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Buying 135 SIC Flight Time?

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Active member
Nov 30, 2001
I am considering buying some 135 experience. Wanted to hear goods/bads from others who have already done this. I know this isn't the most popular way to gain experience--I'm not sure if I will go with it or not...just wanted to hear of any decent outfits doing this and what the terms were like.
Not many people are fond of your idea. If I were in your shoes, I would continue flight instructing (or get your CFI if you don't have it). I see lots of job opportunities for CFIs. Why pay for your job when somebody else wants to pay you? If you want 135 time to get an airline job, don't bother. We have hired people here at Air Wisconsin without any 135/121 time. It does make you a bit more marketable but nobody is hiring right now anyways (save for Alegheny....sorry 'bout the misspell). If you don't meet 135 IFR mins, jump on with some 135 operator with an SIC program. The pay is next to nothing but it is an honest way of building time. Good luck.
You're only 100 hrs. away from VFR 135 mins (you also need 300 x/c and a few other things) but as AWACoff wrote, not many people are hiring.
Don't be crazy, there are places out there that pay you to SIC. Why spend $5000 (or so) for 100 hours of time when for that same 100 hours you can get paid 16k per year plus any overtime you fly? Makes no sense at all !!! Even if you have the money to waste, which in my mind it would be, use that to have a beer or a couple thousand beers after you have a draining day flying in the soup.
Oh one more thing, don't go VFR 135. I know of many guys who are required to show up and sit for 10+ hours a night if it is not VFR weather. Also there are many companies out there that will throw you into very tight situations with that whole VFR crap. I have heard many a VFR 135 guy flying below 1000' AGL in IFR conditions trying to get a plane back to base because the company pressured them to do it. (most of this stuff happens with a company in DAL) Oh well, whatever floats your boat though.
Starchkr- I was referring to the VFR 135 in the Grand Canyon where it is VFR 355 days/ yr.
Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Most pilots including myself are against the pay for training idea. I believe, ( and it's just my opinion) that it takes jobs away from other pilots who are qualified and would have a chance at getting the job. It may speed things up a bit but in the long run look at the quality of training you will be getting. There are some places that will train you well and give you valuable experience but for the most part, I have seen operators use this as a money making enterprise with little regard for your future. One day you might be sitting next to a Captain who shows nothing but disdain for the pilot who bought his/her experience.
save your money

Save your money and use it to live on. You guys still havn't caught the wind of what has really happened out there. I have lived through three of them. The days of AA, UAL, and NWA are gone, you are going to have to do some time-the hard way. You'll survive and the experience you get will make it all worth will in the end. At least you guys have GPS...
"I see lots of job opportunities for CFIs"

" If you don't meet 135 IFR mins, jump on with some 135 operator with an SIC program. The pay is next to nothing but it is an honest way of building time"

"Don't be crazy, there are places out there that pay you to SIC"

"...VFR 135 in the Grand Canyon..."

" you are going to have to do some time-the hard way"

Easier said than done guys. Honestly, if it was just a matter of "jumping on" with a 135 operator who has SICs, there'd be people all over that.

I'm not a time builder (I really, really just like airplanes), and can give an excellent reference to that fact, but that doesn't help any. I would like nothing more than to fly in the right seat of an aging radial or turboprop. Other than my measley time I wrote in the logbook, I would consider myself an excellent candidate for the more extreme 135 operators. I'd rate my skills as far beyond my hours (I can give great references to that too), I am not afraid of a lot of hard work (whoah, can ask any previous employer), I HATE to have a set schedule (I honestly would rather not know what I'm doing tomorrow), I'll have an A&P in about two weeks, I'll have a 2 year and a 4 year degree (an aviation engineering type degree) in two weeks, I'm not scared of international flying if need be (I've travelled extensively in the third world), weather doesn't bother me (I've been there before and I'll be there again), I am ALWAYS the top of my class (what can I say, I don't mind work), I'm a really sociable guy (years of youth ministry will do that to ya), pay doesn't bother me (youth ministry will do that to ya too :) )...

But I can't get the time of day right now. Literally, I called and asked what time it was... :) Yet in two weeks, I'm going home to New Mexico to who knows what. Youth ministry again probably, but that's a pretty long committment with NO flying. There's not a single person (other than those going to the military) graduating with me who has any semblance of a job lined up.

So the idea that one has even the slightest ability right now to end up with an entry level aviation job is laughable to me. Beleive me, I've been trying and sent my stuff to a TON of companies, haven't heard a singel thing from any of them. Voicemail doesn't seem to really help either anymore.

Before the 9/11 attacks I was the guy saying "yeah, Airnet, that'd RULE!" But then, after 9/11, there's all the airline wannabes who say "darn, now I have to go work for Airnet." You tell me who would be a better deal for a company like that. (I'm just using Airnet as an example)

VFR 135 at the Grand Canyon--the tour operators seem to have laid off en masse, they're not only airlines, but tourism based businesses too. Really too bad, the right seat of a Do-228 would be absolutely awesome.

CFI work? I love instructing. I can honestly say I am an excellent instructor (mostly because I like to do it and could care less about moving on to something else--yeah, can give excellent references there). But I haven't been able to find jiggity jack squat on that front. The place I used to work as a CFI has five new airplanes since September and they are doing a very brisk business, but are under a new chief CFI and nobody I worked with is still there. No dice.

Of course, even with ALL that, there's no way I'd pay for 135 SIC time. I pride myself on the fact that every single entry in my logbook is backed up by experience. I've never shared time with anyone, I never ganked my students for flight time, I've let a LOt of hours slip away unrecorded because I want there to be NO DOUBT that if my logbook says PIC, that I acted as PIC, in addition to logging it.

SO for all of the "old timers" there telling the young whippersnappers that they need to be ready to "pay their dues" and all that... easier said than done my friends. I'm not averse to "paying my dues." In fact, the way I see it, the system has worked for so long with young pilots flying catalytic converters all ove the country at all hours in all weather, that that experience has prepared them for the service the public has come to expect in the airlines. The system worked for my grandfather, and it'll work for me, if it works at all. The problem is getting started and having the chance to prove ones abilities (like everything else in life).

So, if you've heard of flight schools looking for CFIs, please post those. You're making the search more efficient for both parties which is better for the industry. Same for operators who are willing to hire low time pilots into the right seat of something. Unless you are able to be around airports constantly (and without an aviation job that's near impossible--and I work across the parking lot from a GA field) you just don't hear about most of those opportunities.


Paying dues? I'd kill to BE ABLE to "pay my dues."

I can relate to sending tons and tons of apps and resumes and not ever hearing the phone ring, having no messages on my answering machine, or seeing anything in my mailbox except FAPA baloney and similar junk mail. You can expect that even during good times. I was in the job-seeking pool ten years ago when these stupid p-f-t schemes began. I resisted the temptation because it sounded too good to be true. Things that are too good to be true usually are.

Listen to the others when they tell you that pay-for-training and pay-for-SIC is so much bull. Let's say you sign up for one of these FO training programs that promise a job with the airline upon completion. There's plenty of fine print contained in the contract you'll have to sign. You'll have to give them a hefty deposit up front. If you don't cut it during "training," don't expect a refund and don't expect much help to get over the tough spots. And if you do make it through p-f-t, there may not be any jobs open at the company the end of your training. So, again, you're out all that money. Maybe the airline in question might call you in the future, but don't hold your breath.

The truth of the matter is, born out of experience, that there's little you can do to advance in this business when times are tough. Really, the best thing you can do is be employed as a pilot in ANY capacity, e.g. flight instructing. It'll be easier to move up if you're in than out when hiring resumes.

Just another two-center. Good luck with your decision.
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