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7thgear
02-23-2015, 07:03 AM
I am finishing up my PPL. My flight instructor was charging me $60/hour. I added it up last night and I could of saved over $1000 by going with one of the many instructors around my flying club that charge $30/hour. Ouch.

My question is if there is any way to tell if it was worth it going with a more expensive guy?


UAL T38 Phlyer
02-23-2015, 07:14 AM
Ask other students who their favorite was....the guy they learned the most from.

Cubdriver
02-23-2015, 07:30 AM
Nah, that's a bit too much unless they justify it somehow. Justification might take the form of, it is a rich neighborhood, cost of living is high there, and/or the person has a great reputation for teaching in the area or they are the only one around with an exotic airplane you plan to buy, or they operate out of a club that has lots of perks associated with it such as sims, grounds schools, and/or a new fleet. Normal rates vary per region but $25-$50 an hour is the normal range I would expect to pay and there is no difference between FAA certificates. People really get raked over by these schools that have all new aircraft, some of the rental rates are insane and I guess they tack on high instructor rates to make you think they have something better when they really do not. Shop around. I would not pay over $100 an hour wet for a trainer even now and for a full time instructor, $35-$45 an hour.


Toonces
02-23-2015, 03:49 PM
The real answer is: maybe. Generally, an instructor who charges more compared to the local area is doing so based on longevity and experience. If he/she is a good teacher, you will benefit more compared to those with lesser experience. If the instructor is not a good teacher, then it rarely matters what pedigree they bring.

Go with your gut. Try one out, if the instructor isn't meshing well with you, switch instructors, or even switch schools. Don't hesitate to do what's actually right for you.

7thgear
02-23-2015, 08:12 PM
Nah, that's a bit too much unless they justify it somehow. Justification might take the form of, it is a rich neighborhood, cost of living is high there, and/or the person has a great reputation for teaching in the area or they are the only one around with an exotic airplane you plan to buy, or they operate out of a club that has lots of perks associated with it such as sims, grounds schools, and/or a new fleet. Normal rates vary per region but $25-$50 an hour is the normal range I would expect to pay and there is no difference between FAA certificates. People really get raked over by these schools that have all new aircraft, some of the rental rates are insane and I guess they tack on high instructor rates to make you think they have something better when they really do not. Shop around. I would not pay over $100 an hour wet for a trainer even now and for a full time instructor, $35-$45 an hour.

He is very professional, does a good job, and has a good reputation. However, since he is a career flight instructor he has seemingly lost passion for what he does after 20 years and it shows sometimes; a few of our lessons have been cut and dry (show up, do the lesson, don't talk about anything else, lesson over, pay me, bye).

Overall, I am not seeing this premium service I am paying for and have decided I will not be using him for the instrument training. Maybe I'll note a difference in quality when I switch to a $30/hour guy and I'll try to remember to post back in this thread then.

One observation that made me start questioning myself was when I ran into other instructors around the airport. They had careers in other fields and being a flight instructor was "just something I do on the side for fun". They were a lot more enthusiastic about flying than my instructor and 2 of them freely offered very helpful resources for student pilots. I said to myself that I'd like to be flying with those guys!

Thanks for the input.

7thgear
02-23-2015, 08:16 PM
The real answer is: maybe. Generally, an instructor who charges more compared to the local area is doing so based on longevity and experience. If he/she is a good teacher, you will benefit more compared to those with lesser experience. If the instructor is not a good teacher, then it rarely matters what pedigree they bring.

Go with your gut. Try one out, if the instructor isn't meshing well with you, switch instructors, or even switch schools. Don't hesitate to do what's actually right for you.

Thank you.

We mesh well most of the time but my gut is telling me I am burning through a lot of money unnecessarily.

PotatoChip
02-24-2015, 02:44 AM
I would ask that you are probably wasting money. If you could somehow compare average flight hours before the PPL check ride you would be able to contrast a bit... But I doubt that's possible. If you can, ask students of the other instructors how many lessons/hours they had before their ride.

Try to take a broad sample though, since there are so many variables.

Penguin1
02-26-2015, 12:37 AM
You could ask them to tell you their number of recommendations and pass rate in say, the last two years.

PRS Guitars
02-26-2015, 04:53 PM
I agree with Toonces...Maybe.

I started out charging $20 per hour (handshake to handshake) which was what most new folks were charging. As I gained experience and a good reputation through word of mouth I gradually raised rates over the years, because I could. I also charged more for Aerobatics or Mountain Flying because there weren't many CFI's qualified to teach that stuff.

If money is tight and you can find another instructor that you get along with and learn from, you should probably jump ship. I'd also be honest with your original instructor about the reason. Remember that you are the customer in this equation, he needs to earn your money.

wizepilot
03-02-2015, 02:56 PM
As a flight instructor for the past 40+ years, you can bet Uranus I know I'm worth it! :cool: Okay, here it comes.....

LR2205
03-04-2015, 07:13 PM
Although prices vary by the area of the country you live in, $60 seems to be about the going rate nowadays if you go through your local flight school. Only 10 years ago, it was only about half that. God knows what it's going to be 10 years from now but by then I'll be instructing and not in training. I bet it will double again in another 10 years, we're already heading in that direction. Expect to see $100 an hour in the not too distant future, the current rates are cheap compared to what we're gonna see soon. Flight schools just can't make money on the planes anymore. I talked to a flight instructor recently who actually told me his flight school was up to $70 an hour (I live in the northeast, the most expensive part of the country).

The bottom line is this: it's up to you. What good is an expensive instructor who can teach well, but you don't get along? Or vice versa? I've gone through a lot of instructors who I didn't like and finally found one I did like. Now, we're quickly blowing through my training and I'm doing great, all because of good chemistry (and the fact that he teaches well, but that's besides the point). Before I talked to my instructor I talked to several instructors to try and find one that would be a good match. I could tell over the phone that it wasn't a match in each case, didn't always have to fly with them; sometimes you can tell from a person's demeanor (or in person) what to expect if/when you fly together. If they are a d****bag over the phone, chances are they'll be similar in the airplane.

Most people say to take a flight with an instructor before deciding on them. My opinion is, no need, decide it on the ground. You save time, money, and aggravation that way. It was frustrating going through all the instructors I did before I found the right one, but the wait was well worth it. Your training is expensive- and while that engine is running it's all about you- DON'T hesitate to fire your instructor on the drop of a hat. I've done it many times and never looked back.

GrumpyBear
03-06-2015, 08:47 PM
7thgear:

I found myself in your same shoes a few years back while working on my CFI. Both of these CFI's was pretty much the only show in town when it came to teaching initial CFI's. Anyway,to echo what the rest of the group is saying , go with your gut. Fly with other CFI's. Just beacuse someone is a low time (cheaper rate) CFI doesn't mean that he/she are bad instructors. AND just beacuse they've been around for awhile doesn't make them Sky God's either. In the end, you gotta make every dollar count. Good Luck!

dckozak
03-20-2015, 03:10 AM
You get what you pay for.... usually ;)

No doubt there are "better" instructors at half the rate of some. The advise about interviewing the prospective instructor and requesting references (and following up to interview them) is the best advice.

All said, consider this. A flight school charging $30 for instructor time, how much is the instructor getting? Even if they are keeping the whole thing, they are earning an income at the rate of $30,000 annually if they fly 1000 hours. Sure some put in more hours a year, but you get my point.

At $30 per hour, you are getting someone who is either doing it for a hobby/fun or is building time, looking for the door. Transit instructors are a facet of the industry but you run the risk that you will be trading out instructors while completing a long course (like an inst rating).
Is that good good for your training? Some times change is a good thing, many times not; but you can't predict nor control events when your teacher is looking for a better deal. At $30 an hour, just about any other job flying is a step up, just saying.... :eek:

forgot to bid
03-24-2015, 06:07 AM
No they're probably not worth it.

If they won't spend a moment of their time with you without charging you, stay away. If they don't want to be a mentor, run.

Frankly when I was learning to fly my CFIs were young guys who wanted to be airline pilots. They were motivated, real and they didn't charge me for ground. I had a different instructor later, older Lt Col who wanted to be an airline pilot, he was awesome too and spent a lot of time at the airport with me off the clock. I felt with these guys like we were all in it together and they certainly had a passion for flying. Flying > Money.

I decided that was the kind of CFI I wanted to be. Save your money and put it into flying because after all we're there to fly. When I instructed from 97-00 my school charged $25-$35 per hour for me and paid me $5.50-$7/hr. I didn't charge for ground either despite doing full blown ground session. I wanted that time to focus on learning and not have a student have a clock running in his head trying to calculate how much this was costing him. I wanted them to get it, and if they weren't getting it (but trying) then I needed to keep attacking it from different angles until they got it. The point was learn. And the better they learned the less time we wasted in the plane and they got done on time and on budget. But at my school we'd solo guys in 5-10 hours and private and instrument ratings were done in the min time or something was wrong.

Of course sometimes we grabbed a football and went out back and tossed that around while doing ground and a white board wasn't necessary, but hey, that's what you get when it's free. :D

You can have very good CFIs for cheap. I've met the $100/hr CFI here in Atlanta recently and I can tell you they weren't worth a dime of it. Give me the kid with 300-400 hours that has a lot of enthusiasm. The 600-1000 hour CFI has enthusiasm and experience and the 1200-1500 has a lot of experience and little enthusiasm. You do burn out if you put a lot into it. Just do.

If a CFI doesn't give a damn about anything other than your credit card then don't give a damn about them and move on.

waflyboy
03-26-2015, 09:03 AM
7th Gear-

Have you asked the instructor if he give you a better rate? If he is a good instructor and you get along, then it wouldn't hurt to ask. On the other hand, if the issues you mentioned mean enough to you, perhaps it's time to move on regardless.

JamesNoBrakes
03-26-2015, 09:35 AM
I didn't charge for ground either despite doing full blown ground session.

This is ridiculous and nearly as unethical as charging someone for something that didn't happen. The repercussions if this get ingrained into all who are involved and it ends up as shooting yourself in the foot, causing instructors to get paid less, working for free, expecting to not have to pay for things, and so on. I would never, ever, recommend this, just as I would never recommend charging someone for "lunch" when you fly out to someplace for it or charging for time without providing any benefit to the student. If you can't afford to be a pilot, don't be a pilot, or find some other way to do it, or take a longer time doing it. You need to have morals and stand for something. Offering "freebies" is not doing that.

NorthRoader907
03-26-2015, 09:37 AM
Do yourself a favor, get a tailwheel, glider, or float rating before your instrument rating. These ratings require actual airmanship, and will expose whatever bad habits you picked up flying trainers.

While Cessna's (and Piper, Beech) auto-land gear saves a lot for the insurance companies, it also enables sloppy flying, and there are way too many instructors out there who teach sloppy flying.

Then you will get more out of your t/o and landings while you pursue the instrument rating.

bedrock
03-26-2015, 09:56 AM
This is ridiculous and nearly as unethical as charging someone for something that didn't happen. The repercussions if this get ingrained into all who are involved and it ends up as shooting yourself in the foot, causing instructors to get paid less, working for free, expecting to not have to pay for things, and so on. I would never, ever, recommend this, just as I would never recommend charging someone for "lunch" when you fly out to someplace for it or charging for time without providing any benefit to the student. If you can't afford to be a pilot, don't be a pilot, or find some other way to do it, or take a longer time doing it. You need to have morals and stand for something. Offering "freebies" is not doing that.

I agree, and this is where the "undercut to get ahead" mentality starts. As an independent instructor I gave 1 30 min intro lesson free of charge, later I changed it to $15.00 to stop free-loaders. When I did ground, I billed by the hr up to 1.5 hrs, after that I billed. If the student was late often, I also started billing. However, I didn't treat it like a law practice, where the literally bill for mailing a letter. Know this, the golf and tennis instructors aren't giving it away for free.

PRS Guitars
03-26-2015, 02:00 PM
No they're probably not worth it.

If they won't spend a moment of their time with you without charging you, stay away. If they don't want to be a mentor, run.

Frankly when I was learning to fly my CFIs were young guys who wanted to be airline pilots. They were motivated, real and they didn't charge me for ground. I had a different instructor later, older Lt Col who wanted to be an airline pilot, he was awesome too and spent a lot of time at the airport with me off the clock. I felt with these guys like we were all in it together and they certainly had a passion for flying. Flying > Money.

I decided that was the kind of CFI I wanted to be. Save your money and put it into flying because after all we're there to fly. When I instructed from 97-00 my school charged $25-$35 per hour for me and paid me $5.50-$7/hr. I didn't charge for ground either despite doing full blown ground session. I wanted that time to focus on learning and not have a student have a clock running in his head trying to calculate how much this was costing him. I wanted them to get it, and if they weren't getting it (but trying) then I needed to keep attacking it from different angles until they got it. The point was learn. And the better they learned the less time we wasted in the plane and they got done on time and on budget. But at my school we'd solo guys in 5-10 hours and private and instrument ratings were done in the min time or something was wrong.

Of course sometimes we grabbed a football and went out back and tossed that around while doing ground and a white board wasn't necessary, but hey, that's what you get when it's free. :D

You can have very good CFIs for cheap. I've met the $100/hr CFI here in Atlanta recently and I can tell you they weren't worth a dime of it. Give me the kid with 300-400 hours that has a lot of enthusiasm. The 600-1000 hour CFI has enthusiasm and experience and the 1200-1500 has a lot of experience and little enthusiasm. You do burn out if you put a lot into it. Just do.

If a CFI doesn't give a damn about anything other than your credit card then don't give a damn about them and move on.
I completely disagree.

I would advise students to stay away from instructors that don't charge for ground time. It basically tells me that that don't even value their services or are purely in it to build time. It's unprofessional.

I also would advise students to avoid paying $40 per hour (or whatever rate) for a CFI that only gets $8. If the school is keeping more than a few dollars per hour that's a red flag.

On the other side of the coin, it's disappointing to see CFI's willing to work for nothing while the school makes money off their back. It's bad for the profession, and sets a presadence that unfortunately finds its way into the 135/121 world. A CFI should not feel guilty or bad charging an appropriate rate from handshake to handshake.

mspano85
03-28-2015, 01:51 PM
I paid $140 wet with an instructor for a Cessna 152. It was around $195 wet with an instructor for a Cessna 172.

Instructor rates are around $45-50 in Maryland.

pilot0987
03-28-2015, 03:08 PM
I can beat that. There is a flight school near Philadelphia charging 445.00 an hour plus instructors at 50-80 an hour.

CaptOveur
03-28-2015, 03:57 PM
I can't stress this enough. Get a good instructor who is motivated, has a good reputation and who's possibly experienced. I would definitely pay the extra if they are well known for a good pass rate, excellent knowledge base and overall quality in the instruction.

In my experience, the more expensive instructors have in fact been the best ones to go to. They generally have more experience and are more invested into the job instead of just doing it to build time for the airlines or whatever the reason. It could be different elsewhere though.

Having said that, just because you goto an "expensive school" doesn't always equate to better instruction so definitely do your research and ask around if they are any good. Hopefully they've been doing it for awhile too. Usually people at a school will be honest with you if you ask for the better instructors if you don't know anyone there. Experience doesn't always equate to better instruction either so that's why you need to ask around and get a good feel for everyone.

Just do your research, ask around and don't be afraid to switch instructors or schools if you don't mesh with them or you don't think it's working. At the end it's a business, your money and your career you need to look after.

TexasTailwheel
03-28-2015, 08:18 PM
The last instructor I flew with charged $60/hr, and he was worth it. I needed to fly with someone who was smarter, and better at stuff and could hold me to tighter and sharper standards. Nothing against the 500-hour CFI's, but I've flown with some of them and I needed a seasoned professional who could tell me firmly how I could improve.

CFI Guy
03-30-2015, 05:00 PM
The last instructor I flew with charged $60/hr, and he was worth it. I needed to fly with someone who was smarter, and better at stuff and could hold me to tighter and sharper standards. Nothing against the 500-hour CFI's, but I've flown with some of them and I needed a seasoned professional who could tell me firmly how I could improve.

I'm glad you you saw the value in hiring a professional.

I'm an independent in the Los Angeles area ($$$$$) and I'm charging $60/hr handshake to handshake. I've given several thousand hours of flight instruction and countless hours teaching ground / sim. At the risk of sounding arrogant I think I'm well worth it. I'm also flying a bizjet now and hold two type ratings. I think I bring something additional to the table by sharing my real world experience along with success and failures.

The issue is all the other flight schools in the area are charging about what I charge except you generally get a green low time CFI. The unfortunate part is they pay the CFI <$20/hr and they can't wait to leave so they can go fly their shiny CRJ. They never really have a chance to build up their experience as a professional instructor. So if I'm not worth $60/hr then these other instructors are definitely not worth anything close to what I'm charging.

I have trained many students who started at other schools but finished with me when they for one reason or another felt they weren't progressing with their current school or instructor. The bad part is they ultimately end up spending more money due to additional training hours versus if they had just started with me from the beginning. The hardest thing for me personally as an instructor is to unteach bad habits someone learned from a poor instructor.

I don't think spending more for instruction guarantees a better result especially if it's the school charging the big bucks and still employing the same low experienced CFI. I always suggest to prospective students check out different schools and instructors to decide where they feel most comfortable.

But remember just a few hours of wasted instruction (plane rental plus CFI) adds up to a whole lot more than paying an extra $20 an hour for quality instruction. The CFI cost is a drop in the bucket when you factor in all the costs especially going from zero to hero. The same thing irks me when owners buy multi million dollar jets only to turn around and skimp on paying the pilots. They then turn around and spend thousands a year on overpriced catering.

My neighbor teaches tennis. She's pretty good and charges $100/hr. She had a bruise once. I deal with people trying to kill me and expose myself to all kinds liability each day. Go figure.

forgot to bid
04-11-2015, 09:24 PM
This is ridiculous and nearly as unethical as charging someone for something that didn't happen. The repercussions if this get ingrained into all who are involved and it ends up as shooting yourself in the foot, causing instructors to get paid less, working for free, expecting to not have to pay for things, and so on. I would never, ever, recommend this, just as I would never recommend charging someone for "lunch" when you fly out to someplace for it or charging for time without providing any benefit to the student. If you can't afford to be a pilot, don't be a pilot, or find some other way to do it, or take a longer time doing it. You need to have morals and stand for something. Offering "freebies" is not doing that.

I think it's unethical a flight school would want to charge $3000 for ground school for a private pilot license. You're more than likely going to be listening to someone bloviating and regurgitating the material you already read, but doing so without even the color commentary you can get from your average blog and youtube video. Now if you haven't read your stuff the CFI ought to send you home, which is good prep for your airline career because that's what they would do too.

BTW, a lot of my students are with me now at Delta, so, worked out well for all of us. 'Save your money for flight hours' is a good philosophy if you want a CFI/flight school more motivated in you flying than in your money.

To the OP, it probably ain't worth it if the rates you originally mentioned are your two choices. And btw, I think it was Boeing about 30 years ago that figured out there was only 3 hours of true instruction in an 8 hour school day in the airlines, so they went to the blended computer to all computer training for systems and even here at Delta all of your recurrent indoc is on CD.

forgot to bid
04-11-2015, 10:05 PM
I completely disagree.

I would advise students to stay away from instructors that don't charge for ground time. It basically tells me that that don't even value their services or are purely in it to build time. It's unprofessional.

I also would advise students to avoid paying $40 per hour (or whatever rate) for a CFI that only gets $8. If the school is keeping more than a few dollars per hour that's a red flag.

On the other side of the coin, it's disappointing to see CFI's willing to work for nothing while the school makes money off their back. It's bad for the profession, and sets a presadence that unfortunately finds its way into the 135/121 world. A CFI should not feel guilty or bad charging an appropriate rate from handshake to handshake.

Handshake to handshake, it's how a lawyer would charge, right? And we are just as good, right?

But then what is pro bono service? And why does the ABA recomend, if not require, in some states that lawyers provide 50ish hours of pro bono work per year?

Not every client or student is rich, lawyers know that, CFIs should too... if theyre just as good as lawyers.

I wasnt rich. A lot of my students were not rich, most were on student loans. Not one of my CFIs were. There is no reason to say im going to charge you for X amount of ground hours regardless of their apptitude and situation.

If I had good students that were trying and studying, I didn't charge them for ground. Period.

And it's not ruining the profession. After all, I don't see any airline pilots setting the parking brake and walking off a plane because they weren't paid to walk to the gate, review the paperwork, talk to the gate agent, maybe a passenger, and preflight.

For all the talk about ruining the profession, the only thing that comes to mind is pulling up the ladder.

Duckdude
04-12-2015, 11:09 AM
I also would advise students to avoid paying $40 per hour (or whatever rate) for a CFI that only gets $8. If the school is keeping more than a few dollars per hour that's a red flag.


My accountant is constantly after me about our pay rates. He says typically a company should pay 1/3 of their billable rate to the employee, 1/3 goes to ss, medicare, unemployment insurance (state and federal), workers comp insurance, benefits, and overhead. Finally, 1/3 should go to the business as profit. I didn't go to business school so I don't know if this is just his opinion or common practice.

At $60/hour, that would leave $20 for the employee pay rate.

We pay more than that for our full time instructors, and also provide benefits like paid holidays, paid time off, and health insurance. So at my school, we make about $10/hour profit off of our full time instructors if they have a good month, less if a slow month.



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