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ATCWAG
21st Aug 2015, 09:10
Hi

I have been an air traffic control assistant for 13 years and have saved enough money to pay for a ppl and cpl. I have always wanted to fly. I am considering now investing in my flying with the aim to make a career change to become a qualified flight instructor. I am 34 years old. I just simply want to become a flight instructor. Can I please have feed back: I will be investing every penny I have saved into this venture. Do flight instructors at least make enough money to put food on the table,pay for petrol cost,rent ect? And,are flight instructors in demand in both Australia and Uk?

I am married and I am in the fortunate position of not needing to work,but I want to and currently do work (as an ATCA). I could also use my investments on an aviation degree instead. But my heart has always been to fly.

Genghis the Engineer
21st Aug 2015, 14:52
In my opinion - do a PPL, then re-assess.

With a PPL, you'll know if you have the passion and application for a professional career in flying (and the aptitude). If you didn't enjoy it, you'll still be a much better ATCA for the training, and the degree added to that will make you a good ATC manager.

Here in Britain, I really hope that your age and sex would be irrelevant as young as your 30s - but I really can't speak for South Africa.

G

tail wheel
22nd Aug 2015, 23:05
Duplicate thread, see: http://www.pprune.org/african-aviation/566531-possible-career-change-woman-age-34-a.html

baobab72
2nd Sep 2015, 07:47
Hi
First point: i am rooting for you!!!!
Second point: i am a training captain and i firmly believe that you need experience to pass on experience which translates in the fact that imho instructors should not be teaching right at the completion of the cfi course since even though they can compensate for the lack of experience with enthusiasm, they are lacking experience!
What is experience for me: well even though i could truck on for ever experience for me is situational awareness and the ability to priorityze which can not be bought!
One point that plays in your favour and that makes me root for you is the fact that u will not be a hour builder, but u will a career instructor thus focused from day one on improving your teaching skills!!!
But as suggested if i were u i would go for the ppl first, baby steps can take you a long way!
As for you being a woman, you should stay were u belong: in the kitchen!! Lol just kidding!!! For me it is not even a point to be raised, actually based on my personal experience if you can get over the fact that you are a woman and thus you have to perform better than men to gain your collegue respect, you will do an outstanding job! I had a few woman instructors and i learnt a lot from them, they are normally very procedural which i love, and of course knowledgeble, if they can refrain from falling in the trap of DONT SCREW WITH ME JUST BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN!! .
And to show you how much i root for you, i promise to you that if you become an instructor you can put me down for a couple of hours in a single engine, which i am positive you will fly it far better than i would!!

Happy landings and if there is anything i can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Baobab

Parson
2nd Sep 2015, 08:59
"What is experience for me: well even though i could truck on for ever experience for me is situational awareness and the ability to priorityze which can not be bought!"

baobab72 - situational awareness may be relevant experience for an IRI but hardly for a ppl instructor.

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 09:01
I disagree - situational awareness is a vital skill, whether you fly a 747 or a rubber band model, and all forms of aviation in between.

G

Parson
3rd Sep 2015, 12:12
Gengis - I know what you mean, but I hardly think a newly qualified FI needs to spend 50/100/200 hrs or whatever 'gaining SA' just to teach ppl standard.

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 12:28
No, 1000 would be better. But it does come with all of the other stuff we learn as we build experience.

G

Parson
3rd Sep 2015, 14:08
So are you saying a newly qualified instructor shouldn't be allowed to teach until they have 1000 hrs?

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 15:05
Nope, I'm saying that the current minimum hours to become an instructor in most environments, is very minimal.

I'm not sure I'd have been a very good instructor when I only had 300 hours - would you?

At about 1000 hours, I'd probably built up enough real flying experience that I could start thinking about taking on that sort of role effectively.

There are bound to be exceptions - the RAF creamies being the classic, but I don't think treating that as the norm is particularly valuable. The pilot who really uses their hour building to build genuine experience, can probably get to the point of being a good (enough?) instructor in a few hundred hours. But, I wouldn't take that as a given.

G

Parson
3rd Sep 2015, 15:17
Agree with the principle of the more hours the better. So how would it work for an aspiring career instructor then? Say gets CPL & FI and has 200 TT. Where/how does the other 800 hours come from? Would they have to pay for it themselves and, if so, is that a realistic requirement for a job with a starting salary of 12-15k?

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 16:35
That's a perenial problem isn't it. In an ideal world, we'd have the most experienced pilots teaching the next generation, not those just out of school themselves.

I don't have an answer to that - other than that we should look for the very highest standards of flying in those who wish to instruct - which means displaying competence that arguably goes well beyond their apparent experience.

Not easy, but we have to try. Giving them an excuse, like saying that a high standard of situational awareness isn't necessary in PPL instructors however, isn't acceptable. The PPL is the foundation on which everything else is built, and new pilots need to get a very good one.

G

Parson
3rd Sep 2015, 18:06
I wasn't saying that ppl instructors shouldn't have good SA - every instructor I have had has always known where he/she is.

It's not really something that is taught per se, but part of pretty much everything you do from your first lesson. I was just picking up on the previous comment re deficiencies in FI competence and coming from an airline captain, I assume he was basing that on experience of FOs and therefore IFR flying.

We seem to be off topic but is a valid discussion. A more worrying thought for me would not be instructor experience but an MPL with 200hrs in the RHS of a regional jet. No doubt well trained to operate the a/craft but someone who may never have been stuck in a light aircraft, on their own having to make to make decisions like real weather diversions, dealing with a rough running engine etc.

Chuck Ellsworth
3rd Sep 2015, 18:26
Agree with the principle of the more hours the better. So how would it work for an aspiring career instructor then? Say gets CPL & FI and has 200 TT. Where/how does the other 800 hours come from? Would they have to pay for it themselves and, if so, is that a realistic requirement for a job with a starting salary of 12-15k?

The answer is simple.

Before one can be a flight instructor he/she must have xx number of hours as a commercial pilot.

Instead of 200 hours make it 2000 hours.

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 20:43
I wasn't saying that ppl instructors shouldn't have good SA - every instructor I have had has always known where he/she is.

Is that what you think SA is all about?

G

Parson
3rd Sep 2015, 21:19
Well, that and knowing what phase of flight you are in, thinking ahead, configuration of the aircraft, overall purpose of the flight, likely contingency plans to be needed et al. Maybe I didn't explain my point very well...

Genghis the Engineer
3rd Sep 2015, 22:13
Perhaps not. SA is massively more than just navigational awareness.

I think whilst the numbers he uses are a bit big - and there are other types of pilot than "commercial" of course, Chuck has a point.

Pilots do need some significant experience of (shock) doing stuff with aeroplanes so that they have experience to draw upon, and enough spare capacity to deal with all the stuff that can go wrong during an instructional flight - or they will struggle to be good instructors.

G

Chuck Ellsworth
3rd Sep 2015, 23:22
Genghis, I used commercial flying because it evolves flying in various conditions dictated by the need to turn a profit for your employer.

Most other kinds of flying are driven by want to fly rather than maybe flying when you may not want to.

Experience will give you the capability of knowing when to say no based on risk assessment, which is based on past experience with the conditions that may affect the flight you are asked to do, such as the weather pattern for the intended flight among many other factors.

Big Pistons Forever
4th Sep 2015, 01:08
In my opinion - do a PPL, then re-assess.

With a PPL, you'll know if you have the passion and application for a professional career in flying (and the aptitude). If you didn't enjoy it, you'll still be a much better ATCA for the training, and the degree added to that will make you a good ATC manager.

Here in Britain, I really hope that your age and sex would be irrelevant as young as your 30s - but I really can't speak for South Africa.

G

The best advice so far IMO.

With respect to the thread drift about low hour instructors, I find it a bit tiresome that once again we seem to be stuck in the binary

Low hour instructor = crap instruction

high hour instructor = great instruction

There are many qualities that make for good instruction, the total time of the instructor is just one.

Experience becomes more important as one moves to more complex flying but for ab initio a high number of flying hours is not IMO terribly important.

The PPL is not rocket science. It should focus on the foundation principals of how to fly an airplane. A well taught 300 hr instructor who is properly supervised is completely able to properly teach a PPL.

I agree the concepts of SA are important but before you can apply them you have to be taught the basic principals of weather, navigation, engine management etc etc. That is what a PPL course is for.

Done properly you will have a license to learn safely, AKA, a PPL.

Parson
4th Sep 2015, 06:40
Genghis - yes, as I alluded to in an earlier post when I said that SA is pretty much part of everything you do from your first lesson.

BPF - couldn't agree more.

Pull what
7th Sep 2015, 16:29
At a West Midlands airport a couple of years ago the most experienced instructor at a flying school (with over 4000 hours, mostly instructional) taxied into tbe back of a helicopter at the pumps doing causing around a 100,00 pounds worth of damage. The student who was with him tried to discourage him from taxing with a misted screen but he carried on.

So great SA, TEM, ADM and Airmanship eh?

I know many instructors with many thousands of hours who should not even hold a pilots licence and three of them are flight examiners!

Reverserbucket
8th Sep 2015, 14:22
The key to good instruction in my opinion, is an ability to teach confidently.


There is not enough emphasis on teaching and learning principals during instructor training in my experience.

Genghis the Engineer
8th Sep 2015, 19:02
The key to good instruction in my opinion, is an ability to teach confidently.


There is not enough emphasis on teaching and learning principals during instructor training in my experience.

An interesting perspective.

I am variously a CRI(SPA), a former British Canoe Union Trainee Senior Instructor, a teaching black belt in Jiu Jitsu, and a qualified university lecturer with a postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning in further and higher education.

In my opinion, the material on teaching and learning styles and approaches I was provided for my CRI course - which I believe is about the same as the FI course in this respect - is vastly superior to anything I got in every other instructors course I've ever done. If it can be improved, as doubtless it can, it's still ahead of where everybody else is.

G

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 09:14
1.The key to good instruction in my opinion, is an ability to teach confidently.

2.There is not enough emphasis on teaching and learning principals during instructor training in my experience. I know that first comment (1) was well meant but with respect you are a million miles away from from the facts, in my opinion, as an instructor who teaches FI courses.

There isnt just one key to good instruction and there are many key requisites to being a good instructor.

Fiirst of all the definition of 'good'. There are competent instructors and there are good instructors. Most who hold the certificate are competent because they are qualified and supposedlly can get a student through a PPL course to licence, that however doesnt make them good instructors by any means. A good instructor teaches beyond a syllabus and holds the certificate because his first passion is teaching, not just because he wants to be an airline pilot, or wants to keep his hand in or its the only aviation job he can get. Vocational instructors who are passionate about teaching and helping people are very few and far bewteen, Ive come across two in nearly 25,000 hours of flying.

(1) Teaching confidently, many poor instructors teach confidently. In one school I was in recently I heard the Head of Training say to a student," you dont need to consider metars when obtaining an aviation wx forecast". I later took one of his students over who had had two lessons with him and when I said to the student at the end of the flight," Can you now show me how to get out of the aircraft" he did not know that the PA 28 had two door releases! He had also been sent out to do a walk around check without ever being shown how to do one, when he queried it he was told to use his checklist! All minor things you might say but those minor things are the difference between a competent instructor and a good instructor.

This instructor is a PPL examiner, a multi engine instructor an IR instructor and a commercial instructor he is often described as the best and most experienced instructor on tbe airfield. He teaches to an appalingly low standard but very confidently.

(2) How right you are. This is an area that skipped over by many FI instructors, in fact all they will do is enough to get a candidate through the test and this is one of the reasons why standards are so low.

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 09:35
I agree the concepts of SA are important but before you can apply them you have to be taught the basic principals of weather, navigation, engine management etc etc. That is what a PPL course is for.

The best pilots or instructors to teach SA are those who have had the most wide ranging experience in flying and they wont be instructors with 300 hours experience mostly gained in the local area and circuit in an SE aircraft!

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 09:38
I've had lots of different instructors over the years covering many aspects of flying. I'd be happy to fly with any again except for two....

1. A part time instructor who had an 'obsession' with general handling. During club checkouts he just wanted to throw the a/craft all over the place and recover, doing quite a bit of the flying himself. He WAS trying to teach me an important element of GH but frankly left me feeling sick every time I flew with him.

2. A (highly recommended) full time career instructor teaching me aerobatics. Treated me like a naughty child from the word go even though I was new to type and new to aerobatics. Suffice to say he lost my business.

I'm not qualified to comment on styles of teaching/instruction etc. - there are many variations and personalities. But from a purely business point of view an instructor should keep in mind that he/she wants the student to enjoy the experience come back for more. It is after all costing them a not inconsiderable amount of money.

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 09:44
Pull What - disagree. SA is something you pick up from day one and build and develop through your flying career, wherever that may take you.

Having 'only' 300 hrs and 'only' flown in the local area does not mean that an FI cannot be an excellent PPL instructor.

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 10:03
Pull What - disagree. SA is something you pick up from day one and build and develop through your flying career, wherever that may take you. But you are contradicting yourself! As you say, you develop it through your fllying career so therefore those with the most varied lengthy flying carreers are best placed to teach SA

Having 'only' 300 hrs and 'only' flown in the local area does not mean that an FI cannot be an excellent PPL instructor. Depends how your define excellent and whom is defining it. Ive known students fly with awful instructors and class them as excellent. If you see PPL instruction as a very simple task that anyone can excel at after a few 100 hours you are obviously are correct. I dont share that view.

Experience is marked by thousands of hours in flying but only by those who have such experience and know the difference!

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 10:32
Not sure how I am contradicting myself....I've never pitched up to a lesson to be told 'today we are going to learn Situational Awareness..'. The level of SA needed, say in a basic VFR circuit is quite different from that needed flying a non-precision SE approach in an MEP, single pilot in IMC and naturally you would expect an instructor teaching the latter to be more experienced.

BUT hours alone are not an indication of excellence. One of the 'poor' instructors I mentioned above had many thousands of hours.

All other things being equal, more hours = more experience = better instructor, but that is not always the case. Hence my point that having 300 hrs. does not mean a ppl instructor cannot give very good instruction.

I was taught by an hour builder and you're right, I didn't know any better. But, looking back he was one of the better instructors I've had. He had a genuine interest in my progression, explained/demonstrated things clearly and took my training seriously. (Interestingly he went on to airline flying, didn't like it and returned to full time instructing).

The PPL is often described as a 'licence to learn' and that really is true. I'm sure we can all look back and think 'I wasn't taught such and such very well' but unless we are all taught by 20,000 hour sky gods, nothing will be perfect.

You keep learning (or should) throughout your career - I've picked up many things reading articles by the likes of John Farley & Brian Lecomber and tried them out and incorporated them into my flying.

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 12:40
May I ask, are you a flying instructor?

Not sure how I am contradicting myself.Ok well whom do you think will teach you more about situational awareness if they both had equal instructional abilities, the guy with 300 hours with limited experince or the guy with 13000 hours who has flown all over Europe in a multitude of types, flown at many different airfields and schools.

I've never pitched up to a lesson to be told 'today we are going to learn Situational Awareness.With respect perhaps thats because youve never flown with a good instructor, only competent instructors! Unless of course they taught you in the air(the hallmark of poor instruction)

The PPL is often described as a 'licence to learn' and that really is true. I'm sure we can all look back and think 'I wasn't taught such and such very well' but unless we are all taught by 20,000 hour sky gods, nothing will be perfect.All licences and qualifications are licences to learn. Flying is an on going learning experience for those who live long enough to realise that limitation.

OK so with your argument then an instructor must be at his best at 300 hours and progressively becomes worse up to 20000 hours upon where he becomes a sky god!

The level of SA needed, say in a basic VFR circuit is quite different from that needed flying a non-precision SE approach in an MEP, single pilot in IMCThat shows a misunderstanding of what SA is. Every situation is different but the level of SA needed in both situations you describe could be markedly different for a variety of reasons, minute by minute or day by day.

A student was recently sent to Andresfield on a cross country and en route she had a radio failure, which she dealt with good SA based on the knowledge given to her by her instructor. However she had a perfectly servicable box(no 2) which she didnt know existed and didnt know how to use. Exercise 1 is Aircraft Famil & Ex 18 is Navigation, what happened on the exercises in bewteen or did her Sky God have poor instructional SA?

You keep learning (or should) throughout your career - I've picked up many things reading articles by the likes of John Farley & Brian Lecomber and tried them out and incorporated them into my flying. Brian Lecomber read and learned much from Neil Williams and Neil flew into a mountain killing himself and his wife. I hope you will learn something from that especially as it was caused by lack of SA.

Of course one can learn from high profile pilots but some of the best lessons Ive learned about flying instruction have been from the poorest of instructors and one of those lessons was to never ever show such poor duty of care.

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 13:01
You seem to be failing to grasp some of my points but no matter.

Ok, lets assume you are correct. Take a 25 year old who has scrimped and saved to get a CPL and has say 150 hours. He (or she) has no desire to sit at the pointy end of a jet and wants to become a career flying instructor. What, in your utopian world of flying instruction, should he do next?

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 13:49
Ok, lets assume you are correct. Take a 25 year old who has scrimped and saved to get a CPL and has say 150 hours. He (or she) has no desire to sit at the pointy end of a jet and wants to become a career flying instructor. What, in your utopian world of flying instruction, should he do next?

Give thanks to the Lord that he wasnt born in Syria

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 13:52
Didn't think you would have a sensible answer......

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 13:56
A sensible question always deserves a sensible answer

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:01
As it was a reasonable question to ask, how about a sensible answer then?

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 14:04
Well the obvious thing would be to obtain an instructor qualification which at least is taking the thread back on subject

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:06
Ok so he now has his instructor ticket and say 180 hours. What then?

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 14:09
Well you have a go at that one. A young guy has just got his instructors ticket, what do you think he does next?


May I ask, are you a flying instructor?I asked you earlier this question, which sounds quite sensible to me, but you still havnt replied-why is that?

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:14
Well in my book, he starts to instruct - simple.

I'm more interested in how it would work taking your viewpoint though, as even at 300 hours, he is not sufficiently experienced to instruct. So what DOES he do?

Sorry, I missed that - yes.

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 14:17
as even at 300 hours, he is not sufficiently experienced to instruct. So what DOES he do?

Where did I say that?

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:25
Apologies - not you that mentioned 300. You were equating good instruction with hours of experience.

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 14:35
No problem

Everyone has to start somewhere and most will be far better than I was when i had that many hours. I can remember phoning my mother and saying, "This is so embarrasing, I am learning more than the students I am teaching"! And I was but students still started to prefer to fly with me not because I was any good, cause I wasnt but because I was keen and took an interest in them and tried really hard

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:44
As many have said before, you only learn to fly when you do an FIC....

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 14:51
Depends whom you do the FIC with. My instructor was pxxxed a lot of the time, wasnt interested and refused to fly with me on many occasions and told me once, " you will never make a flying instructor"!

A few months later he was sacked for sending a student on a 1 hour cross country an hour before it got dark and tbe student landed 3 hours 20 minutes later non radio at Manchester International Airport in tbe dark thinking it was Birmingham- he was 120 miles off the original track to Gloucester!

Parson
9th Sep 2015, 14:55
Ahhh....SA problem?!!

Pull what
9th Sep 2015, 15:19
But getting back to your question, the new instructor isnt a qualified instructor he /she is a restricted instructor, not that means anything in some schools other than they can be paid less!

SpannerInTheWerks
11th Sep 2015, 22:54
Guys - did I read somewhere that a 34 year old woman wanted a career change?

Not to flying instructing I shouldn't think!?

Maybe she'll take up sailing and find some sensible answers there? :bored:

Biggles78
12th Sep 2015, 02:49
ATCWAG, as Genghis has suggested, do your PPL and then re-assess.


First, enjoy your training; it's FUN!!
Second, make sure you and your instructor are compatible. They are teaching you but YOU are paying them. If you have an instructor that you have trouble understanding what they are trying to convey to you then you are wasting money. (Gee I hope that makes sense) I was fortunate during all my training that I never had issues with any of the 10 or 12 instructors from my first flight to Instructor training. Do not hesitate to change instructors if you want to for any reason.
Third, learn ALL your checklists on the ground. This will save you from trying to learn them when your mind is working on absorbing "the lesson for today".
Forth, enjoy your training; it's FUN!!

SpannerInTheWerks
12th Sep 2015, 13:19
Holster your guns!!!

Another sensible answer at last! :)