my name is Alex, I’m 39, I’m working as a CFI, CFII and I’m having a great time at the flight school where I’m working at. I made a career change few months ago and it turned out to be the best choice of my life. I love it!
My ultimate goal is to be an airline pilot and looks like all the regional carriers are hiring right now and they offer a great career. Awesome! A very good route (probably the best) to get there is to work as a CFI and build good quality flying time all the way to regional. Maybe several years after that I could have a chance even to a major, who knows…although I don’t count on that, I’d be on top of the world if one day I can be a captain of whatever thing that flies!
I am also exploring other options in the part 135 world, but I don’t know too much about it and here I’m asking for advice, tips, info. I found a lot of interesting companies (Cape Air, Ameriflight, Boutique Air, Tradewind, Mokulele, just to mention few) that are hiring at 1200hrs. I know that to act as a PIC you have to have those hrs accordingly with 135.243, no questions about it. If I work as a CFI up to 1200hrs and then go to one of this part 135 gig what is the advantage? At 1500hrs you can go to regional…here’s where I am confused.
Are part 135 and regional two different ways to build turbine time for the major? Is it even possible to go from 135 to a major one day?
I see some of these part 135 jobs offer great pay and also home every day, not a bad quality of life looks like. If I’m not mistaken Adam did one of these cool job doing island hopping in Hawaii, didn’t you?
Part 135 jobs can often look appealing, but for various reasons they are usually not the fastest path to the major airlines, although they are a viable path. To begin with, most charter pilots do not fly nearly the hours per month that regional pilots do. Regional pilots can easily 80 or more hours per month, which means that you are building your time for the majors quickly. Even a CFI generally builds hours faster than a charter pilot. If your goal is to be a major airline pilot, then the best way to get there is to be an airline pilot at the regionals. Majors love hiring regional pilots as they know how airlines work.
I see no advantage to going the 135 route, but perhaps somebody that has done so can chime in.
Adam went from a regional airline to Hawaiian Airlines, no island hopping for him.
From what I’ve gathered most pilots that I’ve met that have flown part 135 did so because they either didn’t want to teach, taught but didn’t like it enough to teach until 1500, wanted the XP for whatever reason, or found a 135 gig that could support their family better than instructing.
I don’t see flying part 135 as a way to skip the regionals.
Hey guys, I’m in school at ATP and just starting out. Most of the people I’ve met are going through school and instructing. And Few people I know are actually planning on trying to go to somewhere like Capeair when they finish the ATP program. I’ve heard some pros and cons to skipping being an instructor. My main question is if you are trying to go to a 135 commuter instead of instruct, are you able to do that right after commercial stage? Or are those jobs too competitive to get right at 250hrs and without your instructor license?
If you want a better answer, I suggest reaching out to Cape Air directly. According to APC, Cape Air wants at least 500TT for CE-402 FO applicants and 1000TT for ATR FO applicants. I don’t see anywhere that says a CFI cert is required or preferred. So, looks like you could instruct until 500TT or find some other kind of low-time job.
Hi Adam, I can’t reply to yo in FAQ section containing criminal records. Are there jobs available after completing this pipeline that don’t require the “airline transportation pilot” certification. Could one make a career in this industry with only the commercial pilots license?
I have had a number of my former classmates that decided that instructing was not for them, or a CFI certificate that is included in the cost “was not worth it”, etc. None of them have been getting nearly the hours that I’m getting as a CFI, and some of them are having a hard time finding employment with 250 TT, 25 ME. It’s not a speculation or a possibility—it’s real life. Even the survey/aerial photography companies like Geomni are looking for a minimum of 300 TT. I’m sure there are exceptions but you’re competing with hundreds of applicants who all look exactly the same on paper. Bigger surveying outfits like Quantum Spatial want to see around 1,000 TT. Part 135–anywhere from 500 to 1,000 TT. And then again—why would they hire you specifically? There’s a bunch of low-time applicants that have flown more or less the same aircraft and have a similar level of experience.
If you do get a gig, the hours range anywhere from 35 to 70 a month, with a few exceptions of around 100 hours per month for survey companies during “leaf-on” season.
So, if you want to continue down that path, make sure you are fully informed about your choices and talk to the line pilots at the companies you are researching. Also, while job hopping every few months is no longer AS looked down upon by non-aviation employers, it may make operators looking to hire you take a closer look. Training you and bringing you to the operator’s standard costs lots of money, and they need to be sure you stick around for them to re-coup their investment. Plus, every period of job changes slows you down another 1.5-2 months while you’re in training. It all adds up.
I do not think that you will find many jobs that you would be happy with as a career that only require a commercial license. Even if a company does not require its pilots to have an ATP, whatever criminal history that is preventing you from getting an ATP will also likely make an aircraft operator think twice about hiring you.
I like to believe that if I was in front of a board for the ATP I could convince them. Its just a lot of time and money to take that chance. I’m open to leaving the country and renouncing my citizenship for employment in a foreign country if the jobs are out there. It’s a lot to consider.