This is intended as a starting point to give you ideas for pilot side-hustles. I believe that there’s so much opportunity in the world this list could never be exhaustive.
- Teach Part 107 ground school to drone pilots.
I wrote a whole post about this on TPN. I believe that a pilot could make several thousand dollars a month if he or she put concerted effort into this. The best part is that the market for drone pilot ground school is enormous, and vastly underserved.
- Ferry pilot
You’d be surprised how many aircraft owners want to pay you to fly their airplane across the country (or world.) I got to fly an owner’s Icon A5 from the factory in California to him in Minneapolis. It was an awesome trip, and I hope to do more like it in the future. I wrote about this trip on TPN and include some thoughts on how to get started.
- Flight instruction is a no-brainer for a pilot who enjoys teaching. (If you don’t enjoy it, then please do everyone a favor and stay away!)
I know airline pilots who give primary flight instruction in C-150s and such. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s a lot of work and it doesn’t pay well. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to do far more interesting instruction. The more variety of experience and more flight hours you have, the more of these opportunities you’ll find. I teach in the A5 for Icon Aircraft. It’s a blast, and the money is far better than any other flight instructor job I’ve ever heard of. I describe that job in this post on TPN.
- Sell something on Etsy! If you are capable of making any physical or digital product with some degree of quality, I believe that someone will pay you for it. Etsy is the perfect marketplace for these types of side-hustles. It might take some experimenting to find out what gives you the best return on your time, but if you enjoy working in the garage or on the computer anyway, why not get paid for it?
- Real estate
There are many ways to make real estate into a side-hustle. I know more than one pilot who got his or her agent license and is making commissions helping people buy and sell homes.
I also know a pilot who owns dozens of rental properties and has done lots of flips. By finding a good market, and ideally a niche within that market, you can make untold amounts of money. It can be a lot of work, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to form a team and systemize your efforts, you can absolutely do this in addition to a full-time airline job.
- Teach something
I go to classes at Title Boxing Club because they’re fun and they force me to work hard. If I was a little more adventurous (and in better shape) they’d pay me $20/hr to teach those classes (and probably let me attend unlimited other classes for free.) A fantastic FIRE author, Liz of Frugalwoods, used a similar strategy to get free Yoga classes. $20/hr isn’t much. Maybe free yoga class is better. However, a side-hustle like this could expand into personal training and other, more lucrative ventures.
What else are you good at that you could teach? Chances are, someone out there will gladly pay you for that knowledge.
- Fly Contract ADAIR
This concept has been around for a long time on a small scale, but it recently got a huge financing boost. You can get paid very good money to fly amazing fighters as a civilian supporting US military exercises. Check out companies like Draken International for more.