I recently obtained my CPL at FTA.

In one of the answers:

The normal progression is this - you can technically get a flying job after 150-200 hours of private training and flying, having achieved your commercial pilot licence (CPL). I say 'technically' because if you only have minimum hours and minimum qualifications you have to look very hard for a job. Most people straight away get an instructor rating, so they can get a job teaching people to fly. Other early jobs include sightseeing flights, parachute flights, and mail flights to remote towns.

Your training will have been in light aircraft, but fortunately Australia has possibly the largest light aircraft industry in the world, so there's lots of jobs in these planes. It's highly unlikely that your first job will be in anything bigger than a 6 seater plane.

Could somebody suggest based on your experience, light aircraft operators willing to hire a 250 hours pilot?

I already sent my resume to a list of GA operators and did not receive any reply. I need some advice on the best approach when trying to get my first job. Look forward to hearing from you.

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    $\begingroup$ I edited your post to add helpful formatting and a link to where you got the quote. Also, see this question for ways to build flight time. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Dec 16, 2015 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ This seems like information that will probably go out of date relatively quickly. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Dec 16, 2015 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ Move to Alaska and start doing whatever airport job you can find. Make friends. Eventually you'll get a chance to fly something. $\endgroup$
    – Riccati
    Dec 16, 2015 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ You should clarify which country you are asking about $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Dec 17, 2015 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, Ben I was referring at Australia as in one of your comment you mentioned that Australia has the largest light aircraft industry in the world. I thought you could suggest some GA operators that might hire low time pilots. Or, better how can I tackle getting the first job as a 250 hours pilot. Adrian $\endgroup$
    – Adrian
    Dec 17, 2015 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


Getting your instructor certificate is your best bet.

Beyond that, there are jobs out there for traffic watch, banner towing, and flying jump planes for skydivers. Also glider towing and sightseeing. Ferry flying is possible, although I'd be careful of any place that would hire you with very few hours -- they may be cutting corners & guys with more time look at the operation & say "no thanks." Not necessarily, but be cautious with anything that looks "too good to be true."

All of these are typically positions that only have a few, or one, or no openings at a time, and those spots are in pretty high demand. So persistence and personal contact (not just sending a resume) are probably vital to landing one of these jobs. The place where you're most likely to have more options is flight instructing; obviously that requires the CFI certificate (or equivalent for outside the US).

Good luck!

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    $\begingroup$ I'll only add that if you do encounter a place that seems shady, make sure they arent a "134 and a half" operation that is a commercial operator without a 135 certificate. Flying for an op like that isn't going to look good when the feds come knocking. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Dec 17, 2015 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ Even flying skydivers is tough these days. Most insurance companies want 500 total time and 25 in type to fly Cessna 182s and 206s. Turbines are 1000+ hours. $\endgroup$
    – Brian
    Dec 17, 2015 at 12:11

Nobody can tell you every single operator who might hire you. There are a couple of operators that I personally know have hired low-time pilots, like Merimbula Air Services or Polar Aviation. But what I want to do here is give you some strategies that could help you land your first job:

1) Don't stop training

Passed the CPL Flight Test? Great! Now do more. Get as many endorsements and ratings as you can - tailwheel, aerobatics, low level etc. Fly as many different types of aircraft as possible, then search for operators who fly those types. And if you can afford it, the holy grail would be to get a MECIR. But a very good-value rating to get is the instructor rating. Needless to say this could get you a job almost anywhere in the country, but it is nevertheless a competitive field.

2) Get schmoozing

The aviation industry in Australia is relatively insular. It is often not just what you know, but who you know. Rub shoulders with as many people as you can - not just pilots but engineers, managers too. Don't burn bridges. Any one of these people might one day have a friend who is expanding their operation and they could recommend you. Your instructors could be friends for life - ask them how they have gotten to where they are.

3) Consider your approach

Similar to the point above, are you simply sending your CV to random operators? This is often more annoying for them than anything. Pick up the phone (or better yet drop in) for an honest, genuine chat. Even if they haven't advertised, they might have it in the back of their mind that they need another pilot. If you make a good impression the worst that can happen is they will have you in mind next time there is a vacancy.

4) Broaden yourself

I think this is an aspect of pilot recruitment that is often overlooked. Most operators that would hire you are a small business. You are so much more valuable to them if you can do more than simply fly a plane. Work on your non-technical skills - get some experience in customer service, HR, office administration, or book keeping. Larger operators in particular need more hands in their regulatory/safety management areas - if you are good at policy implementation or technical writing you could be useful here. By selling your non-piloting strengths, might not be flying full-time but it's a door in to the aviation world, and will certainly help your overall career prospects. As an example, I think there's a great opportunity at the moment with the ATSB to be essentially a junior investigator, and all you need is a CPL. You won't be flying in this job but you'll gain so many experiences relevant to a flying career (plus a handsome salary). If you have training in accident investigation larger operators, especially airlines, will love you.

You've picked a difficult profession to crack into, but with patience, persistence and intelligence you'll get there.

  • $\begingroup$ If I have an Australian CPL can I fly in Indonesia? How likely is to obtain employment if I have 250 hrs. flight in Indonesia? $\endgroup$
    – Adrian
    Dec 29, 2015 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Adrian You should be able to convert your Australian licence to an Indonesian one pretty easily (though the Indonesian DGCA website is difficult to say the least...). You might need to sit an exam or do a flight test but your 250 hours will count. As for job prospects, I'm afraid I can't answer that. It seems not many here are that familiar to the Indonesian industry. There are other aviation-related forums that might be more useful. Best of luck. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Dec 31, 2015 at 9:34

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