Contract talks between NetJets management and pilots broke down once again on September 12, three days shy of a scheduled 30-day marathon bargaining session. The pilots’ union negotiation committee said it walked out of the talks “because the company has continuously failed to respond to the union’s position regarding the pilot group’s bargaining thresholds,” namely salary expectations.
Salaried pilots who fly air taxis, bush aircraft and crop dusters have the highest occupational death rate–92.4 for every 100,000 pilots–tied with the rate for logging workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency said the aircraft these pilots fly can be “old and the maintenance less stringent than among the big airliners, adding to the danger.”
In the first eight months of this year, the top five fractional operators hired more pilots than they did in all of last year, according to aviation job placement firm AIR of Atlanta. NetJets, Flight Options, Flexjet, CitationShares and Avantair hired 498 pilots through August this year versus 482 for all of last year.
Throw BAE Systems and Nav3D into the mix of companies indicating strong interest in sensor and software technology for emerging cockpit advanced-vision systems.
About a year ago, ARG/US took the wraps off its plans for developing a “virtual copilot.” Dubbed SPX, the program is intended, in the words of ARG/US executive v-p and system architect Mark Fischer, to “put another brain in the cockpit” of single-pilot aircraft, initially very light jets (VLJs) but eventually for wider application.
Three of the five Flight Options pilots who have been trying to organize the fractional pilot group under IBT Local 1108 (the same union that represents NetJets pilots), told AIN that they soon expect to have enough organizing cards to call a vote. They claim to have 400 organizing cards from Flight Options pilots, though they need 550–or 65 percent of the 848-strong pilot workforce–to call a vote.
Four years after their contract became “amendable,” the unionized NetJets pilots may finally have a new work agreement. On October 8, the bargaining committee for pilots at Berkshire Hathaway-owned fractional provider NetJets reached a tentative agreement (TA) with the company.
After being forced into retirement at age 60, some former airline pilots turn to corporate aviation to continue their flying careers. It can become a problem for operators to obtain hull and liability coverage when these older corporate pilots reach age 70.
John and Martha King, co-chairmen and owners of San Diego, Calif.-based King Schools, are best known among owner-pilots for their folksy flight-training videos. But with more than 4,000 hours total flying time each, the husband-and-wife team has operated as a jet crew since 1987, when they bought a Cessna Citation after first receiving type ratings.
It was 25 years ago last month that New York Yankees team captain Thurman Munson was killed in the crash of his Cessna Citation I. The accident remains one of the most significant in general aviation, especially among those who fly their own turbine-powered aircraft for business, pleasure or both.