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I've been watching this topic through all of its different threads for the last month and said nothing...but this deserves a comment.


We've heard it all before,

The pay from the 70s,

The risks we take,

The time away from home,

....and the classic,

Who is standing up for us?


Come on guys, who do you expect to stand up for you????

Your boss? HAC? Alberta Forestry? The big oil companies?


No!! Only you must stand up for you. Stop asking the question and DO IT.


It seems so many of you don't want to sign-up because you would have to list your real name...ah ha!!...and that proves that our industry has a serious problem right there.


If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. So stop asking who is standing up, and stand up for yourself (and thus, each other).

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I recently went back to the early days of the Vertical forums just for kicks. Funny how in 2003, they were talking about the same thing as we are now. Not one thing has changed. And I know for a fact that this discussion started long before that. I didn't recognize many of the names that were posting their views and I guess that some of the usernames have been changed, but would imagine that many just gave up and left.


On one of my first posts on Vertical, I stated that money really did not mean that much to me, but fairness did. I would like to add respect to that. I am not necessarily talking about the employer now, but also the customer/user. I have no idea when this "no respect" culture started or with whom but do know that when I first started, even with low hours, I was afforded respect from both the customer and my employer. If you want to treat me like a truck driver, then pay me like one in the tarsands (it is not like we do not work in the area) and give me the same kind of duty days and rotations. If you want to treat me like a taxi driver, then eliminate about 90% of the PIC responsibilities listed in every operations manual in Canada. And to every Ministry of Forests in Canada, treat us like you do your tanker pilots. Where did the respect go, and why? Just as an aside, do all those customers that are demanding X number of hours also demand to see a cab drivers credentials when they are getting a ride from their hotel to the airport or anywhere else?


I have been in the position to hire pilots, both low and high time I have asked, after explaining my reasons, low time pilots to take their resumes and leave my office when they have offered to work for free. I have stood up to owners who treated their pilots badly in my opinion, both experienced or not, and given them an "either you start treating your pilots with respect or I am gone." I stayed and the company ended up being a really good place to work, was very successful, and the owners in turn were respected by the crews. When that happens, it is all good. Some of you low-timers out there might be surprised to hear that more than a few, and in fact, I would say most, chief pilots are not looking for a kiss-a$$ type of individual. They realize when you send someone out, that pilot must be able to think on their own as different situations arise.


When I have stated "who is standing up for us?", I am not talking about me. I am not sure if you have noticed or not but I am not afraid to stand up for myself - to anyone. One person has zero effect on anything, and I do not care who you are, what you fly, how many hours you have, or anything else. "United we stand, divided we fall" or "strength in numbers" are two sayings I can think of that apply. There is a reason such sayings have been around forever - they are true!


For you low-time pilots out there, I ask you, do you think your prospects for a job are getting better? I doubt it. There are more pilots being trained every year and chasing fewer jobs. It seems that most see no threat in drones. Don't forget, it is the easy jobs (low-time pilot jobs) that will be the first to go to drones. The foreign worker program will take a few (at the very least) more. By the way, anyone heard anything about that regarding pilots lately? Do you think the practice has stopped because we aren't hearing about it anymore? No matter what Tin Lizzie (you go girl!!!) or Gilles says, it means nothing unless backed up by numbers. And I applaud all that made comments to the press, but realistically without a few hundred (or better yet, thousand) pilots speaking as one, the press, the government, and the general public (who ALL think we make a ton of money and just do cool stuff all day) are not going to pay any attention at all in the long run.


New pilots today are tuned into everything going on in the industry. I am guessing they know exactly where every person they trained with is, and whether they have a job yet, at any given second. They know how to use social media. Many reading this will have read all the for and against comments, with regards to an association - NOT A UNION - posted on this forum. Why don't you all text to one another your thoughts as low-time pilots. Very few low-timers have commented on this thread, and I understand why, but you should at least feel free to discuss it among yourselves in your own ways. This is important stuff, especially how it may affect young pilots. If you feel that an association will certainly not harm anyone, and could help the industry and yourselves significantly, then STAND BY YOUR CONVICTIONS and register. If you are not prepared to stand by your convictions, then maybe, just maybe, you should think about a career change, because as a pilot, you are going to have to make a lot of decisions in your career and you better be ready to back them up. From square one, the comments on this thread have made it clear that a union is not wanted, but many of us that have been around for a while, are all for a professional association. Realize that if the majority of you were in an association, companies would not be able to use that against you, but I honestly believe that if a company is that dead set against a professional association for helicopter pilots, it is probably a company you wouldn't want to work for anyway. And don't forget, they are members of an association, and that association has gone out of their way to encourage the government to allow foreign workers to take your job, and drive down the pay of those already employed in the industry. There are also have experienced pilots already on board to add legitimacy to the association.


For the older, more established pilots, do you have kids? Any of those kids want to follow in mom or dad's footsteps and become a pilot? (Heaven forbid!!!) Do you want them to go through what you see other young pilots going through, realizing that there is a good chance that they will never fly for a living?


I urge all licensed helicopter pilots to go to the CHPA (the name is still up in the air - so to speak) site and sign up. Can you imagine the impact it would have if in the space of a week or two, a few hundred / thousand pilots registered? Once you have registered, participate. It is not intended as a forum to discuss many of the things that you read on Vertical. It is intended to give a voice to a professional group of individuals, where none now exists. We want to hear about your concerns, so that maybe some of them can be addressed. Speak up for yourselves.


Are you, 10 or 15 years from now, going to be still going on a forum to complain about how you are being treated in this industry?


I wrote that I would like to see some respect for my position as a helicopter pilot. I fly a multi-million dollar piece of equipment that rents for thousands of dollars an hour. I am responsible for absolutely everything to do with that aircraft and the passengers or cargo on board. But reading some of the posts on this forum over the last month or so has me wondering, if we are shown no respect by our peers, how in the **** do we expect to receive respect from anyone else?


And on that note, with regards to Vertical forums, I will say, "Over and out". Say whatever you want about what I wrote, there will be no response from me here.



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