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Hey Deuce Bigalow


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Smelling bad AND GOING topless ! Now there's a scary visual !! Might as well stop shaving the armpits now ......

 

Oh you! Silly silly Sharkbait - whats the forum gonna think now ??? Reminds of the TQ days with them obscene phone msgs you'd purposely leave .... :D:D

 

Dang nice photos Ned !!!

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Those weren't obscene phone calls they were worldly poetry from far in the wilderness. :P

Besides - had to do something to keep the old TQH rumour mill grinding. :D

And it worked too!

" If you haven't heard a rumour buy 0900hrs -Start one!"

 

And that's all I have to say about that!

 

Forest Hump

 

Hey - that would be a good forum name for someone!

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the Burk al Arab Hotel.  To keep the rif raf out they charge people 30 bucks just to go in and have a look.  Of course you can apply it to your bar bill.

 

Tiger Woods was in town a few years ago for the Dubai Desert Open and got paid a load of $ to drive a ball from the  Helipad.  It went a long way needless to say.

 

Didn't they convert the helipad into a tennis court not so long ago and pay oodles of coin to two of the top pros (Safin and another guy I think) to play a "friendly" match up there ?

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So Heli Ops, you are doing an article on the Middle East Operators Hey? Are/Did you talk to any of the crews or were you fed the same old groundhog #### rhetoric by the various forms of backward management about how great it is to live and work in that part of the world?! Sure the machines are by and large, mostly shiny and clean, however much like the facade of that area in general, pull back a few layers and you will see some serious problems that are easily and convienently covered up, so as to keep the end results of the greedy and self serving management away from the casual observer.

Did you get a sense of how the morale of the crews has been eroded to the point where noone really gives a #### anymore, pilots and engineers?

Did the guys at the coal face let you know that the Indian mafia with their overzealous, keralite beancounter leaders, are the ones that will try and screw you on every last cent/workday/airticket possible? When you finally storm to the accounts department, totally and utterly pissed off. to ask "W.T.F did you shaft me on "insert anything imaginable here" for". You will get that stupid grin, the head will bob up and down and side to side at the same time, you will be given some totally rediculous reason and will inevitably leave for your time off wondering why the **** you should come back in 6/4 weeks for another round.

After 3 years of putting up with with these idiots, the #### bucket was full to overflowing, the money bucket needed some serious work so I headed back to a fairly well known company with a "global" presence! A few tours under the belt and I'm not sure what I was thinking when I made the choice to work in the M/E. I certainly left the M/E both a less proffessional and less concientious pilot than when I first arrived. My reccurrent training with the new company certainly showed this. I had to work hard to bring myself up to the standard that I was when I first arrived in the M/E. Sure the "global" company has its ups and downs (sic) but at least when you make a call to yvr the person on the other end seems to give a #### (even if they really don't) and the standard of training is far superior as well.

Just remember, if you decide to work in the M/E, you will have zero input as far as anything regarding the operation goes, you WILL have a bad attitude if you question anything to do with safety, your general standing as an (Expat) ATPL, IFR rated pilot or licensed engineer, is infact lower than the tea boy, you can and will be fired without any apparent reason. The majority of the expat managment are only looking after themselves and will not rock the boat with the local bosses so don't expect much support from your own.

What got me through my 3 years without getting the bullet was simple, say nothing, question nothing, do not stand out at all for any reason, good or bad and you should be fine. Sounds like a great work environment doesn't it?

All in all the M/E experience was, lets just say, something that I would rather forget!

Heli Ops, sorry if I hijacked your post but I needed to vent!

P.S. Great mag but please try and paint a realistic picture of that place for the sake of the guys (sorry but they don't employ girls, something about beiing a forward thinking society!!!???) who may consider working in that part of the world.

Later

S.D..........

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SD - Actually am just looking at one particular operator in Dubai but have had unofficial chats with quite a few contacts up there and you have it right on some counts and not so right on others.

 

Yes things vary significantly in the Middle East, heck it varies significantly in Dubai itself. The pay is not what it used to be years ago and the industry has changed where there is a lot more nationals running companies, or at least in the management role. Deuce etc have it much better than most working on the other side of the Gulf and for a decent company. There is one company in the region that have made its Arab owners very very rich over the past 25 or so years but have they invested money back into new machiney, unfortunately not and this is sad because the majority of the management there are good people. But like any company if the person in charge, whether an ex pat or a national is an A**hole then its not going to be a great place to work. Having a few Indians who just sit there nodding their head saying, Yes I Cannot Help You, is par for the course in this part of the world. If you dont like it then dont go there. It will drive you mad, heck I had to spend hours driving between the airport and Jumeirah Beach each day and there are hundreds of them on the road and its not uncommon to see them go from the fast lane of the four lanes straight across traffic and off the off ramp in the space of 200 metres, and thats on a good day. And what makes it worse for ex pats is that if you give a national the bird, you know, the one finger salute, then it can land you in jail, no questions asked.

 

Anyway back to the question. If you are going to go to the Middle East and work for an Arab owned, or one with Arab management company, then SD is right, you may have some input but the bottom line comes down to what the national thinks. If you start to question decisions, either rightly or wrongly then you get branded a troublemaker and one way or another you will end up leaving. Arabs dont like firing people, they will do everything they can to make you leave, such as ignoring you, giving you the bad rosters etc etc. They will make it as hard as they can for you so that you decide the best thing is to just leave.

 

However there are some good companies to work for, ADA down in Abu Dhabi have just had a 25% pay rise from what I heard, not sure about the ins and outs of it but with their 6/4 work schedule its probably the best company to work for in the Gulf region. Not many people knew that up until recently they were actually the largest Bell 212 operator in the world. They now have about 48 helos in their fleet. Aerogulf is based in Dubai and has a great Asst General Manager in an American called Rob Denehy. Unfortunately they still have the same helos they started with a couple of decades ago. Rob tries his hardest to help change that but again as an expat he is limited in what he can do. The one good thing about Aerogulf is they have their finger in the BA609 pie and this could be interesting in the not too distant future, hopefully.

 

Gulf Helicopters in Qatar is probably one to stay away from according to all the feedback I have heard, both from those there currently and those who have been and gone. Management I think is now all primarily nationals and that doesnt help the cause for the expat crew. Royal Oman Police is prob one of the best jobs in the Gulf area as well, however the positions there are few and far between. I know if two expats, one South African and one Brit who are still flying there. They currently have a fleet of 214STs and Bell 205A's but they have ordered approx six AB139s and I think first one is due mid to late next year. I visited them last year and they are an absolute bunch of professionals, including the nationals. The Omanis seem to have a different philosophy when it comes to expats, they actually respect them and realise they can learn a lot from them. Dave Anderson was their Check and Training Capt for years and years and only just left to move back to Australia.

 

There are a few civil corporate machines floating around the Abu Dhabi area, including an EC155 and EC135. One is associated with the Amiri Flight and is VIP configured. The Dubai Air Wing looks after all the helos for the Sheikhs and Govt Depts and has a 407, 412, and two SA365Ns. There is a new addition to their fleet in the next six months but cant tell you what it is :rolleyes:

 

Probably the best "new" job in the gulf region is working for Heli Dubai. Owned by the Dubai Government their primary role is servicing the upmarket corporates and visitors to the UAE. They have two brand new A109 Powers and provide an exclusive service to guest staying at the Burj Al Arab at Jumeirah Beach. Although the company is run by a national, who by the way is a very professional individual, it is staffed by expats, an Irishman and a Scotsman. They are going to be looking for a number of new pilots to add to their ranks as expansion is the name of the game for them and they have two Agusta Grands on order and a Bell 412 is being added to the fleet in September. Watch this space, they have a blank piece of paper to work with and a very supportive management to make things happen.

 

Further afield is the Kuwaiti Police who are operating a couple of EC135s and soon to be another addition to their fleet, but again cant elaborate on that one. Crews for this operation are supplied courtesy of a UK based company. Bahrain Police have a bell fleet, in 427 and 412s but I think they are mainly surveillance based and from what I can gather they are all national pilots. Dubai Police have a fleet of A109K2s, Bell 412s and a couple of Bell 206s but they are getting rid of them. Training is overseen by pilots of the Dubai Air Wing and all pilots are nationals.

 

Bottom Line.

 

Yes the Middle East can be a great place to work, money is good, but not fantastic, however you dont pay taxes and in most of the cases I have seen the company provides accom and allowances for you as well as airline tickets to and from home. Deuce can prob fill everyone in on the CHC side of things. Yes you can just keep your head down and go with the flow if you wish. If you feel the need to voice your opinion over something you dont think is right, then a word of advice, have a back up plan ready, ie: start looking for another job. If you think management of some of these companies will support you, then think again, its all about self preservation, mainly their own backside. They didnt get to the position they are in because they stuck up for all the pilots, if you get my drift. However there are some such as Rob Denehy who will go to bat for you, and has done so in the past.

 

If you have a short temper and like expressing yourself to people, then would suggest the Middle East is not the place for you, jails there are not very nice and even the smallest thing like giving someone the finger can land you in jail for a few months, and you dont even get to contest it. Its their word against yours, and believe me, you wont win.

 

If you want a unique experience and want to see the world, then by all means go and work for one of these companies but go in there with your eyes wide open. Its not a stepping stone to a management position, its a place to earn money or build hours, thats it, nothing more, nothing less.

 

Anyway enough of my ramble, hope this info helps.

 

Ned

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