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Career Change - Full-time CFI: Average Flight Hours per year?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 12th 04, 10:05 PM
Peter Gibbons
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Default Career Change - Full-time CFI: Average Flight Hours per year?

Background: I'm currently 30 years old with my IFR and about 190 hrs
TT. Currently working as a systems administrator/programmer, but
weighing my options are if I were to try to make a career out of
aviation. Yeah - crazy, right? Try sitting in front of a monitor for
8 hours a day in a cubicle in a building with no windows! It makes
mowing lawns sound like a good career move...

Anyway, spending a year or two as a CFI seems like the common thing
most folks do in order to build time. From poking around in the
newsgroups, it seems as though if a new CFI were pulling in around
$20k for full-time instructing, he would be considered a rich man! I
could have survived on $20k about 5 years ago, but with a wife and a
baby on the way, that's just not going to cut it.

If I could build up enough hours to get hired on somewhere making
$25k-$30k, that wouldn't be as unrealistic financially, and I could
pad it a bit with some contract work here-and-there.

So rather than chuck my current job right away, I figured I'd do a
little comparison and see how realistic I was being. How many hours
could I build up per year (and how much that would cost) if I stayed
at my current job and flew on the weekends versus how many hours I
would get (and how much money I would lose) if I instructed full-time.

So, all of that to tell you the origin of what I am asking:
Generally, how many hours can a full-time CFI expect to fly in a year?
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  #2  
Old January 12th 04, 10:43 PM
Jim
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Not to divert your question, but it may pay to post it over at
http://www.ilsapproach.com where you'll get some real world answers to some
guys that are starving to death trying to do what you suggest. After you
build the hours then what? What are your goals? Students won't want to
hear that your goal is to build hours. Do you want to shoot for the
airlines? After you get your multi-rating and some multi and (hopefully
some turbine time) you may be looking at the regionals offering you as
little as $16500 per year to play First Officer on prop planes. After a few
years in props you may get into CRJs, where in my area of the country they
are starting out as FO making about $23,000. Don't get me wrong, the
regionals ARE hiring right now, but the pay sucks.

Lots of CFI's aren't even making $20k attempting to instruct full time.
Keep your job, ask for reduced hours so you can study and work on your
flying. It sounds like you have a great background to freelance or consult
while working on your rateings. Don't become a CFI just to build hours.
Work because you have to, fly or teach because you want to. I know several
guys that became CFI's just to build time so they could get on with the
regionals. They all worked their butts off instructing and ended up burned
out from it. They are bitter for working so hard and not getting the dream
job offers that they thought they deserved. Now they don't instruct nor are
they flying for the airlines.

Making money being a CFI comes down to providing great instruction and great
service. If you're lucky you'll discover an area of instruction that your
local customers are lacking and you can specialize in that area. Remember,
most flying occurs on the weekends, it sounds like you're already available
on the weekends.
--
Jim Burns III
Full time farmer, part time CFI, wife, 2 kids, and a dog that would starve
if I tried to CFI full time

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  #3  
Old January 12th 04, 10:49 PM
Jim
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http://www.aviationinterviews.com/compare_pay_rates.php

may not be accurate, but someone claims to have researched current regional
pay rates

Mesa FO year #1
$18.15 per hour
70 hours per month guarantee
flying Beech 1900s
$15,246 per year

ouch
--
Jim Burns III

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  #4  
Old January 12th 04, 11:39 PM
Larry Fransson
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On 2004-01-12 14:49:40 -0800, "Jim" said:

may not be accurate, but someone claims to have researched current

regional
pay rates

Mesa FO year #1
$18.15 per hour
70 hours per month guarantee
flying Beech 1900s
$15,246 per year

ouch


That sounds about right. But even those figures don't give you the total
"cost", if you will. Consider what the job and your quality of life is
worth to you. Also consider that commuter pilots aren't moving on as
quickly as they used to. Used to was you could spend no more than about
two or maybe three years doing commuter flying. At least half of that
time, probably more, would be PIC. In the current airline environment,
you're easily looking at five years or more.

I just spent five days at annual recurrent training with a guy who spent
six months working for Mesa. He told me one horror story and said he had a
lot more just like it after only six months of working there. I used to
work with another guy who left Mesa to go back to flight instruction - it
was that bad. Mesa may have improved some in the last few years, but in
the Risley (former CEO, IIRC) days, it sounds like Mesa was an absolute
nightmare. There are other jobs out there, though, that will be just the
same.

I sometimes think I should have gone the commuter route instead of part
135. I would probably have the airline job I want now. But at the same
time, I've always made pretty decent money and although I have some
stories, none match the horror stories I've heard from some of my
compatriots who did their time with low-budget commuters.

--
Larry Fransson
Seattle, WA
  #6  
Old January 13th 04, 02:27 AM
[email protected]
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Peter Gibbons wrote:

So, all of that to tell you the origin of what I am asking:
Generally, how many hours can a full-time CFI expect to fly in a year?


I flew 546 hours last year as a full time flight instructor. It was
my best year ever!... and my first year as a full time flight instructor,
after I retired (at age 50) from Hewlett-Packard. My business is
picking up, and I expect to fly about 750 hours in 2004.

Best regards,

Jer/ "Flight instruction and mountain flying are my vocation!" Eberhard

--
Jer/ (Slash) Eberhard, Mountain Flying Aviation, LTD, Ft Collins, CO
CELL 970 231-6325 EMAIL jer'at'frii.com WEB http://www.frii.net/~jer
C-206 N9513G, CFII Airplane&Glider, FAA-DEN Aviation Safety Counselor
CAP-CO Mission&Aircraft CheckPilot, BM218 HAM N0FZD, 197 Young Eagles!
  #7  
Old January 13th 04, 02:43 AM
C J Campbell
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I personally am logging about 400 hours per year, even though Seattle
weather has me grounded most of the time during the winter months.


  #8  
Old January 14th 04, 06:33 AM
\T\ Tung
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If you were a few years younger, you might have considered the
military. However, maximum age for USAF pilot training is 30 years
old at time of entry, and the application process would take about a
year, and they don't give out waivers for cases like yours.

That's also assuming you have a 4-year degree (officers need college
degrees). In fact, to fly for most majors, having a degree is a major
factor (not part of minimum quals, but highly desirable--as in 95% of
new hires at the majors have college degrees),

"T" Tung
USAF, UAL, Boeing

On 12 Jan 2004 14:05:26 -0800, (Peter
Gibbons) wrote:

Background: I'm currently 30 years old with my IFR and about 190 hrs
TT. Currently working as a systems administrator/programmer, but
weighing my options are if I were to try to make a career out of
aviation. Yeah - crazy, right? Try sitting in front of a monitor for
8 hours a day in a cubicle in a building with no windows! It makes
mowing lawns sound like a good career move...

Anyway, spending a year or two as a CFI seems like the common thing
most folks do in order to build time. From poking around in the
newsgroups, it seems as though if a new CFI were pulling in around
$20k for full-time instructing, he would be considered a rich man! I
could have survived on $20k about 5 years ago, but with a wife and a
baby on the way, that's just not going to cut it.

If I could build up enough hours to get hired on somewhere making
$25k-$30k, that wouldn't be as unrealistic financially, and I could
pad it a bit with some contract work here-and-there.

So rather than chuck my current job right away, I figured I'd do a
little comparison and see how realistic I was being. How many hours
could I build up per year (and how much that would cost) if I stayed
at my current job and flew on the weekends versus how many hours I
would get (and how much money I would lose) if I instructed full-time.

So, all of that to tell you the origin of what I am asking:
Generally, how many hours can a full-time CFI expect to fly in a year?


  #9  
Old January 14th 04, 03:50 PM
Robert M. Gary
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Posts: n/a
Default

As CFIs we tend to fall into one of three categories.

1) FBO CFIs. You will probably easily fly 40 hours a week and make
about $12 and hour.
2) Solo CFI. You will probably make around $40-$50/hr and fly about 10
hours a week.
3) Super CFI. Once you've been a CFI for 30 years or so can usually
get the $40-$50 hr and still work 40 hours a week.



(Peter Gibbons) wrote in message . com...
Background: I'm currently 30 years old with my IFR and about 190 hrs
TT. Currently working as a systems administrator/programmer, but
weighing my options are if I were to try to make a career out of
aviation. Yeah - crazy, right? Try sitting in front of a monitor for
8 hours a day in a cubicle in a building with no windows! It makes
mowing lawns sound like a good career move...

Anyway, spending a year or two as a CFI seems like the common thing
most folks do in order to build time. From poking around in the
newsgroups, it seems as though if a new CFI were pulling in around
$20k for full-time instructing, he would be considered a rich man! I
could have survived on $20k about 5 years ago, but with a wife and a
baby on the way, that's just not going to cut it.

If I could build up enough hours to get hired on somewhere making
$25k-$30k, that wouldn't be as unrealistic financially, and I could
pad it a bit with some contract work here-and-there.

So rather than chuck my current job right away, I figured I'd do a
little comparison and see how realistic I was being. How many hours
could I build up per year (and how much that would cost) if I stayed
at my current job and flew on the weekends versus how many hours I
would get (and how much money I would lose) if I instructed full-time.

So, all of that to tell you the origin of what I am asking:
Generally, how many hours can a full-time CFI expect to fly in a year?

  #10  
Old January 14th 04, 03:51 PM
Robert M. Gary
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Posts: n/a
Default

"C J Campbell" wrote in message ...
I personally am logging about 400 hours per year, even though Seattle
weather has me grounded most of the time during the winter months.



I'll bet a lot of that is CFII and MEI work, not straight CFI work.
 




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