Real Answers from Real Pilots

Jobs besides CFI

Hey I was wondering what other jobs are out there to get your hours up besides teaching and renting a plane? Wouldn’t mine teaching if I had to, but really the teaching type of that makes sense.

Marcus,

There are other jobs like flying sky divers, traffic watch, and banner towing. However, none of those jobs provide the amount of hours that flight instructing does, nor the quality of the flight time. An instructor has to be up on the various rules and regulations and be able to teach them to a student, that level of knowledge makes them very desirable to the airlines.

I would plan on flight instructing, you will get your hours the fastest this way and build quality flight time.

Chris

Marcus,

There are also small cargo and Part135 services and charter gigs but they can be hard to find. I’d also avoid many of the charters as they often involve more baggage loading and cleaning then flying.

Adam

Marcus,

I want to add and say that many people have the same thoughts before they get into aviation, most of the students I worked with also said they were “not the teaching type”, and they turned out to be great instructors. I personally did not see myself doing the whole flight instruction thing either when I started out and also wanted to find a different job to build up the hours. Like Chris and Adam said, instruction is the fastest and most effective way to get to the airlines.

In hindsight, I am very happy that I chose to go with flight instruction because it is an experience that you most likely will not come by anywhere else. I learned a lot and most of my skills, both practical and knowledge, are a result of teaching other people.

Yarden

3 Likes

Marcus,

There’s a website called “climbto350.com” that has a bunch of job offers other than flight instructing, but most require a ton of hours (500-1000 minimum) which can be very hard to obtain without instructing and/or renting. I’ve been at ATP for about 2 months now and I never wanted to instruct until now. I realized that it really is the only way to build hours quickly while keeping my knowledge sharp, the latter of which is in my opinion the most important reason to instruct). One of the senior instructors at my ATP location highly recommends instructing until you reach 600 hours MINIMUM. That way you will have plenty of PIC time to apply for a job outside of instructing, such as flying for Planesense, Boutique Air, Ameriflight, or Cape Air.

When it comes to instructing outside of ATP, are these jobs difficult to come by? I’m not sure if flying clubs and schools require you to interview and be an employee there or if it’s more like an Uber (sorry for a lack of better example) situation where as long as you’re qualified you can advertise that you teach lessons through them?

Austin,

Getting a job at a flight school requires a formal interview just like any
other job. You’re treated like an employee. CFI jobs are not hard to come
by as long as you have a good record, a good attitude, and can be trusted.
Even though you will have a boss, it often feels like you are your own boss.

All flight schools I know of require new instructors to go through an interview and a checkout flight with the chief instructor. Flight schools need to know who exactly they will be hiring. For example, you can have all the qualifications but if your aren’t a people person, then you wouldn’t be a good fit for the flight school to teach others. I wish it was as simple as getting a job with Uber, but it’s not lol.