So you want to be a flying instructor

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Hedley
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by Hedley »

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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KK7
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by KK7 »

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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albertdesalvo
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by albertdesalvo »

Hedley..... would you take ab initio flying lessons from someone who just turned 19?
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767
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by 767 »

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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AtlanticTour
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by AtlanticTour »

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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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

Atlantic

I do not necessarily see instructing vs what you call professional flying as an either, or decision. I started my career as an instructor and not in one of the other entry level jobs, because I already knew I enjoyed instructing from other work I had done. After 2 1/2 years of full time instructing I moved on to other types of flying ending up where I am now in the firebombing business which will be my retirement job. Looking at my peers, it seems we all wound up at more or less the same place regardless of the path we started our career on.

One thing I would emphasize though. If you don't want to instruct..... Don't do it !. The industry does not need more instructors who are not invested in being good instructors and are only interested in warming the right seat staring at the Hobbs meter until a "real " job comes their way.

I would also add that after moving on to your "professional jobs" I maintained my Instructor rating and have continued to teach part time for many years, in fact I was teaching a lesson today. I consider my flight in a 172 today no less or more "professional" than any other flying I do.
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Ginger
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by Ginger »

Sorry for hijacking the thread - but thank you for being so nice about it :)
Re'moved'
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Last edited by Ginger on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Big Pistons Forever
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

Ginger

This sticky is aimed at new CPL's thinking about becoming instructors. Your question is IMO not fully relevant to the thread title and I would suggest does not really fit the theme of the sticky. I recommend you start a new thread on this issue because your question is an important one and deserves a full discussion.
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909519girl
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by 909519girl »

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




Wrong, there is a Flying school on a Reserve, CPU6 is where I got my PPL, CPL, Multi-IFR :)
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KK7
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by KK7 »

Atlantic, I don't want to sound like I'm knocking you by picking apart your post, but I have a few issues with some of the things you said, so no hard feelings!
AtlanticTour wrote:Most of us get into this profession because we want to be professional pilots. We do not want to become flying instructors.
I have to feel a little offended by what you're implying here, and I feel you're putting down a significant part of the industry. Flight Instructors are most definitely professional pilots, both by definition and figuratively. Instructors are pilots, making money by teaching and flying, therefore it is a profession. They are also pilots like you, me and guys flying at Air Canada. They are doing a different flying, in the same way that flying a Beaver on floats is different than flying a 737 with WestJet.

Also, some people do want to be flight instructors. It isn't a very popular choice mainly due to the choice, but I think there are a good number of instructors or ex-instructors, who would want to stay in this segment of the industry if only it paid better. I would have been happy to stick around if I could make a more decent salary, but it takes a lot of time and connections to get to that point in the instruction world - to run a large school, and maybe management isn't your thing either.
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.
Frankly, most people can't even get an entry level job with who they want to work for. For quite a few young pilots, the dream is to work for Air Canada or WestJet, or even Jazz (for some strange reason). You can get a job working the ramp with these companies but it won't get you anywhere closer to your goal, or accrue any kind of seniority since you wouldn't be part of the ACPA union in the case of AC.

Other options outside of instruction are there, and many people go this route, like working ramp or loading on a dock. This is absolutely a fair choice especially for those who have no desire to teach, but the money is no better, and compared to my friends who went this route they are no further ahead in the industry than I am, after I taught for 4 years (sticking with it that long was my choice and I loved it). In fact for the simply fact that I was actually flying during this time, I am further ahead than some who started before me. I know this last point I brought up can bring up a whole debate about which experience is more valuable and what-not, but honestly in the end we're all at the same place, doing the same job now, and we're each good at our jobs and bring a different set of experiences with us which when combined make a madly awesome team.
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.
Looking outside of N. America show us exactly what I mean by instructing being a very good and rewarding job. In Europe they get paid better since you're taking experienced airline pilots and they move onto instructing to make good money. Unfortunately this gets passed onto the students which is why flight training is so prohibitively expensive in Europe (relatively speaking of course).
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.
If instruction is not your thing, then I sincerely applaud you for not choosing to instruct to get your start in the industry. So many do and end up as terrible instructors who obviously don't want to be there, and unfortunately this tarnishes their abilities and the students they teach. But if you like teaching, or think you could enjoy it if you haven't yet taught before (I suggest starting by teaching groundschool to PPLs once you get your CPL to get a feel for it), then it's a perfectly valid way to get your start. I don't believe instructing can sidetrack someone from their end career goals, but has the potential to help them along by teaching the professional pilot valuable skills like communication, customer service, and if you hope to be a training captain down the road, then this will seriously help you. If you start on the ramp somewhere and there is a downturn in the industry, you're just as likely to get stuck there and not move onto the flight line for well over a year or more (or you end up quitting).

I guess what I'm saying in the end that the unfortunate reality in this industry is that instruction is a poorly paid profession, but it can be fun and rewarding if you enjoy teaching. It is a good stepping stone into the industry for those who want to put in the effort and get something out of it. But for godsakes if you can't stand teaching or think you will hate it, stay away!
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Last edited by KK7 on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mike123
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by mike123 »

AtlanticTour wrote:Most of us get into this profession because we want to be professional pilots. We do not want to become flying instructors.
Well, I want to be instructor and I think teaching people flying requires as much professionalism as flying an airliner.
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SuperchargedRS
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by SuperchargedRS »

AtlanticTour wrote:...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
Forgetting for a minute the definition of the word professional (as anyone who is paid is a professional).

SO in your world to be a professional pilot is to be a secretary or a ticket monkey, vs. being a FLIGHT instructor and logging PILOT in command time?? can you go into detail on that?
AtlanticTour wrote:... 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.
And no one gets burnt out digging holes or filing papers for two years with 50k in debt right!!

Also in the two years you said it may take to move up you log working the ramp what time do you log for insurance? being a office monkey time? , vs the instructor who logs FLIGHT time??

So weak salary as a ramp monkey 2 years to move up VS weak salary as a pilot 2 years to move up.

ok, I may be a little slow tonight, but please break down to me how that makes sense?
AtlanticTour wrote:... I wanted to fly, and thats why I worked my way up from inside a company I wanted to be at.
You wanted to fly ........ drum roll......so you took a non-flying job



FYI, I had a few job offers, due to other investments I chose to instruct for a while. I started at 25 a hr. logging a good bit of time with 4 full time students and a few weekend warriors, can you compare that to a ramp position please???
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intruder-flight
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by intruder-flight »

First great topic posted by BPF, thank you!

As a flight instructor, I am honoured to view all the topics discussed in this forum. I love my job! It has stirred a wonderful debate and honest and frank discussion from all sides.

The biggest problem I have, is seeing many students who have come from all over Canada to either learn or finish their ratings at our flight school in Saint-Hubert, QC. who do not use enough rudder, or who trim after every breath in a twin in order to keep their altitude. APT is out the window, and the centre line is never touched by the nose wheel!

Please show your students the most underused flight control in the cockpit, and here it is, :THE RUDDER!

Funny how people always talk about stick and rudder skills, but it seems that many students who come in from other schools, and sometimes even from other instructors in our staff who basically allow their students use rudder for applying the brakes on touchdown and taxiing only. In slow flight, the rudder is an essential part of keeping the aircraft in a constant heading, and yes, perhaps preventing the aircraft from entering a spin, post stall. Also, it is the best control to use throughout the flare, in order to maintain runway centre line.

On the twin, trim is a problem. Simulator sessions before twin training can be a factor for students to learn the wrong way and dismiss the proper method of APT. Many students rotate, trim, gear up, remove drag, trim, reduce power, trim, and then they commit the crime of trim to level off rather then reduce power after reducing the pitch angle. If you teach, then demonstrate proper control methods, as many instructors have clearly outlined here in this post, teach to perfection! These students do not use the time tested adage, of Attitude, Power and Trim. PAT in the descent.

I suggest getting the book, "Stick and Rudder." Don't allow your students to forget the timeless methods which apply to all airplanes big and small.

Cheers, and blue skies for all.

I-F
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ant_321
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by ant_321 »

Since we're talking about instructing vs. working the ramp heres my two cents worth. Find a school with an air charter/airline operation attached. Contrary to popular belief there are a few of these places out there. At the school I am at now instuctors average a year and a half to two years of instructing then jump right seat on a 1900D. Just my opinion.
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DaveC
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by DaveC »

ant_321 wrote:Since we're talking about instructing vs. working the ramp heres my two cents worth. Find a school with an air charter/airline operation attached. Contrary to popular belief there are a few of these places out there. At the school I am at now instuctors average a year and a half to two years of instructing then jump right seat on a 1900D. Just my opinion.
That sounds like the ideal place to start.

Durham Flight Center @ CYOO is partnered with Enterprise Airlines. Some of its pilots end up flying DC3T's.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by wotai139 »

Wow! Such detailed information. Thank you so much for sharing.
I am currently training for my CPL and was contemplating on whether to also get the
instructor rating as well.
I was doubtful that I could find work as an instructor right after getting the CPL ( I would have no other pilot work experience).
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by radiotom »

Hi, Ok, don't mean to hijack the thread but here's my question and you guys seem qualified to answer it. I hold commercial, instrument ratings here in the U.S., (I'm here because I think I'll be living in CA soon, I hope) and I took all the training and courses and passed all the tests for the CFI rating, just didn't go take the checkride (long story). I got an AS degree in flight technology back in 1992. Problem is, I haven't flown a plane since '93, and I really want to get back into it, and I want to go and get that CFI ticket. I don't have a lot of money to spend, I have started learning MS Flight Sim. So, what do you think I need as far as refresher training, dual time, etc. to get back up to speed and ready for the checkride? I hope to get up to speed on the basics on my own but I might take ground school again if I can afford it. And I guess some things have changed over the years. Does anyone still use a E6-B9 flight computer? I used to be good with one.
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Post by Beefitarian »

I don't think you want to know radiotom.

My opinion is that flying now makes flying in the mid 1990s seem really inexpensive.
You can start reading here and get mildly confused http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/ and then maybe check these guys out. http://www.flyafi.com/
I went flying with them when we took a family trip to Disneyland and they are really great to talk to and fly with. You can e-mail them questions.
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radiotom
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

Post by radiotom »

Thanks Beefitarian, I was afraid I might not want to know. Just to get flying again would be alright. It's not like I want to work as a CFI, though I wouldn't mind teaching ground school. I shall peruse those publications. When my Dad got his PP license in the '70's I don't remember what it cost but it wasn't that much. My two year degree in '92 was $17,000, had to work full time while going to school. I'd hate to see what it would be today.
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Post by Beefitarian »

I think an American license would be an asset but I don't know if there's any work in the US right now. I hate writing tests as much as anyone but it shows I need to open some books and brush up. Everytime I go flying it's $200 or more. I must admit it seems worth it to me.
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