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Looking for some advice

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Well-known member
Jan 25, 2002
Hi, I'm a 300 hour pilot with roughly 30 hours of multi, I am also a CFI. I have also completed a Flight Operations internship with United Airlines. I will be graduating from Purdue Univerisity's flight program this coming May. My question is what to do now? I have several options available, but I'm worried that they may all pan out or none will. I have the option of taking a summer CFI job where I could pick up an additional 100-150 hours, doing a paid or unpaid internship with a regional airline, such as PSA, Chatauqua, or ASA, or the remote possibility of being selected to fly our university's Beechjet. Or I could also stay in school, pick up a minor or double major while flight instructing part-time. Please help I am extremely confused on what I should do. Thanks in advance for any help that anybody can provide.
Here is what I would.

Hey little buddy,

If I was you I would try to get on with one of those Regionals and build some time that way, and once honited starts hiring again hey you are in the door. You will have some scheduled turbine time. But it looks as if you know who won't be hiring for a few years down the road. Another thing you can do is just instruct there at purdue especially since alot of regionals won't be hiring for a few years.

Happy trails

Decisions, Decisions

Gee, finally someone wanting advice about a plethora of ATTRACTIVE choices!

I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices. You need to make your decision systematically. You need to build a decision tree. Mine would go something like this:

The first branch should consist of the choice that is most likely to materialize. The next branch should be the one that might give you the most benefit in terms of learning. Then, the one where you can meet people who can help you. Then, choose the branch which would accelerate or facilitate your career goal. Next branch should be how your logbook would benefit.

Just based on my older person's skepticism, don't expect the jet gig to come about. You said it yourself when you said it was only a remote possibility. Things like that tend to be too good to be true, and things that are too good to be true usually are. Moreover, unless you get a ton of LEGAL SIC time in the jet and do more than read the checklist and operate the radios, the time won't give you that much of an advantage. Turbine PIC time matters.

The others, such as the commuter internship gigs are a little more solid, but these companies (and those who run them) are sometimes shaky and the internship(s) may evaporate. The 150 hour flight instructor job can happen, but just like so many summer jobs, it may disappear. The educational and part-time instructing option seems to be more solid. The school won't stop offering the ed program. You can bank on that.

Having given you that analysis, I'd probably opt for staying in school and instructing. Get to the multis as quickly as possible. While I like an aeronautical science major while others don't, taking a major in another field will be your Plan B for aviation's downtime. And you WILL see downtime in this business. You will build flight time instructing in a good, recognized program. That will be a good credential in and of itself. I assume, with your United internship, you made contacts. These contacts will be beyond invaluable, especially at that airline and with others.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your decision.
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Some quick advice from a Pencilhead who just left Lafayette in December... (not a flight major).

Don't expect to be able to instruct at Lafayette Aviation (unless you've already got a job there). Jeff Pittard is a bastard and that place is just all around shady if you ask me (well, the flight school part is). There is a reason that this January was the first time in the history of that company he has had a flight instructor there for more than two years.

Instructing for the school is truly part time--and I'm sure you know it. Personally, I couldn't instruct there due to some of their policies regarding the teaching of certain things... But at least you know that you get to fly truly excellent equipment, you get a set amount of flying, and you are no doubt familiar with that system.

You probably know about the Beechjet already. It is a very remote possibility. And some of my best friends flew the Beechjet, so I know what a really awesome experience that is (and I hear they are going to type the new class again now).

Here is why I left Lafayette when I graduated in December.
1)I'm a mountain boy, I was really tired of IN
2)Only real options for working as an instructor were Lafayette Aviation, and the University.
3)There is NO possibility of multi-instruction anywhere in the area (Lafayette Aviation has a TON of MEIs, and PU onlly has full-timers in the Duchesses)
4)There are WAY TOO MANY young, hour mongering CFIs there to be able to really get a decent job
5)I don't think real highly of many of the pilots around there--a lot of people who think that flight program really makes them a stupendous pilot (I have flown with a LOT of PU pilots, and I was on the flight team for a rather long time--yes as a non-flight major)

My advice would be to leave as well. Sure, keep going to school, but I'd go someplace else. I'm thinking of going back to school myself, but I don't want another degree from Purdue. You can find another decent school someplace where there isn't a pilot-mill around and they won't be so flooded with flight instructors. Even Indianaplis would be a better place if you ask me, a lot more people there learning to fly for fun rather than as a career (as in Lafayette).

Drive around, knock on doors, stop at every airport you see. And don't carry a chip on your shoulder because you went to Purdue. If anything, I'd say you've got a long, hard road to learn how to fly airplanes like the rest of the world. But you can do it, it'll just take some work.

Good luck!


PS-I couldn't tell you about the intern thing, but even with a LOT of intern experience, I would not expect anyone to hire someone with 300 hours, the biggest twin actually being flown (as a competent PIC) being either the Duchess or 5DA at Lafayette Aviation.

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