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Survey (or similar) jobs.

Old 20th Jul 2009, 06:01
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Survey (or similar) jobs in Oz.

Hi guys and gals....

I've just picked up a contract starting in January which means, all going well, I will have 500hrs of low level time under my belt around March next year. What avenues are out there to pursue further Low Level work?

I have 250hrs low level at the moment (1300TT) and love the flying down low so any chance to pursue this would be brilliant. I'm just fishing for a bit more information on how to find a way into this side of the industry as, simply I'm a bit stumped and lacking in contacts. The only operators I know of are Fugro and Oberonair, any info on these operations would also be much appreciated.

Have looked at Ag, but for various reasons I don't think this is for me.


Last edited by Wanderin_dave; 20th Jul 2009 at 06:33.
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 10:41
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Fugro
UTS
Thompsons

Ring up and ask to speak to the chief pilot ( make sure you get the chief or a pilot of some sort) .
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Old 20th Jul 2009, 11:20
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Plus theres GPX.
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Old 25th Jul 2009, 00:23
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Cheers for the info guys.

Any more info on conditions/lifstyle would be much appreciated. I imagine its's very much on-off contract type work with plenty of time spent away from home (what flying isn't).

What's the flying like day in day out?
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Old 25th Jul 2009, 07:26
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I worked in Survey many years ago. The initial 'excitement buzz' of the low level that many pilots get, is soon lost as the guys get comfortable with it pretty quick. Therein lies the danger !! Guys nodding off asleep at the controls, becoming fixated on flying the needles for accuracy at the expense of height, one guy used to read a book - much to my horror and disgust !! And when you're spending six (or more) hours a day at 160ft, some pilots did some rather extreme random and dangerous stunts when they wanted to show off. Because it's all VFR, their IFR skills degraded rapidly.

Having said that, apart from the idiots that you run into from all walks of life, many of the most proficient and safe pilots I have worked with were also working with the company.

Of course, unless you have a mining area that requires survey within 100km from your house, you are likely to be away most of the year.
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Old 25th Jul 2009, 10:03
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Haha, 'Needles'
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Old 25th Jul 2009, 20:12
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Alright then A69, heads down, concentrating on the CDI bar which displayed GPS cross track information, and the radalt, without lookout out sufficiently.
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 08:23
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Hi Dave,
I've been flying survey for about 3 1/2 years now. I'd say it's definitely not to everyone's taste, but I think it's the best thing that ever happened to me!

I've seen just about all of Aus, a couple of very unique foreign locales (with more in the pipe), laughed my @rse off, and met heaps of very nice people (and a few "characters") and done a fair bit of honest hard flying.

I have an odd preference for handling 70's era piston a/c and remote places, so i'm usually pretty happy to go to another point on the map, wherever it may be.

Maybe it'll help me not ramble if i put down some of the pros and cons in point form???!!!

Negatives first
* You will be in remote camps, communities and small towns 90% of the time. You've gotta be able to "amuse" yourself during the copious downtime.

*It's hard to do this job and maintain a relationship. 6-8 weeks away is standard......but you can never really know what's going to happen. That usually drives partners batty in short order.

* As mentioned above the flying is labour intensive! It is very tedious in the beginning. Extreme heat, turbulence, discomfort and boredom make the first few weeks hellish. It is only human to zone out and [email protected] 100'!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

*Your IFR skills will deteriorate over time. Basically all the work is VFR, and you have to stay motivated to keep your hard-won skill up to standard. There is scope to fly multi-crew turbines under IFR in my company, so it is worth doing if you stick around.

*Most of the survey companies are not run as flying set-ups. They don't think a/c and pilots / flying ops like a pure flying mob would. Be prepared for some breathtakingly stupid and or tight-arsed behavior on the part of management.

Positives

*The total focus on hand flying and terrain following will make you a dab hand in the stick-man stakes. That is always good.

*There's the potential for travel to some exotic destinations. You name it! It could happen. You'll also see a lot of iconic Australian places. Sometimes I can't help but think "people pay $$$$ to see this, and i get paid to see it!".

*The pay can be pretty good if you work a bit. You get Perdiems in the field to do with what you will. You also get good chunks of time off. A good chance to cash up and travel if you want. Eat noodles and stow cash or Drink JD's and eat steak.....up to you

*The experienced guys and gals are all very cool. HEAPS of experience to learn from, no airs and graces. Some have been EVERYWHERE, and had every seedy, dangerous experience under the sun. Lots of stories!

*The nature of the work is sure to remove a few wanky pilotesqe tendencies. If you've done any bush work, you'll know being a pilot doesn't get you into anyone's pants except the chief pilot's!. After a year or so, you'll be able to walk into any rough pub in the country and the locals will just think you're another barfly. You know you've made it!

I hope this is helpful.....
PM me if you like, maybe i can help you with contacts...

Cheers
Jonesing
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 09:12
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I'm looking for different career aspects out there besides airlines. I've looked at crop dusting and mustering, but don't think they're for me.
How does one get into survey work? Is there much work out there?
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 14:45
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How does one get into survey work??
Well first there is a complex operation involving the removal of half your brain....just kidding
A low level endorsement is what you need, absolute minimum 500hours is the lowest i've heard, preferably more; A desire to get out of the house...and not come back for months at a time; lots of books and DVDs to keep yourself amused in the far reaches of the outback, and then its merely a case of hunting down a job with one of the previously mentioned companies listed up the page.
Is there much work??
Not really, its not the best time to be getting into it. Its not ideal being in it right now although there are a few govt. contracts keeping bread on the table for now. Last on first off tho....and its going to be pretty patchy out there for awhile.
I'd be interested to know if anyone else is doing much mine work?
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Old 26th Jul 2009, 14:51
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PS. Jonesing has absolutely hit the nail on the head with his post there. Our company unfortunately doesnt pay Per diems tho, they pay for a pub meal and a couple of drinks but in these tough tightass times eating steak and chips/snitzel and chips/fish and chips every night can be somewhat tedious due to the limits they are now putting on.

The Job is great fun tho at the end of the day and I wouldnt have it any other way!!
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 07:01
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Cheers Aileron! Glad you're having a ball too.

I have to admit i love the perdiem system. It is great for cashing up, but i'll give you one word of warning.......Get someone who is expert in Oil-rigs, mines and trucking to do your tax! I just found out i've been dorked out of $10000+ over the last 3 returns......I know more about tax than the last 2 accountants i've been to. And i know nothing!

Re: Low level endorsements, I'd ask the particular company you're targeting who their preferred supplier is, it may help. It's also a good way to build a rapport with the hirer/firer. It took me a year to get into my job, and every phone call/follow up with the chief helped. P.s Don't feel inclined to recount any illegal low fliying or scalding beat-up stories to illustrate your low level prowess. These days you'll get the arse if you get caught.

Also, sometimes, if you are the next guy in line for a job and you don't "quite" have the requisite ticks in the box, the company will provide them free to get you on the job poste haste. The trick is to make it look like you were going to get it done on your own.

There doesn't seem to much work in Aus right now for us either. Luckily i'm O/s on long one, but lot's of casuals went without work and drifted away post downturn. Still, does'nt hurt to try, eh?

Jonesing
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Old 27th Jul 2009, 07:01
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DVDs?? They actually have electricity out there?

At the moment, I have 700TT. Does anyone know of any good places to do a low level endorsement in Victoria?
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Old 28th Jul 2009, 00:54
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LL endos: Aerial Extras Latrobe or Woorayl Air at Leongatha.
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Old 7th Aug 2009, 08:56
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advice??

Watch it Dave ,
Survey training has gone from excellent to non existant, and there's no "weeding out" of applicants.
The aircraft ar poorly maintained , CASA don't care , no passengers and you might go a bit wierd...and divorced.
But on the bright side you will know every escort agency in WA.
Use the hours to get a job in the airlines.
MC
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Old 7th Aug 2009, 09:13
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Murray Cod,

Don't tar all operators with the same brush. There is at least one survey operator I know of with excellent aircraft, both of which are the best examples of their type I have ever flown - fully IFR, good gear, interiors and paint maintained to a high standard.
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Old 7th Aug 2009, 09:34
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I agree leafblower,

A fella I know does that stuff and their company had been buying brand new aircraft! IFR, EHSI, 340s. And the second hand ones were duley upgraded to the same standard. One even had a mack daddy autopilot quiet and accurate enough to keep the noise outta the data and the plane online.

...they just need the work so they can put them to use
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Old 7th Aug 2009, 16:36
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Thats a bit harsh!! my plane might not look that flash or fly particularly straight but it has autopilot too!! Although it does tend to have its own agenda most days
The engines are all second to none I have to say. They get a lot of money spent on them to make sure they keep going and touch wood they will keep going this way. On the whole they are good planes, they just look rough because anything heavy like interiors have been ripped out they do so many hours in tough conditions that the paint gets a thrashing
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Old 9th Aug 2009, 22:07
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auto pilot?

An auto pilot on at 200 ft?
They work on baro pressure not height above ground, unless you pinched some gear out of an F-111.
Deathstar might be appropriate.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 10:16
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That is correct Murray Cod.
They do work on baro pressure, one "click" on the AP's ALT knob and you climb (or descend) 10ft. It is alot more planning with programming waypoints into the GPS but the end result is less "noise" compared to a humans input.

I should point out this is for gravity data which needs very smooth air (and control inputs ) and normally done quite high - 1000ft

DStar
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