Thursday, May 1, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Pilot Careers 2008
Get inside the cockpit
|Opportunities for professional pilots are at record levels for civilian aviators. No matter what your goal, if you work hard, fly well, present yourself professionally and are flexible with schedules and work locations, chances are extremely good that you’ll find a professional pilot seat waiting for you.|
|The Instructional Challenge |
|“Pilot placement has never been better,” says Eric Radtke, President of Sporty’s Academy in Batavia, Ohio. An affiliate of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, the Academy provides professional pilot training for the University of Cincinnati degree program. Pilots have “always been able to find jobs, if they’re flexible and willing to move,” Radtke says. The difference now is that job offers are coming to pilots with 400 to 500 hours of experience, not 1,500 hours or more as has historically been the case. Further, these relatively low-time pilots are often getting multiple job offers from competing companies, so that pilots are “picking and choosing” from available employers. The trend in pilot training at Sporty’s Academy has been up in the last three years, recovering from a plateau that followed the 9/11 attacks, and Radtke expects 7% to 8% growth annually for the foreseeable future. “The biggest challenge” says Radtke, making an observation echoed by many training program managers in the industry, “is keeping enough seasoned instructors on staff to meet the demand.” Instructor pay has gone up, and benefits, almost unheard of in instructional circles until recently, are improving. Radtke notes that “nontraditional instructor pilots” are beginning to become more common—retired airline pilots and instructors retiring from nonflying disciplines who have always wanted to teach flying and now have the time to do so. This has led to a growing diversity of instructor pilots who are even better suited to training the great number of pilots needed by the industry. |
For pilots aiming for the airline or corporate cockpit, this instructional challenge means greatly accelerated advancement. A year or less time working as a CFI is more than enough experience for airline interviews. That’s good news, at least once you get your instructor’s certificate. High CFI turnover may make it more challenging to earn your ratings up to that point. But this means that if you want a career as a teacher of flight—a long-term flight instructor who will be home nights and in high demand as a professional educator—you’ll be welcomed by any number of flight-training academies.