The flight time conundrum
Many of you with actual paying flying jobs will remember this phase in your aviation career. Some of you might have given up at this point in your flying career and went to do something else for a living. I found it a highly annoying part in my progression back in the day. For most of us, it seems to be somewhere right after you get your commercial pilot ticket. It took me a couple of years to get past this part. You need the hours to get the job. But without the job, how do you get the hours? Many or my students had this idea that once they have their commercial license, they go out and knock on the door at a commercial operator and boom they’re off, they have “arrived”, bring on the captain pay. I was there myself. I remember them laughing at me when I showed up with my 200 hour resume ready to get into a Huey.
The key I have found in my career was to get your Flight Instructor rating. You will get paid (poorly) to do some flying, and you get (some) experience as well as tons of survival instincts (every time a student tries to kill you). But you will arrive at your goal sooner and with great experience and even greater stories. Guys I know who tried to get around the CFI rating will usually take a lot longer to find a job and might fly way shadier machines in the progress. And I have mentioned this before, when I was in charge of hiring people and I had to pick one out of two pilots with equal flight hours but one had a CFI, I’d always pick that pilot of the other one. The other benefit of working as CFI is that you will get to meet a lot of people. Some of them are in the market for a plane and helicopter or have influence in the industry and getting to know them could become your “in” into the industry.
Do any of you have different experiences? Let’s hear your stories!