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Old 03-11-2004, 16:52   #1
C150J
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Helo Guys - Flight Time

Since there seems to be an abundance of former military rotorheads on here, I thought I'd ask:

How many hours did you fly during a week when operational? How about non-operational? How long is a usual (if there is such a thing) mission?

Just curious, as there's obviously a huge disparity between your logs and a C-17 driver's (not that more is better, of course!)...


Thanks!
J.
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Old 03-12-2004, 16:22   #2
M2 Carbine
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J,
I was one of the lucky few National Guard and Reserves that got the Army flight school before it was closed to them in about 66.

In the Guard Unit I generally flew more than any 3 other pilots trying to build up time to get a flying job.
I flew a lot on my own time.
Once the Maintenance Officer asked me if I thought this was my own private flying club.

In 66, back at the Army flight school as an instructor I averaged about 3 hours a day.
Then also, I flew my Stinson and also "noonlighted" instructing helicopters and fixed wing, for a few more hours logged a week.

Flying in the Gulf, was a big time builder. I was on mostly 7 to 8 hour a day jobs. That was with a 14 hour duty day.
Again flying more than a lot of the other pilots.

In 1989 they gave me an award for 10,000 hours with the company.
A while before that Bell Helicopter gave me a safety award for 9,000 accident free hours in Bell helicopters.

A few years later someone checked the computers for high time in aircraft.
I had the high time with about 13,000 hours in the Bell 206 series.

Anyhow I retired with 22,917 hours logged and at least another 4 or 5 hundred that I never logged.

I'm still flying a PPC but flight time comes slow in that bird.
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Old 03-12-2004, 20:23   #3
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Wow, that a serriously fat log book. Particularly for rotor craft. If you figure wet time in a helo at $150/hour that's 3.4 Million of flight time.

Quote:
Originally posted by M2 Carbine
A few years later someone checked the computers for high time in aircraft.
I had the high time with about 13,000 hours in the Bell 206 series.
So they offered you a high paying consultant job when you retired..... right?




Quote:
....and at least another 4 or 5 hundred that I never logged.
Cause you'd have to kill anyone who looked at your log book if you'd written them in?
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Old 03-12-2004, 22:26   #4
M2 Carbine
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Originally posted by Wulfenite
Wow, that a serriously fat log book. Particularly for rotor craft. If you figure wet time in a helo at $150/hour that's 3.4 Million of flight time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The turbine helicopters were pretty expensive.
I didn't much keep up with rates but I think,
The 206 (Jet Ranger) cost about $30,000+ a month before I turned a blade, then it was about $150+ extra per flight hour.

I think the 407 was about $70,000+ a month and $300 extra an hour.



---------------------------------------------------------------------
So they offered you a high paying consultant job when you retired..... right?
---------------------------------------------------------------------
No, Bell Helicopter didn't care what a pilot thinks.
A friend (that worked for Bell) did introduce me to a Bell "wheel" once as, "The highest time 206 pilot in the Gulf".
The wheel asked me what I thought about the 206. I said, "In X number of years and X thousands of hours the 206 has never put me in the water. It's a hell of a machine, but the seats suck. After about 3, 8 hour flying days the seats will kill your ass and back."



--------------------------------------------------------------------
Cause you'd have to kill anyone who looked at your log book if you'd written them in?
--------------------------------------------------------------------
After I had logged a lot of time I'd do stuff like have a new guy log all the time if we both flew a ferry flight or pilot transfer, etc.
With especially a low time pilot, if it didn't make any difference on the paperwork when I was finishing it at the end of the day, I'de write them in with the lion's share of time.

One 8 day period I flew a man's helicopter (Hiller) from the coast and back and around home, for maintenance and joy rides.
I lost track of the individual flight times so I didn't bother entering any of it in my log book. I just told the owner the total time.

Then whenever I took anyone for a ride in the company helicopters I never bothered logging it. We did those "customer relations" flghts a lot up to about the early 1990's.

One day offshore when my 206 broke a skid cross tube on landing and my passengers and I had to bum a ride to Galveston, we were picked up by a Galveston Sikorsky S76.
The copilot gave me his seat and I flew us back in. I'de never even ridden in a S76 before so I didn't log that time.
Good thing there wasn't a company wheel at Galveston when I landed or there would have been 3 fired pilots.;f

Last edited by M2 Carbine; 03-12-2004 at 22:30..
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:37   #5
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I've got less than M2C at 4 tenths of an hour. Without more training, I've really got to pick my weather days carefully!!
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Old 03-19-2004, 21:30   #6
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C150J,
(Army) Everyone has "minimums" and in peacetime, that's about all we get. Ours are 140 hrs a year with NVG, Night, Hood, Sim, and NBC requirements included as part of that total.

During the more exciting times, you fly what you have to. My slowest year was probably 100 hrs and busiest year probably 300 (military time).

Mission times vary. Our fuel endurance is typically 2.5 hours but "hot" refuel allows us to continue the mission without too much interruption. Typical peacetime missions back at the ranch are 1.5-2.5 hrs. Our current mission requires a lot of patrolling so our flights can be 4 to 6 hours or more but it does still vary. Our "Crew Rest/Fighter Management" policy allows us to fly up to 8 hours of day flight or 5 hours of NVG flight in a 24 hour period. To exceed that requires an extension approved by specific Command levels.

You are right, there is typically a disparity between fixed wing and rotary wing logbooks. NVG, terrain flight, and 40 lbs of body armor and assorted junk strapped to you make every hour that much more fatiguing. We can't hand it to "George", read the paper, and wake up at the initial aproach fix six hours later. (and yes, I know that you jet and Herc guys sometimes use NVGs) ;f

Each hour in a military helicopter pilot's logbook is dearly earned. (which makes M2 Carbine's logbook even that much more impressive. You don't run into many folks in his league) ;W
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Old 03-19-2004, 22:26   #7
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AirCav, thanks for the kind words.

And especially, thanks for your service.;?




Be careful buddy.

Buck
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Old 03-19-2004, 23:10   #8
C150J
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Thanks Everyone!

Aircav - what are AD helo pilots typically doing once they leave the military nowadays?

Thanks!
J.

PS - I'm looking at the WOFT program, hence all the questions. I might be up for a fixed-wing ANG UPT slot, but I'd be equally as happy serving AD in the Army.
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Old 03-20-2004, 16:30   #9
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M2 Carbine,

I'm not a pilot and, if I have choice between driving and flying, I'll drive every time, but there were times that I had to go up in our FW's or Rangers, usually to get surveillance photos.

I enjoy your posts. Please keep them coming,

John
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Old 03-21-2004, 13:46   #10
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flight time

Flight time per year varies a lot, military as well as civilian. My first year flying in the military was in Viet Nam and I got 1200 hours. That was a lot of flying but far, far, from the really high time folks. I got 800 hours second tour but only 3000 the other 18 years in the Army so you can see that there were years that time was hard to get (mid 70's fuel crisis etc). In the civilian side, the customer decides what he can afford to fly. The bottom line is everything. Some years at 600 hours and some at 300. EMS folks have a lot of wait time and some only get 200/year. You fly what you can get and be happy to fly!! Beats working for a living, right Buck?
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Old 03-21-2004, 15:03   #11
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Quote:
Aircav - what are AD helo pilots typically doing once they leave the military nowadays?
I'm only Active Duty temporarily. (I hope) I kind of thought that I was done with that. I left active duty in '92 and now am just in the National Guard. (One weekend a month my ***!) We are activated for about a year.

I can tell you what I did when I left the Army. A little bit of everything. Home remodeling, concrete work, Pepsi route salesman, dump truck driver/heavy equip operator, CNC lathe operator. In other words, Do Not join the military in order to secure a cool civilian job. I'd be proud of you if you chose to serve but make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.

My civilian flying career took a while to materialize. It's very competitive out here. (It's getting better for helicopter pilots but you're still far from a "shoe-in" after leaving the military) I've been a corporate Bell 206 pilot and am currently (well, in my real life) an EMS pilot. I'm very happy doing that, I feel pretty lucky. I can't wait to get back to it.

Most of us in the industry caution people and sometimes even discourage folks from pursuing our vocation but still, here we are. Just don't plan on becoming wealthy or getting a lot of respect (to a lot of folks, we're nothing more than flying bus drivers - no disrespect to bus drivers, I'm just saying it's not that glamorous).

There's also not a lot of money to be had. The high-paying gigs are few and far in between. Still, I love it. I'll be doing it until I lose my medical, I'm sure.

As with most pilots, I love to talk about flying so feel free to PM me or ask here if you have any other questions. Good luck to you.

Last edited by AirCav; 11-12-2005 at 23:47..
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:17   #12
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AirCav

I don't know if you talked to Petroleum Helicopters in the past.
They are into the hospital helicopter operations.
They only fly two pilot and mostly use the S-76.
They have hired pilots in the cities where they get contracts, especially when they can't get a Gulf pilot to move.

The pay has gotten much better.
Might be better than what you have going.
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Old 03-22-2004, 17:55   #13
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M2 Carbine,
The last time that I talked to PHI was in '92, when I left the Army. They didn't even offer an interview at that time. It's a cyclic business.

I have a few friends working the oil patch so I'm somewhat familiar with PHI/Air Log, etc. I'm sure that they are fine companies. I do think that there are some benefits to a "hospital-based" vs "vendor-based" EMS operation, though.

I've considered the GOM from time to time (especially now that the starting pay is reasonable) but I think that I'm going to ride this pony for a while longer. If I still have a job waiting when the Guard's done with me, I'll owe my boss for a while. If things change, I might hit you up for some advice. Thanks.
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