Low Hour Pilot Jobs

low hour pilot job

A brand new low hour pilot that has just finished getting their license faces a daunting task; getting that first job. Getting your first job as an inexperienced, 250 hour pilot is difficult, especially when many jobs now require upwards of 1000 flight hours in order to even be considered. Not too many places are looking for such low flight time pilots, especially since the FAA has increased the number of minimum flight hours that regional airline pilots need to obtain a first officer position. However, not all is lost; the following are some low hour pilot’s jobs that any new and aspiring pilot can do to boost their hours, and have a better chance at getting that first big gig. 

Banner Towing Pilot

Banner towing is the practice of flying over a stadium or event with a large banner trailing behind you. These banners are usually advertisements, but can be anything from team names to even marriage proposals. Banner tower pilots can easily rack up hours over the summer months, especially with football, baseball, and soccer in full swing. Of course, that isn’t to say it’s an easy job: banners are unwieldy, and any strong gust of wind is bound to throw a new pilot off track the first couple of times. Banner towing usually pays fairly well, especially for a 250 hour pilot, but the experience it gives is even more valuable. Additionally, this is the ideal job if you want to boost your hours, as you will spend most of the day in a plane flying around a stadium, especially if there is any sort of highly publicized event (such as sports or concerts).

Flight Instruction

This is one of the less difficult jobs to get into, but is one of the more difficult types of flying jobs. Once you get your commercial pilots license along with 250 hours, flight instructing is a great way to build flight experience.The first step is getting a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate, which will allow you to teach other new or aspiring pilots. Flight instruction require that you have a great deal of familiarity with aviation, as well as knowing many of the finer points of your chosen career. Some of the areas you will need to be knowledgeable in include regulations and laws concerning flight and airspace, aerodynamics, weather and weather patterns, a familiarity with the vehicle, as well as the ability to teach and answer questions. As an instructor, you may also be responsible for hands-on learning; that is, getting into a plane with a student, similar to learning how to drive a car. 

This flying job isn’t for everyone, as teaching numerous student pilots at once is incredibly stressful and in some cases exceptionally harrowing. However, if you are someone that likes to teach and loves flying, this is great pilot job for getting those hours up, as well as cementing the knowledge in your own mind as well.

Photo Flights

Aerial photography is another entry-level pilot’s position, and is possibly one of the least demanding of any low hour pilot’s jobs. Many different establishments may require aerial photography, such as universities, news stations, or even city council. These kinds of jobs require that you fly around a specified area while pictures are being taken from your elevated position. This allows customers to see an area from above, allowing for a greater view. Environmental researchers, for example, benefit greatly from these kinds of photos, as it gives them a better view of an area, allowing them to monitor the effects of certain influences (such as pollution). The tourist industry also benefits from these sorts of flights, as the pictures taken from such a high elevation look fantastic on postcards and souvenirs. Check with local flight schools and clubs, as they sometimes offer aerial photography.  

Traffic Watch Pilot

When you watch the news, and an aerial view of the streets is being shown on the screen, that is the work of a traffic watch pilot. Pilots will be up in the air, accompanied by news personnel, to report on the weather and traffic conditions over a local area. The purpose of this job is to help monitor traffic conditions in real time, allowing for more accurate news reporting. This job may require that the pilot fly in less than admirable conditions, and at all hours of the day. 

This is a great job for new, 250 hour pilots as it requires being up in the air for several hours at a time, then relocating to a new position. You would not have to worry about carrying cargo (with the exception of news crew), just flying from location to location. 

Aircraft Ferry Pilot Jobs

Just like the name implies, this low hour pilot’s job requires that a pilot pick up and move aircraft from one location to another. The nature of the aircraft could vary, from picking up small personal planes to larger aircraft such as a commercial airplane. An aircraft ferry pilot would need to move aircraft for a number of reasons, including delivering a craft to a customer, moving from one hangar to another, or even just for maintenance. Another, more stressful application of this job may include evacuation of military equipment during a crisis. As a result of the many possible needs this job may entail, it requires a lot of technical knowledge was well as spacial awareness to get it right. However, it’s a perfect job to help boost your hours and get your foot in the door for more demanding jobs later on down the road. 

Regional Airlines Pilot Jobs

Occasionally, regional airlines will hire a low-hour pilot into a flying position, though the pilot in question would still need to get their ATP certificate in order to be eligible. The downside is that it is highly unlikely to get into this sort of work right after getting your certificate; a job at a regional airline may require as many as 1500 hours before a pilot would even be considered, and for good reason. Flying a commercial airline is nothing like flying a small plane for a news crew, or flying a banner over a stadium. These aircraft are big, and carrying anything from consumer shipments to passengers. However, once you have the hours under your belt, this is a great job to kickstart your  pilot career.