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Rotors to fixed wing in Canada

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Rotors to fixed wing in Canada

Old 4th Nov 2019, 18:24
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Canada
Age: 42
Posts: 112
Rotors to fixed wing in Canada

Is this a thing, like it is in the US? Been flying helicopters offshore for ten years and my faith in this industry is not what it used to be.
Does Air Canada or WestJet take heli pilots with multi, glass and IFR experience at all?
Pondering getting my fixed wing license.... but is there a point?

Cheers!
Canuck Guy is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2019, 19:16
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: LHR
Posts: 6
Hi there,

May I ask you why you want to switch from offshore to FW ? With little to no FW experience you’ll have to start from zero with an operator in the bush or like Pacific Coastal, KD Air, CMA, Georgian, etc for peanuts. The majors ( AC, WJ, SUNWING..) don’t take direct entries unless you are 20 years old, ready to spend$100-150K in their pipeline schools, which are part of a 4 years undergraduate degree, and prepared to make 25-40K/year for 5 to 10 years as an FO on a turboprop. The situation is a bit different in the US, as the demand for pilots is much higher and the regionals pay better. They usually have a direct and relative fast path to the majors. Financially, you are probably better off to stay where you are, unless money is not a factor and you are looking for an adventure !!!
Elton mercury is offline  
Old 5th Nov 2019, 00:39
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Canada
Age: 42
Posts: 112
Oh god haha. Yeah that doesn’t sound appealing at all. Just curious, as the offshore market isn’t great these days and something with better job security might be better. But not at that cost lol.
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Old 5th Nov 2019, 18:50
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Wherever I go, there I am
Age: 39
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Hi there,

May I ask you why you want to switch from offshore to FW ? With little to no FW experience you’ll have to start from zero with an operator in the bush or like Pacific Coastal, KD Air, CMA, Georgian, etc for peanuts. The majors ( AC, WJ, SUNWING..) don’t take direct entries unless you are 20 years old, ready to spend$100-150K in their pipeline schools, which are part of a 4 years undergraduate degree, and prepared to make 25-40K/year for 5 to 10 years as an FO on a turboprop. The situation is a bit different in the US, as the demand for pilots is much higher and the regionals pay better. They usually have a direct and relative fast path to the majors. Financially, you are probably better off to stay where you are, unless money is not a factor and you are looking for an adventure !!!
Rubbish, save for the third sentence and the bit about FO earning potential which has an element of truth.

Airlines in Canada do not have "pipeline" schools like Europe. Yes, we hire from the universities, but we also hire from flight colleges and flight schools. There are a lot of applicants with and without degrees or certificates and many who were hired with licenses only. Air Canada has required a degree of some sort in the past, but this was a rationing device meant to take the sometimes 8,000 applicants a month down to a manageable level. With the number of retirements coming, there is news that these requirements have either already been removed or will shortly be removed to accommodate hiring needs. WestJet has never required any additional education above that required to obtain a CPL or ATPL, nor has any other airline in Canada.

There are conversion processes that Transport Canada has in place for conversion from rotary-wing to fixed-wing licenses. Have a look at CAR 421.30(7) to see how TC credits pilots with a CPL-H for the knowledge and experience requirements for the CPL-A. A rough estimate looks like you'd likely be in for 30 to 50 hours to finish off the cross-country and solo requirements if you've been flying for 10 years. Not cheap, about $7,000 to $9,000 or so, but certainly not $100,000 to $150,000. Then, and depending on the breakdown of your experience, an airline may hire you as soon as you convert your licenses or they may ask you to complete more fixed-wing hours; that all depends on the economy and the airline. However, a certain regional airline in Canada already hires 250-hour pilots and the other two are being forced to do so as well. Therefore, a pilot with 10-years experience on an aircraft where the wings don't stay put would likely not be given the cold shoulder where they could demonstrate they held the CPL-A or ATPL-A.

As far as starting wages, that range shown in the above post is not too far off; However, in this economy, no one is spending 5 to 10 years in the right seat of a turboprop. I do caution people to not expect quick upgrades as the next recession is always right around the corner and one could find themselves in the wrong seat at the wrong time, but that is not the current reality. At my outfit, we've instituted an upgrade matrix as otherwise, upgrades would be occurring at an unacceptably low level of experience. But the average upgrade in our house is around 2 years. Additionally, there are a lot of smaller, charter companies that have started increasing their FO and Captain wages of late to retain staff. In fact, there is one operator in Manitoba who pays their King Air Captains more than the regionals pay theirs.

This is definitely a pilots market right now, so if you're going to make the jump, do it sooner rather than later.
+TSRA is offline  
Old 7th Nov 2019, 18:05
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: LHR
Posts: 6
Hi +TSRA and Canuck Guy,

two different background, two different experience and opinions. Based on my experience, I can assure you that +TSRA is not even close from reality and my “rubbish” is not as rubbish as he make it sounds.

Canuck Guy feel free to contact me in pm if you need more “real life” info vs FW propaganda in Unicorn world

Elton

====================================

Until you have a posting history you don't have access to private messaging and adding urls.
Elton mercury is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2019, 05:05
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Sorry, Elton, you can feel butt hurt all you want, but I've been at this over 20 years now and I've seen the good times and the bad times. Right now, I'm very much on the inside and about as close to airline hiring as one can be without being in the interview room (and I've been there before).

Let me say this as unequivocally as I can:

1) Canadian airlines do not hire exclusively from universities.
2) Canadian regional airlines hire CPL-A holders with very little total time experience so long as they have written the IATRA or SAMRA/SARON exams.
3) One of the regional airlines is hiring Direct Entry Captains, the other two are very close to doing so. The average upgrade at Jazz and Encore is hovering around two years, less with more experience and an ATPL-A in hand.

Call this "propaganda in a unicorn world" all you want. I'll grant you that times are not what they used to be and a far cry from the 5,000+ hours needed to get into Jazz when I first started in the late 1990s, but I just finished training two initial First Officer students with a combined total time of 2,200 hours. Both were teaching in 172's only four weeks ago. The airline I work for has been teaching this level of experience for almost 8 months now and we've seen a steady decrease in experience for about the last 3 years. The training programs at Jazz, Porter, and Encore are designed to accommodate a 250-hour pilot, and Jazz has been doing this successfully for quite some time now. If Encore and Porter are not also hiring 250-hour pilots by the end of next year, it likely means we're in a recession and we're all screwed.

No, we do not hire CPL-H or ATPL-H straight into the airlines as the U.S may do. But that's why I outlined the TC requirements for license conversion. We would not turn away a helicopter pilot who had completed the appropriate conversions and obtained the CPL-A or ATPL-A with Group 1 instrument rating. Rather simple really.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 20:53
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: LHR
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+TSRA, I appreciate your precious input. I am not discarding your opinion. Based on your experience, you are correct. Who am I to tell you otherwise ?! I just hope you would be more open to the idea that your reality might not be mine. You can’t just bash someone’s opinion based on what you know. Or think you know. As training Capt in an airline, you should know that, it is basic CRM 101 ! Or is there only 1 authority gradient in your company ? “ as Capt I m right and you are wrong !” Luckily for me I dont have to fly with you ahahahah

What CG was asking: as heli pilot, with no FW licence (understand a fresh CPL-A), do I have a chance to join WJ or AC? The answer is NO. CG never asked if after 5 years as FI on a 172, or flying for a regional, he would get granted access to the majors. He said, based on my current experience and a CPL-A, do I have a chance with AC or WJ.... and the answer is No. How do I know ???? After all, you are the one involved in recruitment in your company, right ? Not me.

Well, first of all, the requirement for AC or WJ are between 1000 and 2000 hours FW. Not helicopter. Regardless your TT. And 2nd, I was on the other side of the table, being the heli applicant to a FW position... me and Several of my colleagues. All of us in the aviation business for many years, all with ATPL-H AND either CPL-A ME-IR (IATRA) or ATPL-A. All of us with thousands of hours as ME PIC, glass cockpit, multi crew. Very similar to what CG is mentioning. Some of us with thousands of hours FW (ME-PIC) on top of our heli time. All of us applied to the airlines last fall when things were uncertain in our company. We applied at many 704 and 705 throughout the country. And guess what ? Amongst all my applications, only 1 biz jet guy on the west coast contacted me because we had a friend in common. Other than that, I was told “impressive resume but not what we are looking for”, “thank you but no thanks” and XX did not even let me apply because I did not have 1,000 ME FW. The majority of operators did not even bother answering my application. That is how I know that your reality is not THE reality.

Due to the 2000hrs FW requirement, I did not bother applying to AC but my good friend did. Young fellow, APTL-H and A, 10K TT, 4000hrs FW ME PIC with recommendation from an internal employee and guess what ? More than a year has past and he has not heard a thing. So, as training guy and person involved in recruitment, please enlighten me on that...

If companies are so desperate like you mention, why are the majority of operators ignoring perfectly qualified guys with lots of experience (and no, we are not old folks on the edge of retirement or only good at flying a load at the end of a cable)....? and if a CP sees our potential, why do we have to refuse the offer ? I was offered 1/3 of my current salary from the jet guy on the west coast. With 8000 hours experience and a family to take care of, I should not have to be a bartender on week-ends and evenings to put food on the table and pay for my rent. Would you agree ? And that is probably part of the dilemma raised by CG in his question. And part of the reason why airlines can’t find experienced crew.

On an side note, as you can see I am not on your side of the pond anymore. I met many low time guys in Europe flying 737 and A320. I was ashamed to tell them that the salary offered to me in Canada on jet with my 8000hrs experience was not even half their salary as 250 hrs wonder in Europe. And no, airfare in EU is not double the price. In fact I fly from London to Greece (4+hrs flight for $100-$150 return) when YYZ to YVR cost me 5-7 times more. Something to consider......

Because I am open minded and willing to meet you half way, I will reiterate what I said in the past: you are not incorrect when you say that airlines do hire “low times”. But it come with a price to pay. So here is my suggestion:, since you are very close from the hiring process and the airlines are so desperate, I would suggest that you send Canuck Guy a pm and invite him for an interview. offer him a decent salary too That would kill 2 birds with 1 stone: give CG some hope for the future, and stop this ridiculous conversation we are having because at the end of the day, there is nothing that I would love more than for you to prove me that I was wrong !

Best regards. Over...

Last edited by Elton mercury; 12th Nov 2019 at 22:45.
Elton mercury is offline  

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