View Full Version : FI(r) pay question

23rd Mar 2009, 09:42
I am about to complete my FIC & have had an interview with a school where I am pretty sure I am likely to work. They have given me a break down of pay & I was wondering what other Flight Instructors were on?!

I have been offered:
3,000 per yr retainer
12 per hour duty pay plus incentives

What is the opinion on this?

Also can someone give me an indication of how many hours I can realistically achieve in a year by Instructing?


23rd Mar 2009, 10:09
I assume we are talking about full time? In which case - is that 3000 retainer + 12 per flying hour?

Yes i'm talking full time so 3,000 + 12ph.

long final
23rd Mar 2009, 11:23
If you are expecting to work 5 days a week the retainer is low. I would expect a retainer of 20-25 a day plus your 12 an hour. Where are you planning to work?

23rd Mar 2009, 11:42
Look on the bright side - you won't pay much tax on that job, but you'll need to do a bar job/early morning cleaning to afford to drive to/from the airfield..:eek:

23rd Mar 2009, 12:52
The basic is too low - I would work on getting it up to (at least) double what they're currently offering. Jobwise, it's a sellers market at the moment so they're probably in the driving seat on this one but you shouldn't get crossed off their list just for asking.

That offer is right at the bottom end of the payscale for instructing in the UK, recession or no recession.


23rd Mar 2009, 12:56
In my case approximately 50 hours a month.

If it's summer season: 80-100 hours.

Per year basis one should be achieving 500-700 hours a year.

As for what that pay sounds like, would comment later.

23rd Mar 2009, 13:29
I'd see if there was anything that could be done about the basic, but with the way things are at the moment even if they don't increase it I'd still take it and get flying and then see what else comes up.

I'm pretty sure that there are loads of FI(r)'s out there looking for their 1st job and would jump at the chance even at that low wage. So basically don't sign a contract and start working on getting the restriction removed!

Good luck!

23rd Mar 2009, 16:50
Its not great, but just be thankful you've been offered a flying job with the way things are.

23rd Mar 2009, 17:19
I'm pretty sure that there are loads of FI(r)'s out there looking for their 1st job and would jump at the chance even at that low wage

This is the problem with aviation and always has been.

Being 'gazumped' by someone more willing to work for peanuts is what allows these schools to behave how they do... coupled with the desire by most FI's to move onto the airlines ASAP.

In an ideal world, if you are serious about instructing you should expect to earn money commensurate with your level of investment and desire for the profession. But this instructing we're talking about!

If you can get some weekend work at your local non-profit making flying club then you can still earn proper money midweek doing a "proper job" that can pay the bills. That is; if you can find a 'proper' job at the moment because they are in short supply too.

The bottom line is: if I was entering aviation as a newbie qualified FI right now I would be looking at the long haul bigger picture and working for peanuts, grabbing all the hours you can, is unlikely to reap rewards in terms of an airline job for quite some time to come so why rush into accepting a ****e (and it is ****e mate!!) offer right now when there's a long list of chaps with thousands of hours (some with jet time) struggling to get a job with the airlines?

Moving up in this game is as much about the person you are and whom you know as it is about how many hours are in your logbook so get networking down your local flying clubs and offer your help (on the ground as well as in the air), build your hours up slowly and maintain your self respect. Rome wasn't built in a day.


PS: Regarding hours it varies enormously from school to school for a variety of different factors. OneIn60Rule quotes the top end.

Mickey Kaye
23rd Mar 2009, 18:36

You don't state where you work but as a part time weekend career instructor who has recently moved into the area that I live in. There is simply no work around at all. I've visited all the flying schools that are close to me and a few that are not.

I've been fortunate and one local school has said that they can use my services over the summer. However so far 8 weekend days has yielded 1.3 hours of instruction.

My IMC is no longer current neither is my MEP but I simply can't keep throwing money into a bottemless pit. And I don't want to have to fork out more money to revalidate/renew my SEP and FI rating again in the future.

I don't disagree with what you are saying its just that poor pay or no pay is better than no flying at all. Especially if it means that you don't have to fork more money out to stay current.

I would take the job, i would also ask for more money. If you can't cover your bills then get a proper job and instruct the weekends.

23rd Mar 2009, 19:55
There is simply no work around at all. I've visited all the flying schools that are close to me and a few that are not.

My advice would be to visit them every weekend for a cuppa tea and to chat with the members, some of whom will be professional pilots like yourself who *just* might be able to help out with (at the very least) some sound advice that hasn't come from an internet rumour network. You won't do your search justice by leaving it after one visit, you have to be around these places, making friends, helping out, being seen, networking, and then you may be lucky enough to hop into someones shoes who leaves unexpectedly...

You know as well as I do that in this game people are very keen to help those who are keen to help themselves. The questiono is: can someone who's instructed as a career put aside their pride and muck in with everyone else until something comes up? God forbid I have to go out looking for work again, it was tough the first time around and took time but eventually a door opened up so it will do for you and the original poster again.


27th Mar 2009, 08:21
Just a friendly observation, but there are quite a few posts throughout this site from people warning against newbies working for little or nothing just to get a foot in the door, and how this has always been what is wrong with aviation, and is gradually bringing the profession down etc etc.

When you are sitting in your nice job with 1000s of hrs its easier to look back and say, you shouldn't do that, you should be out doing this....but is that really practical with a lot of debt and how did you get started (something similar I would bet)?

27th Mar 2009, 09:53
Started off part time until a full tme job came up near to home.


30th Mar 2009, 20:39
well i took the job in the end & start on wed, the pay isn't the best in the world but its a means to an end & in this day & age you take what you can get I guess!!

If you had the choice of flying & getting paid for it or flying & paying to do so what do u choose?

I need hours to get my career on the go, I cant afford to continue to pay to fly after the 50,000 for the fATPL so 12 per hour is better than nothing at all & better than not flying which is the position many of the guys that I graduated with have now found themselves!!

31st Mar 2009, 14:30
Good luck Jamie, I see your thoughts on this and if you manage to log 500hrs of flight time in the next 12 months as a FI, just imagine how much that would cost if you had to pay for it via a group share in a local AC.

Although I do agree with VFE, people working for peanuts makes it impossible for anybody wanting to become a career instructor. Sadly 9k pa before stoppages isn't going to pay your mortgage :rolleyes:

31st Mar 2009, 20:39
I agree entirely, I think the pay situation sucks & I have turned down a position working ont eh ground for an airline to do this that would have paid me double what i'm likely to earn. The problem is that I have invested 50,000 plus in my fATPL so I cant just sit back & watch my ratings rot away!!

I do feel its really easy for the guys flying around in jets & turbo props to say that its not good for the industry to work for low pay, but the reality is that there is an abundance of FI's & FO wannabe's & in a comodity market price goes down, simple economics!! I never thought I would be instructing & never really intended to do anything other that work for an airline, however in the last 3 years the whole world changed & the aviation industry was hit harder than most. You have to adapt to survive & unfortunately the decisions we make have an impact on the industry as a whole!!

I wish all those doing FI courses all the luck in the world but the jobs out there are few & far between & with soooooo many people applying for the ones that are advertised publically the school can force the price. Its not the pilots that are at fault, its the economists & financial advisors for each of these schools!!

Vortex Thing
2nd Apr 2009, 01:26
Its not the pilots that are at fault, its the economists & financial advisors for each of these schools!!

So should everyone who eats too much fast food sue McDonalds et al for their strong marketing. Should smokers sue cigarette manufacturers and drinkers sue drinks manufacturers because they sell them products they can not really afford and are bad for them?

Or should we just take some responsibility for our own actions and accept regardless of how much we invest the market cannot employ us all and if some of us pay 50-100k on training and cannot find the job we like so be it.

It's a risk, we knew the risks, we accepted them. If we didn't know the risk then we were foolish with our investment and if we did know the risks then we rolled the dice and took our chance some.

Now you may not like what I just said but you should be too busy congratulating yourself on taking your first job as a professional pilot. It doesn't matter what you are paid as long as you put hours in the log book that you aren't paying for so if fellow professional pilots a little further along the food chain feel that you are destroying their terms and conditions then they need to get over it. You have the right to work for whatever you please it is called a free market if they disagree let them whinge with the miners, ship builders etc who all thought that the world owed them a living to.

Promise yourself to learn something new every single lesson and give the best instruction you can in the time that you instruct for, continuously and professionally increase you skills and experience by flying in as many different types, lessons, airfields and environments as you can and maybe at 300hrs maybe at 2000hrs your time may come and this will just have been a difficult 2, 3 or even 10years but you will still have a 30yr career ahead of you.

Welcome to the fold of professional pilots who actually earn moeny rather than complain about lack of opportunity!

Trans Lift
17th Apr 2009, 02:40
I'd take the job. If you've paid your way far enough to get to FI stage then your entitled to what you can get. It is very easy for people like VFE to say that you should go down to your local club and work your way into it, help out, network, blah blah. Just because some people had to do that in their early days doesn't mean we all do. I bet you if these people had been offered a real job when they started out they would have taken it too. Hind sight is great sight. :ok: