Non-CFI Opportunities to Build Hours

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I am an instrument rated pilot with about 250 hours, currently
studying for the Commercial written. Got my Private Pilot cert.
through ECAC and will probably go to them for Commercial and Multi

1.) Due to financial constraints, would it make sense to combine the
commercial and multi training rather than doing Commercial in the
Arrow followed by multi in the Seminole? I'm a mere mortal - don't
know if biting off that size chunk would wind up hurting me in the
long run.

2.) I do not plan on becoming a CFI so I am looking for
opportunities to build time. Aside from the obvious (flying traffic
& banner towing)are there networks which "advertise" opportunities
to ferry planes or be on call for second-in-command work?

It's obvious I need to add hours - just thinking ahead.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

-- Ursula Dustin, August 27, 2008


CFI is a great way to meet people and network with potential owners. I didn't want to do it, but after I started, I found I was having a great time. I'd actually like to do it again.

Flying traffic can be spotty. Where I did it, the weather didn't always work out well and we'd be lucky to fly once a week (I only did the morning shift). Also, the aircraft was eventually replaced by traffic cameras. All traffic pilots in that area were out of a job within a year.

One thing you might consider is working at an FBO that has a charter operation. You might do administrative work, coordinator, line service, etc. If they know you, they may be more likely to fill an open SIC spot with someone they know over someone walking in cold off the street. Although, places like that don't usually pay well, or possibly pay per trip. I got into an SIC gig exactly this way with about 700 hours, but quickly found out I could make more instructing.

Offer to teach a ground school somewhere.

Another option, strive for tremendous luck.

-- Jason Hackney, August 27, 2008

"Offer to teach a ground school somewhere."

Sorry, it slipped my mind that teaching was off the table. You could help with a ground school. It's a great way to solidify your knowledge.

-- Jason Hackney, August 27, 2008

"Offer to teach a ground school somewhere."

You could get your Ground Instructor ticket(s) by taking the required knowledge tests, without having to go the whole CFI route. Being a ground instructor will indeed help you solidify your own knowledge as J.H. says, as well as help make contacts and meet people you can share flight time / swap instrument approaches with, etc. You can offset the costs of building time (and even write off many of your expenses).

Also, you might consider getting the CFI even if you don't intend to actively instruct -- for the same reasons as above, and also the certificate may allow you to log PIC time when you're flying with other pilots. Ditto for getting your MEI.

As to your question about getting the commercial in the Arrow or the Seminole -- consider the insurance requirements for flying the twin after the checkride. If they require a minimum number of PIC hours, you might as well take the checkride in the single, since the extra hours you spend in the twin getting the ME/Com ticket won't count toward your PIC requirement. However, if the twin's insurance only requires a minimum total time (dual + PIC), then you can use the training time toward the insurance requirements.

In any case, you will probably spend a lot more money training for the Commercial and ME simultaneously, since you'll have to do all the commercial maneuvers in the twin. A better option is to get the Commercial in the single, and then add on the Multi -- only proficiency, no minimum hours required for the checkride.

One last note, on the subject of "tremendous luck" -- years ago I got my MEII, even though I had no intention of giving much twin instruction. With the MEII, I was eventually able to accumulate about 80 hours giving rides and the occasional checkout or flight review. Those few hours allowed me to luck into a great job flying a twin, and I just went on from there! (Note: Insurance requirements are unfortunately a bit higher these days, but you could still take a similar path). As they say, Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. ;-)

Good luck with your flying goals!

-- Jane Carpenter, December 28, 2008