Building flight time is one of the major challenges you’ll face during your pilot’s career. There are many different ways for a pilot to gain experience and flight hours. Here, we will cover some of the top ways to build your flight experience:
1. Volunteer as a Safety Pilot
A safety pilot is a rated pilot who helps maintain visual separation from other aircraft, clouds, and terrain while another pilot is wearing view limiting devices for the purposes of simulating instrument conditions.
Even as a brand new pilot, you can gain experience as a safety pilot for others. There aren’t many hours in it, but you’ll grab a few. Everyone needs a safety pilot from time to time, so let people know that it’s something you’d be happy to take part in and people will know who to call when they need it!
2. Become a Flight Instructor
When it comes to getting a job at an airline, a flight instructor time is a valuable time to have on your logbook. Yes, a lot of pilots tend to avoid giving flight instruction, but the job has its perks. You’ll fly a lot of patterns and do a lot of touch-and-goes, but you’ll gain hours quickly and learn a lot simultaneously.
3. Get a Job at the Airport
There are numerous advantages in working at an airport and airdromes as a pilot. First, you’ll probably get a discounted rental rate. Second, you might learn a thing or two from instructors during their off time. Spending time at the airport also means that if someone walks in looking for a pilot, you’ll be the first to know, and (hopefully) the first to offer your pilot services.
4. Fly Scenic Tours
A more routine job for fresh commercial pilots might be flying a tour plane. If you have any scenic areas around you, chances are they are popular places for sightseeing flights as well. And if you’re a new pilot – you’ll surely log in a lot of hours while flying over them.
5. Earn a New Pilot Certificate
When buying flight time, it’s a good idea to count those flight hours towards a new certificate or rating. That way, you’ll have another credential to add to your resume. For example, if you need more multi-engine time, get a multi-engine instructor certificate while building the hours.
6. Join a Flight Club
Flight clubs often offer cheaper rental rates, and a membership usually includes other benefits like discounts for fuel and access to instructors.