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How much do CFIs make?

Old 17th Dec 2019, 16:04
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How much do CFIs make?

Hey CFIs,
I'm making an infographic showing how much flight instructors get paid to deliver flight and ground, by location.

My assumption is that these pay rates have remained unchanged in the last few year, despite the cost to students having increased.

If you are willing to share, I'd appreciate it. Share the flight and ground hourly rate paid to instructors in your school, and your location

Here's an example reply that will be helpful:

Flight: $25 / hour
Ground: $20 / hour
Chicago, IL
KORD

Thanks!
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 23:14
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It's funny but in the UK there seems to be a culture for not charging for ground work, other than say formal evening classes.
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 03:49
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It's funny but in the UK there seems to be a culture for not charging for ground work
...or for signing random visiting pilots' paperwork, or for keeping up student notes, or for maintaining aircraft tech logs...

The list goes on. I think it stems from old CAA 'advice' not to charge for signing log books. I never do, but I know of at least one club that has started charging.

In some cultures, such as gliding clubs in the UK, instructors are unpaid. I believe this is also the case in many powered flying clubs in France.

TOO
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 08:30
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France/UK/Ireland/New Zealand

With the exception of a few professional gliding clubs I can confirm that gliding instructors are unpaid as are many light aircraft instructors.
Moi being one in a previous life. Having been the victim of the UK system in the 1960s where instruction was a stepping stone from a 200 ppl to CPL regardless of ability I decided that having been gifted a flying career courtesy of the Corporations I would attempt to repay the gift to the aviation community at large. I did this on and off for forty years until I became old and got fed up with club and administrator politics.
Good luck
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 08:50
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If I instruct in the local school, I get £25/hr tacho, nothing for any groundschool.

If I freelance, I charge £150/day, regardless of how much, or little, flying we do. This seems to me fairer all round, as it incentivises them to maximise the use of my time, and doesn't inventivise me to get as many (expensive to them) flying hours as possible, and rather to do whatever is best for their learning. It's rather less than I get in my day job (I'm firmly a part time pilot), but high enough also that I'm not stealing work from people whose living it is.

This is in England.

G
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 09:15
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I pay my instructors more than the average UK rate for flying (but I still don't have anywhere near enough of them!). They also get paid , albeit a slightly lower rate, for long briefings. All students understand that paying for those briefings means they are done correctly and not rushed and that actually saves them extra flying costs. My instructors also get a paid a different rate for any extra ground school towards the writtens, but students very rarely ask for that...........
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 11:15
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CFIgigs
Interesting that a US question is being answered by UK FIs, a CFI being a Chief Flying Instructor here. Traditionaly, FIs receive very low remuneration and few make a viable living from it. Most is historical and reflects how the industry has evolved over a number of years. Some countries such as France regard recreational flying as a club activity where club members give their services as instructors for no remuneration at all. With a decline in the number of PPL applications, 50% over 21 years, the requirement for FIs has reduced whilst the cost of obtaining the qualification has risen steeply. There is no easy progression from a recreational instructor to a commercial instructor in Europe any more so the long term prospects do not look good.
Maybe you wil get some feedback from your US colleagues, but this is a predominantly UK forum.
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Old 19th Dec 2019, 14:45
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To be fair Whopity, the OP is obviously new to PPRuNe, and maybe it's not all that obvious that we're quite UK centric to a newbie. There's no big union flag on the top of the page after all.

G
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 05:48
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I do like the idea of daily rates. Seems like the incentives there are much better, as was mentioned. I used to maximize ground time and it always felt a little scummy. But I couldn't make rent otherwise back in the day.

One thing I've been surprised about is the lack of change over the last 20 years. I started instructing in 2000 and the rates are pretty much the same.

The thing I'm interested in is if there are places where the rates are higher (already found one place in Colorado where they're paying close to $50/ hour).

PS - Been a reader of PPRuNe for years. Mostly overseas flying gigs. Just made an account recently which is weird because I've been using the platform for as long as I can remember to find work.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 09:17
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UK flight training will be a slow death because we are too afraid to raise prices. Everything doubles in price every ten years but aviation is stagnate.
And who knows where fuel prices will go once the gov. takes on it's carbon neutral or free stance in the coming years.
My bus partner tells me her son, just left the army, has become H and S inspector and just discovered he can earn £500 per person doing medicals for businesses.
Thinking of going self employed, and her other son takes home £3k month as an electrician. His GF takes home £10k month!
People have money, were are just too afraid to ask for it, busy trying to be competitive with the school next door.

I end up doing 1 to 1 ground school on a rainy day and the customer is then surprised i don't charge, it's a good will gesture. Fool me.
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Old 13th Jan 2020, 21:03
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I couldn't agree more with BEB, I've been banging this drum for some time now (although maybe too softly!).

25 years ago the US was HALF the price of a typical UK school for equivalent CAA approved training....I could understand then why prices stayed low for some time in the UK to try and compete. Even so, around 50% of trainees came overseas as a result, and why not? Why pay double?

Today, things are very different. EASA approved schools in the USA are typically charging $260-$285 an hour, are chock a block full with students with long waiting lists to get a place. The currency exchange rate is in the UK's favor also, just do the math! The price increase has been necessary, in part, due to the steep rise in Instructor pay necessary in a market which is short (now typically $50 per hour plus $20 for ground). So why on earth would a UK school be willing to charge less and pay less than this? Why would any instructor, under today's conditions work for peanuts?

I suggested, in one of my previous posts, the idea of schools increasing rates only to see replies such as "my school would be out of business if I did" If the UK cannot charge at least the same as US schools per hour something is, sadly, very wrong indeed, especially when you factor in US travel, accommodation and visa and TSA expenses for travelling overseas which makes the UK even more attractive from a cost standpoint.

SJ
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 09:26
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$260 / 1.30 = £200. Lots of schools in the South East charging more than that...............
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 19:51
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Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
$260 / 1.30 = £200. Lots of schools in the South East charging more than that...............
So why are schools only paying £20+ an hour to the instructor? - we seem to have gone full circle!

SJ
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 21:51
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Our school pays £30/ hour flying and £30/ hour ground school. As an instructor you need to be savvy enough to charge for ground school. As a student you need to be savvy enough to pay it.

Eg a good 30 minutes pre and post brief plus 50 minutes flying is cheaper than no brief and 1 hour flying. The instructor makes more money and the student gets a better experience. At many schools since the instructor is only paid for flying the briefing is done in cockpit at £ 3 or 4/minute which is massively inefficient.


I think a lot of instructors In the UK can’t get their head around charging for time when the engine isn’t running. But if my plumber charges £60/ hour for his expertise when his/her engine is not running why oh why aren’t we charging £100/hr for ours.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 09:10
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SJ
It's simple business economics. I would love to pay £50 per hour from the moment the instructor meets the student until the moment the lesson ends but, in the UK, I would very quickly have no students and no flying club.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 13:20
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MrAverage....I don't disagree with you if you acted in isolation, although this depends on your geographical area and your local competition. What is really needed is an industry wide effort to to raise the earnings of good and dedicated instructors otherwise the industry as a whole could die the slow death as mentioned on this thread.

I also understand the industry is skewed and has been forever. The need for hours in the logbook for so many pilots before being able to get the airline job, has led to many being prepared to "fly for food". I once saw a T Shirt with this printed on, worn by an instructor that came in looking for a job! School owners are bound to take advantage of this, its simple economics as you say. So it is tough to charge a profitable rate and pay the right wage, but I honestly believe, the time is now, if things can't improve in the current market conditions, they never will.

I also believe the consumer can afford it, no-one wants to make flight training elitist and only available to the well off, but consider this. In 1986 I was charging around 100 pounds for a PA28 & 220 pounds per hour for a PA34 and we had plenty of customers. Put in perspective, a 5 bedroomed luxury house in those days cost less than 100,000 pounds and the average wage was around 12,000 per year....people seem to find the money to learn to fly.

SJ

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Old 15th Jan 2020, 14:00
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Originally Posted by 18greens View Post
But if my plumber charges £60/ hour for his expertise when his/her engine is not running why oh why arenít we charging £100/hr for ours.
Supply Vs demand dictates prices, but Want Vs Need dictates whether you pay them.

You NEED plumbers and electricians, you don't want them - so you pay the going rate because you don't have the option not to.
We don't need to learn to fly, it's generally something we WANT - but we do have the option not to.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 20:54
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
Supply Vs demand dictates prices, but Want Vs Need dictates whether you pay them.

You NEED plumbers and electricians, you don't want them - so you pay the going rate because you don't have the option not to.
We don't need to learn to fly, it's generally something we WANT - but we do have the option not to.

Is the price that elastic? Sure, people will initially make decisions based purely on price. However once they have experienced multiple cancelled flights and frustrated progress due to instructor availability would they pay more for a premium experience.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 08:30
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Spitfire Jock

If you could send me 20 new students and 40 new renters willing to pay the increased cost I could raise prices with a few key strokes. However, I value the members I'm serving at the moment too much to do that.
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Old 16th Jan 2020, 17:59
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Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
Spitfire Jock

If you could send me 20 new students and 40 new renters willing to pay the increased cost I could raise prices with a few key strokes. However, I value the members I'm serving at the moment too much to do that.
Out of interest, when did you last raise your prices any when did you increase what you pay your instructors?
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