Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

Tattoos and the helicopter industry

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

Tattoos and the helicopter industry

Old 7th Aug 2011, 15:50
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: london
Age: 49
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tattoos and the helicopter industry

As anyone who has them will tell you tattoos are addictive.

I currently have on on my right arm going over to my chest, it starts about halfway up my bicep so it is easily covered if I want to. I'm planning on starting on a half sleeve on my left arm. For those that don't know what that is, a half sleeve starts at the top of the shoulder, ending just above the elbow, completely covering that part of the arm.

I'm also hoping to start training for a commercial license (currently 0 hours), not sure where either the US, Oz or possibly Canada. Can anyone give me any advice on having tattoos in this industry? People's attitudes are slowly changing but there is still prejudice around. Could I go through all the training and then find the tattoos I have will hinder me from getting work.

Any opinions I'll be very interested to hear.
rotorcrafty is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:06
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downeast
Age: 75
Posts: 18,248
Received 451 Likes on 179 Posts
Anything a short sleeve shirt and long trousers will not expose is fine probably.....just ask yourself if your boss would want you representing his company to clients.

As in everything in life....it is not what you think....but what others think...that matters in dress and conduct....when it comes to earning a living.
SASless is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:09
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 191
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Given the helicopter industry is a very hard one to make a career in, and you need to maximise your chances of getting a job, I would err on the side of being conservative and avoid a tattoo.

Imagine you went for a job as a VIP pilot, and the Chief Pilot had to choose between someone with tattoos, and someone without. He might think "do I want VIP customers to see a pilot with tattoos? Mmmm.. I better not take the risk".

I know it shoudn't matter, and the way pilots dress shouldn't matter either, but you always see pilots dressed in the "uniform" of black trousers, white shirt, gold bars etc, as that is what customers expect professional pilots to look like.

How Tattoos and Body Piercing Affect Your Career | Resumark Blog - Get Paid to Post Resume and Search Jobs Online
hands_on123 is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:34
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Posts: 767
Received 28 Likes on 13 Posts
Calling Dr. Freud!

Wow, touchy subject. But I'll give you my take. I'm 55, and I'm in a generation that sees ornate tattoos as a negative - something that convicts get while they're in prison. As you say, this is changing, but lots of Chief Pilots are still in my age range. And if I were a Chief Pilot and you came to me for a job and I saw your tattoos, I'd pick someone else. 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?

Look, nobody cares about the single tattoo you got on your bicep when you were in the military. Rite of passage, I get that. But to me, multiple or large/colorful tattoos that transition into "body art" signify a certain non-comformist attitude - and definitely an anti-authority attitude! These are two attitudes that I absolutely do NOT want in a pilot working for me. I want pilots of whom I can reasonably be assured that they are going to follow the Ops Manual, the FAR's, etc. and not strike out on their own when the muse suits them. Is this an accurate yardstick? Obviously not, but it's a starting point.

Also, multiple tattoos also tell me that the person who got them enjoys pain. And don't friggin' tell me that tattoos are not painful. I don't want to hang around, associate with or hire people who enjoy pain. That a person enjoys pain tells me something about their psyche I'd rather not know, thank you. Sorry, that's just me.

Looking around, it is clear that many young people think that body art and piercings are okay. *LOTS* of young women are getting tattoos these days - the infamous "tramp stamp" that we love so much, We'll see how this goes: it may be a passing fad; it may be cultural change. And, in the long run it may not matter much. Maybe tattoos don't really mean what message they send. Maybe I'm just an old-fogey who needs to get with the program and realize that body art is...just...body art and nothing more. I don't know.

Remember, this is strictly *my* personal prejudice talking, but if you come before me looking for a job, and I can see holes in your skin from ear, eyebrow, nose and/or lip piercings, and I detect you have tattoos, I'll pass you over for someone else who I (perhaps illogically) think may better conform to my operation. Knowing all this, if you still choose to get tattoos and pursue a career in aviation, all I can say to you is good luck! I hope you get a Chief Pilot who is more enlightened than me.
FH1100 Pilot is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:45
  #5 (permalink)  

Hovering AND talking
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Propping up bars in the Lands of D H Lawrence and Bishop Bonner
Age: 59
Posts: 5,705
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tattoos are addictive.
No they're not.

Cheers

Whirls
Whirlygig is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:55
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Ireland
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
But Whirls, your tats aren't on display, well they weren't when I asked you if I could see them
IrishSarBoy is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 16:56
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 219
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It is my opinion that excess in any direction, piercings, tatoos, dress, behavior, are all indicators that set off alarms when trying to decide who should be entrusted with 12 million worth of hardware. Maverick and Goose notwithstanding, we prize integrity, trustworthiness and (dammit) the ability to follow the rules we set for ourselves. I have great friends who, once proven to themselves and their peers, went on to be outlandish in some ways without harm to their careers (he's a wildman, but boy can he fly) but they popped out after they had established solid reputations.
My advice - prove yourself first, then pop out.

SASless has sound advice - in any case, the art you wear probably should not peek past the clothes that you wear, in our conservative industry.

BTW, marking your entire body with brightly colored ink is the way you chose to tell us something about yourself, otherwise you'd chose invisible ink. Like wearing a striped purple aluminum foil hat, you are going out of your way to say something. If not that you are unconventional and different, then What?
rjsquirrel is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 17:14
  #8 (permalink)  

Hovering AND talking
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Propping up bars in the Lands of D H Lawrence and Bishop Bonner
Age: 59
Posts: 5,705
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
well they weren't when I asked you if I could see them
Nah, that was just me writing down the datcon numbers on my arm in biro.

Cheers

Whirls
Whirlygig is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 17:27
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: wherever
Posts: 15
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As I have been able to fly around Canada and the US, I have seen pilots with full sleeves, ink on their forearms, knecks, legs, etc. and they have been great people to work with and fly with as well. When it comes to hiring, as FH1100 mentioned there are a lot of older CP's who do look down upon it, with that being said, I'd rather have a few tattoos than earrings or piercings when it comes to jobs. It also depends on the type of flying you are looking to do, whether you want to be doing VIP or working in the bush. End of the day, I have met executives who have much more ink than pilots and they run companies we fly for.
It is also how you present yourself when you go to shake hands.
dinofootball is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 17:44
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: KOLM and KBVS
Age: 51
Posts: 270
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A significant portion of my extended family is heavily involved in the body modification scene - ink and piercings. Those whose tattoos can be covered by normal everyday dress work in a variety of jobs (corporate to non-profit management); those whose mods are only slightly visible work a variety of jobs in the San Francisco Bay area, where attitudes about such things tend to be more relaxed.

Those whose ink and jewelry are prevalent and "in your face" are unemployed or work at coffee shops and book stores.

Some of these folks made the choice to stay in the slightly-less-than-mom-would-want job fields because their lifestyles demand nothing more, and they enjoy themselves as a result. Many of them quickly found that doors were being quietly shut in their faces when they attempted to move "up" in the job world.

The attitude of "my employer shouldn't try to limit my self-expression" is admirable, and to a certain extent I support it. I myself have a variety of piercings which were highly visible at one point in my life - and then I discovered real paychecks. Out came the jewelry and there went that phase of my life.

No matter how much I love my friends with ink from head to toe, I wouldn't hire them to work in customer-facing positions in my helicopter business. Why? Because my goal is to make my customers happy and comfortable, which makes me money. I'm not so interested in changing societal norms that I'm willing to turn away potential business by forcing customers to deal with personnel whose appearances may make them uncomfortable.

It seems to me one should probably get the career going first, and then go hog-wild with the ink, not the other way around... but then again, I'm getting older and have gained a bit of hindsight
Hedge36 is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 17:52
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: all over?
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't think there are many employers in our industry who will claim they will "only hire pilots covered in tattoos".

Other way round - quite probably. It might be all fine and happily accepted in one area of the world, but we are in a global society now, like it or not, and not all cultures are so keen on seeing a "painted warrior" in the front of the cab. We are not an industry than generally encourages large degrees of self-expression in our work, it tends to have certain safety implications.
Horror box is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 18:01
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Redding CA, or on a fire somewhere
Posts: 1,956
Received 50 Likes on 15 Posts
I have to agree with SAS:

Anything a short sleeve shirt and long trousers will not expose is fine probably.....just ask yourself if your boss would want you representing his company to clients.
and disagree with Hands on 123

but you always see pilots dressed in the "uniform" of black trousers, white shirt, gold bars etc,
I am the so-called "anti-pilot" when it comes to dress. When I flew in Hawaii, I wore shorts, aloha shirt and flew barefoot. I would often discuss with my pax (when they asked), about perceived professionalism. It mattters not what I wear but in how I carry myself and act. They were normally surprised to hear that I probably had more hours and experience than the airline pilots that flew them across the ocean.

These days I have discarded all such "pilot" identifying clothes and choose to blend with my fire crew---you will see me in nomex fire pants and shirt most days. It is actually fun listening to new ops people on a helibase trying to figure which one is the pilot.

BTW---I have a tattoo that is hidden by a short sleeve shirt---most people I work with do not even know I have one. Therefore, I would say it will not hinder you as long as you can hide it.
Gordy is online now  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 18:22
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downeast
Age: 75
Posts: 18,248
Received 451 Likes on 179 Posts
Hey Dude....like you have a job opening for a Pilot....I have a CPL and no experience but I dig flying!










Do you think for a second I would consider this guy for a job....of any kind?
SASless is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 18:26
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Under my coconut tree
Posts: 648
Received 5 Likes on 2 Posts
Sas,

Cabin attendant S58T? Im sure he'd blend right in with all the leaking hydraulic fluid dripping off the ceiling...
griffothefog is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 18:30
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downeast
Age: 75
Posts: 18,248
Received 451 Likes on 179 Posts
Aw....Griffo....I was trying to keep it from getting personal! I remember you as being rather a clean cut young Lad....with a Mum that would have given you body piercings.....with her Knitting Needles had you shown up at home bearing a Tat.
SASless is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 19:19
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: In the air with luck
Posts: 1,018
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
As a number of people say it is the impression you give to both the employer & the majority of customers that will decide if you are employed or stay employed.
You might be the best pilot, a real good all round person, but the initial impression is the one that sticks, if people don't feel comfortable you are going to loose out.
It is not just tattoos or piercings it can be dress or general demeanour, more people than jobs = choice
500e is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 19:21
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: KOLM and KBVS
Age: 51
Posts: 270
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And teeth - don't forget the teeth.
Hedge36 is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 20:09
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: New York City
Posts: 820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
People's attitudes are slowly changing but there is still prejudice around. Could I go through all the training and then find the tattoos I have will hinder me from getting work.
An interviewer has a short time to assess you as a person. Having tattoos on display says something about you as a person. Don't be surprised if you don't get hired. Same goes for piercings, only more so.

If you want to call it prejudice, go ahead.
I don't think it is.


B.

Last edited by Bronx; 7th Aug 2011 at 20:27.
Bronx is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 21:29
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: The Carolinas, USA
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to agree...

I am in my 40s and have 8 tats, including one that is large and intricate enough that it took me a year to get it done; with that said, none of them can be seen until I remove my underwear ie when dressed for work, be it in a shirt and shorts that I wore for tours, flight suit for HEMS, shirt and trousers for govt work, etc nobody ever knew.

Tats are about self-expression, and while I disagree with some of the comments above about following rules and enjoying pain, I don't disagree that tats are looked down upon by many (including myself) when I see them on people who are obviously wearing them as an "in your face" manner. It's all about how you present yourself, as has been mentioned already, and doing something that shows that you have done this to show it off to the world instead of for your own sense of what you want your body to look like in private is NOT in keeping with ideals of professionalism, maturity or dependability.

My opinion, YMMV.
TreeTopFlyerUSMC is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2011, 21:43
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Age: 52
Posts: 1,631
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's going to change.

I've always found that "deviants" - in my youth that was metal rockers with long hair or heavily tattooed people - normally turn out to be much more "normal" than the guy who looks like a Carphone Warehouse salesman. They're the ones who always have some deviant s**t going on, I find. Jehovas or Scientoligists or perverts. Today half the youths are tattooed (if not more) and I have to say when I see pilots with full sleeve tattoos, like I did the other day, I smile and think it's progress. Why not? Pilots are a reflection of society.

I have to take umbrage with FH1100's comments. I can accept that you would think twice about hiring someone with tattoos, that's your prerogative, but to say that if found out after that fact that would warrant his firing or ostracising, is quite frankly much more deviant than any tattoo would ever be.
AdamFrisch is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.