Real Answers from Real Pilots

Opting out of ATP instructor program?!

Hello everyone. I’m starting with a ATP on July 10. I have been a private pilot for about 15 years and have decided on a career change. I currently have about 560 hours and I’m taking the 100 hour program. Once I’m done I will have somewhere over 700 hours total time. I already have a few really good leads at 135 operators. My question is this… what would be the advantage of going through all the instructor program, if I’m never going to instruct and have no desire to?
Thanks in advance!

Hi Daniel,

You’re fortunate to have some ins with some 135 ops. Depending on your location those can sometimes be hard to come by. Additional training is always beneficial and considering the initial CFI checkride is considered the hardest checkride (it has the highest failure rate of any by a considerable %) it obviously looks good on your resume to have passed it. The other thing to consider is what are your aspirations down the line? Once you make it to a Major would you ever want to be a check pilot? Many people do but they want to see those ratings. Finally as you’re probably aware this industry can be somewhat volatile. If those 135 gigs don’t pan out then what? What if the industry itself takes a turn? I have a few friends who when things got tight went to work for Flight Safety and CAE. They’ve done very well for themselves and now all have VERY high paying corporate gigs. The bottmline is it’s ALWAYS good to have options and have those ratings gives you more.

Adam

Hey Adam, thank you for the fast response! I guess I should’ve noted in my original message, The reasons I’m considering opting out other than my current experience. The first reason is that I want to take any job I can get as soon as possible and start working, as I have a family and due to how long they are pushing these courses out now, don’t know how much time I can be taking away from working. The second reason that I’m considering opting out is I am well aware of the high check ride failure for the CFI initial and I’m wondering why I would want to take that chance of putting black marks such as checkride failures on my resume if I really don’t need it?

Dan

Daniel,

Most people become CFIs because they need the ability to flight instruct to help build their flight time. If you have connections outside of flight instructing, then you may well not need to flight instruct.

What kinds of airplanes do these 135 operators fly?

Chris

Hey Chris! I have A very strong connection flying PC 12s as well as another one with a king air. Thanks for the response!

Dan

Dan,

PC 12s and King Air airplanes are certified by the FAA to be single pilot airplanes. Many operates fly them with two pilots to meet insurance requirements, but at the end of the day they are one pilot airplanes.

Unless you have an opportunity to be a Captain of either of those airplanes you will of course be an FO, but an FO on an airplane that does not require one. This means that logging this flight time is highly questionable. You will hear all sorts of justifications on how this time is loggable, but if you look at those explanations they are obviously stretching the spirit of the rules. Many airlines will not accept flight time that is logged as an FO in these airplanes, so be careful before signing up for any of these types of jobs. I would contact a few regional airlines directly and ask how they will view that sort of flight time.

Chris

My former flight instructor began flying with a 135 operator and it took him over a year to get into the Captains seat and start logging those hours. While the money may be better starting out than flight instructing, depending on the company, if your goal is to get to the regional as fast as you can, you may want to consider your options.

Daniel,

Totally your call but I have to be honest. If you said you don’t want to instruct or were looking to save money I’d feel a lot better. The fact that you’re considering making the decision based on the possibility of not passing a checkride gives me concern. Do you believe when you get to the airlines (Regionals or Majors) the checkrides will get easier? How about forget busting a checkride but the REAL jeopardy of having passengers in you charge. Should they be concerned that their pilot doesn’t think he has the skills or knowledge to pass a checkride?

I’m sorry but every now and then I feel the need to remind people that yes, flying airplanes is a great job, yes it pays well, yes it’s “cool” BUT there’s also a TREMENDOUS responsibility that goes along with it. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to build their time and get hired for an airline, upgrade, go to a Major etc. but I’m not sure everyone understands exactly what goes along with that. Every move puts more and more people’s lives in your hands. I’d be more concerned with that jeopardy vs busting a checkride.

Adam

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Wow Adam! Thank you for that lovely response! Perhaps I should’ve worded that differently, because you clearly took it out of context. First off, there is ALWAYS The chance of busting a check ride and being the realist that I am I don’t live in a fantasy world and I know this. I haven’t found a definitive answer but I know that the CFI initial is high. The only reason I mentioned that was because if there is no point in getting it because if I’m not going to use it whatsoever then why do it ??
Secondly every instructor I’ve flown with has told me I am a strong pilot as well as my three friends who are in the majors who have also flown with me. I’m well aware of the responsibilitys of an airline pilot. I’m a grounded family man and I’m well aware of what I’m getting into. My current occupation that I’ve held for 15 years has incredibly high responsibility.
To be completely blunt, I’m on this forum for some good advice on the topic…not a scolding from “dad”.

To everyone else who answered, thanks for the good words!

Dan

Daniel,

I meant no offense I was simply referring to YOUR words. I’m certainly not your dad nor was I trying to be (however like my children I’m loved and appreciated until I say something they don’t like). I’ve actually been on this forum for well over a decade and I’d like to believe I have offered some “good advice” (and whether you liked it or not that’s what I was attempting to do. Perhaps unsuccessfully?). You initially asked what are the advantages to earning your CFIs if you have no intention of instructing? I offered a few legitimate reasons, your response was the following:
"The second reason that I’m considering opting out is I am well aware of the high check ride failure for the CFI initial and I’m wondering why I would want to take that chance of putting black marks such as checkride failures on my resume if I really don’t need it?"
Not sure what you’re saying I took out of context as your response was quite clear? As for the definitive answer as to why the initial CFI has the highest failure it’s pretty simple. You will be responsible for training future pilots. Since what we learn first often stays with us the longest they want to make sure you do it right. Also as far as knowledge goes you’re responsible for knowing EVERYTHING from every prior rating. Put those together and the bar is pretty high.

That all said, as I said totally your call which route you take.

Peace out :slight_smile:

Adam

Daniel,

On this discussion I would come back to my advice of calling the regionals and asking how they will view your flight time from those 135 operators. It is definitely a grey area, so I would want some answers before I committed to that route.

Chris

Hey Chris! Sorry I didn’t respond directly to you earlier. I actually already took your advice briefly this afternoon and called Expressjet. I didn’t get through to a live person, and ran out of time. If you have any phone numbers of any regionals that you could send me I’d greatly appreciate it! I will say this, I have a couple friends who worked for these companies ( that’s how I have the leads) and one is a corporate pilot and two others in the airlines. They all said there were no issues. Also I was told that I’d be looking at about a six month captain upgrade on the PC 12 position.

Thanks Dan

Dan,

I am not privy to any phone numbers, but I believe that a lot of airline recruiting departments publish their phone numbers on their websites.

That is good that your friends say there will not be any issues. Once you upgrade to Captain everything I was talking about becomes a non issue anyways.

It sounds like you have a good plan, now go for it!

Chris

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Thanks for the info Chris! I’ll try to keep updated as to my progress :blush: