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Hey Deuce Bigalow

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Skidz - Not at all.


The story is about one particular operator in the Middle East, not the region as a whole but thought since SD decided to voice his concerns that I would in turn give some feedback on what I do know about the middle east companies. Its one of those areas where you certainly have to go in with your eyes wide open as those who have been there will verify.


Africa is the same way and I have some great feedback on anyone wanting to go there and work.





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Thanks for that great report Heliops! That has to be the most concise report on the area I have ever seen. He talks about operations I had never heard of, absolutely required reading for anyone thinking of going there. Keep up the good work and if not to much trouble I for one would love to hear your views on the Africa topic.

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Well I had to say something. I have been working in the Middle East for about 15 months now. I started with Gulf Helis in Qatar and now I'm in Iran for CHC.

Gulf's offices are run by Indian expats. they are guest workers just like us only they don't make anything like the money we make. They work hard and they pretty much make everything in the Middle East function within the peculiar rules.

I was always polite and respectful in my dealings with the office crowd and guess what?? Thats what I got back. I saw other guys who acted like they were VIP's, waltzing around expecting these people to jump barking orders and getting no cooperation at all. I have never had a problem getting cooperation from anyone since I have been here. But Yu get out what you put in.

Stay where you are. Don't come over here. We don't like your kind.

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Heli ops & Deuce, very good info to know. great pics of the hotel. :up: please keep the pics coming as the only photos of daily life in the M/E is the latest suicide bomb blast from bagdahd. :down:

can you fill us in on your daily duties?

would be interesting to know what it's like on the other side of the planet.

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Quote: "Stay where you are. Don't come over here. We don't like your kind."

Now deuce, if that was meant for me, I think you're abit late amigo cause I'm already "over here"!! If it wasn't meant for me, I do apologise. You say that you have spent 15 months in the M/E, good for you! I'm supposing that you are now based on a small Iranian island flying out to, perhaps..um..oh, maybe a place called the South Pars field and spend 6 weeks or so in a hotel named after a tall pink bird! If so, does a pretty young thing named "Naheed" still work the front desk there?? Sorry, I'm sliding off the topic. You would have to agree with me (or not) that Iranians and Arabs differ in race and both share varying attitudes from each other toward expat pilots and engineers, the latter I believe maintain vigorously the "master servant" mentality. I.e, I am the master and you, white boy, are the biyatch! The Iranians on the other hand were very friendly and seemed to be very willing to help as much as possible. The message that I was trying to convey was my opinion, of my particular experience in that part of the world. Make of it what you will but as I stated, "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 I was still constantly getting messed with by the I.B.C's (Indian bean Counters). I find it hard to believe that even after say, 6 months at Gulf, you too would not have felt the hot flush of anger at the incompetance and outrageous management antics of the local psychophant G.M and his hoard of evil, penny pinching minions! Perhaps you were lucky to have not been in Doha for very long but from my experience in the M/E, I sure am glad to be working for the red, white and blue. This also goes for any other CHC guys, think long and hard before you take a shot at any of the 3 offshore companies, ADA, Gulf Helis or Aerogulf. You may not think that what you have now is that good but please trust me, tread very carefully if you are thinking about taking a walk down this road.

Heli-Ops, what you say about the Asst G.M at Aerogulf, from my sources in Dubai, all sounds true. He is apparently a great guy who does his best under very trying conditions to help the crews there who have been promised all sorts of carrots in the past, however, as I have indicated before, further up the food chain the greed of the locals who own the company, prevails. Apparently they have not had a decent raise in 10 years or so and with Dubai becoming more and more expensive by the month, the owners refuse to budge and bring the package into line with the rapid growth of the city. The National Post today said that inflation in Dubai will reach 10% in 05-06. I can't see any of the M/E companies compensating expats for that! Aerogulf should be one of the best married accompanied jobs around, however, by the sounds of it people cannot justify going there anymore due to the pathetic wage and general package that they offer. It would only be financially worth going if your wife had a skill that was in demand so that you could supplement both incomes. How some of the guys make anything without their spouse working is, according to my buddy there, a miracle of personal financial planning! The fact that in the last 18 months or so they have had a 100% turnover of pilots, and engineering is not far behind, speaks volumes!

As far as Heli Dubai goes, yes they are owned and backed by the Dubai ruling family. They will be "The" company to work for in the Emirates, as the two guys running the show have both experienced life as it is, working for Aerogulf and ADA and will hopefully try their best and learn from the mistakes of the other two companies. I understand the Scottish one has worked for both companies in the capacity of line pilot as well as chief pilot at some stage. With their combined knowledge and understanding of the "interesting" business culture of the locals, they have a chance to build a company from scratch with an open check book and unhindered backing from the Dubai government.As Heli-Ops said before, this company will surely be something to watch in the near future.

One lesser heard of operation is based out in the desert near a small town called Al Ain. It is a flight school and goes by the name of "Horizon". They specialise in training locals and anyone else who has the cash. The G.M is, you guessed it, a local. He is an uneducated oaf who goes by the nickname, "Blackheart". Due to his meglomaniacal ways, the turnover of expat instructors is frightening. Do a search on Pprune under "Horizon, Al Ain Clearout".

ADA, the biggest operator in the UAE has been promising the crews, for many years now, decent liveable accomodation. It was not uncommon in my time there, to see a new hire arrive from the flight for his first tour, have a look at the S@#thole that he would be spending the next 6-8 weeks in, turn around and promptly ask for his return ticket to get the **** out of the place. I have seen better living quarters in juggy infested drill camps in northern Canada. The promises keep coming but the squalid "vans" remain. The pay with ADA is better than the other operations and a pay increase is rumoured but like it always was while I was there, hurry up and wait, dangle the carrot abit longer and we may be able to slow the ever outward flow of quality crews.

As far as Oman goes, you would need some serious multi (214ST, AS332 etc) IFR training time under your belt to have a crack at that side of the peninsular, British Ex mil contacts would help as well. It apparently is a pretty nice gig though, pays quiet well and you get the chance every so often to howl along at 50ft chasing Iranian black marketeers and smugglers with the 50cal peacemaker hanging out the side of the machine! Also the Omani mountains are spectacular and remain a very pleasant memory.

As far as Saudi Aramco goes, I don't know anyone who works for them, however the rumour mill that is ticking indicates that the "Saudization" process is fully underway and the expats, mostly Americans, are slowly being squeezed out A search on Pprune might enlighten anyone on this company who would be desperate enough to want live in Saudi for 44 weeks a year with only 6 weeks of normality!

So there it is gentlemen, some positive, some negative, but thats the way I saw/see it.


P.S. Sharkbait, try Scarletts or Longs on Sheik Zayed Road, less drunk Limeys and more loaded Emirates Airlines hosties than Biggles!!!

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SD - I left Horizon out for that very reason. John Heanon, an englishman who I met in Singapore was shafted by the management there and they also shafted Ron Newman from Prof Helicopters in Australia who provided the initial instructors to get the school going. I wasnt even prepared to mention it in case someone wanted to ask for info on it. Besides its stuck out at Al Ain and its not worth the drive, would rather stay on the beach at Mina Seyahi surveying the Emirates trolley dollies. :up: :up:


I keep in touch with Denny Fenlon, the Chief Pilot for Saudi Aramco as well as a couple of my subscribers who work there and it still seems to be a pretty good place to work. Actually forgot to mention it in my first post as I forgot about it. They have an all Bell fleet but have just ordered whole bunch of 109s for the onshore work from what I hear.


At Aerogulf general consensus is that the decent guys stop at the Asst GM level, above that, well its a different story. Rob does a great job with limited resources, if you get past DXB go and have a drink with him.


In Oman you are mixing the Police and Royal Flight. The Royal flight have the Pumas and the Police have the 214s and 205s, and its the Police who are getting the AB139s. Have heard rumours that the Royal Flight are getting an S-92 for Sultan Qaboos but not 100% sure on that one. And there are actually no englishmen working there any more except for one that I know of who is the head of maintenance and Ray has been there for about 20 years. Requirements are not that stiff either, the "new" guy there who replaced Dave Anderson is a South African. Arthur Walker is a real character and spent some time in "support" roles in West Africa if you get my drift. :rolleyes: I got to fly with him from Jo'Burg to Nairobi as part of a seven ship when we took helos up to Kenya for the WRC Rally championship. But thats a whole different story.


Bit more on other parts of M/E. Dyncorp have some Uh1Hs working on poppy eradication in Afghanistan at the moment and Pacific Helicopters fron PNG have some 212s up there supporting the construction projects. It was one of their Aussie pilots that was hauled from the wreckage of a 212 a few months back and had a bullet put in his head. Across the border and Blackwater have about six or seven MD500Es and 530Fs on "security" work in the Baghdad region. Was talking to one of their pilots in Florida recently who gave me an insight into their work and the missions they do, holy shite, would make an even better movie than Blackhawk down. That CASA that crashed in Afghanistan recently, killing all onboard was one of their aircraft.


Another operator in Oman I forgot to mention is the Dept of Agriculture. They have a Bell 206B which is used for a set period each year to spray the date palms or something like that. A friend of mine from South Africa, Johan Nell has been going over there for the past couple of years to do the contract. He said its not uncommon to land at a site and have a group of Beduoins come over and camp next to the helicopter, camels and all.


And before I forget UT Air from Surgut in Russia have a couple of Mi-8s and 17s working somewhere in Afghanistan on UN work but not sure where, they are also supposed to be sending in an Mi-26 later this month.


Just some more insight into the sandpit. Enjoy the island DB. :up:


Heli Ops


P.S. What region shall we discuss next guys, north africa or central or southern. B)

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