Flight Instructors are underpaid

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FlyAgain
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Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby FlyAgain » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:46 am

Flight Instructors don’t make enough. The guy I may be working with charges $50/hr. Has 6000 CFI hours and a couple thousand in LSAs. He’s my age and my sense is he’s quite good. That rate is the norm around here whether LSA or traditional airplane.

My massage lady charges $75. The guy who aerated my lawn charges $50.

I would pay $100 or more for a good one. I suppose it's driven by supply and demand. Of course flying and teaching flying are separate and distinct skill sets and the poor guy or gal would have to teach me which could be a challenge. :D

HAPPYDAN
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby HAPPYDAN » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:23 pm

I couldn't agree with you more. A personal trainer at our YMCA charges $200 for three one-hour sessions. When you consider the dangers and responsibilities a CFI faces, there is just no comparison. My guess is that the rates are based on whatever the market will bear; you know - the old supply and demand?

FlyAgain
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby FlyAgain » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:27 pm

Yes, and not just the risks but flying is technically complex, it is not easy to adapt a teaching style to a articular student. A very difficult endeavor requiring patience, an ability to read people etc.

Sling 2 Pilot
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Sling 2 Pilot » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:25 pm

When Instarted flying in the mid-late 60’s, renting a brand new Piper 140 was like $22. $15 for the plane and $7 for the instructor. A J-3 was, if I remember, around $18-19. Again, $7 for the instructor. Times they be a changing...

Wm.Ince
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Wm.Ince » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:16 pm

So what should CFI/CFII’s make?
Bill Ince
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FastEddieB
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby FastEddieB » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:29 pm

Supply, meet demand!

It is what it is.
Fast Eddie B.
Sky Arrow 600 E-LSA • N467SA
CFI, CFII, CFIME
FastEddieB@mac.com

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Warmi
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Warmi » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:26 pm

FlyAgain wrote:Yes, and not just the risks but flying is technically complex, it is not easy to adapt a teaching style to a articular student. A very difficult endeavor requiring patience, an ability to read people etc.


It is difficult to find somebody who is very good at it, as with everything, but on average can’t be really that difficult given that majority of CFIs are kids in their 20s with barely any experience to begin with.

A database contractor who is responsible for managing complicated relationships and writing real-time code manipulating financial data worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars , can get, depending on the market , $100-120 per hour ( as we just hired one ) - most of these guys have decades of experience manipulating financial data so , given that context, a flight instructor with a few years of experience making $50 per hour is not that bad.

Ultimately, unless we are dealing here with politically driven prevailing wage nonsense and government contractors, the law of supply and demand is the ultimate arbiter.
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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drseti
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby drseti » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:05 pm

The real issue is that the system encourages the wrong people to become CFIs, for the wrong reason.

It takes a future airline pilots an ATP, multi-engine, and IFR ratings, plus 1500 hours of PIC time to be hired at entry level. At a modest $200/hour wet Hobbs to rent a complex aircraft to build hours, the future jet jockey has to have $300k to invest - and probably can't get student loans to cover it. So, the FAA, in its infinite wisdom, made all instructional hours loggable as PIC time. Now, the kid who wants to become an airline captain becomes a CFI just to build the required hours. He or she is most likely not an educator in the strictest sense. He or she would probably fly for minimum wage, just to get the hours.

In addition to the obvious supply-and-demand implications (very senior professional educators can't compete economically with the "kids"), there's the problem of most pilots being trained by people with marginal qualifications. This has to be negatively impacting both safety and instructional efficiency.

The flip side of this is that airlines are now hiring first officers whose sole experience is sitting in the right seat of a 152, being bounced around the sky by students for 1500 hours.

There are two possible solutions to this problem. One would be for the FAA to make CFI time no longer count as PIC time toward an airline job. That's not going to happen.

The other thing (he states immodestly) is to find more guys like me: lifelong pilots with 10 years of college, an aeronautics PhD, military experience, 40 years in an academic career, a love of teaching, a passion for aviation, and a good enough pension so they can afford to instruct on a break-even basis.

Also not going to happen.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

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Warmi
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Warmi » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:48 pm

Well, as far as I know ,in Europe they don’t have this 1500 hours requirement and it doesn’t seem to affect their overall safety record in any way - of course they do require more hours of formal education instead but that’s no different than any other trade or skill - you got to invest in yourself one way or another ...
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

Wm.Ince
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Wm.Ince » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:59 pm

FastEddieB wrote:Supply, meet demand!
It is what it is.

True.
My answer is . . . "whatever the market will bear."
Bill Ince
CTSW (E-LSA)
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

Wm.Ince
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Wm.Ince » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:09 pm

Wm.Ince wrote:So what should CFI/CFII’s make?
FastEddieB wrote:Supply, meet demand!
It is what it is.

True.
How about . . . "whatever the market will bear?"
Bill Ince
CTSW (E-LSA)
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

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FastEddieB
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby FastEddieB » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:07 am

There are a select few flight instructors who appear to do quite well for themselves.

One particular Cirrus instructor who comes highly recommended.

http://www.alexanderwolfcorp.com/flight-training/

I think his rates are just a tad more than $50/hr! :shock:
Fast Eddie B.
Sky Arrow 600 E-LSA • N467SA
CFI, CFII, CFIME
FastEddieB@mac.com

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drseti
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby drseti » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:37 am

Seems about right, Eddie. That's pretty much what my lawyer charges, and everybody knows practicing law is just as dangerous as practicing aviation.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

Type47
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby Type47 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:43 am

First Landings in Apopka, Fl is currently charging $69 per hour. They graduate one after another. Mostly sport pilot.
I believe the instructor gets half.
3 years ago, I went there and paid $65 vs $35 in minnesota where I live.
I paid more because they provided me what I wanted. No trying to talk me into private pilot. Full time instructors. Newer planes.
Customers are willing to pay to get what they want.
Type47
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drseti
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Re: Flight Instructors are underpaid

Postby drseti » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:59 am

Type47 wrote:3 years ago, I went there and paid $65 vs $35 in minnesota where I live.


There definitely are significant regional differences, depending on the local economy. Mine is an economically depressed area, so all the market will bear here is about $40 an hour (of which my adjunct CFIs get about 90% - no use inflating overhead charges, if you want to keep good instructors).

But, even given local conditions, there's a disparity between flight instruction and other professions. I get $200/hr for engineering services (with much lower risk), and even my plumber can demand something close to that. The reason? Flying is optional for most students. Fixing leaky pipes isn't.

BTW, there is an upside to living in an economically depressed area - everything here is relatively cheap. So, though rural central PA is a tough place to make a living, it's a great area to be retired to. :D
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US


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