Florida Flight Instructors, info needed!

Timebuilder

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I may be coming down from "sunny" Pennsylvania for some fun at Lakeland in a couple of weeks, and I'd like to visit some schools that are worth working for who will hire an experienced instructor.

What would make a school worth working for? Decent pay, lots of flying, well maintained planes, and multi instruction would be a good start. In particular, I'd like to hear from guys who work at the well known schools like FSI, ERAU, Comair, etc.

If you don't want to vent publically, send me a private.

Some of you may not know, but the last Navajo was sold last Monday where I was picking up copliot money, so share what you know. Now is the time for me to make some kind of move.

Oh, and thanks for your help, too.
 
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bobbysamd

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Riddle, Comair and FSI

I've experienced all three. I worked at Riddle-Prescott and FSI, and interviewed at Comair. All this is years ago, but I doubt that things have changed much. Some of the same people are still there or have moved around between a couple of these schools.

I'm sure there are similarities between Riddle in Prescott and Riddle in Daytona. I have visited Daytona. ERAU was the best paying aviation job I had. Pay per hour for experienced instructors was decent. You had to put in a minimum of thirty hours a week of contact time. Contact time consisted of flight time, oral (ground) time or sims. If you could stay busy you could make great money. I knew of one Riddle instructor who worked the system to the hilt. He was making $35K per year twelve years ago. That was great money in those days. If you logged at least 1000 hours of contact in a year, you were bonused handsomely. One of the ladies in the flight line told me she was surprised that more instructors didn't make bonus. In my day, if you were upgraded to stage check pilot you were paid very fairly, the equivalent of a commuter captain. Good benies.

Riddle downsides included lack of aircraft availability and major politics. On the other hand, the place was a very stimulating learning environment for all.

I've written a lot about FSI, so I will hit the highlights. Overall, very nice facilities. Nice aircraft and sims. I hear FSI is purchasing new Seminoles and taking delivery of one per month. Good training program and opportunities to log actual. One thing I didn't like about the facilities was that I didn't have a desk, whereas at Riddle I had a desk. At FSI, I worked out of the trunk of my car, which I didn't care for particularly. Maybe things are different now. I hear that pay is now $15/hour for instructors. Don't know how much company time is. Company time is pay for attending meetings, etc. Benies were very good. Good health and a 401-K.

When I was at FSI I didn't care for how management treated instructors generally and me in particular, especially regarding pay. There's a different Center Manager there now. He was the Assistant to the Center manager ten years ago. This gentleman is first class. Two of my colleagues are still there, in management, and these gentlemen are also first class. I know who the new Chief Pilot is at FSI . . . .

Whom I met eleven years ago when I interviewed at Comair. He was the Chief Instructor there. He was at FSI just before that as Chief Pilot. I didn't care for this man and was not impressed with the school. The equipment seemed to be very tired. The atmosphere and culture seemed oppressive.

Hope these help a little. Private me with any specific questions.
 
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Timebuilder

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Thanks, Bobby.

Anyone else have info, especially recent?

What were the first six months like when you started at your Florida school?
 

Timebuilder

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Only Bobby worked/is working in Florida?
 

dondk

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Currently in PA, from lakeland a few years ago though...

You actually have 2 schools in LAL, the Academy I would avoid but there is a FBO on the field that keeps busy....
You also have Plant a few miles to the west that had a bustling school back then. Personally, I would look in TPA, they were usually light on CFI's but had a decent base of students and the TPA FSDO is easier to deal with then the MCO FSDO.

You of course have all of the other schools in the state, FSI, ERAU, Comair, Phoenix East, ATA, Pan Am, and ATP's... I made a decent living at the smaller FBO's and while I did not fly as much as the schools I made the same amount of $$$ and possiibly a little more.

Good luck and enjoy Sun and Fun!
 

Timebuilder

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All info is appreciated. Anyone else?
 

flyboy

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I would say that you could get a decent deal out of ATA. They offer 401k and other benefits. They advertise that they will give you their Air Stage II after one year of instruction. This is not true. Anyway, you start out at $10 teaching privates. From there you move to Instrument and $11. After about 8-10 months, you should get your chance at the MEI and $12 hr. Kind of crappy wages but a fair amount of students. The management is also not very respected by instructors. They have been lied to in the past. Also, about Comair. I've flown with 10-12 instructors at ATA and all came from Comair. I asked one of them why they all left Comair and he said it was b/c of the lack of students right now. A lack of students means no instructor hiring. This is just from my sources. I don't know how it is right now. Also, I think that they hire mostly from within. ATA doesn't focus on training instructors so they hire entirely from the outside. Hope this helps.
 

newmei

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I've worked in both Tampa and Orlando. I think Tampa by far has a better quality of life, also many back up schools if you get fed up with one you can go to another. In last count there are at least 9 or 10, as far south as Saint Pete, East as Plant City and North as brooksville. However I've been looking up and down for a CFI postion in tampa. Luckily I live with my parents and am going to school. But Nada, ZIP. Luckily I was able to pick up a job banner towing which is pretty good money and definately more flt time. However being that I want to do ERAU its not the correct time for the credit I need. As far as TPA FSDO and MCO FSDO, I know a 135 op that moved his office so that he'd be in the MCO FSDO jurisdiction. I have'nt had any direct dealings with MCO FSDO, and only one with TPA FSDO which was a CFI failure, but that can happen anywhere. The Academy in Lakeland is CLOSED as is Suncoast Flying Services in Clearwater Airpark. I would try to get on with Tampa Flying Service in Peter O' Knight (IF I beat you to it!) Just kidding.....


Bye
 

dondk

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NEWMEI

Wow... that was a great update on the CFI situation in the I4 corridor, like I said it has been a while since I was there...

Good to hear the Academy is closed, hopefully shut down would let me sleep better at night though...

My comment on the MCO FSDO was most guys were getting beat on the CFI-initial. THe 2 day barrage was failing a lot of guys, I know many were bolting down to West Palm County to get a DE to do the Intial...

Good luck in the TPA/ST Pete area...
 

bobbysamd

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MCO FSDO

I agree with the above. That FSDO has to be one of the worst in the country! It threatened to 609 me when all I did was walk in to renew my CFI.

I appreciate Jmac's comments about Riddle. They seem consistent with my Prescott experiences years ago. We didn't have a 401-K, though. Bet a couple of my Riddle Seminoles are there!
 

bobbysamd

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Vero

I lived a block from the beach when I lived in Vero, which was alright. Thank G-d, they got rid of the drawbridge!

Vero has some of the best Italian I've ever eaten, and great barbecue at Fat Boy's on south U.S. 1.

On far more important matters, flighttrainer is right on about the multi opportunities at FSI.
 

FLYnMONKEYS

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Timebuilder, it looks to me (according to your profile) like you are getting close to 135 IFR mins. Why don't you stay where you are get a little more time, and then go do some 135 flying. I assume you "waiting for the call" means a call from the airlines. Go fly checks or cargo and build that multi. By the time you hit 1500 hours you will be very marketable to the top tier regionals. I believe that it will take many years before most guys/gals at regionals get a shot a the Majors (with regard to current furloughs), so pick your regional well. ACA is hiring, along with some of the DAL connection carriers.....those would be top tier regionals. What ever you decide to do, best of luck.
 

Timebuilder

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I've been looking. Anyone with recommends and hiring leads? That WOULD be my first choice. Going to FL is a fallback position.

At this point, "staying where I am" means here in front of the computer. That's part of the problem.
 
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172driver

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I have been at Comair Academy for about 18 months as a student and CFI. The system DOES work.
Everybody who hangs in there through all of the ratings and gets their 1000 TT and 100 ME as an instructor gets their interview. Almost all of those get hired. Maybe closer to 80% than 97% since 9/11, but that's still a better deal than you'll get elsewhere. Those who don't immediately get on with Comair find jobs at other regionals shortly thereafter. Try even getting in the door with 1000/100 from an FBO. Furthermore, try getting the 100 hrs of precious twin time anywhere outside a 141 school...good luck if you're not able to buy it.
The tough part is completing the program. A lot of people don't have what it takes...and I'm talking motivation far more than intellect. This goes for 141 schools in general! You must immerse yourself in aviation, not just show up and fly. You will attend groundschool three hrs a day, fly twice, and be held to extremely high standards both knowledge wise and in the airplane. Not a whole lot of time left for drinking, partying, going to the beach, etc. These are the people who don't make it.
The school provides what they promise...the ratings, the time, the interview, and a very good shot at the airline job...even post 9/11. They still have what most schools don't...airline owned, and, more importantly, an airline that's hiring.
 

wingnutt

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well, i know some of you dont like to hear this...but if its ME time you're shooting for, and you want a decent chance at the airlines, Aviator in Ft. Pierce is the way to go.

it may not be the prettiest place to go, nor the best paid ($10/hr...hobbs time only), but all of their guys move on to the airlines because when they leave, the norm is 900-1000TT with 7-800 multi. tell me where else you can get that? Eagle, CoEx, ACA, etc. are picking them up as fast as they can get the hours.

they used to not hire outside of their program for CFI's, but as of late hes been picking up a boatload of Comair/PanAm guys because of the afore mentioned gripes with their respective schools.
 

Ned

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What about ATP

Lots of good info on the options in florida in this post. Anybody instructed at ATP in Jax or pensacola? Seems like you could get your multi time pretty quickly teaching there....
 

flyboy

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ATP

I don't think that ATP hires too many guys who didn't go through their program. That's just what I've heard.
 

172driver

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Same story w/ Comair and ERAU...no job unless you went through the program. Florida seems a little saturated with CFI's right now but I'm sure it'll clear up soon.
 

jaybird

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"Same story w/ Comair and ERAU...no job unless you went through the program. Florida seems a little saturated with CFI's right now but I'm sure it'll clear up soon."

172 you are so wrong. We took more than a few of your (Comair) guys, who BTW are great guys. They had nothing good to say about the Comair program. They said the pay sucked and the aircraft were crappy. They did say there was a quick upgrade into the twin, and that still remains true I guess. This was just what they said, I've never been to Comair before so I don't know. I did hear one of your instructors on your ops. frequency say that he had a gear problem. He sounded like he was very upset. Maintenance told him to check the Nav lights and that was the problem. I thought that was funny.

When times were good, ERAU would hire lots of people from off the street. Now it's just hard to find a job anywhere around here.
 
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