When flinally achieving your brand new commercial pilot certificate, many aviation employers look first at how many flight hours a pilot has. New commercial pilots are seeking those 250 hour pilot jobs, which can be difficult as an inexperienced commercial pilot. Low hour pilots are new and inexperienced, which can make them less desirable to hire. Fortunately, there are numerous flying jobs out on the market that hire 250 hour pilots. 250 hour pilot jobs are not the most glamorous, and the pay is low to moderate, depending on the market saturation, but it’s a great place to start when a new 250 hour pilot has just come out of flight school.
So what kinds of jobs can a low hour pilot get? It depends on where the pilot is looking. Sports stadiums, research organizations, and even news stations look for pilots that they can hire to do aerial work for them. A 250 hour pilot is ideal for these sorts of jobs because they’re simple and relatively undemanding. However, because 250 hour pilot jobs demand such little experience, they also more often than not pay out a lot less than flying for a commercial airline. Despite this, low hour pilots can still make decent money doing some of the jobs listed below.
A 250 hour pilot has just gotten out of flight school, but the education doesn’t have to stop once a pilot gets their license. Low hour pilots can become flight instructors, though the path to this job is more difficult than other 250 hour pilot jobs. Becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) requires that you pass certain requirements before you can get your CFI, such as passing an FAA certified exam and holding a valid pilot’s medical certificate. It is also a good idea to be familiar with best teaching practices, as being a flight instructor demands that you teach other, newer pilots.
Learning to be a flight instructor can be a very overwhelming job, especially to a fresh, 250 hour pilot. However, while you are getting your CFI, you are learning from someone who has ample experience in the field. Once you have your CFI certification, you’ll be spending more and more time in the air, which in turn reflects positively on your resume. Because of this drastic increase of hours, this is a prime choice for many 250 hour pilots, as it can easily lead into more demanding jobs that require more hours to be considered. Of course, teaching isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to have certain key qualities such as patience when dealing with less knowledgeable individuals.
Banner Towing Pilot
Whether it be pulling a banner across a stadium, or dragging a glider through the sky, any sort of airline towing jobs are fantastic for low hour pilots to get into. They’re less demanding than other jobs, and while they can be rather dangerous (such as with banner towing), there is always a need for aerial towers. The biggest thing with these kinds of 250 hour pilot jobs is that they are seasonal, usually experiencing a boom during the summer months, and tapering off during the winter. Of course, you can find work all year round for these sorts of jobs, though they can become scarcer as the season ends.
Of the two, banner towing is probably the more dangerous, requiring that you pull behind you an unpredictable, flapping piece of fabric behind your plane. This can cause complications, especially if it somehow becomes lodged in something on your plane, or falls off onto the area below. As a result, it does require more spatial awareness, but for the most part is it a very low maintenance job.
This job is great for any 250 hour pilot wanting to experience a little taste of adventure. Skydiving is a popular and fun sport for many people, and business booms during the tourist season as more people travel to these prime skydiving destinations. As a skydiver’s pilot, you will be required to fly to these destinations, and let the sky diving instructor handle the rest. You may also be required to pick up and drop off skydivers to and from destinations. Getting into this 250 hour pilot job is a great way to bring up your hour count, while also experiencing the thrill of watching people jump out of your plane for fun.
Skydiving is most prominent through the spring and summer months, while fall and winter tend to be too cold or too dangerous to fly and jump. Despite these seasonal limitations, skydiving is popular all around the world, and as a result is generally very easy to find a place that may be hiring a low hour pilot.
Charter pilots are a fundamentally necessary part of getting aircraft from one location to another. As the job title states, a charter pilot is responsible for picking up and moving planes from their initial resting place to a new destination. An aircraft may need to be chartered from one location to another for a variety of reasons, but most often it is because of a customer order, or insufficient room in the current hangar for more aircraft. Whenever an aircraft needs to be moved, a charter pilot is called to do the work.
This is a good 250 hour pilot job because the stress of the job is limited only to you and your aircraft. This means that you can focus entirely on getting to and from your destination, without having to make additional stops along the way. While this isn’t to say that there is no stress to the job, it is considerably less than working as a banner tower or a glider guider. The work is also rarely monotonous, requiring that you move between many different places to deliver aircraft. You may find that you travel to more places at work than you would normally in your whole lifetime!
Traffic Watch Pilot Jobs
Low, 250-hour pilots may not consider working for a news station, but the reality is that many news stations could use a pilot to see the traffic in the air for reporting purposes. A pilot has a better overall view of the area below, and thus can get a better picture for the news studio to report on. You would be required to fly over a small area while you carry one or two additional passengers. This job turns you into the eyes of the station, and while it seems as though it’s a very minor job, it can help hundreds or thousands of people know how to get to work, or if there’s an accident on the freeway. It’s a very important job, but is perfect for 250 hour pilots just getting into the aerial workforce.
Government Aviation Pilot
When you think “Entry-Level” positions, working for the government or municipality is probably one of the first things anyone thinks about. For 250-hour pilots, this is a great low-hour pilot job to get into and to start getting your feet wet in terms of an actual piloting job. Government-hired pilots can cover a wide range of jobs, but are commonly used for city planning, infrastructure, and other regulatory jobs that need a broader field of view. The government may also consider hiring a low-hour pilot because they are cheaper in the long run than sending out teams of people to diagnose a problem. This method of problem-locating can cost the city weeks of time, whereas if they hire you, a low hour pilot, you could potentially have the job done in a matter of days, if not hours. Additionally, you are one pilot, not five, and the cost of paying one pilot to do this job is significantly cheaper.
Government pay is also something to consider when working for a municipality. Because you’d be an employee of the city, or the state, you’d be getting more than if you were just a freelance pilot, or working one of the more minor jobs (such as photography or tourism). However, this pay is also dependent on what you are doing and your prior experience, so nothing is really set in stone. No matter the pay, if you’re looking for experience as a low-hour pilot, this is definitely a job to look into.
Photography Flying Jobs
Perhaps one of the more relaxing 250 hour pilot jobs on this list, flying for the expressed purpose of photography is a viable job for low hour pilots. You can choose to take the pictures yourself, have special equipment attached to your plane to take photos, or you can have professional photographers accompany you while you fly over the scenery. This is a great job for low hour pilots because it’s not as demanding as other jobs. You could even technically do this as a freelancer, but the pay is always better getting hired at a place that requires this sort of service.
One of the best ways to get hired doing this sort of work is to poke around tourist hot-spots. Postcards, travel brochures, and souvenirs may feature some aspect of aerial photography. Perhaps a mountain, or an overhead view of a town. If your pictures are good enough, these tourist-centered places may purchase your pictures, or hire you full time to do other attractions.