The image of a sleek corporate jet roaring through the skies can warm the hearts of many an executive or frequent business traveler. The men and women at the controls of these high fliers are part of the corporate world, too. As a result, their compensation can reach six figures if they fly the right kind of airplane, according to the annual survey conducted by Pro Pilot magazine.
The Pro Pilot survey found that salaries were not much greater in 2013 than in 2012, with the crews working the largest corporate jets earning about a 2 percent increase from year to year. Those flying smaller jets made salaries in line with those from the previous year, or in some cases, lower ones. Results were similar in Pro Pilot's 2012 survey, with the pilots of the largest corporate planes seeing 2 percent to 2.5 percent increases, and those flying smaller craft seeing smaller raises or none at all.
Pro Pilot divided its 2013 survey by pilot rank as well as type of aircraft, and salaries for chief pilots, captains and first officers rated accordingly. The best-paid, generally, were chief pilots who lead corporate flying staffs. Those flying what are considered heavy international jets, such as the Gulfstream G650 or Falcon 7X, earned between $128,000 and $185,000 a year on average, depending on their particular craft. Those flying super-midsize jets, such as the Citation X or Embraer Legacy, averaged between $119,000 and $130,000. Those flying midsize jets, including the Hawker 900XP, averaged between $72,000 and $116,000.
The captains who command and serve as the lead pilots on particular flights earned the second level of salaries, after chief pilots. A captain of a heavy international jet could earn an average of $115,000 to $148,000 a year, depending on the model of plane, according to the Pro Pilot 2013 survey. The captain of a super-midsize jet could earn $102,000 to $111,000 on average, while the captain of a midsize jet could earn $64,000 to $101,000 a year.
First Officers and Co-Pilots
The third level of jet pilots in the 2013 Pro Pilot survey, first officers and co-pilots, made the smallest average salaries of the three types. Only the very highest earners approached the six-figure mark. Those serving as the No. 2 on a heavy international jet earned $76,000 to $95,000 a year on average. Those in the co-pilot's seat on a super-midsize jet earned between $67,000 and $77,000 on average, and those working on midsize jets earned between $45,000 and $66,000.