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A simple question from a now (much older) wannabe.

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A simple question from a now (much older) wannabe.

Old 10th Aug 2021, 12:50
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I would certainly get a PPL(H) on something interesting, say a Bell 47, having obtained a Class 1 medical. In fact the Canadian CPL(H) is only 100 hours anyway - if the school is good enough you could get your check ride in, say, 80-85 hours (I've seen it done) then use up the rest doing something like mountain flying or slinging.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 14:28
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
What he said. If you have all that money to blow on pilot training, blow it on something else. Your family should be the number one priority and chasing an expensive pipe dream at your age with very little chance of a return on that investment - certainly not in the next 5 to 10 years - is somewhat selfish and not in the best interest of your family. Learn a trade. Roof tilers and plumbers earn heaps more than newly minted commercial helicopter pilots..
Thanks for the reply but you may have misread my original post. I'm currently a geologist and as much as I'd love to retrain to become a plumber I think my trade is OK.


Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
Consider doing your PPL-H in Canada or the US.
Still eye watering compared to fixed wing but a great deal cheaper then in the UK.
Then make a final decision.
The problem with the aviation industry is that you learn about the industry and it’s possibilities as you go along.
Something which is very difficult to explain to a non-participant.
Canada is immigration friendly, the US is not.
South America generally requires citizenship and language fluency.
Leaves jobs in Africa, Middle East and Asia as Australia is notoriously protective of its pilot market.
I hadn't thought of training in Canada but its somewhere my partner and I have toyed with moving there. BC helicopters quote $64k for a CPL. That is extremely cheap when comparing to the UK costs.

Can you recommend any schools to consider in Canada? I've done a quick google and it doesn't seem like a huge problem to convert to a UK one. What is the job market like out in Canada for low hour pilots?

I appreciate all your replies it's all food for thought.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 14:41
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You would have immigration to contend with, but that being said, the job market is likely to be slim. But, nothing ventured, etc. You could talk to Sheena Ell at 49N Helicopters in Campbell River.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 15:27
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Originally Posted by ShaunLanc View Post
These are the facts that I'd like checking:
  • Is there an impending shortage of pilots in the rotary world? They are quoting that 2/3 of pilots in the UK are aged 50+ and nearing retirement.
  • What are job prospects like? I was told on one of their seminars that due to the aging work force and a lack of military pilots coming into the industry, this shortage has exacerbated the situation
  • What advice would you give me?

Thanks for reading
Two things I've noticed in the almost twenty years I've been a pilot.

1. There has ALWAYS been a pilot shortage.

2. There has ALWAYS been overwhelming competition for entry and mid level.jobs.

Good luck
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 16:12
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If you just want to be a pilot, that is easy. But that is all you will be is a pilot. Think outside the box and determine what you can bring to the table or what you can do differently.
As Robbiee says, there has always been a pilot shortage. There has also never been a shortage of pilots who do nothing but complain about how terrible this industry is.
Happy to report that after 30+ years that retirement is in sight. A supportive wife who has been there since day 1, a very healthy bank account, a multi-million dollar home paid for, a beautiful helicopter paid for, the cars, the toys....and most importantly, what a fantastic journey over the past decades. Would happily go back and do it all over again. Best of luck to you.

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Old 10th Aug 2021, 16:46
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Originally Posted by blackdog7 View Post
If you just want to be a pilot, that is easy. But that is all you will be is a pilot. Think outside the box and determine what you can bring to the table or what you can do differently.
As Robbiee says, there has always been a pilot shortage. There has also never been a shortage of pilots who do nothing but complain about how terrible this industry is.
Happy to report that after 30+ years that retirement is in sight. A supportive wife who has been there since day 1, a very healthy bank account, a multi-million dollar home paid for, a beautiful helicopter paid for, the cars, the toys....and most importantly, what a fantastic journey over the past decades. Would happily go back and do it all over again. Best of luck to you.
Hi mate,

I really appreciate the positivity and thanks for sharing.

I definitely have more to offer than just being a pilot. Who doesn't want a full geological history and story of the area you're looking at whilst flying around
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 18:09
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
You asked for a simple answer. If you want to be a pilot then be a pilot. You're certainly not too old. But it has to be your priority. Not relationships or family or any of that other grown-up stuff that kills dreams.
Ha! I see what you did there...
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 18:54
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Or you could just fly for fun whenever you want to. Just having a private pilot licences would possibly scratch the itch and whilst it might be nice to be paid to fly, the cost of a commercial licence will pay for quite a bit of flying on its own. Less stress too, especially in the early years when you would be at the bottom of the ladder.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 20:08
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Originally Posted by ShaunLanc View Post
Thanks for the reply but you may have misread my original post. I'm currently a geologist and as much as I'd love to retrain to become a plumber I think my trade is OK..
Excellent. Stick with the rock business. Everything I said earlier still applies.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 20:09
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Mate just go for it. You've got a back up career sorted. Better to be looking back on your life in years to come with no regrets. I've been in the industry for 25 years and it's been a rollercoaster but I wouldn't change anything.

Good luck,
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 22:02
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Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
For the US side of the house---there is NO shortage, there is a shortage of pilots with a certain skillset that is not easy to get. (HEC).
He did say "impending". Lots of open positions in the U.S. If you want to fly people around at the end of a rope so bad, there's a way to do it.

Last edited by helonorth; 10th Aug 2021 at 22:36.
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Old 10th Aug 2021, 23:53
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DO NOT COME TO CANADA.

It's undercrowded.
It offers a wide range of types of countryside.
In the West coast at least the weather is good, sometimes excellent.
Canadians have free (at point of sale) health care.
It's civilized and the only serious crime wave is stealing bikes.
Flying is a lot cheaper than Europe.
There's an awful lot of Geology here.
From Toronto West we speak your language, literally.

I REPEAT, DO NOT COME! We don't need it to become overcrowded.
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 01:00
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Originally Posted by helonorth View Post
..If you want to fly people around at the end of a rope so bad, there's a way to do it.
I saw that on Hannah Barron's YouTube channel recently. I don't know how that is legal. But it was in a 412 and no freshly minted CPL is going to get their hands on one of them anytime soon.
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 06:57
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Originally Posted by ShaunLanc View Post
I have a very supportive partner that is 7 years my junior
You've clearly got what it takes to be a pilot 👍

All jokes aside, if you're prepared to move and spend a few years earning relatively little to get a foot in the door of the industry, then your goal is entirely achievable.

The most cost effective solution is without doubt training in the USA and instructing over there. I got a 2 year J1 visa and that allowed me to train and come home with 1400 hours before converting to EASA.

Yes, there are additional complications of exams and converting etc, but getting into that first job as a flight instructor will cost less than half what it would in the UK.
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 07:03
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Originally Posted by HeliMannUK View Post

Both of these jobs can be obtained as an Ab-initio, I have seen people in both get jobs this year with very minimal hours, even seen people pay for their own type rating on a Sikorsky S92 to jump the queue and obtain work offshore.
If you don´t mind me asking, does FTO matter in this regard (.i.e. are we talking Bristow and that -one- school they seem to recruit directly from)? And will a mere rating really be a shortcut to Offshore, I always thought hours on type will be required as well (and lots of them).
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 07:23
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Originally Posted by ShaunLanc View Post
Can you recommend any schools to consider in Canada?
Chinook Helicopters Ltd, Abbotsford, BC
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 07:25
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The hard part of doing a private PPL H will be that you will have to compete with former military people that are well educated and bring a lot of flight hours.
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 12:01
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
The hard part of doing a private PPL H will be that you will have to compete with former military people that are well educated and bring a lot of flight hours.
Enlighten me, does that mean that former military have start in the civilian world at PPL level?
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 13:21
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Originally Posted by ShaunLanc View Post
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply - bit of a mixed bag!

Yes I'd be willing to relocate for a job and I have a very supportive partner that is 7 years my junior so I have a bit of time on my side too.

My plan would be to do the CPL and then a flight instructors course as Helicentre apparently recruit all their flight instructors. After that I'd hope to build hours for a year and then apply for any job I could get. My ideal would be SAR.

What I found really surprising is the poor salary for flight instructors. Starting on £24k p/a is less than what I was on as a graduate! They quote that salaries for first job start around £60k p/a for most jobs in multi-crew. Is this correct?

I'd also be interested to hear more about helicentre's reputation. Can anyone expand on that please?

Many thanks
No school hire all the people that go through their instructor courses, they’d have more instructors than students! They may hire some, but will likely advertise hiring lots to make you pay for the extra course with them.

SAR is a competitive route to go, good pay, good terms etc. You won’t get a job doing that with FI hours in a single piston and no multi-crew time. Best to go offshore and build twin turbine and multi-crew in heavy types and after a few years you may get to second to a SAR base.

If the “helping others” nature of SAR is what interested you, some HEMS operators may hire low-time IR qualified co-pilots but the pay is poor and it’ll be an extremely long road before you see captaincy, at 30 already you’d be close to being a career copilot.

Not trying to be overt negative, but trying to paint a realistic view of things you’ve said.

As for the classic pilot shortage? It’s been said for ages, there’s definitely no pilot shortage in fixed wing now thanks to Covid, but arguably lots of rotary guys ended up out of work too and are just now getting back into the busy VIP sector. I guess there is a pilot shortage, but only a shortage of highly qualified pilots with the skills required for particular roles.

There is no shortage of under-qualified, new CPL(H) holders. There is a shortage of companies willing to take those on and build their careers, especially if they can get a pilot off of the shelf.
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 16:26
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Canada is not immigration friendly anymore...
I was over there a few years ago on a holiday break to convert my FAA license to Canadian, I did all of that I had over 2000 hours helicopters mostly turbine, some longline and some more mountain time, Bell 206, AS350, AS355, EC135. I was 30 at the time and I personally walked in to quite a few companies in the south of BC and their answer was very good CV but we are not sponsoring any visas, bye.

Also bear in mind that most jobs in the UK require an IR, that alone will cost about 50k.



Last edited by haihio; 11th Aug 2021 at 19:20.
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