What is the most respected (Valuable) way to build time? I read in one of the posts that skydiver driving, banner towing and instructing are the worst. Where to traffic reporting and Ferry flying rank? Any other positions worth recommending? Thanks
I find it hard to belive that you have heard that instructing is one of the worst ways to build repectable and valuable time... especially on this board. I think it's the general consensus on this board that instructing is by far one of the BEST ways to build and gain "experience" (not time!). Flying a jump plane, towing banners, flying pipeline, or traffic watch are other ways to gain experince, and you will learn quite a bit from any of them. However, it is my opinion that you will learn far more by instructing than you ever will doing anything else.
Again, nothing against all those other jobs you mentioned. I'm sure that they are all valuable in what you will take away from them. I've just never done any of them.
In the wages for skydiver drivers atpcliff mentioned that
Note: I just talked to a recruiter/hr guy at Comair. He said flying Skydivers is about the worst possible type of flying for them, along with banner towing. It doesn't really count for anything, as far as they are concerned. Next worst is instructing, which doesn't count for much, either. He said they are really looking for part 135 or 121 time.
None of that other stuff is 135 or 121 either. How did this particular recruiter expect someone to gain time? Most of Comair's newhires have been flight instructors, and I personally think other types of experience are as good or better. Flying where you have to keep a schedule, and keep clients happy is always good experience. Heavier aircraft and more weather are always a plus, but difficult at the entry level. I personally prefer to fly with ex cargo pilots, but that takes time that you had to buld as a cfi or one of the other jobs listed. I think they are all good, but being a cfi is always a good thing. Good luck to you.
I love ow the hr people think instructing is a waste. Do you happeb to know if they were pilots or just pencil pushers?!? We all cant go into an interview with the golden 121 or 135 time.
Alot of people got the mins for the interview BY INSTRUCTING. You learn a hell of a lot instructing. Even with hands off the controls most of the time, i still say you will be a better pilot than a banner tower.
I agree that 121 and 135 is BETTER than instructing, most people cant land that type of job with out doing "wasteful and meaningless" (according to them) flying.
Does that mean that the pencil pushin hr guys/gals had some other crucial and meaningful pencil pushing time before there hr job? Is there a min amount of pencil pushing to get where they were/are? What if they dont use a number #2 pencil....is that bad like instructing???
Also, if you fly skydivers you might have the chance to fly something larger like a Caravan, Casa or perhaps a King Air. Not many flight instructors get chances like that. Even a twin Bonanza is better than a 152.
1900 Driver is correct. Sure, 135 and 121 is better, but plenty of flight instructors are picked up by 121 commuters. A lot depends on need and quality of the applicant pool, of course.
People forget how hard it is to get a non-instructing flying job at low time. These jobs are hard to get because there are so many 250-hour pilots available and so few jobs for them. More jobs are available with more time. It's still the old Catch-22; you need the experience to get the job and you need the job to get the experience. Flight instructing is a real, tangible credential, where you provide a tangible service, and a job you can get at 250 hours.
H.R. pilot recruiting coneheads are among the biggest meatheads around. They go strictly by the numbers. They don't see the whole person and the intangibles that person can offer.
I have flown skydivers and instructed to build my time. I left flying skydivers because it was boring after flying the same profile over and over. I instructed for 650 hours after that and learned more about flying in 2 months of that than 6 months of flying skydivers.
My conclusion is that instructing is the BEST way to build time outside of maybe flying right seat pt 91 multi (if you can find it). I got the job I have now through contacts made instructing. A friend who is the chief pilot for a large corporate flight dept summed it up best when recommending that I instruct to gain experience: "Do you want to fly 1,000 hours or fly the same hour 1,000 times? I know the pilot I would hire..."
I would meet some current flight instructors and skydiver drivers and get the inside scoop on the jobs too.
Good Luck with making your decision and then put your energy into making it the best decision!
I agree with Bart. I too flew jumpers then decided to instruct.
Instructing is definately the way to go in my opinion. Don't get me wrong...I had a lot of fun and met a lot of cool people. Not to mention it was really cool to see people jump out of your airplane and have a great time.
I would also have to agree with Bart in that you will meet alot of people while instructing.
I was talking with a Comair recruiter who said that Skydiver flying/banner towing AND traffic patrol were the worst kinds of flying, and didn't count for anything with Comair, in his opinion (you might talk with a different Comair recruiter and get a different opinion). He said next worst was instructing.
I think ferry flying would be better in his book because he mentioned the above worst 3 weren't cross country, among other things.
He said 135 and 121 were best. Now, he was talking to me, in my situation. I have my ATP AMEL already. It is true, if you're low time, you're probably going to have to do one of the above to get enough hours to fly 135, but, as you can see, I already had the hours.
I do know that airlines like Skyway, ContExp, TSA, etc. routinely hire instructors. Others, such as AirWI, Comair, and I believe ACA generally are the top of the regional food chain, and mostly hire 121/135 guys from "lower" regionals, like TSA, for example.
My advice is fly what you can, and when you get enough hours go for 135 time or try to get on with a "lower" 121 operation.
Air WI and Comair both told me to fly 121/135 for at least 6 months, and then I have a good shot at an interview.
I am working on flying skydivers myself (first, I have to get my Commercial-SEL!), and would instruct if I had the money to get my instructor ratings.
Furloughed from a "lower" regional, with no end in sight.
For whatever it's worth, among former types I've flying I've been paid to do, has been dropping on fires, spraying on crops, flying mechanics, freight, and equipment, remote area air ambulance, back country work, scenic tours, fire patrol, sheep counting and animal tracking, search and rescue, jump operations, flight instructing, corporate flying, aerial photography, weather modification and treatment, banner towing, ferry and repositon work, time critical ALS air ambulance, etc.
Most all of that experience is pooh-pooh'd by the grand poohbahs at many companies. The equipment flown has ranged from light fabric piper airplanes to heavy radial and turbine powered four engine equipment. You might think that large four engine airplanes operated at gross weights under extreme conditions at low level in tight quarters and proximity to terrain and other aircraft might suggest some good operating experience, but I've been told by more than a few folks in the past that it's only piston experience, and doesn't count for much. Go figure.
What's the most valueable? Whatever gives you the most experience to craft you a better pilot, and gives you judgement. Otherwise, make the rest up, write it in yourlogbook, and be done with it. The best job is one that pays you, one that you needn't pay for (does anybody remember having to pay to rent an airplane as a private pilot, and how exciting the first paid trip was when someone else was footing the bill??).
I can't look back and say that any one kind of experience has been more valueable to me than any other. I hold all the memories dear, and I'd perform any one of those jobs again in a heartbeat...or any of the other jobs I've done.
The only truly applicable experience to your next job is the job itself. However, how the former work applies is very much how you see it. A pilot who has been flying a F-16 doesn't arrive at an interview for a B737 job and say, "I don't suppose you need someone to fly extreme aerobatic formation work in this airplane, do you, because that's my strong suit. Hey, where is the fire control computer in this thing? What, no threat warning? I'm out of here." Won't happen.
Instead, that pilot will present himself has having good solid training in the fundamentals of aircraft operation. He will show that he has a proven track record operating high performance turbine equipment, strong instrument skills, and the ability to make critical decisions on short notice and make them correctly with mature judgement.
Likewise, the pilot who has been flying banners, instructing, or freight, doesn't arrive at the interview to ask, "So, like, where does the tow ring go on this thing? Do I get to sit right seat, or left? How many chickens can I cram in that sucker (can I say that in mixed company)? Do I still have to fly over gross?"
Instead, he or she might show that judgement has been gained flying in mixed and demanding conditions, lower altitudes, in the clouds. Lots of instrument approaches. Schedules have been met with the freight. Good crew experience working with students in the cockpit; really helped to be able to talk, think, and fly at the same time. Still likes to stay current. Flew a variety of equipment, took regular checkrides and proficiency exams. Whatever.
How the pilot sees his or her background and conveys it is more important than the background itself. How you've conducted yourself during those years in that background makes a very big difference. Did you act professionally, or treat it like the "fun years" until you had that real job you've been climbing the great curtain to get? It's hard to represent as valueable experience time spent not acting like a professional; you'll know it, and it will show. What's in your wallet, so to speak? (I hate those commercials).
The most valueable experience is what you make it out to be. Sell yourself. Sure, you would be best off with a type rating in the aircraft for which you interview, and 5,000 hours or more in type doing the same job for the same company, with an outstanding service record. If that isn't you, then take the job you can get, do it as professionally as you can, and let your learning and your expeirence, and your character speak for you. Thousands upon thousands of others in the industry have done just this; why not you?
Great post from Avbug, but the question is still begging: How do you get the interview when Airline H.R. sees only what it wants and what it wants may not be seen?
I agree that it is hard to believe that someone who has flown C-130s, DC-4s, Catalinas, whatever in fire supression service would not have desirable experience. And, therein, lies the rub and my point: that commuter airline H.R. people are coneheads. Most of them lack the perception and life experience to recognize a quality person. They have it fixed in their minds that the only desirable candidates have X certificates with X hours and X of multi and is X or less years old. Never mind that some applicants may bring quality personality traits and life experience to the table that would be valuable to their companies. You don't fit the profile, your resume winds up in the circular file.
Yeah. Go figure.
In any event, along with what Avbug and others have said, get a paying flying job and build experience. As you build experience, your chances will get better for the better jobs. We can do only the best we can and try as hard as we can. As Popeye said, I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam.
got slammed this way and that for putting down instructing, not to long ago.
I still hold my opinion.
There are many ways to gain experience. It's really how you make it like someone mentioned.
I personally see instructing as being a cruise pilot. And sure it's nice to see that you taught someone how to fly.
However I'm a bush pilot and I see it differently. Aside from flying you also gain a monumental amount of experience. You can survive in the middle of no where. How many flight schools are in towns with less than 500 people? And most of you folks have never heard that it can get below -40, let alone keeping the airplane from breaking in such extremes.
I noticed that bush pilots seem to treasure there planes more. I never once saw an instructor go out and clean the planes. As the student they would dictate us to go and do it. As an ex-Beaver pilot I was cleaning the plane daily (it spits out oil like theres no tomorrow).
My advise is to go to Alaska and learn more than just how to fly.
I really could go on, but I see I will create a firestorm.
If you want to comment about my remarks, or attack my opinion please do so through private messages, as I do not want this thread to lose it's original purpose.