Alternatives to Flight Instructing

Parabellum

New Member
As a pilot going the civilian route to shoot for an airline career, I plan on building my time by becoming a CFI. I'm looking forward to this because I enjoy teaching, and think that it will be one of the best times of my entire flying career.

However, I have a big concern that there will be a growing number of people becoming CFIs just so that they can build hours, and who don't have a sincere interest in teaching. These types of instructors are doing their students and aviation in general a disservice, and I know that from experience. A couple years ago when I was working on my PPL, I went through three instructors and NONE of them seemed to really care about seeing me succeed as a pilot. I didn't even solo or take my checkride until I changed flight schools and finally found an instructor who cared about my goals as a pilot.

So I think I have a very important question that needs to be addressed. If someone doesn't want to be a CFI, what other things can they do to build the time they need to qualify for a professional flying job? If anyone in here has actually built time without instructing, your input would especially be helpful.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
Well, if you are made of money you can always just rent (or buy and pay for maintenance, fuel, insurance, tie-down, that new instrument, etc., etc.) an aircraft and burn holes in the sky. Granted employers are looking for someone to have trusted you before you get to them but hours are still hours and for that first regional or cargo job I think a block of 1,000 hrs is that a block of 1000 hrs.

Or, after you get your comm. you can do traffic watch, pipeline/powerline patrol, CAP/USCG Aux (though these two are definately not timebuilders they can help add a few hours to your logbook under the auspices of mission oriented flying - you don't need your comm. for this but it would help in getting to fly their aircraft), you can (if you get EXTREMELY lucky) fly someone's private aircraft or company aircraft under part 91, some flightseeing ops, banner towing, jump pilot, survey work, ag work, just about anything that involves flying someone else's aircraft under part 91 and of course, CFI. But thats about it until you hit that 1000 hr mark where regional/cargo jobs can look at you or the 1,200 mark for 135 ops.
 

Varig

New Member
This is a great question. I am also interested in hearing about alternatives to building flight hours.

I dont know why, but I have it in my head that with about 500 or 600 hours you can get a seat in one of the regionals. I think I might have read it somewhere, or somebody told me...I cant remember, but up until now that is what I was thinking I would have to hit to be considered for a regional airline. So are all regionals really 1,000 minimum?
 

PFactor

New Member
given the current state of affairs regarding the airline industry as a whole, I think 1000 hours total time is no where near enough to get hired. Sure, you could start putting in aplications, but remember there are alot of very experienced pilots out of work so the companys with jobs hold all the cards.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
The 1,000hr mark is just a vague guidline. It's about the time you can expect to seriosuly start looking at cargo/135 ops. Regionals may or may not be hiring at 1,000 but 1,200 -2,000 is not an unrealistic range for your first regional. Two years ago, yes, 500-600 hours could have landed you a regional job - but it's not very likely today. But, yes there ARE exceptions - ask FlyChicaga.


However, the thing about more experienced pilots is a half-tuth. Yes, there are a lot of pilots out of work but the ones on furlough (especially from the majors) aren't very likely to go after lower "pole position" jobs en-masse because most jobs require that if you hold a senority number at another airline you forefit that number when you get hired with the new company. And, guys and gals that have made the majors, but are now on furlough, will more than likely die before they forefit their senority number for a "lower" tier job.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
This is what I have observed in Airlines.

The best pilots I fly with come from CFI backgrounds. There are a couple,two,three that are ex-military, and a couple of Freight Dogs.

I flew with several "bad" pilots over the years, mostly from poor interpersonal skills or unsafe practices: I did a little scoring:

(edited: These are counts of pilots - not scores!)
"Shortcut"
(Ab Initio program such as San Juan, family connection for cushy corporate job, Gulfstream, etc.)
6

Ex-Military
7

CFI
3

Freight Dogs
4

This is not scientific but it's the best I could do.

Opinion? If you aren't willing to learn to be a CFI you will not be willing to learn to be a good crewmember. To be a CFI you have to learn to get along with people. It helps you later on.
 

Grumpy

New Member
Don't wish to start an argument here, so I will just mildly disagreee with what you have stated. All the while, acknowledging that there are ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS.

So to the point. Pipeline / Powerline jobs are
1. not all that available
2. it is very rare that one will be hired with less than 1000 hrs
3. most operators do not want to hire a "young pilot" because they know that you are just time building.[general statement]
and it takes six months before you are really looking rather than just trying to stay on the line. So there you are with 600+ hours and are ready to start looking for another job and the operator has to find another pilot.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
Notice I didn't really I note what hours were required for any specific job - other than some vague ideas on the airlines.


None of the jobs I listed are really readily available. Hell, I called about a jump pilot position at a local skydiving outfit and a) they weren't hiring and b) if they were they wanted 1,000hrs to go up and come back down!

The stark reality is insurance companies have pretty much limited the new comemrcial pilot to a very, very few jobs and you realistically don't have to many options until you hit the 1,000hr mark.

So this is the hard part - anyone can get to the commercial - the tough part is this dead zone between 300 and 1,000.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
The only skydiving outfits that will hire a low-time pilot will be the very small ones that fly 182's/206's/etc., or large ones that use these aircraft to supplement the main ones.

Most larger DZ's (drop zones) fly large multiengine, and turbine equipment such as Casa's, Twin Otters, Shorts Sky-Vans, etc. Those all (with the exception of maybe the Sky-Van, but I'm not sure) require type ratings, and on top of that, the insurance requirements are outrageous.

Many fly King-Airs, and a few have Pilatus Porters (single engine turbine tailwheel...goofly lookin' thing)- but like I said, insurance requirements are getting out of hand, so no low timers there unless you know someone. Besides that...most pilots nowadays don't even have tailwheel signoffs...let alone the ability to fly a turbine tailwheel like the Porter...I bet that thing can be a handful.

So unless you're a fairly high-time pilot who knows someone in the diverdriving business (and being a skydiver yourself also helps), I wouldn't count on building much more than single engine piston time flying jumpers. And thats not very valuable- all day VFR, no XC, etc.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
Yeah the outfit I called operate King Airs, Twin Otters and has a Porter and a DC-3.

I just don't get where they find pilots able to fly for 'em considering the nature of the job (even in a turbine it's still no XC, no IFR, etc.) and the pay (usually paid by the jump). But I guess there's guys out there who can do/will do it.

And this is what really sets me off about people who run-down CFIs for being there "just to build time." There is, simply, no other semi-easy, realistic way to build time. And if FBOs paid their CFIs more than chicken scraps they might find it easier to retain people who wouldn't mind instructing for a living. As it is most people leave because they simply cannot afford to instruct.

It's a shame really - the system, as it is now, is really designed to destroy itself.
 

Grumpy

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Notice I didn't really I note what hours were required for any specific job - other than some vague ideas on the airlines.


None of the jobs I listed are really readily available. Hell, I called about a jump pilot position at a local skydiving outfit and a) they weren't hiring and b) if they were they wanted 1,000hrs to go up and come back down!

The stark reality is insurance companies have pretty much limited the new comemrcial pilot to a very, very few jobs and you realistically don't have to many options until you hit the 1,000hr mark.

So this is the hard part - anyone can get to the commercial - the tough part is this dead zone between 300 and 1,000.


[/ QUOTE ]


What he said!
 
There are a few good alternatives, A&P Flight Engineer, Dispatcher, etc.....If a pilot has a Multi-Comm Inst. and an A&P FE ticket, they'll have a great chance of upgrading, plus the money is pretty good. I'd recomend that just about all pilots should get their A&P, even if they are not mechanicly inclined. The A&P is more about systems and regulation knowledge than turning wrenches.
 

lilrkt

New Member
I've been thinking about that...how ong does it take to get your A&P? What are the requirements? I would be looking at specializing in avionics.
 

arizonaflyer

New Member
I've been thinking about that...how ong does it take to get your A&P? What are the requirements? I would be looking at specializing in avionics.


-------------------------------------------------------
Check out Cochise college in Arizona.

http://www.cochise.org/aviation/index_ie.htm

they have a little over 2 year program for a&p and avionics with or without degree.
 

mastermags

Well-Known Member *giggity*
Ive been thinking about going to my ccommunity tech college to get an A&P after college... Im going to be inheriting two planes more then likely, and I need to know how to work on them.
 

mastermags

Well-Known Member *giggity*
Have you considered flying for an airlines... I hear you can build a lot of hours that way.

Sorry, just a sour joke in some not so funny times.
 
About 2 years. While you are doing that, you can also get your pilot ratings, and your 2 year degree if you are in the right type of program.
 
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