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Career Path: Zero To Heli-ski?

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Hello all...new to the forum and with many questions.


First of all, I've spent some time reading past postings and am impressed with the level of professionalism displayed here! I've also made an attempt to answer my own questions by picking through past postings with the Search function...so if I missed the answers, my apologies to all. Hmmn, where to begin with my questions?


I'm a mid-thirties career-changer :shock: , I currently have Zero hours and I'm in the process of researching various schools in the West for eventual training (some very helpful postings found on this topic). At this VERY early stage I have a serious interest in the Heli-Ski side of flying (very-long term career goal).


My first question for the forum:


What are the requirements/experience that would best prepare me for a career in this area? (FYI: I am aware that acquiring the first job is extremely difficult. At this point I am just making an attempt to uncover various career paths/directions that I should consider, and the cold-hard reality that I will be facing should I choose to go in this direction).


Any insight or direction would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps it's just too early for me to even consider this path, but any information on the subject would be fantastic. :D


Thanks in advance..Gt

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Heli Ski ?????


So you can fly in the worst weather, with an aircrat at full WAT chart weights, pushed as high as you can operate, by a German or Swiss guide ( read Cheap !) 


Did your mama drop you when you were a baby !!??


Oh, by the way, I Love it, best job out there !

What he said.

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The most important direction as far as flying would be mountain flying. Others can correct me if i'm wrong, but a very strong background with mountainous terrain,( geologists, loggers, repeater work etc...) Also flt experience on the type of A/C we use for ski ops. The Astar or 407 seem to be the lightest birds of choice for skiing and then on up to the mediums.


Great choice for direction though, it's beautifull and at times challenging flying. Interesting people and usually good comraderie with your fellow crew.


That's my 2 bits, good luck and if you really want this stuff, go for it!


R :up:

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407D, 4961, I think I was dropped a couple of times for good measure...so I should fit right in! :wacko::D


RM, thanks for your 2 bits! The mountains are where you'll eventually find me...at least that's what the plan is. Now getting that mountain experience...or any experience will be a whole other story from what I've heard.


Getting experience on the Astar or 407...how does one go about getting that experience without experience? Perhaps I'd be best to start with training on the 47 to keep it in the same family? The old catch 22. What about floor sweeping with Alpine...would they ever upgrade to a flying position after years of waxing the floors? Ahh, so many questions...


Anyways...thanks all for the info! Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!


Cheers, and hope to one day see you out there...GT :D

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Alpine hires ground crew every year in Canmore. They tell you that there is NO chance of a flying job in the future though.

In saying that, every year, 1 or 2 seats may open up, but it is the 100 hr ground crews that have loaded and unloaded tourists for 3+ years that get the first chance.

Typically, a 3 year ground crew turned 100 hr pilot turned 206 tour pilot only can handle about 2 or 3 years of tours due to the intense boredom...(or about 700 hrs)..... then it's off to the north to find a real operational job with Delta or Great Slave or ??.

Alpine also hires a few 1500 +/- operational pilots every winter to fly 206, 206L3's on ski support. You'll have to have some strong winter and mountain skills to be looked at.


It is possible to work up through the ranks, but it may take a whole lot of years to do it.


VIH, Skyline, Tasman, Mustang/Venture, Blackcomb, Yellowhead, also have ski Ops, check with them to see what's shaking. Selkirk Mtn's LR's do some Lunch-boy flights for CMH in YRV...another angle !

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I agree with 407 driver on everything( well not everything)


Don't set your initial sites on skiing as it'll likely be at least a few years from starting operational( real ) flying.


The training area, type of machine and school are your first hurdles, not to mention that 50k you need. Learning at a school that does potentially hire from it's ranks is best. You need all the help you can get from the beginning.


If VIH hires you, your looking at 1-2 years of dispatcher/ hangar monkey duties for low pay. Then most of the flying you would get to start is still good mountainous and poor weather flying. Remember, west is best. Great rocks to fly around in here. So after your first 700-1000 hours you could be looking at an astar endorsement B) . Another 200-500 hours of trouble free good flying and you could be looking at the Heli-ski fun for the winter. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it. For the right person at the right time with the right attitude, it can be that easy. You need to KNOW it's what you want, not think.


Good luck and happy training.



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I was in the industry for so long, and not having flown over 11k in warm countries, when this Heli-Sking gibberish started coming out, I thought everybody was talking aboot actual 204/205/206/212 going skiing with passengers onboard. Remember the fiberglass ski's.


The only problem that I good see, was, no repeat passengers. Chickens.


Cheers, Don

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