The First Flying Job

FLT TeamPilot CareerLeave a Comment

The First Flying Job

How do I get my first flying job?

 The first flying job is often the toughest one to get. You have low flight time, not a lot of experience and a job market that is highly competitive. There are two factors that determine how easy or how hard getting your first flying job will be for you. First, what job are you trying to get? Are you after a corporate charter company, or are you after flying floats or instructing? You need to determine what avenue you want to go down that will land you in your first cockpit as a paid pilot. Secondly, you need to determine where you are willing to go and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to get that first job. If you are from the Vancouver area and are unwilling or unable to move across the country you may encounter some more challenges. The key to landing that first job is being open to the adventure of finding it. For many pilots starting out in the industry, it involves a road trip to every possible flying outfit they can think of. For others targeting specific flight schools in their local area does the trick.

Is it worth it to take a ground job in order to move into an airplane eventually?

 Many people do it. And for some, they absolutely love it because it means working in the environment that they want to. For others, it is just waiting for time to go by until they can finally do what they want to. It really depends on your personality. Do you love to fish, hunt, and sit around campfires? Working the dock for a season before you get to fly full time as their pilot might be a great option for you because you will still be in the environment that you enjoy and proving yourself every day. If you can’t wait to get into the cockpit of an airplane and start earning your hours, then an instructing job might suit you better to start.

Should I get my instructor rating first or my group 1 IFR?

Completely dependent on your aspirations, economic climate, and personal financial position. Some people choose to get their instructor rating first and once they have some more flight time make the splash with the Multi IFR because they feel they will be more marketable. Others who are willing to work for a smaller outfit located further from urban areas will probably have more success and be happier with a Multi IFR to start with and may even by-pass the instructing route altogether.

I got my first job after instructing/flying in the bush but the pay is brutal should I just be on the lookout for the next job?

It is a very unfortunate part of the business that so many entry-level jobs are paid so low. The general range for beginning first officers is anywhere from 20 thousand to 40 thousand at the very high end. It is a tough pill to swallow and could make life choices more complex and hard depending on what it is you have to sacrifice to maintain the job. The good news is because you have that first job your next one will be that much easier to obtain and the pay will go up. You need to maintain a balance with your employer, you want to be dedicated and loyal but you also don’t want to turn a blind eye to some lucrative opportunities if they did present themselves. In the initial interview with your potential employer bring up the topic of salary and try to understand when they pay will or could go up. After probation is complete do I get a raise? How long do you I have to stay as a first officer before becoming a captain is an option? Excellent questions to ask and they will show your intrigue and dedication to their operation.

I just landed my first flying job and it is going to be single pilot IFR. I am nervous because I don’t know what to expect. Should I take it?

Unfortunately, we can not tell you if you should or should not take it. However, flying single pilot IFR with very low experience can pose hazards and risks. It is highly advisable that you are very familiar and comfortable understanding the rules and regulations associated with IFR flying. Be sure to have your own limits. Trust your gut with weather conditions and aircraft limitations. It is always easier to say no to a flight now and explain yourself later than going flying into a situation where the risks outweigh the rewards. If you are having serious doubt or need more insight as to what to expect with your single pilot IFR job please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] include “single pilot IFR job” in the subject bar. One of our representatives of FLT will get back to you as quickly as possible to help provide insight.


If you feel like giving up, try to remember why you started flying airplanes. Don’t give up on your dreams, keep moving forward, you can succeed and you will succeed. Every professional pilot had to land that first job, and you will too.