Moving long distance requires a lot of planning and if one of your belongings includes a small aircraft then you have even more to think about. No need to let the pressure get to you, there are aviation experts called “Ferry Pilots” that provide aircraft relocation services. A qualified ferry pilot service will review the airplane’s maintenance log books, plan and share the ideal route and have your treasured aircraft flown by an experienced pilot to its new home airport.
However, selecting a ferry pilot is a delicate matter. No need to reach for oxygen, a smooth landing is still on your flight plan. Simply ask the following questions to qualify a ferry pilot for your move to ensure they will care for your plane as if it was their own:
1. What type of aircraft do you ferry?
Qualified aircraft transport services such as The Ferry Pilot have experience flying various sized planes, from single engine propeller driven planes like the Cessna 172 all the way to jets or planes over 12,500 pounds, which require a special type rating. Of course, in addition to making sure their experience is diverse, be sure to inquire about their experience flying your aircraft model and if needed, have the necessary credentials.
2. What type of pilot license does the pilot have?
Many experienced pilots will have an FAA Airline Transport Pilot certificate, although not required for a ferry pilot, it is a sign of competency and professionalism.
3. How many hours of flight time does the pilot have?
An Airport Transport Pilot is typically required to have 1500+ hours of flight time. An exceptionally experienced pilot will have thousands of hours of flight time logged.
4. Where have you ferried planes?
If you need your aircraft transported internationally or domestically be sure the ferry pilot has experience flying in the regions needed. A ferry pilot that has flown over the Atlantic, between the U.S. and Canada, etc. will have more experience dealing with long distances and international customs requirements.
5. Will my ferry flight require extra fuel tanks?
If your aircraft is a single engine and needs to be flown long distance, from California to Hawaii for instance, then be sure to inquire about fitting extra fuel tanks that may be needed to make the trip.
6. What are the fees?
Ask for a quote and if there any additional fees. A good ferry pilot will choose the quickest and safest route and refuel at the fixed-base operators (FBO) with the most competitive rates. Compare quotes with other ferry pilots and seek a pilot that strives to keep your costs low while keeping standards high.
7. Can I speak with your clients?
An experienced ferry pilot will be able to provide you with names and contact information of happy clients. Request recommendations from aircraft owners that had a similar sized plane ferried an equivalent distance.
Ask these critical questions to vet a ferry pilot and then you can set your mind to autopilot. Soon, you will be enjoying the aerial view of your new home.
Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.