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$165,000 debt and no flying job. Advice?

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$165,000 debt and no flying job. Advice?

Old 20th May 2023, 15:22
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Grade 3 Instructor Jobs... job advice?

As mentioned in a previous thread, I've racked up A LOT of debt via VET fee help ($165,000 of debt actually) which includes a Grade 3 FIR. I've shared my dismay of not being able to get an entry level GA job in the Top End (yes, I've spent time up there, and Kun, and Katherine!). I eventually achieved my G3 Instructor Rating back down south after having no luck up north. But the school I did my instructor rating with did not offer myself nor anyone else in my class any G3 position. There have been several instructor jobs come up on a Facebook "job search" page but they only want Grade 2 and above.

What does one do in this situation where I have a Grade 3 but every flying school wants a Grade 2 and above!? This seems like a bit of a Catch 22 situation. I took the advice to get a G3 instructor rating from a Chief Pilot up north that wanted to help me out by saying something like "try the instructor route"...

Thoughts would be appreciated.

Grant
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Old 20th May 2023, 23:35
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Maybe start thinking about running your own business?
There must be at least one of your non-pilot friends who wants to learn to fly.

https://www.casa.gov.au/sites/defaul...ons-manual.pdf
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Old 21st May 2023, 01:58
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Originally Posted by Bosi72
Maybe start thinking about running your own business?
There must be at least one of your non-pilot friends who wants to learn to fly.

https://www.casa.gov.au/sites/defaul...ons-manual.pdf
There has been some dubious advice here, but that is crazy. CASA would choke on a proposal for a Grade 3 to run a one-person Part 141 organisation.
Who would supervise the Grade 3? It can't be done remotely.
Who would send this 'non pilot friend' solo? Not a Grade 3.
What would the salary or fees be for an instructor with the necessary privileges?
Where would you find that person, when established schools are advertising continuously for G 2 & G 1 instructors?
Liability insurance? The list goes on....
.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 21st May 2023 at 04:21. Reason: fixed it: Part 141 not 142
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Old 21st May 2023, 03:35
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The independent instructor is not for a 142 certificate, but even so the 'independent instructor' doesn't look like an independent instructor to me, it looks like a Part 141 school without a few bells and whistles, more CASA horseshit.
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Old 21st May 2023, 04:35
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Originally Posted by tossbag
The independent instructor is not for a 142 certificate, but even so the 'independent instructor' doesn't look like an independent instructor to me, it looks like a Part 141 school without a few bells and whistles, more CASA horseshit.
Thanks for the correction. Fixed it now.
The OP wasted money on a Grade 3 with no job attached. Others thinking of this path need to consider very carefully:
*Is there a guaranteed instructing job at the end of it?
*Are they sufficiently motivated towards instructing to keep at it and give their best for at least a couple of years, or are they going to sit over in the right hand seat yawning away and contributing nothing to their students' progress?
If the latter, please don't - the industry neither wants nor needs you.
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Old 21st May 2023, 05:35
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It's like the chicken and the egg. You can't employ a Grade 3 without having Grade 1 available to supervise them.
The smaller places that used to take grade 3s and mentor them in the early stages when they are a liability and need a lot of supervision and time invested in them (because the instructor courses don't teach them how to do the job, just how to pass the test, so they need a LOT of mentoring) got sick of doing all that just so they could be poached by the sausage factories as soon as they got Grade 2. Another consequence of the "free VET money" being thrown around.

All of this was forseeable, if only the government had consulted with industry instead of only listening to the "Neels" who stood to make an absolute fortune out of it, and who don't need to be accountable and prove that they are actually providing an industry with the workforce it really needs, but keep on churning out people like the OP, deep in debt and with very limited, if any, job prospects.

There should be some kind of KPI where they have to get at least say 75% of starters on the course employed within 3 months of finishing it, or cut off the manna from heaven and let the forces of supply and demand take care of it.
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Old 21st May 2023, 05:42
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Funny back when I instructed the smaller places used these low experienced guys as free labor for various duties and the worse ones were even quite open that they didn't want anyone to hang around as they got lazy and wanted more money. Now they struggle for staff, I wonder why...

Lost all the guys that attract and hold onto students when they got better offers, I wonder why...

The new guys are barely trained and break your airplanes, because that's the skill of all that's left, I wonder why...

The GA of old sowed the seeds of being a flow through pilot market, treat em mean, keep em keen and get some more when they move on. Shake the tree and all that, I wonder what went wrong....

Now the governments mistake, thinking that being an RTO, college or university was some sort of honest, respectable business. If they wanted to generate more pilots, make flying cheaper would be easier, subsidies on new trainers, facilities and equipment, remove fuel excise on AVGAS for training operations, eliminate en-route and landing charges for training aircraft. All this makes tiny amounts for the greater tax pie, but adds 25%+ onto the hire rates. There was never any need for TAFE or university courses in aviation, as much as there is need for them in truck driving or trains etc... A big chunk of money given to the institutional RTOs was lost in administration, not even related to flying. And yes even apply this to private pilot courses, because that pilot might choose to become a commercial pilot later.

Last edited by 43Inches; 21st May 2023 at 05:52.
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Old 21st May 2023, 08:39
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There should be some kind of KPI where they have to get at least say 75% of starters on the course employed within 3 months of finishing it
​​​​​​​Like you do?
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Old 21st May 2023, 09:27
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Originally Posted by tossbag
Like you do?
I'm not taking taxpayers money, nor am I doing integrated courses or diplomas, so it's not a comparison.

But if you must know 100% of my CPLs in the last ten years have had a job lined up for them before they did the test, because they did the networking on the hour building phase. The last one to do a test had the employer waiting in reception to organise the check to line before they even had a chance to get some lunch.

CPL preparation (not training, as the units of competency are the same as PPL) isn't my core business and they have to convince me they will be capable of getting a CPL, being an asset to an employer and upholding my reputation before I will take them on for CPL preparation. They also have to have all exams passed and a minimum of 175 hours total and 100 in command.

I'm preparing people for the GA market, not the airlines.

​​​​​​​So, no comparison to the integrated courses, and about half the cost.
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Old 21st May 2023, 09:59
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That takes me back to when I did my CPL.
Bob Oliver, who owned Murchison Air Charter, was waiting on the fence as I taxied in from the flight test with DCA’s Ron East. Bob asked Ron if I had passed even before I had been debriefed, and offered me a job on the spot. The date was 14 January 1966 . One week later I was on the payroll and checked out.
I believe nearly all those who trained with the same school (Civil Flying Services) obtained employment within weeks of qualifying.
Having started with only a bare CPL, after a couple of years in GA, usually working up to twins or gaining some instructor experience, many went on to airlines. Some made a reasonable career in GA, flying survey work, RFDS, corporate or whatever.
Other than when I went to Blighty and needed a Pommy ATPL to get a job, after that basic CPL, I never paid one cent for any further training or ratings. Employers sometimes required bonds, but generally provided pilots with whatever was needed for their business. The few that didn’t suffered turnover as pilots moved to more enlightened companies.
A case of supply and demand being in equilibrium.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 21st May 2023 at 11:36.
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Old 21st May 2023, 10:46
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Originally Posted by Mach E Avelli
Thanks for the correction. Fixed it now.
The OP wasted money on a Grade 3 with no job attached. Others thinking of this path need to consider very carefully:
*Is there a guaranteed instructing job at the end of it?
*Are they sufficiently motivated towards instructing to keep at it and give their best for at least a couple of years, or are they going to sit over in the right hand seat yawning away and contributing nothing to their students' progress?
If the latter, please don't - the industry neither wants nor needs you.
There were exactly 10 in our FIR class (1 dropped out), so 9 "graduated" as Grade 3s and none of us landed a job. The class before us had 12 instructor students and only 1 landed a job so far. So across 2 groups, around 20 Grade 3s with no jobs (so far). I could only imagine what the true statistic is when extrapolated across every flying school running a VET fee help instructor program.

I do have a genuine desire to teach (something). In my early 20s, I was going to study to become a primary school teacher. Obviously, I was pursuing a professional flying career as of late and it wasn't until the Chief Pilot up north suggested the instructing pathway, that I decided to entertain the idea - and then follow through with that idea - only to land myself in further debt (and no job!)

Thanks for your response.

G
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Old 21st May 2023, 11:17
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10 on a FIR class? That's very excessive, back when I did it over 20 years ago it was not a regular thing and you waited for another student to pair with to keep the cost down on mutual work. Everyone that did a FIR got a job within 3-6 months, although you were casual and had to find your own students. There was some that did not employ you for at least 3 months so as not to be liable for training costs.
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Old 21st May 2023, 12:11
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Originally Posted by grant.lebronte
There were exactly 10 in our FIR class (1 dropped out), so 9 "graduated" as Grade 3s and none of us landed a job. The class before us had 12 instructor students and only 1 landed a job so far. So across 2 groups, around 20 Grade 3s with no jobs (so far). I could only imagine what the true statistic is when extrapolated across every flying school running a VET fee help instructor program.

I do have a genuine desire to teach (something). In my early 20s, I was going to study to become a primary school teacher. Obviously, I was pursuing a professional flying career as of late and it wasn't until the Chief Pilot up north suggested the instructing pathway, that I decided to entertain the idea - and then follow through with that idea - only to land myself in further debt (and no job!)

Thanks for your response.

G
There are great opportunities for people who want to make instructing a career. It is not, as some like to sneer, just a crap job for people who couldn't get an airline job.
There really is a shortage of G1s and 2s, of people that CASA will approve as Heads of Operations down the track.

If you have thought about teaching before and are the kind of person who can get satisfaction from seeing your students progress then what you have to do now is find a school where you will be valued, that can offer a career path (not empty promises, you've had enough of them already) and convince them that you are worth them investing their time in mentoring you, that you won't bugger off as soon as you get your G2. Gain respect by never, ever agreeing to do odd jobs or admin for nothing or sham contracting. Learn about the things they don't teach you in instructor school, your legal and moral responsibilities and ethics. If you want to be a respected member of the instructing community remember that poaching work from others will get you blacklisted in a small industry with long memories.

An instructing career will take a while to establish, but would be far more compatible with your family life and good health, plus your maturity would be a positive advantage.

Everything happens for a reason!
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Old 21st May 2023, 13:42
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Iíve known CPLís that have joined the raaf under 30 if thatís an option for you.
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Old 22nd May 2023, 00:10
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Are there any Family businesses left? Before the decline of GA every town had a family business that did training and an odd charter and trained the bulk of pilots with the big schools like Cessnock being the exception.
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Old 22nd May 2023, 00:34
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
There are great opportunities for people who want to make instructing a career. It is not, as some like to sneer, just a crap job for people who couldn't get an airline job.
There really is a shortage of G1s and 2s, of people that CASA will approve as Heads of Operations down the track.

If you have thought about teaching before and are the kind of person who can get satisfaction from seeing your students progress then what you have to do now is find a school where you will be valued, that can offer a career path (not empty promises, you've had enough of them already) and convince them that you are worth them investing their time in mentoring you, that you won't bugger off as soon as you get your G2. Gain respect by never, ever agreeing to do odd jobs or admin for nothing or sham contracting. Learn about the things they don't teach you in instructor school, your legal and moral responsibilities and ethics. If you want to be a respected member of the instructing community remember that poaching work from others will get you blacklisted in a small industry with long memories.

An instructing career will take a while to establish, but would be far more compatible with your family life and good health, plus your maturity would be a positive advantage.

Everything happens for a reason!
That is a really good piece of advice. I am going to try that! I'll carefully approach flying schools with the things you've mentioned and see how I go.

Cheers! G
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Old 22nd May 2023, 12:34
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I'm not taking taxpayers money, nor am I doing integrated courses or diplomas, so it's not a comparison.
uhm, you're taking money, so I think you should be issuing the same guarantee.

​​​​​​​But if you must know 100% of my CPLs in the last ten years have had a job lined up for them before they did the test, because they did the networking on the hour building phase. The last one to do a test had the employer waiting in reception to organise the check to line before they even had a chance to get some lunch.
100%...........100% Well, that is remarkable and outstanding. In 35 years of aviation I have never seen anything like this

​​​​​​​CPL preparation (not training, as the units of competency are the same as PPL) isn't my core business and they have to convince me they will be capable of getting a CPL, being an asset to an employer and upholding my reputation before I will take them on for CPL preparation. They also have to have all exams passed and a minimum of 175 hours total and 100 in command.
How does one convince you of this? I'm genuinely interested, and intrigued.
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Old 22nd May 2023, 14:30
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It's pretty straightforward. Would I want to employ them myself, yes or no.
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Old 22nd May 2023, 14:58
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Would I want to employ them myself, yes or no.
I've made that mistake, and employed, and got burnt. I'm no where near 100%
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Old 22nd May 2023, 17:49
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Originally Posted by tossbag
I've made that mistake, and employed, and got burnt. I'm no where near 100%
Well, I learned the hard way for sure.
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