How did you get your hours after flight training?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by sevensky, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. sevensky

    sevensky Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2020
    Messages:
    18
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    sevensky
    As I get closer to finishing primary training, I was curious about what everyone here did after flight training. In order to time build to 1200 or 1500 hrs., to make it to that all-important next step in their aviation career.
     
  2. jetedrick

    jetedrick Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JT
    I am not working to build hours because I am not interested in a "next step" however do most just go into being a CFI / CFII to build hours?
     
    sevensky likes this.
  3. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,965
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    If you can't afford to fly them off on your own whether that's time or money your best bet is CFI. The next best thing would be aerial survey's. Flying skydivers is another quick time builder but those operations are starting to get picky on hours due to the high profile incidents of late. Depending on your end goals places like smaller freight companies aren't great options because they usually have training contracts that lock you in, they don't get a lot of flying hours a year for the time spent "on the job".

    In the end, unless you "know somebody" don't expect to get a flying job with a fresh Com and 250 hours.
     
    sevensky likes this.
  4. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Lander, WY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Carpenter
    Your next steps after primary training for the Private Pilot certificate, no matter what might come later, would be instrument rating and commercial certificate, of which, the comm requires 250 hours total. The most "common" path is to get your CFI right after that, and build hours as a flight instructor. Pay may not be great, but at least someone else is paying for the aircraft. It's kind of a goofy system, where the youngest, newest "professional pilots" are the instructors, but the way the regs are written, that's really the first thing you can do to get paid for flying. There are a few other gigs, as mentioned, skydiver hauling, survey, banner-tow, but none as prevalent as the instructor route.
    Job opportunities for very low-time pilots are rather limited. Even the small freight companies must operate under Part 135, and the minimums by FAR are 1200 hours for PIC (with IFR capability). 500 hours minimum for a VFR-only pilot under Part 135, an extremely limited category, maybe only in use by sightseeing operators such as Grand Canyon tours or such.
     
    sevensky likes this.
  5. WDD

    WDD Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WDD
    You'll probably spend a couple of years as a CFI getting your hours. Think of it as college grad school, where you get paid a subsistence wage. CFI's are in short supply, as they all leave to go to the airlines, and given the pilot shortage there is more demand for CFI's. That should lead to CFI job opportunities - but given the limiting factor of how much students can/are willing to pay for school, there won't be a lot of money for CFI's in the near future.

    You could always - depending on your age and inclination - go military. They are extremely eager for pilots, because they are also loosing pilots to the airlines.

    Another bit of wisdom I picked up randomly someplace. Go and get your 1st class medical, or figure out a way to remove any doubt you'll get it. You don't want to spend years getting to 1500 just to find out you can't fly for the airlines.
     
    sevensky likes this.
  6. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    TX - the friendliest state
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lou
    I fly PnP (Pilots'n'Paws). Started flying while still a student pilot. FAA has no rules against canine passengers. :)
    Good excuse to fly and you rack up hours fast, get to fly into airports you would never think to fly into. And you gain a lot of go/no-go experience.
    And of course you help save a lot of innocent pups. :)
     
    Ed Sokol, woodchucker and sevensky like this.
  7. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,704
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Travel. Did YE, go to flyins, go to Oshkosh and the Navion convention each year. Lots of $100 crabcakes .
     
    sevensky and Tantalum like this.
  8. WDD

    WDD Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WDD
    Good for you for the volunteer work. But that involves you paying for all the flight time. I'm assuming the OP is trying to get hours with out paying $150/hour rental X 1500 hours (1/4 of a million dollars) or buying and flying a plane for 1500 hours (which would be what, $125k given the cost of an engine overhaul, fuel, etc. and assuming you'd sell it after flying). Oh, and not including the cost of flight instruction for the commercial, instrument, and CFI ratings. And still eating and having shelter during this period.
     
    sevensky likes this.
  9. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    5,052
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    by the time you get through PPL and IFR you'll have at least 100 hrs..

    -go to fly ins
    -plan cross country trips
    -plan adventures
    -not sure where you live, but ski trips, snorkeling trips, hiking trips, are always good bets
    -what's some place 100-500 nm from you you've never been to but want to go?

    Eventually you'll be starting commercial, then you'll get your CFI, and CFII, and before you know it you'll be at 600-700 hrs

    You sort of have to MAKE IT HAPPEN yourself though, there isn't a one size shoe fits all that fits this. Everyone's different. In my case there was loads of California and Arizona I hadn't seen.. many "cool" place are at least a 6 hr drive.. so the plane is a great way to visit these places
     
    Martin Pauly and sevensky like this.
  10. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,191
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I’m at tree hundred hours right now, ppl / ir/ commercial. Training for CFI and actually looking forward to teaching. I love flying small planes. Around 900-1200 hrs “better” jobs become avail.
     
    lancie00 and sevensky like this.
  11. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,990
    Location:
    Ocean City, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GaryM
    Joined a four person club in an Archer. Got tired of cleaning up after one member so we bought our own plane, haven’t looked back since.
     
    Fallsrider and sevensky like this.
  12. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2019
    Messages:
    133
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Leadpan
    Buy a Cessna 150 then fly cross-county from MO to CA (like I'm currently doing). :eek:
     
  13. YooperMooney

    YooperMooney Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2019
    Messages:
    56
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    YooperMooney
    Mascelli is correct. Unless you want to buy an absolute money pit, just join a flying club that has what you need. You do not want to do cross country’s in a C-150/152. Get into a nice 4 place IFR cruiser that can get you places safely and without being thrown around. Club memberships are as low as $500 to join and paying actual cost to fly. Some clubs are $1500 or $5000 to join but no club is the same. Some have one plane and some have 30 to choose from. I’m leaning toward club ownership because the $5000/yr to own a plane is getting old. When you become a pro pilot then you can leave the club. You could even do a club and also work as a CFI or pipeline patroller.

    Source: Former C-150 and current Mooney owner. Flying since ‘95.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    GMascelli likes this.
  14. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    807
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lancie00
    I'm right there with you. About 275 hours and finishing up commercial. Looking forward to CFI and teaching.
     
    texasclouds likes this.
  15. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Messages:
    748
    Location:
    Smithville, Ohio
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Rosenow
    +1 for the flying club. Bought into a club Cherokee 180 and flew while I re-built my first Champ (literally out of a barn...OK, corn crib!). Geez...it's a long time since '71!

    Jim
     
  16. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    I’m not sure of the details, or if this is done in the US, but here in Norway in summertime there are volunteers that fly around looking for forest fires. I think I heard that they fly for free, compensated for fuel, but then that would mean you had to have a commercial pilots cert? Obviously, I don’t know the details other than that it’s part of the fire safety plan here.
     
  17. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,366
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    As many have alluded to.... if you want to pay for those hours, go have fun. If you want to get those hours free, and even get paid, the instructing route is your best option. Yes, there are a couple other minor options, but instructing is generally the best option.
     
  18. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2016
    Messages:
    777
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan Ferguson 1974
    I've had this discussion with up and coming pilots more than a few times over the years. Generally speaking almost everyone who tried to avoid instructing ended up coming back to it anyway.

    Not to say it's impossible -- it's certainly not -- but there are not nearly as many opportunities for very low time (<500 hours) pilots out there, compared to flight instructor positions.
     
    sevensky, texasclouds and TCABM like this.
  19. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,603
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tarheelpilot
    Whatever you do make sure to get a solid foundation in instrument flying skills and procedural knowledge.
     
  20. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,357
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom
    The goal is to get all those hours and not pay for them. Do the math and see what it takes to get to 1500 hours and have to pay for all of them.
     
  21. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,191
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    1200 hrs x 120/hr = 144,000

    that’s a lot of lettuce!
     
  22. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    120
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Geosync
    I was a mechanic so I traded maintenance for flight time. But that only got me through the Commercial rating. Since I worked around the airport I made connections with pilots flying bigger iron willing to help me out. I stupidly took a break from aviation to go into the space sector on the mechanical side, which set my aviation career back. If I had to do it all over again I would have leveraged those connections better, as well as getting my CFI back then. I would probably be at the majors now if I had continued that route. Now I fly a piston aircraft as part of my job in aviation, but too deep into marriage and fatherhood to make a change now.

    Get that CFI, and/or a job at the airport, even pumping Jet A/100LL. Work HARD and make connections. Be the best line tech out there(not hard since most these days are minimum wage idiots with no interest in aviation). People recognize smart, driven individuals. Doors will open.
     
  23. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2019
    Messages:
    30
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    TrueCourse
    I flew for fun as a VFR pilot as often as I could (a few flights a month?) while attending college. I couldn't afford to do anything more. Than after graduating years later earned all the extra ratings including CFI and started teaching. Some actual cross country trips during that time was good experience building. For me, the best part of building time for the next step was after that commercial/CFI ticket and working towards the ATP and the 1200 or 1500 hours. I created trips to destinations a day or two away and enjoyed the traveling. Sometimes it was a complex airplane, sometimes a twin. That was some great flying.
     
    sevensky and texasclouds like this.
  24. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    1,593
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    midwestpa24
    As often as this question gets asked, it almost needs a sticky!

    Every low time pilot wants to get paid to become a high time pilot, but usually don't want to do the few types of flying a low time pilot is hire-able to do for the wages they will get for doing it.
     
  25. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,108
    Location:
    M94 Desert Aire Regional Airport
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skywag
    CFII and commercial floatplane flying then wrote a 135 manual from scratch, found an owner and customer and put an air taxi service together. Had to hire a King Air pilot because I didn't have the required time or experience.
     
    sevensky and texasclouds like this.
  26. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2018
    Messages:
    508
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JamieK
    Those of you with 200-300 Hours commercial or CFI have endorsements but no experience.

    I’m just a lonely PPL with 302 hours. But I got my ticket May 2019.
     
  27. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,169
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    Not sure what your point is. A pilot with 300 hrs and a CFI has essentially the same experience that you do (300 hours) which really is not a lot.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  28. smv

    smv Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    425
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    smv
    There is a difference between 302 hours of experience and one hour of experience repeated 302 times.

    :skeptical:
     
    N1120A likes this.
  29. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    KADS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Plano Pilot
    Most of it was instructing.
     
  30. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,203
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    Got a break and got into a group down in San Antonio called the Alamo Liasion Squadron where flying vintage taildraggers was cheap... and fun.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  31. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    Messages:
    305
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AbnJag
    Rented for awhile. Bought my own plane about 1 year thereafter and have around 360 hours. I fly PnP when able. Still fooling around with getting my instrument rating. What I really need to do is knock out the written and then pay gobs of money for a 2 week course somewhere so I will finish my IR. Since I’ve retired, I really have gotten lazy so catching an hour here and there is not working.
     
  32. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,519
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    hindsight2020
    buh buh buh pilot shartaaaage! :D

    Not according to the regionals. :stirpot:
     
    sevensky and RyanShort1 like this.
  33. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,965
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    There is no shortage of pilots, only ones with with ATP minimums. The regionals only care if you have a pulse and ATP mins. Who will be hurting is the smaller operations as they are in the bad spot of needing people with 1200 hours for insurance reasons and then loosing them at 1500.
     
    TCABM, sevensky and RyanShort1 like this.
  34. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    5,565
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Get a pipeline patrol gig.
     
  35. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,276
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    woodchucker
    Depends on your goals and such. If this is just a poll I guess you got your answers. I’m a 230ish ppl working slowly on instrument. After my ppl I joined a time-share type of program. Paid for a 50 hour annual block with dirt cheap hourly rates. Not ownership though and it showed. The 172s were pretty beat up. When I joined they were showing a sharp looking 180 hp 172 but unfortunately a teenage member cratered it trying to thread the I-15 canyon between St. George and Mesquite with his kid brother aboard.

    After my first year they jacked the rates so I quit flying for two years until I found a local flying club, joined and now enjoying the ride.

    Other than that flying is more rewarding with missions, rather than just drilling holes locally. I flew PnP, my wife enjoys the occasional vacation flights, I’ve flown away to a ski vacation and camping in Monument Valley, etc.

    But I’m in it for the long haul. Eventually would like to get my CFI and instruct for my club.
     
  36. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    1,196
    Location:
    AG5B MYF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N1120A
    In a way, I think the CFI route is actually beneficial for pilots who are learning. The training is fresh in the CFI's mind as they are then taking on students. They learn from their instructors and their own mistakes and don't have as many bad habits built up.

    First, you have to get to 250 hours for the commercial. That involves your instrument rating and lots of XC time that you are paying for. A lot of people I know share that time. Most folks I know do CFI after their commercial, because it is an OK living while having someone else pay for the plane. Some do sky diving or aerial survey. Banner tow usually requires tail wheel and/or a lot of time already - it is actually pretty skilled flying and they don't like their planes falling out of the air.

    Others get corporate work. Some of that is Part 91 SIC work on 2 pilot jets that only require one type rated pilot. Others do stuff for private individuals. I know a guy who flies a guy in a Saratoga from Orange County to Santa Monica and back almost daily. Probably getting 2.0 a day or better for not much work and a lot of fun experience in challenging airspace.

    I have no intent on being an airline pilot, but I wouldn't mind getting my CFI/I to help friends out.

    I've known people who went to Ameriflight with a lot less than 1200 hours.
     
  37. gacoon

    gacoon Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    Messages:
    98
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gerry
    Flight instructing
     
  38. Steegie

    Steegie Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steegie
    Pretty simple, really. After Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi, then CFI. I notice you're talking "career." There's no better way to learn about General Aviation than to teach. My learning was accelerated when I started teaching. Students ask some pretty tough questions sometimes and you have to give them CORRECT answers. Good luck.
     
  39. lsaway

    lsaway Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lsaway
    Things were different when I was time building. I could find CFIs all day long that would instruct for free just to build hours. It was very difficult. I went the route of aircraft ownership and made trips everywhere I could find friends to share expenses. Finally found a job doing VFR island hopping to build the rest of the time.

    Now to today. The career opportunity and path for young pilots is so much greater. I would avoid the skydiving, aerial survey, & the other mostly VFR jobs, because they do not build the very important IFR skills, and the airline recruiters know that. After you get your private, I recommend that you transfer to a part 141 school that is partnered with the regionals. Once you get your CFI & CFII, you will start getting paid to instruct with them, & since they have high volume of students, you will gain your hours fast. The regional airline recruiters put a high value on CFII applicants. If this opportunity was available when I was starting out, I would have jumped at it.
     
  40. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,098
    Location:
    C62
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KSCessnaDriver
    Regional's couldn't give 2 cents where you got your time right now, just that you have a pulse and an ATP/R-ATP eligibility.