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donnybrook

Hac Letter Concerning Foreign Workers

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All this to be accomplished within 100 hours..??!?! Canada is low in required hours to meet a standard for a commercial rotary wing licence compared to other countries, and yet we still turn out a better product by comparison.

 

If a pilot shows up and does not know how to us or utilize the above mentioned equipment, who really is at fault here...a flight training school?

 

Gimme a break....

Did I say anything about blaming anybody Bob? I also never said that any of these things had to be done in the machine, it could be done in the classroom. You don't necessarily need to put on a bucket and go out and do it to cover the objective of trying to contain a fire. Obviously to do some of these operations you need to put on a bucket when you actually go on a fire, but at least you might have a clue WTF you trying to accomplish. Maybe you haven't, but I have seen more than one pilot come on a fire not having a clue what they trying to accomplish. When I did my IFR we all chipped in to hire an instructor to teach us how to set up approaches on a Garmin 430, why cant a VFR newbie be taught how to programme a 296, 396 or whatever. You can teach them how to communicate with a bird dog, province specific FM procedues, UTM (Ontario), half hour check ins etc etc etc. All this could be accomplished without even getting in the helicopter.

 

So give me a break....

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Did I say anything about blaming anybody Bob? I also never said that any of these things had to be done in the machine, it could be done in the classroom. You don't necessarily need to put on a bucket and go out and do it to cover the objective of trying to contain a fire. Obviously to do some of these operations you need to put on a bucket when you actually go on a fire, but at least you might have a clue WTF you trying to accomplish. Maybe you haven't, but I have seen more than one pilot come on a fire not having a clue what they trying to accomplish. When I did my IFR we all chipped in to hire an instructor to teach us how to set up approaches on a Garmin 430, why cant a VFR newbie be taught how to programme a 296, 396 or whatever. You can teach them how to communicate with a bird dog, province specific FM procedues, UTM (Ontario), half hour check ins etc etc etc. All this could be accomplished without even getting in the helicopter.

 

So give me a break....

 

As a former ground school instructor, I can tell you first off that most flight schools promise "operational training" to their students. The reality is, the students themselves could care less about anything that is not required to get them through their written exam and then the check ride. After that, anything else is gravy, but lets face it, there are so many different types of radios and GPS receivers and ICS controllers and so on and so forth that it would be difficult to cram all of that in a theoretical course, and student retention if they're not actually going to use the equipment for awhile afterwards will be next to nil.

 

A few years back, I spent a whole season flying a machine with a GNS 430. I prepped for my first tour by playing around with the simulator that Garmin had for download on their site. I was pretty good at using it by the end of the season. Last year I got onto a machine that had one of those, and it was like learning to use a GPS from scratch (well almost). :rolleyes: Anyone who's worked with those units knows they are somewhat counter-intuitive to use compared to most other aviation GPS units. IFR guys love 'em for route planning and RNAV approaches, but most VFR guys like me hate them. Anyways, my point is, you can have all the training in the world, but if you're not putting it to practical use, you get rusty and forget stuff. Even more so for a newby who's already had a ton of information crammed into their brain.

 

If a pilot of any experience shows up on a job without the knowledge necessary to operate all of the equipment in his particular aircraft, and/or without the operational knowledge to do the job he/she is assigned to do, then the problem is firstly with the pilot who didn't do his/her homework, and secondly with the operator who didn't adequately train or at the very least verify that the pilot had the appropriate knowledge to get the job done.

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Well Skidz, its a sad state of affairs if a new pilot doesn't want to learn as much as he can about the avionics, they are a huge part of the job. I tried to learn everything I could before I got shipped into the abyss, even then the radios and GPS's could be overwhelming trying to figure them out. If the pilots being trained are not interested in learning this stuff and get as much a step up as possible, then maybe we should let the foreign pilots in. I started with VIH who had 26 jetboxes, it seemed they had 26 different types of GPS's and FM radios. I photocopied as many manuals and quick reference cards as I could.

 

I agree that a Garmin 430 is a piece of crap for VFR and they are not much better for IFR. I have found if you know how to use one Garmin, then it is quite easy to use the other models. I think a large portion of proactive operators use a techno sonic of one model or another, although admittedly there are several other types. At any rate I don't train pilots, and have no intention of doing so. They can take the info for what its worth, or leave it. Its off topic anyways, so I am done with it.

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The problem we're talking about here in my opinion has nothing to do with schools. It's the government... I think everyone would agree on that. But on the school topic, I think there are a few things that could absolutely be changed to better prepare pilots just leaving school. For example, does anyone here really think that learning to use a 'whiz wheel' really prepares a new Canadian pilot for their first VFR job? I have a friend who is taking his license right now. He asked me if I thought it was a good idea to spend a couple extra hours and learn how to long line. I said no and explained to him that after 2 hours and a total of 102 hours, all he will associate long lining with is frustration. I did however say that if he could afford an bit of extra time, ask his instructor to go out with him sometime when the vis around 1 mile or so. In my opinion, that would be really beneficial to a new pilot. I know I would have liked to have actually flown in crap wx before I encountered it. Sure I had "company" low vis training... but we all know that training doesnt actually take place in low vis.

 

On the GPS topic, schools have absolutely no obligation to 'teach' students how to use them (their role is to train students to fly without them) or an FM radio, or a Sat phone. There's already enough to cover. What they should teach, is that if you get into a machine and look around you and don't know how 1 or 2 of the dash ornaments work, you're the pilot and its your responsibility to know about the helicopter your flying around in! Every radio and GPS has a manual...for reading. And if after reading the manual, one still cant work it out, others are way more willing to 'mentor' knowing that the new guy tried to help himself first.

 

only my 2 bits

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It should be obvious that the current system which this letter is attempting to perpetuate is serving some parts of the industry.

 

Helicopter companies do not suffer when there is a constant lineup of low time pilots and slightly higher time foreign pilots all willing to work for less or just accept what is offered.

Most foreign guys stay only during the summer and are paid as full timers. All that winter pay does not get paid out. Also the EI

contributions are less likely to be used.

How likely is it that pay will increase, at least with inflation, with this scenario? When foreigners are mostly here to build on their utility experience then as long as pay will make ends meet then they are not likely to ask for more money. Pay in Canada is far better than say NZ anyway.

 

Flight schools both rotary and fixed wing have had a great time with the pilot shortage myth for eons. I use to instruct myself but found it frustrating that some truly great 100 hour guys were not getting jobs and foreigners with barely 1000 hours were.

I rarely instruct now both for that reason and I am with a good company where I do not need to augment the winter salary....much.

 

It seems that most Canadian companies do not foster much of a recurrent training culture in the company. For a low timer to rise up through the ranks they need a management team that will work on their behalf. That includes customer minimums, using every opportunity as a training opportunity and often giving the low timer the seat when the line pilot wants the seat, just for the money. I have seen many low timers become frustrated with how long this process takes while also seeing many wasted opportunities for training.

 

I have asked many operators why they hire foreign pilots. The most common answer is simply that they got tired of PPCing a Canadian kid who then moved across the runway to fly with his buddies and make $5 an hour more.

Foreign pilots according to them arrived to work, and work hard. They were less likely to quit midway through the season and

rarely quibbled about pay and time off during the summer.

Sure that may be one step closer to a Walmart wageslave but if you were running a company it would certainly be a consideration.

Companies need to be making more money to be able to accept the demands of better pay and more training for pilots.

With the rates I am seeing these days I find that it will be very unlikely that companies are making lots of money.

 

It seems that very few Canadian pilots live where they work anymore and would prefer to live where its warm and trendy. I use to think that a contractor was the 10000hr+ pilot but I have noticed that 3000hrs sometimes is enough to start contracting even without the necessary endorsements. Companies are often short on full timers in the off season and many companies work with contractors full stop. Foreign pilots for these groups could save alot of money.

As has been said companies should be recognising pilots and indeed their families that make a life in these remote areas.

 

The bottom line is Canada has got the work that everyone else around the world wants to be doing and Canada is willing to pay

an alright amount of money for you to come to do that work. Canada makes that work as safe as possible and gives you stable country to live in should you bring the Mrs.

Should not the Canadian pilot have first dibs and if required the help necessary (more training) to do that work?

 

And lastly I am a foreign pilot that has lived here for 5 years.

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I don't think he posts here, but found this in the AvCanada forums:

 

I got a response today from ESDC. I had asked for all LMO applications received by ESDC for pilots in the course of 2013. Because they received my request on Oct 25, 2013, the applications received after that date in 2013 will not appear here. In short, several Canadian helicopter companies imported foreign helicopter pilots in Canada during the course of 2013.

Canadian Helicopters Limited
Construction Helicopters Inc. (a US company which needed pilots for work in Newfoundland)
Niagara Helicopters Ltd
Prism Helicopters Ltd
Trinity Helicopters
Heli Source Ltd
Quest Helicopters Ltd
Aurora Helicopters Ltd
Fast Trucking Services Ltd
Valhalia Helicopters Ltd
TCF Van Productions
Coulson Aircrane Ltd
Pacific Western Helicopters Ltd
London Air Services Ltd


I might have missed a few. The file is large and I don't have time right now.

In essence: CANADIAN HELICOPTER PILOTS ARE GETTING SCREWED BIG TIME.

Get your act together guys and gals and defend your profession. I won't do it for you. But I will help whomever decides to stand up.

Gilles Hudicourt

(Edit: I had to remove the document temporarily. It will be back on line soon)

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