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Safety Companies, Insurers And The Low-Time Pilot

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For the life of me, I can,t figure out why some company hasn't hired you Darren? You have the right attitude and ask all the right questions. I look forward to the day when you tell us how you scared the crap out of yourself and say, "I will never do that again." lol



It probably has a lot to do with some poor self-marketing, but I'm learning from that - and putting some miles on the ol' Cherokee - hopefully I'll have it sorted this year.


Some personal life baggage admittedly got in the way when we moved a couple summers ago - bad timing for my heli job search, but great for my Mrs and the start to her nursing career.


Thanks for the kind words. I'll keep you posted on the scaring myself bit. :)

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Whether insurance is an issue depends on what coverage the operator has on their aircraft. Where I work, all of the aircraft carry hull insurance in addition to liability (which is mandatory). Our insurer requires 100 hours on type for entry level pilots (dunno how many hours they consider a pilot to be beyond entry level).


Aviation consultants are a real scurge to our industry. HAC has a couple of working group documents that go into some detail about how pilots should be "graded" or "classified". I think if there was a means of evaluating pilots in an objective manner, the industry might be able to sway the aviation consultants.


One program that has allowed many relatively low-time pilots to get their start (including myself a few years ago) is the AQTA program in Quebec. This program allows a pilot with 250 hours total time (helicopter and fixed wing, PIC and SIC combined) to undergo a 13 hour training program on type (ie Astar) and then go on to fly on most Hydro-Quebec contracts (power line patrol being excluded for union reasons), most of which are somewhat more demanding than your average oil patch lease to lease flying gigs. The CP of the low-time pilot has to personally vouch for him and remains accountable. In all of the years the program ran, there were very few problems. A couple of these low-timers did have some minor prangs, but they were usually weeded out fairly quickly. I say usually, because there were some f*ck-ups who really should never have gotten a license to start with who managed to stick. Some of them now have close to 3000 hours and still manage to bend machines on a regular basis.


That program came about through political pressure. The CQFA, which cranks out about 7 or 8 new pilots yearly at taxpayer's expense, wanted a way for it's graduates to find work strait out of school. So the Ministry of Education put pressure on Hydro-Quebec to play ball.


This kind of mentorship program could help get low time pilots going, but the consultants would need to be onboard for that to work...

The AQTA program (or something similar) makes a lot of sense and would help to get some home-grown pilots into the field with verifiable practical hours and skill. It would be nice to see something like this in a major market such as northern bc/alberta where there's tons of work suited to lower hour pilots.


I've heard of the occasional incident where EI has paid for endorsements, but there's no clear concensus on how one qualifies for the program. EI Officers will tell you there is no such program, people that have received the funding said it's available but it has to be offered to you by an EI officer and usually hinges upon a heli operator promising you work if you get the particular rating. It seems that the government is interested in helping people get work, but only if you find the right Ei rep at the right time and in the right mood.


Does anyone know off-hand who started the AQTA program/how it happened? Might it be helpful to have an operator/industry rep (Maybe HAC) contact the right people? Just thinking out loud, hoping maybe someone that can get things moving the right direction may be listening.

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There's an interesting article in the Edmonton Journal today entitled

Oilsands player says the industry needs to get tough with “fat, lazy and inefficient” suppliers and contractors

Basically the oil producers are complaining that they have to pay too much for basic services and supplies, I wonder if they know they're doing it to themselves with the ever increasing flight time requirements.

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Hmmm - these guys have enough cash to have an aeroplane and crew sitting in Rainbow Lake for a week while they investigate a native burial ground. In my experience, it's not the oil companies that have the problem with pricing, it's the hangers on in the middle doing work on their behalf. They would always try to beat us down on price - if I had to deal directly with an oil company and quoted a sensible price, it was usually accepted.


But you're right, whoever pays - they are doing it to themselves.



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  • 1 month later...

I'm a student almost finished my training. I'm concerned with getting a job afterwards, but after reading things about a lot of the new guys you have been talking about I look forward to showing some CP's what I'm all about. Thanks for all the good reading and laughs about these lazy buggers.


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I'm a student almost finished my training. I'm concerned with getting a job afterwards, but after reading things about a lot of the new guys you have been talking about I look forward to showing some CP's what I'm all about. Thanks for all the good reading and laughs about these lazy buggers.



It’s a rough ride. Adapt and improvise the rest will work its self out!

The easy part is working we are a Lazy bunch in general.

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