Bullwinkle Posted April 23, 2009 Report Share Posted April 23, 2009 I got my license in the early ‘80s, and the economy went for a nose dive to celebrate. Over the period of a year I made two cross country road trips banging on doors. Everyone I talked to were all very nice but all had the same message. “We can’t hire you when we can’t keep our regular pilots busy.” I was living on the west coast at the time in a small travel trailer. I was so broke I couldn’t afford propane for the furnace and subsequently came down with double pneumonia in the winter. I still vividly remember how wonderful it felt to sleep in a dry, warm bed and to be served three meals a day without having to get out of that wonderful bed, in the hospital. When I got out of the hospital I phoned a few companies that had, in the past, hired low time pilots. I told them of my plight and said I would work for free and only asked for one thing in return, a dry place to sleep. A small outfit took me up on my offer but made it very clear that I was not to have any expectation of employment. I lived in the loft of their hangar and did whatever I could to help, 7 days a week. I washed helicopters, I kept the hangar spotless, spent a lot of time helping the engineers. They were very supportive of my ambition to be a pilot. Over the course of the next five months they gave me a 206 endorsement and I managed to log about 25 hours in ferry flights. Then one day in early summer the owner pulled me aside and said “Bullwinkle, I like your work ethic, I’m letting one of the guys go and hiring you.” The following year I logged 870 hours and haven’t looked back. There is nothing new about working for free in the aviation industry. And it doesn’t necessarily displace paid employees. What it does do is give a potential employer a no risk look at you, and it puts you in place to get hired when a position becomes available. Oh, and the pilot they let go, he was in Canada on a work visa. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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