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Breaking Up Training....

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Hello all, this is my first post although I have been keeping up to date with the forums throughout the summer since I found this site.


My relation to the helicopter industry is as yet anouther 30 something male looking for a career in an industry that is interesting and challenging - I am an advocate of having jobs that I like and this one seems to fit with my lifestyle, interests, and need for a seasonal career. I have been a ACMG Heli-ski Guide for 6 years and plan on keeping this profession as my career - only problem is that it lasts for 4 months and then I need something else for the other 8 months....... so that is where the pilot career comes in.


I have recently spent my first 10 hours behind the stick and am more than happy with my intro hours and experience as pilot behind the controls - I love flying helicopters. Obviously we all have our own financial issues and mine have instigated the possibility that I may have to break up my training regime. I recognize the benefits in continued training but at this point am considering 2 options and would welcome any opinions from forum members.


I need to halt my field training process for the next 4 weeks, so I will focus on the books (AIP, CARS, etc. are all new to me) then I can do one of two things -


I could do 40 more hrs this fall - work as a heli-ski guide for 4 months - and come back in the spring to do the remaining 50 hrs.

Regarding my 4 months off between training - my winter employment will have me flying in the front passenger seat of the A-Star (mostly) for about 20+ days a month with very experienced pilots in some interesting mountain conditions until mid April - this should help keep my head in the clouds, so to speak, while I am not training.


Option #2 is to put a hold on my training at 10 hrs - keep the books and start absorbing the info - go back to work banging nails - do my winter guiding season - and enroll again for 90 more hours in the fall of next year.


The sooner I get my license the sooner I can get a job at the bottom of the hanger, start working my way up and banking some hours - so as I write this my first choice seems to put me in a more employable position earlier than waiting for another year to become hireable. I was trying to get it done before this winter but........ life can get in the way, can't it? Just trying to make the most out of my training and put myself in the right place at the right time for that ever elusive first job.


Please reply with any advice or opinions regarding breaking up training. So far I have heard that getting 40-60 hrs and having to put it on hold and then come back to it isn't the end of the world. Any thoughts on this?

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Every time you stop training, you'll have to burn extra hours "knocking the rust off" when you start again. Wait 'til you have the funds to do the whole thing in one go. Once you've got the license, it'll be easier to get back into it after breaks. The more experience you gain, the easier it'll be to get back in the saddle after breaks.

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A valid argument can be made to rationalize either of your options.


If you're willing to expend the cash for another 5-10 hours in the spring to refresh your skills then flying this fall is viable - just not ideal from a continuity perspective. You may find after this four-week layoff that getting back into the groove will be frustrating and you'll arrive at your own conclusion anyway.


Personally, flying helicopters is a career choice that deserves your undivided attention so if you can gather the funds by next season I would wait and dedicate yourself to the task.

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:) guido.....sound advice from skidz and sticky......proficiency is harder to maintain when spreading your training over a longer time frame. As I do instruct over the winter months, I have witnessed it firsthand......good luck in your future endevours.....cheers H56 :up:
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Hi Guido,


I tend to agree with the other guys... I would try and do all your training in one hit if possible as skidz said "you spend less time knocking the rust off.."

It is good that you are in the industry with the Heli ski guiding, this gives a great chance to sit back and see what is going on without the stress of being in the drivers seat. Take in as much as you can and asks lots of questions,


Good luck and all the best :up:



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you mention that you are at the ten hour mark...which means on average that you should be on all controls?? and just about ready to start emergency training if you have not already done so....assuming you have mastered the basics and can hold a steady hover....might i humbly suggest this is as good a place to stop as any....not quite like riding a bike...but you get the idea....and once you start into emergencies getting ready for solo, and beyond the school is going to want a fair level of proficiency before resuming training...if i was in your shoes this is when i would be considering stopping.


best of luck....and as others have stated...enjoy your front row seat while you can....

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Thanks for all the input. Due to my situation - and the advice I have heard - it seems likely that I will be spending my fall and winter doing more research and learning all I can about this challenging industry, keeping my nose in the regulation books and other theory, and cutting my training at the 10 hr mark. These things happen and there's always next year.


Yes Snowedin, I am in charge of all the controls at this point, hovering steady in 0 wind and taxiing around the infield, doing tight circuts and mastering transitions - what a blast flying these machines. A little bumpy at first with all the overcorrecting but after a few hrs things start coming together and you get to enjoy it. I have done controled emergencies and was about to start getting ready for my solos.

One of my reasons for wanting to get my CPL sooner than later was the thought that I may miss that ever elusive first job - but upon rethinking this possibility........ who am I kidding? From the sounds of things on this forum I'll be lucky to have a flying job at all after a number of years with my ticket. So whats the rush? I can wait a year - I will undoubtedly know more next year at this time.


I am definately glad with the 10 hrs I have at this point - like I mentioned earlier regarding my front seat position as a guide, I have been working with pilots in some interesting wx conditions with full loads at high elevations for some years now and truly have a whole new way of looking at what they are safely accomplishing. All this quick decision making and risk management reminds me of guiding.

I will be likely talking the PIC's ear off this winter about where we are landing, and what the wind is doing, and what hes got for power and why we are climbing like this and so on. And I feel like now I will be a better team member for him when I am getting picked up or dropped off in some unplanned location due to weather or terrain or client issues or what have you. Maybe all guides should do a few hours behind the stick.......?


Then again maybe all pilots should throw on some skis and shred some powder?:cold:



Thanks again for your opinions.

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I s'pose the other thing worth mentioning is to have your training done early into the spring, if not a little sooner, as to be fresh and ready when slots start to open up. Might cut into your guiding job but you want to be ready for that position when it does open up.





careful now, weez had us a monkey bust an arm doin that same thing.....all we need now is a pig with a busted leg ;)

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I will be likely talking the PIC's ear off this winter about where we are landing, and what the wind is doing, and what hes got for power and why we are climbing like this and so on.


Don't be too surprised when he hits the "Pilot ISO" switch :P:lol:

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