Airline Pilot Central Forums

Airline Pilot Central Forums (https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/)
-   Part 91 and Low Time (https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/part-91-low-time/)
-   -   Are CFI Jobs Becoming a Pyramid Scheme? (https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/part-91-low-time/87090-cfi-jobs-becoming-pyramid-scheme.html)

FlyingSlowly 03-19-2015 10:40 AM

Are CFI Jobs Becoming a Pyramid Scheme?
 
I must admit I'm new here, but want to throw a different perspective into the mix on "building flight time." [Skip to the bold to avoid my time-building CFI advice rant.]

It seems like the advice is always to work as a CFI if you want to build hours. In every thread where someone wants other ideas to avoid it, they get told to 'suck it up' (or similar). The perspective is often juvenile: "I did it, you should too"...almost like it's a mandatory right of passage in aviation. But that's not the point here. Please don't respond with the virtues of having worked as a CFI.

I GET IT. You really only know something well if you can teach it...blah, blah, blah... I have taught high school for multiple years. Both physics and math. I have a B.S. in Physics. I know about teaching, and am not afraid of challenging technical or complex subject matter. I think if I were to have continued teaching full-time A FEW MORE YEARS, I would really learn how to be an exceptional teacher. For the same reason I would never go to a low-time CFI (anyone with less than 1,000 hours or so of dual already given). A Flight Instructor should be the pinnacle of aviation, not a career stepping stone...and below the Regionals at that! But I digress...

My point is different. The problem with the old "CFI pipeline" model is simple: there is no way (mathematically speaking) student pilot training will be able to support even a fraction of the pilots working toward airline careers within the newly mandated climate of 1500 hours. There are simply too few who are both interested and able to begin flight lessons (either with career aspirations or for business/leisure flying). Look at the student pilot data...not too promising lately.

Furthermore, there have never been more CFIs with active certificates. The FAA data says so. Right around 99,000 at present (2013 data). This number was 64,000 in 1990. That's the supply side. Now for the demand. There were about 40,000 NEW private pilots created in 1990. And the most recent data from 2013? Less than 16,000 new private pilots. Not looking good for anyone wanting to work as a CFI!!! These numbers mean that the ratio of NEW private pilots to active CFIs has decreased by a factor of four. In other words, there are four (4) times fewer students per CFI now than in 1990 (using PPL completion as an indicator). Only one out of four!!


The question is this: Are there enough low-time jobs and CFI jobs COMBINED to produce sufficient numbers of 1500-hour pilots for the airlines? Is there enough demand in the Part 91 segment (plus Part 135 SIC) to produce pilots capable of applying for FO positions?

[Please do not make this a debate about the merits of working as a CFI or about slamming the 1500-hour rule. Let's discuss the question above!!]

bedrock 03-19-2015 11:18 AM

What is the FAA criteria for "active" CFI? I renew mine every two yrs, but have not used it in 10. BTW, I think the whole airline career is a pyramid scheme!

Macjet 03-19-2015 11:43 AM

I too have keep my CFI current and haven't instructed in over a decade.

nukem 03-19-2015 12:43 PM

Same here, I renew my CFI every two years but don't use it.

FlyingSlowly 03-19-2015 01:31 PM

Yes, I get it...Most CFIs are not active even though they have current certificates. But the same was largely true in the comparison year of 1990, wasn't it?

The "four times fewer" number I gave was a ratio of ratios.
[PPL issued 1990 / legal CFIs 1990] divided by [PPL issued 2013 / legal CFIs 2013]

This type of statistical analysis should eliminate the inactive-but-legal CFIs who were present very large numbers in both data sets.

Fact remains there are almost four times fewer students to go around. (Actually, 3.86 times fewer by my calculations, but 4 is close enough.)

FlyingSlowly 03-19-2015 01:47 PM

Forgot to include the data source:
https://www.faa.gov/data_research/av...en_statistics/

GrumpyBear 03-19-2015 03:25 PM

Flying Slowly:

In my opinion the short answer would be No. Most entry level flying jobs want to see either ATP (non-restricted) minimums or Part 135 minimum hours. That is why most, not all people, choose to go the CFI route in order to build time. How else are you supposed to gain the hours (experience) to even apply? Maybe knowing someone in the company you'd apply too? That's the Catch 22.

JohnBurke 03-19-2015 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyingSlowly (Post 1845757)



My point is different. The problem with the old "CFI pipeline" model is simple: there is no way (mathematically speaking) student pilot training will be able to support even a fraction of the pilots working toward airline careers within the newly mandated climate of 1500 hours. There are simply too few who are both interested and able to begin flight lessons (either with career aspirations or for business/leisure flying). Look at the student pilot data...not too promising lately.

Furthermore, there have never been more CFIs with active certificates. The FAA data says so. Right around 99,000 at present (2013 data). This number was 64,000 in 1990. That's the supply side. Now for the demand. There were about 40,000 NEW private pilots created in 1990. And the most recent data from 2013? Less than 16,000 new private pilots. Not looking good for anyone wanting to work as a CFI!!! These numbers mean that the ratio of NEW private pilots to active CFIs has decreased by a factor of four. In other words, there are four (4) times fewer students per CFI now than in 1990 (using PPL completion as an indicator). Only one out of four!!


The question is this: Are there enough low-time jobs and CFI jobs COMBINED to produce sufficient numbers of 1500-hour pilots for the airlines? Is there enough demand in the Part 91 segment (plus Part 135 SIC) to produce pilots capable of applying for FO positions?

Who cares? Where is it chiseled in stone that you or I or anyone else is owed any part of a career? There is no "scheme" to instructing. It's a job. Take it, or leave it. It doesn't exist for you or anyone else to "build" hours.

You may actually need to go get a job. Something other than instructing. You may need to slog it out towing banners, or gliders, or flying jumpers, or doing pipeline patrol, or flying folks at the Grand Canyon. You may need to do any number of things to get your "hours." That's the way it is.

The notion that one instructs for a little while and then climbs into the nearest passing airline for the ride is a myth perpetuated by the curtain climbers who managed to do so for a few years...the rest of us built our careers on hard work and it didn't come to us.

You may have to go get it, too. It's great that you've been a teacher; good stuff for flight students who can benefit from your teaching experience. It doesn't mean much for your aviation career outside of teaching, but it probably makes you a better you. If you're moving into an aviation career after already having established an adult life, be prepared to start over.

There are no guaranteed paths or careers in aviation. Flight instructing is one path, one job, but that's all it is; a job. No guarantees that anyone will hire you, no guarantees about the number of students you may get. It's a job.

Regarding "hours;" build experience, not hours. Two people fly the same airplane, do the same thing; one comes away with an hour of time, the other with an hour of experience. Build experience. If you want hours, falsify them, and write them into your logbook. That's what hours are worth. They're meaningless.

Experience cannot be bought. It is earned, one hour at a time, one landing at a time. You can fly the next hour of your career and land with an hour for your logbook, or one hour of experience richer. Your choice. If it's about building hours, save yourself the stress and fake it all. Otherwise, go get the experience, don't worry about the number of students (as it's irrelevant), and fly. If you don't have enough flying with students in your area, do what many of us did and go drum them up. If there isnt' enough work, then go tow banners this summer and come home with eight hundred hours of time, a lot more experience, and a lifetime of stories, and maybe even a few friends.

You may starve in the process, but you'll be a lot richer for the experience.

When I didn't have students, I taught ground schools to bring them in. I visited high schools and colleges. I towed banners advertising the flight instructing. I put together mall displays, and took apart and put together an airplane in a mall for a display. I got busy with Civil Air Patrol, and worked at several places with students. I towed an airpane through one of the longest parades in the country as a float, to advertise. Point is, the work doesn't necessarily come to you. You go to it. I worked at several locations to pick up adequate student loads, and did aircraft maintenance as well, on top of washing and waxing, and fueling. I worked a second and third job off-site, too. I did whatever I needed to do to make it work, as you may need to do.

There is no pyramid scheme. The only "scheme" is the plan you formulate for yourself. It's called a career.

Most of us when I moved up through the ranks, incidentally, couldn't get on with a commuter or regional without at least 2,500 hours or more, which meant a number of years of slogging it out in the trenches, earning our way. Many of us did night freight, as well as almost any other job you can imagine to get there. You might just need to do it, too.

CrimsonEclipse 03-19-2015 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnBurke (Post 1845988)

You may starve in the process, but you'll be a lot richer for the experience.

Biggest crock of crap that I've seen in months.

hindsight2020 03-19-2015 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse (Post 1846017)
Biggest crock of crap that I've seen in months.

You beat me to it. " You may starve" . That's an aviation brochure right there. :cool:


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:24 PM.


User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Website Copyright 2000 - 2017 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands