News & Views
How to Become a Charter Pilot
If you dream of flying a G650, but don’t exactly know how to get your foot in the door, below are a few tips to help your charter pilot career take flight:
1. Build Flight Hours
It is important to log as many flight hours as possible. But how many flight hours do you need? Commercial airlines prefer a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time. However, most charter companies prefer about 3,000 flight hours.
2. Become a Flight Instructor
Flight instructors get paid to fly! In addition, they get to log their flight time as PIC (Pilot-In-Command). Because flying can be expensive, this is one of the most economical ways to accumulate flight time. Furthermore, being an instructor is an excellent way to increase your knowledge and flight skills.
3. Choose a Flight Path
Commercial airlines generally do not require new pilots to have as many hours as charter companies. Also, most charter companies prefer that new hires already have their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate — because this is a requirement for commercial airlines, you might want to start with a commercial airline to increase your flight time and get your ATP.
4. Know What Flight Departments are Looking For
In addition to building your flight hours, customer service experience is also extremely important. Unlike commercial airline pilots, charter pilots work closely with their customers. They are responsible for coordinating ground transportation, catering and other special requests their customers might have. Charter companies realize this and look for potential pilots who have a strong customer service background. Excellent customer service can turn a one-time customer into a customer for life.
Once you obtain your commercial pilot license with 250 hours of flight time, there are a few other paths to consider for building your flight hours:
Skydiving Flights – Pilots can quickly earn hours flying a variety of aircraft for skydivers. The more experience you have, the better chance of flying a turbine-powered aircraft, such as a King Air, Beech 99, or a Cessna Caravan.
Towing – You can learn to become a tow pilot for sailplanes.
Scenic Flights – There are many scenic tour operators in the Western United States which provide opportunities for you to get paid to build your time.
Several of our pilots at Keystone Aviation have pursued their career opportunities through the above avenues.
So now that you know the steps to start building your pilot resume, get out there and fly!
DISCLAIMER: Statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, editors and publishers. While care has been taken in the compilation of this article to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Keystone Aviation will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within this article.
AMA DFW Marketer Of The Year: TAC Earns Two Awards
TAC - The Arnold Companies received two marketing awards from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA DFW), one of the largest marketing associations in the world. The Marketing Team was honored to be selected as finalists in four award categories: Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing, Marketing On A Budget, Internal Marketing and New Product Or Service Launch.
TAC was selected as winner for two categories: Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing, specifically for the shirts designed for the TAC Air - LIT team to wear while supporting the local Susan G. Komen walk and for the Marketing On A Budget category for the Keystone Aviation maintenance recruiting posters.
Firm replacing Prior Aviation wants to make airport 'presentable gateway' to Buffalo
Prior Aviation Services Inc. changes over to TAC Air
When the Los Angeles Rams limped home after losing to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, dozens of players and staffers boarded their charter flight to California outside Prior Aviation's executive terminal at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. So did the Toronto Blue Jays as they departed their 2020 home at Sahlen Field for the American League playoffs in St. Petersburg, Fla., as did their Sunday opponents in Buffalo – the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, five commercial-sized charters accommodated hundreds of passengers Sunday through the Prior facility – an airport mainstay since 1961.
But beginning Thursday, the brand established by the late aviation pioneer Jack Prior will be replaced by TAC Air, the Dallas-based company serving as fixed base operator at 15 other airports throughout the country including Dallas, Hartford and Knoxville, Tenn. After purchasing the company from the Newman family that has owned and operated Prior for the last 20 years, TAC will now not only coordinate charter and private aviation in Buffalo, but provide fueling, de-icing and a host of other services for commercial carriers and UPS cargo, too.
"To have 11,000 general aviation departures per year here is pretty good," said Tad W Perryman, TAC vice president of marketing during an airport interview. "You look at all the sports and business activity here, and there is definite opportunity in this market."
Fixed base operators serve an important function at busy airports like Buffalo, operating the general aviation terminal on the airport's north side that includes lounges, meeting rooms, concierge services for local hotels and a Hertz rental car desk. It will also tow and store the private aircraft in its own hangars, leasing all its facilities from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (paying about $947,000 annually in rent).
The TAC Air facilities cover more than 126,000 square feet of office space in four structures housing private aircraft, charter services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and a flight training school. Most of Prior's approximately 120 employees are expected to remain on the job after the TAC transition.
Sports teams constitute a big portion of the business, but so do Las Vegas-bound gambling charters and the many private planes ferrying business people in and out of Buffalo. As a result, TAC plans major cosmetic upgrades to the current terminal and hangar facilities, which Perryman said reflects the company's commitment to presenting a first class image to influential business executives and making Buffalo a "real general aviation destination."
"This is the first impression of the city and it has to demonstrate what the city sees as important," Perryman said. "It's about cleaning up the campus and establishing an image of what Buffalo is all about, and changing and modernizing to make this a presentable gateway to the city."
But airline activity at Buffalo has decreased by about 85% because of Covid-19 effects, NFTA officials say, and private aviation is feeling the pinch too. However, Perryman said the industry is "bouncing back nicely" as many passengers feel safer aboard private aircraft than in the big commercial planes cramped alongside dozens of other passengers.
"If you have the capacity and the means to protect your employees or family like this," he said, "you find a way to make that work."
Prior Aviation President Clark C. Newman said the company started by his father will continue a presence at the airport with charter, aircraft and flight management services.
TAC Air Expands Far North With Acquisition of Prior Aviation FBO At Buffalo Niagara International Airport
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tad W Perryman, VP Marketing
TAC Air Expands Far North With Acquisition of Prior Aviation FBO At Buffalo Niagara International Airport
TAC Air - BUF location brings the network count to 16 U.S. FBOs
DALLAS, TEXAS (October 1, 2020) — TAC Air, a division of TAC - The Arnold Companies, is expanding its presence into New York with the addition of its 16th FBO location, TAC Air - BUF, at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Acquiring Prior Aviation assets associated with its fixed base operations, TAC Air also plans to maintain the 120 associates supporting these operations. The full range of FBO services, including fuel, hangar and aircraft handling, as well as supporting the market’s commercial airlines with into-plane fuel, charter handling, cargo services, de-icing and airline maintenance, will be offered by TAC Air. The campus has over 126,000 square feet of hangar and office space across four structures housing private aircraft, charter services, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, flight departments and a flight training school.
“We are excited to add Buffalo as a new location to our FBO network and welcome its employees and customers to the TAC Air family,” said Greg Arnold, TAC Chairman and CEO. “The family history and culture established for the past 60 years from Jack Prior to Reginald Newman and now to his son Clark Newman resembles the TAC Air focus to provide the best ground services, making an easy transition for general and business aviation aircraft based in and visiting the Buffalo area.”
“I am pleased that the dedicated and loyal employees of the Prior FBO will have the opportunity to work for another great family business in The Arnold Companies,” stated Clark C. Newman, President of Prior Aviation Service Inc. “Prior Aviation will continue on with charter, aircraft management and flight training under my direction, so you will still find a bit of history on the runway as TAC Air launches a new generation of aviation services at the Buffalo Airport.”
“As we grow and build the business aviation industry across the country, we remain focused on serving the local aviation community with the original small business mindset my father started the company with in 1964,” said Arnold. “As TAC Air embraces the business of Prior Aviation, it is of utmost importance to honor the values and goals the Newman family set forth while incorporating the TAC company goals and values. We are honored for the opportunity to carry on the existing legacy.”
TAC Air - BUF will operate 24/7/365, providing award-winning ground services, Jet-A and Avgas from Avfuel Corporation, de-icing, heated hangars, charter customer services and processing, and cargo handling. The FBO also features an inviting executive terminal and professional business setting with a pilots’ lounge, conference room, concierge services for local hotels or activities, and rental cars through preferred partner Hertz.
“With over 11,000 GA flights at Buffalo airport last year, we look forward to serving local and visiting customers at our newest TAC Air FBO location with the same great experience they find across our network,” stated Joe Gibney, TAC Air Chief Operating Officer.
“We are looking forward to a great partnership with the airport and community to continue the legacy established by Prior Aviation and build new opportunities for aviation in Western New York. In the coming months, we will unveil plans we have been working on with the airport authority to refurbish the existing FBO buildings and hangars to elevate the general aviation area of the airport, demonstrating the services provided exceed expectations and demand of those conducting business through Buffalo Niagara International Airport,” explained Gibney.
The acquisition of Prior Aviation Services and its nearly 60 years of business at KBUF is a strategic expansion for TAC Air as they grow their FBO network to 16 locations that stretch across the United States — from KSLC in Salt Lake City and KPVU in Provo, Utah in the Northwest, to KDAL in Dallas in the Central region, across to KTYS in Knoxville, Tennessee in the South, and up to KBDL in Hartford, Connecticut in the Northeast. Other TAC Air FBO locations include KAPA, KAMA, KFSM, KLIT, KLEX, KRDU, KOMA KSHV, KSUS and KTXK.
About TAC Air
TAC Air is an aviation ground services company providing the highest level of service available in fixed-base operations, with more than 800 associates in its network of operations spanning 16 FBO locations across the United States. TAC Air is a division of TAC - The Arnold Companies, a Texas-based aviation services and energy marketing company and one of the nation’s largest independent distributors of refined petroleum products, with sales volume exceeding 2 billion gallons annually. TAC has a reputation for simplifying the business and exceeding what others in the industry are doing in order to create sustainable growth. Ultimately, it’s the company’s associates and their passion for service that sets TAC apart.
Learn more about the passion for great service TAC Air provides pilots, aircraft owners, airlines and the government/military at www.tacair.com. For more information about TAC - The Arnold Companies, visit www.thearnoldcos.com.