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The opportunity to fly top-of-the-line turboprops and jets in a challenging environment.

If becoming a professional pilot to you has meant only the airlines, consider becoming a business aviation pilot as a worthy alternative to Part 121 flying. If you’re new to the industry, the term “business aviation” refers to flying nearly anything that doesn’t involve the airlines or military. That could be a private corporation’s business jet or turboprop, a fractional company such as NetJets or PlaneSense, or flying for a Part 135 charter company. The variety of the fleet is vast, with some companies operating Boeing and Airbus aircraft in corporate configurations.

The latest news says the US airline industry is beginning to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel in terms of passenger demand. Meanwhile, many business-aviation flight crews have been busy while their airline counterparts sat idle. Sheryl Barden, president and CEO of API—the longest-running business-aviation employment company—says: “We’ve seen a whole host of new entrants into the business-aviation marketplace, chartered and fractional shares, as well as people who simply bought aircraft. People who never flew charter before have signed up with jet cards or bought fractional shares. Fractional and charter operations have really exploded, with those companies reporting their best year in a long time as companies try to keep their people off the airlines. Some aircraft owners who might have questioned the value of their aircraft before the pandemic have realized the value [of safe, clean travel] now.” Importantly, Barden says that “quite a few aircraft-management companies have taken on new airplanes and are scrambling to find the personnel to fly them. But they want the right pilots.”

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