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Pool Pilot Vs Base Pilot

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But were busy and short on people (they been telling me that for the last 3 years ) some excuse. :blink:



Thats funny......I have never seen them advertising for anyone?! :clue:






My experience is that as a base pilot you are married to the job and the job comes first.

Thats fine if you are happy with that, although, the "other half" may not be?


You 'may' be able to dictate a few terms and conditions as a contract pilot, to suite your needs.


But I'm not sure being a pool pilot will always guaranty that you will only do your 4 & 2 or what ever your schedule is, something always seems to come up.

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Thanks for all of your comments. It seem's like one's choice of life style is a big player. I have to say that my employer is very fair and understanding, but at the same time it's very hard to leave my family behind. They have a few base openings, so I guess it's something my wife and I will need to discuss further. God bless her.....she has put up with alot!!!! It's interesting to read about other pilot's perspective and experiences on this issue. Does anyone have a crystal ball or magic mirror I can use? lol.


Thanks again, fly safe,



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They have a few base openings, so I guess it's something my wife and I will need to discuss further.



CJG: Don't EVER, EVER, EVER move your family for a helicopter company!!! You are much better off being separated from your family for a little while and come home to undisturbed days off.

I have seen so many times over the years people move lock stock and barrel, Wife, new school for the kids, new mortgage etc. The next thing you know the company goes belly up or they decide to close the base or have a cutback and there you are, stuck in Fort, or Prince, or Lac La Buttf-ck nowhere with no job. A classic example is that big company in the center of B.C. a few years ago. Can't remember the name, something about a mountain up north :rolleyes::rolleyes: They went bellyup and there were all those people who had moved to that Sh-thole of a town suddenly unemployed. All the pool people just made a phone call and went right back to work with other company's (myself included) and no worries about home or family.

I will always remember that poor guy in Yellowknife with that "Canadian" company when they shut the base. I was passing through with a 212 when it happened. Poor bast-rd was just devastated. He had just moved there with his family six months earlier!

Keep in mind that even the most stable appearing company can close it's doors or a base in a heartbeat!!

It's happened to me three times over the years. Luckily, I had the foresight to never move my home base (over thirty years now) so was not affected unlike the people who had moved.


One other thing, if you do decide to move make Da-n sure the company pays for EVERYTHING!!

That includes accommodation, meals, and ALL other expenses incurred until you are established in your new home. There is one "Canadian" company who usually states that "relocation allowance is not provided" WTF is that all about??

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cjg ------- "pool" vs "Base" is similar to tastes in clothes or women..........what works for you might not work for me and I got no business crappin' on your choice. We both didn't marry the same woman and we both don't have the same kids, so again......what works for me might not work at all for you. I've did both and enjoyed both, but other than that I can only tell you that when you are on base you MAKE your holidays and days off and you may find it **** hard to 'book' 2 weeks off like your peers who are working the a 'pool'.


Always keep one item in mind though, your wife didn't marry you to live alone........everything else is secondary.

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I have never had a problem getting time off. Thats what the pool guys are for. I want time off, they come to cover my base for me. Wife and I recently had our first child, I took a couple of weeks for that. She was pregnant during the summer and I never missed an ultrasound or doctors appointment. Took Christmas off, took the little guy to visit family out east-another 2 weeks off. I guess it must depend on the company but it getting time off has never been an issue for me.

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Trigger, you work for a good company, and have a good attitude.


That's the way to run a Base, look after yourself and your family, or the job can eat you alive.


Any decent customer must realize that you have to have a life as well. They have no problems taking their 2 days off every week, and taking their annual vacations, why can't you?


Shame that most companies do not pay Base as well as they do in the Pool :down:

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I haven't been in the industry all that long (5years), but one thing I have noticed is that the way people are treated within the same company varies a great deal. Some people have a hard time saying "no", or insisting on getting what they need/want. Some people earn a reputation with management as being easy to "convince" when the time comes to postpone time off or stretch rotations. If a manager knows pilot A will put up a fuss while pilot B will lay down, he'll go right to pilot B every time. I've seen base managers who are home by 1700 every night and who very rarely work weekends on busy bases, and base managers on quiet bases who work 24/7. I think it all comes down to setting your priorities and establishing boundaries with your employer.


Personally, I generally don't have problems having my rotations respected. I make it very clear from the outset that I will do everything I can to help my boss out and be flexible, as long as he does the same for me. It's a give and take arrangement. I'll never let my employer down, and they know it, but they also know that if they start abusing, I'll be going elsewhere next year, or sooner if it gets unmanageable.


My family comes first. I love to fly, but I'll leave aviation in a heartbeat if I'm put in a situation where I have to chose between aviation and family.

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I prefer a pool job with tours over a base job as well.


It really does depend on where you are living and how the company treats you though. I'm sure there are people in base jobs who absolutely love where they are.


For me, when I did the base job thing about 7 years ago, I just ended up being called away to cover guys on the seismic pool anyway, then when I went home the base manager wanted me on call all the time... :blink:


My favorite situation by far is to live where you want to and make sure it's somewhere your wife and kids want to live (or else you have bigger problems anyway). Find a good company that will give you a steady rotation with very little variation. 2 weeks on 2 weeks off is my favorite tour by far. You are gone just long enough for you to get some good nooky when you come home and your family doesn't seem to forget what you look like in 2 weeks. :prop:

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