In our latest look at the UK professional pilot recruitment scene, we speak to Cpt Rowan Irving, Chief Pilot for Hangar8
What are Hangar8’s plans for pilot recruitment over the next 12-24 months?
Based on current trends Hangar8 expects to take on approximately 10 pilots per annum.
As a private jet management company, it is difficult to predict exactly how many pilots we will need to recruit each year, as we frequently take on new aircraft at short notice.
What requirements do you have from applicants in terms of experience and the types of licence and ratings held?
Hangar8 recruits pilots with a variety of experience. If we are recruiting for a new aircraft type, we will look for a direct entry Captain with experience on that type. We will always promote from within where possible and many of our current HS125 Captains were originally C525 First Officers.
When recruiting First Officers, we look for candidates with over 1,000 hours. We prefer to see an air taxi/AOC or instructional background. Most of our pilots are FAA/JAA licence holders.
As the corporate sector is often more demanding than the commercial airline business, we prefer to recruit pilots with life experience who can easily adapt to any situation. Our crews can be away for up to 21 days at a time, stationed in worldwide locations where operational support can be limited. As such, we look for individuals with character who can thrive in these sometimes challenging conditions.
We have taken on several senior pilots in the past, many of who have retired from the commercial sector and are seeking a second career. We also look for pilots who can bring something extra to the team. Languages, IT, sales, marketing and management are just some of the skills that pilots have contributed to Hangar8 previously.
When it comes to the training background, we see no difference between integrated and modular in flying skills and traditionally most business jet pilots come from a modular background, although Hangar8 does have pilots from an integrated background.
From where do you source your pilots?
We mainly recruit from within the GA sector although we do also recruit airline pilots as they often bring valuable skills to the company.
What percentage of the pilots you hire will be taking on their first job?
Over the last three years Hangar8 has recruited five pilots who are on their first job. We also employ qualified pilots with additional skills to work in other areas of the company, including operations, sales and cabin crew, until we are able to offer them First Officer positions. This is great for the pilots as it gives them the opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of our business and to have an integral role in the decision making process. It’s also good for us, as we benefit from their additional skills.
Do your pilots pay for their type ratings?
First Officers pay for their type ratings; this is in line with others in our sector. However, we do not charge for any subsequent type changes and we always look to invest in and promote our existing pilots where possible.
What types of aircraft do you operate?
B200, C525, C525a, C560, HS125, Challenger 601, Hawker 4000, Falcon 2000EX.
How long do your pilots generally stay with Hangar8 before moving on?
Hangar8 has a very low turnover of pilots. Over 90% of our pilots have been with us prior to the company having its AOC. We pride ourselves on offering our pilots a fantastic working environment and excellent long-term career prospects, which makes them want to stay with the company. Our staff are our most valuable asset and it is their hard work and commitment that has enabled Hangar8 to flourish.
Where are your pilots based?
Many of our pilots are based at our London Oxford Airport Headquarters. The rest are positioned with our aircraft in locations throughout our areas of operation including Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia
This interview first appeared in Flyer, January 2011