Fractional ownership has become a popular option for those who want the convenience and experience of traveling by private jet without investing in the entire aircraft. Fractional jet ownership involves multiple people co-owning an aircraft; each shareholder of the jet is granted hours per year to travel in the jet. While fractional ownership offers an opportunity to skip the hassle that comes with commercial flying, it also comes with more responsibility – one of those is choosing a pilot to fly the jet.
When it comes to working with fractional aircraft ownership companies, who decides who’s in charge of flying? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the qualifications your pilot needs to fly your jet, plus how to decide who to put in the role.
Pilot Qualifications for Fractional Ownership Aircraft
Understanding who can fly a fractional ownership jet starts with recognizing pilot qualifications. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association highlights the Federal Aviation Administration’s final rule establishing regulations for Fractional Aircraft Ownership programs, detailing the standards for anyone flying a fractionally owned aircraft, Those include:
- Total flight time: 1,500 hours as Pilot in Command, 500 hours as Second in Command
- For multi-engine turbine powered aircraft: ATP and applicable type rating for Pilot in Command, Commercial and instrument rating for Second in Command
“The FAA determined that a fractional owner who desires to act as a flight crewmember on a program flight may do so only if the owner meets the pilot experience and qualification requirements of subpart K and is designated for that flight. The FAA says that the pilot requirements are necessary to maintain the safety and integrity of the fractional ownership programs and protect the property interests of all owners in the program.”
Stratos Jet Charters has a minimum requirement set for all Pilots in Command as well as Seconds in Command:
- Total flight time: 3,000 hours as PIC, 1,000 hours as SIC
- Total time as captain: 1,500 hours as PIC, 500 hours as SIC
Who Flys My Fractional Ownership Aircraft?
When it’s time to decide who flies your fractional ownership aircraft, you have a couple of options. You can hire a:
- Full-time pilot. This person would be responsible for flying the jet for all fractional owners and is fully understanding of the aircraft fractional ownership agreement.
- A third-party management company’s pilot. You can work with a third party management group to hire a pilot or potentially multiple pilots.
- A part-time or contract pilot. You can hire your own pilot to cover your share of the jet, which means your partner in the ownership would also be responsible for hiring a pilot when it’s their turn to utilize the jet.
- Yourself. Learning how to fly is also an option! Of course, you would have to become a qualified pilot before you can take off.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pilot
Finding the right pilot to fly your share of the fractional ownership, or the entire plane outright, should consist of a thorough vetting process. Here are some of the factors to consider when hiring your pilot:
Skill Level and Experience
How long has the pilot in question been in the industry? This is an important question to consider as you start your search for a pilot. They must meet all FAA requirements, but learning of any additional training and experience relevant to flying and owning an aircraft can help you make your decision. The more experienced the pilot in question is, the more equipped they’ll be to navigate your availability and react in unexpected situations and emergencies as they surface.
Communication and Compatibility
Of course, you never want to work with someone who you can’t effectively communicate with. You and your pilot need to work closely together to coordinate flights, discuss safety regulations, and address any issues that may arise before, during, and after flights. Having an idea of their communication skills can be helpful in understanding how they’ll communicate with other personnel as well. If they can properly communicate with you, the flight crew, and air traffic control, you can feel more comfortable and confident in your pilot choice.
Availability and Flexibility
Availability and flexibility are two very important considerations. The luxury of having partial ownership in a private jet is that you don’t have to worry about getting to the airport at a certain time and on a certain date that’s been planned in advance. Flying by private jet means you can pick the time and date of your flight, which means you’ll probably plan more flights on a whim. Your pilot needs to be flexible to meet those needs and requirements.
Does the pilot in question have a reputation in the aviation industry, or are they just getting started? Ask for referrals on pilots and do your research before you make a decision. Understanding their reputation in advance can help you determine whether they would fit in your ideal partnership.
Understanding your own budget in advance is a crucial factor in hiring a private jet pilot. Remember, pilot costs range from one person to the next, and their experience and qualifications will play a major role in their expectations. Training and insurance expenses will also play a role in the costs to hire a private pilot.
Keep Stratos Jet Charters in Mind
If you’re still exploring fractional ownership but haven’t fully committed, you may consider private jet charter instead. Stratos Jet Charters can get you from point A to point B in a private jet without making it your responsibility to figure out who’s flying the plane.
Interested in booking a private jet charter? One of our agents would be happy to assist you throughout the process. Get your quote today!