I just wanted to ask everyone here; at how many hours did you first gain command of a multi crew helicopter?
Have most of you gone the route of single pilot to multi crew, and thereby getting a lot of PIC? If not, how many hours did you spend as a co-pilot before moving up? What are the different policies of the major operators? I understand it is a question of need, but I am looking for an average based on your experience.
First Army Unit had a 500 Hour Minimum in Country for PIC (about 750-850 hours total time)....or as seats opened up due to vacancies. Then new PIC's were paired with experienced Co-Pilots....as much as possible. That generally meant about four to five Months in Country before moving up. We averaged about 100 hours flying per Pilot per month.
On my first tour with approx. 350 hours TT. The RAF operated "multi-crew", 6.7 tonne helicopters but normally manned them with a single pilot and a crewman (or navigator) back then. The policy later changed (for GW1) so both front seats were always occupied.
Like ShyTorque I was let loose, on task, by the RAF as a Single pilot Captain ( with an experienced crewman) on the Wessex 2 after the usual RAF fixed wing training and helicopter training/conversion. I had about 95 hrs on The Whirlwind 10 (single engine turbine) followed by about 82 hrs on the Wessex (twin turbine). I can still remember vividly the EX Spearpoint of 1976 where I began 36 yrs of productive flying service!!
DauphinDude If you are where I think you are you are going to have to get a lot more hours than the above are descibing.
Oh indeed, it is going to be quite a while until it is my time. I was just curious about how things work in the industry. Seems like a lot of command positions are open to those with around 2500-3000, but if that was the case all over the industry, it would seem to me there would be a surplus of captains if we count 40 years for an entire career at 500 hours a year.
I vaguely remember I had about 2500 hrs when the company I worked for let me loose in their SA330J (steam driven Puma) as captain albeit with a senior co-pilot .... that was in 1982 ... to this day I still wonder just what they were thinking !!
3000 hours, six years in the company and having flown Oil and Gas on the AS332L and then SAR on the S61N before returning to Oil and Gas to get a command on the AS332L. That should narrow it down for you as to which company as it is based in ABZ.
Mmmmm ... I vaguely remember I had about 2500 hrs when the company I worked for let me loose in their SA330J (steam driven Puma) as captain albeit with a senior co-pilot .... that was in 1982 ... to this day I still wonder just what they were thinking !!
Looking back, I think the RAF were more than a bit optimistic and over-trusting when they let me go tasking by myself in one of her Majesty's Puma HC1s at the age of 23. Especially at 100 feet MSC (probably 200 feet until fully combat ready 6 months later). Thankfully, they did crew me up with someone with a lot of experience and self preservation - and access to a fireaxe, so I'm still around 33 years later!
We also had one captain who was only 21 years old!
During Confrontation in Borneo in 1966 brand new helicopter pilots were coming out to Labuan and one harrassed squadron training pilot would take them on. Two weeks later they were flying over half of the jungles of Sabah; single pilot in a single engined Whirwind with primitive maps and no navaids.
That situation continued from February to October: No accidents, no losses.