Fractional Flying

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One interesting career choice is flying shared ownership business jets, also called fractional owner-ship. Shared ownership is where an owner buys a fraction, "typically one-sixteenth or more, of an airplane and is entitled to fly a set amount of hours in that airplane" or any of the other airplanes in the fleet.

There are many companies that offer shared ownership programs. A few of the companies are: Executive Jet Aviation's NetJets, Bombardiers Flexjet, and CitationShares, which is jointly owned by Cessna and TAG aviation. All of the companies fly some of the newest business jets with the latest avionics. The planes range from Citation Encores to Boeing Business Jets.

The pay for pilots flying for shared ownership companies is not as high as it is for the major airlines, but you are paid a fairly decent salary. "At NetJets first-year pilots are paid $29,000, but overtime can bring the total close to $40,000."

A fifth year captain with NetJets can make as much as $5,082 a month. "Captain's at CitationShares will earn approximately $64,000 a year." The work or duty schedules for fractional pilots are set a couple of months ahead of time, so this enables you to set your personal and family plans around your work schedule. Your actual flight schedule is not determined until you start your duty schedule and even then it is subject to change. The flight schedule is not routine, you can fly to anywhere in the U.S. and even internationally to Europe and South America. Fractional pilots also have the choice how their duty schedules are set up. The schedules can range from six-on/four-off to seven-on/seven-off to NetJets, "21 day flexible volunteer schedule where you are on a standby basis for 21 days in a 30-day period." Fractional flying also offers the advantage of being able to live just about anywhere you want with only a few requirements. NetJets pilots can, "live near any one of 25 gateway airports" and are, "re-quired to be within three hours or 100 miles of their gateway airport by midnight of their first day of duty." Flexjet pilots can live anywhere as long as they check-in at one of three gateway airports the night before their first day of duty. CitationShares pilots currently can live in Orlando, Florida or New York.

I would say with the new airplanes, decent pay, advanced scheduling, and flying different people to different airports. Flying for a fractional company looks like it would be a fun and exciting career.

Benenson Tom, "Fractional Flying," Flying September 2001: 63-66