5 Pilot Jobs for 500hr Pilots

Hey guys- what’s up! Jon here from fly8ma.com coming to you today to talk about five pilot jobs you can do
with 500 hours total time flying. Let’s go intro. Alright so five jobs
we’re talking about you can do with 500 hours total flight time. So pretty much
anybody out there can do with 500 hours. Anyone can get into and the key here is
you can do these jobs without having to shave your face because I just don’t really
like that.. just don’t feel like shaving anymore, so we’ll try to compare them all
equally. We’re talking pay benefits and then ease of getting hired. If some of
these jobs might require a little bit more specific flight time in a certain
airplane with a little more tailwheel time, we’ll try to cover that for you
guys as well. So first off skydive pilot is our first
job on the list. If you want to be a jumper driver, a diver driver jump pilot,
however you want to call it. So the pay for a diver driver is roughly around
thirty bucks an hour give or take. Sometimes starts a little lower,
sometimes a little more. Kind of rare. Sometimes you’ll be paid per load, so
oftentimes they’ll be paid ten to twenty dollars per load and you can do well
roughly you know one to two loads, sometimes three loads, in an hour, so
anywhere in that you know $20 to even $50 an hour range maybe if you’re lucky. As
far as how many hours a day you can get in, almost six to eight hours a day
pretty typical. How many flight hours, you know maybe
just shy that maybe four to six hours of flight time per day and the one key
drawback there is it’s often seasonal. There’s gonna be no benefits typically
1099 as you’re paid. Rarely are you a w-2 employee and the ease of getting hired
well in the baseline of things flying a 182 or some smaller airplanes. If it’s
not a big plane or something like that then yeah it’s fairly easy to get hired
into that with 500 hours total time. Next you could be a CFI with 500 hours and of
course everyone talks about being a CFI, one of the easiest ways to build your
time to get to the next level or to even go into as a career now being a flight
instructor. Being a CFI has changed a lot in the last few years here really, so
this is actually job pay wise your looking at if we were to talk about
things in total compensation right that’s what we won’t want to try to talk
about because total compensation would be your base salary any signing bonuses
and then also any benefits lumped into that because there’s no benefits being a
sky dive pilots and these other jobs we are about to talk about.
So total compensation for a CFI at the top end schools, you can get hired out
with 500 hours roughly around 70 thousand per year salary. It doesn’t
really matter how many hours you fly. How many hours can you fly per year well
five to eight hundred typically but if you’re talking salary really doesn’t
matter you’ll get paid the same. Now as far as base salary that’s in the mid 50
thousand per year range and then as far as the total compensation well you’re
talking 401k health care, dental, insurance, vision insurance, airline
travel benefits if you’re working for I say like LAT which is a flight school
affiliated with Lufthansa Airlines in Germany so you get airline travel
benefits them. Paid vacation, paid holidays, paid sick time, things like that.
So thing to CFI is to become more of a career type thing rather than just to
build your time and these are getting hired into that pretty easy if you got
the 500 hours total time. So that’s pretty high up there on the scale fairly
easy to get picked up. Next up we’ve got banner towing. Now this is another one
fairly easy to get picked up on. Pay really ranges again, but you can bet
about twenty eight bucks an hour is a pretty average that we’ve found.
You know we saw things anywhere from 15 on up to 30 bucks an hour for banner
towing and it can be pretty long hours, which is kind of helpful as far as
getting paid right so you’re not going to go out and just fly for an hour
typically, but it is very seasonal and there typically are no benefits. Once
again you’re back to 1099, so in terms of total compensation, you’d be lucky to
come home with 30 40 grand maybe a year in that field or in that pilot position
as a banner tow pilot, but as long as you got say you know 10-20 hours tailwheel
time, pretty easy to get picked up and there’s even banner two airplanes that are tailwheel or trikes that you can get picked up with just your plain 500 hours.
So fairly easy to get hired. Pay (eh) not so great, kind of middle-of-the-road,
and benefits– typically none. The only reason pays good is because you can fly
so many hours in a day. Next up we’ve got 135 flying or charter flying those
sorts of jobs that kind of fall into that scenic tour operations things
you’ve seen Alaska out west around the Grand Canyon and around Florida flying
around the Keys and out on the East Coast, doing charters and really all over
the lower 48 as well. But any sort of 135 flying. Well pays gonna start it kind of
varies it could be 20 bucks an hour could be 25 an hour, could be 200 dollars a day. That’s a really common rate you’ll see
for whether you’re sitting right seat and a hawker at 500 hours or you’re
sitting left seat in a you know Cessna 206– $200 bucks a day is
pretty typical what you can bet on for pay. The trouble there is you may not be
able to log the flight time even though they’re paying you to sit. Right seating
the Hawker you may or may not be able to log that flight time especially if
you’re not multi engine rated, especially if the guy’s not an Meim, especially if
it’s doesn’t require two pilots to be flying it. So you may get into some of
these jobs that sound great flying a jet but there’s no benefits again it’s just
all 1099, here’s your money, no w-2 jobs out there really for that
sort of thing and you may not be logging flight time sitting in that Hawker. Now
the other side of this is say grant aviation up in Alaska well they actually
pay 200 dollars a day to fly their small airplanes two weeks on two weeks off so
you’re looking at you know not a whole lot of money but about you know
$2,800 a month maybe any of there’s some basic benefits there
as well as airline travel benefits they’re part of Cass they’re part of the
jump seat you know group of airline so you can actually jump seat around and
have flight benefits working for someone like grant up in Alaska now as far as
total compensation their friend if it’s aren’t quite that great so you’re
looking in the mid 30s maybe high 30s if you’re lucky as far as what they offer
in terms of healthcare for 1k and all that all the extra stuff it’s really not
much in the 135 world either getting hired into those 135 jobs is a lot
easier now and it’s really once again know who you know kind of thing
especially for the right seat jet jobs once again you’re not gonna really be
able long time in those right sea jet jobs most often but as far as the left
seat jobs flying the Cessna is up around Alaska and the lower 48 flying some
those smaller 206 –is and things like that you can’t log the time and again
kind of who you know but it’s also fairly easy if you just pick up the
phone call or drop off a resume actually go show your face there it’s getting
easier by the day because we are coming into a little bit of a pilot shortage
here in case you guys haven’t noticed as far as aerial survey aerial photography
and pipeline patrol those are last that’s our last fifth wheel just kind of
lump them all into one aerial surveying or photography whether it’s
surveying animals surveying land taking pictures pipeline patrol all kind of
lumps in the same easy getting yeah somewhere between just show up and
who you know you have to kind of know to get the job so not the easiest get hired
into but not the hardest the trouble with it is it kind of comes and goes
right you’ll have a lot of work line eight hours a day around the twenty to
thirty dollar an hour range sometimes even more but again 1099 rarely find w-2
jobs in this field rarely find any sort of benefits total compensation you’re
looking in the thirty thousand – range because you’re not gonna have work
year-round it’s really when something gets a contract or somebody gets a big
job they fly a whole bunch for a few weeks a month
and then you’re just sitting around waiting again the same thing with aerial
photography with drones coming out real estate agents aren’t really calling up
guys to go take pictures of houses anymore so that’s kind of shifting into
not as popular kind of harder to find the work hey count on the 30 ish
thousand range and then benefits count on none and as far as getting hired know
it’s moderate again so that really sums up the five jobs we’ve got again you
don’t have to shave for any of these five jobs hopefully that gives you guys
a little bit of insight of what you can do to build your time to get to the next
level or if you’re looking just to you know kind of do that for a career all
those can be careers you can live off all those salaries although they’re not
necessarily amazing some of them you know once you once you break the fifty
thousand mark I’ve always found that I was pretty comfortable making fifty
thousand up total compensation that made life a lot easier than trying to live
off twenty thirty thousand dollars a year so that’s my two cents on it that’s
what we found in our research. If you guys have any other ideas, leave them in
the comments below, we will link all of these companies that we research our “top
five companies” so to speak for these jobs in the description below as well so
you can check those out if you want to go ahead and call them up, drop off a
resume. And you guys know what to do: like the video, subscribe if you have not
already, we’ll see you guys in the next video!

100 thoughts on “5 Pilot Jobs for 500hr Pilots

  1. #6 Ferrying pilots.
    I was just talking to a guy that flew a plane to my airport a couple of weeks ago. This company is the biggest Cessna dealer located in Texas. Van Bortel (https://vanbortel.com) apparently they fly planes all over the place and even though they don’t advertise for pilots. They need pilots to Ferry planes to people for purchases. Along with picking up planes to bring them back to the company that they purchased.
    The company purchases and refurbishes them to flip. Might want to look into this company too.
    Yes you do work as a contractor. There are no benefits and they pay for all travel expenses. I forget what I was told for pay. But I think it was 200 bucks a day.

  2. Hey Jon Awesome videos!! Question? Why is the pay so low for Commercial Pilots? I am a Tennis Professional and the pay scale doesn’t seem to fit for the level of expertise required to fly commercially.

  3. plentty of jobs and benefits flying part 135 and companies can now get an opspec that allow someone in the right seat to log time in specific circumstances. I helped a guy at 500 hours land a job working 10 days a month making almost 75k a year full benefits. Those jobs are out there you just need to put the effort in to find them and get those jobs.

  4. Pipeline Patrol is a tough gig and companies are getting strict. Barr Air requires 1500hrs to fly for them. Meanwhile USA Jet Airlines & Kalitta will take you at 500TT…Good luck all you out there looking!

  5. Very recent change to FAA rules allow logging much more right seat time in 135 operations, even when two pilots are not strictly required. This is in response to both the general pilot supply and to Trump's executive order that all the Fed bureaucracies must reduce their general regulatory burden on the public.(the new IRS forms are also because of that order)

  6. Good advice!

    I'm too old now, but it's fun to see where things are these days.

    I laughed about your concern about not having to shave.

    You probably work harder trimming and shaping that nice beard than if you were clean shaven.

  7. Anyone know of any low TT jobs in the DFW area that aren't CFI. I've heard it's all about who you know in the aviation community and I don't know anyone

  8. 70,000 a year as a salary CFI?! HAHA holy cow that is so untrue I don’t know whether to laugh or be angry… no… that isn’t the average, hell thats hardly the best!! Paid by flight hours or not even if you flew 1100 flight hours in a year which I did between 2013-2014, I STILL worked a second job and got paid a grand total of… are you ready?? 34,000$ after taxes. now I’m not saying this isn’t worth it, I’m currently an airline captain and love it and can say the struggle to a livable wage and lifestyle of flying is worth it (be it 121,91,135, I’ve got friends everywhere and you’ll have friends who go everywhere too, it’s a beautiful thing)…but to sit here and lead people on that they are going to make TWICE what I did my first year as an emb175 FO in mid 2014 is not only untrue, it’s just unfair to the ignorant riding the aviation high! Shame!

  9. 500 hours ?
    At 300 hours you’re cocky and still wet behind the ears. At 33,000 hours my Uncle who taught me said he never stopped learning.
    500 hours? Lol

  10. I earn 100k flying 280 hours a year! I'm a aerial applicator (crop duster). First spraying season I had 220 hours total time. Only made 25k, that's in the 2 month season, and then second season got a bigger plane and did 80k, just did my 3rd season and cleared 100k. Flying stick and rudder all day and loving every minute of it!

  11. I heard a few years ago the beach banner pilots in Northwest Florida where I lived were only making about $10-12 an hour, it was hot and miserable in those planes with long days and the planes were junk, I’m surprised none of em dropped out of the sky

  12. I got hired as a survey pilot at 350TT. Starts at 32K to 35K a year plus benefits. Average flight time 80 hours/month.

  13. To anybody seriously looking at an airline pilot career: get somehow over to europe, claim your ancestors citizenship or whatever. You get hired for a major airline's job at 200 hours, flying the A320 for example, earning solid money, with perspective. The states seem twisted in a way…

  14. hello
    anyone ever applied for a pria or prd (new name)
    before applying for a 121 job ?
    just curious if checkride failures just start from 2010
    and ex employer data goes back 5 ?

    i read that, just want to confirm

  15. Plan on starting flight school in a month. But I have a tattoo from my elbow to about an inch above my wrist bone. Obviously I would wear long sleeves while on the job but will this stop me from being hired by air lines? Any advice is appreciated thanks

  16. A great way to build flight time (even w/out CFI) is to volunteer with Civil Air Patrol as an Adult Member! You can be a Cadet Orientation pilot and once you get 175 PIC time logged you can fly as a Search & Rescue and Counter Drug Pilot. The more you volunteer the more flight time you can obtain plus you are serving your country. Depending on the squadron you join and the missions they run you can get about 4 hours per week. Its not much but every hour counts, especially if becoming a flight instructor is not your cup of tea. Almost all the missions are funded by the USAF so you don't have to pay for fuel unless you are flying for proficiency. A dry rental rate of $35 an hour for a Cessna 182 for proficiency flights is a great benefit too!

  17. how much is a rough price to get training for a pilot licence and what is the diffrence between private licence and commercial

  18. If you got your commercial rating as a pat of a degree program, look into military aviation as well. Ten year commitment, you'll be making $70K+ plus bennies for the majority of it, and you'll leave with THOUSANDS of hours(Unless you're in the Marines, then you get thrown into a Company Command billet and are stuck grounded for three of your ten years[Ask me how I know….actually don't I don't wanna talk about it])

  19. I am looking at microlight instructing as a semi-retirement job. You can take an instructor course with 100 hours P1.

  20. I get paid more and have better benefits than a CFI as a truck driver. My training lasted 2 weeks and costs under $3K

  21. What about the CFI-S rating? To get the rating you need 150 hours total and some odd amount of time as PIC of an LSA, but you can do with with just a sport, recreational, or private pilot license. No need for an instrument rating or even a commercial license

    EDIT: the major drawback is that you can only teach sport pilot applicants or give checkouts/flight reviews to sport pilots, a regular CFI but for sport pilots

  22. Great suggestions! There is a big variety of jobs out there, what’s important is going out to get them even if you have to move. You still have to hustle, make those phone calls, and get your foot in the door.

  23. part 91 captain in anything from a baron to a king air part 91/135 co pilot in anything from a king air to a gulf stream you can expect 30 to 70k depending on the airplane and the fact that no two flight departments are the same and if you're lucky like me…. you wont have to shave 😉 but seriously go out to that local corp flight department and ask the chief pilot if you can fly right seat. you might only make $150 bucks a day (plus expenses) but youll learn a shit ton

  24. Some of his information is in accurate. You cannot fly in the right seat of a Hawker without a multi engine rating and you can log it as SIC. Flying 135 you have to be trained and certified they don’t just put anybody in the cockpit

  25. In Canada you can log copilot time in single crew planes such as caravans, pilatus, twins, king airs, etc., move north murican friends.

  26. I first read this as "5 pilot jobs for $500 / hour. I was like…yeah… 1)smuggling 2)smuggling 3)smuggling 4)smuggling 5)smuggling.

  27. What do you think the possibility would be of combining these? So for example work as a CFI Monday – Saturday, and then on Sunday and less busy work days towing banners? Possible? Beneficial?

  28. I’m a aerial photography pilot in Texas and get paid salary. Log 100+ hours a month with full benefits. Hired at 400 hours. 1200 now.

  29. I think the CFI was a littleee too high on the salary quote 😂 great video, thank you! How long do you think the pilot shortage is about to last?

  30. thanks for this video, really helpful!! Trying to figure out if I should shoot for CFI as is typical, or go CPL and try to get onto a Part 135 through networking perhaps, I've started that a little

  31. Can I call the “ Joe Satriani “ of the flight instructors? Great videos and awesome presentation!

  32. Where are all these CFI gigs with this outstanding pay & benefits???? I certainly haven't come across any, not saying their not there but I think their definitely the exception to the rule.

  33. Just come to Europe and fly here for lot more money. And dont worry about health insurance and things like that…

  34. You said CFI's make how much? 50k-70k annually? Uh, where do they do that at? I feel like you've inaccurately framed the compensation trends. 15-20 k annually.

  35. The part about charter guys not being able to log SIC in single pilot planes isn't true. Read AC 135-43, As of late 2018, if it is a 135 op and the ops manual dictates a second pilot, the pilot can legally log it.

  36. Where I come from you can get into an Embraer 190 with 250hrs . And theres never been a crash caused by inexperienced pilots. I dont know what's up with usa and there strictness causing all that pilot shortage stuff

  37. am a little shocked here..CDL drivers make more than these group of pilots?and from the comments below even some uber drivers make more than them as well

  38. I dont see the logic. Why ppl pilot can not work? The ppl license is only for private use. Why this pilot with pribably more than one thousand hs cant work flying similar cargo (for example) aircraft?? Can somdbody please explain me? Thank you!

  39. Starting pay $15/hr, same as Amazon warehouse work that may not even require a high school education. No wonder people don't wanna become pilots.

  40. 5 Jobs for 500 hr. Pilots. – 1. McDonalds, 2. Burger King, 3. Taco Bell, 4. Jack in the Box, 5. PappaJohns (at least you get to drive something…)

  41. Great Vid !!could you do a video about the CPL license I cannot find any videos explaining or giving advise about CPL by itself without ATP ( ATPL ) also only found 1 question bank that’s only CPL so if you had any advise would be amazing!! thanks !!

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