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Getting It In Writing


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I've heard and read a number of stories from pilots who were taken advantage of during their first job in the aviation world. Whether it be promised flight time that doesn't come, lack of fair pay, unreal hours....I'm sure you all know what I mean. And the list goes on. But what all these pilots say looking back is to get it in writing.

Now, how would you go about asking for it in writing without comming across as rude, untrusting, or ungreatfull? Though I totally agree you must have what's promised in writing, is there a tactful way of asking for it? One the one hand part of me thinks being blunt about it could earm me some respect from my future employer. But then again low time pilots are a dime a dozen and I might get brushed aside in favor for a less cautious person, in which case I guess I'm better off anyway.

I would just be nervous about questioning the intentions of the people who opened the door to the industry for me. Not saying I won't when the time comes, I just don't want to shoot myself in the foot when I just get it in the door. Thanks gang.

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Ryan, welcome to the pitfalls of the industry.

The old saying "don't bite the hand that feeds you" will keep popping-up many times in your career.

This saying has more or less relevance depending on how hungry the horse is. I suspect you are near the starvation level.

When you are starting out, just take the opportunity to work, then see what happens. If you get pushy with 100 hrs in your logbook, you may lose that offer, and that story will travel quickly, probably preventing other opportunities.

As you develop more experience at flying (and therefore, negotiating) you can try for a bit more.


Most guys that require something in writing (high or low time) do it when there is something to be exchanged between the two parties i.e. a certain amount of work or income in exchange for a certain amount of dedication to that employer.


If you are only offered the chance to sweep the hangar and wash helicopters until the boss gets to know you (with no promise of hours), in return for a basic wage...........take it and grab a broom !!


If you are offered some hours in return for a committment to work for that company for a few years....get it in writing. The employer will probably want a written agreement in this case as well.

If he doesn't want a written committment on this sort of "promised" deal........exercise some pilot judgement by doing a 180 and getting the ****-outta-there before you get screwed.


These are tough calls that you will have to make. However, if you make them correctly and get a job, you will have to make a lot of decisions that are a lot tougher when you are out flying around in the schmoo, low on fuel, -25c, late afternoon, 30 miles from camp etc. etc.


Good luck.

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Cyclic Monkey put it very well.There is just one small thing he forget.When you are running with the broom in one hand, dont forget the toilet plunger and brush in the other.Good luck.

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Don't forget even once you get that flying job don't put that plunger and broom down, Because it wont be the last time you use it.

I once saw one of our very high ups standing over a toilet with a plunger and a cleaning brush, I nearly fell over :shock: but it shows you that you are never to good to do it.

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Great info gang...thanks a ton!

Though I still have yet to do my training due to some of Murphy's Law, if all goes well I should start in the spring. So for now I'm doing my best to get a "broom and toilet brush" job as a head start. Hard enough a thing for a 100 hour fella I'm sure, even more fun with no heli training. Speaking of which... any of you on south Vancouver Island in need of a sweeper/ coffe maker/ toilet scrubber/ guy who'll give you his first born child?

Thanks again for the advice.

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Firehawk.........I wasn't scrubbing the toilet......but thanks for the kind words.

In fact I had dropped my huge pilot watch down there (the strap popped open while doing the 'paperwork'), and I was trying to get it out.

(luckily I succeeded, but was so grossed out by the thought of it all that I sold it to an engineer's kid for $50- !!!!!).

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Be careful Ryan, this is a seasonal business....especially when it comes to hiring low timers.

You should be coming OUT of training in the spring and hitting the long hard door-knocking highway over the summer!

If you leave it too late in the year you may miss the prime season, and maybe by the next hiring season you will be a little rustier than the fresh crop of wannabes.

If you can't train before next summer you may wish postpone it for a year, and earn interest on all your cash, go out on the road a few times, meet a few potential bosses, and if you are really lucky, maybe scrub some toilets.....


Other writers...........what do you think on the timing of 100 hour pups hitting the streets ???????

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