Jump to content

Pool Pilot Vs Base Pilot


Recommended Posts

I'm wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are. Currently I'm in the "pool" and pondering the idea of a base job. Yes, I am married with one child and another on it's way. I've heard that base pilots are married to their base with very little time off. Is there any merrit to that? Any comments from people with first hand knowledge or that have seen both sides of the coin is appreciated..... Please fill me in with your experiences!!!!!



cjg :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 22
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I have been on both sides. Did the pool thing for a couple of years and then moved to a base job which I have been doing for a couple of years now. The nice thing with a base job is that you are home more often than not but saying that you carry a company cell phone and when it rings you go. I am not sure where you will be doing your base job but I am in northern Alberta so I have most of the winter "off", whereas a pool person would be doing regular babysitting rotations through the various bases. My wife and I have talked about the pros and cons to both and here is the list so far:


Pool Pros-you can plan vactions for your time off

-days off are actually days off

-work can be varied and thus stays interesting

-you can live wherever you want


Cons-you are away more often than not

-camp living conditions can be horrible

-your young children don't understand why you are gone then home then gone again


Base Pros-home more often than not-especially in the winter

-children are much happier as they see dad or mom more often

-you get to know the customers very well and know what is expected

-better chance for advancement within the company-just my opinion-shows loyalty

and commitment to the company

-chance at higher pay-base guys are hard to find for northern bases-again just my opinion


Cons-most days off you haven't flown yet but just wait the cell WILL ring

-mostly small northern towns far away from civilization-closest movie theatre is 2 1/2

hours from me.

-schools may not be as good as in the big city

-cutting grass, shovelling snow, mopping the hangar, babysitting pool guys are just some

of the fun things that you get to do on your days "off"

-flying the same jobs day in and day out can get boring and can lead to complacency

-depending on location groceries and other everyday items WILL be more expensive


I realize that the cons of the base pilot are much longer than the pool pilot but saying all that faced with the choice again my wife and I would do this again in a heart beat. Nothing like coming home from a long day and being greeted at the door by your smiling kids. Again most of that list is just my opinion and others may have had different experiences. I went from being away 300+ days per year to being home 300+ days a year. I hope this helps and good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done both and for me the pool works better. I have been working in a situation where I work 140-165 days a year, decent money, not huge. Lot's of time off with the family, to putter, to holiday.


The base was worse money, a day off every 12-16, almost never 2 in a row. I think I'm doing pretty well with my current situation, however, it's very hard to leave the little one for 3 weeks at a time!


Just my 2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Iam a base pilot now and the more I work around the pool/contract guys the more Iam starting to lean that way. i have no schedule what so ever i work my tour come home and hear "well take tomorrow off and then we will go from there", so two-three days later Iam gone again for another tour or half tour and that goes on all summer and winter. 90% of the time I have no idea how long. Most of the time Iam filling in for the pool guys when there on there time off, then off to another camp to do it all over again. It gets frustrating when your working next to a guy doing the same things but he can tell you how long he or she is going to be there and then how long there going to be off for. For me that means a lot. But were busy and short on people (they been telling me that for the last 3 years ) some excuse. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A pool pilot is a pilot that travels from base to base, field job to field job, filling in everywhere the company/customer needs them, where as a base pilot flies out of a fixed location (town) for the company. A pool pilot generally works a shift of X weeks on/ X weeks off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



A pool pilot or engineer tends to be a pilot or wrench who has enough experience to do just about any job for the company. The idea is that they can be sent to any of the company's machines and take over the job regardless of what it is. That isn't to say that a base pilot/engineer couldn't do the job too though.


Pool positions tend to be with larger companies that have multiple machines in multiple locations. The up side for the company is that they have the services of the pilot or wrench for a specified time and can therefore put them wherever they want while that pool person is "on-shift".


The up-side for the pool employee is that just as you have scheduled "time-on", you also have scheduled "time-off". While you may have to be away for an extended period of time from your family or loved ones while on shift, you also get to be home with them during your time-off and you know exactly when you have to go back to work. Makes planning a holiday etc. much easier.


I work three weeks-on, three weeks-off for my rotation. Its not easy to be away from my wife, daughter and family while at work, but it sure is great to be home for 21 days in a row when I get my time off.


Clearly, each person has their own take on the "pool thing" and it will be up to you and your employer to figure out which option works best.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent the last year doing contract. The time off was great, but. Was supposed to work 3 on 3 off. But that never happened. The only thing i new for sure, was i wouldn't be gone more than 42 days. Never new what day i would go back to work. Making plans to do anything was very difficult. So i went back to the base job. It feels good to sleep in my own bed. I guess it really depends on the out fit you work for and how they treat you.


My 2 cents

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ya know, pool vs base pilot job comes down to your lifestyle you (and your family) choose.


While I've done both base and pool, I'm in the pool now for a couple of reasons:

- live where I want to live

- variety of work

- can plan to do things/go places on time off

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...