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Airplane repossession agent Thinking of a creative way to put a pilot’s licence to good use? Many people enter the military and fly fighter jets, some join commercial airlines and ferry tourists around the world, and then there are the pilots that get into the totally wild repossession game. Yes, airline repossession is a thing and it’s quite a big business. In what has to be one of the most bizarre careers to ever exist on the planet, airplane repossession agents are trained, registered pilots who work with repossession companies to recover aircraft from people who haven’t paid their bills. Just like your car can be repossessed if you neglect to make the payments, airplanes can also be repossessed. (Newsflash: you can’t just sign up for a multimillion dollar aircraft and then run out on the bill when you hit financial trouble.) People experience financial difficulties for a number of reasons – wildly fluctuating incomes, bad investments, financial mismanagement, stock market crashes, costly court cases – and this is why airplane repossession is a big game. Anyone who has watched the Discovery Channel’s Airplane Repo will know that banks are ruthless when it comes to recovering debts from people who have defaulted on their loans, and the wealthy are no exception. So how does airplane repossession work? Well, once the necessary paperwork has been filled out and the aircraft located, a pilot and repo team are flown in to repossess the plane and return the asset to the bank, which will go on to sell the aircraft to recoup loan costs. Depending on the jurisdiction, local authorities (police and airports) are notified and then the repo can occur once all the safety checks are completed. Possessing a licence to fly the aircraft, the pilot repossesses the plane by towing or flying it to another

location. It’s a huge logistical operation only suited to calm, precise and analytical pilots with an understanding of processes and a respect for following protocol. Luckily pilots tend to have already cultivated these skills in flying school. No two cases are the same in this type of role. One day you could repossess a multi-million dollar Learjet, the next a single-engine Cessna. Flying the plane to another location is only a part of the role, with much time spent doing detective work, such as locating the plane and its log books, communicating with owners, assessing the safety of flying the aircraft and liaising with regulatory bodies. Sure, it’s a high-stakes business, but this job doesn’t really involve penetrating barbed wire fences at airports and stealing keys from the back pockets of unsuspecting owners. Repossession agents are commonly paid a fee per repossessed aircraft so, depending on how hard you work, it can be quite lucrative. Since all piloting work is well paid, the repossession work is in line with what pilots can command for other commercial flying work. Despite this, it’s easy to see the allure of this role. You can tell people you’re a pilot for American Airlines or British Airways, or you can say you’re an airline repossession agent. While both kinds of pilots are no doubt full of stories of mile-high adventures, airline repossession agents have the cool factor commercial pilots never will.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No educational requirements, but a pilot’s licence is a must. Experience required: Experience in repossessing other items, like cars, is helpful but experience flying aircraft is the most important. Training: Attendance at training courses isn’t required. Restrictions: No pilot’s licence? Forget it.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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