Flight Instructors - What is important?

This forum has been developed to discuss flight instruction/University and College programs.

Moderators: lilfssister, North Shore, ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, Right Seat Captain

FreelanceInstructor
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:15 pm

Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by FreelanceInstructor »

Hey everyone,

I think it may be a bit since anyone has really explored this question but with the airlines scooping up anyone with a heart beat, I wanted to revisit something. Flight Instructors/prospective instructors...When you are working at an FTU, what is the most important thing to you that will keep you in the door and not with the airlines? Is it a base salary? Higher hourly rate? perks (free sim time, medical renewals/flight tests paid for by the company)? aircraft? flying opportunities within the company (single>twin)?
---------- ADS -----------
  

Float_lover
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:17 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Float_lover »

Hard question!

Schedule and base salary is the word I hear most. If you can make a rotation schedule between your instructor to have some week-end off and a base salary soo you won't eat kraft diner for the week because you take a week-end off and the weather was shit the rest of the week.
---------- ADS -----------
  

trey kule
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4587
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:09 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by trey kule »

Honestly, I dont think pay and schedule are going to make any difference when it comes to retention. There are just to many instructors who are there to get the hours for the resume.

Now, as far as the students go, an instructor that has been properly mentored and supervised as a class 4, is paid decently, and is able to have some sort of life outside the school, might just provide a better learning experience. But outside of some of the colleges, FTUs that recognizes this are not common.

Unfortunately ,in Canada, instructors are not particularly well respected, and the lack of any real world experience outside the FTU for all to many class 1s has helped in the demise of common sense and basic flying skills.

People pay $120 an hour to have their car oil changed. But $80 an hour for an instructor....no way! And then the FTUs have this we only pay you for billable time ,and we will only pay a fraction of that ; a scheme that off loads the costs on the instructors , but does nothing to increase the instructors pay.

So in a rambling way... my take on it is the most important thing for the majority of instructors is hours in the log book. They will do what they have to do to get them.
And to many FTUs knowthat.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Everyone is a genius in hindsight

doplemosh
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:50 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by doplemosh »

While i do agree that a base salary has influenced the FTU which choose to work at, there are complications when it comes to my motivations to stay or move on.

A base gross salary for a regional FO, first year, can range between $40-45K. That would constitute an approximate 25-33% increase in the base salary of a class 3 instructor (at my FTU). It would be difficult for any FTU to find that in the budget for all of the staff. Even if they did, the additional perks of regional flying would add up (discounted travel, Multi IFR time, a seniority number, non-taxable per diems, time off from max duty days) to sway my decision to leave.

An which would convince me to stay at an FTU beyond 1500 hrs would need to include a base salary similar to a regional FO, a plan for me to instruct on Multi IFR aircraft, and increased time off. However, i also realize that this kind of offer is completely unrealistic - they dont have the resources for this, and people wont pay for flight training at that cost. Furthermore, this career plan also wouldn't help me in furthering my career in the industry, unless i was planning on being a lifetime instructor (nothing against it, its just my goal).

The way i see it, FTUs need to be prepared for their instructors to leave on a 2-year cycle. Pay and base salary can help attract instructor applicants, and allow the FTU to pick the good ones - and it can also dissuade the instructors from moving onto 703/704 carriers while there in the 500-1200hr range. But i dont see a way for an FTU to offer a convincing retention package to someone who wants to be an airline pilot. The pay, operations, and future career prospects of working for a regional 705 are too great for an FTU to fight.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 7628
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by photofly »

I don’t understand why anyone who wants to be a pilot should spend any time - certainly not a second longer than they need to - as a flight instructor. Not for any amount of money. They’re entirely different jobs, or should be. It’s completely dumb that time spent instructing counts towards airline and licence flight time requirements. It shouldn’t.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Strike me down with all of your hatred & your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

Whiskey25
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:40 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Whiskey25 »

I don’t understand why anyone who wants to be a pilot should spend any time - certainly not a second longer than they need to - as a flight instructor. Not for any amount of money. They’re entirely different jobs, or should be. It’s completely dumb that time spent instructing counts towards airline and licence flight time requirements. It shouldn’t.
Well that seems pretty offensive to anyone who's ever spent time instructing. After reading that, I'm sure your previous instructors are happy to have taught you.
---------- ADS -----------
  

digits_
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2725
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by digits_ »

Flight instructors aren't pilots?
---------- ADS -----------
  
As an AvCanada discussion grows longer:
-the probability of 'entitlement' being mentioned, approaches 1
-one will be accused of using bad airmanship

Big Pistons Forever
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: West Coast

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:17 pm
It’s completely dumb that time spent instructing counts towards airline and licence flight time requirements. It shouldn’t.
I have line flying experience in Flight Training, Corporate, Aerial Work, Air Taxi, and 705 freight. My own personal experience has been the exact opposite of the opinion expressed above. Flight instruction gave me a solid skill and knowledge base for the foundation skills and knowledge used at every level of of aviation.

I would suggest it would be helpful to have experienced the transition from flight instruction to a range of Part 7 operations before making absolutist statements.

That being said if you chose to be a lazy, disinterested, and unmotivated flight instructor you probably won’t do well in other sectors of aviation. However I feel strongly that if you approach flight instruction with a desire to be the best instructor you can be you will bring a useful set of skills which you can expand to meet the requirements of any other sector of aviation.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 7628
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by photofly »

Whiskey25 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:03 pm
Well that seems pretty offensive to anyone who's ever spent time instructing. After reading that, I'm sure your previous instructors are happy to have taught you.
I don’t actually care two hoots whether they were, or are, happy, or not. It was the instructors job to help me, and not vice versa. I wasn’t there to provide them entertainment, fun, or flight hours experience, come to that. I was there to learn, and be taught. Which is what I did. In exchange for money.
Big Pistons Forever wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:36 pm
I have line flying experience in Flight Training, Corporate, Aerial Work, Air Taxi, and 705 freight. My own personal experience has been the exact opposite of the opinion expressed above. Flight instruction gave me a solid skill and knowledge base for the foundation skills and knowledge used at every level of of aviation.
You missed the point. I don’t doubt for an instant it’s a fabulous learning experience for the instructor, and makes the instructor into a fabulous line pilot in the future. But that’s the problem! If you’re paying for flight instruction, it should be about you, and not how wonderful the experience is for the person you’re paying. Who’s the real student in the airplane? The person paying? Or the person they’re paying for??

That’s why whoever said the only thing that’s important for instructors is hours, was right. There is nothing else. If you’re happy with that, and with how FTUs work, then nothing needs to change. If you aren’t happy with that, the only thing that needs to change is that flight instruction hours don’t count towards airline requirements.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Strike me down with all of your hatred & your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

doplemosh
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:50 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by doplemosh »

photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:03 pm
If you’re paying for flight instruction, it should be about you, and not how wonderful the experience is for the person you’re paying.
You're right, Photofly. People shouldn't ever enjoy their jobs, or ever learn and develop from them. Heck, doing so should be punishable - that should bring them back in line.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Big Pistons Forever
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 5140
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: West Coast

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:03 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:36 pm
I have line flying experience in Flight Training, Corporate, Aerial Work, Air Taxi, and 705 freight. My own personal experience has been the exact opposite of the opinion expressed above. Flight instruction gave me a solid skill and knowledge base for the foundation skills and knowledge used at every level of of aviation.
You missed the point. I don’t doubt for an instant it’s a fabulous learning experience for the instructor, and makes the instructor into a fabulous line pilot in the future.
Except for the denizens of the other place who know everything and therefore can’t relate to the concept that they could actually learn something new, I would suggest that most commercial pilots continue to “learn” while on the job. Air Canada doesn’t expect the new hire to not have to learn anything before becoming a 777 Captain flying across oceans. They are therefore by definition “learning” on the job. Why should flight instruction be any different ?

Should flight instruction be considered a worthwhile career like it is in many European countries, absolutely, but the reality is that is unlikely to happen in North America

Getting back to the thread topic, the number one issue for flight training IMO is a serious shortage of good Chief Flying Instructors and senior Class 2’s to mentor new instructors. The school culture is set by the CFI. A really good CFI, if you can find one, is worth a Regional Airline Captain wage.

The sad part for me is that the small mom and pop, couple of airplane schools, are rapidly disappearing. It seems the only successful model now is large schools with the economies of scale that that brings and ideally the financial resources to adequately compensate senior instructors
---------- ADS -----------
  
Last edited by Big Pistons Forever on Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

digits_
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2725
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by digits_ »

photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:03 pm

That’s why whoever said the only thing that’s important for instructors is hours, was right. There is nothing else. If you’re happy with that, and with how FTUs work, then nothing needs to change. If you aren’t happy with that, the only thing that needs to change is that flight instruction hours don’t count towards airline requirements.
A lot would have to change to make sure that people who are instructing, are actually in it for instructing. You have the obvious one that you mentioned, that instructor hours don't count towards your ATPL. You'd also have to convince the airlines that instrutor hours don't matter. Maybe you'll get away with that, although from what I hear, some training departments like them.

Then you'd have to convince 703 operators that an applicant with 250 hours is safer to hire than an applicant with 250 hours + 800 hours of instructing.
You'd also have to make sure that insurance companies don't value instructor hours either, otherwise there will be a financial advantage for operators to hire ex-instructors.

I have no doubt that this would solve the problem, but I don't see how it is realistically possible. It's not just a regulation that needs to change, it would be a whole industry that needs to change.

If there is nothing else in it except for hours can be changed by paying the people more, so FTUs would be able to select candidates that aren't obviously leaving in 2 years. Would you be willing to pay 100 dollars an hour more for an experienced instructor? Knowing that you'll get the same license as a school that charges you 100 dollars less? That's the real problem.
---------- ADS -----------
  
As an AvCanada discussion grows longer:
-the probability of 'entitlement' being mentioned, approaches 1
-one will be accused of using bad airmanship

praveen4143
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by praveen4143 »

Unpopular opinions, but I have to agree with Photofly on most of the points he makes... While instructing is generally considered a stepping stone to bigger metal, no one should be doing it without giving 100% at it. Your student is not someone who is paying for your flight hours, they are there to learn.

But to me a good Chief Flying Instructor and a good set of supervising instructors should be what makes for a good flight school. While it is inevitable to have people becoming flight instructors right out of their CPL training, having decent pay, lifestyle and good mentorship might end up having some of them become career instructors who really make a big difference while you lose a large number of them who go on their quest for bigger metal.

IMHO, for a Class 3/4 instructor, the motivating factors to work for a school should really be good mentorship, pay matching F/O at a regional and some perks like access to sim and advanced training from senior/supervising instructors on airplane on a regular basis at no charge. For a Class 1/2 instructor, lifestyle and pay matching a Captain at a regional should keep them there for a while.

Despite all of this, you are bound to lose people who want to move on to bigger metal, but there will at least be a good group of instructors wanting to mould the next generation of pilots.
---------- ADS -----------
  

tsgarp
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:18 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by tsgarp »

If I could have made enough to support myself and my family I would have stayed instructing. I like teaching. As it stands, I go back and do a little part time instruction.
---------- ADS -----------
  

tsgarp
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:18 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by tsgarp »

Also, this would be a great question to post on .. runners . Com. Some very experienced instructors there.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 7628
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by photofly »

doplemosh wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:24 pm
You're right, Photofly. People shouldn't ever enjoy their jobs, or ever learn and develop from them. Heck, doing so should be punishable - that should bring them back in line.
Your turn to miss the point. I’ll say it more clearly.

It’s fine to enjoy your job, and learn from it.

But the student - who is the customer - does not have a responsibility to make sure the instructor has a good time. The student’s purpose in the airplane is not to provide the opportunity for the instructor to learn how to fly.

Generally what people can and should learn on the job is how to do their job better. In the context of flight instruction, this is how to teach better. Not to build the skills that will make them a better big iron pilot.

Regrettably the draw for flight instruction is to learn how to be a more attractive and employable big iron pilot. This is bat shit crazy. The student’s interests are served by having an instructor who is interested and paid for teaching and not for adding hours to their logbook. If you think there is a need for improvement, the only way forward is to reward instructors for good teaching, and make sure that the hours are no longer any reward in their own right.

If you’re happy with the situation that results from an endless supply of wanna-be airline pilots whoring themselves as ab-inito instructors for $18 per hour plus time in their logbook, change nothing.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Strike me down with all of your hatred & your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

ayseven
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:17 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by ayseven »

Have the instructing hours not count for bigger and better, would result in an actual pilot shortage. I kind of agree though, that students are not always seen as paying customers, without whom, the instructor makes even less. It is a very good question: how can good instructors be encouraged and retained? We all remember certain people who were instrumental in our development as professionals.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Trematode
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 224
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:46 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Trematode »

The pay isn't there.

That's all there is to it.

Not every pilot wants to fly for an airline, but there are few flying jobs outside of the airlines that offer a good wage and lifestyle.

If FTU's offered a good salary and schedule, they wouldn't need to keep hiring brand new pilots with no experience who just want to fly a jet, because the people who want to instruct would stay and make a career out of it.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
Bede
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3152
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:52 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Bede »

Big Pistons Forever wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:36 pm
photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:17 pm
It’s completely dumb that time spent instructing counts towards airline and licence flight time requirements. It shouldn’t.
I have line flying experience in Flight Training, Corporate, Aerial Work, Air Taxi, and 705 freight. My own personal experience has been the exact opposite of the opinion expressed above. Flight instruction gave me a solid skill and knowledge base for the foundation skills and knowledge used at every level of of aviation.

I would suggest it would be helpful to have experienced the transition from flight instruction to a range of Part 7 operations before making absolutist statements.

That being said if you chose to be a lazy, disinterested, and unmotivated flight instructor you probably won’t do well in other sectors of aviation. However I feel strongly that if you approach flight instruction with a desire to be the best instructor you can be you will bring a useful set of skills which you can expand to meet the requirements of any other sector of aviation.
+1
photofly wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:51 pm

Generally what people can and should learn on the job is how to do their job better. In the context of flight instruction, this is how to teach better. Not to build the skills that will make them a better big iron pilot.
I fly large jets now. I'd like to think that I rely on at least some of the skills that I learned as a 500 hr flight instructor, 2000 hr medevac pilot or 4000 RJ FO. If nothing else, I know how to operate IFR in class E control zone 8) .
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 7628
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by photofly »

Once more, with feeling.

I have zero doubt that the flying skills that the instructor learns, as an instructor, make them a much better pilot.

But, ab-initio flight instruction should not be used an intermediate-level training programme for future airline pilots, and if it is, those airline training programmes - sorry - flight instructor jobs - should not be paid for by other student pilots, they should be paid for by the airlines who benefit from that training.

What irritates me is the hypocrisy of a "flight training unit" where the people doing the real learning are not the "students", they are the "instructors". At least when you allow a student hairdresser or student dentist to learn their trade on your hair or your teeth, you know in advance they don't know what they're doing.

Frankly, if it makes you so much of a better pilot to train me how to fly straight and level in a 150, you should be paying me.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Strike me down with all of your hatred & your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

digits_
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2725
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by digits_ »

photofly wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:40 am

Frankly, if it makes you so much of a better pilot to train me how to fly straight and level in a 150, you should be paying me.
But that's already happening. You are getting a serious discount on what it would really cost to keep someone interested in flight instructing. Instead of paying 200 dollars an hour, you are paying 80 dollars an hour because you are also giving an hour to the new instructor to keep him interested in instructing.
---------- ADS -----------
  
As an AvCanada discussion grows longer:
-the probability of 'entitlement' being mentioned, approaches 1
-one will be accused of using bad airmanship

User avatar
Bede
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3152
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:52 am

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by Bede »

photofly wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:40 am
What irritates me is the hypocrisy of a "flight training unit" where the people doing the real learning are not the "students", they are the "instructors". At least when you allow a student hairdresser or student dentist to learn their trade on your hair or your teeth, you know in advance they don't know what they're doing.
The students aren't doing real learning?
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
rookiepilot
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1748
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:50 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by rookiepilot »

photofly wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:40 am

What irritates me is the hypocrisy of a "flight training unit" where the people doing the real learning are not the "students", they are the "instructors". At least when you allow a student hairdresser or student dentist to learn their trade on your hair or your teeth, you know in advance they don't know what they're doing.
You realize this is amusing coming from you, right?
---------- ADS -----------
  

trey kule
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4587
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:09 pm

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by trey kule »

I think that soon we will almost seethe end of unstructured, part time flight training. It simply is not efficient.
Some US schools have excellent programs for retaining quality flight instruction. Perhaps some of the larger Canadian schools will eventually follow suit, although our variable weather can makeit difficult.

For so many of the new instructors , it is pretty much their first full time job. The reality sets in quickly. And they are in a rush to escape to the 705 world where you only work 15 days a month, Monday to Fridays from 9 to 5, and the rest of the month travelling around the globe

Read some of the posts here....retention...”if they gave us multi time”. Now why would multi time be important unless you are planning to leave?Yep, higher pay, and multi time and I will be here forever.

It will all change once a few accidents happen and TC is forced to do what they should have done years ago...no seat in a 705 without an ATPL. It wont change instructor motivation, but it will allow alternate business models to an large FTU.

Just to bad so many are going to have to suffer before TC acts.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Everyone is a genius in hindsight

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 7628
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Flight Instructors - What is important?

Post by photofly »

digits_ wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:54 am
But that's already happening. You are getting a serious discount on what it would really cost to keep someone interested in flight instructing. Instead of paying 200 dollars an hour, you are paying 80 dollars an hour because you are also giving an hour to the new instructor to keep him interested in instructing.
It's certainly not happening honestly and transparently.

WIth dentists and hairdressers, the trainees whose services (one assumes) one can purchase at a discount are training to to provide the same services but more competently and without supervision, and therefore for more money. The trainees are the minority, the qualified and expert practitioners are the majority.

It would be perfectly natural for trainee flight instructors to be available at a discount to the price of any member of a large cadre of experienced instructors, a pool which those trainees aspire to join for the better salary. But there is no large cadre of experienced instructors. By a huge majority, every flight instructor is a trainee.

If 99% of dentists were new trainees and they were only training in dentistry because drilling teeth was felt to be good training for drilling (I don't know) in oil-bearing shale, and they all hated teeth but really wanted a career in civil engineering - you'd say that was fucked up, wouldn't you? And how would that affect the quantity of dentistry?

The question that was asked was
When you are working at an FTU, what is the most important thing to you that will keep you in the door and not with the airlines?"
At the moment, to any reasonable approximation, every single flight instructor in Canada is there only under sufferance, and if you offer them an airline job they will take it in an instant and never instruct again.

Why on earth would you want to keep such people working in a job they don't want and can't wait to leave?
---------- ADS -----------
  
Strike me down with all of your hatred & your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

Post Reply

Return to “Flight Training”