Real Answers from Real Pilots

Instructing Location/Getting Flight Hours

Hello all,

I’ve been lurking on here for some time thinking about a career change. Have a few questions about the location you are instructing from. I understand that I can pretty much choose where I do the initial training at, but after I get all my certificates and transition to being an instructor do you stay at your initial location or go somewhere else? If the location you are at is pretty slow and you aren’t accumulating hours like you’d like can you transfer to a busier location to instruct?

Thanks,

-Matt

Matt,

When you are hired as an instructor you will be shown the locations that are available, one of them might be your training location, but it might not be either. You can chose to take what you are offered or find a job with another school.

ATP will consider transfer requests, but keep in mind that the company staffs its locations based on student demand. Instructors should have just about the same workload at any location.

Chris

Matt,

Chris is right. You’re location may or may not be available. If you choose
a different location, you may be able to make a transfer request when your
location does become available. But there is no guarantee. The airlines
operate the same way.

Tory

Thanks for the responses. It’s good to know they place instructors as demand warrants. Last thing I’d want to be doing is sitting around at a slower location waiting for the opportunity to build hours.

Tory, you brought up something else I’ve been wondering about, crew bases and by extension, commuting. Please correct any of the following: When you get hired by a airline, basically it will let you know what crew bases are available. You choose one (or pick the only one available) and assuming you move to that location, most of your assigned flights will originate or terminate there, but there might be occasions where you deadhead. Most of the majors seem to have their crewbases where their hubs are at, which makes sense. The regionals on the other hand seem to have some bases at some pretty small operations/airports (Piedmont at KSBY and KROA, for example). In these circumstances, are you going to be doing a lot of jumpseating to larger hubs for scheduled flights, or are these just really small crewbases handling the handful of flights from that airport?

If you choose to live elsewhere and commute to your crewbase, then it’s your responsibility to get to it for your scheduled fight. What happens if you don’t make it? Flights are delayed and cancelled or there is always a possibility that were isn’t a seat available to get you to your crewbase. Just seems like a risk to commute.

Thanks for the advise!

-Matt

Matt,

All of your trips will begin and end at your base, whether that means you fly a flight or deadhead out doesn’t really matter, the trip always starts and ends at the base. When your trip involves a deadhead you will be provided with a positive space seat, there is no reason to jumpseat. Generally though, those small crew bases are handling flights in and out of those smaller airports, although the crews also fly throughout the entire system.

For commuters, most airlines have a commuter clause in their contracts that helps protect pilots from disciplinary action when they don’t make it to work, but the trip is usually dropped without pay. This, and the reasons you mentioned, are why I recommend so strongly against commuting.

Chris

Matt,

As Chris said many airlines have a commuter clause but that doesn’t mean you can just say “I couldn’t get on this flight oh well”. If you miss your trip you’d need to show some solid effort you made to get there. You’re expected to check the loads and allow for delays, cancellations etc. If the weather is forecast to be bad you’re expected to get there a day or 2 prior. Even with a commuter clause miss enough trips and you can expect a meeting with the Chief Pilot or possibly discipline. Commuting is a choice and if you chose to do it then it’s on you to get to work.

Adam

Chris and Adam,

Thanks for the quick reply’s! You guys are awesome.

-Matt

Hi guys, Thomas here. Reading this discussion I’m interested to know, how long it would take from the time you started instructing to when you have 1500 hours, is it all relatively the same? or can it vary depending on the location? thanks

Thomas,

ATP’s website states that a flight instructor can obtain 1500 hours in as
quickly as 18 months. That averages out to be about 70 hours of flying per
month. That’s a manageable workload. I don’t know how long it takes the
average ATP instructor, but I would imagine it’s close to 21 months.

Tory

Thomas,

Most instructors teach for 18 to 24 months to get the necessary hours. The amount of flight time should not vary much from one location to the next as ATP matches the number of instructors at a location to the number of students at the same.

Chris