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daws901

The job field

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58 minutes ago, HeliRico said:

i dare to aks, are you a high time dude ?

Meh. I certainly wouldn't call myself high time. 12 yrs in the industry and just shy of 3k hrs... Definitely been around enough places to see the full range of treatment (for both newbies & full-time pilots).

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2 minutes ago, Bif said:

Meh. I certainly wouldn't call myself high time. 12 yrs in the industry and just shy of 3k hrs... Definitely been around enough places to see the full range of treatment (for both newbies & full-time pilots).

Elaborate if you can. 

How does your typical day run? and I guess while you're at it... best and worst case scenario (already have a pretty good idea of what the worst is....) How many hours might you fly in any given week? 

My bad for all the Q's, I'm interested! 

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8 minutes ago, daws901 said:

Elaborate if you can. 

How does your typical day run? and I guess while you're at it... best and worst case scenario (already have a pretty good idea of what the worst is....) How many hours might you fly in any given week? 

My bad for all the Q's, I'm interested! 

Lest I write you a novel, do you want me to answer these questions based on the perspective of a low-time pilot or an experienced/established pilot?

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My 15 years in the industry has taught me the only difference between the low time pilot and experienced pilot is, you clean less toilets and sweep the hangar less if your busy flying. I’ve seen CP’s cleaning toilets. I highly doubt any company will want a minimum wage 100 hour pilot looking at the books. 

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58 minutes ago, Bif said:

Lest I write you a novel, do you want me to answer these questions based on the perspective of a low-time pilot or an experienced/established pilot?

The only thing really deterring me is the chance of being stuck in a low grade job for longer than 1.5 years (ie. not flying). So to fly as an experienced / established pilot's perspective would be most useful, cheers

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2 minutes ago, daws901 said:

The only thing really deterring me is the chance of being stuck in a low grade job for longer than 1.5 years (ie. not flying). So to fly as an experienced / established pilot's perspective would be most useful, cheers

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you're basically guaranteed to be "low grade" for longer than 1.5 yrs. 

I got lucky and started flying tours after 1.5 yra of ground crew, but I know folks that have been on the ground 5+ yrs. And once you start flying, it's not a lot. It's a ferry flight here and there, it's a maintenance run at 5am or 9pm, if you're super lucky it's a tourism gig doing 200hrs a summer, or an oil&gas contract doing 1.5hrs a day.

Your heliski dream doesn't even begin to become an possibility until many years in, and hundreds to thousands of flight hours under your belt. Even then, many don't make the cut, many can't cope with the stress of flying a demanding client in one of the worst combination of conditions a pilot could expect. I haven't touched heliski yet, I want to so I can try it out but it's entirely possible it won't be for me. I know guys with thousands of hours more than me and they won't go near it , or tried it once and will never go back. 

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9 minutes ago, daws901 said:

an experienced / established pilot's perspective would be most useful, cheers

This is so incredibly variable, it's hard to give a good answer, so based on my own experiences (which are not reflective of everyone's), the average life of a daytime VFR pool pilot looks sort of like this:

Company flies you out the day before your shift starts (because most places have you travel on your time, not theirs), you arrive at a base or worksite with a varying degree of remoteness. I'll say a middle of the road pool pilot rotation is 28 days on & 14 days off, so this is now your home for the next month. Your flight duty days can be a maximum of 14 hours long. You might do the following:

  1. Be actively hired on. Wake up early, report for work, prep the helicopter, brief the client, fly your *** off until you time out or the sun sets, clean the helicopter, do paperwork. Maybe you'll fly 8-10 hours, or maybe you'll fly 30 minutes and then sit in the bush while your client works for the next 6 hours and then fly 30 min home. Probably, it's somewhere in the middle. You'll get very good at swatting bugs and napping in the limited space of the helicopter's back seat (or learning to stay warm in -30C).
  2. Be on standby or on-call, waiting for the phone to ring. Maybe you need to be ready to lift off in less than an hour, so you can't really leave the hangar (but maybe your crew quarters are there anyway). Maybe your response time is greater, so you can run to town for errands etc. Either way, you (should) be filling your time with base upkeep (cutting the grass, sweeping the floors, cleaning the toilets), cleaning the helicopter, inspecting ops gear, washing crew vehicles. The general consensus among most pilots is if you're away from home then it's a day full day of work, but the general consensus of the employer is that if they're going to pay you for a full day of work you'd better earn it.
  3. There's no flying. The weather sucks, or it's too cold, or your helicopter is down for maintenance, or there's just no expectation of a flight today. See above. Hangar upkeep, chores, paperwork, you name it. Then again, maybe you company is a little more lenient on what you're required to do on shift, maybe you can drive into town and hit the gym, or go for a hike, or take some you time.

The day following your last day on shift, you travel home. So, your shift is actually more like 30 & 12. Or maybe you get weathered in at camp and can't get out for another day or 2. Maybe your cross shift can't make it for whatever reason and they need you to stay another 2-3 day, week tops? The overarching theme I think here is inconsistency. Some folks are really lucky and work for 1 or 2 clients on a regular recurring basis, or have a company that runs a 2 week on / 2 week off rotation, but those are mostly outliers in my experience.

Anyway, I'm sure lots of folks on here would add or change much of what I said above, but I tried to pick a very "general" representation of what I've done for the past 12 yrs.

 

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Did you just come up with the idea of being a pilot on a whim? Or have you actually met someone in this industry?

   What the guys here are saying is no lie.  There is a 95% chance you will never be even employed in this industry once you get out of training. Toilets will be your first job period!  Engineers love to destroy them knowing you have to clean them. No owner is ever going to let you see the books. Also if you do get on the owners will probably be more interested  if you are handy with a hammer rather than a calculator and more likely than for more than 1.5 years 

Like Rotor said go fixed wing. It's more suited for the accountant type. I'd hate to see you have to prove your superior spatial awareness skills in a remote tent with Helirico. #MeToo

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9 minutes ago, Bif said:

This is so incredibly variable, it's hard to give a good answer, so based on my own experiences (which are not reflective of everyone's), the average life of a daytime VFR pool pilot looks sort of like this:

Company flies you out the day before your shift starts (because most places have you travel on your time, not theirs), you arrive at a base or worksite with a varying degree of remoteness. I'll say a middle of the road pool pilot rotation is 28 days on & 14 days off, so this is now your home for the next month. Your flight duty days can be a maximum of 14 hours long. You might do the following:

  1. Be actively hired on. Wake up early, report for work, prep the helicopter, brief the client, fly your *** off until you time out or the sun sets, clean the helicopter, do paperwork. Maybe you'll fly 8-10 hours, or maybe you'll fly 30 minutes and then sit in the bush while your client works for the next 6 hours and then fly 30 min home. Probably, it's somewhere in the middle. You'll get very good at swatting bugs and napping in the limited space of the helicopter's back seat (or learning to stay warm in -30C).
  2. Be on standby or on-call, waiting for the phone to ring. Maybe you need to be ready to lift off in less than an hour, so you can't really leave the hangar (but maybe your crew quarters are there anyway). Maybe your response time is greater, so you can run to town for errands etc. Either way, you (should) be filling your time with base upkeep (cutting the grass, sweeping the floors, cleaning the toilets), cleaning the helicopter, inspecting ops gear, washing crew vehicles. The general consensus among most pilots is if you're away from home then it's a day full day of work, but the general consensus of the employer is that if they're going to pay you for a full day of work you'd better earn it.
  3. There's no flying. The weather sucks, or it's too cold, or your helicopter is down for maintenance, or there's just no expectation of a flight today. See above. Hangar upkeep, chores, paperwork, you name it. Then again, maybe you company is a little more lenient on what you're required to do on shift, maybe you can drive into town and hit the gym, or go for a hike, or take some you time.

The day following your last day on shift, you travel home. So, your shift is actually more like 30 & 12. Or maybe you get weathered in at camp and can't get out for another day or 2. Maybe your cross shift can't make it for whatever reason and they need you to stay another 2-3 day, week tops? The overarching theme I think here is inconsistency. Some folks are really lucky and work for 1 or 2 clients on a regular recurring basis, or have a company that runs a 2 week on / 2 week off rotation, but those are mostly outliers in my experience.

Anyway, I'm sure lots of folks on here would add or change much of what I said above, but I tried to pick a very "general" representation of what I've done for the past 12 yrs.

 

This was very insightful. Appreciate it. What motivated you to get into it? And how did you begin?

4 minutes ago, shakey said:

Did you just come up with the idea of being a pilot on a whim? Or have you actually met someone in this industry?

   What the guys here are saying is no lie.  There is a 95% chance you will never be even employed in this industry once you get out of training. Toilets will be your first job period!  Engineers love to destroy them knowing you have to clean them. No owner is ever going to let you see the books. Also if you do get on the owners will probably be more interested  if you are handy with a hammer rather than a calculator and more likely than for more than 1.5 years 

Like Rotor said go fixed wing. It's more suited for the accountant type. I'd hate to see you have to prove your superior spatial awareness skills in a remote tent with Helirico. #MeToo

I've always thought of doing it but the cost wall is something I've been a bit wary of. I could pay all of it upfront (there's been absolutely no one to suggest that is a good idea). I did meet a couple of float plane pilots which looks good as well, but helicopters due to their versatility have always been more appealing. I haven't ever lived in a location where training to become a pilot would have made sense. Large commercial planes don't appeal to me, you wouldn't do anything on those planes and you're so high up there's nothing interesting to look at. You're a glorified taxi.

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4 minutes ago, daws901 said:

This was very insightful. Appreciate it. What motivated you to get into it? And how did you begin?

Always loved the idea of flying (thanks, Top Gun). Went to uni to be a geologist and flew in helicopters every summer in the field. Decided if I was going to spend every summer away from friends and family, I wanted to be flying the machine rather than lugging 80 lbs of soil samples up some mountain.

No one told me that at the end of the summer geology season the Geos go back to the city and play with pencil crayons in the office, where the helicopter pilot packs his gear and moves to the next gig (or goes on unemployment for the winter). Well, that's not true. One pilot did tell me all that, but I told myself it'll be different for me! Now I'm all jaded and grouchy and stuff 😕

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