Pondering professional pilot pipeline

ArrowFlyer86

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The Little Arrow That Could
I think all the professional pilots I've met were, at one point, CFIs/CFIIs. A lot, if not most of the hours they got were while flying with student pilots that were at an earlier stage of their flying adventures. At least that's been my understanding.

This makes me wonder: If the applicant pool of new, low-time pilots dries up when a lot of people are in the pipeline (CFIs between 250-1500h), what does that do for CFI hour building and career track? I imagine that can happen during econ downturns or if air travel becomes temporarily less popular (e.g., post 9/11?). The way that I visualize the aviation industry it is shaped like a pyramid where to build the requisite hours you need an even bigger base of students underneath you. Is that the right way to think of it?

If their hours aren't subsidized by student pilots how would they continue building hours? Is it common for people to borrow money (like they do for college) or to see them moonlighting in other jobs to fund their advancement in aviation? Have there been periods like this in recent history (20-30 years)?
 
If student population drops, the average CFI is going to take longer to get 1500 unless they broaden their horizons. How they get to that 1500 can take many forms. Being paid to get there > paying to get there.
 
If student population drops, the average CFI is going to take longer to get 1500 unless they broaden their horizons. How they get to that 1500 can take many forms. Being paid to get there > paying to get there.
Thanks. I wasn't sure if most people would treat it similar to traditional college where loans are the preferred route to fund their career track (in this case borrowing money so they can keep flying and stick to a timeline), or if they would accept a longer pathway to get there.
 
Thanks. I wasn't sure if most people would treat it similar to traditional college where loans are the preferred route to fund their career track (in this case borrowing money so they can keep flying and stick to a timeline), or if they would accept a longer pathway to get there.

Most people go to college for the paper (bachelor’s degree) that qualifies them to get paid for certain work. The flying equivalent of that is the Commercial certificate.
 
They can sit in the run up area at idle, later fly a short flight around the pattern. That’s a cheaper way to build time.
 
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