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Drill Movers

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Hey everybody, this is sort of a job posting but I put it here because it's also a discussion topic I'd like to broach. Hopefully someone doesn't cut-and-paste and respond negatively to every sentence I write but these are the chances one takes when emerging from one's shelter!


Where has the talent gone in Canada? Four years ago the whole country was hopping and people were barely able to fill seats... barely able but still managing. Now, in 2011, there are way less helicopters working. One company alone sold 4 Mediums into Brazil and had to move a couple into the US, which reduced the available Canadian Medium fleet by almost 10%. One operator did that.


Several Operators have closed their doors. Many more have downsized. So the pilot shortage should be over (and engineers), for the short term, anyway. But it seems to be worse! There are pilots available but the guys with longline time that can go out and move a diamond drill without client complaint seem to non-existent. Where are they? We used to get resumes from Canadians, Australians, Kiwis, even the odd American (is that redundant?). All with drill experience. Now there is almost no one. To be fair we get resumes from guys (or girls) who want to get on a job we have in South America and do month-on-month-off in the Amazon basin, but those seats are easy to fill. Where are the people that want to go see the most unpoiled area on Earth (except for Antarctica)and experience the sound of silence for the first time in their lives? Did a whole lot of people die and no one tell me?


So, where are they? I read lots of posts from guys about foreign workers and the like, and their issues with "those guys" stealing Canadian jobs, which I don't want to see. But Air Taxi type stuff with horizontal reference and passenger movement is one thing, vertical reference in the places we work is another. Highly specialized and a high degree of skill and expertise required. Never mind Canadians, is there anyone available in the world?? I mean guys that can fly precision loads and work in the arctic or anywhere without client issues? We have placed ads everywhere with minimal response... if this is the case now, what will it be like when the crunch they're predicting comes? Holy cow...


The only solutions I can see are convincing clients (which I and many others are working on) to reduce prescriptive hour requirements, and to let in more skilled pilots from overseas...


Or somebody needs to open a couple of crates of pilots... ASAP!!!!!!!



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I can only speak to this as a low-timer.


I have noticed many openings for pilots with vertical reference training and a relatively low number of hours. From what I can gather, the hours could be built up within 3 seasons of light flying, with company specific training and standards.


The big frustration from my standpoint is that I have some vertical reference training. I have some specific power management training. But I only have 7-10% of the hours the postings are looking for. This type of job is something I have been looking for and training for since I was at about 30 hours. I would LOVE to be able to help you out here!


I am most emphatically not laying this at the doors of the people I am applying to; there are very solid reasons as to why I will not be hired to move drills or anything else like it for some time yet. Most of the companies I have been talking to have provisions for bringing up low-timers to fill these roles. There IS a process and I am eager to get into it.


The problem, as I see it is that there has been a disconnect between bringing up Canadian lowtimers as other fully qualified applicants have been available. Add to that the slump over the past few years and you have a scarcity of work for lowtimers even if a company was looking to bring someone on. So what you have had are people who are fully qualified, both Canadian and foreign, who are filling roles that they might have moved on from in busier years. Now that things are picking up, there is a critical gap in training and experience.


This should even out in the next few years as the working pool levels out, but then we are facing problems of so many pilots of retirement age leaving the workforce. The gaps will reappear, but in different locations.


This happened recently in the manufacturing industry both post-9/11 and with the economic crash. Luckily, the helicopter industry won't be shipping the jobs off to China.


What does that mean for us right now?


For the next few seasons, it means we will be looking at the problem from opposite sides, gnashing our teeth and pulling out our hair unless something can be figured out to bridge the gap. Rest assured, I (and many of the low-timers I have been talking to) will be working our hearts out to try to get to a point where we can be competative and useful.


We are all hoping it is sooner, rather than later.

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This year has definitely been an interesting year and maybe after the slow down in the economy and all the lay offs in the past couple of years some pilots may have moved on and out of the industry. This year it seems like the employment ads were steady early in the winter and companies are still looking. Personally I applied for 1 job this year that I didn't qualify for but got persuaded into another with the same company. Seems like even now I am getting calls from friends telling me about different companies they are working for eagerly looking for pilots asking around and offering some pretty good money and tours. Seems like if you have over 1000hrs and Astar time you can almost pick your jobs and negotiate a decent salary. I know of 3 companies in Alberta that will hire Astar pilots with over 1000hrs totalling over 10 positions. And have heard that the pilots applying either don't have the requirements or are already known to the employers and won't be hired. It's definitely interesting as to why there is such a shortage this year of qualified pilots but I hope things get busy soon so we can all get flying.....

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Dirty Showers, (if there is any), poor food, top loading wood stoves that go out at 03:00 in the morning, long tours, marginal money, crowded tents...........


Went multi IFR and usually 50/50 tours with own accommodation. This day was bound to come, it took a while. Lots of grey hair out there, even the medium operators seem to have problems filling positions.

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Oooooh.....Beer check, popcorn check,


As a foreign Drill pilot this should be good.......think I'll hang back signing me new contract, seems like there might be some bargaining chips. Now time to chill the beer and wait for P5!!!!What someone mention McFaulds......

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From my experience, I have seen many operators are not interested in training the newer pilots interested in this work. Sure their are always exceptions, but this is the bottom line. I knew one astar pilot (with minimal LL time) was asked (out of desperation) to do a class D test. No training, right after a few months off…. Good for him he pulled it off! but the remainder of his time with that employer he did not get many LL jobs? One of my employers do their recurrent training in northern Alb, the LL component was minimal. All I ever did was one circuit, set the load, done! To be fair, they also do some in-house training in southern B.C., it is much better.


Seems to me that only a few companies take the time to upgrade their pilots skills to the "drill move" level. As an industry if we don't plan (and train) for our future, who's fault is that?

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The reasons for the shortage up there as I see it are two fold;


1) Most operators want experienced guys, but want nothing to do with training from the ground up. 95% of the companies out there feel it is someone else's responsibility to train low-timers, so kudos to companies like Gemini who actually buck the trend it that regard.


2) After talking to more than few guys that came from the big operator in question, it seems to me the way they operate up there has left a bad taste in quite a few drivers and wrenches mouths... And I'll leave it at that.

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