Ferry pilots transport new or used aircraft from one place to another, usually from the manufacturer to a dealer or buyer. They may work for an aircraft manufacturer, an aircraft dealer, a mechanic, a corporate jet owner, or they may work as a freelance ferry pilot for hire. Ferry pilots may deliver planes of all sizes, types, and manufacture all over the world. Some pilots choose this job as a way to build up flight time while being paid for it. They may move on from this job to working for a regional airlines.
The job of a ferry pilot can be dangerous, as the plane may be unfamiliar and/or have undetected mechanical issues. The flight route may be over inaccessible or inhospitable territory with little hope for search and rescue or certified mechanics in the event of mechanical problems. The workload is often inconsistent, with absolutely no work available, or else extremely long workdays when transporting a slow airplane over great distances. Depending on the employer, some work may require overnight stays away from home.
Most employers want ferry pilot candidates who have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. This is in addition to having a commercial pilot’s license and all the necessary ratings for the type of aircraft to be ferried, including multi-engine, instrument, or as applicable.
Ferry pilots must have a commercial pilot’s license and all the necessary ratings for the type of aircraft to be ferried.
Work is usually available only sporadically, and some days may require flying 18-20 hours a day, especially when transporting a slow airplane over great distances.
Most ferry pilots earn $100-150 per day plus expenses and tip, or a flat rate of $250 plus fuel costs and tip. The more complex an aircraft and the more pilot ratings that are required to fly it, the more money a ferry pilot can make. Ferry pilots can expect the employer to pay their transportation costs home.