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I also got my start in the spray industry after four years of busting my balls on the ground along with a hand full of others. I witnessed many 100 hr pilots come and go during that time because they

Hi Maury, Thanks for clearing that up I was just wondering if we knew each other. For a second there, I thought it might be personal. Dont get wrong, I actually enjoy our banter, but if I didnt know

With all due respect. I thought their initial ad was pretty clear that they wanted a 100 hour pilot to apply. That was the title of the post. I have yet to see an ad (anywhere) looking for a 100 hour

And were those loggers, helicopter pilots first and then took a job setting chokers or are these loggers first who decided they wanted to fly instead. There is a huge difference.

As for freewheel's comment re doctors, I know the difference in how long it takes to get accredited to be a doctor. Pretty sure that doctors make more than helicopter pilots, as they should, and are definitely treated with more respect.

I do find it interesting that the state of the industry is always someone else's fault and never the operator themselves. I do agree that it would be difficult for one operator to change things though there are upstanding operators out there that don't seem to have a problem. Perhaps if the operators used their union (hac) to not worry quite so much about keeping the archaic flight/duty times, or what constitutes air time or flight time, and instead lobbied their customers to relax their flight hour requirements, somehow, to allow the low time pilot to advance.

Spending years pumping toxic material or chasing after chokers, is not going to get you one flight hour ahead, to meet those hour requirements that freewheel is talking about.

And just as an aside.......between darkside logger and freewheel, you managed to come up with three classic responses whenever talk of anything to do with aircrew in the helicopter world - "it is a slow year"........save the last two years, Canada has been doing pretty well over the last ten years, certainly in the west, and what did you do for the crews when things were going well (the answer is nil)......"it has always been that way", and with comments like that from an operator, you know it always will be. And of course, "that is just the way it works". Do I need to comment?

Believe it or not, things that were normal when I started flying, maps that you had to know how to read, not having constant contact with management, and basically doing whatever we wanted, as long as it was safe, without the customer or TC freaking out. And guess what, we all have computers now. So, in fact, things do change but there has to be a will to do it.

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Maury, I would consider who you're talking to. Freewheel and his brother have gotten more low time pilots flying than any other company I know and from what I hear they pay their guys better than most other operators. Granted this industry has faults and I'm sure they have their share but this is about low time pilots and they do lots to get them going.

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I actually did a season of this work, with this company. I worked hard, gained a wide variety of experience and made a little money too. While there was no hope of me becoming the go to spray pilot on site, the operator did everything they could to get me some stick time, going so far as letting me fly the machine for ferry and repositioning while they drove the five ton spray truck. A previous relationship with the operator and responding to their ad for industry relevant ground crew, which is clearly what they meant by the more colloquial term "100hr", enabled me to get a boost in flight time and a massive gain in general industry experience. Not all the ground crew staff hired for my season were pilots, some of the people just liked to work hard in the bush. Those that were pilots gained relevant, employable experience and a valuable life long contact in the industry.

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Thanks rotor, I think you have warned me of that before. But to be clear. I have no idea who freewheel is or anything about his company. My comments are about the industry in general - there are exceptions in everything - and I have never mentioned or even hinted at company names, at least as I remember. Freewheel obviously has an owners viewpoint and doesn't hesitate to state his beliefs. I have an employees point of view and also do not hesitate to share my beliefs.

As for McGuire, congratulations. What you did worked out for you and hopefully you will be flying more next year.

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Hi Maury,

Thanks for clearing that up I was just wondering if we knew each other. For a second there, I thought it might be personal. Dont get wrong, I actually enjoy our banter, but if I didnt know better Id swear you seek out my posts to berate whatever I say.The last time we communicated (in another thread) you told me: Believe me, I don't read your posts......I see the title and who wrote it, and move on. I

guess that was pure B.S., eh?


While it has always been that way, discussing the MANY reasons that this occurs opens the door to discussion on proactive ways to improve or fix the problem. It might also educate someone considering a career (as a helicopter pilot) about the current realities of the situation. Again I ask: if you have any proactive ideas on how to fix the problem; please share. I really dont think complaining and berating others does anything to help anyone.


Youre right: I did mention the amount of years a doctor spends in school, but I also discussed several other factors. For one, Doctors are also WAY more in demand. Despite this fact, on any given year the number of low time pilots entering the industry equals approximately 10% of the total licences in force; with doctors its only, 2-3%.


I also pointed out the fact, that pilots entering the work-force are not as experienced as their fixed wing or international counterparts. This means companies need to spend significant time and money to get pilots to the level of proficiency where they feel they can safely accomplish the job. Regardless of whats occurring in other industries, no operator should let a pilot go flying unless they are confident they can complete the job safely. Its no good for either of us if they arrive at the job and they cant do what the client expects. They either have their confidence beat down, get sent home, or worse, end up having an incident or accident.

Another thought:


Perhaps the TC minimum curriculum could use some improving. It always surprises me when a pilot entering the VFR helicopter industry in Canada has never done things like sling a fuel drum on a short line, fuel out of a drum or put winter covers on.


We have hired MANY low time guys and have several on staff right now; several others are now experienced members of our team and they have become very skilled at many specialty tasks. These homegrown pilots bring significant value to our organization. Of course, some have moved on, and others did not succeed at landing a pilot position. That doesnt mean that our goal wasnt to get them flying; it just means things didnt work out or they pursued other opportunities. There are many variables as to why this might be.

In some cases, all the stars have aligned and weve had pilots start flying jobs in a matter of months, in others it took 3 years. Generally, low-time pilots receive many hours of ferry flying and flight training before they fly commercially for us. This often comes at a significant expense, but we see it as an investment; it is in everyones best interest to get pilots to the next plateau (500 hr, 1000 hr etc.) as soon as possible. Unfortunately its not as simple as you make it out to be.

In my opinion, a pilot can gain a wealth of knowledge working ground crew.i They may not be flying, but they are around helicopter operations regularly and fully understand the environment and workings of the operation by the time they get into the PIC seat.

This also means they have one less thing on their plate to deal with, and they are better for it.


Im also glad you mentioned, lobbying clients on their policies and minimums. I dont think you realize how much time and effort operators put into dealing with customers on these issues and similar protocols. In many cases, when we have a low time pilot who we feel is competent to complete a job, we do everything we can to get the client to work with us and allow him to fly. The fact is, though ultimately the customer is the customer.

If this is such an important subject to you: Why dont you tell us what you have done to help the plight of the low time pilot in the Canadian Helicopter Industry? With all of your knowledge, Im surprised you havent fixed this problem single handedly by now.

I also hate to burst your bubble, but there really is no such thing as the owners club in our industry either. Most of your posts seem to have the sole purpose of complaining about owner/operators.

Im also happy to say that many low time pilots have great attitudes, despite the difficulty of their situation. Thats the thing about having a positive attitude anyone can do it, no matter how many hours you have. I also really dont think its fair to other pilots or employees to generalize as you are; I know many pilot/employees that dont share such a negative point of view. On that same note, there are many owners who likely don't share my views.


Trust me, if I could safely send 100 hour pilots on fires or a drill job, I would consider it. This might also help weed out the pilots out there with such piss poor attitudes lol.


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Never said anything about it being slow......

We have employed a lot of 100 hour guys over the years regardless of how busy things were

Some started as pilots

Some started as loggers and became professional pilots

Whoever worked hard and was professional got an opportunity

We are one of the few industries that don't have minimum hour requirements

The only requirement was to not show up with a poor attitude or sense of entitlement

If you did, you generally didn't stick around

Regardless of the which industry your in any experience helps

Lots of great 100 hour guys out there that deserve a chance

But lots of not so great guys that wasted their money

A little hard work sometimes thins the herd so you can see the good ones

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