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career decisions

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New member
Aug 17, 2002
Just looking for some career advise.....

I have a Bachlor's Degree in Aviation. I am Commercial rated (Instrument, Multi-Engine) and currently working on CFI. I am 28 years old and my ultimate goal is, of course, the majors. I'm sitting at 300 hours total time, 50 multi.

In everyone's opinion, what is the best way and fastest way to get the right time I need to be considered for the majors?

I have considered (be nice) GulfStream Academy to rack up some hours, not seeking a job, just to rack up some hours. I've heard a LOT of stuff on here about the do's and don'ts but aren't quite sure what to base these opinions on.

Please let me know what is the best route to the majors. (CFI, Regional, etc. whatever)

I would stay well clear of Gulfstream for the obvious (refer to the many other threads)....... In my opinion I would attempt to get some right seat gig flying 135 where you are PAID from day 1 (stay clear of the operators that are "selling" the right seat out and in return taking it away from "qualified" pilots. Airnet appears to have a great SIC program that may be of interest to you however at your TT I am not sure it would be an easy task to get into that program present day, it is worth a shot however....There does appear to be numerous 135 departments that are STILL hiring pilots for SIC duties atleast in this part of the country, the King Air fleet for example is all whether it be a C90B or a 350 are ALL type certificated "single pilot" however most companies will fly 2 pilots on all trips as our company does due to the insurance requirements mandating we have 2 135 qualified pilots up front...

I really would do all in your power to stay clear of your Tab Express and Gulfstream's of the industry-


3 5 0

(just "my" opinion). . . .
PM me and let me know where you reside- a friend just got hired as SIC into a 200 and Westwind and I believe they are still in need of another SIC-
I think your best option is to get your CFI. It's not glamorous and exciting but it's a sure bet. When I was in your position 5 years ago I didn't want to instruct and sat around waiting for someone to hire me with some dream job. Heck, with a commercial multi you can fly the right seat of a Boeing 747 technically. But that won't happen and don't kid yourself thinking those dream jobs will come along. They do for one out of every 1000 pilots. Get your CFI and instruct at a good flight school, preferably one that has a twin. Get your CFII and MEI and instruct with them. Those really teach you about flying. Plus working as a CFI you earn money instead of forking over money to some greedy operator who doesn't care about teaching you anything while you pay to sit right seat. The best part about being a CFI is you get real PIC time to teach you how to make decisions. You may be in a C-152 but that decision making ability is more important than sitting right seat in a BE-1900 running checklists and talking on the radio. Avoid paying to fly. That way when you get your first job at a regional airline making $18,000/year for your first year you won't be in debt up to your ears. Also you will probably fly with people who have worked hard to get where they are without paying for it. They won't be happy to know that you bought your job. Also, since getting a job with a regional airline is harder now with the economy consider flying freight under part 135 when you get 1200 hours. It's another great way to build PIC experience in real weather and will help you with your next job. I initially wanted to fly corporate but decided to go the regional airline route. I love it. I'm only 80% down the seniority list at my company but I still get enough flexibility to somewhat be able to pick the schedules I want to fly. The pay goes up after your first year and you can top out at $85.000/year some day as a regional airline captain on a regional jet. Or you can go on and work for the majors when they starting hiring again in 2-5 years. To get to a major airline you'll need about 2-7 years of experience at a regional airline. For now I would suggest that you get your CFI, build real time, and don't get side tracked with gimmicks like "pay for training". Don't be fooled into thinking that paying for training is a good investment. Getting your CFI, CFII, and MEI is a good investment. If you've worked hard and still no other jobs come along then get your ATP once you get 1500 hours. Always build time and get real experience. It may take a long time but enjoy the journey. Any career worth doing is takes time and effort. Good luck!
tow banners


buy a Cub and fly around the world (it will only cost about $5,000 in gas)

heck get an ultralight and fly around for $2 hr - its loggable time

be creative

Absolutely. Get your CFI certificate and all your airplane ratings and start instructing. You will learn tons about aviation. You will be amazed at (1) how little you knew when you were a low-timer and (2) how much you have learned after instructing 1000 hours. The learning comes not only by preparing to teach flying, but also having a purpose to look up things in the books when your students have questions. Also, the learning and experience you gain while supervising students is unmatched.

Absolutely, positively, do not do you-know-what. Don't do you-know-what at Gulfstream. Do not do you-know-what elsewhere. The SIC time may not be loggable legally and it will be obvious you paid for your time and training. Always make sure you are being paid for your work flying airplanes. It means a difference in terms of how you will be viewed by H.R. and by your fellow pilots. Your peers won't like it that you paid for something (and effectively cut in line) that others slave away for years to get.

Good luck with your plans.
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I second bobbysamd. Enjoy that what you do. I'm amazed at the students that I've picked up who have thought of quiting simply because their instructor "didn't care". Keep a positive attitude, and remember that you're being paid to fly (albeit a low pay). Remember what it was like to solo that first student, and especially what it was like to sign that one first student off on their private checkride. Have faith. We're one of the lucky ones; to be paid to enjoy our job.

On a side note, I'm only a CFII but am enjoying what I do. I am, however, saddened to hear about so much turmoil going on in the Regionals and the "Majors". Yes, I am young. I do not know a lot of what is going on, especially about the unions. All I do know is that I want to fly. I love to fly.

I just hope that all of us can remember our roots. I'm willing to help my fellow pilots below me (in experience) as I hope that one day that the pilots with more experience may help me. Please keep the dream alive, especially for us younger pilots. Thank you. We look up to you....

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If your dream is to be come a Delta captain making $300k per year, you might want to get out of bed and take the dog for a walk.

Sure, those jobs will still exist, but on a more modest level. Overall, the writing is on the wall for salary and benefits: there will be increases for the lowest paid regional pilots, and a decline, over time, for the domestic large aircraft crew. Aviation is being beaten about the head by the current market, which now includes low cost carriers and rock bottom ticket prices. As the economy recovers and the flight of the business passenger from scheduled 121 flying stabilizes, we will begin to see who survives among the "majors". All of this can take five years or more to happen. You, as an individual, along with many others here, have the advantage of youth and time.

The rest of us will have to do the best we can.

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