First of all, yes, flying by private jet is safe, relatively. In 2015 there were fewer than 400 deaths from private aviation accident compared to over 5,000 from drowning in your own bathtub. That said, there are some specific questions to ask operators and the brokers and jet card sellers about the operators they source planes from.
We asked former RAF and NetJets pilot Adam Twidell, founder and CEO of PrivateFly, “If a friend was buying a jet card, what questions should he/she ask the vendor about the pilots who will be flying their plane?”
Below are Adam’s responses:
- How big is the operation?
- With a small fleet, the customers will get to know all the individual pilots pretty well
- With a large fleet (i.e. NetJets,) it is unlikely you will see the same pilots twice…unless you are a very frequent flyer
- So the questions you can expect answers to will vary with the size of the operation
- You can expect to see a bio of every pilot, especially for the Captains
- Total hours for each pilot
- Number of hours on type of aircraft (including the aircraft they are currently flying)
- Captain – How many hours in command?
- Where did they complete their training? For example, military, airlines or regular flight school
- Ask for any history of accidents
- Ask to see the bio of their five most recently hired Captains (or First Officers who have converted to become a Captain in the company). That will give you a good indication of the lowest experience you can expect
ALL FLEET SIZES
- How often are your pilots trained in a simulator?
- Where do the pilots complete their “initial” rating for the aircraft?