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Any British Pilots Moved to Australia? Looking for AG/ crop dusting experience

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Any British Pilots Moved to Australia? Looking for AG/ crop dusting experience

Old 10th May 2020, 10:46
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: United Kingdom
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Any British Pilots Moved to Australia? Looking for AG/ crop dusting experience

Hey folks,

Just wondering if any folk from the UK have moved to Australia to get a flying job? I live in the UK and fly for the airlines but I'm looking to get low level AG time. Obviously not in the current crisis but going forward when some normality is resumed and flying jobs start to become available. So just wondering if anybody has made the hop across that way and how difficult it was to get a visa ect?

P.S. If anyone has any other ideas about where to gain crop dusting time please let me know!

Cheers!
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Old 10th May 2020, 21:29
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by Topgun737 View Post
Hey folks,

Just wondering if any folk from the UK have moved to Australia to get a flying job? I live in the UK and fly for the airlines but I'm looking to get low level AG time. Obviously not in the current crisis but going forward when some normality is resumed and flying jobs start to become available. So just wondering if anybody has made the hop across that way and how difficult it was to get a visa ect?

P.S. If anyone has any other ideas about where to gain crop dusting time please let me know!

Cheers!
Getting a Aerial application rating is a good start. Barry Foster at leongatha is the man to see.
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Old 10th May 2020, 21:57
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Join Date: May 2001
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Airline pilot huh? lazy comes to mind!

There is a rather prominent building in London named 'Australia House', perhaps you might drop in for a visit .......
The Aussie government has an excellent website for Visa applications.... Google comes to mind!
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Old 10th May 2020, 22:28
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Originally Posted by Office Update View Post
Airline pilot huh? lazy comes to mind!

There is a rather prominent building in London named 'Australia House', perhaps you might drop in for a visit .......
The Aussie government has an excellent website for Visa applications.... Google comes to mind!
You should be very, very careful using the Aussie government website for visa's and visa information.

Australian visa system is very complicated and has many traps, there is only one source to get qualified visa information on Australian visas - Australian embassies are not qualified to give visa advice, they are allowed to give it - but not accountable for the incorrect information they often give.

There are a number of variables that affect visas you maybe eligible to apply for.

Here is a London based one - I have never used him but he does know his stuff, there about 5 other Australian based ones I wold also recommend.
https://www.suncoastmigration.com/
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Old 10th May 2020, 22:36
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Join Date: Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by Office Update View Post
Airline pilot huh? lazy comes to mind!

There is a rather prominent building in London named 'Australia House', perhaps you might drop in for a visit .......
The Aussie government has an excellent website for Visa applications.... Google comes to mind!

Pfft what a useless comment. The Australian visa website is a convoluted disorganised mess. Asking for someone that has actually gone through the process is a wise thing to do. There are many loops holes, tricks and words of advice that can be given by someone who has previously done it. A one hour consult with an immigration lawyer will help identify some of these, just have your question train lined up to get the most out of it.

As far as crop dusting work goes, I've only ever heard that it is quite difficult to crack into the market (the old who you know, and the egg/chicken with experience). I'd also wouldn't think crop dusting work hasn't declined in Australia, farming is still churning over.
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Old 10th May 2020, 23:13
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Originally Posted by Dawn Patrol View Post
Pfft what a useless comment. The Australian visa website is a convoluted disorganised mess. Asking for someone that has actually gone through the process is a wise thing to do. There are many loops holes, tricks and words of advice that can be given by someone who has previously done it. A one hour consult with an immigration lawyer will help identify some of these, just have your question train lined up to get the most out of it.

As far as crop dusting work goes, I've only ever heard that it is quite difficult to crack into the market (the old who you know, and the egg/chicken with experience). I'd also wouldn't think crop dusting work hasn't declined in Australia, farming is still churning over.
Dawn Patrol - if I can just say the key is that they are a Registered Migration Agent, immigration lawyer do have this qualification. Because they also have the law degree they generally charge more. Many RMA's have an initial free consultation others not. As with everything there are good and bad ones.

Doing some homework will certainly get the best from a consultation.

A visa will be processed I.A.W the immigration regulations & PAM 3 - trying to get a current copy of PAM 3 is tricky, but all RMA's have a subscription to it.
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Old 11th May 2020, 05:15
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Join Date: Sep 2002
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There are foreign Ag pilots that operate in Australia, notably from Canada and NZ.

If that is really foreign....

So it is possible.

Last edited by currawong; 11th May 2020 at 06:01.
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Old 11th May 2020, 05:36
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Cant speak for Aus but in NZ there is a pretty strong top dressing environment. Keep in mind though that the normal route is to start as a loader, ie driving the truck and filling the aircraft. You could be doing that for some time (years?) before being allowed in an aircraft. Maybe Aus is different but you wouldn't turn up to an outfit in NZ and just start flying, irrespective of how many hours you have. In fact your airline time potentially counts against you.
Goes to show there is no pilot shortage in Ag Flying if that sort of stuff still occurs. You spend $50K+ on a license + low level training + crop dusting + whatever other flying experience you have to go and do something any farm worker could do and do it for years just for a 'shot' at crop dusting? Really?

It's like GA in Australia where pilots use to displace every office position from secretary, to bookeeping to IT support because they're cheaper to employ or work for free. Very few other Industries in the world operate like that!
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Old 11th May 2020, 06:05
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Originally Posted by neville_nobody View Post
Goes to show there is no pilot shortage in Ag Flying if that sort of stuff still occurs. You spend $50K+ on a license + low level training + crop dusting + whatever other flying experience you have to go and do something any farm worker could do and do it for years just for a 'shot' at crop dusting? Really?

It's like GA in Australia where pilots use to displace every office position from secretary, to bookeeping to IT support because they're cheaper to employ or work for free. Very few other Industries in the world operate like that!
Not accurate.

Hard to get Ag pilots lately. Well, good ones.

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Old 11th May 2020, 21:16
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Originally Posted by Office Update View Post
Airline pilot huh? lazy comes to mind!

There is a rather prominent building in London named 'Australia House', perhaps you might drop in for a visit .......
The Aussie government has an excellent website for Visa applications.... Google comes to mind!
Bit busy with work are we Office Update to help somebody who asks a legitimate question? No wonder the poms think we are stuck up with responses like yours!

You must be an Austro-naut
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Old 11th May 2020, 22:31
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This thread needs to be moved to General Aviation and Questions.
snoop doggy dog is offline  
Old 12th May 2020, 09:31
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Originally Posted by neville_nobody View Post
Goes to show there is no pilot shortage in Ag Flying if that sort of stuff still occurs. You spend $50K+ on a license + low level training + crop dusting + whatever other flying experience you have to go and do something any farm worker could do and do it for years just for a 'shot' at crop dusting? Really?
It's like GA in Australia where pilots use to displace every office position from secretary, to bookeeping to IT support because they're cheaper to employ or work for free. Very few other Industries in the world operate like that!
I agree Nev, AG's not what it used to be
Originally Posted by currawong View Post
Not accurate.Hard to get Ag pilots lately. Well, good ones.
Really? By good one's do you mean somebody who will work for below award? Do you mean somebody who will load themselves for 3 weeks because "It's hard to get good help these days" and doesn't mind not being paid for that loading? Or somebody who will fly an aircraft out of MR, out of hours or fly an aircraft with a major defect?
There must be half the AG pilots working now than there was 10 years ago.
I would not recommend a change of career for an airline pilot to Agricultural pilot, the 2 jobs have nothing in common apart from aircraft. Sort of like saying being an abattoir worker qualifies you to do brain surgery.

Last edited by Super Cecil; 12th May 2020 at 09:48.
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Old 12th May 2020, 11:00
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Originally Posted by snoop doggy dog View Post
This thread needs to be moved to General Aviation and Questions.
So visa and migration issues can be - well unknown seems the want.
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Old 12th May 2020, 13:11
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Originally Posted by Super Cecil View Post
I agree Nev, AG's not what it used to be

Really? By good one's do you mean somebody who will work for below award? Do you mean somebody who will load themselves for 3 weeks because "It's hard to get good help these days" and doesn't mind not being paid for that loading? Or somebody who will fly an aircraft out of MR, out of hours or fly an aircraft with a major defect?
There must be half the AG pilots working now than there was 10 years ago.
I would not recommend a change of career for an airline pilot to Agricultural pilot, the 2 jobs have nothing in common apart from aircraft. Sort of like saying being an abattoir worker qualifies you to do brain surgery.
I have my reasons to want to fly AG. The goal is to eventually end up in aerial firefighting. I am not trying to imply airline flying autmoatically qualifies me for AG in the slightest. I'm just saying where I am coming from.

Thank you to all for your responses. Much appreciated!
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Old 12th May 2020, 23:40
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OK, sounds like you might be serious.
I would say it would be possible but difficult. It would depend on a lot of things, age, your GA experience, your drive and lots of other stuff.
There are a lot of AG pilots getting older and within the next 10 years a lot of those will retire.
Fire work is there for a limited number on contract, call when needed work is patchy, some years you will do a lot others years none. Fire work is only for maybe 5 months maximum. AG work in Australia is a lot less than what it used to be, often in drier years there is no work at al for casual pilots which Is the majority.
Because of sparsity of work there is all sorts of competition for that work driving down wages and conditions. Even for 7 months work a year you will need to travel and be prepared to stay in some rough accomodation. It is possible to do a fire season in each hemisphere if all your planets align, that would be a liveable income but no family life. AG flying is not family friendly in these times, in days gone it was possible for a pilot to sleep in his own bed every night, I've known pilots who went through their entire career with one employer and based in one town. For all but a few those days are long gone. AG flying is a selfish job, if you absolutely love flying at it's basic best then it might be for you.
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Old 13th May 2020, 02:40
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Originally Posted by juliet View Post
Cant speak for Aus but in NZ there is a pretty strong top dressing environment. Keep in mind though that the normal route is to start as a loader, ie driving the truck and filling the aircraft. You could be doing that for some time (years?) before being allowed in an aircraft. Maybe Aus is different but you wouldn't turn up to an outfit in NZ and just start flying, irrespective of how many hours you have. In fact your airline time potentially counts against you.
And be ready for long days, short fields and big ACC contributions
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Old 13th May 2020, 05:52
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Originally Posted by Super Cecil View Post
I agree Nev, AG's not what it used to be

Really? By good one's do you mean somebody who will work for below award? Do you mean somebody who will load themselves for 3 weeks because "It's hard to get good help these days" and doesn't mind not being paid for that loading? Or somebody who will fly an aircraft out of MR, out of hours or fly an aircraft with a major defect?
There must be half the AG pilots working now than there was 10 years ago.
I would not recommend a change of career for an airline pilot to Agricultural pilot, the 2 jobs have nothing in common apart from aircraft. Sort of like saying being an abattoir worker qualifies you to do brain surgery.
No. Few applicants. The few that do turn up are not employed elsewhere for a reason, it seems.

Someone that can take off without doing quarter of a million dollars worth of damage to the aircraft.

Or land in less than five bounces. Or not need yellow post - its everywhere to remember checklists.

That sort of thing.
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Old 13th May 2020, 08:34
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Originally Posted by currawong View Post
No. Few applicants. The few that do turn up are not employed elsewhere for a reason, it seems.

Someone that can take off without doing quarter of a million dollars worth of damage to the aircraft.

Or land in less than five bounces. Or not need yellow post - its everywhere to remember checklists.

That sort of thing.
I have seen a post it note left beside the oil pressure to inform me that the gauge under reads by 20 psi. Worn out or gauges no longer working. Any number of switches not functional or unlabeled. In my time I have worked for an operator that used to wind back the tacho. 40 year old aircraft advertised for sale with 4000 hrs tt. There are some good gear out there but hell there is a lot of worn out crap.
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Old 13th May 2020, 09:30
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Join Date: Sep 2002
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Absolutely. We have all been there.

The rough end of the trench in this game is rough.

I am just a line pilot, helping a prospect with info, and correcting some of the info here which may be accurate at a particular time or place, but maybe not everywhere all the time.







currawong is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 08:05
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I can offer some limited insight, as I came out to Australia about 9 years ago with a relatively fresh (400hr ttl) CPL/IR from the UK (JAA). I started off on a working holiday visa for a couple of years of farming & paying off training debts, and converted my licence along the way.
The conversion was reasonably straight forward; ASIC, medical, 3x theory writtens (human factors, air law and IREX), then training as required for flight test, plus CPL test and IR test.
Iím now a year into flying Caravans around, (my first job over here after I got into farming for 7 years). Iím getting out though as I prefer farming. Iíll probably keep flying for fun and maybe look towards Ag flying down the track.
The rules here are inane, with everything written in legalese and having to be expressly permitted, rather than the simple UK standard of if itís not written that itís disallowed, then itís ok.
The biggest hurdle is getting a visa, and now more than ever. Iíve spent over $35k so far over a variety of different visas. A (registered) migration agent is essential to save the headaches of knock-backs and lost immigration fees (Iíve lost out twice by rolling the dice and doing it myself).
For me, only now is there light at the end of the tunnel with a Permanent Residency application in progress, 9 years later.
To get a visa to stay you really have to have something special to offer, as the potential employer has to demonstrate that they tried to recruit locally and were unable to find anyone suitable. In the world of aviation that means youíve got to have something few have, maybe on a unique type or check & training experience etc. With COVID and the downturn in aviation, fulfilling this requirement will be harder now.
The other option is if your better half has something in-demand (think doctor, nurse, etc) and you come as a family. You get full working rights, piggy-backing off their visa (which is how Iíve come to PR).
For Ag flying the pilot bit is probably less important than the ĎAgí element, as youíve got to understand the chemicals youíre using, spray drift etc, and be able to handle long periods of down-time yo-yo-ing to extreme periods of being very very busy. A good ag pilot is probably more farmer than pilot.
Although Iíve not done the Ag-flying element (but have done both things individually) Iím naturally wary, knowing what I know about Ag and the flying involved. Thereís folk I know that have been involved in multiple accidents (wire-strikes, engine failures etc), which is inherent given the type of flying involved.
To get into it as others have mentioned you usually work your way up from loader, progressing into piston aircraft, before turbine.
The cost of mistakes is high, as the wrong chemical mix, not decontaminating correctly or even spray drift from adverse conditions can wipe out crops and cost peopleís livelihoods. The chemicals themselves deserve respect as some of the nastier insecticides used use rates of a teaspoon per hectare, and exposure to them isnít particularly pleasant.
Good luck!
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