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Canada The great white north. A BIG country with few people and LOTS of aviation.

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Old 10th Dec 2011, 00:11   #1 (permalink)
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Real chances of finding a float job.

Hi all,

Right, I've been doing some research on this forum and internet regarding finding a float job in Canada. I hold an Australian Commercial License with Multi Instrument rating and all my ATPL subjects with about 350hrs TT. My wife and I would love to live in Canada and naturally I would love to fly sepalanes in such a beautiful place. In saying that, last time I asked hiring was slow and the economy was pretty flat so Im wondering if things have picked up.

Firstly, I understand I need the right to live and work in canada which is my first priority.

Second is I understand the cost of living can vary quite a bit. In saying that, what kind of places have an 'average' cost of living? ie. in the North or is it around the major cities?

Thrid is converting my license. Does anyone know if its as simple as a Law exam and a flight test or is there more to it than that?

From what I can see the min experience required varies between operators. I have an DHC2-FP endorsement but very limited float time. Seaplane jobs in Australia are rare and difficult to come by simply because you can count the amount of seaplanes we have here on one hand, and jobs that do arise you need experience to be successful so its a viscious circle. Naturally I want to learn from some of the best seaplane operators in the world, so Its my intetion to start where I need to start and learn all that I can!

any help you can give would be much appreciated.

Thanks all,
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Old 10th Dec 2011, 14:53   #2 (permalink)
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I know this isn't the hemisphere you had in mind, but I did recently see an ad from Maldivian Air Taxi looking for FO's. I can't recall which site, but it was just a few days ago, and if i recall, the minimums for FO seats aren't that high. It might be a place to build some time and get a foot in the door (but probably not particularly beneficial to married life!). The Maldive/Twin Otter scene used to have a Kenn Borek connection, but I don't have any direct knowledge, perhaps someone else out there has the inside story.
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Old 11th Dec 2011, 00:20   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks mate will look into that one. Last I heard MAT were hiring locals over expats which I suppose is a good thing. I think the Candians must get pissed at blokes like me constantly chasing and asking questions such as my first post. But it would be a heap of fun !!!

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Old 13th Dec 2011, 04:25   #4 (permalink)
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Before dreaming too much about a job, you might want to look into getting a work visa first...
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Old 13th Dec 2011, 04:38   #5 (permalink)
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Dang, dubble post.

Sorry, not trying to be a d!ck.
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Old 14th Dec 2011, 00:22   #6 (permalink)
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On the AFAP website.

25 November 2011

Single Engine Seaplane Pilots

Bush Flight has full time and casual positions available in Northern Australia for Single Engine Seaplane Pilots.

No pilot with less than 100 water landings will be considered and pilots with Beaver Experience will be given priority in consideration.

For further information on the positions available please forward resumes including phone contact details to info@bushflight.com
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Old 20th Dec 2011, 20:47   #7 (permalink)
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I suggest you research the above ad with due diligence before going there.

Hows that for politically correctness !
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 04:25   #8 (permalink)
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Ejector i have heard many things about the above operator none of which were very good.

The people that look after the visa side of things have assured me all would be ok obtaining one. I was watching ice pilots the other day on youtube and would love to spend some time there, not oly for the scenery but to experience the way of life, the people and operating in such a diverse place. i dont expect for one second to start at the top, im a small fish in a big pond and am keen to learn what its all about.
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Old 25th Dec 2011, 04:15   #9 (permalink)
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Be ready for a long hard road as a low timer trying to break in. It will take a tremendous amount of luck, a lot of perseverance and a commitment to break into the business here. I won't even get into your issue on getting a work visa. It's tough enough without bringing that in... good luck and happy xmas.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 10:02   #10 (permalink)

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I can give you only vague generalities on the Canadian floatplane business as I'm not involved in it. However I have lived on both coasts, and floatplanes seem to be far more common on the west (Pacific) coast, than the Atlantic - perhaps because the Atlantic is much rougher, and Atlantic Canada is less wealthy, with fewer island destinations. This would mean living in British Columbia, with the major centers being Vancouver and Victoria. The good news is that you will be in the best part of the country, with a mild (by Canadian standards) climate, breathtaking scenery between the mountains and the ocean, and a very laid back attitude that an Australian will fit right in with. There's at least one scheduled float-plane operator based there.

The downside is that Vancouver is the most expensive city in the nation, and Victoria isn't far behind.

There are also floatplane operators throughout the rest of the country, mostly involved in charter services flying people into the north. Canada has a lot of north so there's a lot of these, but they are typically very small operations, and my understanding is that the pay isn't great. Pilots do it for the love of bush-flying or to build time before moving on to something with a steadier paycheque. You'll likely be living in a smaller center up north, which would be roughly comparable to somewhere in the outback, but with thirty below winters.

Maybe the coolest option would be to fly for one of the provincial fire-fighting teams in the CL-415.

Best of luck, eh!
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 18:55   #11 (permalink)

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Float Flying in Manitoba

Manitoba is geographically in the center of the country.

We have many [over 100,000] lakes and many small float operations.

Most of it is "bush flying", flying in/out of isolated communities, many of which do not have year-round road access, or flying to fishing/hunting lodges.

The more isolated and further north you go, the more expensive the living conditions. Food can be outrageously expensive due to shipping costs and housing can vary from affordable to non-existent to outrageously expensive.

Try internet searching the price of houses in Winnipeg, Brandon, Norway House, The Pas, Thompson and Churchill. That should give you the range of extremes. Winnipeg is our largest city, though one of the smallest in the country, Churchill does not have road access but does have a train service.

Manitoba is "big sky" country and is relatively flat. [as opposed to the west coast which has very many clouds filled with granite]

Float flying is seasonal. May to October, generally.

Because we are flat and relatively land-locked, Manitoba has a very high percentage of good flying days, weather speaking.

I lived up north for 14 years. Thompson, Lynn Lake, and Churchill in Manitoba and Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

I would estimate that the cost-of-living here is about as "average" as you'll find, not the least expensive but certainly not the most.

Generally speaking, controlled airspace and radar coverage ends about 100 miles north of the 49th parallel. We have a LOT of uncontrolled airspace.

Outside of the city of Winnipeg, we are a rural, some would say unsophisticated, nature loving, friendly people. I have spent most of my life living and working outdoors. We know how to put on a great BBQ! [wink]

Oh, ... it gets cold in the winter. Very, very, very cold. But, it's a "dry" cold! [ROFL] Seriously, low humidity is a problem, specially in the north, specially in the winter. -25 is normal, -40 is not unusual. And it is windy. Outside of aviation we are a metric country so that's degrees Celsius. And we drive on the right-hand side of the road. I can't remember if Australia is the same as the UK in that regard.

I have no knowledge of the licensing and visa requirements. Though I've had the pleasure of working with more than one Aussie pilot, so it must be do-able somehow.

Hope I've answered some of your life-style questions.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 00:13   #12 (permalink)
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Real chances of finding a float job.

Hey guys and merry Xmas!

Can anyone please tell me what the story is with these 50hr float courses people can come and do in Canada?

From what I've heard you can get 25hrs dual and 25hrs solo on floats which sounds very valuable in regards to float experience.

Any info would be great!
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Old 15th Jan 2013, 17:30   #13 (permalink)
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FYI, by population, Winnipeg is now the 7th largest city in Canada. When I was a lad, (in the 1960s), Winnipeg was Canada's 4th largest city..

Carson Air in Kelowna, B.C. offers float training.

Island Coastal Aviation in Vancouver also offers float training.

Air Tindi in Yellowknife is one of Canad's largest float plane operators.
Harbour Air in Vancouver is the world's largest all-seaplane airline.
Maldivian Air Taxi, (another large seaplane airline), is known to hire Canadian pilots for its DHC-6 Twin Otter operation in the Maldives.

Last edited by evansb; 15th Jan 2013 at 17:43.
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