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Tattoos and the helicopter industry

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Tattoos and the helicopter industry

Old 9th Aug 2011, 06:23
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At one time, Tats were normally the symbol of a Matelot, or Soldier with them normally being a Swallow on the top of the hand, or a big red heart with some girls name or Mum& Dad, they really weren't obtrusive, but as time has passed it seems all the nasty habits if the Sado/recreational druggys have had one thing in common, stick Iron bits in places that will constantly be a reminder to the rest of the untarnished population that that this person is a weirdo, I have employed office staff and Heavy Good vehicle drivers for the last 40 years, at any type of interview I always looked for signs, and even if I couldn't see anything I made them aware that things like that would not make me a happy bunny, at one interview a young lady appeared in a nice demure suit with a high buttoned blouse, but I even gave her the talk, imagine my supprise when three weeks later she turned up to work in the depths of winter to reveal a cleavage with a tattoed hand comming out of it and a bare midriff with allsorts of suggestive things pointing to her more personal regions, most of my drivers worked with me for 18+ years and longer, but this particular young lady lasted all of 3.5 weeks.

Call me old fashioned, and a bit of a stickler, but work is for work, not small talk like " where does that go too" with some silly female actually wanting to show off parts we normally dont see.

Peter R-B
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 07:51
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Tattoos, 4 inch heels, waterbeds... This thread is starting to sound like a music video for a hip-hop or a mid-American post-pubescent sleaze-rock band.

I think there are different areas with tattoos. If you were to get a couple of tattoos which are hidden in normal work dress, aren't substantial in size, and have stories which mean something to you, then why shouldn't you do it? The squirrel story mentioned already in this thread is a good example.

If however, you are just getting sleeves or half sleeves, with the same standard often repeated images (tribal bands, skulls, mis-spelt italic writing proclaiming "live fast, dye young" et al) that you chose from a board in a parlour... then you're probably not looking at the right business.

Whilst you may think that your tattoos are just showing your individuality or that you just like the look of them, don't be surprised when the chief pilot, who is from another not so enlightened generation, doesn't take too kindly to the tattoo you chose because your mates had one.

Just my take on the situation.

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Old 9th Aug 2011, 08:12
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I refuse to wear spike heels....they put holes in the waterbed!
Psch, you don't have the calves for heels. Stop scaring the children!
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 09:10
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There was a guy in Australia who had a dispute with his tattoo artist. Instead of a surf design on his back, when he looked in the mirror, he had a 16" penis tattooed on his back. The artist was charged with assault apparently.
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Old 10th Aug 2011, 02:43
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Tramp Stamps

I'll probably get banned permanently for this...


Yes: I'll certainly give it some thought

We've pushed this tangent far enough, don't you think?

SP
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 06:14
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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If I discovered them after the fact (like if you were successful at hiding them from me in the interview and got hired), I'd get rid of you at the FIRST opportunity. Gone. Why?
FH1100, I agree & disagree with you.

Where I diasagree - From your example quoted above lets assume the pilot you employed had tattoos which you never discovered until years later. By this time he/she had become your top line pilot, your biggest customer loved him/her & would only fly if you or this pilot were available. Not an unfamiliar scenario as I have been in that situation many times before. On discovery of the tattoo do you still fire them?

Where I agree - There are 3 types of people, those who display tattoos, those who have them but don't display them & those who don't have them. Of the people who get tattoos there are -
  • Those who get them in inconspicuous places where those who are not intimate with them will rarely if ever see. These people get the tattoos for their own phsycological benefit, i.e. a reminder of an important life event, group or loved one. These people want a permanent reminder of this for their own benefit, not the publics & if asked about it will nearly always be able to explain a clear mental process & significant sentimental value.
  • Those who get them in conspicuos places where the general public will be guaranteed of seeing them even when dressed in clothing which is not revealing. I believe these people get tattoos in order to influence the opinion people form of them based on visual accuity, in effect influncing the outcome of the meeting by distracting the other person with plumage. These are generally the people who get tribal art, skulls with flames, miscellaneous sayings in Chinese or Japanese lettering etc, & when asked what it means they usually respond " I don't know, nothing really".

I agree with you as I don't believe that the person who displays tattoos as plumage for all to see has the phsycological traits I am looking for in a person who controls the lives of my clients & financial viability of my business. However those who choose to keep their association with tattoos private can't influence my decision either way as I never see them; as far as I am concerned they don't have tattoos.
The end result is there are only 2 types of people, those who display tattoos & those who don't have them.
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 12:01
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Heliduck,
That is the most sensible thing I have read since this thread started.

To the original poster get your sleeve done if you want (just bear in mind it may mean you have to wear long sleeved clothing whilst at work)
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 23:30
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To add to Heliduck's thoughts, if I may?
My dad, a child of the Great Depression and WWII, I think put it best when
a bunch of us were discussing this subject. The difference between doing
something for yourself vs. doing something "in your face" was summed up nicely with: " If you are going to do something just to get a reaction from someone else, you would have to be a GD idiot to be surprised if it was a negative one."

Rigid
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 03:54
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Gordy - if I remember rightly there may be a tattoo floating around somewhere of one "lady" that the present "lady" might not approve of........that is, if a helicopter could get jealous....
Ha....You know me too well.... Nah.."LaFawnduh" has seen the 500 tattoo and is "OK" with it as long as she is still "A # one"...
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 03:55
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Heliduck, in my experience there is a third type of person who wears tattoos: One who has numerous, expansive ones, but keeps them under wraps because he knows they are socially unacceptable. Trust me, the complex psychological issues such people have are troubling to people like me. Please don't even try to tell me you got that huge, hideous tattoo on the back of your shoulder because you like looking at it. Oh? In the mirror? Because that's the only way you could possibly see it. Or...is it that such a person wants only *some* people to see their tattoos...just not their Chief Pilot, perhaps? Why not? Ohhhh, because big tattoos tell the world, "He's a rebel!" And rebels (with or without causes) might make great subjects for cheesy movies, but they make lousy helicopter pilots.

I have a young pilot friend; I knew he had two small tattoos (one on each arm) but didn't know the half of it- literally - until we went to the beach recently and I saw him in a bathing suit. And I saw the other big tattoos on his body as well as the starburst around his navel. I was, like, WTF? And I've known this guy for a couple/three years. And you know what? It colors my opinion of him now. I understand why he has an anti-authority streak a *MILE* wide. Or maybe I don't understand it - maybe it merely explains it. I predict for this young pilot a long career in the utility field, as he will never make it in mainstream aviation. And not because of his tats, but they are a good "pointer" of his other issues.

As for your scenario of a pilot who keeps his tattoos hidden for "years," yeah I'd probably still find a way to get rid of him (he says with a "that's life" shrug). But I have feeling that this would not happen. I suspect that such a pilot would probably exhibit anti-authority, anti-social, or other such undesireable tendencies that would make me want to get rid of him long before that. Are you the exception to that rule? Good for you.

Having said all that, let me repeat: I personally don't like tattoos. I understand the single, meaningful tattoo that many people get on the forearm or wherever. I do not like the multiple, big, colorful, expansive ones- the ones that become body art. While they are (sometimes) interesting to look at, what they say about the owner's psyche is disturbing. I wouldn't want such a person as a pilot of mine. Simple as that. But my generation is dying off. Maybe our successors won't be so antediluvian and didactic and narrow-minded. In the meantime...

Bottom line: aviation is not currently tattoo-friendly. Display them at your own risk. Heyyyy, didn't SASless say that very thing, what, 20 posts ago?
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 10:28
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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SASless MUST have tatoos because I knew him when he was 20 something and he was definitely nuts AND had a rebel attitude
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 13:17
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Griffo you evil fellow....always starting trouble just as I remember you from the past.

Two out of three ain't bad.....just no Tattoo yet!

Government certified as being "Nuts".....and was born a Rebel (Southern Heritage Ya'll remember)!

That just may change.....if you recall our former Secretary of State George Schultz, who had been a US Marine Officer in his younger days....bears a very cute Pink Bunny Rabbit tat on his hind end as I have been told.

I am of the opinion that if old George, the epitome of a Gentleman, can have a bunny rabbit then perhaps old SAS can as well.

Key point.....in keeping with my original advice to the fellow inquiring about Tat's and the Helicopter Industry....as I have mellowed quite a bit in my old age....mine shall not be seen as often as it would have been, had I had one then, when we worked together!
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 14:00
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FH1100 Pilot:

I have a young pilot friend;
Who has a bigger tattoo than I thought he did......

And I've known this guy for a couple/three years. And you know what? It colors my opinion of him now.
Kind of shallow don't ya think???? And I always thought size did not matter..

I'd probably still find a way to get rid of him
what they say about the owner's psyche is disturbing
All because he has a tattoo.. really?

I predict for this young pilot a long career in the utility field, as he will never make it in mainstream aviation.
There are many of us here who make a damn fine living in the utility field---and I never considered it to not be "mainstream aviation".
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 14:12
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As a command sergeant-major in the 101st Airborne Division, who had jumped into Normandy on D-Day, once said, about 30 years later - "Just as soon as I get old enough, I'm going to grow me a mustache and get me a tattoo". That's pretty much my attitude. What others do is entirely up to them.
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 14:22
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There are many of us here who make a damn fine living in the utility field---and I never considered it to not be "mainstream aviation".

Sounds like a contradiction there Gordy.....it just doesn't seem to have the "Ring" I would have imagined that damn fine living would seem to be able to produce.
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 00:42
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There are many of us here who make a damn fine living in the utility field---and I never considered it to not be "mainstream aviation".
Gordy has hit the nail on the head & maybe that's the answer right there - It should be a pre-requisite for utility pilots to have tattoos!


FH1100 - I understand where you're coming from with expansive body art & if you don't like it then it's your right not to put up with it, I suppose I'm just a little more forgiving of people who have discrete tattoos. I don't judge people for having tattoos, but I do judge them based on what that tattoo is so we both have our criteria.
Although my first impression of a person would be altered on seeing a tattoo, if I had known them for years as a competent pilot then found out they had a tattoo I would consider that to be a learning process on my criteria for judging people rather than a cut & dried case of "now I have to fire him".
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 20:22
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For me, tattoos come into one of two categories - hidden by "work" clothing, or exposed to the world.

In my line of work, I interview people most days, many of whom express themselves by having tats on their face, neck, hands, e.t.c. I see many people in their 20's and 30's who state that they wish they hadn't had certain visible artwork done on them, and realised too late (like it's rocket science) that they are not easy to erase.

In applying for any employment, an individual must weigh up whether they will fit the company profile and in the same way that some people rack up driving penalty points and don't bat an eye over them, can find that some employers just don't like people with ten points on their licence for speeding offences.

If the most perfect and competent pilot on this planet applied for a job flying for the company that has the contract to fly the Royal Family, I'd be more than surprised if he/she got the job where the Queen sat behind them looking at the kids birth dates tattooed on the side of her pilots neck.

Life is sometimes about choices and consequences. I just wish occasionally that some of the people I interview who have made their life changing tattoo choices didn't bitch to me about how the world is against them for doing it. Surprisingly, I don't choose to have tattoos.
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 16:31
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Wow I really stirred up the Hornets nest with this one didn't I?

Thanks for all your replies guys, It's been very interesting and informative reading and certainly helped me in my decision.

I think for now I'm going to put that plan on the back burner and concentrate on starting on my training and getting a foothold in the industry.

But before I sign off let me give my opinion on some of the issues discussed here.

The overriding theme throughout this thread seems to be that many people (and I'm guessing probably no one with a tat) see them as a form of rebellion. Anyone that gets a tat to show how 'rebellious' they are is a fool. I think the only way you can truly rebel against society these days is be be like those idiots who smashed up London Monday last week (including my home town). It doesn't mean you don't 'follow the rules' and so make you an unsafe pilot. When and if (hope upon hope) I become a pilot I won't want to be anything other than an exemplary pilot, obviously to further my career but also so I'm safe. Never mind the precious cargo I may be carrying why would I want to put my own life at risk? I don't want to die until I'm an old man, too old to fly (with my 35 year old supermodel wife weeping at my grave ).

It is becoming far from non-conformist these days, I know one girl with a number of visible tatts who had a good job with the Disney channel, another I work with now who is a trainee legal counsel. Admittedly hers is small but that is on a permanently visible spot on her wrist. None of these girls are 'on the edge of society'. There are plenty of people with tats who are alternative but there are also plenty who are 'normal' (for want of a better phrase).

People who get them enjoy pain! Please! Biggest myth going. I've heard people claim they've met people who enjoy the pain but I've never met one. I certainly didn't and I don't know anyone who does.

Many people decide to have one for the simple reason that they like the work of the particular artist and some genuine artists with incredible skill have sprang up over the last 10 years. Most people aren't trying to say anything they just want to carry something the they consider beautiful.

Just because you carry a tat doesn't mean you are scruffy, messy hair, unshaven etc as I read on one reply. Quite the opposite these days, I take great pride in my appearance. I'm fit, healthy and always presentable (I hope ) a lot more so than some people I see without tats. And again so are many people I know the with tats, some actually very stylish.

Some people carry tats in an 'in your face manor' some don't, I'm one of the ones that doesn't, the ones that do - get them for all the wrong reasons. When I started this thread I wasn't for one minute considering these kinds of people. Of course if you're covered in tats or have them on your neck or face you wouldn't get a job but that's applicable in many industries. Whether it's right or wrong who knows, I have my own opinion on that but I'm not going to go into that now. What I was referring to is the kind of tat you can easily cover, such as the one I have now and any others I may have in the future. It is large piece and so would be the others, but they are/would be concealable.

Right I'm starting to bore even myself now, so I'm going to wrap it up.

So for now I'll wait until I have my next one done, I've always wanted to fly (and hopefully I will) and I've wanted particular tats for a long time. That's just who I am and I never think you should be afraid to be who you are. But for the moment I shouldn't make things harder for me (it's going to be hard enough anyway).

Thanks guys see ya'll on another thread sometime.
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 19:13
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If you have tattoos you have complex psychological issues? Oh please give me a break. Life is too short. So you're honestly saying if you'd employed a guy for 10 years, all of your customers liked flying with him, he was a model pilot, never had an incident, turned up on time every single day as necessary, then you see he has a tattoo, you think he has issues? To be honest, i'd wonder about the ridiculousness of someone who had those sort of views in this day and age. Times have changed old man! Get with the program. I have a tattoo, has it stopped me getting a job? Never. Do I have questionable mental issues? Then again, I see your point! Carry on!
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 21:54
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if I had known them for years as a competent pilot then found out they had a tattoo I would consider that to be a learning process on my criteria for judging people rather than a cut & dried case of "now I have to fire him"
I've been waiting for someone to say something sensible...

Obviously visible tattoo's are going to have an impact on whether you are seen as suitable for a company/role/position, and one must accept the consequences. I disagree whole heartedly that the 'type' to get a tattoo will not have the qualities of a good/safe pilot. What rubbish. The problem is categorising people into 'types' at all, very lazy and narrow minded but also inevitable, so if you decided to get a tat on your face or hands and thought that it wouldn't affect your employability for a role such as being a pilot, then chances are your not cut out for the job. Of course first impressions count but i don't see the problem if it's coverable in the work environment and therefore not a part of your first/continuing impression whether at interview or on the job.

I think it's a shame that in an industry where your work life has little room for creativity that people are apparently discriminated against for being creative in other ways that are hidden in the work environment (whether you feel that tattoos are creative or not is another issue, but people who have them likely do...).

Possibly being in a younger generation I personally think tattoos can be incredibly interesting, often beautiful, and often shockingly appalling, and know many people with good examples of each... If I look at all of my acquaintances across the board some of them would not make good pilots thats for sure, and others definitely could given the opportunity but this bears no correlation to whether they have tattoos or not (with the exception of those with tats designed for the shock factor). Excuse me for stereotyping here, but to whoever said
I have employed office staff and Heavy Good vehicle drivers for the last 40 years, at any type of interview I always looked for signs, and even if I couldn't see anything I made them aware that things like that would not make me a happy bunny, at one interview a young lady appeared in a nice demure suit with a high buttoned blouse, but I even gave her the talk, imagine my supprise when three weeks later she turned up to work in the depths of winter to reveal a cleavage with a tattoed hand comming out of it and a bare midriff with allsorts of suggestive things pointing to her more personal regions, most of my drivers worked with me for 18+ years and longer, but this particular young lady lasted all of 3.5 weeks.
I thought tattoos were a requisite for HGV drivers? I do agree that tat sounds delightfully awful. What was different about her performance over the first 3 weeks? Was your judge of character at interview really that off?

To those who say they are awful, tacky, rebellious, except your friend ____ who is the exception and has one for a good reason, have you considered that perhaps it's the fact that they are your friend and you know them well enough to know that the stereotype is often way off? example...

Friend of mine, after testicular cancer, got a little squirrel running up one leg and a little squirrel with a nut running down the other. That made some kinda sense.
Whilst being sensitive to your friends situation why does this mean that he needed to get a tattoo about it? perhaps he just wanted one and felt that he needed justification when people ask why so that was the one he chose.... obviously has a sense of humour.

Times will change, more than 1 in 3 young people have tattoos now and as generations change obviously so will attitudes. If I were chief pilot would I hire someone with a tattoo on their neck/face? likely not if they are in a VIP or customer facing role. On their hands/lower forearm? again it would depend on the role. Somewhere hidden? sure if they seemed to have the desired attributes for the job... why not?

Anyway enough on this, you may well disagree but i believe that if you honestly think that by having a tattoo you are a rebel, non conformist, sadist, or have intrinsically poor judgement and safety standards, then you need to get out more. Perhaps true amongst the early tattoo adopters, but far from the truth today, in fact amongst my friends I feel slightly non-conformist by not having one.

A very good friend of mine (house mate) is a tattoo artist so I have been exposed to the tattoo life for some time, and know of the wide spectrum of clients, their stories and their characters. I can tell you that as a career his day rate is equal to that of an experienced pilot, and he has a 3 month waiting list and offers for work that take him all over the world. if only i could draw.... 'brits abroad' certainly do tats no favours, skulls, union jacks, bull dogs etc... but if you actually look below the surface of it all some can be incredibly interesting and beautiful to those who enjoy visual art. Is it art? you decide but I think my friend makes more money and gains more respect from his peers that any traditional artists I know, and he's leaving an extensive legacy behind.
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