predictable I mean you know where you're going, when, and usually how long. The airlines are on very tight schedule and have to keep it moving. The unpredictability in 121 comes with mechanical and wx delays. Plus, when you're home, they aren't going to call you and if they do you don't have to answer. 135 will be more spontaneous. You have a schedule (knowing when you're ON/Working), however, you probably won't know where you're going or when. The flying is totally different. Most 135 operations have a "dispatch" that will flight follow, but you'll still be doing your own flight planning and performance calculations. 121 has dispatch, files the flight plan, and usually your performance data is received via AeroData through ACARS. As for rest, 121 has the more strict rules. Part 117, to my knowledge, is not applied to Part 121. Part 135 still uses the old flight and duty limits, ie 8/24 100/30 etc...

To give you an example, I fly for a regional carrier. Prior to COVID I usually worked either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday and had the weekends off. I averaged 12-15 days off per month and would credit (pay not fly) between 85-125 hrs per month. Prior to joining the 121 world I flew a few different 135 jobs. Some freight, some pax, some both. I flew twin recip and twin jet. 135 depends on the company. The first company I flew for had me flying every night starting 10pm and would end around 3am. I did that Monday through Saturday morning. It burnt me out pretty fast but was the most fun flying I've ever done. The other job has a 2 week ON/2 week OFF schedule, which sucked. The time you were ON, you had to stay within 15 mins of the airport at all times because we had a 45 wheels up guarantee for freight. If it were pax or air ambulance we had 1 hour (domestic), 3 hours for pax and ambo International. Some other 135 operations have a 28 day rotation where you're gone just under a month and come home for a little less than that. I know NetJets has a 7/7 schedule which wouldn't be too bad. They have you sit with the aircraft at the airport for your full 12 hour duty day, in case you get a trip.

Like I said above, it's all about what you want/need. If you have the flight time/experience, you shouldn't have too hard of a time getting into one of the freight airlines. If you want to wait it out for the regionals, you may be waiting a while. 9/11 set the industry back almost 5 years. Then the increase to the retirement age set us back another 5 years. The good news, prior to COVID, we were in the middle of a pilot shortage that was really hitting the regionals hard. I'm 100% positive that once all this crap dies off it will go back to where we were and we'll all be able to hand pick our jobs.

I've had the privilege of flying many different aircraft for many different types of jobs. Going to the airlines was the best decision I've ever made. I see my wife and Kids more than I ever have, and spend more time at home (and that was pre COVID). Hope some of what I said helps you. Feel free to reach out any time. I'm happy to provide any information I can!

Matt
 

mmdollinger

New member
Unless I'm missing something, Part 117 only applies to 121 passenger ops.
Yup, my fat fingers made that mistake. Your are correct, 117 ONLY applies to 121 and NOT 135. Thanks, I didn't even realize my mistake. On a "Career advice" thread, I should be more attentive to what I type. My apologies again.
 

Supreeth

New member
I can help you with three letters... QOL. Quality of life. Schedule wise, 135 is not going to be as predictable as 121. By predictable I mean you know where you're going, when, and usually how long. The airlines are on very tight schedule and have to keep it moving. The unpredictability in 121 comes with mechanical and wx delays. Plus, when you're home, they aren't going to call you and if they do you don't have to answer. 135 will be more spontaneous. You have a schedule (knowing when you're ON/Working), however, you probably won't know where you're going or when. The flying is totally different. Most 135 operations have a "dispatch" that will flight follow, but you'll still be doing your own flight planning and performance calculations. 121 has dispatch, files the flight plan, and usually your performance data is received via AeroData through ACARS. As for rest, 121 has the more strict rules. Part 117, to my knowledge, is not applied to Part 121. Part 135 still uses the old flight and duty limits, ie 8/24 100/30 etc...

To give you an example, I fly for a regional carrier. Prior to COVID I usually worked either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday and had the weekends off. I averaged 12-15 days off per month and would credit (pay not fly) between 85-125 hrs per month. Prior to joining the 121 world I flew a few different 135 jobs. Some freight, some pax, some both. I flew twin recip and twin jet. 135 depends on the company. The first company I flew for had me flying every night starting 10pm and would end around 3am. I did that Monday through Saturday morning. It burnt me out pretty fast but was the most fun flying I've ever done. The other job has a 2 week ON/2 week OFF schedule, which sucked. The time you were ON, you had to stay within 15 mins of the airport at all times because we had a 45 wheels up guarantee for freight. If it were pax or air ambulance we had 1 hour (domestic), 3 hours for pax and ambo International. Some other 135 operations have a 28 day rotation where you're gone just under a month and come home for a little less than that. I know NetJets has a 7/7 schedule which wouldn't be too bad. They have you sit with the aircraft at the airport for your full 12 hour duty day, in case you get a trip.

Like I said above, it's all about what you want/need. If you have the flight time/experience, you shouldn't have too hard of a time getting into one of the freight airlines. If you want to wait it out for the regionals, you may be waiting a while. 9/11 set the industry back almost 5 years. Then the increase to the retirement age set us back another 5 years. The good news, prior to COVID, we were in the middle of a pilot shortage that was really hitting the regionals hard. I'm 100% positive that once all this crap dies off it will go back to where we were and we'll all be able to hand pick our jobs.

I've had the privilege of flying many different aircraft for many different types of jobs. Going to the airlines was the best decision I've ever made. I see my wife and Kids more than I ever have, and spend more time at home (and that was pre COVID). Hope some of what I said helps you. Feel free to reach out any time. I'm happy to provide any information I can!

Matt
Amazing explanation Matt
 
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