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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 18:09   #1 (permalink)
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Is being an instructor really worth it?

I had a little discussion some days ago on an Italian forum -not the Italian section of PPRuNe- about working as flight instructor with the target still being the same: becoming a pilot of a jet aircraft (regardless whether it is an airliner or corporate) one day.

I am kind of interested in a F-1 Visa flight training program in the USA which would allow me to work as FI for a year in order to get at least 1000 hours TT.
In a few words, everybody told me that it is not worth it. An Italian istructor that currently works in USA (please, don't ask me how because I don't know) told me he has 3000+ hours and the best answer he got so far was "Sorry, but no thanks". Others told me that I'd better not waste a year and spare money for a TR and LT in the latter.

Now, I have to admit one thing: I think that the European system sucks and I do think it is wrong to pay for TR and LT but that's the way it works! Only EASA could do something - maybe...

Unfortunately, I also think that unless something serious will take place (accidents), I will have to pay for it to give a kick to my career.

I see that many positions for FO require 1500 TT and at least 500 hours either on type or on multi-crew aircraft. I though that with 1000 hours TT after having worked as FI might be a good point to start from even with a TR+LT package

I can say that I'm willing also to work in Africa or Asia on pistons or turboprop, but I'd like to get at a serious stage sooner or later...

I don't know what to say or think, I'm just confused... Is being a flight instructor and have 1000 TT everywhere useless in Europe?

Last edited by RedBullGaveMeWings; 23rd Dec 2012 at 18:16.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 19:26   #2 (permalink)
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Being an instructor is incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable although I wanted to be an instructor from day 1. I started as a Jet FO and then moved into instructing for the love of it.

I sincerely hope that you don't want to become an instructor just to Build Hours! There are far too many people like that who give substandard instruction to people who then go off and cause problems through no fault of their own.

It is a career that needs to be taken seriously and not seen as a stepping stone into the RHS of a jet.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 19:30   #3 (permalink)

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it is very hard to build hours. I am not european...but that's the way I went...ppl, inst, commercial single and multi, CFI, CFII, MEI ATP and finally non teaching jobs.

good luck...and maybe people are saying no to your friend for other reasons...visa status, residency...rotten personality?
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 19:57   #4 (permalink)
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I don't want to be an instructor just to build hour. I often fancy of being an instructor besides being an airline pilot as well as aerobatic pilot.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 21:59   #5 (permalink)
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It's all very well making grandiose comments about instructing for instructing's sake, but the reality is it clearly does not pay the bills. Most instructors I have met are having to work other jobs just to survive. Maybe that's ok for a while, but I don't think it's unreasonable that people should want to see a future beyond instructing before going down that route.

I would also say that I did my ppl over a few years at Cabair, and therefore had a number of hour building instructors, all of whom were excellent. I think personality is the most important factor. You will get some hour builders who have a natural flair for instructing and are brilliant, and some "career instructors" who are crap!
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 22:55   #6 (permalink)
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The real question should be "is flight training really worth it?"

It is looking really ugly out there for anyone who is just starting out.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 02:59   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FokkerGirl View Post
The real question should be "is flight training really worth it?"

It is looking really ugly out there for anyone who is just starting out.
I just passed my CPL in Australia and have around 230 total time. Now I'm looking around and the prospects look almost none existing.
There are advertised survey work wanting 2000 hours plus CIFR... seems that way of starting up is gone... not exactly looking forward to the next few months...
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Old 26th Dec 2012, 13:49   #8 (permalink)
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The arrogance of some is unbelievable.
Nobody is waiting for a 200 hr wonder-pilot.
It is all about the flight experience.
Flight instructor is a great way to add 1000-2000 hours.
You will learn more about flying while instructing then during all your training put together.
Malfunctions, failures , emergencies, student problems, they are all on you, you are the PIC. Great way to build your decision making skills.
All varieties of (light) general aviation have their limitations as far as value is concerned.
  • After about 2000 hrs flight instructing you will no longer improve your own flying skills or become a better pilot, just become a better instructor after that.
  • 400-500 hrs banner towing after that the time is useless since you never navigate, fly airways, practice maneuvers or practice instrument approaches.
    Those skills you will ace as a flight instructor
  • 400-500 hrs dropping jumpers unless you can move up into turboprops if your outfit has any. You will become a better stick and rudder pilot and probably break some regulations about every day but other then that same value as banner towing.
  • 400-500 hrs of sight seeing flights or traffic watch or fire watch, after that same value as banner towing.

So look at the list and you decide where and how you want to build experience.

Last edited by B2N2; 26th Dec 2012 at 18:43. Reason: Speelcheck aisle 17 ! Spellcheck aisle 17!
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Old 26th Dec 2012, 22:22   #9 (permalink)
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You are probably in one of the best countries in the world right now with regards to aviation employment. There are a lot of opportunities for low timers around. The thing most people forget is that these jobs don't fall into your lap. You have to go out and get them. There are at least 4 parachute drop zones in the Melbourne area for you to go and talk to with many more up the coast {NSW, QLD). This time of the year is the busiest. There are also scenic operators looking to put on new people for the coming dry season.

I assume your willing to move away from Melbourne? You may be able to get your first few hundred hours locally but once you want to fly something other than a 206 on drop zones you will have to move away.
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Old 26th Dec 2012, 22:43   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah... I know that things could be worse.

I had an initial shell shock when I looked at the positions being advertised and noticed that the requirements of even basic sounding roles was waaaay above what I was expecting. I figure for the moment I need to wait for CASA to issue my licence and then do some exploring...
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Old 26th Dec 2012, 23:29   #11 (permalink)
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Well, Australia is still better than Europe from that point of view in my opinion...
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Old 27th Dec 2012, 08:58   #12 (permalink)
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Things like this make me wonder though:

Full time pilots required to be part of a professional Aerial Survey Team

XXXXXX is a Company specialising in providing aerial survey platforms to various clients within Australia and overseas.

We have a network of offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and various operational offices with the main base of operations at Bankstown Airport in Sydney.

The position requires a duty period of three weeks on in field and one weeks rest period.

The company would like to employ CPL/ATPL pilots with minimum requirements of:

2500 hrs Total Time
1500 hours total command
500 multi command
IF rated
Level six english fluency (written and spoken) is essential for this role.

Experience on Cessna 400 series is preferred.

We offer a competetive package and an exciting challenge for conscientious and dedicated pilots.
Maybe I'm showing my n00bness, but 2500 hours for a Cessna 400 series? From what I understand, that'd be just about airline requirements....
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Old 2nd Jan 2013, 07:09   #13 (permalink)
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2500 hours for survey work

I've met lots high time survey pilots and many of them are dead
from flying into hills or from stupid accidents.

Survey flying requires skills, some people acquire those skills
before others and others never ever get the skills required.

It's not just natural ability, its a determination for very high standards.

Just imagine flying at ILS minimums all day. You can't do that off the oubat.
Some survey flying can be dangerous, often it takes maturity and an ability
to speak other languages, deal with other cultures, and endlessly fly
in countries or terrain you may only ever visit once.

2,500 hours is just a figure to get attention from those with experience.
If you think can be an asset to one of those companies, prove it,
and give them a call.

That's how I got my first job flying survey.
It didn't last very long,
A pilot I flew with was, so i warned the company
and got put on the next flight home.

That probably saved my life. Lots of those sorts of survey
pilots have a low life expectancy.

The same management are around today, and a lot wiser.

The accident rate in survey flying has dropped a lot but
it can still be as safe as the weakest link in the operation.

That takes experience, and as rough figure, 1,000 - 2,000 hours
might be enough. It's up to you.

Last edited by Ramjet555; 2nd Jan 2013 at 07:09.
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