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Fresh UH-60 Pilot wondering about civilian work

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Fresh UH-60 Pilot wondering about civilian work

Old 3rd Sep 2013, 01:50
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Fresh UH-60 Pilot wondering about civilian work

Hey guys, I will be graduating flight school down at rucker as a UH-60 pilot here in a couple of weeks. I am in the National Guard so it will only be a part time gig for me afterwards which sucks but its what i signed up for. So I was wondering, where can I go next? I know this sounds a lot like the question about low hour jobs (and it may be) but I was wondering with this military training and experiences in nothing but turbine single and multi engine helos gives me an edge or anything over piston powered r22-44's. And also the other side of that is does it bar me from those kind of instructor jobs as well? Has anyone been down this road or have any advice about my situation. Anything is appreciated. Thanks all
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 05:27
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Do the Military Competency procedure for your Commercial and Instrument ratings. When you have the hours do the ATPL.

Your military training is good....flying a multiengine helicopter is good....but you will have to accept the fact you have very little useful experience that fits Civilian flying.

That being said....there are Co-Pilot jobs with some EMS Operators that with your FAA Commercial/Instrument Certificate will be of interest to them. As soon as you can....get the CFI/CFII and at the same time do the Ground Instructor ratings.

With all those done and your Military training and experience....you will have a good start on finding a civilian job.
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 15:36
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Join Date: Dec 2001
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As one of my civil-trained helicopter instructor friends pointed out - you're coming from a situation where you're never, ever close to any limits on engines or transmissions in your close-to-sea level, relatively light weight aircraft. You also have plenty of time to prepare (some might say over-prepare) your missions. And the UH-60 has a sophisticated (in the true Greek meaning) AFCS, which almost no light civil helicopter has.

In the civil world, things are much different - much closer to limits in power and performance all the time, and often not much time to prepare for a mission. Also, civil performance charts are nearly useless in comparison to military perf charts, so you're not helped there.
Get some R-22/R-44 time and you'll have your eyes opened.
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 15:49
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The Military is a very structured environment.....and civvie flying is pretty much a individual sport.

In civvie life you generally are on your own to make all the decisions and do all the planning....no one is looking over your shoulder or checking your work.

Do a combat tour in Iraq or Afghanistan and that might be of some help as it is not as "structured" there as back Stateside.

When I was screening Resume's for potential new hires....I looked for folks that already had the experience I was hiring for, then looked for those that had related but different experience, then it was down to licenses, flying hours, and demonstrated ability. Whether a guy was prior military or civilian was way down the list of who got hired.

When it came to the prior military however....prior Rank, Job Positions, and kinds of flying were a factor. If I was looking for a fire fighting pilot....I wanted someone that had lived in the field, done a lot of underslung loads, and did not mind being away from home for long periods of time.

Those who saw themselves as Commanders, Staff Officers, and Admin types....went right straight to the Round File.

The Transition from military flying to civilian flying is not easy.

Retention of Rank ends at time of Separation from the Service which sometimes folks have a hard time remembering.
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 18:50
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All great advice and I am getting my instrument rating/commercial license. I already took the test for that and just waiting to finish my course down here. As far as not flying with limitations, we dont start in UH-60's, we start in the Bell 206. We experience flying with limitations when some of the individuals you fly with are on the 250 lbs and above side. My final checkride I had to pull 98% to get us to a hover. Dude in the back seat was huge haha. But yea, It sounds like I'll have to get some R-22 time. Hopefully I can get my GI Bill to pay for it.
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 22:24
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How many hours Solo....meaning exactly you and no one else in the aircraft with you....did you get in the Army system at Rucker?
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Old 3rd Sep 2013, 23:51
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We only got one solo flight, and it was with another flight student. All army aircraft are 2 pilot aircraft in their eyes, so we couldn't do it on our own. It was in a OH-58 A/C. It was a lot of fun. And what do you mean about the army system?
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Old 4th Sep 2013, 00:31
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Just that.....your only Army Solo flight was with another Student Pilot and was only one hour.

All of your Army flying will be in a two Pilot aircraft....which means you will never have the opportunity to experience what the majority of Civilian flying is like.

In the Army you have the Flight Planning room...all sorts of planning data, computer terminals, access to weather forecasts and reports, crew members or Path Finders to handle cargo, fueling, most of your LZ's will be "surveyed" to some degree.....all very structured.

Not so in the civvie world.

An example.....my first Alaska season I was given a Hughes 500D, shown a spot on a Map 900 miles away....and was told be there at 9AM on Thursday.

I was briefed....took all of three minutes....who I was to work for, their contact data, what the general task was..."support a Core Drill and Geologists doing survey and claim staking" your Mechanic will fly in to Sand Point with the Customer so pick him up there......if you need something call, if you get lonely call, if everything is going fine....see you in October. This was in Mid-April.

Where I went...out towards Cold Bay....a Tent Camp, drum fuel, hand pumps, Cook Tent, and Out House.....no shower.

Best Salmon and Trout fishing in the World however!

Those jobs are still out there....and are the best flying one can do in my view.

The further one can get from the Flag Pole the better.

Last edited by SASless; 4th Sep 2013 at 00:33.
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Old 4th Sep 2013, 14:26
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Fat, bald, OLD guy leans back and says...

"Why, when I was flying Jet Rangers, hovering at 98% TQ was for girls, little girls!" And in reality, that's kinda, sorta true. In the real world contracts are written for 100% performance. Performance limits won't be numbers in the book, they'll be friends that you see every flight...
If it has 4 seats, the customer will send 5 pax and tell you "the other pilot takes 6!" Tactful and honest works.
As a civilian, I am always at some limit: MGTO; TQ; NG; T4 or fuel. ALWAYS! I've "topped off" maybe 3 times in the last 13 years.
Usually, the flight plan is firmed up as I climb into the pilot seat.
Single pilot, excepting instructing, every flight since 1971. Well, okay- 6 months in the Gulf of Mexico as an IFR SIC just as I left the GoM for EMS.

Those are the big changes for the transition, military to civilian- you will be single pilot, the customer is always right, and preflight planning must be fast, efficient resulting in an adaptable plan.

It ain't all black and no white for a military nugget. It's been several decades since I was a slick driver, but they were the best trained new pilots in the world then and I am sure are so now. But, there's no getting away from the fact that you're only 200 hour (or so) new guy, even if you are well trained. You might well get to fly in some conditions that civilians will never legally see, your flying will be "mission driven" and not just box of rocks stuff. Do that and learn, but leave that attitude (mission) behind, along with the rank.
I doesn't has no rank, and ain't in a while, but I am THE BOSS in and around the aircraft because I work hard, do the job, I am good and I am trusted.

Yeppers, I would get the CFI/II and work that. Excellent experience in aviation and the civilian "WalMart" world where price, and not always value, drives the decisions.

Good luck.

Last edited by Devil 49; 4th Sep 2013 at 14:36.
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Old 4th Sep 2013, 15:21
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All great advice and I echo the comments. While on the surface you may think your mil skills equate to the civvi world, nothing could be farther from the truth.

The best fit for your skills is in HEMS but being fresh outta flight school you gotta long way to go before you can think about applying. Utility world is nearly all guys with civilian backgrounds, there are exceptions but not many. Doing sling loads in a Hawk gives you about 20% of what you need to longline.

And as SAS stated, the civilian world is a bit of "men's freestyle" depending on the area of the industry, especially utility. It can be eye-opening to someone not having any civilian flying experience.

All of this may sound very negative and to be brutally honest, it is. For a guy at your level of experience there are few, if any, options available to you. The RW path to employment is very different from the FW path, where low time guys have a few more opportunities.
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Old 4th Sep 2013, 22:00
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Please note....just about all of us are ex-military....so we don't want to sound like we are raining on your parade. In a fashion we are....but we are telling you like it is....warts and all.

If you ascribe to the concept that you are a Helicopter Pilot, work hard, can be flexible about most things but inflexible when it comes to safety, don't object to getting your hands dirty, can hand a wrench to a mechanic....hold a good flashlight for him when needed....keep your aircraft spotless....show up on time....work till the job is done, the aircraft put up, and the paperwork is done....you will find things happen for you.

Show up thinking like you are still in the Army....worse yet...act like you are still in the Army....and opportunities will dry up quicker than a Hooker's heart when your money runs out.

Just as your graduation from Army Flight School passes you along to the next level of learning.....so will your gaining your Civilian Licenses move you along in that learning process. Combine the all that learning....soak up as much as you can while flying with folks, lingering over a coffee with folks, taking in a few foaming ales with folks, and accept the fact you can and must learn from every single person you encounter.....even if it is "I shall never ever do that....that way...in that manner....for that reason!".

Personally, I pride myself on being a good bad example! We all have our place in the scheme of things.
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