Heather McCann’s story of how she got to fly biz jets

 In Member Articles, Professional aviators

My job is a little different from the standard flying job in the UK. I fly a Hawker 800XP for Netjets Europe. Netjets can be best described as a corporate airline catering for those folks who used to fly Concorde or First Class but with the flexibility of your own jet. So how does an Australian end up flying in Europe on a bizjet?

I started flying in Australia many years ago. It was my second career. I started as a lab technician at uni when I caught the flying bug. After flying every thing part time I was qualified and ready to work. I went to the Kimberly region of Australia (ie the North West) and worked for a charter company doing scenics and general charter flying. After a couple of years of that I headed to Broome and became a Coastwatch pilot. After a few years flying an Islander I headed east to get a proper job.

I flew Bandeirantes and Twin Otters for a small airline in Cairns, Queensland and finally Dash 8’s for a Qantas regional. Then I got the travel bug. I came to the UK in April 2001 and set about converting my licenses. After much effort and pain that was done in 2002.

With my newly minted JAR ATPL I set about finding work. I got a job in ops for Streamline, a night freight operator. After 6 months of that I got a job as an FO on the mighty “Shed” (aka Shorts 360). This taught me all about Europe and Britain at night.
I tried to get into EasyJet where my husband works but wasn’t successful. So after a while I got a job with Netjets. Now all that bush and charter experience has paid off. No two days are the same. Certainly it’s rare to visit the same airport twice in a tour, let alone in a day. The Hawker has a good range and is very flexible. It can operate into London City with no problem and get all the way to Moscow.

On any given day we could be flying to Iceland or to Morocco or even to parts of the Middle East or Russia! Customer service is paramount and we do get to meet some very interesting people. Unlike the airlines, we load the bags and sort the catering out too. Also we don’t have a door so we have a lot more contact with who’s travelling with us. That’s something I do enjoy.

If a routine job doesn’t appeal, definitely give the corporate world a look.

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