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Bare Minimum Time For A Job?

weekendwarrior

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Ok folks. I'm sure there are many ways to fly for a living. Freight, regionals, traffic, etc, etc. My goal is to get to the majors, and I want to avoid flight instruction. I have my Instrument, and will have my comm/multi in about a month. I'll have 400 hours TT, and about 12 hours multi.

Now the big question comes, what is the best way to get time at this stage in the game (besides instructing) and what are some low time (500 hour) jobs that I could expect to find? Right seat multi time, anything. I just want to be sure it is valuble time for getting job in the future.
 

bigD

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My understanding is that you're not going to get real competative for Airnet until you're at about 900 hours or so. So really if you don't want to instruct, you're probably going to have to either find something flying jumpers or doing traffic watch.

I got my first job flying jumpers at about 350 hours, so it's possible. Unfortunately there are lots of furloughed regional guys out there now, so I think most drop zones have more than enough applicants with far more experience these days.

I've seen flyers for traffic watch, but every one wants 500 PIC and a CFI. Dunno why they want the CFI, but there you have it.

Why not instruct? Really, it's probably the fastest way of building time until you get to 135 mins.
 
3

350DRIVER

Unless you know someone on the inside of the 135 companies then it will be somewhat or should I say very difficult to "secure" a right seat gig due to the current job market where surplus far exceeds demand at the present time. I was just speaking to our chief pilot and I was amazed with the resumes from low (300-500 hour) pilots that have been coming in, however he also stated that resumes from pilots with upwards of 3000TT have also been coming in at the same rate. ("IF" we hire in the future guess who gets the call first)- On the bright side I have heard that some departments are still hiring the lower time pilots so keep your eyes open... n e t w o r k , n e t w o r k & n e t w o r k- Banner towing, sight seeing flights, repo flights, photography flights, etc, probably will be alot easier however like I said their definately is not a shortage of low time pilots in your exact same position so you need to make yourself more marketable and stand out from the rest of the pack- Good luck

C H E E R S

3 5 0
 

AWACoff

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Just remember, published minimums are usually not a hard minimum. I was hired by Great Lakes with well under the posted minimums (tenacity...no connections whatsoever). We just hired a guy at our dropzone who had LESS than the insurance requirements. He must have done one heck of a job selling himself to the owners (350TT when insurance required 500TT). Guess what...he has over 500TT now. An interesting side effect to flying jumpers is the ability to get into multi-engine turbine equipment at relatively low time as PIC. Skydive Chicago recently hired a pilot who had 800TT. He is now flying a Twin Otter. He is also a jumper though which helps a LOT when you are a jump pilot. Remember, when somebody says "no", they really mean "check back with me soon". T.E.N.A.C.I.T.Y
 

Jump Pilot

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I got my first flying job at 275 hours flying jumpers. Check out the DZ's in your area or try dropzone.com for a listing of DZ's. Most of the places now might be full, but you could get your name in for any openings.

Good luck. Flying jumpers is a blast. In spite of what you might hear, it is good experience as long as you can suppliment it with some instrument work.
 

bobbysamd

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Airborne traffic watch

Non-instructing low-time jobs are extremely hard to get. It's a supply and demand problem. There really aren't that many low time jobs, despite what you hear and read. And, there are plenty of people available to fill them.

Many people suggest flying radio traffic watch. These jobs, absolutely, positively, don't grow on trees. They are scarce. I know. I worked in broadcasting full-time for fifteen years. First of all, not that many radio stations use airplanes. Those that do will be primarily in larger markets, which means larger cities. There is no shortage of pilots available to fly these airplanes and, dare I say it, for free to build the hours. We had someone like that fly an airplane for our radio station. I even flew the airplane a couple of times (I was a newsperson at the station and employed). Many radio stations that have airborne traffic watch do not operate their own aircraft but subscribe to services that provide the information to several radio stations in the same market. I have a friend who manages such a service. So, in a particular market, there may not be as many traffic airplanes as it appears.

If it were me, I'd opt for the path of least resistance. Your CFI is a credential that will get you work. Get yours and get your experience. Good luck to you.
 
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cvsfly

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You are really limiting yourself by not instructing. Even with a 135 or 121 company there are positions where a CFI experience might be valuable. These companies need instructors as well. Yes you can instruct with an ATP within a 135 or 121, but I for one would want to see some real demonstrated ability in instructing and evaluating. You also learn alot from instructing. I know the argument will be how much can you learn being a PNF from the right seat. But when you have to observe and evaluate other people's mistakes, you learn in the process. When you have to teach a subject matter on the ground over and over and evaluate a student applying it in the air over and over, you gain much more than book knowledge.
 

Timebuilder

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If you are thinking of working for Airnet, bear this in mind: Bob told me very specifically that they preferred pilots who had worked as instructors and had RECENT flight experience. They are not looking for somone who was laid off six months ago, and has not flown since then. They will look at your thirty, sixty, and ninety day totals.

I'm not suggesting that it will be impossible to find as job as a low timer, but supply and demand have changed a lot in the last twelve months, and it will be more difficult than you may realize.

Just as AWACoff suggested, be tenacious. Also be persistent. Work at finding a job every day, if only for a few minutes. Make phone calls. If you need to, write out a script to guide you in your questions about the operation where you would like to work. Visit airports. Ask the crew of that Navajo if they can show you the airplane. This will open up an oportunity for questions about jobs they might have heard about, or even employers that you may want to avoid!

Don't quit!
 

Lonestar

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Traffic Watch

If you want to fly a lot and you don't mind doing it in a 172, go out to Van Nuys, CA (VNY) and hit the pavement...you'll find a job. That's where most of the Traffic Watch companies in L.A. are based. Several companies use Cessnas and there are still plenty of jobs to be had out there.
 

Steve

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Timebuilder

Timebuilder, One question about Airnet. I have read in a few places that Airnet REALLY prefers CFI'S. Say I would get 300-400 hours flying jumpers of dragging banners, and the rest of the time (about 600) would be from instructing. How much of a negative would the non CFI time be, as opposed to it all being Instructing time? Thanks for your help. I'm just a future Airnet wannabe and want to get in a position in which I will be exactly what they are looking for.
 

Timebuilder

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I'll make the best guess I can here, and say that the non-CFI time is fine. If you do some banner towing, and then demonstrate the willingness and ability to instruct for several hundred hours, you should do just fine.

Instrument and MEI experience are always good selling points to any potential employer, along with actual instrument, cross country PIC, and class B experience.

My impression about the computerized screening that is done with the online application is this: make certain that you've done a lot of flying over the previous six months, like fifteen to thirty hours a week. Bob pointed this out to me as a potential negative, since I had been laid off for three months.

The irony for me is this: now that I have my new job, I will fit the Airnet hiring profile in the next three months.

If I were in your position, I'd start working on the CFI and FOI material right now, regardless of when you intend to begin instructing. It's a great review of aviation knowlege.
 

13579ms

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If you're trying to avoid instructing look at some of these 135 charter outfits. I fly and log the dead legs part 91. Some of these places need co-pilots because the customer requests them or the plane doesn't have autopilot. There really is no mins for a charter co-pilot. I hope that helps some.
 

Sean

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TimeBuilder

Question for you:

I emailed you a while ago about getting my CFI through you in PA. I ended up going to ATP because I already had a job lined up at home and wanted to get done soon.

I have over 200 hours dual given so far...to get hired at Airnet what is the min. hours they will look at???

Can you give me more info?? Web page etc...

Thanks Sean...you can PM me if you want
 

BigFlyr

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My goal is to get to the majors, and I want to avoid flight instruction.[/B]


I said the same thing once... ONCE! Anyway, there I stood with Commercial ticket in hand and no place to go so off to CFI school I went... I can tell you this, DO NOT limit yourself by starting off with the pretence of being able to work your way up without a CFI ticket. Go to school...and get your CFI and MEI as soon as possible. If you find something in the meantime then do it. If anything it will make you a sharper pilot and it may even save your life one day as it has mine. All those VMC demos! Yikes! :eek:
 

weekendwarrior

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I think being a CFI is a falicy that most people think they "have" to do in order to get a job. If one has no resources to build time (friends, partial ownership, etc) then maybe a CFI is the way to go. For me, I own my own airplane, a C-140. I build my time in that, plus it gives me the tailwheel experience I need to get a job towing sailplanes if necessary.

$6,000 The cost of getting CFI, CFII, MEI) can buy alot of gas in my Cessna 140. I have a perfect time builder that for the price and time I"d spend on getting a CFI, etc I could have built the time I need to meet the minimums. Then all I need is the multi time which I couldn't get around here with 10 hours of multi time anyway. Insurance requirements at my school for MEI's are 250 hours multi and 1000 TT to be an instructor.

Towing gliders is also another option. I'm approaching the tailwheel minimums for that as well. It has been done by people that I know, so I'm still going to avoid the CFI thing if I can.

My point is, no, you do not have to have your CFI. Being resourceful, finding a good deal on a cheap airplane, buying into a partnership, washing and detailing airplanes in exchange for time, etc, will get you the time that you need. And, it is on your watch, not a flight school that is going to under pay you for long hours.

If I run out of money, don't have an airplane to fly, and am stuck at 600 hours, then ok. I'll give. But in the mean time, the task at hand is to get the bare minimum requirements to start flying somewhere.
 

willi7

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cfi

It's not just how many hours you have, it's the type of hours you have!! Towing gliders and flying around in a 140 by yourself will not compare to the experience of working with different personalities and teaching! An employer wants to see certain things on your resume not just TT.
 

weekendwarrior

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Good point. I see where that could show the personal ability. As far as aircraft flying is concerned, it's probably about equal, as most time will be in 152, 172, Warrior, etc.

My logic is that if I can shine in the interview with personal skills and good references, they will hopefully see that I have the TT, as well as the personal skills. One thing for sure is that being a CFI has it's advantages, as you really get to know the material since you are breathing it everyday, as opposed to just flying....Both sides work for me, but I really don't care to instruct new pilots how to fly. If I could get comm/IFR students, it would be ideal, but that's in a different world I'm sure.
 

BigFlyr

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I know of guy who, years ago bought an old Aztec, parked it for about one year, painted it, sold it, made money and pencil-whiped some 500+ hours of multi-time which helped him to land a commuter job!!! Where he is now, I don't know but there I was working my @$$ off... Don't get me wrong though, people who cheat eventually get caught and I'm sure he'll get his if he hasn't already. The point is... if you're going to fly your own airplane to build time in it you should have a way of verifying it's usage. By using it for flight instruction would be one such way and the money you make could at least pay for the airplane.
 
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weekendwarrior

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He's only cheating himself. With my situation, if someone wants to verify my time, they are more than welcome to look at the tach time and note the maintenance in the aircraft logbook. That would be absolute proof, since it is my airplane that has logbook entries for routine and major maintenance. But since I run an honest logbook, I'm not concerned about it. Also, when I take people with me (which is quite often) I put their names in my logbook. Both for memories, as well as something other than "practiced touch and goes". And hey, I definately have the fuel bills to show for it!
 
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