What Role Do Pilots Have in Jet Charter Safety?
When it comes to jet charter safety, there is understandably a lot of emphasis placed on the aircraft chosen for the charter flight. Invariably, you’ll want to know:
- How old is the aircraft?
- Has it been well maintained?
- What type of safety systems does it utilize?
- Is it suitable to land at your chosen airport?
But what about the people flying your business jet? Corporate and leisure travelers often ask us about is pilot training. For obvious reasons, you always want to have the most highly qualified personnel piloting your private jet charter. To ensure this happens, air charter brokers like Stratos Jets require their partner charter operators to maintain a high standard for pilot selection and operational procedures.
Two Is Better than One
Many larger jet charter aircraft require a minimum of two pilots for safe operation. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designates most business jets that have certified takeoff weights in excess of 12,500 pounds as ‘transport category’ aircraft. One of the stipulations of this category is the requirement of two pilots (time-in-type training is another distinguishing factor, but we’ll get to that later).
However, a number of aircraft above this 12,500-pound threshold have demonstrated an ability to be flown by a single pilot safely. This includes a range of light jets and turboprops such as the:
- King Air 300 series
- Cessna Citation Mustang
- Citation CJ series
Yet, despite their single-pilot certification, companies like Stratos Jets still require two pilots. This represents an added expense when arranging charter flights, but air carrier safety isn’t worth compromising.
The Highest Level of Pilot Certification
In the United States, the ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate is the highest level of training in our industry. In order to captain a charter aircraft arranged by Stratos Jets, a pilot must have a minimum of 3,000 hours total flight time, half of which must be logged as the pilot in command.
The captain must also hold a First Class Medical certificate and at least 250 hours of time-in-type for the make and model of jet charter they’re flying.
The first office must also hold significant experience, which includes:
- ATP certification
- 1,000 total flight hours (500 as captain)
- Second Class Medical certificate
Time in Type Training for Jet Charter Aircraft
As mentioned earlier, any transport category aircraft with a certified takeoff weight in excess of 12,500 pounds requires additional time-in-type training. This is an indicator of a pilot’s experience with a particular aircraft.
Time in type is of great importance to air charter safety because most aircraft—even ones built by the same manufacturer—have different:
- Performance abilities
- Operational procedures
- Cockpit layouts
To learn more about this, read: Business Jet Pilots: Why Time in Type Matters to Air Charter Safety.
At Stratos Jet Charters, air carrier safety is as important to us as passenger comfort. To begin planning your next private jet charter, talk to one of our charter agents at 888.593-6066.