KnightHawk Air Express is an excellent company to work for and one of the
best places in Canada to gain the type experience afforded by flying a jet.
I have been working at KnightHawk for two years now and am currently 30
years old. I was hired with aproximately 4000 hours and now have just over
5300. Pilots are required to sign a two year contract valued at $20,000 to
secure training costs. I'm a little fuzzie on the companies minimum
requirements but 2000 total/1000 multi rings a bell. All training is
completed at Simuflite in Dallas Tx using a Level D simulator. The initial
course is two weeks long, very intense, and by far the best training I have
recieved in my career to date. The first recurrent course is at six months
and annually after that.
The company understands that most pilots will view this job as a
transitional one due to the nature of the work and the size of the aircraft.
They demand a high degree of professionalism and dedication and are also
very supportive of the future career endeavors of team members who have
completed their contracts (or made arrangements to pay them out!). The pay
scale somewhat reflects the companies attitude that they are a stepping
stone as it doesn't supply a whole lot of incentive to stay long term.
First Officers start at $32,000 and Captains at $43,000. Per-diems are paid
at $2/hr while you are on duty. Upgrades are based on performance rather
than seniority, although seniority is a factor. Traditionally, a pilot can
expect an opportunity for upgrade to Captain within a year, although the
market as of late has stiffled this somewhat. Pilots are schedualed to work
12 - 15 days per month and KnightHawk is generally very accomodating about
schedual requests. The time off is great and usually comes in blocks of four
or five days (and we don't work weekends). A typical duty day is 10 to 14
hours long in which time you might fly 3.5 to 8.5 hours depending on what
run you are doing. Flying nights is not easy. The worst time for me is
after about 4:00am until the sun comes up. A very strict SOP helps combat
the effects of being awake all night by giving you a habit to fall back on
when thinking clearly can be very difficult.
The fleet consists of 4 Falcon 20's and 1 Beech 1900. I must add a bit
about the Falcon. Even though it is a vintage model, it is very cool. It
was Dasault's first attempt at a business jet and all the experience they
had to draw on was from their fighter jets. This thing is built like a tank
and has no poor flight characteristics. It is fast, very manouverable and a
blast to fly. The airframe has been supersonic with no adverse tendencies
(Dassault video) and high and low speed buffet boundries are so far apart as
to not even be an issue. You can roll this thing into a steep turn up in
the flight levels (350) and not worry about it. It has a very effective
airbrake and in emergency decent configuration has been clocked at over
23000 feet per minute. Obviously we don't wring the thing out like this at
work, but its nice to know you're flying around in quality hardware.
Although most of the company's flying is nocturnal, there is one route on
the east coast (between Moncton and St.Johns Nfld) that flies during the
day. There are two pilot bases, the main one being in Ottawa and the
sub-base in Calgary. For more info on the company you can visit the web
page at www.knighthawk.ca .
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