So you want to be a flying instructor

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Big Pistons Forever
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So you want to be a flying instructor

#1 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:27 pm

You have just finished your CPL and are debating what to do next. One option is to get an Instructor rating and use an instructing job as a way to start your professional flying career. So should you do it? I get asked this question fairly often and so I thought there might be some value in putting down my 02 cents. They represent one data point and are worth exactly what you paid for them

Advantages of Instructing as a first job

1) You build time and get to gain experience in a relatively safe and controlled environment as opposed to say a bush job/float job where you may be confronted with very demanding situations right off the bat.

2) Flight instructing is all basic stick and rudder all the time. It will cement the foundation skills that you will use for the rest of your career. The same goes for all the basic concepts of aerodynamics/flight planning/regulations/weather etc. You will have a very good grasp of the theoretical building blocks for all future studying.

3) It forces you to deal with customers. XYZ air services won’t give you that Multi Engine marvel for your flying pleasure, it is for you to make money getting freight, self loading or non, to the destination. Keeping the customer happy is an important part of your success. Dealing with the range of personalities that are students, and more importantly managing conflict when their interests do not align with yours, is an important skill that will serve you well in future jobs

4) Since all of your flying will be as PIC , the time to get your ATPL or meet Insurance/contractor mins may be shortened

5) In general you get to live in a reasonably civilized place. There are no flying schools on Indian Reservations.....

Disadvantages of Instructing as a First job

A) Yes you are PIC right away, but the range of potential experiences you will be subjected to will be quite limited by the nature of the flying you do. In other words you will not have as rich a set of experiences as you might get as a MEIFR FO or especially in the float/bush world. In particular A to B flying in the 604/703/704 world is all about operational efficiency. Those elaborate checklists and rituals that exist in the FTU world are not the way pilots operate in the real world. After having to beat the "FTUisms" out of several Ex Instructors when doing training, I can see why some Chief Pilots get frustrated with instructor new hires.

B) Instructing can be quite repetitive particularly if you are stuck doing mostly PPL’s. When you are on the seventh flight of the day and the student is making the same mistakes as the first 6 it can be hard to give them the energy they deserve. However I prefer to think of this as good training for the rest of your career. I guarantee future jobs will also contain plenty of tedium and unfun moments.

C) The pay sucks. The reality is you will probably make more on the ramp than as a new flight instructor and most instructors I know ended up working a part time second job in their first year in order to make ends met

D) Being a flying instructor is to be the Rodney Dangerfield of aviation. There is plenty of Cat Driver like personalities out there who will go out of their way to disrespect you. Best to just suck it up and ignore them

E) At the risk of sounding PC, your “emotional quotient” really does matter. It helps if you are a naturally outgoing person who is at ease in a variety of social situations. If you are a quiet loaner who doesn’t like to talk a lot and not terribly patient, I think you will find instructing absolute torture

F) Moving on can be a shock. The vast majority of instructors will use the job as a stepping stone to a higher position, usually as a FO in two crew a MEIFR aircraft. You will have gotten used to the fact that most of the people you deal with (i.e. students) will look up to you as the expert. You need to approach the next job with a very open mind and realize you still have lots to learn.


So you have given the matter a lot of thought and decide the instructor route is the best fit for you as a way to get started in aviation. What the best way to get started? My 02 cents and again representing a data point of one

1A) The easiest (and IMO the most common) way to get started is to be hired by the school that did your training. Virtually all FTU’s would rather hire a guy/gal that they have trained and that is already familiar with their operation. Therefore the probability of getting hired is IMO a very important consideration in which school you chose, and the school that did your PPL and CPL may not be the best choice

2B) The flight instructor rating is the hardest and requires the most work, of any training you will do. In order to demonstrate a manoeuvre effectively you have to do it as close to perfect as possible. In other words you should be able to fly every manoeuvre in the CPL flight test to “4” standards every time. For the average CPL graduate this is a big step up in flying proficiency. Similarly you need a pretty comprehensive knowledge about all the basic theory. A big part of the course is putting together a set of lesson plans. This again will require a non trivial amount of effort on your part. Each of the 25 hrs of ground instruction that TC requires for the flight instructor rating will generate 1 to 5 hrs of additional homework/study.

3C) Approach your instructor training as an extended job interview. Work your ass off and make an effort to learn the dispatch/back office/maintenance side of an FTU as well. Be nice to staff and make them want you to be one of their co workers.

Instructing gave me my start in aviation and for me it was an excellent experience. I moved on after 2.5 years of full time instructing but I have kept up my ratings and still instruct part time because I still find it very satisfying.
If you do decide to instruct I have only one plea......be the best instructor you can be.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#2 Post by KK7 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:42 pm

+1

Couldn't have said it better myself. Instructing was also my start and it has served me very well. There are a few ways to get started in this industry, each having their pros, cons and each involving a different skill set. Down the road, working in a group of mixed backgrounds brings a lot of knowledge, perspective and experience to the table.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#3 Post by Hedley » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:55 pm

Thanks for spending the time to type that in, BPF!

It should be required reading for any new CPL considering getting their class 4 instructor rating!
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#4 Post by 5x5 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:14 pm

Very nice BPF. Clear, concise and bang on!

We need this to be a sticky.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#5 Post by appilot » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:31 pm

as a CPL working on my class 4, thanks for taking the time to write that
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#6 Post by FlaplessDork » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:16 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote:A) Yes you are PIC right away, but the range of potential experiences you will be subjected to will be quite limited by the nature of the flying you do. In other words you will not have as rich a set of experiences as you might get as a MEIFR FO or especially in the float/bush world. In particular A to B flying in the 604/703/704 world is all about operational efficiency. Those elaborate checklists and rituals that exist in the FTU world are not the way pilots operate in the real world. After having to beat the "FTUisms" out of several Ex Instructors when doing training, I can see why some Chief Pilots get frustrated with instructor new hires.
This may be the norm, but I don't find too much difference in how I taught verses how I fly now in 703/704. Maybe because a lot of my former instructors were former or current 604/703/704 pilots. I think I was lucky too, that I flew around 20 different types instructing. We did a lot of private stuff, which got me some wider experience like landing on the top of a mountain in the Rocks.

I got a lot of IMC instructing, but the only thing I didn't really experience was heavy icing (no boots) or an ILS approach to 200 and 1/2. This may not be the norm. It helps that I was CFI and I decided the weather minimums for operations. I will still admit however I have to deal with more weather now than I ever did instructing.

I guess it all depends on how you approach instructing, and what the FTU allows you to do.
Big Pistons Forever wrote:F) Moving on can be a shock. The vast majority of instructors will use the job as a stepping stone to a higher position, usually as a FO in two crew a MEIFR aircraft. You will have gotten used to the fact that most of the people you deal with (i.e. students) will look up to you as the expert. You need to approach the next job with a very open mind and realize you still have lots to learn.
This may be the norm, but I jumped into a Captain position right away in a multi-piston and only a few months later I'm a Captain on a turbine. Its probably because I did a lot of multi-IFR instruction. Push to instruct on a twin would be my recommendation. I would have preferred to have been an FO for a short time as there are a few times where I've learned what not to do the hard way.

For the stuff that I never experienced as an instructor it helps that I now work for a good company with a CP & OM I can actually go to and ask questions on a moments notice. My first job outside instructing was for a crappy company where they just told you to go anyway, and offered no support and wouldn't back you up. I moved on from them quickly. Take your time, and find a good company before moving on from instructing.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#7 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:07 am

FlaplessDork wrote:
Big Pistons Forever wrote:
For the stuff that I never experienced as an instructor it helps that I now work for a good company with a CP & OM I can actually go to and ask questions on a moments notice. My first job outside instructing was for a crappy company where they just told you to go anyway, and offered no support and wouldn't back you up. I moved on from them quickly. Take your time, and find a good company before moving on from instructing.
Excellent advice, don't blindly jump ship for the first job that comes along, hard as it may seem at the time, saying no to a job offer from the scabby shit hole operator maybe the best thing that could happen. I learned that lesson the hard way.......
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#8 Post by Shiny Side Up » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:59 pm

Just a few things I gots to add to BPF's excellent post.
Big Pistons Forever wrote: 1) You build time and get to gain experience in a relatively safe and controlled environment as opposed to say a bush job/float job where you may be confronted with very demanding situations right off the bat.
Don't be decieved that flight training is completely safe and controlled. Little airplanes kill people as dead as big airplanes.
A) Yes you are PIC right away, but the range of potential experiences you will be subjected to will be quite limited by the nature of the flying you do. In other words you will not have as rich a set of experiences as you might get as a MEIFR FO or especially in the float/bush world.
Not necessarily, being an instructor certainly has opened up a lot of opportunities to see and do a lot of neat things and still gives an opportunity to do some flying for fun occasionally.
In particular A to B flying in the 604/703/704 world is all about operational efficiency. Those elaborate checklists and rituals that exist in the FTU world are not the way pilots operate in the real world. After having to beat the "FTUisms" out of several Ex Instructors when doing training, I can see why some Chief Pilots get frustrated with instructor new hires.
Unfortunately the flight training world has went this way. Even more unfortunate because operational efficiency is the key to being a successful instructor. Time is money and certainly the most important thing you can be efficient with as an instructor. While often the checklists are a necessary evil, there's no reason one can't practice a certain efficiency using them - and pass on this efficient method of doing things to your students to the benefit of all pilots out there. Too many in the flight training business cloak inefficiency under the mantle of safety in an effort to turn a few extra dollars and end up losing on the bottom line.

That leads us to...
C) The pay sucks. The reality is you will probably make more on the ramp than as a new flight instructor and most instructors I know ended up working a part time second job in their first year in order to make ends met
It is though what you make of it. Being efficient is just a part of being successful as an instructor. You can earn a decent pay as a starting instructor but you got to put in the time. Too many instructors think they're signing on to a 9-5 job and treat it as such. Be prepared to give up a lot of your free time and say good-bye to having weekends off. You have to be prepared to make hay when the sun shines. That's not to say you can never have time off, but you really have to make your time available for your customers, that's really all there is to it. You have to build a good reputation with them - customers are a fickle bunch and you need to make them loyal to your service. Once you've built up a customer base then you can start taking it easy - this might take a few years to do, but well worth it if you're actually thinking of a career that stays tied with instruction.

It also helps to research who you work for. Don't be suckered in by what they might have in the future, check in on what their operation does now. Don't be desperate to sign on for whatever tid-bits or carrot-on-a-stick they might offer.
1A) The easiest (and IMO the most common) way to get started is to be hired by the school that did your training. Virtually all FTU’s would rather hire a guy/gal that they have trained and that is already familiar with their operation. Therefore the probability of getting hired is IMO a very important consideration in which school you chose, and the school that did your PPL and CPL may not be the best choice
In this regard, have a long chat with the class 1 doing your rating. Maybe talk to a few of them to get a good feel for what is to come. This will also directly affect your job search upon your completion. Personally I won't take on anyone I wouldn't hire, so it almost ends up being an interview from the start. I also don't blow sunshine up anyone's ass, so a lot of the stuff in this post I make clear to them from the start, including their chances of being hired when they complete.
2B) The flight instructor rating is the hardest and requires the most work, of any training you will do. In order to demonstrate a manoeuvre effectively you have to do it as close to perfect as possible. In other words you should be able to fly every manoeuvre in the CPL flight test to “4” standards every time.
The flying portion is really the easy part. Harder is being able to explain while you do, harder yet is to let them do it. If you're not a good passenger, chances are you wouldn't be a good instructor. Lastly you must be able to critique and do it objectively and fairly, a lot tougher than it sounds.
A big part of the course is putting together a set of lesson plans. This again will require a non trivial amount of effort on your part. Each of the 25 hrs of ground instruction that TC requires for the flight instructor rating will generate 1 to 5 hrs of additional homework/study.
In truth, I've never seen anyone take a bare 25 hours of ground time and become an instructor, nevermind a good one. Be prepared to commit the time it requires to get to the level you need to be.
3C) Approach your instructor training as an extended job interview. Work your ass off and make an effort to learn the dispatch/back office/maintenance side of an FTU as well. Be nice to staff and make them want you to be one of their co workers.
Probably even more important to remember is that the other customers around the FTU might be your customers in the future.

If you do decide to instruct I have only one plea......be the best instructor you can be.
Amen. There is also one cardinal rule of instructing: Never, but never bullshit the students. Even TC knows this one - almost evry person I've seen fail an instructor ride bullshit the examiner during the ground briefing.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#9 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:59 am

Shiny and Flapless


Thanks for contributing to the thread as I think a diversity of ideas is important.
When I was talking about the limited experience you get Instructing I was referring to the experience you will accrue when actually teaching for the PPL CPL and night rating. The point both of you made about broadening your experience base by listening to other instructors with 702/703 time and by taking advantage of other opportunities is a very good one. When I was a junior instructor I practically lived at the airport. By being present when the opportunity presented itself I got a chance to go on many ride alongs, sudden ferry trips, aircraft recoveries, maintenance test flights etc etc, all of which helped increase my experience base. In particular riding along with a retired ex bush and then airline pilot, who just wanted some company, was a hugely valuable source of tips and ideas.

Shiny; I have to slightly disagree with you about the flying part of the rating being the easy part. The flying skill required to pass the CPL flight test is IMO significantly below the minimum required to be an effective flying instructor. Take for example the 180 deg glide approach. The majority of CPL’s scored a “2” on this manoeuvre. How can you demonstrate this manoeuvre to a student when you can’t do it without major errors yourself ? I tell my prospective students that the flying standard I expect is the following. Altitude maintained + - 20 feet, Airspeed + - 2 knots, maximum of 1/8 of the ball outside the cage 95% of the time. The other 5 % of the time the student should be actively correcting back to the standard. I have found that it took significant work for all of my instructor students to get to that standard . My person opinion is most instructors teaching the CPL course are not hard enough on their students when it comes to demanding accurate flying ...... but that is another issue.

Your point about 25 hrs not being a realistic amount of time for the Ground school portion is a very good observation. I was alluding to the fact that each hour of ground school will generate a lot of homework and study, but your point is an important one. Unless you are a truly exceptional student, you should budget for 50 hrs of paid time with your Instructor in order to meet the flight test standard.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#10 Post by Shiny Side Up » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:40 pm

I have to slightly disagree with you about the flying part of the rating being the easy part.
I should clarify then that I only meant "easy" whe compared to the ground work involved. Bringing someone at new CPL level I find - if they would be a good instructor in the first place - up to what is necessary to be a good instructor isn't too much of a stretch if they work consistently upon it. The demonstration/performance (I do, we do, you do) isn't really hard to get across to people.

By contrast, making your briefing book will feel like sometimes you're writing those pages with your own blood. Unfortunately the best way to learn to do well when talking to students - about any subject - is to learn it the hard way. By nature of the subject the class one can't just "this is how I do it, do it like me" because it won't stick and won't be enough. But then, maybe I'm just aggrandizing it too much, it really is interesting work though.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#11 Post by trey kule » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:30 pm

BFP

I read things here everyday that make me feel more out of touch.

What the heck is a 180 degree glide approach? Is it a flight test item?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#12 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:59 pm

It is a relatively new requirement for the CPL. Attached below is the extract from the Commercial Pilot Flight test guide. Of interest it is the lowest scoring item in the TC flight test results summary. Unlike the average forced approach you can't used a cookbook approach (ie turn base at he red house , turn final over the bend in the road etc etc). Since the time and place when power is cut can be anywhere on the downwind you actually have to judge the flight path in real time, and things happen quickly, so if you are slow appreciating and then reacting to a diversion away from the desired flight path you are cooked. The fact that candidates are doing so poorly is IMO something that the flight training organizations need to start dealing with. However I am old school.....if I was in charge I would also make every CPL do a Chandelle and a lazy 8. There is no way you can succeed on these manoevers unless you have reasonably good hands and feet.


Power-off 180° Accuracy Approach and Landing
Aim

To determine the candidate’s ability to execute a gliding approach from circuit height, without power, and land safely on a specified touchdown point with a degree of accuracy.

Description

The power-off 180º accuracy approach and landing will be initiated from normal or assigned circuit height and result in a gliding approach from circuit height to an accurate touchdown and landing. The candidate is expected to close the throttle and initiate the glide on the downwind leg abeam the specified touchdown point but, if traffic does not permit, the gliding descent from circuit height may be delayed until later in the circuit.

Performance Criteria

Assessment will be based on the candidate’s ability to:

a.consider wind conditions, landing surface and obstacles;


b.specify a touchdown point that will permit a safe landing;


c.close the throttle from normal circuit height;


d.establish a gliding approach at the recommended speed (+10/–5 knots);


e.complete before-landing checks;


f.touch down in a normal landing attitude at the specified touchdown point (+400/–50 feet);
Note: One (1) engine clearing will be allowed before descending through 500 feet AGL. In very cold conditions, the use of some power and flaps while maintaining the same airspeed and a normal gliding rate of descent is acceptable.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#13 Post by trey kule » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:38 pm

Thanks...BTW....that is actually the way we were taught as cadets to do circuits. 1960s..

I heard the practice was stopped because in the winter it caused the odd engine to get to cold and the occasional student would find themselves a little low on the approach and without an engine. Embarrasing to be sitting in the snow 50 feet short of the runway.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#14 Post by Hedley » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:54 pm

I might mention that this is really easy, and I don't know how people flunk it.

Do a rate one turn. It will take one minute to turn the 180 degrees which will take one minute during which you will descend around 700 fpm, aircraft type depending.

Learn the lateral distance from the runway for your aircraft for zero wind.

Compensate for the wind.

If the above is too difficult, perhaps a commercial pilot licence is not in your future.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#15 Post by bluenote » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:12 pm

My question might be a bit off topic but still does deal with being a flight instructor.

I haven't been able to find a flight instructing job since I got the rating over a year ago and I have looked everywhere from
coast to coast. I see that there is some movement but not enough to get too excited.

Anyways, I already renewed the rating once through the ground school format over a 3 day period without doing the whole fight test thing, and now that time to renew is coming again. Should I do the ground school thing again and get it over with and continue to look for employment and maybe get lucky or go to a school that I think might end up hiring me if I did the refresher and brushed up the skills with the class 1 and go for the flight test.

Any suggestions and has anybody else dealt with this dilemma.

thanks
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#16 Post by Finnegan » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:28 am

Nicely put BPF. I started that way too, lucky enough to work for an incredible CFI. Learned patience, integrity, diplomacy, and other good stuff. Credibility was sometimes an initial issue (I was 19), but we always presented ourselves professionally and earned our students' respect. We never, ever, BS'd anyone. You can smell it a mile away.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#17 Post by Shiny Side Up » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:57 am

bluenote wrote: I haven't been able to find a flight instructing job since I got the rating over a year ago and I have looked everywhere from
coast to coast. I see that there is some movement but not enough to get too excited.
First of all, you haven't been looking that hard, or everywhere for that matter because I haven't seen you, unless you were that depressing lout on the phone the other day.
Anyways, I already renewed the rating once through the ground school format over a 3 day period without doing the whole fight test thing, and now that time to renew is coming again. Should I do the ground school thing again and get it over with and continue to look for employment and maybe get lucky or go to a school that I think might end up hiring me if I did the refresher and brushed up the skills with the class 1 and go for the flight test.
*sigh*

To help out, if you're actively looking for work as an instructor in the off season, no offense, but you come off as an idiot. Getting a job in this industry often has to do with being in the right place at the right time. That doesn't mean though that you can't keep your nose poked in places and your face in everyone's short term memory. Here's what I'd reccomend for unemployed instructors in the off season.

1) Don't be that desperate down and outer. If you're going to be around the people flying, be the guy they want around, not the guy the CFI/Chief Pilot/GM hides from because he doesn't want another resume. Be someone they want to see around the airport, often that means being a paying customer, but that doesn't mean you have to be shelling out a lot of money. Buying a cup of coffee often goes a long way.

2) Get to know any Class 1 and take training from them - might seem to suck that it may cost you some money, but you're setting yourself up with a job interview essentially. Besides that, a re-ride is quicker, people will be interested to know if you passed again - no one cares if you took a refresher groundschool.

Essentially, make yourself known as "that guy who loves flying" rather than "that guy who wants a job" you'll find it will open more doors.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#18 Post by KK7 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:22 am

Shiny Side Up wrote:
bluenote wrote:
1) Don't be that desperate down and outer. If you're going to be around the people flying, be the guy they want around, not the guy the CFI/Chief Pilot/GM hides from because he doesn't want another resume. Be someone they want to see around the airport, often that means being a paying customer, but that doesn't mean you have to be shelling out a lot of money. Buying a cup of coffee often goes a long way.
Great point. One way that could really get you noticed that doesn't cost you money, is helping out at an FTU that is a Flying Club. Clubs are also very social and rely on their members to do some volunteering to keep operating costs down. The place I worked also ran the airport, so there was always some airport maintenance that needed to be done, like snow-plowing in the winter. There were always lots of willing volunteers to do the work and drive the tractors and snow-plows, but when it came crunch time after a big snowfall, nobody was available.

Hanging around the airport looking for things to do to help everyone out will go a really long way to get you noticed. This has the added benefit of making connections with potential students who will want to fly with you once you're on the roster. Most people starting out have a tough time filling their schedule - but if everyone already knows you by the time you're on the schedule, you've already beaten that first step.

However I will say not to go too far. I once had a new guy hanging around and any time I went near the door he'd appear out of nowhere to open the door for me, he'd clean the snow off my car and so on. Personally, I just found this really annoying and it appears very artificial.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#19 Post by Pugster » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:28 am

My advice for all students who want to be employed as a flight instructor...

Your job interview starts the first day you walk in the door. Flying skills are important, attitude and work ethic are essential.

Take whatever task you are presented with, and do your best to ace it. Don't accept mediocrity, even though it may be the best you can muster at the time (try hand flying a tough approach after being up all night...you'll understand what I mean). Treat your instructors professionally...and don't get defensive when criticism is raised. Don't be a bite in the ass. These people will have to spend lots of time with you if you get hired, and will be looking for someone they can get along with.

These same things will serve you well later in your career...and when it comes time for "airline" recommends you'll be surprised who remembers you.

Good post BPF.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#20 Post by ant_321 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:38 pm

I'm almost done my instructor rating. I have my written done and have about 20 hrs in. For you more experienced guys I was just wondering your oppinion on age when it comes to getting a job. When hiring a new instructor do you consider age? I'm asking this becuase I just turned 19 and I am hoping my early start in aviation is'nt going to give me the advatage i initially thought it would.
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Hedley
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#21 Post by Hedley » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:16 pm

IMHO your age doesn't matter - your behaviour does. I know some teenagers who are more mature and responsible than some late 20's.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#22 Post by KK7 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:58 am

As Hedley mentioned, it's mainly your attitude. Unfortunately many 19 year olds are not as mature as a CFI might like, but there are more than enough exceptions out there. Just show you're mature, responsible and not lazy and you should be okay. That being said, some schools look for a certain instructor that carries a certain life experience, or a younger groups of instructors based on the type of students they have. If the school has a lot of retired folks doing recreational flying, they might like someone the students can relate to.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#23 Post by albertdesalvo » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:08 am

Hedley..... would you take ab initio flying lessons from someone who just turned 19?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#24 Post by 767 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:10 pm

Pugster wrote: My advice for all students who want to be employed as a flight instructor...

Your job interview starts the first day you walk in the door. Flying skills are important, attitude and work ethic are essential.
Agreed 100%. Thats how I got my instructing job. :wink:
Pugster wrote: Good post BPF.
I guess so :smt040
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#25 Post by AtlanticTour » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Most of us get into this profession because we want to be professional pilots. We do not want to become flying instructors. When I was at MFC, I remember one of my first instructors was burnt out like a piece of black toast from simply too many years of doing it. There were no jobs in the industry, and while he was a senior instructor at MFC, it was not what he wanted to do. Consequently his attitude really suffered. And that is no knock on the guy - he was a good guy stuck in a bad place.

Really, if you want to be a professional pilot, when you get your CPL, figure out where you'd like to work and get a ramp/office/ticketing job with that place and work your way upwards. Plenty of good places in this country where you can start to accrue seniority, even flight benefits, and making a salary while furthering your career. Yes, you might be doing grunt work, but in as little as three months (or as long as 2yrs) you might also have the opportunity to transition to a multi-crew turbine aircraft, which is something that the guy who did his instructor rating won't be able to do. He'll be stuck on light general aviation trainers for a year or two at a very weak salary.

It is a matter of public knowledge that we in Canada do not compensate our flight instructors well. I once talked to an older Brit who was an instructor through Oxford Air Training, one of their leading flight academies, and he made a good living at it, but its a different country and rule set. My objective was to transition to larger aircraft, and thus I did not pursue my instructor certification. It would have been counterproductive, spending thousands of dollars for something I did not want and that would have kept me sidetracked from doing what I want. I did not want to become like my old instructor from MFC, I wanted to fly, and thats why I worked my way up from inside a company I wanted to be at.
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