CREW SELECTION, PROVISIONING
The basic requisites for crewing private jet aircraft are, or rather should be, exactly the same as for an airline transport aircraft, with pilots and other crew members holding the same professional licences and qualifications and having at least the same level of experience.
While airlines may accept pilots with low relative experience, preferring in many cases to develop skills and experience in line with in house procedures within a large organised pilot team structure, the better private aircraft operations tend to favour more experienced pilots and ones able to function without a large supporting infrastructure and support staff. Not all pilots are the same.
Typically, a private jet captain will be an airline or military retiree with many thousands of flying hours gained on a number of complex aircraft types and in different theatres of operation. He or she will be a competent manager, quick decision maker, able to act on his own initiative and with minimal back office support away from base. Upon selection, prior to live flying, and whatever their respective background and experience, the captain and his first officer will be assessed, re-trained and re-certified in line with defined specific operating and emergency procedures. They will then undertake refresher training, conducted on an appropriately certified full motion full visual simulator, at intervals of no more than six months. While flight engineers are not required on most aircraft types, many owners and operators of larger jets elect to carry a licensed ground engineer (known in the industry as a ‘flying spanner’) on longer inter-continental operations away from base or those where local technical support may be limited.
Selection of an appropriately skilled, mature and totally customer-oriented crew is important for the safe and effective operation of a modern jet aircraft. Minimum crew complement normally comprises one Captain or Pilot-in-Command (PIC), one First Officer or Second-in-Command (SIC), and a qualified Flight Attendant.
AIR FLEET pilots engaged as Captain hold at least an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) issued by an EASA contracting state, Class 1 medical certificate, an appropriate type-rating on the specific aircraft type, have a current instrument rating, have a minimum 5,000 hours total flight time and a stipulated minimum number of hours on aircraft type. Pilots engaged as first officer hold at least a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), medical certificate appropriate to their licence, an appropriate type-rating on the specific aircraft type, have a current instrument rating, and have an appropriate level of minimum total flight time and hours on type. Flight Attendants are airline-trained, licensed where required, and fully qualified and current on aircraft type. All crewmembers, including Flight Attendants, attend both initial and refresher Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Safety & Emergency Procedures (SEP) training, with cabin crew considered as Operating Crew within the Company’s operations manuals.
Aircrew will normally have permanent employment status with the Company and are prohibited from commercial flying for other operators during the course of their employment. Strict employment terms apply, with appropriate corporate governance. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by aircrew within 8 hours prior to flight duty is prohibited. No person employed by the Company or under contract to a client shall take or be otherwise involved with narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant or stimulant drugs or any other controlled substances as defined in EU, US, UK or other relevant national statutes. A random testing program is in place.
Where crewmembers are employed and managed by the Company, with salaries recharged to the owner at cost plus a charge for social benefits. Crew compensation is discussed with and approved by the client in advance of hiring, while clients also have a right to interview and approve proposed individual crewmembers in advance.