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Multi-less...what would you do?

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What Dream?
Dec 18, 2001
I've got a question for all of you who've "been there and done that" already...and those of you who are in the same situation I'm finding myself in. I'm a full time CFI/CFII, cruising towards 900 hours, and have absolutely no opportunities to build multi engine time at the school I work at. I'm paying to get my muli engine rating elsewhere...but have trouble figuring out exactly how to get multi time without having to pay for it (not a viable option anyway). What's the best bet. Pay for some of it, get an MEI and try to get an MEI job? Look for a freight job? Find a right seat charter job? Realistically, what's the best bet? And while we're at it, my goal is to join a regional sometime in the future, do you think they will get back to hiring with 100 hours multi again in the coming year, or are we looking at 200-250 hours as true minimums for the forseeable future? All opinions would be appreciated.

About to be Rerouted...again
I can't answer the question about hiring for regionals...but here is how I got my multi time. I got my MEI and instructed for a while, picked up some pilot service then got lucky enough to land a right seat gig in a Citaiton at 800 and 100.

Get your MEI without fail. You can always use that credential. With your MEI your chances for building multi improve over the other options. You need to find a school where there's lots of multi training.

I'd stay away from the so-called SIC programs. Without generalizing, they are, at best, questionable and commuters will look askance if you build your time that way. Realistically, your best bet is instructing, at least until you build up enough multi to interest the commuters or freight. Commuter multi mins are really low in this day and age; I saw where Comair hires at 200 multi. In my day, in the late '80s-early '90s, commuters wanted 500 multi, which was down from 1000.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your flying.
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What I did was get my ME and MEI ratings at an FBO that had the lock on Multi training for a very busy GA airport. They agreed to keep me on their staff. That led to a few multi checkouts, which led to a few ME students, which led to a few pilot services gigs, and the next thing I had built up a clientele and was literally flying more multi than singles.

I got a lot of business from my students who after finishing up a rating would look longingly at the twins parked there and say, "You teach in those, don't you?" My response was, "Yes I do. Want to go for an intro lesson?"

After establishing a great relationship with the local ME examiner, I was the "go-to guy" for check ride preparation. Developed a killer oral prep course, and got a lot of business that way.

I gave fellow CFI's free training for their MEI's. This got me some more time. Of course I already had more multi business than I could handle, or this would be stupid.

On a hard IFR day I would call up all of my ex multi students and tell them they needed some real world multi IFR dual.

Then a corporate hangar tenant who needed an MEI saw me always flying the twins in the weather so he chose me for his ICC, then wanted me to fly a few trips with him in his C421, eventually putting me on his insurance and then I flew all of his trips.

That led to flying as a substitute at my buddy's FAR 135 check hauling job...

Then I got hired by a regional.

It all boils down to getting those ratings and then getting noticed. You want to be the guy at the flight school that people point at when someone inquires about multi training.

You need to change FBO's, my friend.
buyin' it

I've had about 5 friends move on to regionals so far, all from CFI jobs. they all either bought 100 hours at a place in CA or FL where you split time with another guy, or they did it instructing in the twins. in the end, most ended up splitting time with another CIME rated pilot to get to 100 ME total.
Go for the MEI

I completely agree with the post from PHX767. I'd recommend getting your MEI. I won't list all the reasons, as PHX767 already listed most of them. I had a similar experience as him. At the flight school I used to teach at, I was lucky enough to have several multi students and even had a few contact me personally to be their multiengine instructor. The multiengine time started out slow but picked up after several months of instructing and people knowing I was an MEI. Since you are already a fulltime CFI/CFII, you should definetly take your students by your multi engine aircraft and let them take a look at the aircraft. I did this with several of my instrument, private, commercial students and it ended up producing several multi engine intro flights. It was a change of pace from their day to day training and even got them excited about their multi rating. And guess who they picked as their multi instructor? Yep!

So, yea, go for the MEI. Right now, buying 100 hrs of multi probably won't get you on with any regionals but could put you in debt. As many people have previously stated, why buy your time when you can get paid for it? Plus, in all of the airline interviews I've been in, they've asked me, "how'd you get your multi time?" Telling them you earned it as an MEI sounds a lot better to them than telling them you bought it.

Just my $2 worth. Best of luck to you in your decision.
Get your MEI ASAP. It's one of the best decisions I've made. I started instructing in twins with less than 30hrs multi back in April. As of 5pm tonight I hit 250hrs. That means I've gotten PAID for over 220hrs of twin time. I have friends who bought their "100 hrs" and spent all their time on long cross-countrys. They know alot about auto pilots and good places for lunch but not much about multi-engine flying. Training students for checkrides and talking them through a hundred or so engine failures, Vmc demos, etc. will do wonders for your own flying. It worked for me. One of my students just hired me to fly his company's 421. I start next month. Now if I can just remember how to fly from the left seat...
Since you have 1200 hours, I'd go fly checks. That's what I did. I never instructed, nor did I ever buy any time.

You may want to check out Ameriflight or Airnet if they are hiring. According to the website, Ameriflight is hiring, albeit into a single, but there are tons of opportunities at Ameriflight, and it's definitely not a bad place to be "stuck" at since 2/3 of the fleet are turbines.

At this point, dont be surprised to see furloughed SJ pilots, DC-10 FO's and FE's, B737 pilots flying checks in singles to stay current and to still have a flying job. I'd rather be flying a single, than be flipping burgers, or flying a desk.

If you do go the MEI route, I have some friends who have gone through Air Desert Pacific and gotten on with regionals after they built up multi time in very short order. They get a lot of foreigners who come to build their multi time, so you go on trips all over the country and build multi time. ADP is ALWAYS looking for CFI's and MEI's.

Best of luck at whatever you do.

I agree with almost everyone above, except that I don't recommend just "buying" 100 hours. Remember how much you learned about flying in your first 100 hours of dual given? This is true, albeit to a lesser degree in the twin. Also, get to know someone at the airport (or even "an" airport) who flies a twin under 12,500 with propellers. You can log the part 91 dead legs and pick up some real world experience: for me, it was flying a cabin class twin into a busy airport down to minimums. This was augmented by other great experiences. I have over 25 hours of that kind.

You want to stay far, far away from any situation where several people are logging the time in the same aircraft. It's a safe bet that many interviewers know who these outfits are, and will discount that time.

Thanks for all of the input. Given what I just read, I've decided to go for my MEI and then see what I can do to get some time teaching in a twin. Somehow paying for 100 hours on an instructor's income seems a bit out of reach. We've got a twin at the FBO I'm at....it just doesn't run, and hasn't in months. Hmmm....maybe I'll need an A&P to make the MEI work at this place...hahaha. Oh well. Thanks..RR

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