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Most Valuable way to build time

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Curtis Malone
May 6, 2002
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.

It's not really a good "time builder," but I think it is most likely the best experience builder.

If you want to get some quality experience and learn quality lessons, then instructing is the way to go.
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.
The comair guy seems to be ignoring the 1,200 hours you need to get before logging your first hour in Part 135 (IFR) or 121.
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???

This kind of cr@p pisses me off.

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!

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