Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

pilot in need of help

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


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.
Sometimes looking at only the large places is the problem. look at some smaller FBO's around the country. I know of several instucters at small FBO's that fly so much they have to turn people away. What part of the counrty are you in now?
The most important thing I have learned in working on my CFI is to make sure you get an instructor who has a successfull track record of training CFI's. Don't train someone to do it on your money, that is what I've fallen into. My mistake, no one elses. The problem is was that I was out of money before I found this out, OOOOPS! Get references of people who have completed their CFI with this instructor. Call the FSDO and ask about this instructor (they won't tell you anything but the tone in their voice will). Call DE's in the area and ask them about him. Ask lineman, counter girls. If you see someone standing on the ramp go up to them and ask them. If an airplane pulls in run up and say, "Hey, what can you tell me about "insert CFI?" Ask him (the cfi) a lot of questions. Find out how he is going to teach you. If he isn't going to let you actually teach ground and isn't going to role play in the airplane then RUN!!!!!!!! Jump through the nearest available exit be it window, door, anything. Don't stop until you are FAR, FAR, AWAY from that location. Don't look back! Push your rear view mirror down in your car but don't look into it, the same with your side mirrors. FLOOR IT!!!!! When several miles have passed between you and that FBO you may re-adjust your mirrors.

I'm in Wichita, Ks. Do you think it's fairly easy to find an instructing job somewhere where I could acquire about 80 hours/month?
I wouldn't say it is easy...that being said it is very possible, but plan on having to move wherever you have to for the hours. In fact, plan on getting use to moving a lot over the next several years to get your hours. It is just a way of life at the stage you are entering. I am in the south and I know of a lot of smaller towns that have several airplanes for flight instruction and they have a lot of problems finding enough instucters to meet the demand. The above poster had some really good comments. Be very careful about who you choose to do your ratings. GOOD RESEARCH will save you lots of money and time. When you get your CFI I would call FBO's in some of the medium size towns in each state and talk to them about thier need for instructers. PM me and I can give you some more info.

I have a feeling that the instructor market is different in different parts of the country. You might have to move to get the job that will fly the most. I'm not instructing anymore, but from what i've heard from friends at one flight school in the Chicago area, they are pretty slow right now. When I first started instructing in 1999, getting 80-100 hours a month wasn't too difficult. But when I left at the end of 2001, it was a little harder... possible but not easy at all. If you plan on instructing at one of the "larger, big name" schools like Comair, Flight Safety, or even American Flyers, it would probably be to your benefit to get your instrument, commercial, and CFI with them as they tend to give preference to previous students when it comes to hiring instructors. Just make sure you sell yourself from day one!

Wherever you go, talk to students and instructors alike. Ask the students how they like the school and ask the instructors how much they have been flying lately and how they like the school/management. I'm sure there are plenty of FBOs that are very busy and flying their instructors like mad... ask around. The most important part is having a good instructor like others have said already. They can be found at large schools and smaller FBOs alike. The thing to remember is that unless you have contacts, you probably have a better chance of being hired by the school/FBO you earned your licenses from. So you have to also consider where you would prefer to work at... the "big" namebrand school, or the FBO.

That's my .02
Getting started

You ask a lot of questions. I know how you feel; I didn't know how to begin when I decided to go for a professional aviation career.

First step is to obtain your Instrument, Commercial and CFI certificates. Find a training situation that suits your needs. The board has plenty of discussion pro and con about the various schools. Run a search on the board of schools in which you're interested and read what comes back. I tend to favor formal 141 schools because their training is consistent and standardized (but not necessarily better), and having the discipline of school seems to foster training and timely completion of programs. Some schools have great name recognition, which can be a plus, or a minus.

Once you select a training venue, you will be surrounded with and immersed in hiring and hours-building talk. Apart from actual training (and FAR interpretation debates), people talk about getting hired and building hours. You will hear all kinds of ideas about where to build experience. It's really hard to say here with specificity where to get on to build the most hours the fastest. Chances are, the best place may be your school if it is busy. Maybe Florida and Arizona are the busiest, but both are saturated with new instructors looking for work.

It is generally to your advantage to be a graduate of the school at which you want to instruct. But, a lot depends on the school's needs. I know that at the moment FlightSafety in Vero has a six-month waiting list of grads wanting CFI jobs. I would bet that's not going to change for at least the forseeable future. However, all it takes is for airline hiring to start up. That means the regionals could pick up every ripe FSI CFI. The waiting list could vanish and the place might have an instructor shortage. You can't bank on that happening, though. You need to hit the job market with every possible advantage because competition is heavy.

You need to take it one step at a time. Start training. You'll absorb plenty of career-building information when you're in the training environment.

Good luck with your plans.
Last edited:
Like everywhere else in life, politics (or personal dynamics) can play a huge role in your success or lack thereof.

At a small school/FBO, the guy who flys a lot is well liked by the owner. Often, you will have very little to say about who gets assigned which students. You can farm around for your own students to bring in, but you can quickly build up resentment. Do you have a lot of money, and are able to pay the owner for the many hours of recreational use of that pretty bonanza , baron, or seneca? The instructor who can afford to do this can quickly become the "heir apparent". That's the guy he wants to keep.

At a larger school, there are different obstacles. Ask the Riddle guys about The Riddle Runaround. Everyone has a bone to pick no matter where you work.

Your challenge will be to keep your eyes and ears open, your mouth shut, and your head down.

If you are fortunate, you might be the guy who makes 80 hours a month. Just don't hold your breath for that until hiring picks up.

Good luck!
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.

I instructed in Arizona, and some months I flew much more than 80 hrs, others I flew less, but 80 certianly wasn't an unreasonable expectation. I would caution you about getting too into the "time-building" mindset. Of course that is what we're all doing, but don't make building 80 hours a month your sole (or even your most important) criterion for finding a place to instruct. Look for a school with a good reputation among the "locals" where the business and safety practices are top notch, and with people you would enjoy working with. Then concentrate on providing the best instruction you can give. Earn a reputation, and the students will come to you. The hours will come. If it takes an extra six months, so what? It will likely take you that long to find a job anyway. If you peruse these boards, you will find that pilots who will do anything for hours in the book at the expense of gaining good experience, or even by selling our their fellow instructors, are not very popular.
Are these schools like Comair worth the money?

Latest resources