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Well-known member
Jan 28, 2002
I see a lot of posts where people are strongly reccommending networking and "knowing people." As a student pilot who obviously doesn't work in the aviation industry, how can I begin to make these connections? As it is, I chill out at the airport next to where I work on the viewing platform during lunch and meet people, some of whom are pilots, Delta instructors, etc. Is there anything else that I or anyone else with a future in the industry can do to gear up to get plugged in?
Sounds like your already doing it. Network where it makes sense. If you have FBO's or Flight Schools in your area, go to them. Go check out their operation. Talk to people. Your first job could be as a CFI. So, start networking with people that might hire you when you get to that point. Networking with a Corp Flight dept probably won't do much for you, but you never know.

Getting a job at an FBO is good too. I have many friends that fly at the majors. Seems they always tell a story about when they where gasing planes or washing planes when they were young and how that enabled them to get to know someone who gave them the first flying job....

Good luck Erik.
Other networking ideas

Start with your own instructor. I'm sure that he/she will introduce you to pilots he/she encounters when you're together.

Join local aviation organizations, such as your state pilot's association or Civil Air Patrol. CAP can be hit or miss. We had a great organization in Oklahoma City wherein I met a ton of quality aviation people who mentored my abilities.

Go to FAA WINGS seminars. You'll meet pilots there. I believe that student pilots can count dual recieved towards a WINGS pin.

Best of luck to you.
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If you're the most eager, visible Commercial student hanging around the FBO guess who the management will think of when they suddenly need a CFI? The resumes the fax machine spits out daily, despite the higher times, are unknown quantities, but you have a face and a reputation. You're in. That's how i got my present Job. One day "Hey, ya wanna go to Teterboro with me tomorrow?" Then after that "Would ya like to do aerial patrols for us?" Then, while doing my CFI training "Are ya looking to do this full-time?" One thing leads to another.
You're doing the right thing already. This is an exciting time for you, and you'll never forget it.When you see someone you have met before, say hello, and use their first name. Smile. You're on your way.

Tell snoop I'll try and find the time to look through the tools for her. Luckily, I've been a little busy for the last month!

Are you using the Jepp or the Cessna program?

Have fun, and FLY SAFE!
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tell me more about the WINGS pin thing. Do you have a website where I can get info on it? Thanks for the replies!

You can get info on the Wings program from the website FAA.gov. I am a CFI candidate here in Florida, and we actually just went to the Orlando FSDO's ESP program yesterday where they spent a ton of time talking about Wings. At FAA.gov, download AC61-91H, and that should tell you everything you need to know. Only thing is, you have to have a rec pilot certificate or higher to actually apply for one of the phases. Great thing to get involved in, though, in my opinion. Let me know if you need any more info. Good luck with your training.
You can attend the safety seminar, have your instructor fill in the wings card showing the required training toward mastery of the aircraft, and send it in when you get your private.

Confirm this info yourself, as I am recalling this from several years ago...
Get a job in aviation. Pump gas and wash planes. Mow the lawn and clean the hangar. Work as a gate or ramp agent. Then, be a CFI. Always always always mind your professionalism and don't open your mouth unless you know what you're talking about or asking a question. You will learn a ton, and get to know so many people in aviation that you won't be able swing a flight attnedant's pantyhose around your head without hitting somebody who knows somebody you know.
And try to make certain that the person you hit doesn't know the flight attendant....

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