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Old 04-06-2018, 06:32 PM   #1
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Default CFI vs Cargo

I'm currently a CFI and getting roughly 80 hours per month, hopefully more when this darned weather gets better. I recently came up on an oportunity to fly for a small cargo operation where I'll get 500 hours per year flying twin turbo props. Captain upgrade time is 12-18 months and the pay is decent. I'm inclined to take the cargo job because it puts me closer to home, but I'm wondering how it might affect my career. My end goal is to get to majors.
Option 1 would be to stay at said company untill I get my 1500 hours, then go to regionals. If I do this, I'll be slowing myself down.
Option 2 is to stick around, get my captain upgrade and fly 500 hours per year until I get to majors, skipping regionals entirely.
Thoughts? How much twin turbo left seat time would I need to be competitive for majors? If it helps, I've got a degree in mechanical engineering (I've heard degrees are helpful).
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by arthur106 View Post
I'm currently a CFI and getting roughly 80 hours per month, hopefully more when this darned weather gets better. I recently came up on an oportunity to fly for a small cargo operation where I'll get 500 hours per year flying twin turbo props. Captain upgrade time is 12-18 months and the pay is decent. I'm inclined to take the cargo job because it puts me closer to home, but I'm wondering how it might affect my career. My end goal is to get to majors.
Option 1 would be to stay at said company untill I get my 1500 hours, then go to regionals. If I do this, I'll be slowing myself down.
Option 2 is to stick around, get my captain upgrade and fly 500 hours per year until I get to majors, skipping regionals entirely.
Thoughts? How much twin turbo left seat time would I need to be competitive for majors? If it helps, I've got a degree in mechanical engineering (I've heard degrees are helpful).
At one point your option 2 was my plan as well, but life changes and that is no longer the goal. While it was though I did quite a bit of research through mentors and these forums.

From what I read it is possible to go from a non 121 turbine pic posistion to the majors but with the amount of hiring and flowing the regionals are doing into the majors nowadays I dont think your resume would stand up against someone with PIC 121 experience. But possible!

I would say option 1 would get you to the majors faster with more consistency even though it means instructing one or two more years.

. One thing I for sure know regardless of the option you choose is always apply, consistently keep your application updated, and network network network.


Im sure there are much wiser individuals in this forum that can help sway you one way or another better than I, but figured Id throw in my .02 since I was exactly where you are 2 years ago.



Good Luck!
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur106 View Post
I'm currently a CFI and getting roughly 80 hours per month, hopefully more when this darned weather gets better. I recently came up on an oportunity to fly for a small cargo operation where I'll get 500 hours per year flying twin turbo props. Captain upgrade time is 12-18 months and the pay is decent. I'm inclined to take the cargo job because it puts me closer to home, but I'm wondering how it might affect my career. My end goal is to get to majors.
Option 1 would be to stay at said company untill I get my 1500 hours, then go to regionals. If I do this, I'll be slowing myself down.
Option 2 is to stick around, get my captain upgrade and fly 500 hours per year until I get to majors, skipping regionals entirely.
Thoughts? How much twin turbo left seat time would I need to be competitive for majors? If it helps, I've got a degree in mechanical engineering (I've heard degrees are helpful).
You've left a lot undefined, including your age and current hours and WHAT KIND of CFI flying you are doing.

If you are an ATP graduate with 500 working for them as a CFI, CFII, and MEI getting 80 hours a month, instructing instrument and ME, well that's awesome. Hang in there another year. If you are working for some little mom and pop FBO, haven't flown instruments since you got your own ticket and then it was all sim or foggles, that's a horse of an entirely different color.

You are, IMHO, going to get some real quality flying time doing cargo hauling in a twin turboprop. You will get good at instruments to a degree that you will never get as a CFI doing predominantly day VFR work in the pattern and practice area with student going for their private or private pilots doing their biennial.

Unless things change, I think you would STILL need a thousand hours of 121 time, but SIC time woukd likely be enough. Although things may well change since 2022-23 will be the peak of major retirements.

My $.02 worth.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #4
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The future seems to be trending more towards cadet and 135 SIC programs to help train the next generation of pilots. While experience as a CFI is invaluable, these SIC programs offer real world weather experience flying for an Air Carrier that can't be matched as a piston CFI. FedEx just announced the Purple Runway program that you might want to look into.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:55 AM   #5
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Both CFI and a more 'real world' experience are both valuable.
Since you already have the CFI block checked and a couple of hundred hours of instruction logged, I think you should move onto another type of flying and broaden your experience base.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur106 View Post
I'm currently a CFI and getting roughly 80 hours per month, hopefully more when this darned weather gets better. I recently came up on an oportunity to fly for a small cargo operation where I'll get 500 hours per year flying twin turbo props. Captain upgrade time is 12-18 months and the pay is decent. I'm inclined to take the cargo job because it puts me closer to home, but I'm wondering how it might affect my career. My end goal is to get to majors.
Option 1 would be to stay at said company untill I get my 1500 hours, then go to regionals. If I do this, I'll be slowing myself down.
Option 2 is to stick around, get my captain upgrade and fly 500 hours per year until I get to majors, skipping regionals entirely.
Thoughts? How much twin turbo left seat time would I need to be competitive for majors? If it helps, I've got a degree in mechanical engineering (I've heard degrees are helpful).
I had to read your post several times to make sense. You appear to be suggesting either instructing until 1,500 hours then seeking a regional, or moving to the cargo company.

Jumping from the cargo company to the majors may or may not be realistic for you, but if you're considering the difference between instructing or moving to a PIC turbine twin job working from home, is it really a difficult choice?

At this stage in your career, your degree is superfluous, but it will become a checked box if you apply to a major.
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:39 PM   #7
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You're not going to go from 135 cargo to mainline. The most you'll be able to jump to would be low cost carriers. Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier. You're already instructing, keep building the time. You'll get to 1500. If it's not going quick enough for you, there are myriad academies across the country that are doing 80-100 hours consistently, maybe even more. As you've already stated, you're not going to get that much time at a 135, and you'll have to work up from SIC (which isn't worth much when it comes down to it) to PIC. You'll go to a regional quicker as a CFI, and honestly you'd even go from CFI to Regional to Low Cost Carrier before you'd go from 135 cargo to Low Cost Carrier.
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:17 PM   #8
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I'm also in a similar situation, 900 hour CFI, getting burned out staying in the pattern all day everyday with foreign students and have upcoming interviews with some 135 operators, one a pretty good one. Its either keep instructing and be at a regional next December/January-ish, or go 135, get some real-work experience, a huge pay increase but sign a year and a half training contact.
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:41 AM   #9
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I would go to fly cargo, and then to a regional. It would take you longer to get to 1500 hours, but you would have more fun and it would make a better pilot out of you.
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Old 04-09-2018, 11:00 AM   #10
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I have talked to a couple of Ameriflight pilots, and it seems that the flow from Ameriflight to UPS is actually starting to happen. It does require things like becoming an instructor / check airman, etc., at Ameriflight. I think there is also a requirement of how many years you must remain at Ameriflight. Let me talk some more to the Ameriflight guys and get more details. (Or is this already covered in the Ameriflight thread?)
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