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Resurgence Of Entry Level Flying Jobs

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I get that it's a mickey mouse job but I've heard a few people say things like that and I just don't understand the logic behind it, Young guys like myself with 10's of hours of experience are supposed to stick it to companies that do things like that for the good of the industry? The same industry that doesn't know we even exist? Are you expecting all the pilots out there with fresh licences slugging it out in the patch to pay for student loans to rally behind the cause of preserving something they're not even a part of? I'm sure this is going to come across as bitter but it's pretty much the truth for most guys


I feel your pain Justin. Don't turn down an opportunity to gain experience for the sake of others. If you can afford to volunteer your time for someone else's gain, all the power to you. As we all know, this industry is all about self-preservation and profit. Pilots, engineers, operators, TC employees. Everyone's looking out for #1. It's pretty sad. Unfortunately, it's Darwin's law in action.


That being said, the "opportunity" discussed in this topic presents many risks. Both physical (uncertified a/c flying for hours on end in the curve) and legal (as in risk of license suspension, fines and industry ostracization ) if TC puts the hammer down on this operation. Remember, it's always the PIC's fault...

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I also find it Humorous that when someone asks if they should do their license and you tell them No! They do it and then are bitter when they can't get work. Not saying this is you Justin but If you work for free and someone finds out?!? I myself would urge management not to hire you. What else are you willing to do to get ahead of me?

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For anyone considering working for free, it doesn't take long for these companies names to get around. With that red flag on your resume you may as well have zero hours when applying for a job.


That is a very general statement.


I remember when I was trying to break in, hearing much the same regarding the influx of the "cow chasers" from Australia. There was all sorts of arguments about the validity of their time, accusations that they were exceeding a/c limits, flying stupid long hours and duty times, it was dangerous ( no sh#t !), maintenance schedules were stretched or outright ignored,or it was done privately therefore it shouldn't be counted, AND they were not paid well etc, etc. Never mind the TFW program!


Now I have no idea if any of those accusations are true. But I do know that I have flown beside a lot of good guys that were hired with that time taken under consideration. That time was considered valid by any number of chief pilot's and ops managers. I do know that.


I also remember hearing that all the time I personally accumulated as a 214 co-pilot wasn't worth very much. And initially that was correct. But it sure came in handy when I needed 100/500/1000/1500 TT, and turbine time (I'm endorsed), when I needed to fly lease to lease. I may not have learned how to actually fly (it's a 214 after all), but I sure learned a lot about being around a helicopter, working with a helicopter etc. My Chief Pilot and Ops manager thought so to.


I seem to recall your statement being thrown around quite a bit by many every year, when the ever recurring annual "Ice Fields" debate arose. Everything was tossed around from the validity of their mountain course ( something to do with not being allowed to land, or it was always the same spot), the quality of their PDM (something about approaches/departures over a lake), their living conditions, pay scale to long hours, b.s duty days and lack of real training. Again, I don't know how much is true or not, if any. But I do know that I have met quite a few guys out in the field flying with "reputable" companies that have been through those doors. And I personally have worked with at least 4 guys (2 right now) that are still going strong in some pretty good iron. I think one is even flying a 212.


All that being said, I don't think you will be seeing any of that time on a smart guy's resume. Providing he doesn't bend anything or himself (and he's not to cocky), I could easily see this quietly making a big difference on a check ride. I know if it was me years ago, I wouldn't have even blinked.


I got 1600 month as a 214 co-pilot. I used to get out of the machine when my shift was over and go back hooking turns under the machine I was just "seat meat" in. It cost me 400 or 500 for a brush-up every time I thought I had a shot at a check ride with my old instructor. I put the gyprock up on Wildcats hangar for 206 time and lunch. I continued to heli-log to make ends meet. I worked the rigs, and learned to Operate well sites during the winter even after I got a real job. Lots of us out there with the same story. Flying for "free" is cheap, depending on where you are standing.


So, would I have done it? Well, considering how many real jobs there are out there for a 100 hour guy? Considering how many companies are really investing in raising new pilots? Considering how many clients want to fly with a young guy? How many are willing to pay the insurance to let them fly? How many are going to take a young guy up to the customer and ask " do you like him?" Considering how much I wanted to fly?


YOU BETCHA!!!!.....and I wouldn't have told a soul.


I'm not saying it's right, but that is what you are up against. When it comes to hiring a brand new guy, don't try and tell me that that first lift off- hover taxi- tail wag translation- level circuit- level 360- descent- approach-land......doesn't matter much. I still remember btw. Or how much smoother his radio talk was (Then again LOL!). Providing this thing actually gets going for any length of time, I guarantee you, that 5 years from now, you are going to hear some guy on the fire line telling his story of how he got started drying cherries in an upside down lawnmower!


Fly Safe



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Good for you Zazu! So you are encouraging this kid to work for free? Good to know.

Considering 1 in 10 pilots (probably a low estimate) get a job in this industry, I'm sure many have worked for free. I don't know if he's encouraging it, but it's a fact. Many pilots have travelled state side and paid for copilot time while flying on news helicopters. I remember a low time guy I used to work with at canadian who went to LA.

After spending 50,000.00 on a helicopter licence and knocking on every door in Canada (over 2 seasons) I would have shovelled #### uphill for free if I thought I was getting closer to a job in the pilot seat.

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That being said, I'd have to think long and hard before strapping my *** in for a job like this. I might just stick with the shovelling.


If the aircraft manages to stay in the air mechanically, i'd be very mindful of settling with power. Most low time guys are week at power management (particularly downwind) and you wont have much power reserve.


There's also a pile of other hazards with this type of flying (that you likely won't receive adequate training for).



FYI I just noticed the site associated with the link is no longer available.

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Most low time guys are week at power management (particularly downwind) and you wont have much power reserve.


Not pilots that train on a B47G2.....that's one of the reasons why I still like going back and instructing on them. The pilots (guys and gals), learn to handle a low power to high weight ratio aircraft with no governor assistance. Add some D/A in the hills and you get a better product through their course.

It's always humbling for myself to come off a 9,000 hp beast, and go back to basics on a 200 hp piston banger...... I love it !!!!!!!!!

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Good for you Zazu! So you are encouraging this kid to work for free? Good to know.


I am not encouraging anything of the sort. I am just putting things into perspective for those of us on this board (including me) who are quick to judge via the keyboard. The arguments for or against are irrelevant in the face of reality.


Most of us who started in the last 20 years used other skill sets to stay close to the action hoping to get picket up in the process, whether it be computer/office skills, carpentry, lawn-guy, camera work , fuel guy etc. Let's face it, unless you are flying, you are a cost to the buisiness. And a lot of those payed money to dust off the rust prior to a check ride.


Now what do you think the odds are that an enterprising young guy is going to figure out that he can put himself on call in the fall season, and zip out for a couple hours here and there to dry out some cherries just to keep his hands warm, and his head in the game.....AT NO COST TO HIMSELF? Sure, when the time comes, he may zip over to H56, to get the an actual check ride warm-up for a real interview that's in the works, if he can afford it. But in the meantime? It's a no-brainer from his perspective.


If I can figure this out 14 years later, I guarantee you there are a few out there that already have. You or I don't have to agree with it, or like it. And until, or unless it is deemed unsafe or fails to meet regulatory compliance via TC, it will happen.


Now think about if dude gets a real job? He has 500 hours, but needs 1000 TT to go fly lease to lease in the oilfield. His Chief Pilot thinks he's competent but he can't send him on the job. BUT all of a sudden buddy pulls out 500 signed hours flying one of these lawnmowers. It may be experimental, it may be private. But it's still a helicopter. Neither he or his Chief Pilot, care about his resume now.


And just like that, buddy is off to the races, spending 14 hours of Duty time flying 1 hour lease to lease...or is it 1.4 with the idle time? LOL!


Just playing Devils Advocate Freck.


Fly Safe

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