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blastcalvey
3rd May 2019, 21:23
Why spend time and money to get a rating that won't even earn you minimum wage or pay your national insurance contribution?

The industry will not pay what instructors need let alone what they're worth.

You can spend a life time gaining the experience you need to instruct and still have wealthy individuals undermining your income because they have other income to prop up the low wages paid to instructors.

​​​Try doing 400 hours a year and living on 12k. See if 600 hours is enough.

Instructing is the way to ruin. Live in a caravan on the airfield if your lucky and forget mortgages or renting proper accomodation.

You'll never earn enough to upgrade your ratings that's for sure. You're not even earning enough to renew your rating.

All your doing is subsidising wealthy students flight training while you live like a pauper.

Forget it. Get a job on a Tesco check out and earn far more for far less effort.

I've tried making it pay for 25 years in case your wondering.

You'd be better off busking in the high street with your dog.

TriBeCa
5th May 2019, 10:14
And itís taken you 25 years to realise this!! I got out of it after 2 years full time and have never looked back.

MCDU2
5th May 2019, 12:58
Unfortunately the scenarios you describe are not limited to instructing and pervade across the entire airline industry. You have people (mainly LHS) underselling their skills happy to enjoy a day out flying from small bases near home relying on other incomes/pensions etc. The companies then pay the RHS even less and undercut the competition which ripples across the industry.

A and C
5th May 2019, 17:31
It was low paid instructing that got me the experience to get into the airlines, For me it was an apprenticeship that resulted in a £100k + job

In the current airline climate I can’t see how anyone with the ability and drive to fly an airliner cant get a job.

Future 73 Pilot
5th May 2019, 19:09
It was low paid instructing that got me the experience to get into the airlines, For me it was an apprenticeship that resulted in a £100k + job

In the current airline climate I canít see how anyone with the ability and drive to fly an airliner cant get a job.
People get into the aviation industry expecting large salaries from the start.

blastcalvey
5th May 2019, 23:42
And where exactly do you get the money to qualify as a commercial pilot? I had nothing when I started and I've had nothing since. An apprenticeship is fine if you can raise the money to get the ratings you need to get a job. Presumably you had access to a loan or assetts you could raise money against.

blastcalvey
5th May 2019, 23:44
What's that got to do with paying experienced instructors less than minimum wage?

blastcalvey
5th May 2019, 23:50
I guess you went commercial? Question is, how do you go commercial with no money?

BigEndBob
6th May 2019, 07:37
I have always told new instructors not to rely on instructors wage to survive. Have a good job in the week and instruct weekends.
I have my own school, just me and my receptionist/business partner. She takes next to nothing and i take less than minimum wage.
There is no money in flight training, just do it for the love of it. For me i am my own boss for now. But you won't be in a position to rent, never mind buy a home or support family. I'm single, live my own, in my owned studio flat and could survive on the dole tomorrow and not be much worse off.

BigEndBob
6th May 2019, 07:38
I guess you went commercial? Question is, how do you go commercial with no money?

Unless you have money to pay for ratings, forget an aviation career. It took me from 1978 to 1990 working and living free at my parents to get my ATPL via what was then the 700 hour experience route.

Whopity
6th May 2019, 08:09
I recal an RAF crew where the Captain, a Flying Officer earned considerably less than the Co-pilot a Squadron Leader and even less than the Load Master. In the late 70s an RAF pilot earned abot the same as a bus driver and considerably less than a tanker driver. Thats the real World.

BigEndBob
6th May 2019, 11:51
Become an electrician, my flying club business partners son takes home 3K a month. And his live in girlfriend 7k month working for Dell, only a little short of what i pay myself for a year.
Flying schools are stuck in the past, but can't see anyway forward.
Non of my young PPL members see any future in instructor, they all go straight to airlines.

TriBeCa
7th May 2019, 14:20
If all airlines banned their flight crews from doing any flying Instructing on the side and thus removing the ďfor the love of single engined flyingĒ scenario, that might help in upping the terms and conditions for the full time FI.

TheOddOne
7th May 2019, 16:53
So let's look at some figures.

Present rates seem to be aout £25, rising to £30 - £35 in some places.
Assume 500 hours a year is a sensible maximum, bearing in mind briefings and the weather.
At the £25 hour rate, that's £12.500 a year, that's £4,500 below the minimum adult wage, if you're full time.
Say you think a living wage is £20,000. You'd need an hourly rate of £40.
A lot of full-time instructors struggle to do more than 400 hours a year. That would need a rate of £50.
In order to break-even, a VAT registered school ( and most have to be, even with only 1 aircraft) would need to charge you out at £65 (£50 + £10 VAT + £5 just to cover the admin)
Tuition is only a part of the total cost. A 4-seat aircraft operated with due regard to long-term maintenance and eventual replacement costs at least £170 inc VAT to run. That's a rate of £235 before you've paid for non-flying ops staff and attempted to make any profit. How many schools charge this much for PPL training in a PA28 or C172?
If you were to charge this much, how many customers would you lose?
I remember in Economics at college learning about elasticity of demand. We've always assumed that PPL training is quite elastic, in other words, if the price goes up, demand falls. Is this true? Is there proof? Should we as an industry take a step and increase prices to a proper economic level, say £270 an hour and see what happens?
We operate just under £200 an hour, but we're run by unpaid volunteers (though instructors get £25 an hour) on the basis of being a member's club. If we were a commercial enterprise, we'd be out of business at that rate.

TOO

Mickey Kaye
7th May 2019, 18:10
The other problem is the additional expense which is now required to do what I've been doing since I started.

I now have to revalidate my IMC rating every couple of years back in the day it was embedded in my UK CPL. Well actually it still is I just can't use it in a Piper.

There other bits and pieces too. I assume there is a fee to pay if someone added ďdĒ privileges (instruct for the CPL) to an FI rating?

Meester proach
25th May 2019, 19:08
Itís never paid anything much at PPL level but itís either a stepping stone to commercial or people doing it on the side of other jobs ( I donít mean airline people, none of my colleagues do it)

Iíd love to come back to it having done the airline thing as I think id be better than first time round, but the cost of revalidating SEP and FI makes it too much on a whim.

Aware
26th May 2019, 06:50
FIís have never had it so good tbh. I have been doing it for years part time on £12 to £20.00 an hour recently been offered a job with a decent salary very good benefits. Funnily enough benefits better than most employed jobs Iíve ever had pension private medical joining bonus etc. Iím lucky it has never been my main income stream but the days of not being paid very well has changed will it last who knows but to get paid to do something Iíve always enjoyed at 55 is something Iím grateful for. As with everything in aviation have a backup plan as things change fast especially as we move towards global slow down. Iím told if you have a FI multi IR with IRI you can earn very good money Iím just SEP and CPL. There is a real shortage, best thing I every did was an FI rating, kept me flying through very lean periods in aviation.

BigEndBob
27th May 2019, 18:38
So let's look at some figures.

Present rates seem to be aout £25, rising to £30 - £35 in some places.
Assume 500 hours a year is a sensible maximum, bearing in mind briefings and the weather.
At the £25 hour rate, that's £12.500 a year, that's £4,500 below the minimum adult wage, if you're full time.
Say you think a living wage is £20,000. You'd need an hourly rate of £40.
A lot of full-time instructors struggle to do more than 400 hours a year. That would need a rate of £50.
In order to break-even, a VAT registered school ( and most have to be, even with only 1 aircraft) would need to charge you out at £65 (£50 + £10 VAT + £5 just to cover the admin)
Tuition is only a part of the total cost. A 4-seat aircraft operated with due regard to long-term maintenance and eventual replacement costs at least £170 inc VAT to run. That's a rate of £235 before you've paid for non-flying ops staff and attempted to make any profit. How many schools charge this much for PPL training in a PA28 or C172?
If you were to charge this much, how many customers would you lose?
I remember in Economics at college learning about elasticity of demand. We've always assumed that PPL training is quite elastic, in other words, if the price goes up, demand falls. Is this true? Is there proof? Should we as an industry take a step and increase prices to a proper economic level, say £270 an hour and see what happens?
We operate just under £200 an hour, but we're run by unpaid volunteers (though instructors get £25 an hour) on the basis of being a member's club. If we were a commercial enterprise, we'd be out of business at that rate.

TOO
Don't think many instructors these days are doing 500 per year. Ten years ago i was doing 600 now it's about 350.
I once did just over 900 in 1993 and got told off by a CAA inspector.
Problem is on an airfield no club wants to make the first move to increase prices.
Also i see adverts for multi seat trial "pleasure" flights by companies not based on the airfield without our over heads.
I will be falling out with a well known gift card company this week.

blastcalvey
27th May 2019, 21:58
I'm glad you've managed to keep flying through the very lean periods as you describe them. However to accept the rate you've been getting is a classic example of subsidising students and driving down the potential earnings of other instructors. But hey you're on the bus so who cares. And your final comment about good salaries being offered to IR instructors shows that your missing the point. How do you fund those qualifications on an instructors wages? If you think it's ok to pay professional rates to get professional ratings and then charge half price when you actually work then there really is no hope.

Aware
28th May 2019, 21:13
The pay has only been driven up by market forces, rightly or wrongly instructors have worked for very little, many get very disappointed when things donít go their way I have several of my x students whom have paid 65k for licenses - they were not wealthy who are getting 12 to 20 an hour as instructors just to keep flying - but many who have gone on to get well paid airline jobs, I do find people who always wanted commercial jobs and then have to do FI rating to keep flying are usually an unhappy bunch, however I only ever wanted to be an instructor as itís a second career.

50k probably now to get to CPL FI which is mad. I worked full time to do my licenses with a Family and 2 kids.

Lots wrong with this industry but lots of people who will help. If you PM with your details I would be interested to see your experience and ratings, I maybe be able to help.

its not easy never has been.

Its not all doom and gloom out there.

pitotheat
29th May 2019, 19:17
blastcalvy as others have said you have been a FI for 25 years in which time there have been many cycles in the job prospects for commercial pilots including periods of sponsorship. This period has also included the rapid growth due to low cost operators. What was your plan to fully exploit your skills and passion in flying? How were you hoping to move from a Cessna to a Boeing? Did you really want to be a commercial pilot?
i fear as you must be approaching your late 40s you may have left it too late for commercial flying. To be brutally honest you would be deemed a high training risk in terms of ďtrainabilityĒ and CRM skills. If you have no way of paying to upskill your qualifications to ME and IR then the only sensible option is to try looking for another career and fly at the weekend. I briefly instructed at a local club and met many interesting people who worked in different areas of the economy. Some even offered me a job in their business as I presume they liked my enthusiasm and professionalism, I am less enthusiastic these days though! Perhaps you could explore this avenue. Alternatively you have years of teaching experience including technical subjects. Our schools are in desperate need for technically able teachers, particularly male teachers. There are funds available for training.
You need to step out of your comfort zone and take a little bit of a risk, however, there are options.

foxmoth
30th May 2019, 10:35
How do you fund those qualifications on an instructors wages?
The answer is that you don't, personally I worked a 7 day week driving a fork lift to get the money, as others have said instructing is not really something you can do full time and earn a realistic wage, I would have loved to have remained as a full time instructor but realised that was not a sensible career choice, the fact that you seem to have taken 25 years to get to that stage amazes me! I still instruct part time but do very little basic PPL instructing, concentrating on the more interesting areas such as Aerobatics, tailwheel and formation so not really threatening the general PPL instructors but still would not be earning a living wage if doing it full time!

beamer
3rd Jun 2019, 08:00
I recal an RAF crew where the Captain, a Flying Officer earned considerably less than the Co-pilot a Squadron Leader and even less than the Load Master. In the late 70s an RAF pilot earned abot the same as a bus driver and considerably less than a tanker driver. Thats the real World.

Not that unusual in my day. Sqn Ldr co-pilot, Spec Aircrew Nav and Eng, Sqn Ldr ALM......... Captain a humble Flt Lt was least well paid member of the crew.........then again he probably had twenty years in the airlines to look forward to !

spitfirejock
7th Jun 2019, 17:46
What a depressing thread....but I see an opportunity....

I agree wholeheartedly schools should not keep their prices so low as to be unable to pay good dedicated instructors a living wage commensurate with their skills and profession, problem is, unless your in a communist state, prices are decided by the business owners and its illegal to price fix....however, I was under the impression there was an instructor shortage so how is this still happening?

If the schools keep doing this surely they will not be able to attract instructors and grow their business, indeed, might not their business ultimately demise? The eastern block prices don't help but again, isn't there a quality message or do we all now think that flight training is the same wherever you go?

I am located in the USA, and as I have said before on this forum, schools are desperate for career minded (EASA) instructors willing to commit to 12-18 months contract. I know one company that continually advertises on their website, is offering at least 80 hours a month at a good rate and still no takers. No problem with the working visa either. There is one UK approved ATO offering EASA training that I know who are eligible to offer E2 working visas fto UK Nationals for 5 years of work and are short of instructors. So if you are really serious, are looking for at least an 18 months commitment to instructing, are willing and able to live in the USA for up to 5 years (or even longer), and desire a good sensible living wage (circa $3,000 a month), why not give them a call?

MrAverage
8th Jun 2019, 08:49
The schools don't have much choice. In order to pay my instructors - and indeed myself - what they are really worth (I already pay them more than average) prices would have to rise so much that no students would come to us. I'd have to sell up or close down in short order. There's only so much people will pay for flight training.............

Whopity
13th Jun 2019, 18:36
Go to France and Instructors in Aero Clubs are not paid at all, its a recreational activity, probably like a lot of other clubs where members utilise their experience to train others.

spitfirejock
27th Jun 2019, 18:44
So what we seem to be accepting at the end of the depressing thread is that instructors will never be paid a living wage because schools cant afford to pay more as they will lose customers and that in France, instructors work for nothing which somehow keeps UK schools from putting up prices?

So why are many big (and some small) schools in Europe sub-contracting much of their training to the USA and elsewhere? what causes them to do this?, answer, the shortage of instructors which is not the case in the US. Its a catch 22. I don't accept in the current market customers would leave en-mass if they were asked to pay more for their flying, where are they going to go? It might be become a choice of either pay more, or stop training altogether if something doesn't change. If the schools continue to subsidize flight training at the expense of the instructor pay, things will only get worse in my humble opinion.

Foe anyone interested, I can secure (guaranteed) short and long term contracts for qualified EASA & FAA instructors (career minded an advantage) in the USA at schools undertaking flight training on behalf of European schools that don't have enough instructors to cope with demand... Pay starts at $30K for the newbie all the way up based on experience......PM me if you are interested.

As a lifelong supporter of UK flight training standards, I urge all those quality training establishments run by people dedicated to their profession, to charge customers a price commensurate with the value they are receiving and sufficient to pay instructors what they are worth otherwise I fear a continued demise. Please don't try and compete with cheap schools located in so called 'low cost' regions, sell the sizzle, assuming there is still some sizzle left to sell....quality maybe!!!

SJ

Manwell
15th Jul 2019, 01:31
Flying is a great teacher, but her lessons are harsh. Then again, if anyone wanted to take the easy path in life, why would they choose flying?

If you aspire to the potential highs, you have to risk the potential lows, and if your character is tempered by failure often enough, you may eventually learn how to fly - and I don't mean simply driving an aircraft in the sky.
Would anyone prefer life, or flying, to be easier?

BigEndBob
15th Jul 2019, 20:13
When flying passed the £100/hr mark, we thought that would be the end of flight training UK.
It's now past the £200 mark down south, yet normal operating costs (Fuel, aircraft rents, rent on shabby buildings on airfields) remain the same up and down the country.
We all need to up our prices.

MrAverage
16th Jul 2019, 08:44
Sorry Bob. Fuel up 10% recently for us, further increase to come. Maintenance labour rate up by nearly 20% over the last couple of years (not to mention increased parts cost and 8.33). Insurance tax 12% (I daren't calculate the premium increases).

Next engine overhaul likely to be 20% more.

Yearly DTO fee up by over 20% compared to RF.

Airfield manager "reviewing" Club premises rents..................

blastcalvey
23rd Jul 2019, 13:28
Some excellent responses on this issue. The only thing I have to say is that it's not true that students can't afford a higher rate.

I noticed that 99% of students could easily afford another £40 an hour. While I came to work in a clapped out van and went home to a caravan they were turning up in Aston Martins and Jags and went home to a five bed country pile or were being subsidised by Mum and Dad.

Cheap flying makes students lazy. It's so cheap compared with other activities that they can afford to ignore the books and any reflection on their performance.

​​They just keep paying and paying until miraculously the instructor gets them up to the standard. Which means instructors have to work far harder to get students through and often they are totally unsuitable candidates.

If the rates were higher students would work harder or drop out and the school's would benefit by having committed instructors and well looked after aircraft with the same turnover as before.

What is happening now is that the experienced instructors are packing up and will not be mentoring new instructors which is inherantly unsafe. And the school's will suffer from not having any instructors when they need them, thereby losing clients and having a greater risk of downtime through damage.

Thanks to all who offered advice and potential career paths. Sadly I am letting my ratings lapse and will be hanging up my wings for good. It's been a blast but not a job I'd recommend or choose again if I had my time over.

Having been a total aviation person most of my life, my father was with C.A.T. Hamble, now I find myself in dire circumstance, homeless and broke, and have really only a very sour taste in my mouth to remind me of all the hard won experience and sacrifice.

Regards to all my fellow aviators. Keep the flow undisturbed.

macdo
16th Aug 2019, 06:50
Wow, I genuinely thought I was in a time machine reading this thread, absolutely nothing has changed in light aviation economics since 1990 which was when I started out on the old self-improver route.
Little regional flying clubs struggling to exist, FI's on less than minimum wage (well, thats an improvement on 1993 when FI's were paying flying clubs for the privilege of teaching), will the punter pay xx£ for lesson etc.!
You certainly can make decent money in GA, a colleague, who is an FO, purposely has a 75% contract so that he can keep his well paid FI work going, but he is doing the creamy work, examining, IR, Aero's etc.. Just the same 30 years ago, there was a small group of guys who had the right qualifications to make a reasonable living. The bottom feeders, like me, doing the 5th session of circuit training or trial lesson of the day, were never going to do anything other than subsist until we moved on to the airlines.
I'm a bit sad about this as I'm coming up to retirement, with thoughts of returning to GA/FI as a hobby (which will do nothing to help the current FI's maintain their pay, but there again the retired BA skippers who used to keep their hand in flying turboprops didn't worry too much that they were preventing me from getting a quicker command). Perhaps I don't need the aggravation and will just pay the man and fly his plane every now and then. That micro light is looking quite attractive!

BigEndBob
16th Aug 2019, 07:19
Sorry Bob. Fuel up 10% recently for us, further increase to come. Maintenance labour rate up by nearly 20% over the last couple of years (not to mention increased parts cost and 8.33). Insurance tax 12% (I daren't calculate the premium increases).

Next engine overhaul likely to be 20% more.

Yearly DTO fee up by over 20% compared to RF.

Airfield manager "reviewing" Club premises rents..................
I meant the fixed costs remain the same, but those costs keep rising, down south seem to be able to charge more to supply the same product.