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Sage advice sought - floats and bush flying

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Sage advice sought - floats and bush flying

Old 25th Jul 2007, 17:08
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NZ
Posts: 4
Sage advice sought - floats and bush flying

Hi there,
I have a query I'd like to submit to the Canadian population of this board in the hope that I can glean some useful info... Any and all advice will be gratefully received.
My question is threefold, and it goes something like this:
I'm a UK citizen, I'm currently undertaking my JAR PPL in Scotland, doing the pay as you fly route (buying blocks of hours) so I'm not tied to the FTO or perhaps even necessarily to this country. It has been a dream of mine since I was a nipper, and it is now my mission in life, to follow an aviation career and fly floats in Canada. I'm a fly-fisherman and an outdoor type, the lakes and the mountains are where it's at, unsurpassed beauty all around - a wee bit like Scotland but a hundred times bigger. I'm a late starter, my current career (new media/web design/development) is killing me by degrees - so I've decided to jump ship and follow the dream.
Here's what I need to know.
Firstly, is there any sizeable impediment regards doing my JAR PPL in the UK then continuing with further training out west? Or should I stop now and complete the PPL in Canada? If I stay here and complete, will say a 50hr float rating and some cross-country hourbuilding be enough to prepare me for the CPL/ME training etc, given unfamiliar airspace, regs and r/t - are the training syllabi in parallel? Would I have to convert a UK JAR PPL to a Canadian version in the first place? Bit of a wooly barrage of questions there...
Secondly a medical question - would a CAA Class 1 cut the mustard in Canada? The AME who did my CAA Class 2 for the PPL is qualified to do Tpt. Canada Cat 1 renewals, but I'm not sure what the situation is re initials. Would I be better waiting until I come out there and sync a Cat 1 with my further training - or can a CAA Class 1 be ported to the Canadian system? Any thoughts?
Thirdly (and lastly I promise) - I'm aware that box-fresh float pilots have to wait in line for real flying jobs, just like everyone else - and I'm quite prepared to load a/c, work the docks, paint rocks and wash windscreens, whatever it takes until the right opportunity comes along. What I was wondering is, does the float/bush community have a history of only hiring fresh-faced grads - and do the same cyclical trickle-up hiring forces generated by the majors affect the less glamorous end of the aviation spectrum in the same way (in terms of keeping those fresh-faced grads in jobs)? What is the hiring situation like in Canada, outside the majors and regionals, is the float community in a good state of health?
As a venerable 37 year old I'm short on time (and of course cash) so I need to get on the correct track asap. Any sage advice no matter how incidental will be of help, I look forward to your replies.
Gemini70 is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2007, 00:55
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Great White North
Posts: 182
Q #1: No. The PPL will be a straight trade across. There will be an air reg.'s test involved, but it is lightweight. The Licence here is a cross between JAR and FAA. Not as difficult as the JAR, but more so than the FAA. How Canadian, a compromise. The actual flying is second to none.

Q #2: I don't know if it is a straight trade for the medical, but it is very likely. You will need a Canadian Cat 1 Medical as it is the validating document for your licence. I would contact Transport Canada at www.tc.gc.ca for that one. Follow the links for Aviation.

Q #3: There is a lot of hiring by the majors right now. They are hiring all the charter guys and creating openings all the way up the food chain. That's the good news. I don't want to discourage you but I also don't want to mislead you. It is a difficult road for the low time pilot to walk. Much of the hiring here is based on family and friend connections. Not all of the hiring, but a lot. The next thing that will affect you is where you are willing to work. The more remote, the less competition you will have. Lastly, you will have to show up in person to these remote locations and pester the crap out of the operators until they hire you or get a restraining order. It will likely take multiple trips to remoter communities. Be aware, remote in Canada is something I don't think most people from Europe or G. B. can grasp until they see it. We will, and often do, drive 8 or more hours in our car on a long weekend just to get to a beech. Then drive another 8 or more hourís home. In Europe, you will have crossed 3 countries; here you are likely still in the same province.

Personally, if I were going to do a float rating I would do it here. There is a school in Kelowna that offers an excellent course that shows you all the bush stuff and can be applied towards your commercial licence (two birds, one stone). You learn to fly in the mountains, in the bush and off small lakes and rivers (I am going on what I have heard and read... do some homework to make sure I am not leading you astray and that they still offer the course I am referring too). It would loan you some local credibility and offer you the chance to make some contacts.

Best of luck.
Mostly Harmless is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2007, 07:05
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 31
Full service Flight Training Unit for your conversion, as well as float operation with 13,000hr pilot for your float training. Only open until November. Feel free to PM, or better yet, [email protected].
airtids is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2007, 11:28
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NZ
Posts: 4
Thumbs up Cheers

Thanks for your replies folks. I appreciate the effort and guidance. My plan is to complete the JAR PPL here and then go west to do my conversion and float training next spring I think.
If anyone else has any gems of info I'm open to further suggestion re. relocation, accommodation and visas etc., this is another whole can of worms which has to be opened...
Thanks again,
Gemini70 is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2007, 18:16
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: All over
Posts: 14
I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure you are going to need the right to live and work in Canada to even start looking for jobs there. If you dont have this right (by family/marriage), maybe you could immigrate based on your current profession and then switch when you get there? There is plenty of information about this on the CIC website.
Skydreams is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2007, 02:21
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,235
Your instructional flight hours in Canada will run about $200 these days. As awful as that seems to somebody who did it for about $20 a few decades ago, I suspect that that's a good bit cheaper than what it costs to get training in GB.

You could come over for a flying holiday and get your license and flog your resume about. If you'd like to train with the above-mentioned Kelowna outfit, you could also flog your resume in the Okanagan which is a bit of a high tech centre.

You and I know well that you can do work for them back in GB while waiting for Immigration to bestow its blessing upon you, but there's nothing to prevent you from making client visits.

As for Canadian immigration, apply ASAP to get your name in the mill. Don't worry about having to work in your designated profession once here. There's thousands of doctors and engineers driving cabs
RatherBeFlying is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2007, 02:44
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Three steps from reality
Age: 48
Posts: 267
There's no law against merely looking for work in Canada on a visitor visa, but of course you can't work without the proper status. There are 2 main ways of being legally able to work in Canada.

1) If the employer can satisfy Human Resources and Skills Development Canada that there are no suitable, available Canadians to do the job and that they have made all reasonable efforts to get a Canadian and failed, a foreign worker can can be hired and must apply for a work permit. The worker is limited to working for the named employer and cannot even, for instance, rent out a room in his/her house for extra money. It is relatively simple to get a work permit assuming the employer has the "labour market opinion" from HRSDC. Mine took 2 weeks from application to approval in 2004, while the London High Commission's website states 6 weeks on average.

2) If an applicant scores 67 points of more on the criteria set by Citizenship and Immigrations Canada, he/she can apply for permanent residence in the Skilled Worker catagory. The points required are subject to change at any time and it's rumoured that an increase is imminent. To reach a respectable score without an offer of employment from a Canadian employer, you pretty much need to have spent 14+ years in full-time education, be fluent in one official language and have some facility in the other, and have been in the same profession for 4 years or more. Arranged employment makes it considerably easier to reach the points total, but you need an employer who is willing to wait for you! It takes 3 years or more for an application as a skilled worker to be approved for a Brit. There are provincial nominee schemes which speed things up, to maybe a year, and you'd need to check the websites to see how that could work out.

www.cic.gc.ca for the main info

google [name of province] provincial nominee scheme and see what comes up! Probably a good idea to do so on google.ca
Lock n' Load is offline  
Old 30th Jul 2007, 03:36
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South of 60
Posts: 13
Get your right to work in Canada,then just get the minimum float endorsement (7 hours),and move to Yellowknife,NWT and get hired by Air Tindi to work the ramp or dock....after a year you will be checked out (PPC'ed) on the veneriable DHC6-300...the ultimate float plane!Check out thier fleet at www.airtindi.com
mccauleyprop is offline  
Old 30th Jul 2007, 03:43
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South of 60
Posts: 13
Thumbs up Sage advice sought - floats and bush flying Reply to Thread

Get your right to work in Canada,then get just the minimum float endorsment...move to Yellowknife,NWT and work the ramp/dock for Air Tindi....after a year of hard work they will check you out (PPC) on the veneriable DHC6-300,the ultimate float plane!Then let the fun begin!
mccauleyprop is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2007, 11:06
  #10 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NZ
Posts: 4
Thumbs up Cheers

Thankyou one and all... I did the online point-scoring assessment on the CIC site (and on another 3rd party site, just to check) and it appears as though I have more than enough. Whew.

And so it begins then. Thanks again for all your input, sounds like I'm gonna have to write everything up and form a full plan of action before I go off half-cocked and waste time/money or squander opportunity.

Can't wait to get going!

Thanks again
Gemini70 is offline  

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