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Part-time CFI


tonymont
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Hello, I'm on the verge of getting my private and considering getting commercial and add'l ratings thru CFII with the goal of working as a part-time instructor.

 

The idea is to return to the corporate world I've worked for many years (approx 8am-6pm on M-F in the office) and still be able to fly occassionally (weekends and maybe once during the week) - without having to pay $200/hour flight hour. Earning only $20/hour (or less) as CFI would still be better than paying $200/hour as private pilot flying for fun.

 

Possible concerns:

1. Any general attitude that flight schools have with hiring an instructor who is available only part-time (possibly just weekends)?

 

2. How would a flight school feel about someone staying long-term (beyond 1,000 hours), with no desire to leave for a job in the heli industry?

 

3. If you fly only a few times per week, for example, one flight on Friday afternoon, a couple on Saturday, and one on Sunday, is this enough to keep your flying skills as a CFII sharp and up to the standards that a good flight school has?

 

4. Knowing nothing about being a CFI, is there a lot of add'l time you need to dedicate beyond the actual flying time (preparing lessons or whatever) that you need to factor into your time schedule?

 

I realize questions 1 & 2 might depend on the specific flight school I would work at, but I'm just wondering if anyone out there has been able to pull this type of arrangement off, and opinions as to whether this sounds like a do-able plan.

 

Thanks

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I personally think it doesn't work for the first 1000 hours. I think it's a full-time job.

 

And especially in the first couple of hundred hours it takes a lot of extra time.

 

Also I don't think a lot of flightschools would be interested but I can only speak for myself, and I am not. I would be interested though having a high-time part time instructor.

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I don´t know what flight schools think about it. But from a student view I would say there are only very few students out there who want´s to fly only on weekends. And of course no student likes to fly with different instructors every week.

Just keep in mind that even if you find a school which hires you part time, it will be difficult to find students which wants to fly your schedule.

 

Rainer

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I do flight instructing part time (weekends and after work), but I do it fixed wing at our flying club. I usually have at least one flight per week with a student. Sometimes 2 or 3. I do this with a wife who works nights and two children, so it keeps me VERY busy. But, it works out.

 

I am considering picking up a helicopter add on to my CFI and CFII this summer. The biggest difference between your situation and mine is that I have over 1300 helicopter hours already, so I won't exactly be low time. The one school I was thinking about getting my CFI/CFII with said they could probably find some work for me on weekends and after work.

 

You might consider getting a fixed wing rating too. There are a lot more people looking for flight reviews, IPCs, aircraft checkouts, commercial & instrument upgrades, etc... in the fixed wing community, and the flying is cheaper so more people can afford it. It is a decent way to build some hours(not helo) and some experience.

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I'm planning on doing basically the same thing. I'm available most days after 4:00 and have two months free in the summer as well as a couple of 1-2 week breaks during the year.

 

As a student, I ALWAYS wanted to fly on Sat. and Sun. and my instructors didn't. I think there are many students who work full-time and need to be able to fly during the times when we would be available. I think most flight schools would be okay with it. It would relieve some of the pressure from the day CFI's and it would allow them to accomodate students that they have been missing out on. Since most CFI's are independant contractors, and not employees per se, they don't work set schedules anyway.

 

I still plan on moving up in the industry, it will just take longer.

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The idea is to return to the corporate world I've worked for many years (approx 8am-6pm on M-F in the office) and still be able to fly occassionally (weekends and maybe once during the week) - without having to pay $200/hour flight hour. Earning only $20/hour (or less) as CFI would still be better than paying $200/hour as private pilot flying for fun.

 

Buy a used R-22, finance it, and lease it to a local flight school. Work out a deal that covers your cash flow and provides them with an aircraft at a bargain cost. Arrange to instruct in it and fly-for-fun when they aren't using it to generate revenue.

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Most important is the location and clientele of the school. A busy "academy" kind of place (HAI, Vortex) will have little use for a part-timer (and realistically, unless you trained with them, as a new CFI you'd never be hired anyway). A smaller school attached to a large metro area will likely have use for part-timers, as their clientele are to a great extent folks like you.

1. Any general attitude that flight schools have with hiring an instructor who is available only part-time (possibly just weekends)?
As others have alluded to, there is a very steep learning curve for a new CFI - it usually takes about 150 hours of dual given before a new CFI starts getting traction. If you are only teaching 3-4 hours a week, you'll be getting things figured out about a year after you start. When I start a new instructor, I try to taper them into as much flying as possible - I want them to be on the ball within 60 days if possible (we have a 90-day evaluation period). That being said, I have one part-timer who trained with us, and a full-timer who started part-time (also trained with us). It just means a lot harder focus on everyone's part.
2. How would a flight school feel about someone staying long-term (beyond 1,000 hours), with no desire to leave for a job in the heli industry?
Very happy - but remember teaching IS a job in the heli industry.
3. If you fly only a few times per week, for example, one flight on Friday afternoon, a couple on Saturday, and one on Sunday, is this enough to keep your flying skills as a CFII sharp and up to the standards that a good flight school has?
See above. It might be sufficient to keep an experienced instructor/pilot sharp, but it may not be enough to develop and maintain proficiency.
4. Knowing nothing about being a CFI, is there a lot of add'l time you need to dedicate beyond the actual flying time (preparing lessons or whatever) that you need to factor into your time schedule?
Yes - figure that for every hour of flight time, there is an additional half-hour of direct ground instruction with students. On top of that, if you are doing a good job, you are spending about as much time (at least in your first 200 hours if instruction) preparing your ground instruction as you are giving it. Finally, given that you will most likely be working at a smaller school, most likely you will have to add extra time during your working days to help fuel, clean, service, move and generally "mind" the helicopter(s). Most small places rely on their CFIs to do the line work on the training aircraft. If you plan to arrive at 9:50 for a 10:00 lesson, then leave at 12:05, you (or your students) are in for a rude awakening.

 

Bottom line? If you are passionate about flying, find the right school, get along well with the staff, are flexible on your working days, and are willing to (gads, dare I say it here) do some work you aren't directly getting paid for, you can find part-time work.

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My biggest concern is that you're looking for a way to fly on someone elses dime, but what you may not realize is that when you're teaching, the student is doing the flying, and you're there to ensure he/she learns what they need to know. Which isn't always the fun flying that you can do on your own dime.

 

Teaching can indeed be fun, but you have to want to teach. Otherwise, you might consider the prior posters suggestion, buy a R22 or R44, lease it to a flight school, and fly it for fun.

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