Ten Ways To Build Your Flight Time

Ten Ways To Build Your Flight Time

Building your flight time to become an airline pilot is a long process.  The new rules require airline first officers to have a minimum of 1,500 hours and a type rating just to fly right seat in an airliner.  Before this new rule, commercial pilots only needed 250 hours to sit right seat in an airliner. 

So how will you build your flight hours?  If you’re rich you can just pay for all your flight time.  If you’re like everyone else, you need to find ways to build your flight time that will not cost you much money.  Here’s 10 different ways you can build your flight time.

1. Become a Flight Instructor

Eric Harmatz

Eric Harmatz

This is the number one way for you to build your flight time.  Teach others how to fly and get paid for it.  If you work at a busy flight school you’ll build your flight hours in no time.  Get your Multi Engine Flight Instructor Rating and build your multi engine time for free. 

2. Safety Pilot

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Help your pilot buddies stay current by freshening up on their instrument flying skills.

3. Banner Towing

Geoff Collins

Geoff Collins

If you don’t want to become a flight instructor you can always find a job towing banners.  It’s not an exciting job but you can make some money and build your flight hours pretty quickly working for the right company.  Aerial Banners Inc is a banner towing company that offers an FAA Approved Banner Towing Training Program.  They will teach you how to tow banners and they could even hire you to fly their banners.

4. Glider Towing

Dave Lundy

Dave Lundy

Find a glider club near you and see if they need a glider tow pilot. You can find a list of Glider Schools here . You can make a little cash and build your flight hours.  The Soaring Safety Foundation has a free online tow pilot course that you can view right now.

5. Fly Skydivers

Bryce Bradford

Bryce Bradford

Skydiving is a very popular sport. You can find skydiving locations all over the world.  With a little bit of training you can be flying skydivers in no time.  You can find a list of skydiving schools here.  Give your local skydiving school a call and see if they need any pilots.  You can also find great resources on skydiver pilot training here: com

6. Become a Crop Duster

Jim Sher

Jim Sher

You can spray crops to build your flight hours. Some pilots actually make a career out of crop dusting.  Depending on where you are located, you might only have certain seasons where you can spray crops. Check out AG Flight Pilot Training, they offer courses on becoming an agricultural pilot.

7. Ferry Pilot

Kenny Alexander

Kenny Alexander

You can find a job moving airplanes around. You probably won’t build you hours really quickly this way unless you find a company that moves a lot of aircraft around the world.  com is a great resource to find people that need their airplanes moved.  You can also post your free advertisement offering your ferry pilot services.

8. Air Tour Pilot

Steve Calcott

Steve Calcott

This is a great way to build your flight time quickly if you live in a popular tourist destination.  As an air tour pilot you will typically fly 30 to 60 min flights multiple times a day.  Don’t expect to make a lot of money flying air tours.

9. Traffic Watch

Raison Bassig

Raison Bassig

If you live in a big city you can fly traffic watch for your local tv or radio station. The pay isn’t much but you could build your hours quickly.

10. Fly Pipeline/Power-line Patrols:

Josh Beasley

Josh Beasley

Get paid and build your hours flying around inspecting pipelines and powerlines.  This is the fastest way for gas, oil and powerline companies to find problems after a natural disaster.  Barr Air Patrol offers pipe/powerline patrols all over the USA. They also provide training for patrol pilots.

What other ways have you used to build your flight time?  Post them in the comments below.  Thank You

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