Real Answers from Real Pilots

Housing for Flight Instructors

I’m considering starting the Airline Career Pilot program and then building time as an ATP flight instructor. I have some questions about the housing situation for flight instructors. I understand that while enrolled in flight school students share a room with other students. Is the same true of flight instructors, or do instructors get their own living space?

I ask because I have a wife and son. I plan to live separately from them for the duration of the training program and go home on weekends when possible. But I would want them to live with me during my time as a flight instructor. Is that possible/advisable in the ATP arranged instructor housing, or will we have to make other arrangements?

I’m sure I’ll have more questions, but this one is at the top of my list right now. Thanks for any insight!

Hey Dan,

The living situation for students and flight instructors is the same. You will be offered subsidized housing as a CFI but it will be shared with other instructors. Usually the apartments are shared by 4-6 people with 2 sharing each room. Either way it wouldn’t be appropriate to bring in the family as you are sharing the living space with other people.

Where do you live and where do you plan to train/work? You might want to consider a location that can offer a lower cost of living.

Yarden

Thanks for the information Yarden!

I am currently attending Purdue University in Lafayette, IN. My plan is to attend either the Chicago (closer) or Louisville (extended family nearby) locations for flight training. As I mentioned, I plan to do this phase living separately from my family and hopefully going back “home” on the weekends whenever possible.

How much choice will I have about where I do my instructing job? Is it likely I’ll be able to instruct in the same location I train, or will I be assigned a location based on where instructors are needed?

Dan

Dan,

When you get hired you will be asked to give your top three locations that you would like to work at. Even if you don’t get the one you want right away you can always put in a transfer request for when a spot comes open at your preferred location. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, people seem to return to where they started.

As an aside, my grandfather was one of the founding members of the Purdue Flying Club and won one of their first contests called the “Ribbon Cutting Contest”. Are you a member of the club? Does it still exist?

Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the info!

As far as I can tell, the Purdue Flying Club has become Purdue Pilots, LLC. I’ve signed up for an introductory flight with them next Monday, and will likely join the club to pursue my PPL while I finish my education. I’ve only been a passenger on aircraft so far, so I want to make sure I actually enjoy flying as a pilot before comitting to a career. That and I just can’t wait!

Dan

Dan,

I think that an introductory flight is a great place to start. Take your time and ask lots of questions. Let us know how it goes, please.

Chris

Dan,

I appreciate all your concerns and it’s great to do your homework but until you actually go up it’s really kind of pointless. Chances are you’ll love it but many don’t. GO FLY! :slight_smile:

Adam

Thanks for the comments Adam, that’s exactly what I intend to do!

Update for anyone interested:

I finally went up for my intro flight yesterday. It sounds like a post in the “Flying the Line” section, but weather forced a delay from the initially scheduled flight. On the second day, the plane I was scheduled to fly (Piper Warrior II) failed to start. Luckily the club had a Cessna 150 available for us to use.

Once airborne, the instructor handed off the controls, and I was surprised at how natural everything felt. It was a lot of fun to get a feel for how the aircraft handles, and see the sights from 2000ft AGL. The instructor took control again for the descent and landing, but had me ‘follow’ the controls.

I’m left with no doubt that I want to learn to fly. I haven’t committed to anything yet, but I’m considering getting my PPL with the Purdue Pilots Club and then deciding which route to take from that point. Regardless, I think the plan will involve working a ‘day job’ at least for a while to build up savings and make flight training survivable for my family.

Thanks again to everyone for the helpful information and advice!
Dan

Dan,

Glad it went well and you know have confirmation that you want to fly. I don’t want to hijack your post or rain on anyone’s parade but you’re initial experience clearly demonstrates the importance of find a good school with ample resources. The plane you were scheduled to fly was out and luckily they had something else BUT that something else was not the same plane you were scheduled to fly. What if you were a month into your training? Doubtful you’d jump into a 152 if you’d been training in the Warrior (or visa versa). How long would will the Warrior be out etc? What if your instructor was out when you wanted to schedule again? And so it goes. Additionally when you’re training full time if the weather is a factor in the morning, then you’ll fly in the evening. Again not bashing this school or any other, just pointing out the reason sufficient size and resources are important to success in flight training as well as consistency…

Adam