Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

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Flightman7
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Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:22 pm

I am almost positive I will be entering the industry in two years as I am now in grade 11. However, there is just one thing that has never made sense to me. There are basically two major ways of getting your first job right out of school which are instructing and working the ramp/dock. My question is if you decide to take the instructor route and you build up 1500 hours(For example). At this point you would start sending applications out the the charter ops around Canada, but how will it ever be possible to get a job? Every charter company has a line up of ramp/dock workers who are working there a**'s off every day for peanuts to get a spot in the right seat. Are any of these charter airlines really going to put a flight instructor in the right seat of there aircraft over a ramp/dock worker who has been loyal and devoted to there company for months or even years just because the instructor has 1500 hours of mostly second in command single time? If so, would that not defeat the purpose of working the ramp/dock?

If anybody who could clear this up for me I'd be very appreciative,

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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Naveed » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:59 pm

Contract requirements, maybe the company wants somebody with time for a quick upgrade. Instructors are earning PIC time, generally making it easier to get your ATPL, which some company's want. In any regard, I know people that have gone each way, and years later, almost at the same time they are in the exact same spot with the same company, chase the life you want, not the metal.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Meatservo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:34 pm

If you're not going to go to college or university before becoming an "airplane driver", at least set aside some time to save up for your first training bond. You'll never be able to afford it being a rampie OR an instructor.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:06 pm

Naveed wrote: chase the life you want, not the metal.
Exactly !
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:15 am

the last to two responses have nothing to do with the question but thanks Nav
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Chaxterium » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:46 am

Hi Flightman7,

Just to make sure you understand, an acting flight instructor is always logging pilot-in-command time. If the flight instructor is on board and is performing any kind of training, he/she is the pilot-in-command. With that in mind an instructor who has put some time in typically hits the market with around 1500-2000 hours with an ATPL. That isn't a bad spot to be in. That doesn't mean that you're going to have companies lined up to hire you, but it may mean you'll be able to by-pass working the ramp. There are a number of operators that are willing to hire guys with that amount of time. It all depends on how the industry is at the time you're getting out there. Personally for me I started my training a week before 9/11 so that kinda sucked the life out of my aspirations for a while. I sat on my ass for two years never touching a plane. Eventually though my number came up and I got flying again.

Long story short, it's a tough call but either path can be rewarding.

Best of luck to you, it's a hell of a ride!
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Chaxterium » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:52 am

Thought I'd offer some more clarification.
Flightman7 wrote:Every charter company has a line up of ramp/dock workers who are working there a**'s off every day for peanuts to get a spot in the right seat.
This isn't necessarily the case. There are a number of operators who don't have ramp workers and hire directly into the right seat. These operators are typically the ones looking for guys with 1500-2000 hours. If not more.

Cheers,
Chax
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by KAG » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:19 am

double post
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Last edited by KAG on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by KAG » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:19 am

Some operators won't hire instructors, while others favor them.
Some companies you work the ramp for 6 months to two years and your FO on a Multi Turbine, others will place you in a 172. It really depends on where the company is located, what type of equipment they fly and what experiences they had with previous employees.
There is no right or wrong path to take to accomplish to your career goals EXCEPT sitting in southern anywhere in moms basement only applying to southern companies.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Bede » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:19 am

Chaxterium wrote: This isn't necessarily the case. There are a number of operators who don't have ramp workers and hire directly into the right seat. These operators are typically the ones looking for guys with 1500-2000 hours. If not more.
They're also probably looking for some multi time (not on a Seminole) and or turbine time. TT doesn't get you very far in this industry. There are many, many applicant's around with thousands of hours of TT, but little by way of decent multi time or turbine time and they're careers are stalled because of it.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by 172pilot » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:04 am

KAG wrote:Some operators won't hire instructors, while others favor them.
Some companies you work the ramp for 6 months to two years and your FO on a Multi Turbine, others will place you in a 172. It really depends on where the company is located, what type of equipment they fly and what experiences they had with previous employees.
There is no right or wrong path to take to accomplish to your career goals EXCEPT sitting in southern anywhere in moms basement only applying to southern companies.
What about CMA, Perimeter, Sunwest etc? They are southern companies, with great equipment and opportunities who will put you into the right seat after 2-3 years on the ground (dispatch/ramp).
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by KAG » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:33 am

There is always the exception to every rule but you cannot be limited to 3 companies for your first job. Also your competing against northern Pilots looking to leave the north, but there are some who are very lucky and land a dream job right out of school.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:50 pm

[/quote]
Chaxterium wrote:Just to make sure you understand, an acting flight instructor is always logging pilot-in-command time. If the flight instructor is on board and is performing any kind of training, he/she is the pilot-in-command


Oh OK, I was under the impression they were second in command for a large amount of time because the student is flying. That makes a lot more sense.
Chaxterium wrote:Thought I'd offer some more clarification.

This isn't necessarily the case. There are a number of operators who don't have ramp workers and hire directly into the right seat. These operators are typically the ones looking for guys with 1500-2000 hours. If not more.

Cheers,
Chax
Ok this makes much more sense, much appreciated.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by co-joe » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:25 pm

Flightman7 wrote:the last to two responses have nothing to do with the question but thanks Nav
They actually did you just didn't get the industry slang in the response. "chasing metal" is an expression meaning going to a job because you love the aircraft, not necessarily the location, schedule, pay, etc. It can be called "shiny jet syndrome" as well.

The whole point of instructing is to stay in the big city. AKA lifestyle. The whole point of going north is to get the good experience without paying for it. If you have a great girlfriend you want to marry, or an invalid mother you need to take care of, by all means stay in town and instruct. If you are free as a bird get your ass up north. Work hard, play hard, and the rewards will come.

BTW this summer would be a great time to get a job at the airport. Talk to the Esso or Shell and get experience around airplanes talking to pilots. Be keen, ask questions, offer to help, network network network. If the plan is to instruct, get a job this summer at a flight school. All the same advice applies.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by ogc » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:57 pm

Try and get an aviation related job even as a summer one as soon as you can.

It will help a lot for when you are either applying as a flight instructor or for when you want to go somewhere else and work the ramp.

I would also make the suggestion of trying to find that job where you also might be doing your flight training.

A friend I met in flight school went the instructor route, and I went the ramp route. Both still waiting to see how it pans out.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:39 pm

co-joe wrote:
Flightman7 wrote:the last to two responses have nothing to do with the question but thanks Nav
They actually did you just didn't get the industry slang in the response. "chasing metal" is an expression meaning going to a job because you love the aircraft, not necessarily the location, schedule, pay, etc. It can be called "shiny jet syndrome" as well.

The whole point of instructing is to stay in the big city. AKA lifestyle. The whole point of going north is to get the good experience without paying for it. If you have a great girlfriend you want to marry, or an invalid mother you need to take care of, by all means stay in town and instruct. If you are free as a bird get your ass up north. Work hard, play hard, and the rewards will come.
Thanks for the clarification, but I've heard the saying a thousand times aha, its definitely one to go by.
I just meant to say that the question wasn't asking what route to take (Although I implied I was weighing the two options with the question) but simply how flight instructors make the next step when ramp/dock workers already have the same job lines up.That has been clarified for me so thanks to all. In saying that however, I really appreciate the extra information you have just given me. I've never weighed the two options from that point of view and based on what you said going up north may actually be a better option for me.

Thanks again, Flightman 7
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by KAG » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:41 pm

I did both, I worked the ramp, then instructed, then went back up north.
What got me going was Multi PIC time as I was instructing on Twins. That lead to my first King Air job, which required multi PIC as they had very fast upgrades. Without Multi PIC time it is harder to get into a charter company but by no means impossible.

As co-joe said instructing gets you a more cushy job down south, but IMHO the real memory making experiences are north of 60.
For grade 11 student you seem to have a good grasp on what is involved in making it in Aviation. If I were you I'd be looking NOW to get a ramp job for a small charter company that may also have a flight school. Why not pay your dues while you get your ratings. I know a few guys who did that and it worked out very well for them.
Good luck.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by wallypilot » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:40 am

Flightman7 wrote:
co-joe wrote:
Flightman7 wrote:the last to two responses have nothing to do with the question but thanks Nav
They actually did you just didn't get the industry slang in the response. "chasing metal" is an expression meaning going to a job because you love the aircraft, not necessarily the location, schedule, pay, etc. It can be called "shiny jet syndrome" as well.

The whole point of instructing is to stay in the big city. AKA lifestyle. The whole point of going north is to get the good experience without paying for it. If you have a great girlfriend you want to marry, or an invalid mother you need to take care of, by all means stay in town and instruct. If you are free as a bird get your ass up north. Work hard, play hard, and the rewards will come.
That statement is true as often as it isn't true. Some guys (myself included) have great experiences up north. Some don't. Some who instruct end up getting stuck instructing, some move on in a reasonable amount of time to great jobs.

Keep in mind that if you have instructed enough to get 1500-2000 hours "in a big city", you are likely to have done some MULTI IFR instruction (Or at least have done a bit of IFR instruction in the SIM)and your IFR experience will be much more marketable than a basic CPL/IR. While flying around in the right seat of a trainer may seem insignificant, you get really good hands and feet experience that many guys who go directly into the right seat of a twin turbine don't get. Having to do demonstrations for students and to get it perfect is really good for honing those hand flying skills. Demonstrating crosswind landings at close to max crosswind over and over in the circuit may seem boring after a while, but it is really good for your skills. You get the idea.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by loopa » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:49 am

Keep in mind that if you have instructed enough to get 1500-2000 hours "in a big city", you are likely to have done some MULTI IFR instruction (Or at least have done a bit of IFR instruction in the SIM)and your IFR experience will be much more marketable than a basic CPL/IR. While flying around in the right seat of a trainer may seem insignificant, you get really good hands and feet experience that many guys who go directly into the right seat of a twin turbine don't get. Having to do demonstrations for students and to get it perfect is really good for honing those hand flying skills. Demonstrating crosswind landings at close to max crosswind over and over in the circuit may seem boring after a while, but it is really good for your skills. You get the idea.
A big + 1

I believe instructing will teach you the human factors, flying practices, and knowledge that will help you do well in the industry. You will be exposed to flying in crap weather at some point in your career - why not do it under the direction of a Captain at 1500 hours versus at 300 hours like you would up north? Just a thought.

Flying up north is great for some guys too, I went the instructor way and I enjoyed it.

Multi pic time is most certainly preferable but not needed. If they hire 250 hour wonders to fly a B1900 with 20 hours of Multi, they will hire a 1500 hour instructor with 20 hours of multi to fly a King Air. I was one of them.

Like mentioned earlier, some companies hire instructor's because they are fast learners, typically fly well, and have a sense of how to delegate and be assertive enough to be comfortable in the 2 crew environment.

Other companies value instructor's with the a piece of hair from their rear end for countless number of reason's that I personally don't agree with. But I'm also biased that instructing is the way to go.

There's certainly no RIGHT or WRONG way, just figure out which way meets your desire to start out.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Gorgons » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Every charter company has a line up of ramp/dock workers who are working there a**'s off every day for peanuts to get a spot in the right seat.
I would like to correct that statement, seems you have been drinking the AvCanada Kool-Aid. There is thread in here somewhere about ramp wages and if I recall correctly the topic was West Jet and Air Canada ramp wages. In a nutshell the point was gone are the days of $25.00 per hour for ramp guys. Guess what? There are companies still out there that are paying decent hourly wages working on the ramp. One that comes to mind is Wasaya Airways LP, I have it on good authority their hourly wages run between $15.00 and $21.00 in Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Pickle Lake depending on position and years of service. I'm told overtime, particularly in Pickle Lake is a given and a guy can gross $60K plus in a year. Large pay cut when you transition to a fulltime right seat position. Which I might add is the way of Canadian aviation. It’s a yo yo, pay goes up and down with every move; it's never a straight line up.

Ramp with overtime lets say a conservative $45K
Right seat PC-12 $30K
Left seat C208B $50K
Right seat Be20 $40K
Left seat PC-12 $60K

*** Note before everybody flames me, I have no idea what their pilot pay scale is or if my example is even in the ballpark.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by C-GGGQ » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:00 pm

depending on position and years of service
yeah and you can make over 50k a year as a ramp hand for air canada, assuming you are a lead, and have many years of service. Doesn't mean you don't start at ~$11 an hour. I would be very surprised if you start on the ramp in any place that puts you right seat at 15-21 an hour. This pay probably comes in years after you would hopefully have your upgrade (assuming a 1-2 year wait).
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:38 pm

Yeah not slag gorgons I appreciate his input, but those figures seem way to good to be true, and we all know that in cases like that it usually is. Its just ridiculous how ramp workers make anywhere near what pilots make in the right seat, I mean really? Its hard to wrap your head around such BS. Deciding whether I want to be a pilot for sure is next impossible as it appears the industry is upside down, But thats just the "AVcanada coolaid" Talking :lol: I like that one Gorgons!
:?

I think picking up a ramp job at say Sunwest or Perimeter would be pretty smart. I mean 1-2 years ramp and then your logging PIC on the navajo? Not to mention a place like Sunwest has all kinds of great birds to advance onto if a better job doesnt open up. After all, I wouldn't mind getting out of Toronto, I belong in the country :) . However, this debate has been in many other threads and in the end, there is no right answer, just opinions. Opinions I really enjoy hearing.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by SuperchargedRS » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:18 pm

To sum it up FLIGHT time trumps RAMP MONKEY time.

One of my neighbors back home is a doctor, he recently had his house remodeled, had some hard working (I mean backbreaking) mexicans do his landscaping. If later he finds he needs another doctor to join his practice, he will hire a experienced doctor over the mexican landscape guy, know why??? BECAUSE BEING HARDWORKING IN A UNRELATED FILED IS WORTHLESS to his profession.

We are pilots, the ONLY time we log is the time pertaining to flying, the only time the insurance companies care about is time pertaining to flying, the experience that makes our pax trust us is our flying experience and the time that will get your hired is the time in a plane, not digging holes or chucking bags, and that is that.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Flightman7 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:31 pm

Yeah but sometimes putting in hard work to get you in a good position, makes sense, even if its unrelated hard work. So what if you have 2000 hours PIC on a 150 and maybe 50-100 hours multi? The reason that time is valuable is because it can get you a good Multi Gig. The same type of Gig the guy that worked the ramp has been in for a year. So your analogy isn't always applicable to aviation. Although it is an extremely valid point. I'm just offering an alternative point of view, not arguing. also consider that I know nothing about aviation, I've only flown a plane twice. Thanks for the post.
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Re: Flight instructing vs Working the ramp. Doesn't add up?

Post by Diadem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:19 pm

Flightman7 wrote:I think picking up a ramp job at say Sunwest or Perimeter would be pretty smart. I mean 1-2 years ramp and then your logging PIC on the navajo?
Not exactly...At Sunwest you work the ramp for 1-2 years, and then you sit right seat in a Navajo while also working part-time as a rampy. It'll be another six to twelve months before you're even a full-time pilot, let alone logging PIC. Keep in mind that TC considers co-pilot time to count as half when it comes to upgrading to an ATPL, so if you start in the right seat straight out of flight school you need 2600 hours (1300x2) of co-pilot time to reach 1500 hours. Not only that, but Contrails requirements or working for a company that only operates aircraft requiring two crew might preclude you from becoming a captain, which means you get no PIC time, which means you don't get an ATPL, which means you can't go captain...A lovely little catch-22 that has bitten one pilot I know who was taken by Jazz right out of flight school in the ass.
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