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pilot in need of help

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Well-known member
Jul 30, 2002
Here's my situation.....
I'm 26 years old and have wanted to fly since I was little. I graduated from college last year and haven’t had the money to really acquire hours until now. I plan to get my instrument and commercial license by next summer and then begin instructing. I’m worried that I wont be able to find an instructor’s job that will give me at least 80 hours a month to gain my 1000 hours in a year or two. Is it hard to find schools that offer this much instruction time per month especially for someone with only 250 hours? What is the best way to go about this? I know there is no easy way but I’m determined to do whatever it takes to fly professionally someday. Are these schools like Comair worth the money? At least I would have a shot at instructing and gaining 100/month. Do those schools hire instructors that didn’t graduate with their program as instructors? Is there a particular region of the United States where it would be easier to get an instructing job and acquire hours? Please, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I currently hold a private license with 120 hours.
If you're hell bent on flying 80 hours per month, you're probably going to have to be willing to move to an area that's conducive to that kind of flying (if you don't live there already). Around here, it's essentially impossible to fly that much year round. You might get a month or two of it, but the local CFI's tell me that 50 a month is a more realistic number. So it can be done, but you might have to look around, and it'll help to have someone on the inside to help you line up a job. There are a lot of experienced CFI's out there right now, but with a little networking help, I don't see why a 250 hour CFI can't find something - especially in Socal, Arizona, or other big flying areas.

Personally, I'd focus less on how many hours you're going to log each month and instead find a great place to work and have a good time with it! That's not to say that flying a lot of hours isn't important, but don't make it your only deciding factor. I've got a buddy that does 80 hours a month and HATES where he works. Man, if I'm at a place that makes me miserable when doing something I'm so passionate about - 80 hours be d*mned - I'd rather fly 60 hours at a great school and spend the extra 6 months to get where I'm going.

Good luck with it!
Well said, BigD.

The lifestyle of a low-timer is bad enough that all the flight schools' trying to screw with you, and the last thing you want is to feel bad after a day's work, that you don't want to fly anymore!! So pick someplace where you can at least have a life, and don't kill yourself. I know everybody's anxious to get to your dream job, flying the fast jet, but also good for you to stop and smell the rose on the way. If you find a CFI job doesn't get you enough hours, try part-time something on the side, like skyjump or traffic. My last job got me about 45 hrs. CFI, but I got 60 hrs. from skyjump each month, so all things work out pretty well. You never know... Good luck.
While I was in college I got my limited commercial license. I wanted to continue to build time and did not have the funds to get my instrument and CFI. The limited commercial allowed me to fly skydivers. I was in ROTC while in college and went into the Air Force after graduation with 800 hours flight time. I went to Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) and washed out in the T-38 program. I stayed in the Air Force and continued to fly on my own and earned my instrument and CFI. I instructed at the local airport after work and on weekends. I did this for 4 years. I also bought a C-140 to build x-country time. I needed 500 hours x-country for an ATP. I got my ATP when I had 1750 hrs total time. I thought it would help me find a job. This was back in 1987, I had 1750 TT and 270 multi. Jobs were Tough to find.

I got out of the Air Force when I was 32 in 1992 and started flight instructing full time. My wife worked and had to support me, because on a good week I would make $180. I finally got a break in 1993 and started flying a C-421 for an air ambulance service. I made about $25000 per year. In 1998 I got to fly my first turboprop for a freight company, 20 years after I first soloed. I finally got my dream job in 1999 with the US Forest Service after applying for 8 years for every USFS and BLM flying position that I could find. My wife is a house wife now and we own our home.

Anyway, my point is that it took me years to find a secure and satisfying flying job. The process seemed endless, however, I never gave up. I think there are lots of options available to build time and make a living. I would avoid going through Comair for training. If you are creative in how you chose to build your flight time and experience rather than go to through Comair you will aquire a wider range of experience in a variety of aircraft.

If you can flight instruct, haul skydivers or maybe tow gliders or banners to build enough time and experience to get a job hauling boxes for a freight company, I think you will be better off. Hauling freight at night in a multi-engine airplane, single pilot is the best experience you can get. It will pave the road for any job you want. Best of luck, I tend to ramble, when the last paragraph is probably what you were looking for.
I taught at Embry Riddle in Daytona. There is plenty of flying there year round. You don't have to be a graduate to work there. In fact their graduates have to go through the same interview process as an outsider. Teaching at a large university gives you benifits and excellent equipment.

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