Why it’s Important to Have Flight Hours and How to Get Them

Posted: April 22, 2021 | Author: Jaidyn Crookston | Read Time: 4 minutes

Why it’s important to have a lot of flight hours and how to get themAs a pilot-in-training (or a future one), you probably hear a lot about how important it is to build your flight hours and may be one of the most important things a pilot can do. Building flight hours is definitely important, but why?

There are many reasons why it’s important for a pilot to have a lot of flight hours. The more flight hours you have, the more experience you’ll have and the better you’ll be at following procedures and recognizing signs. As you get more flight hours, you’ll also find better job opportunities and will make more money.

The required hours vary between helicopter pilots and airplane pilots, but all pilots need a certain amount of flight hours to qualify for high-paying jobs and better opportunities.Flying in southern Utah

Pilot License Flight Hour Requirements

To earn a private helicopter or airplane license, a student needs 40 hours of flight time. To qualify for a commercial license, a helicopter pilot needs 150 hours and an airplane pilot needs 250 flight hours. Having a commercial license will qualify you to enter the industry and work a lower-paying, entry-level job. These entry-level jobs are great for building flight hours and experience. Once a helicopter pilot has earned 1,000 flight hours and an airplane pilot has earned 1,500 hours, he or she will qualify for higher-paying jobs.

Learn more about the difference between a private pilot’s license and a commercial license.

The amount of hours you’ll have upon graduation from a flight program depends on which program you attend. For example, if you train at Southern Utah University Aviation, you’ll have about 240 flight hours by the time you graduate. This many hours, along with your degree, will more than qualify you to work at a low-paying job. This job will continue to build your flight hours until you have enough to land the high-paying job of your dreams.

Entry-Level Pilot Requirements

You won’t need a ton of flight hours to qualify for your first job as a pilot. If you graduate with at least 200 hours this should be enough to land your first job.

Common first jobs for pilots include working at a tour company or working as a certified flight instructor (CFI). Flight schools often like to hire graduates as instructors. If you choose to continue your education and get a bachelor’s degree, then working as a CFI would be a great way to get flight hours and earn money while still in school.

Ways to build hours for a helicopter pilot:
  • Tour pilot
  • CFI
  • Tuna boat pilot
Ways to build hours for an airplane pilot:
  • Tour pilot
  • CFI
  • Banner tow pilot
  • Glider tow pilot
  • Skydive jump pilot

This is not a complete list, but these are the common options.Earning flight hours at SUU Aviation

Working Your Way Up as a Pilot

Once you’ve moved past an entry-level job you’ll be able to choose from many different industries. Pilots are needed in almost every industry, including agriculture, law enforcement, entertainment, medical, utility, corporate and more. Once you’ve taken a job in one of these industries, there will be opportunities for advancement and possibly management opportunities as well. If you get into one industry and decide you want to do something different, it won’t be difficult to switch career paths and enter another industry as a pilot. Not many careers have this much flexibility and opportunity for change, and I think that’s one of the reasons why being a pilot is such a cool career.

Not only does being a pilot give you such a flexible career, but it also comes with amazing benefits. Namely, a great salary. As you continue to build flight hours you’ll become more experienced and will qualify for an ever-increasing salary.

There’s a common misunderstanding that you can quickly earn a lot of money as a pilot. This isn’t true for most pilots. In fact, as a new pilot you’ll probably work at a low-paying job and will then work your way up from there until you’re making the kind of money you were promised when you first decided to be a pilot, which may take years. By “paying your dues” now and working low-paying jobs at the beginning of your career, you’ll see a large reward later when you start making a lot of money and have the job of your dreams. In fact, the average salary of a helicopter pilot is $96,000 a year and the average salary of an airline pilot is over $130,000 a year, according to salary.com.

Here’s more on the kind of jobs you can get as a pilot.

Study Aviation at Southern Utah University

If you’re looking for a flight school where you’ll earn a lot of flight hours, apply to SUU Aviation. Upon graduating from our two-year program you’ll have around 240 flight hours, which is more than most other flight schools offer. Having this many flight hours will ensure that you’re qualified and experienced enough to land your first job as a pilot.

Produced by SUU Aviation
The university's fleet includes 16 airplanes, 23 helicopters by the end of 2020, and state-of-the-art maintenance training facilities. SUU Aviation offers advanced and relevant flight training in the safest and most efficient way possible. The program continues to be on the cutting edge of the industry, training tomorrow's aviation leaders. To learn more about building your flight hours or to learn more about the school, contact SUU Aviation

Tags: Aviation

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