It’s All About The Multi-Engine Time!
The magical number for getting an entry level job into the airlines is 1000 hrs of total time, and 100 hrs of that being multi-engine time. The numbers may vary slightly for corporate , flight instructing, etc, but with 100 hrs of multi-engine time, getting a job will be much easier.
What’s the Best Way to Get the Most Multi-Engine Time?
There’s a number of ways you can get to that elusive 100 hrs of multi-engine time, from paying for it straight up, to finding a friend who has a twin engine plane who will let you use it to build some time at a reduced cost. I’m going to primarily talk about building the time through your training process.
Getting Your Multi-Engine License
Most flight schools incorporate getting your multi-engine license in the training process. There’s 2 ways that it can be done:
- You can get a multi-engine commercial pilot license (most likely as an add-on after you get your single engine commercial certificate)
- You can get a multi-engine private pilot license (this is done as an add-on rating, usually after finishing your instrument rating), and then work on your multi-engine commercial license.
The 1st way is the more common way of approaching it. You complete your instrument rating, and then proceed to work on your single engine commercial license. To get a commercial license you need 250 hrs of total flight time, so much of the time between getting your instrument rating and getting your commercial license is spent doing more cross-country trips. You’ll end up taking the single engine commercial checkride at 250 hours, then take about 15-20 hours to get a multi-engine commercial add-on. Usually doing it this way will save you $1000-2000 over the 2nd method.
The problem with this approach is that 15-20 hours of multi-engine time is a far cry from the magical 100 needed to get most aviation jobs.
The 2nd way, in my opinion, is a much better approach in the long run for several reasons. If you start on your multi-engine license right after your instrument, you will do it as an add-on rating. This means that you do not have to do a written test, there’s no minimum hour requirement, and the practical test (checkride) will be easier because you already have a private pilot license, so many of the testing areas don’t have to be done again.
As far as the flight training goes, you just need enough training to be proficient in a twin engine airplane, which usually takes 10-20 hours.
After getting your multi-engine private license, you start working on the multi-engine commercial license. What this means is that all of that cross country time and additional hours that you have to get in order to reach 250 hrs total flight time, are all done in a multi-engine plane. By the time you reach 250 hrs of total flight time, you should have over 50 hrs of multi-engine time. At this point, it’s a lot easier to get a job flight instructing, flying charter operations, or any starting job since you have some multi-engine time.
The End Result?
The conclusion is: by pursuing a multi-engine private, followed by a multi-engine commercial license, you will spend a little bit more money, but you will end up with more multi-engine hours by the time you get your commercial. So in the long run you save money over having to pay for extra time in a twin engine because you got your multi-engine at the end, and only have 15-20 hours of multi engine time.