So you want to be a flying instructor

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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#26 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:02 pm

Atlantic

I do not necessarily see instructing vs what you call professional flying as an either, or decision. I started my career as an instructor and not in one of the other entry level jobs, because I already knew I enjoyed instructing from other work I had done. After 2 1/2 years of full time instructing I moved on to other types of flying ending up where I am now in the firebombing business which will be my retirement job. Looking at my peers, it seems we all wound up at more or less the same place regardless of the path we started our career on.

One thing I would emphasize though. If you don't want to instruct..... Don't do it !. The industry does not need more instructors who are not invested in being good instructors and are only interested in warming the right seat staring at the Hobbs meter until a "real " job comes their way.

I would also add that after moving on to your "professional jobs" I maintained my Instructor rating and have continued to teach part time for many years, in fact I was teaching a lesson today. I consider my flight in a 172 today no less or more "professional" than any other flying I do.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#27 Post by Ginger » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:28 pm

Sorry for hijacking the thread - but thank you for being so nice about it :)
Re'moved'
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Last edited by Ginger on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Big Pistons Forever
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#28 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:10 pm

Ginger

This sticky is aimed at new CPL's thinking about becoming instructors. Your question is IMO not fully relevant to the thread title and I would suggest does not really fit the theme of the sticky. I recommend you start a new thread on this issue because your question is an important one and deserves a full discussion.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#29 Post by 909519girl » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:18 am

5) In general you get to live in a reasonably civilized place. There are no flying schools on Indian Reservations.....




Wrong, there is a Flying school on a Reserve, CPU6 is where I got my PPL, CPL, Multi-IFR :)
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#30 Post by KK7 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:10 am

Atlantic, I don't want to sound like I'm knocking you by picking apart your post, but I have a few issues with some of the things you said, so no hard feelings!
AtlanticTour wrote:Most of us get into this profession because we want to be professional pilots. We do not want to become flying instructors.
I have to feel a little offended by what you're implying here, and I feel you're putting down a significant part of the industry. Flight Instructors are most definitely professional pilots, both by definition and figuratively. Instructors are pilots, making money by teaching and flying, therefore it is a profession. They are also pilots like you, me and guys flying at Air Canada. They are doing a different flying, in the same way that flying a Beaver on floats is different than flying a 737 with WestJet.

Also, some people do want to be flight instructors. It isn't a very popular choice mainly due to the choice, but I think there are a good number of instructors or ex-instructors, who would want to stay in this segment of the industry if only it paid better. I would have been happy to stick around if I could make a more decent salary, but it takes a lot of time and connections to get to that point in the instruction world - to run a large school, and maybe management isn't your thing either.
Really, if you want to be a professional pilot, when you get your CPL, figure out where you'd like to work and get a ramp/office/ticketing job with that place and work your way upwards. Plenty of good places in this country where you can start to accrue seniority, even flight benefits, and making a salary while furthering your career. Yes, you might be doing grunt work, but in as little as three months (or as long as 2yrs) you might also have the opportunity to transition to a multi-crew turbine aircraft, which is something that the guy who did his instructor rating won't be able to do. He'll be stuck on light general aviation trainers for a year or two at a very weak salary.
Frankly, most people can't even get an entry level job with who they want to work for. For quite a few young pilots, the dream is to work for Air Canada or WestJet, or even Jazz (for some strange reason). You can get a job working the ramp with these companies but it won't get you anywhere closer to your goal, or accrue any kind of seniority since you wouldn't be part of the ACPA union in the case of AC.

Other options outside of instruction are there, and many people go this route, like working ramp or loading on a dock. This is absolutely a fair choice especially for those who have no desire to teach, but the money is no better, and compared to my friends who went this route they are no further ahead in the industry than I am, after I taught for 4 years (sticking with it that long was my choice and I loved it). In fact for the simply fact that I was actually flying during this time, I am further ahead than some who started before me. I know this last point I brought up can bring up a whole debate about which experience is more valuable and what-not, but honestly in the end we're all at the same place, doing the same job now, and we're each good at our jobs and bring a different set of experiences with us which when combined make a madly awesome team.
It is a matter of public knowledge that we in Canada do not compensate our flight instructors well. I once talked to an older Brit who was an instructor through Oxford Air Training, one of their leading flight academies, and he made a good living at it, but its a different country and rule set.
Looking outside of N. America show us exactly what I mean by instructing being a very good and rewarding job. In Europe they get paid better since you're taking experienced airline pilots and they move onto instructing to make good money. Unfortunately this gets passed onto the students which is why flight training is so prohibitively expensive in Europe (relatively speaking of course).
My objective was to transition to larger aircraft, and thus I did not pursue my instructor certification. It would have been counterproductive, spending thousands of dollars for something I did not want and that would have kept me sidetracked from doing what I want. I did not want to become like my old instructor from MFC, I wanted to fly, and thats why I worked my way up from inside a company I wanted to be at.
If instruction is not your thing, then I sincerely applaud you for not choosing to instruct to get your start in the industry. So many do and end up as terrible instructors who obviously don't want to be there, and unfortunately this tarnishes their abilities and the students they teach. But if you like teaching, or think you could enjoy it if you haven't yet taught before (I suggest starting by teaching groundschool to PPLs once you get your CPL to get a feel for it), then it's a perfectly valid way to get your start. I don't believe instructing can sidetrack someone from their end career goals, but has the potential to help them along by teaching the professional pilot valuable skills like communication, customer service, and if you hope to be a training captain down the road, then this will seriously help you. If you start on the ramp somewhere and there is a downturn in the industry, you're just as likely to get stuck there and not move onto the flight line for well over a year or more (or you end up quitting).

I guess what I'm saying in the end that the unfortunate reality in this industry is that instruction is a poorly paid profession, but it can be fun and rewarding if you enjoy teaching. It is a good stepping stone into the industry for those who want to put in the effort and get something out of it. But for godsakes if you can't stand teaching or think you will hate it, stay away!
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#31 Post by mike123 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:17 pm

AtlanticTour wrote:Most of us get into this profession because we want to be professional pilots. We do not want to become flying instructors.
Well, I want to be instructor and I think teaching people flying requires as much professionalism as flying an airliner.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#32 Post by SuperchargedRS » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:55 am

AtlanticTour wrote:...Really, if you want to be a professional pilot, when you get your CPL, figure out where you'd like to work and get a ramp/office/ticketing job
Forgetting for a minute the definition of the word professional (as anyone who is paid is a professional).

SO in your world to be a professional pilot is to be a secretary or a ticket monkey, vs. being a FLIGHT instructor and logging PILOT in command time?? can you go into detail on that?
AtlanticTour wrote:... you might be doing grunt work, but in as little as three months (or as long as 2yrs) you might also have the opportunity to transition to a multi-crew turbine aircraft, which is something that the guy who did his instructor rating won't be able to do. He'll be stuck on light general aviation trainers for a year or two at a very weak salary.
And no one gets burnt out digging holes or filing papers for two years with 50k in debt right!!

Also in the two years you said it may take to move up you log working the ramp what time do you log for insurance? being a office monkey time? , vs the instructor who logs FLIGHT time??

So weak salary as a ramp monkey 2 years to move up VS weak salary as a pilot 2 years to move up.

ok, I may be a little slow tonight, but please break down to me how that makes sense?
AtlanticTour wrote:... I wanted to fly, and thats why I worked my way up from inside a company I wanted to be at.
You wanted to fly ........ drum roll......so you took a non-flying job



FYI, I had a few job offers, due to other investments I chose to instruct for a while. I started at 25 a hr. logging a good bit of time with 4 full time students and a few weekend warriors, can you compare that to a ramp position please???
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#33 Post by intruder-flight » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:51 am

First great topic posted by BPF, thank you!

As a flight instructor, I am honoured to view all the topics discussed in this forum. I love my job! It has stirred a wonderful debate and honest and frank discussion from all sides.

The biggest problem I have, is seeing many students who have come from all over Canada to either learn or finish their ratings at our flight school in Saint-Hubert, QC. who do not use enough rudder, or who trim after every breath in a twin in order to keep their altitude. APT is out the window, and the centre line is never touched by the nose wheel!

Please show your students the most underused flight control in the cockpit, and here it is, :THE RUDDER!

Funny how people always talk about stick and rudder skills, but it seems that many students who come in from other schools, and sometimes even from other instructors in our staff who basically allow their students use rudder for applying the brakes on touchdown and taxiing only. In slow flight, the rudder is an essential part of keeping the aircraft in a constant heading, and yes, perhaps preventing the aircraft from entering a spin, post stall. Also, it is the best control to use throughout the flare, in order to maintain runway centre line.

On the twin, trim is a problem. Simulator sessions before twin training can be a factor for students to learn the wrong way and dismiss the proper method of APT. Many students rotate, trim, gear up, remove drag, trim, reduce power, trim, and then they commit the crime of trim to level off rather then reduce power after reducing the pitch angle. If you teach, then demonstrate proper control methods, as many instructors have clearly outlined here in this post, teach to perfection! These students do not use the time tested adage, of Attitude, Power and Trim. PAT in the descent.

I suggest getting the book, "Stick and Rudder." Don't allow your students to forget the timeless methods which apply to all airplanes big and small.

Cheers, and blue skies for all.

I-F
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#34 Post by ant_321 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:54 am

Since we're talking about instructing vs. working the ramp heres my two cents worth. Find a school with an air charter/airline operation attached. Contrary to popular belief there are a few of these places out there. At the school I am at now instuctors average a year and a half to two years of instructing then jump right seat on a 1900D. Just my opinion.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#35 Post by DaveC » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:26 pm

ant_321 wrote:Since we're talking about instructing vs. working the ramp heres my two cents worth. Find a school with an air charter/airline operation attached. Contrary to popular belief there are a few of these places out there. At the school I am at now instuctors average a year and a half to two years of instructing then jump right seat on a 1900D. Just my opinion.
That sounds like the ideal place to start.

Durham Flight Center @ CYOO is partnered with Enterprise Airlines. Some of its pilots end up flying DC3T's.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#36 Post by wotai139 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:51 pm

Wow! Such detailed information. Thank you so much for sharing.
I am currently training for my CPL and was contemplating on whether to also get the
instructor rating as well.
I was doubtful that I could find work as an instructor right after getting the CPL ( I would have no other pilot work experience).
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#37 Post by radiotom » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:15 am

Hi, Ok, don't mean to hijack the thread but here's my question and you guys seem qualified to answer it. I hold commercial, instrument ratings here in the U.S., (I'm here because I think I'll be living in CA soon, I hope) and I took all the training and courses and passed all the tests for the CFI rating, just didn't go take the checkride (long story). I got an AS degree in flight technology back in 1992. Problem is, I haven't flown a plane since '93, and I really want to get back into it, and I want to go and get that CFI ticket. I don't have a lot of money to spend, I have started learning MS Flight Sim. So, what do you think I need as far as refresher training, dual time, etc. to get back up to speed and ready for the checkride? I hope to get up to speed on the basics on my own but I might take ground school again if I can afford it. And I guess some things have changed over the years. Does anyone still use a E6-B9 flight computer? I used to be good with one.
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#38 Post by Beefitarian » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:57 am

I don't think you want to know radiotom.

My opinion is that flying now makes flying in the mid 1990s seem really inexpensive.
You can start reading here and get mildly confused http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/ and then maybe check these guys out. http://www.flyafi.com/
I went flying with them when we took a family trip to Disneyland and they are really great to talk to and fly with. You can e-mail them questions.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#39 Post by radiotom » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:22 pm

Thanks Beefitarian, I was afraid I might not want to know. Just to get flying again would be alright. It's not like I want to work as a CFI, though I wouldn't mind teaching ground school. I shall peruse those publications. When my Dad got his PP license in the '70's I don't remember what it cost but it wasn't that much. My two year degree in '92 was $17,000, had to work full time while going to school. I'd hate to see what it would be today.
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#40 Post by Beefitarian » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:38 pm

I think an American license would be an asset but I don't know if there's any work in the US right now. I hate writing tests as much as anyone but it shows I need to open some books and brush up. Everytime I go flying it's $200 or more. I must admit it seems worth it to me.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#41 Post by SuperchargedRS » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:14 pm

Beefitarian wrote:....but I don't know if there's any work in the US right now. ....
There is,

resume+handshake+good stick and rudder+pleasant= job
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#42 Post by wotai139 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:40 pm

Wow! Some very good information here. The instructor rating is something I am strongly considering getting right after I get my CPL.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#43 Post by jg24 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Very good post, thanks for sharing.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#44 Post by flyingmaverick » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:34 pm

Instruction is not just a job but a responsibility , to train future pilots and its on the shoulders of instructors to carry forward the spirit of aviation.

When I was doing my instructor rating , I had an instructor who was sloppy as hell and always shouted on students . Even the students use to joke do turn into your instructor once you are done . The worst part was he always thought of himself as a top gun trainer .

As the reputation spread no body joined the school and many students who came from India just went to other schools . To make things worst the school and the instructor has been black listed here in India . There may be school that are recommended but this is the only one school that people warn not to join .

Of course some one on this forum specifically asked about that CFI and school and the moderator asked me not to tell the truth as it damages some ones business .

Moral of story be a good instructor or else don't even try , you will lose reputations and your business and other than Avcanada in other forums your truth will be discussed
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#45 Post by MissKonception » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:03 pm

There seems to be a pretty good variety of people on this thread so I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for reference materials. I'm just starting my rating now and I have the FIG and the Flight Instructor's Manual (by an author I can't remember). I love teaching and I love learning so I'm always on the lookout for good textbooks for any CPL info and now for the instructor rating. Suggestions?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#46 Post by trey kule » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:53 pm

First find a book on how to communicate without using acronyms :smt040 Your new student walking into the flight school will look for a bowl of fruit if you tell them to get a FIG. CPL...thats a military rank abbreviation?
This is tongue in cheek of course, but please think about your students' inability to comprehend pilot speak.

Which brings me to the serious part. Go to the local university or college book store and find reference material on how to teach. Instructors dont need to know the wing tip coriolis magnetic swirl theory of drag, but they do need to be able to teach the basis...Stick and Rudder is supposed to be a good book...

It saddens me when I read posts where people are trying to choose between the ramp and instructing.
If you are thinking about it, please do the industry a favor and choose the ramp..We need instructors who want to instruct, not just figure the fastest way to build time to move on.

Best of luck in 2013 to all those that are becoming instructors who are not considering it the first step towards the right seat of a bigger plane.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#47 Post by MissKonception » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:25 pm

Ah but anyone who is likely to be able to answer my question on reference materials would be familiar with the acronyms;) I've worked ramp at a flight school for over a year so I get a chance to talk to people at literally every level of flying experience on a weekly basis. It's tons of fun and the best part of the job. Thanks for the tip on Stick and Rudder.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#48 Post by Class 1 Instructor » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:59 pm

As a broad generalization the 2 areas of weakness I see in new CPL's who want to be instructors are:

1) An almost total lack of practical knowledge about anything mechanical/electrical. Kas Thomas has an excellent book called "Fly The Engine" that should be IMO required reading for anyone operating a piston engine. There is also tons of excellent information on the web. I would start with the columns section on Avweb. As for the electrical side I would suggest that you go to the C 172 POH and have a look at the electrical system schematic. Since this is about as simple a system as you will ever see you should be able to describe the function of every device/symbol listed on the diagram. If you can't google is your friend.

2) The rule set that governs your flying is contained in the CAR's. There is IMO a shameful lack of even the most basic understanding of the aviation regulatory framework in many instructors. Start with the home page and read the "About Cars" and General Information about the CARs" tabs and then go through the CAR's so that you have a general idea of what information is in each section. The same with the AIM, you don't have to memorize it but you should know how it is laid out and what section you would start at to look something up.

Finally I would go through the TSB aviation accident database and see what mistakes are actually bending metal and killing people. Then think about your PPL and CPL training and ask yourself "what seems to be common causes of accidents that never got covered in my training". That way when it comes time to prepare your lesson plans you can look for ways to incorporate prevention strategies for the more common mistakes.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#49 Post by Colonel Sanders » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:05 pm

I would be happy if a prospective flight instructor could:

1) draw a Cl vs AOA curve
2) draw a Cd vs AOA curve
3) write down the lift equation
4) write down the kinetic energy equation
5) write down the potential energy equation

and apply the above very basic physics to what a student
does in an airplane.

PS Lack of mechanical & electrical knowledge probably bothers
me more than a lack of regulatory knowledge. No one knows
what the rules regarding aviation are in Canada. Even the simplest
question quickly devolves into a metaphysics discussion conducted
by a Monty Python reunion.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#50 Post by 1000 HP » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:11 pm

What is the normal wage for a Class 4 instructor these days? I just saw an school offering $17 per flying hour (minimum doe). So if you come in to work, and fly 2 hours, you make $34? I taught under a similar program in 1987, but made $14 per flying hour. Some days I made nothing. In 6 months I flew 700 hrs, for $9800. Not completely horrible 26 years ago. Luckily my wife had a good job and there where no children yet...

Service rigs start rig piggies at $23 hr, overtime after 10, and a company vehicle will pick you up at your house, and drop you off. An average rig piggy works 14 hrs a day, for $368 day, and can easily make $75,000 the first year. That would pay for a lot of flight training so you could skip instructing all together. :rolleyes:
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