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QUESTION: Thank you for your advice.  It's good to hear that airline won't be able to be picky about which kind of flight school pilots attend.  I will most definitely stick with part 61.  I already have a private pilot's license.  I got my training from an independent flight instructor using his own plane.  I got a good hourly rate from him.  I'll continue  with my commercial/ instrument and multi with the same instructor.  I will be able to fly 4-5 days a week.  
My question is about time building after i get my ratings.  I do NOT want to flight instruct.  Can you tell me which other options besides flight instructing do i have to build time when i am done with my ratings in about 6-9 months?  I should have close to 300 hours by then.  Any employers hiring people with low hours by the end of this year?  I read your profile.  It says you have flown as a skydive pilot and a ferry pilot.  Any chance i could get hired doing something like that?  Thanks again!


ANSWER: Sharon

There are many who do not want to become a CFI to build time. I was one of them. There are options but what will be available to you depends on who is operating in your area and if you are insurable. When I was time building in the late 1990's, there were lesser requirements for skydive or banner tow operators ect because of the insurers doing business. Then a major aviation insurance company left the industry and rates and minimum times went up. You may or may not be able to meet the insurance minimums with those kinds of operators near you. You should be networking with these people as soon as you can so they will get to know you before you apply. People like to hire candidates they are familiar with. Visit them and ask what they are looking for in a pilot. What flight time do they require? A fresh commercial certificate may not cut it. Seek out banner tow, skydive, traffic watch, pipeline patrol, fish spotting- any kind of light piston job that may be in your area. Network with local FBOs- who do they fuel that operate those kind of operations? Network to get a contact. Stop by the FSDO and ask what operators may be in the area. Spend an afternoon at a drop zone and chat up their current pilots. Call the radio stations and find out who does their traffic reports. Ferry flying would be a great opportunity but likely requires wel over 750TT these days to meet insurance. Find an aircraft sales broker and drop in with your questions. Even if you can't be hired you may end up wih a conection or a chance at a learning experience if you can assist on a trip.

You need to start digging now to find some potential seeds that may sprout up later for you. Get business cards (VistaPrint- cheap & easy) and keep them on you as a networking tool. Network with the Ninety-Nines. Find one who is interested in splitting hood time and you can both log and share the hourly aircraft expense while working towards your instrument rating. You can also post those business cards on the FBO or other airports tack boards and network for such opportunities. The mre vaired the better. Part 121 flyig os so different from VFR operations. You definitely need some experience to broaden your flying horizons to get through a training program. Being a CFI doesn't always cut it either. Some may be great at talking about flying but have trouble doing it themselves under pressure on the line.New hires these days can find themselves struggling. I have heard about it at my airline and my friends airlines as well.  To avoid such a scenario, try to get experience at night and IFR as much as possible. I flew in a ME time building program where we shared time during hood operations and ran the cockpit like an airline with duties of Capt & Co-pilot. It was very helpful when I transitioned. You can't imagine how busy it is to be the non-flying pilot! (Perhaps there is one out there you can benefit from in the future?)

Hope this helps.
Regards, D.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your answer, just one last question.

If there much discrimination against women/minorities in the general aviation field?  I am not so concerned about regional airlines with proper HR Departments.  I'm more concerned about small privately owned mom and pop operations run from municipal airports or rural areas (ex; pipeline patrol, skydive etc).  Im female and mixed race.  Dad's from Morocco and mom's Hispanic.  



I don't doubt there are some small operators who may be discriminatory as you describe. However, I did find that being a woman had it's benefits. For instance, another jumper could be accommodated when their 6'5" pilot wasn't flying and I was. Plus one for being a shorter female pilot! You automatically get more passengers into your MTOW in a jump plane.

If there is such an outfit operating in your area, I wouldn't concern yourself too much about not getting hired by them. They would be a good employer anyway. With good networking and stick skills, you should not have a problem finding yourself an opportunity.

Good Luck!



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D. Norkus


I can address questions about airline pilot employment & entry level airline careers in the United States, women pilots, flight training, pilot certification, U.S. flight scholarships (mostly for women), aviation & airline safety topics, aviation accident investigation and airline operations. ***Please note, I cannot address flight training & career queries from outside the United States, or aero engineering degree programs/careers, aviation management topics. ****


Airline captain with 15 years past experience in airline ground operations. I have previously flown as a commercial skydive pilot & ferry pilot and majored in Aviation Science

International Organization of Women Pilots- The Ninety-Nines, charter member of Women In Aviation International, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Aviation Safety/Accident investigation

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