Flying Instructors & Examiners A place for instructors to communicate with one another because some of them get a bit tired of the attitude that instructing is the lowest form of aviation, as seems to prevail on some of the other forums!

The worst decision.

Old 29th May 2019, 19:17
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: South of Watford
Posts: 759
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 “trainability” 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.
pitotheat is online now  
Old 30th May 2019, 10:35
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,048
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!
foxmoth is offline  
Old 3rd Jun 2019, 08:00
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: uk
Posts: 1,853
Originally Posted by Whopity View Post
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 !
beamer is offline  
Old 7th Jun 2019, 17:46
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Palm Beach
Posts: 14
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?

spitfirejock is offline  
Old 8th Jun 2019, 08:49
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Uxbridge
Posts: 579
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.............
MrAverage is offline  
Old 13th Jun 2019, 18:36
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,916
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.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 18:44
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Palm Beach
Posts: 14
Thumbs up

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!!!

spitfirejock is offline  
Old 15th Jul 2019, 01:31
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 114
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?
Manwell is offline  
Old 15th Jul 2019, 20:13
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 854
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.
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Old 16th Jul 2019, 08:44
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Uxbridge
Posts: 579
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..................
MrAverage is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2019, 13:28
  #31 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 10
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.
blastcalvey is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2019, 06:50
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 714
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!
macdo is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2019, 07:19
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 854
Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
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.
BigEndBob is offline  

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