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Pay Scales

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One of the big problems with wage comparisons is getting all the info to make an intelligent informed opinion as to what is good and not so good.

This past summer I worked for Heli-Inter for one 30 day contract flying a light.

Day 1 and day 30 were travel days for which they paid me 250/day plus 40/day meal allowance. the other 28 days I was paid 250/day plus 30/flight hour unless I was on the line when they then paid 50/hour. No meal allowance as they were supplied.

They paid by deposit every two weeks and I got paid for the flight time for the period at that time as well The total pay ended up between 12000 and 13000 dollars

I have no loyalty to this company, they were just another employer, however ,I must say they were excellent to work for during my short stint. They paid what they promised, when they promised , and there was no hassles of any kind with the management at main base.

NOTE: Cap in his prior info on wage rates for this company was partially correct when he said they held back flight pay till the end of the year. They only hold backwhen you don't fly the minimuns They will be paid at year end Anyhhours flown you are paid for at the end of the two wk period.

I've never claimed to be the biggest mushroom in the pile but I just don't feel insulted by what they paid me and how they treated me... hence we go back to the reason for the survey Please tell me what my wages shud have been What is the rest of the industry paying HELP!! I don't want to miss the boat next year !! :(:(

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Copied from Take 1:


From xxxxxx:


Ok I have some info.

Heli-inter is 15.25/hr (40hrs /week) and that includes flight pay ( 3000hr pilot), and is for roughly 6 months work then EI.


They consider this fulltime.



Just for clarification, this is what I was referring to in my previous post on this thread. It seems there are 2 distinctly different viewpoints on Heli-Inter.

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Yes, 12-13K per month is as good as $300 per hour, but how many months or hours will you get over a 12 month period ??

This would be a good deal on a good fire season, or if you teach skiing in the winters, or fight fires in the Australian summer, yada yada yada.


Some companies will pay you less, but employ you for 12 months per year.

What about minimums, benefits, quality of maintenance etc. etc. etc.


This topic has more questions than answers.

I do not feel this format of survey can take-in all the variables that are present.

Unfortunately this topic has provided more slander about companies and confusion about wages than it has provided realistic information.

This is why the first attempt at this question fell apart.


I have no objection to this type of survey, but this one is not providing valid data.

Read it with appropriate caution.

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Again, if we can use Heli-Inter's numbers as an example. A pilot is guaranteed somewhere in the area of 350hrs/per year flight pay. The base for someone with a fair amount of experience is $3,750/mth. There are add-ons for the type of living accomodation that you have and that figure varies from being in a tent, ATTCO trailer or something better. If you long-line you get more again. So making $65,000-$75,000 is not impossible or 'out-of-line' at all, based on 400-500hrs a year. Needless to say, if all one flew were those guaranteed 350hrs/yr, then I'd suggest it would be healthy to be looking for another position before the company went bankrupt.


Two other items need mentioning here and are 'put-downs' to nobody or any company. Traditionally, as far back as you wish to go, the wages for AME's and pilots in the East has always been less than in the West. As in anything else, this is not true 100% of the time....there are exceptions. To use an oft used statement from those in the East that are paying the wages, you will hear this...."You guys in the West are over-paid and always have been". That's one of the major reasons why eastern companies have been able to come into the West and keep their overhead down thusly and under-bid on western contracts. It was like that in the late 60's and hasn't changed one iota in the ensuing years. Personally, I believe that anyone flying a Light or Intermediate, who is earning the above mentioned wage year-round, shouldn't feel too 'put-upon' for 400-500hrs of flying, 14hr duty days and a maximum of 8hrs/day 'behind the stick'.


Once again, I will keep harping on it. If I'm paying you wages and can get the rate I should be able to get, then I can afford to give a company-wide raise each year in all areas. Bell, Eurpcopter or Hughes do not consult me about whether they can raise the price of parts or equipment; the insurance industry doesn't consult me when they raise rates and neither does my bank manger nor the people that supply the utilites I use......those are fixed and those people don't give a **** where the money comes from. So I got to have so much money coming in to pay all those 'fixed bills' and YOUR wages and benefits. I therefore take a stand and say "I'm not giving my a/c away" and leave them sit earning nothing....or I get 'down in the mud' with all those trying to survive and cut each others throats. While I'm doing that, don't you dare ask me for a raise or I'll punch you in the mouth and you can take your union, 'gathering', association or whatever you want to call them and stick them 'where the sun don't shine'. Oh....and while your at it, you can take that guy parked across the field, with his leased a/c and contracted-out maintenance and 'chisel-charter rates. I've been here 20 yrs and worked **** hard and can't afford to give my 206L3 away for $525/hr.......not if you want a RAISE, I can't!!!

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Remember... we're all on the same team here.


We (at least I) want the company to get fair, profitable tariffs as much as you do. I believe the majority of us 'pilots' understand your overhead as an owner... and we sympathize. We (again, at least me) don't want to see other companies undercut anybody else... it only hurts the industry as a whole. Better tariffs would benefit the owners, the AMEs, the pilots, the admin staff... everyone.


But understand: asking a fair wage for flying is not a crime punishable by death. I've worked in several industries in my life. Some seem overpaid for the work you do, others are the opposite. I don't think $50/hour for flying a light is too much. I've made more sitting behind a desk not having to think about if I'm going to make it home that night.


But then again, it ain't all about the money, is it?

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Understand completely where you are coming from. It's a dangerous argument to use 'the worth' of a profession and equate it to what one should be paid. If that were the case, I want my surgeon to get MORE than an NHL, NBA or NFL athlete. Me slinging a load of drill core is not as imprtant as some other guy flying EMS and saving someone's life on occasion.


Nobody is asking for more wages than is their 'just due', but in order to provide that 'just due', there has to be the amount of monies coming inbound in order to provide those wages and the security that goes with. Therein lies my whole point and I don't see how wages can go up when the rates are not keeping up with the rise in costs. So first you address the 'rate problem' AND THEN you address the wage problem because that raise for you and I has got to come from someplace.


I can be acused of playing 'Devil's Advocate' here or defending owners, but that's not my intention. I've been on jobs in the past where I know what I'm getting, I know pretty well what the given a/c needs to operate and the engineer's wages........and I've sat there scratching my head trying to figure out how this isn't a 'lost leader' unless I fly my bloody *** off. I realize also that profit can be built-into "Positioning Charges", but in some cases I've known what they were also and the figures still don't add up. Ergo, somebody's been gambling on certain events taking place......OR NOT taking place. When they gamble, they are also gambling with my job security.

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Cap: Everything is always an "if" in this industry. At one time most of the companies were run by engineers or pilots or somebody with an aviation background.


Then along came the bloody accounts, real estate agents,ex-woodchoppers etc. to run an aviation organization, I almost forgot the doctors and pharmacists looking for tax writeoffs and one time even power corporation and Algoma Railroad got into the act. Do not forget the union that owns half of CHL, just to name a few.


If I could get every helicopter engineer and pilot to go on EI for six months and not go back to work until the pay rates were brought up to a decent level and standardized across the board.




The companies will not do it on there own.


Cheers, Don

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Blackmac ------ totally agreed Donald. But let's at least try to "cull the herde" so that there isn't the abundance of 'chisel charters' out there who can get into the business with very little of their own monies involved. They do the vast majority of the 'lost leader' crap and drag everyone else down with them in order to play the game. Have they always been around this industry?.....you bet they have and you and I can name more than one.........but the abundance of them now is choking the industry and making it very difficult for all the rest. I will lay the fault for most of that with "deregulation". Oddly enough I thougth "deregulation" was a great idea when it first appeared, but have to admit I was desparately wrong. Will it come back again....I don't know.....but I do know that it has had the same effect on the F/W world and my feelings can be heard echoing over there also. If we don't bring it back again, I really fail to see how a union will do so because 'the pie' is just being cut into too many small pieces to feed everybody........and I don't see any "mega-projects" in the distance.

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