Flight Instructor--and may eventually stop piloting

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
I love flying, but this career has really been getting to me lately. First, being a pilot is extremely competative, so competative, in fact, that many people are willing to work for free. That means if you don't like anything about your job, no problem, there's a million other applicants willing to take your job and work for less money.

Second, it is stressful. Maybe flying a high performance jet that is all weather capable and has a second professional pilot would be better, but being a flight instructor you fly little planes (which cannot handle weather or wake turbulence) with a person who is depending on you to teach them how to fly. If you're a CFI, you're the one who is responsible for saving landings and keeping you're students from crashing.

Lastly, because this field is so competative and many pilots are willing to work for low wages (again some even work for free), it is difficult to pay the bills. I've now found out that as a pilot, there is a good chance that I won't make more than 30,000 for the next 10 years. And if anyone feels that this is not true, than please tell me I'm just being too hard on myself. I would love to believe that's not true. Perhaps, my outlook is negative on that point, but I constantly hear of pilots in today's market who are just lucky to get a job that pays minimum wage.

In fact, if anyone heard of the pay that flight instructors get, they would probably just laugh. The pay is very low. Don't get me wrong; I love teaching and I would love to be a flight instructor full time for the rest of my life despite the stress, but that just isn't a realistic dream because of the extremely low pay.
I also don't want to be gone from home for over two weeks at a time if I ever get married and have kids, which I would like to do someday. So I think for now, I will continue flight instructing, but I'm looking at different careers right now because I would like to have a career that will pay enough to enable me to live comfortably and raise a family someday.

I'm sorry if I sound negative about being a pilot; if you want to fly above all else and enjoy your job, then go for it. But if you are looking at it as a way to pay bills and raise a family, I would not recommend a flying career; at least not with civilian training and fixed wing airplanes. I don't know much about helicopter flying, so I won't comment on that. Again, sorry for the negative outlook, but I'm now 27 with a bachelors degree, and after flying for three years and 600 hours this seems to be the reality of a flying career. I'm just now starting to think it's not for me because I would like to be at home (not halfway across the country for two weeks at a time) and make a decent paycheck whenever I get married.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Biting my tongue ...

Well CFI has never been a well paid position.

You might consider striking out on your own, so you can make $30-40/hr for yourself, instead of making $10 while the FBO charges $40
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Not trying to take things away from your point, but from what I understand many many many people have had it much worse than us! Much!
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Here's a real good phrase that completely describes aviation:

"Feast or famine"
 

PFactor

New Member
Lets see, even if you only make 30K a year for ten years, that would make you 37 and thats not old, by then you should be making good money (altough I think you would make more than 30K a yr in that 10 yr period). But if your doing this for the money (and I'm not saying you are) maybe you should find something else.
 

aviator

New Member
Hey, I sympathize. When I got into flying (about 5 years ago) FO's were getting hired with 250 hours and a fresh com. ticket. I don't want to get out of flying, but at times I feel like the only reason I'm still in it is because I've committed so much I can't give up now.


I also notice this attitude with students these days..."why work hard and crank this rating out? When I'm finished I"ll be completely unemployable!!" Kind of sucks............
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]


What if I don't want fame?


[/ QUOTE ]

D'oh!

Duly noted and corrected appropriately.
 

travis_az

New Member
I had some of the same feelings. So right now I am not working as a CFI or anything in aviation. My plan is once things start to roll again, then get current and go back out there. Right now I have to pay my student loans (ERAU), house etc.

This does mean that people who are out there right now will most likely get the first jobs, but for me it is not worth the effort in famine times.

I may never fly professionaly, but I will always stay around aviation. It all depends on timing.

Just a thought.
 

TDK90

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Or you could come back to Pan Am and actually have a chance at getting hired in the next year

[/ QUOTE ]

LOL
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Or you could come back to Pan Am and actually have a chance at getting hired in the next year.


[/ QUOTE ]

If that were true, then Pan Am graduates would stop coming to Sawyer looking for any work they can get and my flight instructor job. Now take your salesmen propaganda and shove it! Have some respect for people on this website.
 

panampilot

New Member
Jealousy sucks doesn't it mav. Not trying to be a prick but you've baggin' Pan Am ever since you left. Regardless if 1 or 2 instructors have come over to your school looking for a job, the facts are people are leaving here for the airlines on a monthly basis. Good luck with any decision you make.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Lets see, even if you only make 30K a year for ten years, that would make you 37 and thats not old, by then you should be making good money (altough I think you would make more than 30K a yr in that 10 yr period). But if your doing this for the money (and I'm not saying you are) maybe you should find something else.

[/ QUOTE ]

Well I just hope you're right. I love flying, but I realize that I am also going to have pay bills in life, and I'm now starting to wonder if that can be done by flying airplanes or not after September 11th. I try to be a realist and I've talked to many pilots now that say this career just doesn't exist anymore. Like I said, I like what I'm doing now, but I'm also trying to look at some other things I could do in aviation, maybe aviation law or something. Who knows, maybe something that has nothing to do with aviation. I just want to be able to pay the bills and keep my credit clear in life and for a pilot nowadays that is looking difficult.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Jealousy sucks doesn't it mav. Not trying to be a prick but you've baggin' Pan Am ever since you left. Regardless if 1 or 2 instructors have come over to your school looking for a job, the facts are people are leaving here for the airlines on a monthly basis. Good luck with any decision you make.

[/ QUOTE ]

People are leaving for the airlines on a monthly basis! :grin That really explains why the Pan Am graduates are looking for jobs at every airport in Arizona. They can't even get flight instructor jobs, let alone airline jobs for Christ's sake! Anybody want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?
Sheesh, give it up dude.
 

panampilot

New Member
Well, let's see three guys just started groundschool at Mesaba on Monday. Is that good enough for ya? To be honest I don't know why "all these instructors" are looking for jobs because we've been hiring a •! load. Could it be you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I think so. I'm not going to play this game with you. If you can't take the heat then get the hell out. Go work at Wal-Mart you big baby!
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
, the facts are people are leaving here for the airlines on a monthly basis.

[/ QUOTE ]


I still can't get over the fact that you just said that. You must think that Doug and the rest of us on here are dumber than a box of rocks.
 

shooter13

New Member
I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to decide if this field is really an option or not. You have to live life according to your own terms. If you need to make a good deal of money then you shouldn't get into flying. I honestly think that I can be making $60-$70K within ten years of flying. If you guys think I am wrong please correct me. I make just a bit less than that now and no that I am comfortable with that amount of income. The other option I am pursuing is entering dental school. That has the potential of more money faster (though with greater school length and cost) but it doesn't have the appeal to me that flying does. I don't think I would enjoy working on people’s teeth as much as I would fly.
 
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