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Old 06-12-2009, 02:05 PM   #1  
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Default How do you REALLY build time?

First off, I know this is in the wrong place, but I cannot access any other page. Everyone keeps talking about raising the hiring minimums for 121 carriers to prevent 250 hour pilots from being right seat in a CRJ. Not only will this increase safety, but apparently it would raise pay because someone with 1500 hours will be able to demand more pay than someone with only 250. I do not agree that would work. It does not matter that you have 1500 TT because that is still the minimum time so you will still get a low wage.

Enough of that, what I really want to talk about are these mythical time building jobs. First off, I want to say that I believe all 121 should have a minimum of 1000 hours and nothing less. The problem is that it is impossible to go from 250 to 1000. Many of you say, ďTow banners, patrol pipelines, traffic watch, and my favorite, sit right seat in a King Air.Ē I have looked for all of those, but there is a big problem. They either do not pay enough to live, or their minimums are higher than regionals. Towing banners pays about $8000 a year and will require me to move. I wanted to patrol pipelines, but their minimums where so high I they told me they would let me sit right seat in a 185 for free. Traffic watch does not exist anymore, and where it does, no news company is going to trust their expensive airplane with someone who has less than 1000 hours. I have found someone with a BE90 who would let me sit right seat, but I could not log the time because he does not have his MEI and I donít think any future employer would like me to log dual given in turbine aircraft when I have zero turbine time. What I have noticed is that all 135 gigs have higher minimums than 121 because no 135 operator wants a VFR only pilot.

The only real way to build time is to flight instruct, and that is pretty hard for the location I am in, so I am looking for any place in the world to do it. I am not complaining because I donít meet any minimums outside of low time regionals, I just want to bring attention to those who did their time building years ago that the jobs they did in the past are no longer available. So next time you talk about TT remember that building 1000 hours is not as simple as flying night cargo for a while. To do that job you need to have 1200 hours first, and with that time, why would you apply for a low paying job to fly boxes in a Barron when you could be getting paid the same to get some part 121 turbine time?
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:16 PM   #2  
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Originally Posted by Kasserine06 View Post

The only real way to build time is to flight instruct, and that is pretty hard for the location I am in, so I am looking for any place in the world to do it.
You already know the answer, instruct. Market is slow right now so there are few places if any to instruct at, right? Welcome to aviation where just because you want it does not make it available. You are a CFI and want to instruct right now but can not find anywhere...I am a regional pilot and want to fly at a Legacy carrier right now, looks like we are both out of luck right now.

There is nothing about this career that says when you are ready, it will be available. You wait for an opportunity and when it comes, you take it.

When things were slow I washed airplanes for 1 hour of flight time a wash. It sucked but kept me flying
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:35 PM   #3  
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When things were slow I washed airplanes for 1 hour of flight time a wash. It sucked but kept me flying
Where can I do that? I donít mind washing planes. I actually did it for free recently, and one place charged me to taxi the airplane from the ramp to the hangar (.1). The worst thing was, I was actually one of their employees!
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:59 PM   #4  
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I posted this in another thread....

CFIing is great (I learned more about airmanship in the first 100 hours instructing than I have flying 1000 hours doing anything else). But it isnt the only thing. Be creative. As a plain vanilla private pilot, you can have someone else pay much of your expenses and sometimes even earn some money flying (just make sure you read your regs carefully).

Low time pilots can make money and build time by:
Sightseeing *
Aerial photography *
Hot-shot delivery *
Fish spotting *
Be a safety pilot *
Babysit an owner who doesn't like to fly alone *
Lifting skydivers
Pipeline patrol
Banner towing
Traffic watch
The list goes on.

*all things I have done for money


It took me 11 months to go from a 300 hour, dripping wet, CFII to a 1500 hour wonder who could barely get an interview let alone a regional job. So, to try to be more attractive to potential employers, I rented a twin and got my ATP (the only non-joyride flight time I have paid for since my CFII checkride). It took me six more months and 400 more hours to get my first 135 job. It was a real pain and tonnes of work, but someone else paid me the whole time I was building flight time. When I took that 135 job, I had zero dollars to my name, but I also had NO DEBT.

My guess is if all pilots had to take a route similar to mine, there would be far fewer pilots.




I drove to every airport within about two hours and talked to every person who would listen to me: at FBOs and every other business, the girls behind the desk, the manager, the mechanics, owners, and transients. I passed out resumes as fast as I could print them. And when I had been to all those airports, I started over.

Eventually I got a CFI job. Then everytime I hit some TT milestone (500, 700, 1000, etc) I would beat the bushes again. It s%cked, but that is what it took.



The real question is How Bad Do You Want It?
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:19 PM   #5  
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Towing banners pays about $8000 a year and will require me to move.
The banner gigs I know are seasonal. Put your "must keep" stuff in storage, sell the rest, and find a furnished room in a boarding house for the season.

The guys I knew who towed never bought a drink all summer. They just went to the bars whose ads they towed, and the bartenders took good care of them. They were as broke as the rest of us, but they had a ton of fun.
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:10 PM   #6  
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Default Minute by Minute...

In 2005 or 2006, I was in the FBO at Montgomery, AL. On display in a glass bookcase were the logbooks of a local pilot who had recently retired. There were a slew of them. I can't remember his name, but I remember what he did.

He flew J-3s doing pipeline-patrol, I think 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, 4 and a half weeks per month, for multiple decades....maybe 30 years. I think that would be Part 91, and I think he retired when he was in his early 60s.

He had over 60,000 hours. Granted, it wasn't fast, it wasn't very high, it wasn't glamorous, and he probably didn't make much...but it was an amazing total.

That's almost 7 years not touching the planet.

That's one way to build time.
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:25 PM   #7  
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You're going to live in poverty and risk your life daily just so someday you can get that dream job at a regional? 20k a year sounds good... Why bother?
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:39 PM   #8  
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Default How to build time

How do you build flight time? One miserable hour at a time.

Dig in, get depressed and set your expectations for a long year after year grind.

Skyhigh
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:40 PM   #9  
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Don't waste your money, this career is not what is used to be. Find another career.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:03 PM   #10  
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Where can I do that? I donít mind washing planes. I actually did it for free recently, and one place charged me to taxi the airplane from the ramp to the hangar (.1). The worst thing was, I was actually one of their employees!
Airports have flight clubs and small FBO's. Talk to the owners and cut a deal. Most owners I met loved having someone wash the bugs off their plane for an hour of flight time. I would go early on weekends and wash 3 or 4 planes , that was about 16 free hours a month.
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