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Twin Helix

Safety Companies, Insurers And The Low-Time Pilot

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I remember many times, when starting out, crazy reasons someone would give you for not giving you a shot.

Seems like it has gotten worse rather than better and the graph showing that eventual retirement of a big chunk of guys is not far off.

Hopefully things will get better before.

 

Our company has trained up a few people but we too get trapped by some requirements.

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Another thing that has always rubbed me the wrong way is that the bigger companies for most part don't hire low hour guys. They rely on the smaller ones to train them up, getting that first 2000 hours then they snap them up. I understand that some fly only bigger machines or do hard core vertical reverence and /or mountain work so that is no place for a new guy but maybe they could make the effort to redirect some of their resources/profits and invest in some low hours guys (by getting some "light" contracts) instead of just skimming the cream all the time. We all "drink" from the same jar of milk (well, except for you whiskey and boot guys...) and when the cream is gone it will be gone for everyone. Well no problem, we will just complain to the Federal Government that we can't find any Canadian pilots WITH EXPERIENCE and that will open the flood gates for foreign pilots to come fly here and get some turbine experience for a few years before going back home (again in most cases it's a REVOLVING DOOR ! we loose that experience instead of investing in Canada and Canadians. ). It's too bad that the companies that are so fond of hiring foreigners wouldn't invest some time into a Canadian low hour pilot. It's also too bad that the Federal Government doesn't stop to ask why these companies can't find Canadian pilots... ummmm let me see... Too cheap to train some up yourself? Too cheap to pay a fair wage? Treat your employees like garbage and wonder why no one wants to work for you? In my opinion these are the most valid reasons why these Canadian companies can't find pilots and is no reason to give them a foreign worker permit, it is a reason to let them go broke and let someone else who will do a better job pick up their business. You guys, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE and WE KNOW TOO ! (there's always a rant just below the surface! LOL) P.S. See Doctor, get more meds....


There are only two ways to get experience, one way to to actually fly it and the other is to just write it in, hope to BS your way into a seat and start flying and not scare yourself or your customers too much before you figure things out or kill yourself and your passengers because you are in way over your head.

This brings to the forefront mentoring too. A guy who lies about his experience can't really ask for advice because it will make him look weak and expose more about the fact that he does not in fact have that experience he said he did. On the other hand, how much mentoring is there actually? As someone long ago in another thread mentioned, "In this industry we eat our young". So true, coming up i have been set up to fail by old timers more than i care to remember (but i do remember...). That age old competition for jobs, hours and dollars makes what might potentially be a nice person or at worst only mildly annoying and changes them into a real backstabbing SOB.

Sorry i got a bit off track and rambled, it happens with "old" age..... LOL

Fly safe, be nice to one another and train up some 100 hour guys :),

Whitestone.

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Would love to train a low timer as it would help big time:

Here are some of the lacking qualifications from 100 hour wonders we have seen in the last 3 seasons that led to their dismissal

Lack of ability to do basic math WITH a calculator.2+2 =5 really?

Unable to show up on time or on the right day.

After hounding me for a couple months for a job and 2 days of exams quit to go to work on a ski hill after 3 days of work.

Ran out of gas in the company truck 200 kms short of their destination.

Dude i sold my car and bought a dirt bike but now I have to ride the greyhound so give me lots of notice for work man!!!

"I really don't care if I work because my gramma paid for my license"

"See you at the hotel" as the engineer and captain continue to service the a/c for another 4 hours

Won't remove their sunglasses even at night

Using the phrase I'm a pilot I don't have to do that. More than 3 times daily.

I'm not staying in that hotel ( even though the captain and engineer are quite happy)

 

In the last 3 years we have interviewed and/or hired and fired 14 100 hour pilots, maybe the problem is not the amount of Canadian low timers but the quality. We now have a good CANADIAN low timer that we will are in the process of beginning training and have trained 6 in the history of the company. I'm not surprised at the raising of minimum hours there are some numbskulls out there.

 

 

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Would love to train a low timer as it would help big time: Here are some of the lacking qualifications from 100 hour wonders we have seen in the last 3 seasons that led to their dismissal Lack of ability to do basic math WITH a calculator.2+2 =5 really? Unable to show up on time or on the right day. After hounding me for a couple months for a job and 2 days of exams quit to go to work on a ski hill after 3 days of work. Ran out of gas in the company truck 200 kms short of their destination. Dude i sold my car and bought a dirt bike but now I have to ride the greyhound so give me lots of notice for work man!!! "I really don't care if I work because my gramma paid for my license" "See you at the hotel" as the engineer and captain continue to service the a/c for another 4 hours Won't remove their sunglasses even at night Using the phrase I'm a pilot I don't have to do that. More than 3 times daily. I'm not staying in that hotel ( even though the captain and engineer are quite happy) In the last 3 years we have interviewed and/or hired and fired 14 100 hour pilots, maybe the problem is not the amount of Canadian low timers but the quality. We now have a good CANADIAN low timer that we will are in the process of beginning training and have trained 6 in the history of the company. I'm not surprised at the raising of minimum hours there are some numbskulls out there.

There's no argument that a low-timer (or anyone for that matter) with poor work habits, ineptitude, a chip on their shoulder and a sense of entitlement should be hurried out the door. The opportunities for a low-timer are few and far between, anyone who gets a chance to prove themselves and fails to do so waives the right to lament how hard it is to be a new guy.

 

The bigger issue is that it's so hard for a new pilot to get a chance to prove themselves. In your case, Darkside, your company has every right to be gun shy. Sounds like you've had a spate of bad luck...begs the question, are there that many bad 100 hour people? If so, maybe the standards need to be revised. If not, maybe the problem lies in the way that low-timers are being selected.

 

I've spent many years recruiting for various industries and the one common element in the hires that failed to produce is that no one checked their references. I suspect there may be a mindset that "all 100 hour pilots are the same", essentially reducing the selection process to first come, first served, or who was the better self-promoter on their roadtrip. Pick up the phone, talk to some recent employers and find out what kind of person you're dealing with. Some of the best employees that I've ever had came across as mediocre in their interviews but referenced as (and proved to be) great workers.

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Darksidelogger,

I totally agree with you about the quality of some low hour pilot applicants but there are good ones out there too. It must have been kind of painful to have to go through something like that. Yes the hiring pool might not be looking too good these days but maybe you have to ask yourself why? That might be the most important question of all. If we ARE not, WHY are we not attracting OR HIRING a better caliber of people as low hour pilots? What is keeping them way OR DRIVING THEM AWAY AFTER THEY GET HIRED and where are they going instead if indeed that is the case?

Finding good employees (and good low hour pilots) is certainly a challenge, Looking back on my own experience i can now make some sense of the why's and how's of it all. I am firmly entrenched, having paid my dues many years ago but it was a long, slow and sometimes painful journey. Time and again i saw myself being passed over for a flying seat either by owners who never intended to fly me and only needed a hangar rat or had my career sabotaged and stopped dead in its tracks by bottom dwelling co-workers whose best move was character assassination and passive aggressive behavior.

Why is it that these type of people get hired, what are the people who hire these guys thinking? They hire guys who's daddy paid for the license, or who show up to work late most every day and/or immediately have one of about 20 smoke "breaks". Not seeing that the ramp needs to be cleared of snow or that the floor needs to be swept, or that ops gear needs to be organized, the tanks dipped or that there are fuel barrels outside that need to be emptied of residual, cleaned and stored in an orderly manor and wouldn't know how to do it or care to learn. I could go on and on but it boils down to a lack of INITIATIVE and WORK ETHIC. In a lot of cases management CONDONES this type of lifestyle and behavior. Believe me i feel your pain from both the low timer point of view and from that of an experienced member of the industry but the number of slackers who routinely get hired is not an accident. It's a management choice most of the time from what i have seen to hire the "fun" partying guy over the quite hard worker and this is what you get, an industry full of guys who do the bare minimum, waiting for someone else to pick up the slack but ALWAYS looking out for themselves.

Finding a good low timer is an art with a bit of luck thrown in. It all starts with the resume`, if you want a good employee, do your homework. Check their references and have a set of questions that you ask EACH ONE about their life's experience and what motivated them to want to work in the industry. It seems like too often it matters more to most people who do the hiring that drinking and partying figures heavily on your social calendar. That is a big part of the problem coupled with what someone mentioned in an earlier thread: Not a quote, but.... "If you don't treat low timers with a bit of respect and pay them a wage they can live on you are not going to attract anyone without a trust fund or the intelligence to do something else". Nothing against anyone who comes from money but something that is given will in most cases not be valued and i too have run into that with pilot/rock-stars sporting a pair of Ray-Bans who discover it's not all "Top gun" when they are expected to pick up a broom or help with an inspection, not that they do; too busy "going for a smoke" or talking about what they did on the weekend.

And speaking of smokers, i know someone who does not hire them, he has told me that as a group (with some exceptions) they are lazy, disrespectful people and usually work at about 60% if you are lucky when compared to a non-smoker. He can quote you all kinds of statistics about costs and lost productivity.

Hire someone who has had a paper route, worked three odd jobs as a kid and saved his pennies (or i guess now, nickles) to get his license. Who shows up early or at least on time knowing something about your company not just the industry, who dresses appropriately (skater boy, stay home), and even knows most of the Flight Manual for the machine he will most likely run.

In another life i was among other things the HR department (small company, many hats) and had to screen potential employees. You just get a "feel" for people after a while and i could pick a winner most of the time, i knew i wanted someone like me and i knew what that looked like. If there was too much "dude!" and "man" and talking like a surfer or you wore your ball cap backwards, or you were wearing those baggy rap star pants hanging half off your a$$ with the large wallet attached with a chain, or showed up in a Hummer or a sports car that screeched to a halt, etc. or if it's all about going to bars, you were not going to make the "we'll contact you" list. If all you did as a teen was party and never had to buy anything for yourself with your own money, for me that was a bad sign (ask lots of questions!). Also someone who has volunteer time on their resume` is a big plus in my eyes; there are lots of things i looked at when i used to hire. As Twin Helix said and i too, you have to check refernces and former places of work, doing your "homework" will pay dividends. Maybe hire bofore you need the guy for the season, then you won't be so rushed to fill a spot and can take your time to select a good candidate (i know, not always possible...) Again as Twin Helix said and i know to be the case a lot of hiring is "that guy who walked in the door at the right time" and not a lot of forethought or screening goes into it.

Some food for thought,

W.

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We have trained quite a few low timers but in the last 3 years the quality of low timers has slipped We now use a questionnaire when It comes to hiring.

 

1. How did you pay for your license? If I get any other answer than "I did" its over.

2. What did you do before you got your license? Any physical job usually has a good turnout ie: mining logging construction

3. Keep the age under 28 to 30 Anything over they are usually unwilling to learn or set in their ways.

4. Small town kids are usually down to earth. Hiring kids that grew up in downtown Toronto is worthless if they haven't left ever

5. I have checked references before with really mixed results ranging from exact description to I have hired the

 

*to get the ones we have I had to go through about 40 - 45 resumes in the 3 years

As usual there are always exceptions to the rule but not very often

 

 

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My favourite one lately is what kind of tour am I going to have because I don' want to live there. If you want to get ahead you had better dam well want to live near your work because there is always someone else who will live there. When you get a few thousand hours you may get to choose where you live but under a thousand hours give me a break.

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This thread hits close to home!

 

I'm a lowtimer who just got back from visiting a few companies. One operator said I was high on his list of candidates, but that the chances of me coming on board had a lot to do with whether or not one of their contracts upped their minimums for the season. It's not the first time, either - I encountered something similar from another operator last year (in fact, they wound up laying off one of their guys with a lot more hours than me 'cause all their customers' minimums went way up).

 

I researched this career a lot before I took the plunge, and I knew it would not be an easy ride. However, this trend coupled with the proposed changes to the duty day certainly add to the challenges I face.

 

 

I'm 41, and this is one challenge that *is* a sticky wicket. It's a double-edged sword... some folks tell me they like my maturity and life skills, but I've had one chief pilot tell me in the first 30 seconds of a phone call that I was too old. Before he met me in person and before he even saw my resume. Sure gave me lots to think about, but I'm still here and I ain't giving up that easily.

 

 

3. Keep the age under 28 to 30 Anything over they are usually unwilling to learn or set in their ways.

 

Well, dang. In this case, I assure you that I am an exception to your rule. However, I don't know a way that I could show that to you without actually coming to work for you and proving it. FWIW, I pass the rest of your qualifications :)

 

 

The way things seem to be heading there are eventually gonna be nothing but a bunch of low-time guys trying to inch their way to 1,000 hours by flying nothing but mtce ferries and check rides.

 

 

Still, the way I see the job market going (from where I sit), they will have to have a drastic rethink about mentoring or nobody will be flying at all.

 

I'm OK with inching my way to 1000 hours, especially if it's in a good mentoring environment. For me, it's not about making big bucks and wearing cool Ray-Bans - but rather about a career that challenges my brain and hands, lets me see a lot of remote, interesting places, learn new things, and work with good folks. That, and I really really like flying (but don't we all)!

 

However, with this trend of increasing minimums it appears that these coveted low timer mentoring spots will be fewer and farther between, and the crop of young lowtimers will grow ever larger.

 

I've even considered AME school to make me more employable - or at least offset the preconceptions people have from my age.

 

 

 

Would love to train a low timer as it would help big time: Here are some of the lacking qualifications from 100 hour wonders we have seen in the last 3 seasons that led to their dismissal Lack of ability to do basic math WITH a calculator.2+2 =5 really? Unable to show up on time or on the right day. After hounding me for a couple months for a job and 2 days of exams quit to go to work on a ski hill after 3 days of work. Ran out of gas in the company truck 200 kms short of their destination. Dude i sold my car and bought a dirt bike but now I have to ride the greyhound so give me lots of notice for work man!!! "I really don't care if I work because my gramma paid for my license" "See you at the hotel" as the engineer and captain continue to service the a/c for another 4 hours Won't remove their sunglasses even at night Using the phrase I'm a pilot I don't have to do that. More than 3 times daily. I'm not staying in that hotel ( even though the captain and engineer are quite happy) In the last 3 years we have interviewed and/or hired and fired 14 100 hour pilots, maybe the problem is not the amount of Canadian low timers but the quality. We now have a good CANADIAN low timer that we will are in the process of beginning training and have trained 6 in the history of the company. I'm not surprised at the raising of minimum hours there are some numbskulls out there.

 

Holy heck, if this is what my competition is like then I should have a job in no time. :lol:

 

I've been lucky in most of my hangar visits in that the chief pilot or ops manager have taken the time to visit with me. However, I find it tough to convey my excellent attitude, strong work ethic, professionalism, willingness to learn and so forth in the half-hour chat that we have. All I can do is keep coming back and proving my worth a bit at a time, I guess. And I beg of you - CALL MY REFERENCES!! They're good, and I earned them.

 

One thing I won't do is BS about my hours - or anything else for that matter. It doesn't surprise me that a few shysters might lie about their experience, but I'm amazed that they don't get called out before they get hired. Do people really not bring their logbooks to their interviews?

 

Anyways, I don't have much to add to this thread other than to offer the perspective of one low timer and to keep the chatter going for discussion's sake.

 

 

Fly safe, be nice to one another and train up some 100 [or 224...] hour guys :)

 

And give an old guy a chance! :lol:

 

- Darren

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