Getting hours in another country

Good afternoon everyone I am active duty USAF F-16 avionics technician 19 years old and I am considering into taking lessons every weekend I have 3 more years till my contract ends. I’m gonna try to get all the certifications up to CFI before my contract ends.
I been researching and saw that for example mexican airlines like Aeromexico requires 250 hours to apply as a first officer and by the time I get my CFI I’m most likely going to have more than 250 hours I’m guessing. I can get a Mexican citizenship by my family so I won’t have no problems applying for a job in Mexico and I’m also fluent in Spanish. I’m considering this route because this way I’ll get more hours in a turbine aircraft and for example Southwest requires 2500 flight hours in total or 1500 hours in a turbine aircraft and while I work as a pilot in Mexico I’ll most likely be flying Embraer jets. Also, I’ll be getting my bachelors in aeronautics online through Embry-riddle I have around 50 college credits already. Would this be a faster route to getting a job in the major airlines? What are you guys thoughts on this?

Alejandro,

While your plan sounds good on paper, everything you’re quoting is the bare minimum and people rarely get hired at those. The second bigger issue is from what I understand Aeromexico (and other Mexican airlines) have been hit hard by the pandemic. While they were able to avoid furloughs, their pilots took huge paycuts and they won’t be hiring anytime soon. That aside again just because they can hire a pilot at 250hrs doesn’t mean they will if there others with more time and experience. I also read Aeromexico was developing a cadet program but applicants not only had to be Mexican citizens but native born. I’m curious how that affects hiring.

That all aside the biggest issue I see you facing is the fact that no airline (US or foreign) like people who try and cheat the system. Aeromexico will know you’re there just to build turbine time and the US Majors will know the same. Does that mean they won’t hire you? No but it does mean you won’t be their first choice.

Adam

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That’s why I’ll try to apply in Mexico because they only require 250 hours to become a first officer that means I won’t have to be an instructor at all if I apply there. All my hours will be from being a first officer in an Mexican airline

I’ll be applying around 2023-2024 once I get out of the military hopefully they have some open spots. I’ll apply to the most known airlines from Mexico like Aeromexico Volaris and Interjet. Most students that go through Mexican flight schools have around 200 hours after they finish their CPL and they go straight to the airlines I’ll have around the same hours as them or hopefully a little more like 300 and if I get the job that would be great I’ll probably stay with them for around 2 years and hopefully have like 2000 hours by then and then switch to hopefully United, AA, or any major airline.

Alejandro,

You clearly have your mind made up and disregarded all I’ve said which is fine. That said if you think AA or United will hire you with your 2000hrs over US Regional Capts with 3,000-5,000 you’re dreaming but I wish you luck.

Adam

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Alejandro,

Possible yes, likely no. In addition to what Adam mentioned, keep in mind that many countries, such as Mexico, have a strong preference for hiring their own citizens as pilots before branching out to other nationalities. So while technically, you might be able to be hired by AeroMexico, in reality it could be a long shot. Also, United, Delta, etc are not hiring people at the bare minimums.

It is something to keep in mind though and it never hurts to apply, but I would certainly still plan on getting your flight instructor certificates.

Chris

Alejandro,

Would it be faster? I doubt it. As stated before, I’m with the others, your projections are too optimistic. In reality I don’t think you’ll be hired at a US major any faster than if you chose the more traditional path: CFI > Regional FO > Regional CA > Major FO.

Tory

Alejandro,
Also something to keep in mind, the majors will want to see PIC time. Although there isn’t any written requirement, if you have a resume of 2000 hours of mostly 121 SIC time, that will not go over well. The candidates that came from regionals with 3,000-4,000 hrs and 1000 PIC time will more than likely get selected 9 times out of 10 over a resume without PIC time. I appreciate you trying to think outside of the box but you should be focused on what path will provide you the best experience to get you to your goal…not only the fastest way but that will provide you with the experience you need to be a successful airline pilot. Thats never going to be the shortcut way.
-Hannah

Hello Alejandro, I know this post is old. But I’m curious to what your outcome was. I’m hoping it went well. Any update?

Hi, I just would like to ask as well, how many times a week do student pilots usually fly? If I were to train 4 times a week, with twice in a Cessna 172 and twice in a RedBird Simulator, will I get my Private Pilot’s License in 3 to 4 months if I am a quick learner?

William

William,

Student pilots fly as much as they can. Some fly 4-5 days a week, some fly once a month. Successful flight training depends on consistency so yes, if you can fly 4 times a week you should be able to get your PPL in a few months. Depends alot on you and how quickly you pick up on things.

Adam

William,

Just want to clarify that two times a week in the actual airplane is what will count towards the hour requirements. The red bird simulator is great for practice but it doesn’t count towards logging flight time towards a PPL rating.

Hannah

My flight instructor said that 50 hours in a RedBird Simulator can be counted as time logged for my Commercial Pilot License. Is this statement True or False?

William

William,

Your instructor is right in that the Redbird time cane counted towards meeting the requirements for the Commercial check ride, but it does not count as actual flight time and will not count towards your total time. No simulator time will ever count as flight time, regardless of how advanced the sim may be.

Chris

William,

Yes, under 14 CFR 61.129:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, an applicant who has not accomplished the training required by this section in a course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter may:

(i) Credit a maximum of 50 hours toward the total aeronautical experience requirements for an airplane or powered-lift rating, provided the aeronautical experience was obtained from an authorized instructor in a full flight simulator or flight training device that represents that class of airplane or powered-lift category and type, if applicable, appropriate to the rating sought; and

^Copied from online version of FAR/AIM of Cornell Law School

Brady