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Where have all the instructors gone??

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!

Where have all the instructors gone??

Old 27th Jun 2019, 19:40
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Where have all the instructors gone??

I have posted a few times on this forum including on the thread entitled "the worst decision", I thought I would start a new thread to see if anybody can shed light on the question posed above?

I am baffled. I read the doom and gloom often posted about instructor pay, and would agree, it is very often far too low, but isn't this cause and effect? The instructor shortage is real unless I am living in another world, maybe I am?. Surely pay directly affects the number of people willing to become instructors so schools must (and have) increased pay dramatically otherwise they will simply be unable to meet current demand which is higher than it has ever been.

I recently had an inquiry from an airline pilot who after 4 years, didn't like the lifestyle and wanted to come back into instructing. He advised me that, as a senior FO we was taking home about 4,000 GBP a month and would love to make the jump but assumed that instructor pay was far less than he could live on. By the end of the call he was astonished (I think) when I indicated current instructor pay was very similar although I reminded him newbies do start at around half that but can move up quite quickly if they are good. So, where have all the instructors gone? I remember a time when I would get least one CV a day, lucky now to get one per month!

So for the person who originally posted the thread that it was his/her worst decision to become an instructor, I would strongly argue that is not the case for many who have enjoyed fruitful careers as instructors, and in particular today, its a great career step with plenty of options to earn good money. With airline retirement age now up to 67 and rising, (55 in my time) whats the rush, spend a few years enjoying flying and teaching, then move on....please!

I wont argue that a senior captain in a descent airline is always going to be paid a lot more than the most senior instructor, but as I found out, there is more to life than just pay. Lifestyle, home life, being at home more with the family are all factors (plus less jet lag and cataracts), and for me, as an fairly old timer, I would much rather 'fly' the aircraft than sit back bored and manage a modern jet, especially one with a sidestick (sorry Airbus lovers), or maybe even one with an auto stall recovery system!! Bring back aircraft that need a pilot to recover from a stall, preferably one trained by an instructor that knows how to teach it properly!

SJ


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Old 27th Jun 2019, 21:03
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Might make a decent wage doing CPL/IR training in the UK, but PPL training should be kept part time if you have and alternative well paid job.
As sole trader/instructor/examiner with a receptionist i can only afford to pay myself the equivalent of £20 hour if i average out my hours.
I could not afford to employ another instructor.
Why do i do it, i can survive and enjoy being my own boss and enjoy the company of folks who want to be there and not clock watching.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 08:41
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My situation's very similar, except that I cannot afford a receptionist! I'm the proverbial chief, cook and bottle washer.......
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 22:27
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My receptionist works virtually for free. Of independent means.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 08:02
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Originally Posted by spitfirejock View Post
By the end of the call he was astonished (I think) when I indicated current instructor pay was very similar although I reminded him newbies do start at around half that but can move up quite quickly if they are good.
As the youngsters say, "in your dreams".

In the PPL world the going rate is more like £20-25 per flying hour -- which amongst other things means that if you don't fly due to weather or unserviceability, you don't earn. In an average month that equates to a lot less than £4,000.

All 12 of the staff at the establishment where I instruct are ex-airline or ex-military, doing it for love. I doubt we could afford to do the job otherwise. . .
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 19:20
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At least in Germany, most instructors lost their jobs because now there are "plenty" of "experienced" instructors working at the LBA, who "need" to maintain all their ratings and currencies by working at Flight Schools for free.........

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Old 3rd Jul 2019, 21:01
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As has been alluded to before, you cannot survive on £25-30 an hour - maybe if you are a cpl ir multi you might do better but it still will probably only hit the bottom end of airline pay . When I did it I was living at home with my folks, doing the self improver route ( does that exist anymore ?).

As for actual flying , Iíd argue that itís probably just as repetitive as airline stuff . Thereís only so many trial lessons you can do before it gets really boring and hands on in a C152/ Pa28 is, TBH, not as exciting as a mixture of hands on, AP in a jet .
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Old 4th Jul 2019, 20:33
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hueyracer I think that counts more for the FEs.
I think that in the past 10 years we had a lot of young and unexperienced FI(H) being employed by start-up flight schools sponsored by Daddy. The flight schools are history by now, the young FI s are beyond 1500 hours and moved on to the 2 big EMS companies.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 07:57
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Traditionally we had recreational instruction and commercial instruction. In their wisdom the CAA disolved the Panel of Examiners who presided over recreational instruction and effectively combined it with commercial instruction. This survived for a number of years but with increasing costs and additional licensing requirements it has become an un economic model. The recreational flyer has suffered huge increases in cost caused by fuel, the cost of aircraft, maintenance and aerodrome operating costs, the only area where any saving can be made is at the instructor level. Some countries still regard recreational flying as a "Club" activity where qualified members train other members at minimal cost, no it won't pay instructors a living wage but it is not intended to, get a real job and instruct as a sideline. If you want to earn a living wage you need to become a "Commercial Instructor. Unfortunately, we don't train "commercial instructors", only apprentice instructors who need to gain experience teaching recreational pilots before they can move on to commercial training. The European regulations that have morphed out of JAA rules have largely scuppered any natural progression for instructors wanting to progress up the commercial tree; the cost and opportunity to obtain the required levels of experience are simply unrealistic. All this has been predictable for the past 20 years but its only as we run out of existing experience that we start to realise the aviation industry has shot itself in the foot by producing an unsustainable model.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 19:52
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Originally Posted by Meester proach View Post
As for actual flying , Iíd argue that itís probably just as repetitive as airline stuff . Thereís only so many trial lessons you can do before it gets really boring and hands on in a C152/ Pa28 is, TBH, not as exciting as a mixture of hands on, AP in a jet .
This... +1
Depends on how much you like either activity.
Then also... recreational vs. commercial instruction are completely different worlds. Especially when it comes to integrated ATPL instruction, the syllabus has become inflexible. Also there are plenty of restrictions (for instance many aerodromes do not accept light aircraft or training flights -or landing fees are high enough to prevent it-).

In my case, I miss it, and I'm trying to find a place where I can instruct some of my days off.
But I reached a point after about 7 years where I needed a break (4+3 yrs with a 5 year gap in the middle). Mostly I needed to fly myself, go from A to B. I targeted a couple of aerial work companies but joining an airline was easier right now and long-term it seems a more stable option.

Also most schools need to improve the conditions offered (not just salary), and become more serious and honest.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 07:07
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Flying always been a hobby for me as have a business outside aviation. Had a break from aviation for 6 years but renewed ratings licenses last year. The change on returning is quite unrecognisable better conditions feeling valued etc, will it last probably not but I donít see many instructors coming through the system. Flying pay has increased, I went for interview at commercial flight school as SEP CPL instructor and have accepted , part time employed contract salary is extremely reasonable for the role, together with all benefits you would expect from employment.

As my Wifeís says you are getting paid to do something you love, little bit more productive then sitting on your flight simulator at home pretending to be working !

Can it last until I retire in a few years hopefully.

Aviation is the hardest industry I have ever been involved with, itís extremely hard nosed and I admire ex students of mine who have endured it to obtain some good jobs but global downturn which is approaching 2020 2021 will have an impact on many things I feel so I will not completely trust aviation to provide stable income for the long term especially not at my age it can all change in a heart beat.

But for now times are good.
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 18:45
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There are several non current but highly experienced instructors around and due to no fault of their own have been forced out of the industry. Cabair shed a few experienced CPL/IR Instructors when it went bust. Some experienced guys from another CPL/IR school were got rid of when there was a clearout in favour of younger, cheaper, inexperienced Instructors so leaving the the older ones "high and dry". I know some of them would like to get back but they simply cannot afford to go through the renewal process. Medical renewals and seminar costs plus refresher training to renew SEP, MEP, IR plus FI are all costly and are financially beyond them. These are at just 2 ATO's that I know of and I think there may be others. What a waste of talent!
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Old 23rd Jul 2019, 13:44
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You summed it up. A waste of talent. To anyone that can bear the reality please see my final post on the " the worst decision".
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 22:23
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I remember when the CAA bought out the 70hr P1 rule for multi engine. Just about killed off MEP, other than those wanting to go commercial.
Not done any MEP training since. I'm sure the number of experienced MEP instructors is way down for IR training.
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 23:38
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I remember when the CAA bought out the 70hr P1 rule for multi engine.
Totally agree with your comment, but it was not the CAA that made this change, it was the start of the European rules invented by the JAA.
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 13:17
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Originally Posted by BigEndBob View Post
I remember when the CAA bought out the 70hr P1 rule for multi engine. Just about killed off MEP, other than those wanting to go commercial.
Not done any MEP training since. I'm sure the number of experienced MEP instructors is way down for IR training.

what was was the 70 hour rule?
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 16:44
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what was was the 70 hour rule?
Before you can obtain a MEP Class rating you must have 70 hours PIC.
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 17:54
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I think schools need to start to bond future fiís.

its too risky for a school to pay themselves outright, and if an fi leaves with an outstanding bond, a small school is pretty defenseless to stop it

a perhaps better scheme would be to offer to pay the course, or portion of it, in monthly wages.

Ie, future fi pays full price for course, say 7k. School repays fi with extra £200 a month for 3 years, which is about 7k. If the fi leaves in 1.5 years, half the cost is paid by the fi initial course, the other by school in a not to crippling monthly sum.
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 01:05
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Where have all the instructors gone? They're waiting for the student to be ready before they appear.... Any decent instructors would have gone into hiding to avoid teaching the wrong thing as mandated by the "authorities". Either that or they had learned as much as instructing could offer, and went off searching for more challenges. Some of the shortage is possibly created simply through the power of suggestion. There doesn't have to be a shortage of something to ensure demand drives prices up. Oil is a classic example of the market being manipulated by talk and nothing more.
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Old 5th Aug 2019, 15:02
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FI isn't a professional qualification.

After reading the many responses in the threads on instructor pay and prospects one can only draw the conclusion that instructing is not a recognised profession.

​​​​​Why, as put forward by some, would an instructor for instance have to want to be a commercial pilot and therefore have a plan for progression other than as a teacher?

The implication here is that an instructor is paid almost nothing because it's only a phase in a career path and not a profession in itself.

This leads one to think that actually, the only way to continue as an FI is to go commercial or get a non flying job and instruct part time.

And that implies that an instructor must have a job that pays enough to allow him/her to subsidise the students and schools! That's not what other professions have to allow for though.

So how can flight training be called a professional qualification? Does a car mechanic have another job so he can fix your car at a discount rate? Or does your osteopath work in a bar part time so that he can drop the price of fixing your back?

When an FI goes to get the qualifications he needs, he pays professional rates. But when he charges himself out to the student he recieves less than half what he should be earning.

My suggestion then, is on each hours flying, the FI should give the student about 20 minutes on the controls and only give half the available information in his briefings and general patter.

See how long it takes and how much it costs to learn to fly then.

Flight training is a job. Cut it with rose tinted specs if you want but it's a job. And it's a job that few can do well and requires tremendous commitment

So why are today's crop of instructors hell bent on giving those skills away so that tomorrow's instructors never even step forward?

Do you really want to fly that much? While you try to shove wet spaghetti up a cats behind?
Personally I'm done with being insulted by the industry. Good luck if you think it's acceptable.
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