I don’t profess to know everything. None of us ever will. Armed only with the Allison Turbine Course and 5 hours/week of maintenance instruction at Canadore College, I got hired in 1978 and spent the summer as an apprentice. I wobble-pumped for two 500Cs, which were flying a total of 16 hours a day. At first I thought I was screwing up because most of my classmates had flying jobs. But later on I realized that I was getting a great education watching how other pilots performed on the job. Decisions on weather and, loading, how they (Danny Sitnam, CEO of Heli-Jet was one of them) dealt with the customer and our own company. My point is that if you want to do this for a living, it’s probably best to not keep comparing yourself to your our peers. Just concentrate on doing the best job you can, learning as much as you can and basically staying alive so you get to learn more lessons.
In 1978, I made 650/month, only accumulating statuatory holidays. That fall, when I began flying, I made 800/month and 10/hour. The tours were 8-9 weeks with 2 weeks off (oh yeah, and stay by the phone). Yes they sucked. And nowadays we don’t have to deal with that BS. Find a decent company, one that has a good maintenance record and just do your job. With some luck and if you don’t try to be a hero horsing around, landing in tight holes or pushing weather or weight, chances are you’ll have a long and enjoyable career.
My advice is to fly lights and intermediates until you have at least 3 or 4 thousand hours. Pushing to jump to the mediums might be your undoing. Take your time. Enjoy your career. Tours will tend to suck less the more experience you get because as your hours build up, the number of companies interested in hiring you will increase.
The cool thing about this job is that it never gets old. I still love it and I’m still thankful I gave it a try.
Take your time. Do your tours. And don’t worry: before long you’ll have your pick of companies.