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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

Old 18th Apr 2004, 03:32
  #321 (permalink)  
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and, finally, a direct response to the question asked!

What a hoot, fellers, the poor guy asks
to train, having already made, and clearly announced, the decision
to train, and in "answer" to his question gets reams of responses pro and con the Whether issue. It wasn't the question!!!

HIO vs FL: I've trained in both environments; even raised my family in the HIO area, and did broadcast-station traffic-watch flying for a couple of years. HIO has a large, and reasonably well-organized, school; FL has several that are bigger and cheaper. Oregon has no sales tax (+), only income tax, and CFI's have little income to tax! FL has sales tax, not as beneficial for CFI's.

Weather: I suspect you can get 10-20% more flying done in FL than OR. Except for its brief summer, HIO gets rain, drizzle, and heavy fog a lot of the time. FL is merely hot and muggy for 6 months+ a year.

Mountain Flying: Not much difference: HIO is hardly mountainous terrain, and the coastal hills rarely get over 2-3000' MSL, so density altitude is a non-issue. Trans-Cascades flights are nearly always via the Columbia River Gorge; that is, at sea level!! So all we can say is Oregon is more scenic. (The 5 major volcanoes on the skyline DO enhance positional awareness!).

Economics: OR job opportunities are seriously downgraded by the long-term slump in timber industries, have been crying poor for years. So there are undoubtedly many more jobs in FL, where there is a constant influx of refugee heli-training candidates from the rest of the world. (As of 2001 or so, over 22% of USA CFI certificates were earned in FL--most of them by visiting pilots-in-training.)

Culture: Portland/Hillsboro scores pretty well for the arts, and for the intellectual skills of its residents. FL . . . well, quite depressing; FL is seriously lacking.

Where would I raise my family? OR, without a doubt. Better school system, sometimes-enlightened state government, general progressive attitude. FL, by contrast, seems to be dedicated to coasting on the immigrant influx of retirees from New York City, so education levies are rare and inadequate!

So it goes, trying to figure out how to structure our lives, studying, weighing, making lists, trying to be rational--and then, ultimately, some employer or government somewhere flips a coin and all our efforts are for naught.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 08:53
  #322 (permalink)  
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Smell the coffee wesp: This is what will most likely happen IF you become a statistic {and I know some out there will say BUT there is always the exception...yawn, yawn].

You will drag your family to America, where they will think they are settling down while you fly your butt off having a ball. Your wife will sort out schooling and neighbours. Then you'll start to build your hours and possibly get a local job as an AFI for about $50/hour (but only when you fly). The months will go by and you'll realise that your job and the money - sucks. So you'll up sticks and move the family to Australia where they will find another school and neighbours and wave to you every morning as you go looking for work. Then you'll build some more hours flying for another flight school at $50/hr.
Then you'll wake up one morning and look at the clock and realise that you're 45 years old!
So you'll look for a better helicopter job elsewhere, like Canada, but the wife and family don't think so! Now what? Not enough hours yet to get a full time well paid helo job, a grumpy family and no money? And all everyone wants to do is GO HOME and start again

You are TOO OLD to START helicopter flying as a professional. Companies will not take you on to do a serious hel job, because there are too many young thrusters in front of you.
You'll almost certainly work, but at what level, which brings what quality of life?
As I said before, you either have a get out clause, or have so much money that it doesn't really matter how much you earn.
My question is......what about the family?????

This industry doesn't carry excess baggage. Most people WITH FAMILIES either have reasonably well paid jobs, or second incomes

Why don't you go to the US on your own, build your hours and try to progress on your own. Go down the professional helicopter route by all means , but don't drag your family through it with you. It'll be painful enough by yourself, think about those 'supporting' you!
The truth hurts.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 09:06
  #323 (permalink)  
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don't listen to anyone but yourself.
Obviously you have made it this far in your life without falling on your arse, if you whant to do the training/career change, go for it. Worst thing you can do is listen to some disgrunlted pilot who has had a gutfull of the industry or gave up/couldn't get a decent job.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 09:27
  #324 (permalink)  
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Thank you guys you have been helpfull.

I indeed feel sorry for some posters they seem to fall in the category grumpy old men.

There are always people in whatever profession you are, saying certain things can't be done. It often turns out they were wrong.

There seems to be a substantial difference in attidude between the UK and US pilots.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 09:37
  #325 (permalink)  
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wesp, please keep us updated on your "adventure" into heliland.
Let's see if you can prove the grumpy old men wrong !!

'Experience is the most difficult teacher, because she gives the test first, and the lesson after'
-Mark Twain
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 11:11
  #326 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up

Go for it. You only get one shot at life. After obtaining your CPL, go to business school. Look for opportunities other than a J.O.B.
Just. Over. Broke.
Put pen to paper and make a list of how your CPL could be of use for other people not just an employer :- Think outside the box.
e.g approach a limo company and offer yourself as an additional product to the services they provide. There are small flying schools that only train to PPL that could now offer commercial services if they had a CLP on the books. There are freelance photographers looking for work. Tie in with them and photograph farms and commercial premises. Then we have 15min pleasure flights at outdoor events. People queue all day at these. The opportunities are endless. Get a page a day diary, and fill those pages. If this is truly what you want to do, focus on it with blinkers on and go for it. One word of warning. Watch out for Niops.
Negative Idiots That Influence Other Peoples Success.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 11:20
  #327 (permalink)  
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Yes Sewing Machine Man,
And under no circumstances listen to the views of people who have been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
For what would they know?
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 11:40
  #328 (permalink)  
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I have tremendous and never ending respect for all pilots and especially the senior ones. And mentioning niop with these guys was wrong of me.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 13:21
  #329 (permalink)  
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Somehow somebody forgot to tell wesp of AIDS...Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrom.....
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 13:44
  #330 (permalink)  
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Hi Wesp,

This is more a response to TC then to your original question (I gave my advice re that in the VR forum).

If you are looking for a new career which will provide good pay and benefits, job security, and long-term stability with something to take care of you and yours when you retire, then indeed the helicopter industry is not the best place to look. While there are always exceptions, the general rule seems to be 3 - 6 years of very low pay combined with nomadic living.

After that, things look like what you would expect from an entry-level job anywhere else - pay in the $40 - $60k range and a pretty good chance to stay in one place (although the place will most likely choose you). After another 4 - 6 years, you are making enough to be comfortable in a lower middle-class kind of way.

Bottom line on the "bottom line", don't do it if money is the primary reason, or if you will need to establish a solid income or living situation over the next six years or so. If you family doesn't like a succession of moves every year or two, that would be another stopper.

However, if you have a solid (as in enough to support your family for five years if you didn't work at all) savings portfolio, plus the $50k it will cost to do the training, then follow your dreams. At 41 years old, you can be a CFI at 42, do your in-the-trenches tour or GOM duty at 44 and be somewhat established by age 47 or so. This gives you anywhere from 10 - 15 years as a viable employee (assuming you stay in good health). You won't have increased your fortune, but you will have followed the dream.

As far as age and employment potential goes, I suspect employers will review you on your experience and track record. The tour guys only care that you can maintain the pace - if you have survived 800 hours as a CFI, you can probably survive tours.

A final thought which does relate to your original question. If you want your training environment to better resemble what the helicopter business world actually looks like, go to Hillsboro. HAI is a superb training environment, but there is no place like it in the rest of the business. If you land a job there, great - you've grabbed the brass ring and pretty much assured that (with continued diligance in your own development) you will have a solid transition to the post-CFI world.

However, if you're one of the 50% who takes your first CFI job elsewhere, it may be a bit of a shock to realize just how haphazard the rest of the world is both in operational organization and in regularity of work. There will be a bit of an adjustment period, and it will most likely take longer to get the hours. However, you will most likely end up with a better sense of how things actually happen in the rotary-wing business.

Don't misunderstand me - as I said elsewhere, HAI is as good as it gets for training (and that's really good). I'm proud and happy to be a graduate, and hope to maintain the ties I made while I was there. I think it is the best choice for you, but don't build your expectations on how the industry will treat you based on your HAI experience - the rest of the world isn't that nice...
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 13:52
  #331 (permalink)  
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Don't go building false hope Flingwing, I personnaly know of NOBODY who has gone on to work in the GOM on a J1 visa.

Drawing out a timetable like that is at best, very optimistic.
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 14:28
  #332 (permalink)  
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Charlie S Charlie says it as it is, I'm afraid, backed up by watchoutbelow.
Everybody else seems to have latched onto the "go for it" mentality.
I didn't say DON'T go for it - would never say that. BUT don't drag your bloody family around so they can be there when you get home every night to tell them how much of a s**t day you had

Wesp go out there, do your stuff, get your hours, get your networking going, find some kind of a reasonable part time hour building base, THEN, 4+ years later...move the family.

Bet you don't fancy it so much now eh?

Count your blessings and your money, buy yourself weekly flying hours where you can go back to work and get the best of both worlds.

Who, in their right mind would hire an ex-IT director to go puddle jumping some punters on sightseeing tours all day

You've been watching too many flying films

You can buy me a beer when the dust settles
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Old 18th Apr 2004, 21:34
  #333 (permalink)  
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Wesp ...dont listen to the grumpy old men.

The same guys were full of enthuisiasm a few months ago when someone was going to start there own buisiness in the carribean flying tourists around.He had no helicopter flying experience and most were telling him to go for it.

I think you've done your homework well.You've decided on training in the US....good call as it gives you the best chance to secure your first job instructing and build hours.You've narrowed the schools down to the J1 guys ...again to give yourself the best chance of leaving the country with at least 1000 hours.It takes the military guys about 4 years to get those hours (certainly in the UK ).
Police pilots only fly a few hours a week in the UK.
Then off to Australia ,its not good there at the moment,hard work to get a good break in Oz,even with 2000 hrs.You might consider doing the JAA license at HAI.The the JAA course didn't exist when I was there 7 years ago but the school had a good reputation then as it does now.

Everyone is concerned about your age and your family.Only you can judge that.

All the best
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Old 21st Apr 2004, 18:11
  #334 (permalink)  
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TC you are missing the point. When wesp is flying people around he won't be an ex-IT director he'll be a qualified helicopter pilot. What he's doing now isn't relevant to what he wants to become.

Let wesp make the decision of who he takes with him. He didn't ask for an opinion on that subject. If you know something about the schools he asked about then let him know.

As to the few who make it....of all the people I trained with who had the right attitude to their training, who invested their savings and obtained the CPL(H) the majority are working in the industry in Norway, UK, France, Trinidad, Guinea, Germany, Sweden and all over America in the offshore sector, EMS, SAR, Police, ENG and insturction.

I would obviously advocate that someone entering the industry has their eyes wide open but the chances aren't so remote as to say don't even bother. In fact they aren't too bad depending on the individuals approach. A lot of people told me it was a waste of time and money but it's always nice to prove to people they were wrong.

And as for earning $50 an hour for flying instruction...good luck with that. I earnt $18 an hour for flying and $16 for ground instruction. Still I'm on $108,000 a year now so I'm not too bitter.
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Old 21st Apr 2004, 20:11
  #335 (permalink)  
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R44 Hire Columbus Ohio

I am planning a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit relatives later in the year, and would like to do some R44 flying while there - I have done some searching on Google with no luck - does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might try?

I have read the various threads on how to get an FAA licence from my UK PPL, and don't believe that I need a visa as I won't be doing any training - but would appreciate any other advice or pointers on what I need to look out for.

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Old 22nd Apr 2004, 02:22
  #336 (permalink)  
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Geez ,give Wesp a break

He did mention hes sick of IT
Sick of where he lives
Theres more to life than money
He would probably love living in Queensland or Florida and even if the pay wasnt to crash hot.

And being in IT for 17 years i dont think he would have too many money problems----quite wealthy i should say ,if he sold up and moved as europes more expensive than aussie or yankyland.

Being 40 means nothing----i know a guy who got his CPLH at 40 and got a job straight after finishing his training-----vary rare i must admit.

Only trouble Wesp would have is that first allusive job----its never close to home,which when single isnt a problem.

More to life than money------very true ,but you have to eat.Only a major problem if you havent got any to start with.

WESP-----i do suggest if you havent been to these countries ,go on holidays before hand to see if you and the family could live their.But if i am wrong about the money side of things then think twice
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Old 23rd Apr 2004, 03:20
  #337 (permalink)  
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Big bowl of doom and gloom for breakfast is it?

Most people who embark on this career option do so because it was a dream or maybe escapism from real life. I have no regrets. If I would'nt have done it the regret in later life would have been more painful. At least when I'm 80 and staring down at my slippers using the brain cells I have left I can say I tried. Maybe I will not get a break or maybe I will.

The old cliche, you only live once. Rings true.

And one more cliche!! You regret the things you don't do, not the things you do.

Go for it.

People do succeed in this industry.
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Old 24th Apr 2004, 13:08
  #338 (permalink)  
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Commercial Helicopter Training in the US

Ok, we 've all seen those ads promising you to become commercial helicopter pilot in just 4 months for only $ 20.000.

A lot of us european pilots, including myself, went to the US to become Commercial Helicopter Pilot. Promisses were made and we believed in what we were told. ("You can start working as CFI at our school once you are finished" etc) We spent a lot of money, worked for peanuts, returned to our home country and had to find out that our licence was worth nothing. So we had to go through the entire process again, joined ground school had to take various flight lessons, the entire written test and another fligt test. We were smiled at ("Oh, so you learned to fly in California... quite a difference in wx" and " stop doing this typical Californian Giant Flare") etc....

So, what was your experience. Did the training in the US actually save you some money? What were your experiences returning to your home country as far as converting your licence into a national/JAA one? Did you save time or money...

Positive and negative comments welcome...

And for the US guys out there.... Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that either way is the better one. I just made some really bad experiences on my way to get where I'm at right now...
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Old 24th Apr 2004, 16:13
  #339 (permalink)  
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Surely before starting your training in the US and parting with you money, you must have done some research and found out that the FAA CPL is not valid back home???
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Old 25th Apr 2004, 08:21
  #340 (permalink)  
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I went to oz and did mine but was well aware of the conversion process back in old blighty.
Surely it would have been common sense to find out before you went and departed with large amounts of cash what the situation was on completion!
Lots of people are making the same mistakes you have and believed every word a school has told them.
My advice; find out for yourself and don't believe all the guff that schools will give you! All they see when you inquire are the big $$$$'s your gonna be spending.

Better luck next time!
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