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M_broFlyer
2nd Sep 2013, 22:27
Hello guys!

I'm very new to aviation. How new? I just ordered my PPL books today! I am currently in my early-30s and have a stable, full-time job, family with two kids, bills, etc. However, since I was young, I always wanted to fly. Granted, I can no longer be Maverick and fly the F-14, but I just went up for a trial flight and I still loved it so I decided to go ahead!

Flying airlines will be a nice surprise if it happens, but it isn't in the plan. A direct "career change" from my job to aviation isn't also feasible due to the commitments and responsibilities I have. At the moment, any dabbling into aviation will be done during my spare time, days off, or holidays. If a good job comes up, then I might go part-time in both jobs.

Having said that, I would like to know more about working as a CFI. At this moment, it seems like this would be what I will end up doing in the immediate future. I would like to know what a "typical work-day" is like and if it were possible to do this part-time, maybe 2-3 days a week instead of full-time.

Lastly but most importantly, I would like to ask what a typical pay is for a CFI in the UK. I am guessing that "typical pay" would vary depending on a number of factors such as number of hours flown, experience and perceived value of it, additional ratings acquired by the CFI, and so on so if "typical pay" does not apply, I would greatly appreciate it if you would put as much info as you think necessary to explain the pay. The reason I ask this is 1) I am in the UK, and 2) I am looking at at least 10,000 just to reach the point where I can do instruction and I wonder how fast I can repay/regain that amount.

Any information would be helpful! Thanks!

Level Attitude
3rd Sep 2013, 00:29
I am looking at at least 10,000 just to reach the point where I can do instruction
Assuming you mean an FI to teach PPL(A) I think you would need at least
30,000 from where you are now.

Ignoring the cost of theorectical training/exams, medical, test fees, licence application
fees, etc and just looking at the absolute minimum flying/experience requirements:
- PPL Course 45 Hours of which 20 hours can be PIC
- PPL Skill Test Pass 2 hours - PICUS so can be counted as PIC
- Instrument Instruction 5 hours in Acft
- Instrument Instruction 5 hours in Sim
- FI Course acceptance test 1 hour
- FI Course 30 hours of which 5 hours can be PIC
- FI Test Pass 2 Hours - PICUS so can be counted as PIC
- 121 Hours PIC (to bring total to required 150 Hours)
Minimum Experience needed: 206 Hours Acft + 5 Hours Sim

Learn to fly. Have fun. Then consider what you might like to do.

Tinstaafl
3rd Sep 2013, 00:38
A slight correction to your terminology, M_bro...

In the UK, the abbreviation 'FI' is used for a Flying Instructor. 'CFI' is used for a Chief Flying Instructor. The US, however, uses 'CFI' for a Certified Flying Instructor** ie the equivalent of an FI in the UK. I only mention it so that when you're looking at various place's ads for instructor ratings you'll compare apples with apples.



**NB: Usually single engine. A multi engine instructor is an MEI & an instrument rating instructor is a CFII although they are all 'flight instructors'.

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2013, 15:20
Also look at the microlight instructor route.

Cheaper to get there (no commercial qualifications needed and the hour building much cheaper), and generally pays better - plus more likely to end up your own boss.

The downside is that you can't go readily from there to a commercial flying job, but if that's not your ambition, why worry about it.

G

RTN11
3rd Sep 2013, 19:41
As above, in the UK you're looking at getting an FI(A) rating. The title is misleading as CFI (certified flying instructor) is the American term for a general PPL instructor, in this country a CFI (chief flying instructor) is the boss, with loads more experience and responsibility than the position you're looking for.

The cost will be far more than 10k, you're looking at that just for the PPL(A) really, then you have to build hours. If you want to add the FI(A) to your PPL(A) you need 200 hours, or you could do a CPL(A) instead, which from the onset will be about the same cost.

So you're looking at:
the best part of 10k for the PPL
Hour building and/or CPL about another 10k
FI(A) rating 7-8k

So I'd back up Level Attitude's estimate of around 30k for the lot.

The trouble is that the market is full of people who DO want to work for airlines, and only instruct as a stepping stone. Therefore, the market only pays what it needs to, which is very little. Typical is around 20-25 per hour flown, averaging around 50 hours a month, so lucky to gross 15k a year - and that's working at it full time 6 days a week.

Most schools tend to keep you self employed, so you can freelance around if you like, but it means that you have no holiday or sick pay, no pension, in fact no benefits at all.

Once you have some quality experience, and can teach night or IMC or something else you may get lucky and find a school that will pay you a salary. I seem to remember goodwood looking for a Chief Flying Instructor with some decent experience, and were willing to pay decent money, so there are a few good jobs out there, but most people pass through instructing as a 1-3 year stop gap before their airline job, so most jobs are paid accordingly.

M_broFlyer
3rd Sep 2013, 22:00
Apologies for the confusion. I've been reading a few sites and have come to use the term CFI = certified flight instructor. Thanks for the correction and yes, I meant "certified" flight/flying instructor, not "chief" flying instructor.

Level Attitude, are you serious about 30K? Damn, that just poured a cold bucket of water over me! If people do invest this much, I cannot imagine how the money is "paid back" over 3-5 years!

So again, on to my questions:
1. What is a "typical work-day" of an FI?
2. Is it possible to do this part-time?
3. What sort of pay can be expected? If 20-25 is "low" (considering the total hours worked per month), what is "decent salary"?


I tried looking around the internet for FI(A) adverts and have seen a few, but none discussed pay brackets or anything about .

M_broFlyer
3rd Sep 2013, 22:15
RTN11, thank you for your detailed reply!

I've never really seen the appeal of flying airlines, though I see the monetary appeal of being an airline captain. I'm here for the flying, but as I'm too poor to be paying for it all out of my pocket, anything that will dampen the financial impact would be a great help. I can pay for an hour or so of flying, but if I can be paid to do so, either by flight instruction or by hauling freight or doing some job, that would be win-win as far as I'm concerned. The reason I'm looking at FI(A) is because it seems the most likely way I can get some work.

At this point, I'd like to say I'm not here to be a vampire on students, draining them of their time and money to pad my logbook. I enjoy teaching and do it at my current work and on some of my hobbies as well. I find it enjoyable being able to show others how what I do is important, fun, and interesting.

From what I've learned so far, it seems that my path would be PPL -> Night rating -> CPL -> IR -> Instructor -> Multi but I wonder if I should do CPL -> Instructor instead? Would my flight school be able to help me out with estimating the costs for either route?

I understand the freelance bit as well as the uncertain hours, that is why I am hesitant to leave my stable job for aviation... and that is why at this point, anything I do with aviation will always be second-priority to that which puts food on the table and a roof over my family's heads. However, is 15K the average for a FI(A)?

I'll be honest and say that I can't imagine anyone getting by with 15K per year, not unless that person is single and lives with his parents.

foxmoth
4th Sep 2013, 07:05
Level Attitude, are you serious about 30K? Damn, that just poured a cold bucket of water over me! If people do invest this much, I cannot imagine how the money is "paid back" over 3-5 years!

So again, on to my questions:
1. What is a "typical work-day" of an FI?
2. Is it possible to do this part-time?
3. What sort of pay can be expected? If 20-25 is "low" (considering the total hours worked per month), what is "decent salary"?

Many repay this by going on into the airlines, though with the likes of Ryanair, airline salaries are going downhill. For your questions:-
"Typical work day" very much depends on the weather, a "dud" day is spent doing a small amount of ground school along with a lot of looking out the windows at the rain! Good weather days will probably be about 5 trips with a briefing/1hr flight/debrief for each one (the pay BTW is normally only for the flying, not briefings, some schools pay a retainer and lower hourly rate so then at least you get something on dud days). Lessons generally overrun so an hour lunch break dissapears and you end up eating on the hoof!
Part time is certainly possible, schools are busier weekends so need more instructors then, it can be difficult finding a position though as there are a few doing this already.
A decent salary is hard to find and you will need some instructing experience behind you, then you might get a job with a commercial school or a (UK) CFI position that pays OK, not sure of current rates though.

In many ways more a vocation than a career, but great fun.

Whopity
4th Sep 2013, 07:46
Teaching ground school actually nets a better income than teaching flying! Most FIs don't want to teach groundschool because they don't get paid for it however; with the requirement for a mandatory 100 hours groundschool for the PPL just around the corner, there are some business opportunities out there and are no specific qualifications are needed to do it.

RTN11
4th Sep 2013, 17:28
Well, in three years full time instructing, my average was around 15k gross, and asking my co-workers, they were all saying about the same.

The way you live on this is living at the bare minimum, in a house share, and living on credit cards and over draughts.

For most it is only short term, a year is quite common, I instructed for three before I was forced to move onto an airline position for financial reasons. If I could earn what I do now as a full time instructor, then I would. I still instruct part time to keep the rating current.

Once you have some decent experience, and if you're in the right place in the right time with the right contacts, you could easily land a well paid instructor job as CFI, or a contractor for the military. It's really all about who you know at that level, but I'd say you'd have to instruct for at least a year earning naff all to build the experience and get unrestricted (which makes a massive difference to what you can do.)

M_broFlyer
5th Sep 2013, 21:20
foxmoth, I can't see how you repay a 30K investment by going into something that easily involved 100K. Thanks for explaining a bit about a dud day vs. actually flying. Care to put numbers though? How much is a "lower hourly rate"? How much is a "normal" hourly rate? What is a "decent salary"?

Whopity, why do you say teaching ground school is better income? Are you talking about "paid tutorial sessions"?

RTN, I'd like to hear more about "full time instructing." What were the hours like? What would you guesstimate I could make part-time with maybe 2-3 days a week? Like I said, I have a stable job and this will be more of an on-the-side thing that I would like to do. As it is done alongside my full-time job, I do not see myself being "forced" into anything I don't like, although a rough idea of the "return of investment" would help me be prepared by either determining the length of any loan taken, or at least to know how much to set aside to pay for my way through.

wet wet wet
5th Sep 2013, 22:10
The data supplied by RTN11 a few posts back seems pretty accurate to me. You can expect to earn 20/hour and to get about 50 hours per month (averaged over the year), working six days a week. That comes out at 12k/year working six days/week - so 6k working 3 days/week and 4k/year working 2 days/week. From which you will need to pay tax, self employed NI contributions, travel costs, uniform etc.

To get there from where you are will cost you a minimum of 30k for flight training and hour building. CPL ground school plus sitting the exams (have to be done in Gatwick) will easily add another 3k.

Then you need to find a job! There seem to be more newly qualified FIs out there than there are openings, judging by the steady stream of hopefuls who turn up at my school. You really need contacts to get started.

Sorry if you don't like the numbers, but that's just is the way it is.

RTN11
5th Sep 2013, 23:03
Sorry if you don't like the numbers, but that's just is the way it is.

Indeed, flight instruction is not a justifiable investment, or we'd all be on dragon's den offering a decent 3 year return.

It just doesn't work that way. People do it for the passion, for the fun of it, and for the hope that it will one day lead to something that might pay the bills. It's only ever a hope, and usually involves sacrificing everything and putting a huge risk on financial stability.

I've personally lost two girlfriends and I've known one guy lose a wife because of instructing, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

You pay 30k to earn 15k a year, it's as simple as that. If you can't make those figures work for you, fair enough.

Full time instructing means committing to 6 days a week, typically 8 hours a day. As has been stated above, you only get paid the hours you fly, so an absolutely full day would be perhaps 5 lessons with at least an hour unpaid ground work for every hour flown. A more typical day is 2 hours flown, 2 hours unpaid ground work, and of those 6 days a week at least two lost to bad weather, when it gets really bad all 6 are lost to bad weather, then you're really in trouble if you can't negotiate a retainer.

The entire industry is based on who you know, so if you make best friends with a flying school owner (which from your questions I would assume you have no contacts at all at the moment) then you might be ok, but it's all about being in the right place at the right time with the right experience.

M_broFlyer
7th Sep 2013, 20:36
Thanks very much for the replies!

That is exactly my dilemma at the moment. For me to be in the right place at the right time with the right stuff, I need to have taken out 30-40K from what would've gone to the family coffers. From what I've found out so far, going for the FI(A) route seems like a leap of faith.

Still, I figure if I spend 30K on this, and manage 6K a year, that'll be "paid" in 5 years, or 7.5 years if I guesstimate a 4K/year output. By then, I'll be in my late-30s so I guess that still doesn't sound too bad. The initial outlay just looks very scary considering the many "ifs" involved.

I guess at the very least, I need to get my PPL out of the way!

What's the best way to go about this?
a. PPL > Night rating > IMC > CPL > Instructor
b. PPL > Night rating > CPL > IR > Instructor

Or is there a third (or even fourth!) option? At which point would it make sense to add on a bit of Multi-Engine?

RTN11
7th Sep 2013, 21:55
You don't need an IR to be an instructor.

The most sensible route in my view is PPL-Night-CPL-FI(A)

You don't need the CPL to be an instructor, but if you're starting from scratch you won't save any money by not doing it, so you may as well.

You need to at least do CPL groundschool, but instead you could do the full ATPL groundschool. If you do this, you then have 3 years to get a CPL and IR, otherwise the groudschool expires.

So my view would be do CPL-FI(A), then in 2 years look at whether you need or want an IR and do it then. If at that point you decide you don't want the IR, all it's cost you is a few extra exams in the onset. Much better than the other way round where you suddenly decide that you want an IR and need to sit 14 exams to get it.

After two years in the industry you'll have a much better idea of whether an IR would benefit you. At this point the only reason to do it would be for an airline job.

Tinstaafl
7th Sep 2013, 22:56
...or advancement as an instructor eg to instruct for instrument ratings somewhere down the track.

Something to consider - but not rely on: Just being involved in the industry as an instructor exposes you to opportunities too. That 'fortune favours the prepared' type of thing, so having an IR and hours in your logbook from instructing can mean being the right bloke at the right time. Just don't count on it as a certainty.

M_broFlyer
8th Sep 2013, 20:30
Thank you, Tinstaafl! That was the phrase/saying I was looking for. It would not matter if the best offer came down the road but I did not have the qualifications to apply for it.

You don't need the CPL to be an instructor, but if you're starting from scratch you won't save any money by not doing it, so you may as well.
I do believe I've heard this before, but can't remember exactly. I always thought you needed the CPL before you can get paid for your time, which was exactly what being an instructor was supposed to be. Can you clarify a bit more?

You need to at least do CPL groundschool, but instead you could do the full ATPL groundschool. If you do this, you then have 3 years to get a CPL and IR, otherwise the groudschool expires.

So my view would be do CPL-FI(A), then in 2 years look at whether you need or want an IR and do it then. If at that point you decide you don't want the IR, all it's cost you is a few extra exams in the onset. Much better than the other way round where you suddenly decide that you want an IR and need to sit 14 exams to get it.
Ah, I think I read that there is no transition from CPL to fATPL, so if the goal was to go airline, then CPL was a waste. I take it that is what you are saying?

What do you mean "the groundschool expires"? Do you mean my groundschool is only good for 3 years?

The main reason I am considering the IR (or IMC, although they are different, I know) is because UK weather can be unpredictable. Being able to fly despite non-VFR weather --- I thought this was worth taking the course? Of course, aside from being able to teach it as an FI(A)....

Whopity
8th Sep 2013, 20:51
I always thought you needed the CPL before you can get paid for your timeNot since Part FCL was adopted in 2012.
I think I read that there is no transition from CPL to fATPLfATPL simply means you have a CPL/IR with ATPL Exams passed. Those exams have a 3 year validity to obtain both a CPL and an IR. If you don't obtain one or both you have to retake the exams. If you gain the CPL/IR, so long as the IR does not expire by more than 7 years they stay valid, hence the term "frozen"
The main reason I am considering the IR (or IMC,
You only have until April 2014 to get an IMC, maybe not within your time frame.

RTN11
9th Sep 2013, 04:46
Whopity already answered the exam question, but just to add if you did ATPL groundschool from the onset, got the CPL(A) but then decided not to do the IR it would not affect you having a CPL(A) at all.

If it then went over three years and you suddenly decided that you did want an IR, you would have to do the groundschool exams again.

But then if you only do the CPL(A) exams from the onset and decided you wanted an IR after, you'd be in the same position of having to do loads more groundschool.

If you're thinking 30k is a lot to justify, then why are you looking to add another 15-20k on an IR you will probably never use? It's only valid for a year, and very expensive to keep up if you're only using it occasionally, and if you're teaching PPL(A) students then you won't be flying in cloud much at all. Sure, there's the odd day when you'd punch up through some cloud to teach a basic lesson like climbing/descending once you're "VFR on top" but it's not a necessity to be able to do this, and it only works on days when you know the cloud tops are quite low, no point having to climb to 8000' just to start the lesson.

xrayalpha
9th Sep 2013, 11:10
As GtE says:

If you want to be an instructor, look at the microlight route.

To get a microlight licence, 5k.

Buy a second hand factory-built C42 - I know of some with around 700hrs on them for around 35k.

Fly to build up 100 hours P1. Cost you about 7k in fuel, insurance and depreciation.

Do a microlight instructor course. 4k - might get a discount using your own aircraft.

Then work as an AFI with a local school. If you also have your own aircraft, then it makes life a lot easier.

One year on, if you have 100 hours as an AFI and, ideally, taken a student or two from start to finish, get upgraded to an FI.

Now you can even set up your own school. Or just keep working part time at a local school with your own aircraft.

Total: 51k minus some income and an aircraft still worth 30k!

That'll be why Flight Training News says there are more microlight schools than GA ones.

M_broFlyer
10th Sep 2013, 20:15
Hmmm.... where can I read up on Part FCL?

As for the IR, I didn't know how much it cost, simply that it was the "higher version" of the IMC. I did think the IMC is useful considering the temperamental UK weather.

xrayalpha, I don't want to be an instructor at the cost of everything else. I want to fly airplanes, so I've never really considered microlights. Gliders, maybe.

RTN11
10th Sep 2013, 21:02
Hmmm.... where can I read up on Part FCL?

LASORS used to be the best resource for this sort of stuff, I believe CAP 804 is meant to be some kind of replacement, but it's nowhere near as useful.

As for the IR, I didn't know how much it cost, simply that it was the "higher version" of the IMC. I did think the IMC is useful considering the temperamental UK weather.

You've got it the wrong way round, the IMC is the baby version of the IR. Useful, perhaps, but you'll be teaching PPL students to fly in VMC, so won't be using it day to day.

xrayalpha, I don't want to be an instructor at the cost of everything else. I want to fly airplanes, so I've never really considered microlights. Gliders, maybe.

Odd phrasing there, but it suggests you have something against microlights. I can fully recommend the Ikarus C42, it's actually a far more capable aircraft than the Cessna 150, and a lot more roomy. Microlight these days is more of a legal category than anything else, which mostly means you are limited to 450Kg max take off weight. There are some very high performance microlights out there, many would out pace an Arrow or Seneca (not that that's particularly hard to do).

Yes, there are some very basic flex wing microlights with dodgy two stroke engines, but there are also some very decent three axis machines which are well worth instructing in.

As has been mentioned at least twice on this thread, this is an up and coming market where the instructors have more ability to name their terms, whereas GA instructing is currently dying as it is full of people stuck just hoping for an airline job. Who knows, maybe in a few years there will be a shortage of instructors as people just have to go and get real jobs to pay the bills, and things will swing back the other way. Until then, microlighting is great fun if you want to fly.

xrayalpha
11th Sep 2013, 17:32
M,

Well, if you want to fly a C42 as a real airplane, no problem. Just check the paperwork before you get in because it might be a microlight - or it might not.

Same seat, same airframe, same engine! But, obviously, not a real airplane if it has the wrong paperwork.

The Eurostar is also pretty similar - although you might spot the lack of paint and back-up fuel pump on the microlight ones.

And that really tells the story of modern three-axis microlights: they are lightweight light aircraft - real airplanes - that have just been squeezed (at the cost of paint!) into the microlight - fake airplanes - category.

If you want to instruct and have some great fun flying: welcome.

If you want to go on to bigger and better things...... well, I can list a few people who started, or carried on, on microlights. But if it is not your thing....

ps. If you just want to fly, buy the Zenair 601 (this one is a real airplane) on afors for 21k and spend the other 40k of your CPL fund on a lifetime's supply of fuel.

And stick to the day job and earn some money for the mortgage.

Genghis the Engineer
11th Sep 2013, 17:34
Yes, there are some very basic flex wing microlights with dodgy two stroke engines,

And fantastic fun they are too - although admittedly I'd rather not teach on a 3rd generation flexwing either. I don't mind doing a biennial, but beyond that I'll leave it to flexwing specialist instructors who have modern machines with training bars and dual controlled nosewheel steering.

But for a freelancer on a budget, for example, there are some very good cheap 2-stroke powered 3-axis aeroplanes the AX3, T600 or Chevvron for example.

G

M_broFlyer
11th Sep 2013, 22:50
RTN11, I think you've misunderstood me as you just said what I meant... IMC is the baby version of IR or the other way around, "the IR is the higher version of IMC".... As for microlights, I don't have anything against it. I just did not know about the Ikarus or any others you are hinting at. When "microlight" was mentioned, I simply imagined a small tri-wheeled structure with a prop under a hang glider.

I'm not too sure I want to learn microlights either... simply because of a few factors. My trial flight was on a PA28 and it was getting thrown around a bit already, I could imagine this is worse on a microlight? Plus I've already been daydreaming of taking the family on a cross-country trip, maybe see the Lakes district from the air. I'm guessing the wife and two boys plus luggage will be too much for a microlight.

Genghis the Engineer
12th Sep 2013, 10:56
Low performance microlights will probably take 2 adults and 3 hours fuel at ~65knots.

High performance microlights will probably take 2 adults, 1 hours fuel, at 100+ knots.

Neither will take the kids in the back. Both will go further solo.


If you have a problem with turbulence in a PA28 you have a problem - the things run on rails and barely notice most turbulence. Compared, by and large to both most microlights, and most light aeroplanes.

G

xrayalpha
12th Sep 2013, 11:01
Mbro,

You need to spend some time at an airfield.

And you need more time in the air.

Until you have experienced the full PPL course, it is difficult to understand what might be involved in instruction.

Not just teaching "unusual attitudes", when you expect stuff to happen, but having real-life students inflict them on you out-of-the-blue ;-)

A quick look at the finances of an aircraft with two adults, two boys AND luggage...... that's why Easyjet is growing and GA is shrinking!

foxmoth
12th Sep 2013, 11:10
A quick look at the finances of an aircraft with two adults, two boys AND luggage...... that's why Easyjet is growing and GA is shrinking!

Never REALLY been the case that you can justify flying somewhere by light aircraft on a cost basis, people start flying because it is something they want to do, not because it will save money!

M_broFlyer
12th Sep 2013, 20:08
+1 to foxmoth's sentiments. I like driving and "having my own space," so unless the bus fare is ridiculously cheap, I take my own vehicle. I own a 7-seater for the space. :)

xrayalpha, I agree I need a bit more exposure regarding GA, thanks for the heads up on microlights though!

Genghis, I'm not sure what you mean about the PA28 being on rails. I did feel the turbulence though, but does not mean I had a problem with it --- in fact, I quite enjoyed the sensation!