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UK Helicopter Payscales in 2020

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UK Helicopter Payscales in 2020

Old 19th Aug 2020, 11:12
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UK Helicopter Payscales in 2020

I know this is often a subject that many donít wish to discuss, and thatís understandable, but can we have some sort of discussion on the way the industry has historically decided payscales?
Offshore is usually covered by a CBA and Union input. This was often done with some sort of benchmarking involvement. At least when I worked offshore and was involved in discussions it was.
The onshore market is different. Instruction hourly rate R22 was around £15-25 an hour nearly 20 years ago. An FI could earn £40-45 an hour with some schools on freelance basis. This doesnít appear to have changed in all those years since.
I would like to know what onshore pilots consider a ballpark serious Annual Salary for various tasks. I see Air Ambulance are paying more money. Police pilot pay doesnít appear to be very high considering the job they do, and knowing that you can go straight from an R44 to an EC135 means that maybe this helps keep pay low?
What is the standard daily rate charged by a freelance Multi eng (IR) rated ATPL? Would £650 / day ( 24hrs to include an overnight) be considered too high or too low?

Thanks if you comment with input to this thread.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 11:33
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That was roughly the recent offshore P1 contractor rate

Last edited by helicrazi; 19th Aug 2020 at 13:19.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 12:02
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Single engine instruction - I used to earn £60 per hour in the north of england (two years ago), which is not too bad. Single engine daily rate of £250 for charter or safety pilot. Which is too cheap imho.

Offshore is a great pull because of the decent wage, Air ambulance or NPAS captain wages are close to a 2 year first officer (ish) as you probably know.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 17:51
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Originally Posted by helimutt View Post
I know this is often a subject that many donít wish to discuss, and thatís understandable, but can we have some sort of discussion on the way the industry has historically decided payscales?
Offshore is usually covered by a CBA and Union input. This was often done with some sort of benchmarking involvement. At least when I worked offshore and was involved in discussions it was.
The onshore market is different. Instruction hourly rate R22 was around £15-25 an hour nearly 20 years ago. An FI could earn £40-45 an hour with some schools on freelance basis. This doesnít appear to have changed in all those years since.
I would like to know what onshore pilots consider a ballpark serious Annual Salary for various tasks. I see Air Ambulance are paying more money. Police pilot pay doesnít appear to be very high considering the job they do, and knowing that you can go straight from an R44 to an EC135 means that maybe this helps keep pay low?
What is the standard daily rate charged by a freelance Multi eng (IR) rated ATPL? Would £650 / day ( 24hrs to include an overnight) be considered too high or too low?

Thanks if you comment with input to this thread.
Helimut, just my twopenny worth, but I think in the current climate £650 would be top-end. Its maybe what you could ask as a TRE. I think for freelance P1 jobs you are going to be fortunate if you get much over 500 plus expenses.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 17:54
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Helimut. To approach your question in a different way, why are offshore salaries so much higher than onshore.
it is my contention that we have to go back to the start of N Sea O & G anD thank our lucky stars that British Airways and British Caledonian decided that this was a market they should be involved in and also that BALPA membership was strong in both of those companies. If that hadn’t been the case, then I suspect that salaries would have been much lower, and would have equated to the salaries doled out in the Gulf of Mexico.

With regard to onshore salaries (at least, Police and HEMS salaries), well when PAS and OSS started, they were sort of making those numbers up. They were never going to be able to compete with the BCal pilots who operated the Met’s helicopters, as they were mostly all volunteers from the N Sea who were naturally going to expect a similar income to their jobs up in Aberdeen.
Add to that, that really high numbers were going to kill a fledgling market stone dead at inception. After that a trend has been set.

for what it’s worth, having seen at first hand the point at which the (exceptionally pro helicopter), finance managers of a very large police force on the UK, Started to raise their eyebrows and consider going elsewhere, I think that Police salaries in particular are pretty close to their maximum, although they might manage another couple of percent more.

As for HEMS salaries, in the end, it’s not so much the willingness (or lack of) of the aircraft and crew providers to pay a particular rate, as much as the wealth, viability and income capacity of the charities.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 18:29
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In the United States,
Gulf of Mexico heavy captains make around $150,000 per annum with benefits for an even on off schedule.
EMS captains make around $120,000 per annum for an even on off schedule.
Corporate pilots for private flight departments can make over $200,000 per annum.
Utility pilots and spray pilots far exceed these numbers. But risk is the price you pay.
When I moonlight for other companies doing utility work within the powerline construction, maintenance or aerial saw niche I charge $1500 per day
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 20:11
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Last year Bristow were paying £650 per day for offshore captains. Onshore/corporate multi-IFR charter about the same. Difference is Bristow did not pay expenses but the onshore corporate did - and the flying was much more interesting.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 06:56
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Originally Posted by Non-PC Plod View Post
Helimut, just my twopenny worth, but I think in the current climate £650 would be top-end. Its maybe what you could ask as a TRE. I think for freelance P1 jobs you are going to be fortunate if you get much over 500 plus expenses.

Thank you for the reply. Interesting that you say in the current climate. Helicopter usage would appear to be picking up again and remember, we arenít commercial fixed wing pilots (well, not all of us) in a world of pain and layoffs and base closures. Iíd say if there was a surplus of helicopter pilots available, with specific experience in certain roles, then maybe you then have to fight to get the best rate you can, but then, why drop your daily rate if itís something youíve been getting for some time? The other point with this is that if an owner/company can afford to own and run a helicopter, they can certainly afford the pilot too!!! Unfortunately youíd be hard pushed to know this as a fact sometimes.
To me, the top end should actually be way more. I know of guys on way more that £650 and yes the corporate world do tend to pay expenses.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 11:14
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As a freelance FI on SEP, pay ranges from £45-55 per flight hour depending on where you instruct
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 12:51
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I say in the current climate, because the offshore industry seems to be going through a world of hurt at the moment, and I suspect that there is a growing surplus of highly experienced pilots out there who are going to be competing for anything going. When I was unable to work back in April, I took a short job at £500 a day, although its less than I normally expect. It was the only work I had for 4 months!
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 10:09
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The UK offshore wages are higher than onshore because no one in their right mind would fly the dullest rotary job available in the crappiest weather, wearing extremely uncomfortable attire for hours on end(and given the 14lb life jacket, potentially spine and neck damaging) dealing with all of the corporate b.s. and always being asked to be "flexible" for onshore wages? Offshore would have no one left to fly if they paid the same?

Onshore wages are now creeping up, and as Helimutt says, we are not fixed wing and there is a demand for qualified pilots. Any offshore redundancies will most likely be voluntary and the whole of the uk has a really ageing pilot fleet. No one is coming up through flight school and military leavers are few and far between...

There are jobs out there, and of the 14 tupe'd pilots from Bristow to Babcock 7 of them have already taken jobs elsewhere ( I'll leave that open for you all to ponder why)
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 11:34
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Originally Posted by Brutal View Post
The UK offshore wages are higher than onshore because no one in their right mind would fly the dullest rotary job available in the crappiest weather, wearing extremely uncomfortable attire for hours on end(and given the 14lb life jacket, potentially spine and neck damaging) dealing with all of the corporate b.s. and always being asked to be "flexible" for onshore wages? Offshore would have no one left to fly if they paid the same?

Onshore wages are now creeping up, and as Helimutt says, we are not fixed wing and there is a demand for qualified pilots. Any offshore redundancies will most likely be voluntary and the whole of the uk has a really ageing pilot fleet. No one is coming up through flight school and military leavers are few and far between...

There are jobs out there, and of the 14 tupe'd pilots from Bristow to Babcock 7 of them have already taken jobs elsewhere ( I'll leave that open for you all to ponder why)
B.
Not quite correct, there is 9 of them currently training with Babcock and I dont think it was ever as many as 14
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 11:40
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CHC have just made around 20 pilots redundant in their latest round of redundancies. 10 in Aberdeen, 10 in Norwich/Humberside.

Iíd imagine with the downturn in the oil market similar numbers will be shedded from the others too.

This thread looks only to be covering contractor rates rather than salaried PAYE rates.

Whatís the going rate for salaried offshore helicopter pilots in the U.K? £50k-£125k?
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 11:45
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Originally Posted by Mitchaa View Post
CHC have just made around 20 pilots redundant in their latest round of redundancies. 10 in Aberdeen, 10 in Norwich/Humberside.

Iíd imagine with the downturn in the oil market similar numbers will be shedded from the others too.

This thread looks only to be covering contractor rates rather than salaried PAYE rates.

Whatís the going rate for salaried offshore helicopter pilots in the U.K? £50k-£125k?
I'd say you are pretty much on the numbers, but I do know of P1s on the region of £150k, but that includes training allowances etc
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 13:14
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Originally Posted by Brutal View Post
No one is coming up through flight school [...] There are jobs out there
Hmm.... I'm inclined to disagree there
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 13:45
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OK Apolloheli, very very few helo pilots coming through flight school, certainly vastly outnumbered by retirements across the board....and yes, you will find jobs out there for qualified pilots.....
No redundancies for Chc in Norwich or humberside as yet.....they are still working on the numbers and we'll see what the real number is (if any) will be let go?
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 14:27
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Originally Posted by Brutal View Post
The UK offshore wages are higher than onshore because no one in their right mind would fly the dullest rotary job available in the crappiest weather, wearing extremely uncomfortable attire for hours on end(and given the 14lb life jacket, potentially spine and neck damaging) dealing with all of the corporate b.s. and always being asked to be "flexible" for onshore wages? Offshore would have no one left to fly if they paid the same?
Dont forget the equal time rosters which are superior to the NPAS/HEMS 4/4, great part-time rosters, the ability to have 3 weeks off for just 7 days, great overtime pay and a free breakfast/lunch
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 14:30
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Originally Posted by Brutal View Post
OK Apolloheli, very very few helo pilots coming through flight school, certainly vastly outnumbered by retirements across the board....and yes, you will find jobs out there for qualified pilots.....
No redundancies for Chc in Norwich or humberside as yet.....they are still working on the numbers and we'll see what the real number is (if any) will be let go?
But what do you consider qualified? Medium/Super medium type rating? Sure, I agree there'd be no problem finding work... CPL(H)/IR with MCC? No interest...
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 15:22
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Originally Posted by helicrazi View Post
Not quite correct, there is 9 of them currently training with Babcock and I dont think it was ever as many as 14
Yes youíre right helicrazi - I was one of the 14 but jumped for another position for reasons I wonít go into on here, along with several others. I think the final numbers were 2 co-pilots and 7 captains, with another captain taking a copilot slot....so 10 all in.

Back OT offshore has its flaws and a previous poster above does a fine job of giving a totally one-sided and biased viewpoint of it which I would caution as ďmostly bollocksĒ. Iíve got close friends whoíve only ever done onshore and love it, likewise friends who hate it and are desperate to go offshore. Offshore can be repetitive but itís got a pressure all of its own and managing a go-around on limits with your sole alternate 10 minutes away fogging out is genuinely hard work. Having done some very challenging flying in the military I thought offshore would be dull as f*** but it can be as challenging as anything else out there.

Salaries and t&cs are still generally pretty good too - personally Iíd be happy to finish flying in the offshore world but weíll see.
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 20:43
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Helimannuk, I think you'll find that our brothers and sisters working down south on the north sea do not get equal time rosters!

Simonk...well thank you for your personal opinion that must be fact as it's coming from you and everyone else's is "mostly bollocks"? I wouldn't be so rude if I were to disagree with your posts sir.
Just curious, have you done an onshore flying job outside of the military? I would be interested to know what you think? Personally, sitting in an uncomfortable immersion suit for 6/7 hours sweating like a pig everyday is not my idea of comfort?
I will have to correct your post though, you said offshore can be repetitive..there's no can about it...it IS really mind numbing repetitively boring. Do you fly only on sunny days then? Did I get the bit about the weather wrong too?
I think you will find the hard work comes from being so under aroused flying imc with no hands on at all for hours on end...not from managing a go around? ( As a training Captain I never seemed to find this hard work or challenging, even with a new co-jo, especially in
today's automated aircraft, one should be able to sit back and relax)?
But if this is how you personally find the N.Sea then that's your opinion....and I wouldn't say it was "mostly bollocks"?
B.
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