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Old 01-16-2004, 00:42   #1
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commercial helicopter work

Well, long story short but I am kinda in a mid life and am trying to figure out my options. One of them is getting my commercial then my CFI. I am able to fund my training up till that point but then will need to instruct to get near 1000hrs for a non instruction type job.
This has to be an actual career path. Not interested in just getting my private.
So is this really a possibility? Will I be able to find an instructing job? Are plane pilots having employment issues lately? I am afraid that eventually they will migrate over to the helicopter jobs. On the other hand many people have said that many fixed wing pilots wont fly helicopters.
I love to fly, and am not worried about the career itself, just the feasability of it becoming a real paying job.
Any advice appreciated.
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Old 01-17-2004, 23:35   #2
M2 Carbine
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modgun, I haven't been keeping up with the industry that close but it's hard to get into commercial helicopter flying without at least 1000 hours rotorcraft time.
The flood of high time Viet Nam chopper pilots is fast coming to an end so helicopter companies will have to hire lower time pilots and try to keep them on jobs where they hopefully don't kill themselves as they get some experience.

My last chopper job was in the oil industry and the oil companies were also trying to protect themselves by having rules such as a pilot couldn't fly for them unless they had so much time "in the Gulf" and so much time in the aircraft, etc.
It was to the point that a new hire with two or three thousand hours couldn't fly for hardly anyone.
I'de go on vacation and I almost had to give my personal word that the pilot taking my place was safe to do the job.

So having a commercial and CFI and a few hundred expensive helicopter hours isn't likely to get you a helicopter instructor job.

The catch 22 is probably worse now than in the past.
You can't get the job because you don't have experience and you can't get experience because you can't get the job.;Q
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Old 01-18-2004, 03:34   #3
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Bluntly, you're probably not going to get one that way unless you're willing to take jobs that have a life expectancies in hours.

I was an Army Instructor Pilot who went out and found an FAA designee and got CFI, Commercial, Rotary Wing.

I got out of the Army with 1,500 hours and found that for most jobs they're looking for about 2,500-3,000 hours for minimum. Yes, minimum.

My 10 years in aviation, 1,500 hours was about average. Some I went to flight school with ended up with about 2,000, some were fighting to get over 1,000. One buddy just broke 5,000.

Some of the high timers would tell you that with my time they would either have to fly with me for a couple days to decide if I was safe or they would say flat out NO.

Give it 10 years, though. All the Vietnam vets will be out and the places that were so picky will be happy to get lower time people because that's all there will be.

Isn't that depressing? Something you love but cannot do because you're still a kid, timewise, with more time than most civil aviation people will ever see. *sigh*

Oh, I'm a geek now doing malicious code, intrusions, and cracking investigations.

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"The way I see it as soon as a baby is born, he should be issued a banjo!"- Linus Van Pelt
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Old 01-18-2004, 19:29   #4
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I feel your pain Modgun

I started at about 23 to get my Private and and then hopefully my Commercial Pilots License. I gave up by 25, the reason, Facts, Reality set in..

One place I had to drive to was Cullman Alabama to get insturction in a very old TH-55 by a man named Joe Green Ex Military, A hell of a guy, and a hell of an old bird. The rate was $165.00 complete with instructor. Bad thing was the 2.5 hour drive from Rome Ga. via bad 2 lane roads, no interstates, and only a few 4 lanes though the 1 major town Gadsden.

So I found a place called Prestige helicopters at PDK in Atlanta. Rate complete total per hour was at that time $210.00. Better drive, good people, still go to PDK to see helicopter heaven, PDK has more civilian helicopters in one place than I have ever seen in my life.

After about 6 months it was just too much to fly and live. In my case I was paying out of pocket one hour at a time to get my Private then Commercial and hopefully a CFI Job.
Tired a loan, got laughed out of the office. But what finally finished me off was talking to people who actually ran the schools, and the business owners who I would be a future prospect for. Its the insurance rates. The lawyers and the insurance companies created this problem. Now the insurance companies are going to have to rethink, the whole 1500 - 2000 hr. min. The ex vietnam era pilots pool is not drying up, BUT just about dried up. Currently the DOD is paying a lot of money to keep pilots in the loop longer hoping they wong leave for the civillian life. I heard of Apache pilots getting a $12,000.00 bonus to say on for a certian number of years.
HerrGlock and M2 Carbine tell the absolute truth, they are pilots.

In the end I gave up becuase after all the calculations I would have my CFI around 40 years old.. Still trying to get my private, though I only have 20 hours total.

Now I fly the 3 meter turbine powered R/C helis.
Oh Well atleast I get the jet smell and the rotor noise. ~1 ~2
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:09   #5
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The only way you can get into commercial flying helicopter is through the military and even then it's hard.
Do what I did: I found a way to make a good living and take the Robinson 22/44 when ever you have the time/money and fly where you like to!

See here landing at our house video, the hauling voice is a friend from Germany filming!

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Last edited by MarcDW; 01-19-2004 at 06:25..
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