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Family Life And The Helicopter Business?


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Arctic Front, I think a good part of the reason for the differentials you describe has to do with CARs. Since the advent of Flight Time and Flight Duty Time regulation, pilots have had mandated days off every 30 and 90 days, which pretty much fit into the type of rotation you describe. Until now, engineers have not been restricted in the same way but, as you probably know, that's in the process of major change as we speak.

 

Cap and I have always been in agreement on this one. I've always believed the most thankless job I know of, AME®, should have had far better treatment - yes, even better than pilots. But, then, there's been a shortage for so long, I don't know who could have given them the break they deserve, even if they wanted to.

 

But handg in there - better days ARE coming. B)

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Arctic Front, I think a good part of the reason for the differentials you describe has to do with CARs. Since the advent of Flight Time and Flight Duty Time regulation, pilots have had mandated days off every 30 and 90 days, which pretty much fit into the type of rotation you describe. Until now, engineers have not been restricted in the same way but, as you probably know, that's in the process of major change as we speak.

 

Cap and I have always been in agreement on this one. I've always believed the most thankless job I know of, AME®, should have had far better treatment - yes, even better than pilots. But, then, there's been a shortage for so long, I don't know who could have given them the break they deserve, even if they wanted to.

 

But handg in there - better days ARE coming.  B)

 

 

I was not trying to sound like a big crybaby...not at all....and I am well aware that the flight and duty times were the reason for the rotation. The shortage of AME's had been caused by the lousy working conditions and low pay. The pay issue seems to be getting better, and most companies are doing their best to keep the tours short as possible. These changes have only come about in an effort to stem the flow of good people out of the industry. There are still lots of companies out there that force enginers to double-bunk, while the pilots get single rooms. Thats not so bad if you get along with your co-workers, but **** if you don't....and if one of them snores.......well that just plain sucks...lol Besides no self-respecting engineer wants to share a room with a pilot anyway....imagine walking into your shared hotel room to find 3 naked women and the driver doing the nasty..and all you want to do is sleep?....the agaony of it all.....hahahaha

 

Things are sure looking brighter out there tho....still love my job.

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Arctic_Front ------sorry, but my engineer gets EXACTLY the same treatment as I do when in the field. If not, I want to know the reason why not and it better be a good one. If the engineer doesn't agree with that difference in treatment, then someone has a pilot AND engineer problem. My engineer is not "chopped liver" and I won't stand for him being treated as such, when he's just as necessary for the good operation of the a/c as I am. Even when he not inspecting something or twisting a wrench on it, he can save me a whole world of grief on the ground by making a host of other things run smoothly also. To be quite blunt about it......anyone thinks differently than that, I don't want to have part of any team that I'm associated with. It's all terribly simple.......the a/c goes nowhere without me the pilot and it won't keep on doing that without the engineer making sure that it can. So who's more important? The whole subject is idiotic at best. It's like "who's the most important on a ship...the Captain or the Engineer in charge of the engine room"? They work as a TEAM or the forkin' ship goes nowhere. :lol:

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I know alot of the contract engineers where I work are pulling down some nice day rates, the experienced guys anyway.

 

From what I gathered they can more or less stick to whatever shift they want because they are contract, but they do seem to work alot because of the shortage of engineers.

 

When you are on a nice day rate I think it's a little easier to hack working 5 or 6 weeks straight then disappearing for a while with all your cash.

 

It seems to me that if a good engineer isn't being treated well in this industry, he is just exceptionally loyal to a certain company for some reason, or he doesn't realize how much his skills are in demand.

 

I'm a pilot and some of my best buddies are engineers, I agree with what Cap said, that if they treat the maintenance half of the aircrew bad, they will have a pilot and an engineer problem. ;)

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I know alot of the contract engineers where I work are pulling down some nice day rates, the experienced guys anyway.

 

From what I gathered they can more or less stick to whatever shift they want because they are contract, but they do seem to work alot because of the shortage of engineers. 

 

When you are on a nice day rate I think it's a little easier to hack working 5 or 6 weeks straight then disappearing for a while with all your cash.

 

It seems to me that if a good engineer isn't being treated well in this industry, he is just exceptionally loyal to a certain company for some reason, or he doesn't realize how much his skills are in demand.

 

I'm a pilot and some of my best buddies are engineers, I agree with what Cap said, that if they treat the maintenance half of the aircrew bad, they will have a pilot and an engineer problem. ;)

 

 

I think the attitude stems from the idea that pilots generate revenue, engineers cost money by spending too much on parts. I think that is a widely held belief by the bean counters. A good engineer will save more than he spends because he knows how far you can work a given part before it really, really needs to be changed, and does preventative maintenance thate saves down-time. the younger engineers coming up have to learn to balance that against the things they learned in school, budgets, and paracticality of running a helicopter in these times when money is tight, profit margins are even tighter, and the tariff in the toilet. No different than a 10,000 hr pilot vs. a 600 hr pilot.

 

I think that engineers in general are starting to realize that they are a hot commodity...and are looking at things in that light. there is also a lot of older wrenches that are settled down with families and prefer to stay put rather than follow the big bucks. That leaves the young-guns to chase the work around the country for the highest bidder....but lack the experience the old guys have. eventually it will even out with the average wage going up and the experience level too. I think the industry as a whole is going through adjustments due to the "old school" management fighting the trend of paying better wages to engineers and pilots, and the new breed of management that sees the value in high-priced talent and how it saves in the long run. A happy crew will always out-do an un-happy crew.

 

In the mean time, the people will keep moving around, looking for nirvana until the industry as a whole picks up the pace and eventually settles on a new base-line of better working conditions and better pay. we all win in the end, the company benefits, the pilots and engineers benefit, and the customer benefits in the long run because a good company with a good crew is safer, gets better insurance rates and the cost per hour stabilizes. It all SEEMS so simple...lol

 

I just needed a half hour and a a few beers to solve everyone's problems....maybe i should go to work for T.C. ? HAHAHA

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Arctic_Front ------sorry, but my engineer gets EXACTLY the same treatment as I do when in the field. If not, I want to know the reason why not and it better be a good one. If the engineer doesn't agree with that difference in treatment, then someone has a pilot AND engineer problem. My engineer is not "chopped liver" and I won't stand for him being treated as such, when he's just as necessary for the good operation of the a/c as I am. Even when he not inspecting something or twisting a wrench on it, he can save me a whole world of grief on the ground by making a host of other things run smoothly also. To be quite blunt about it......anyone thinks differently than that, I don't want to have part of any team that I'm associated with.  It's all terribly simple.......the a/c goes nowhere without me the pilot and it won't keep on doing that without the engineer making sure that it can. So who's more important? The whole subject is idiotic at best. It's like "who's the most important on a ship...the Captain or the Engineer in charge of the engine room"? They work as a TEAM or the forkin' ship goes nowhere. :lol:

 

 

I appreciate your sentiment Cap. Its nice to know that we are appreciated. over-all, things have definitely taken a turn for the better. I have never been happier working in this industry as i am now. 20 yrs and counting. There are always going to be a few things that get under a guy's skin, but its a shrinking list, and before long you'd have to be a real whinner to not be happy.

 

BTW, do you need an engineer?...lol just kidding.

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arctic_front

 

Based on the past history of AC, I'm not exactly sure if going there is going to solve any problems either. You might want to have another beer and think on that one. :lol:

 

I've witnessed engineers being mistreated by pilots and companies lots of times over the years, so don't thank "us" yet.......we got a way to go still. I can only look after "my own backyard" and none of that crap goes on with me.....and never did. :D

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Guest Bullet Remington

Some very informative discussion going on here with reference to the "engineer's position", and I'm really enjoying the exchange :up:

 

Quite honestly, I've seen and in most cases have been subjected to it all. With respect to the points discussed, allow me to present my perspective.

 

My position has and always will be, my family is priority 1 period. My job is priority two. I have always stated this to any current and/or prospective employer. I have been declined employment based on that, and usually got my knickers in a twist. However, looking back on it, it was probably to my advantage anyway.

 

As for shifts, whether 4 and 2 or 4 and 4, it never really mattered to me which way it worked. As long as the Family Boss was happy, the Company cheques didn't bounce, I had a warm place to sleep and a couple of hots to fill my belly, and a couple of the "Captain's" (strictly for medicinal purposes) I didn't really care. It all worked out in the end.

 

My biggest complaint with the different shift times between the pilot and engineer, was when I got a new driver. It usually took me a couple of days tweaking things to keep the first driver happy, ya know, adjusting the collective, tracking the blades, balancing the tail rotor, and he was happy. then...along comes a new driver who likes the collective a little heavier, etc, etc... and we're off and tweaking again. Usually the new driver was one of those wussie types who didn't like my smoking cigars or sipping the Captain's finest after a long day. :P:P But, I usually won out, or else he gave up arguing with a Newfie which a head thicker than a door post!! :wacko:

 

As for field or base, that would be a hard choice for me. I guess it would depend upon the company, their position, the drivers, the comfort and serviceability of the truck, the money, etc, etc.

 

I'm home every night now, and its really nice to come home and see the Boss and the young fella. On the other hand, there's a truck load of things I miss from working the field. I don't have a regular driver to harrass, I can't eat what I feel like eating, I can't get intimately familair with the machine or what the driver likes or dislikes, the money sucks, the job get redundent, and its a much bigger challenge to stay vigilent.

 

My Missus knew what I did for a living when I met her. She knows what I told her is true. I and she don't consider this a job, its a life style. One that allows me to do what I love to do, and allows her the comfort of doing what she loves to do. Plus, coming home is almost like a honey moon. (I think, since we've never had a honeymoon) While the regularity can be nice, I'd honestly state that I would prefer the irregularty. If I were offered a position to go back to doing what I did before, I'd do it in a heart beat. She knows that and she can live with it.

 

sA for the pilot/engineer difference, I can somewhat accept that. As Cap stated, the drivers are dictated by Transport. However, Transports SS will be changing that in the very near future. Companies that have no system safty in place will be doing so, and with that system will come duty times for wrench benders. And quite honestly, I am not very happy about it. Personally, I was better rested when I worked Fling Wing, with iregular shifts, than I am now, with Planks and a regular shift.

 

In fact, a Transport Canda study showed that Fling Wing engineers were better rested than their counter parts in the Plank world.

 

Artic Front - You have presented a couple of very valid points. It has been my position though, that the treatment of the Field Engineers is not (usually) the choice of the company, but rather the DOM. There was a link to a site about year ago, that presented this as factual. Usually, the Company, and rightly so, will leave the handling of the engineers to the DOM. He is the Budget Controller for the Maintenance Dept.

 

Any company that did not afford me the same conditions as those afforded the Driver, only did it once. I went and talked with the DOM. If there was no changed I talked to the the owner. If he stated tough Cookies, I left. If he stated things would change and they didn't, I left.

 

You know the old saying, " Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice shame on me."

 

I have been most fortunate when it comes to accomodations. I snore bad enough to rattle milk violently enough to churn it into butter. I have always had a room to myself. :up: :up:

 

Over all I'd have to say that for the most part, most fling wing companies have treated me quite well. There are a few who haven't and I didn't return. :down: On the same token, I won't bad mouth those companies. I have a few friends that still work for them and thourghly enjoy working there. So in essence, what I percieved, could have been caused my own perception.

 

Incidently, I believe you work for one of those companies. :mellow:

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