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Visited a careers seminar in the UK and need some advice

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Visited a careers seminar in the UK and need some advice

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Old 26th Feb 2018, 21:43
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Question Visited a careers seminar in the UK and need some advice

(First post here so be gentle! Also cross-post from Reddit as suggested by a user that I'd get a better response here.)

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

I'm from the UK and visited a helicopter training school at the weekend to learn about getting into the aviation industry. I expected to walk away from it relatively empty handed other than maybe a contact number for a company that teaches pilots but I was very wrong.

The bottom line is I could do my PPL(H) (1/4 self funded with a Career Development Loan) and then progress on to CPL(H) and work through the motions of becoming a Flight Instructor (FI(H)). I could also do a "one-of-a-king" BSc in Flight Aviation that's for 3 years.

I was being told while I was there that I'd be guaranteed a job once I hit my CPL(H) stage either with the school or otherwise, and obviously as time progresses I could become a FI with the school as there is a, in their words a "severe shortage of helicopter pilots and instructors willing to teach the future generations."

They also offer a scholarship programme where people can apply for it (not guaranteed for an individual as they interview, assess and choose a person who they think is best suited). So here there are multiple routes into getting fully qualified passed the PPL(H) mark. The private licence is currently the biggest financial hurdle for me but I believe I can surpass it.

I don't know if any of this seems too good to be true though? It was a really awesome centre, epic training helicopters, friendly staff and students etc. - what the MD and staff did though was obviously trying to convince me to sign up, saying I'd get discounts here and making the package seem more appealing.

Should I jump at it? I really want to do it but obviously once I'm invested that's it, I won't be able to change my mind without taking a big hit financially.

Is there really a pilot shortage and does it seem too good to be true?

EDIT: I also forgot to mention about the IR rating I was told about. They don't teach IR at the school as, understandably, it's expensive and the craft differs because obviously you get rated for that particular helicopter. If you work for a company that does chartering, will that company pay for the Instrument Rating for you or does that have to be funded by yourself? (I've been told it can exceed £30k.)
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Old 26th Feb 2018, 23:48
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Originally Posted by Kraxous View Post
...I was being told while I was there that I'd be guaranteed a job once I hit my CPL(H) stage either with the school or otherwise, and obviously as time progresses I could become a FI with the school as there is a, in their words a "severe shortage of helicopter pilots and instructors willing to teach the future generations."
My MASTER CAUTION light just went ON. Return for landing. Look elsewhere.
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Old 26th Feb 2018, 23:51
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Advise

If it sounds to good to be true, it most likely is. There is no shortage of pilots in the helicopter industry, there is a skills shortage in some sectors but that is totally different. If someone is going to guarantee you a job get it on paper preferably signed in the blood of their first born child.

About the only guarantee in aviation is that there are a million and one ways to part someone from their cash.

Last edited by Evil Twin; 27th Feb 2018 at 00:10. Reason: Additional info
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 00:00
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Rule #1: No loans.

Now, image there are 10 students in that course. Do you really believe they have a job for each of the 10 delinquents right away ?
Do you think there are 10 helicopters unmanned somewhere ?

They want your best, your cash. They do pull all tricks to get it.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 01:18
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If its a school in the midlands , they sometimes do take there own students on, however DO NOT take any loans out whats so ever.

As good grief said, there will be 5-12 people in your class intake , all begging for that first break, with more money to burn than sense.

If you can not comfortably afford your PPL stay well away.

Your misinformed about the IR its somewhere in the ball park of 50-70 K

Stick to your day job and pay and fly , until you can afford the next step
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 01:23
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go fixed wing, enjoy life and fly copters for fun on your many days off.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 05:02
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What they are telling you about pilot shortage an so on is pure bullshit. I would say itís bordelining a scam. I know plenty of pilots and with a few years experience as well that canít find a decent job.
So I think there are close to zero chances for someone to start from zero now.
Pilot training cpl plus Fi will cost you somewhere in the range of 100 k in British pounds.
And without the ir you canít even work as a copilot. For the ir add another 50k.
This is reality! trust me Iíve been through it a few years ago.

There are options to become a civilian pilot but I would suggest staying away from the old continent.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 05:34
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It's not very often you'll find a consensus of opinion on this forum. On this topic there can be no doubt. You're being told a load of bollocks by somebody who's primary interest is to relieve you of your money. Take heed from the above.
If you want an aviation career then fixed wing is the way to go. Sure, there are some helicopter pilots on more money than A320 or B737 Captains. The opportunities for that first job, and for subsequent career progression, are infinitely more in fixed wing than helicopter.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 06:38
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About the most you will get from a charter company is a type rating, and even that is suspect these days (see another thread on this).

Golden rule, don't believe any company that says they will hire you after training. That applies world wide.

A degree will be useless for the basic job of flying, unless you are dealing with customers in N America who set store by such things, and even then you need a PhD.

Go talk to several other companies.

Phil
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 06:45
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Hi Kraxous,

I am going to break the depressing trend in this thread with something positive for you. Firstly the people you have spoken to are decent reasonable people who have set up and run a successful Training School for a long time now. They did it different from everybody else with their tie in to the Scholarship and a the potential for some decent education along with the Licence Training. I know the MD and his Partner well and he is a straight shooter. Between them, they operate a kind of altruistic approach to training and developing the careers of new helicopter pilots.

Of course they run a business just like everyone else in this game. So of course they will earn money from your training but this is not a crime it normal.

I sense in other posters that smug self satisfaction that they have made it and so they can pour scorn any anyone else who steps up for his go.

I tell you a short story. Many years ago I was Working as CP in a Northern HEMS Unit. I young man walked into my office and announced he wanted to be a helicopter pilot. At the time he worked as a Civil Engineer, I think building Tesco's. (If he reads this he will laugh). Because that's exactly what we did in our arrogance and smugness. However, I gave him some of my valuable time and sent him away with a letter to his bank as a reference and a description of the "Positives" that existed in the market at that time. In my opinion he seemed misguided, delusional and had very little chance of achieving what he set out to do.
Today that same man works for AIRBUS as a Staff Instructor Pilot and has had a very good career thus far. How wrong I was and how humbled I felt as I watched him fulfil his dreams.

So for you I say this. Take advice but be careful as anything negative needs treating with more caution than the positives. Make your financial plan. Be realistic. Work hard at your goals and there should be no reason why you will not succeed.

The MD of the outfit you visited will guide you and I would trust him. What he is saying is fair. Its not his fault that right now the market is depressed.

However, just like the stock market the time to buy is when its has crashed! Look to the positive. If you can afford the financials go for it. You will never be rich. None of us are. But you will hopefully enjoy the freedom of flight and meet lots of interesting people along the way. I have never met a helicopter pilot who has said, they wish the had not bothered!.

Good Luck.

DB
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 08:43
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Morning Kraxous.

Over the last 10 years, I have mentored 3 wannabees. Each started from normal backgrounds and each wanted to fly helicopters (even though the lure of FW constantly beckoned).
One was an outdoor guide (ex marine), one was a paramedic and one was civil engineering technician. They now fly: HEMS, Police and Offshore oil respectively.

My advice is this:
This decision is a life changer. Don't mess around.
Know what your end game is. Make sure it is either well paid or great fun or both! Steer well clear of the monotony of being an instructor or other hour building scenarios.
Obtain your license as fast as possible with minimum disruption and maximum application which invariably means the integrated route. Modular can and does grind some people down. More money to find for the integrated at the outset but you stay fresh and current. Future employers prefer integrated students from a respectable school because they know the standard of training you have received.
The RW industry isn't as consolidated as the FW world so expect to apply yourself that little bit more to achieve the aim. It isn't as cosseted as the FW world either and you will learn that it is rougher around the edges in places.
If you want this to be your career - you MUST obtain an IR. Your options without one are very very limited.
So, the pain:
Not much change out of £100k,
Lots of exams and study.
Job vacancies are there but you will have to network and get your face in front of the hirers.
The gain: Flying a 3D machine that cheats gravity and offers the most versatile form of aviation anywhere.
Transition period (Training, to employment): 2-3 years.
Head for the turbine fraternity - Corporate/HEMS/Police/Rigs.
Steer clear of: training schools/utility/piston work.

Salaries with an IR: Around £40k all the way up to £150k (Offshore TRE).
The norm is: £45 to £70 for a helicopter Captain, by far.
Without an IR: £25k to £50k for a Captain.

Personally - If I had to do it all over again, I would fly FW airlines for a living and then helos on the side for fun.

A mortgage @ 3% these days means repayments of £3000/annum to achieve this. Each of the three I dealt with did just that and have never looked back. Doctors and Vets are now paying these prices for their quals, so it's not unusual anymore.

Good luck.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 08:45
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What Sir Korsky said. Iím in the industry, RW market is depressed and I canít see a massive improvement. IMO FW would be a mucher wiser choice to invest in. You may land a RW FI job but the pay does not justify the training investment. You would certainly need an IR to work for any of the bigger RW employers and then you may earn equivalent to narrow body airline pilot... IF there are Jobs! If you have age on your side get in with a good airline work your way up to Long Haul Capt then fly Robeís for fun.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 08:46
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If I'm not mistaken, this is an outfit in Leicester?

Looking at their page they're also listing positions for PPL(H) FIs. Six, to be precise. But they seem to have them listed over a certain period rather than right now.
They also want a CPL FI.

Their scholarship also requires PPL graduation through them.

My guess?
They're rotating pilots through the pipeline, and hitting eject when they hit the hours needed to be sent into the great blue yonder, and picking up the latest crop of graduates in order to keep salaries down.

It's a cynical guess, but that's what it looks like.
They're hiring way too many people if those posts are supposed to be for permanent staff.

Very similar to the L3/CAE scheme of pushing young people through the frozen ATPL on a 100k loan secured on mum and dad's house and going to Easyjet/Ryannair/Wizz who have them repay the loan by clipping their starting £25k salary for 7 years.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 08:58
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To answer a couple of your questions more directly:

Should I jump at it? I really want to do it but obviously once I'm invested that's it, I won't be able to change my mind without taking a big hit financially.

Of course you should if that is what is in your heart, but choose your school carefully. A personal relationship with your instructor is very important and you could find what you need in a small school, of which there are many.


Is there really a pilot shortage and does it seem too good to be true?

Not really, and yes.

It is true that around 20-odd pilots are being recruited on the N Sea right now, but the real shortage is in type ratings The average age of the industry is quite high and a lot of retirements are anticipated, so you have to think years ahead in the aviation industry.

My advice to students is - if that's what you want to do, don't worry about the availability of jobs - that's future pain. You will have enough current pain getting your licence because you won't get a job without one. So focus. get a PPL first, see if you like it (or it likes you!), then, if you have that kind of money, think about buying an old helicopter, building up hours then selling it - there's one on ebay right now for £39K ish. You can study for your CPL while you are doing that.

Therein lies the rub - it's OK having a licence, but you need hours and/or some sort of specialist qualification on top, such as mountain flying if you go to Canada.

Getting the PPL first means that, if you happen to luck across someone who actually owns a helicopter, you might get the chance to fly it. If you wait till you get a CPL, you won't. Much more flexibility that way.

Oh yes - what Sir Korsky and TC said.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 09:01
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WillyPete.
Careful there, you are very cynical.
If we told every wannabee the same depressing message, the helo industry would drift further into the doldrums. Agreed there is a fine line between the state of the RW market and future aspirations but one only gets out what one puts in. And for me, the more professional the student, the better the industry.
The message that would concern me from this (very respectable) outfit is that they are hiring individuals to become FI's and that is a dead end job.
One would hope people aspire to a little higher than that after forking out £100k.

Careful about your FW reference. My son has just completed his FTE integrated course and the employment rate is 100% currently for all the 150 students who pass through ti each year, of which 66% are already guaranteed a job provided they pass the course (by various airlines). Of course this is due to the spike in pilot demand which is going exponential at the moment (300,000 pilots needed over the next 13 years - globally).
Salaries for FW. Worst - Ryanair (£26k). Best - there are a few but Easy offers £38.
The good news with Ryanair is that by clocking up 900hrs a year (soon to go to 1000!) you get Captaincy in 4-6 years. Easy: 6 years. IAG: 15 years.
ALL Captains of the main stream airlines start @ £100k. Senior TRE/IRE's at the top of their trade: £250k.
So an 18 year old leaving FTE/Oxford /L3 with a CPL(IR) MCC JOC can expect to be earning £100k by the time they are 22/23+. Not a bad return for £100k eh?

The question is: in 20 years, will there be any training schools if FW go pilotless?
Overall, the airline industry is reasonably well paid
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 10:54
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Go fixed wing. If I had to do it again, that's what I would do. And I'm a current North Sea pilot. I love it. And I've loved the path I took, but the industry is still struggling to recover from this downturn. Terms and conditions are being eroded. It's dependant on the price of oil. Currently fixed wing is a better financial bet.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 11:02
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I could just add from my own experience in helping (by funding) my son to get his CPL(H). It took him a couple of years and I enjoyed it as it involved lots of hours building trips which I rode along with. We visited several interesting places and had many nice pub lunches in places I would not have visited otherwise. He was also promised work at the end of it but not before having to pay to get a B206 rating.

Because it had to be VRF the work could only be pleasure flights, occasional weddings, a couple of Cheltenham contracts and similar. Many trips were cancelled at the last minute due bad weather. In the end he earned enough to cover his ongoing expenses
(LPCs etc.) but certainly not enough to live on. Reluctantly he decided to give it up and recently ended up in Dubai working as a skydiving instructor.

That was 6 years ago, and I don't think the job situation is much different now.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do - PM me if you want a free set of 2007 ATPL textbooks!
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 15:22
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Whatever your qualifications, just bear in mind that there is NO such thing as a guaranteed job. Ever.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 19:51
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Kraxous,
Drop me a pm with your email.
Good luck but it requires serious serious serious consideration but like hargreaves 99 said if you can afford to waste mega money go for it. Some succeed some don't. If you are amongst those that do then it may be the best thing you could have done.

Last edited by jeepys; 27th Feb 2018 at 22:17.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 17:48
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Dont go anywhere near them !
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