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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 11th Aug 2021, 16:28
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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.
Clearly you jest....
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 18:22
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If you are a geology graduate a career you could look into is survey flying. Definitely very helpful if you understand what the onboard remote sensing instruments on a survey aircraft do, and can understand the technical requirements of the clients (who are often geologists..)
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Old 11th Aug 2021, 18:23
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Haihio

Might be different this year!

It varies year to year. I know of at least one company that is turning down business for lack of suitable pilots and scrambling shifts to keep what they have got.

OP won't be ready for three or four years. Situation might be entirely different by then!

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Old 11th Aug 2021, 20:11
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Originally Posted by ChrisVJ View Post
Haihio

Might be different this year!

It varies year to year. I know of at least one company that is turning down business for lack of suitable pilots and scrambling shifts to keep what they have got.

OP won't be ready for three or four years. Situation might be entirely different by then!



Hi Chris,

Which company is this ? I’ll email them!

What I should have added to my previous post is: “If there is a will there is a way”

I’m sure that will always work but it can be very hard...


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Old 12th Aug 2021, 00:13
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Haihio
PM'd you.







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Old 12th Aug 2021, 00:30
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Adding to my earlier comments.
It’s always been “difficult” for a civilian to “make it” in rotary wing aviation.

But lately “making it” has become even less attractive.

Off Shore has traditionally been near the top of the heap regarding pay and conditions.
Many “Off Shore” pilots have chosen a career that involves being away from home/family for at least 1/2 their life - this is not something to dismiss lightly.
With the downturn, even less attractive touring schedules are being offered.
The industry is moving rapidly towards ”Casualisation” EG “Contract” - likely make it more difficult to get a home loan for example.

I would urge any prospective CPL-H to look at the positions available and really think about what it would be like to work long term in that position.
Consider for example, how having a maximum of 1/2 the weekends to spend with your family would affect them/you. Having Tue and Fri off might suit you, but if your partner is at work, and your kids at school, they don’t get much out of it. Similar if you “have Saturday off”, but finish at 08:00 on Saturday morning, after flying half the night.

Human nature can have the prospective student lump a lot of the advantages of different jobs together, ignoring the reality, including downsides of ONE option.
EG - “I could live well on an Off-Shore Captains wage, and would find EMS flying incredibly rewarding. Flying happy tourists in a nice Squirrel would be a pleasant way to spend the day. I love passing on knowledge so instructing would suit me.” Each positive (and you only get to choose one at a time.)comes with some pretty big drawbacks. Poverty in the case of instructing/flying tourists.

I’ve done all the above. Invested huge amounts of time/effort/money on my career - I wish I could find another way to make decent money, or could afford to retire.
Being able to fly privately, like some of my friends is a pipe dream.

It is seriously as bad a time in the Helicopter industry as there has ever been. Drones have taken some work. Off-Shore is winding down. Tourism has basically stopped, and might never come back to what it was. EMS is generally reducing the numbers, but using bigger machines. (If 2 pilot ops become more widespread, this might be about the only “expansion” in opportunities.)


Buying Food/Shelter.

I would suggest that SE positions would “top out” with regards to remuneration around what a Tradesman would earn. But would likely involve some of the following: weekend/after hours, unpaid overtime, working “away”, lack of security, high risk (powerline work for EG).

To earn what a tertiary educated person would expect to start on it’s ME IFR.
Corporate - Niche industry that can be great or appalling depending on the employer. (Or the employers mood.)
Off Shore - Can be summed up - F#CK3D! (And only likely to get worse, and eventually virtually disappear.)
EMS/SAR - Extremely high requirements (Supplied by the Military). Previously it was possible to get ME IF Off Shore, and move across. Less likely now. (Especially with NVIS requirements) The roster doesn’t suit everyone.

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Old 12th Aug 2021, 04:48
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Originally Posted by Twist & Shout View Post
...I would suggest that SE positions would “top out” with regards to remuneration around what a Tradesman would earn.
I would suggest in the present climate SE positions wouldn't come close to what a tradesman would earn. I just paid a plumber $150 to show up at my front door which got me 15 minutes of his time. After that it was about $150/hr and I had to do all the digging. A roof tiler quoted me $2000 for one days work. The OP is a geologist with experience and I dare say his salary now is more than it would ever be as a SE Captain.

Your observations about the aspects of the different helicopter career paths I do agree on. About half of my working life was in far-flung places far away from home a month+ at a time. As a M/E IFR Offshore Captain my highest salary was probably less than what the young plumber was earning who crimped three leaking water pipes with a battery operated tool. And my kerosene operated tool was far more expensive and prone to calamities than his aforementioned tool.
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Old 12th Aug 2021, 07:13
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Clearly you jest...
.

Not at all.
It is just the competition he will face. Hard to get to that level if you pay by the hour.

Last edited by Less Hair; 12th Aug 2021 at 12:02.
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 08:10
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Scratch the itch with a PPLH - then at least you can do that part-time and keep earning well. At the end you will have a much better idea of how much you want to spend your whole working life in a cockpit - it is a job and, like any other, has its good and bad aspects.
This.

Canada is not immigration friendly anymore...
Pretty sure Canada has been a pretty tough place to get into for a while. Unless of course you have the skillz/moniez they are looking for (like many wealthy nations). Not sure a "wannabe" helicopter pilot (your words) ticks that box?????

A sincere word of advice...I would have a third-party, preferably a paid professional, sit down with you and delve deeply into your motivations. It is all to common for people (and I mean all of us) to misunderstand the signals our brain gives us. What can appear as "unrequited desire" for a former career option, can easily be hiding something entirely different in your life. I won't speculate what that might be, I'll merely point out that all of us are susceptiple to this form of self-deception at periods in our lives and thus armed with this knowledge it is purely pragmatic and sensible to take a step back and take a deep and holistic view of oneself. If done in collaboration with a trained professional that will likely provide more valuable insights.

Finally, flying schools (pretty much all of them) are about the nut-worst places on Planet Earth to get career advice. I know, I worked in one for two years.

Good luck.
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 16:36
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
.

Not at all.
It is just the competition he will face. Hard to get to that level if you pay by the hour.
Certainly in the US the military pilots leaving do not have high time and are not sought after like they used to be.
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 17:22
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Originally Posted by Twist & Shout View Post
EMS/SAR - Extremely high requirements (Supplied by the Military). Previously it was possible to get ME IF Off Shore, and move across. Less likely now. (Especially with NVIS requirements) The roster doesn’t suit everyone.
Specialist Aviation Services - recently hired a few Ab-initos (or very low hour) pilots for their HEMS services with NVIS training.
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 17:26
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Some really interesting responses on here. As someone who has been in your position at around your age and now work as a helicopter pilot offshore I thought I’d chip in with my 2 cents.

Firstly, they’ll never be a pilot shortage as such, they may be shortages of pilots in specific locations with specific qualifications willing to work for specific salaries but to reiterate previous posts, I don’t believe there is a shortage of low houred pilots looking for work. Yes, some pilots are 50+ but there theres also lots of younger guys and gals in the industry.

Secondly any “seminar” you go to is likely to be a sales pitch for training, so the schools goal is to get you to part with your hard earned. Take what they say with a big yellow bin of gritsalt.

Thirdly, the advice I would give depends on your situation. The cost of all of the various tickets you need to be employable is going to be north of £120,000 wherever you do it. The possibility to recoup this investment I would say (with a few exceptions) only really exists in the offshore world. There are also plenty of people who hold all the right tickets whoes face just doesn’t fit offshore for whatever reason. So clearly you are taking a massive financial gamble which may or may not pay off.

Furthermore, at some point the offshore market will have a correction in size as hydrocarbons become politically an increasingly toxic hot potato. This may occur tomorrow or in 5,10 or 30 years. No one knows.

I was lucky enough to get a job offshore with the minimum qualifications but I know plenty who weren’t so lucky. I wasn’t any better then they were, just luck of the draw and timing. Like most on here, I love flying helicopters and work with some great people but if you look at the aviation industry in general and the prospects of big oil and gas, terms and conditions are being revised downwards across the board so again, no one really knows what the future holds in that respect.

Probably the most interesting flying seems to take place on shore (hems, filming, longline etc) but unfortunately the skills and experience required doesn’t appear to gel with the rewards on offer and in my experience was almost impossible to break into with minimum hours and an IR.

My honest advice would be to fly for fun (because it is fun&#128515. If you have the money and feel strongly enough that it’s a career for you then speak to as many people in the industry as possible, make an informed decision with the best information you have available that will suit your own circumstances and goals.

Hope that helps and best of luck to you.



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Old 13th Aug 2021, 21:37
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In my thirties, a well-paid job, no family to tow, a dream of flying... That's where I was twenty years ago. And without all those aviation forums, all I heard was the "pilot shortage" flying school song... By the time I got my CPL, I decided that I didn't like the way this industry was luring low-timers into paying even more ratings, into doing those unpaid "ground internships", and so on, so I gave up.

Five non-flying years later, still a low-timer, I tried my luck with my own chopper and my own sightseeing business, under someone else's AOC. Two years with mixed results, I gained valuable experience and I did not lose too much money when I broke this suboptimal partnering, sold the ship and stopped flying again.

10 years later, as my flying non-career is now mostly behind me, I consider myself lucky: I can afford to fly my own helicopter privately, I fly whenever/wherever I want, I can --should refrain from-- brag about being "a helicopter pilot", and, guess what, I am still dreaming of an unlikely upturn in the industry and a possible flying career!

... While few high-timers are still dreaming...

Last edited by Petit-Lion; 13th Aug 2021 at 21:39. Reason: spelling
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 22:07
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This high-time flyer is dreaming of becoming a geologist....
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 22:50
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
This high-time flyer is dreaming of becoming a geologist....
And this high time flyer is looking to leave it all behind and go live on a sailboat... and work as a piano player in a strip club.....if only I could play piano...
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 23:34
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for a short dude Gordy, you'd be known as the little pianist guy, so maybe just as well !
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 23:49
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
I would suggest in the present climate SE positions wouldn't come close to what a tradesman would earn. I just paid a plumber $150 to show up at my front door which got me 15 minutes of his time. After that it was about $150/hr and I had to do all the digging. A roof tiler quoted me $2000 for one days work. The OP is a geologist with experience and I dare say his salary now is more than it would ever be as a SE Captain.

Your observations about the aspects of the different helicopter career paths I do agree on. About half of my working life was in far-flung places far away from home a month+ at a time. As a M/E IFR Offshore Captain my highest salary was probably less than what the young plumber was earning who crimped three leaking water pipes with a battery operated tool. And my kerosene operated tool was far more expensive and prone to calamities than his aforementioned tool.
If you think these guys are earning that, you're wrong. The car dealerships get $150-200 an hour to work on your car. They are not making $200 an hour. Anybody that shows up at your house is going to charge you a $100. Hello.
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Old 14th Aug 2021, 00:29
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Smile

Originally Posted by Sir Korsky View Post
for a short dude Gordy, you'd be known as the little pianist guy, so maybe just as well !
Too funny........
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Old 14th Aug 2021, 03:26
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Originally Posted by helonorth View Post
If you think these guys are earning that, you're wrong. The car dealerships get $150-200 an hour to work on your car. They are not making $200 an hour. Anybody that shows up at your house is going to charge you a $100. Hello.
Yes, people are getting confused.
I was trying to make the point that an experienced SE Helicopter pilot would be unlikely to earn more than a person with a basic trade qualification.
Don’t confuse this with what you pay.
Likely, A$1500/hr for a charter in an R44 - pilot probably gets between 0 and $50. (The ignorant public might think the pilot is earning $1000/hr)
An employed Motor Mechanic might cost you $200/hr at a dealership, but obviously doesn’t make that!

I was trying to get the OP to consider the reality: If you “make it”, in the SE world, you’d earn substantially less than a Geologist, and likely suffer some horrendous downsides. (Potentially: No/few weekends off, all working “away”, crap rosters that would never be entertained in other industries, not home for Xmas/kids birthdays, for eg.)

When I was an electrician: Working a weekend, (2 x 10 hr days) gave me an extra weeks pay. (First few hrs were 1.5 x normal rate, the rest was “double time”.)

As a novice pilot I would work weekends for $0 just to get an hr in my log book.

As an experienced ME IFR pilot, weekends/Xmas day/etc are just another work day.

I’d rather work as a Pilot than an electrician. (ME IFR - beat an average Electricians wage)
Many Pilots families would prefer their partner/parent worked as an Electrician.
Not sure about working as a Geologist, but would probably swap, to be honest.
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Old 14th Aug 2021, 04:00
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One thing I've noticed over the years, is you just have to be lucky. You have to be in the right place at the right time. This game really is the hare and tortoise syndrome. I see some folks get well ahead and then fall behind, some folk get these corporate jobs they don't deserve and get 20 years of good fortune. Other folks just keep pulling the short straw and perpetually circle the drain. There is a huge element of luck in this business and I'd say it was the #1 job selection factor way and above of who you know. Just my empirical observations.

Good luck...whoever you are !
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