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HEMS hiring minimums


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#21 befoster

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 11:22

Those minimums listed for AEL are as low as you will ever see. In my opinion those are even to low. Flying EMS with just 1500 hours total time is low. My company looks for 3000 total time, 300 night and prefer 200 hours instrument but will forgo that for the right pilot. Of course the VFR bases do not have the instrument requirement.

EMS is not a place you will build hours. You will be asked to fly to a deserted, dark, wire infested scene at 3am. It is not a place to come and learn decision making, your flight planing and fuel management skills should be very good. Understanding local weather patterns in area where there is not reporting is a must as well. Lastly, we are not here to "save lives". That just happened to be a byproduct of what we do. We are given a point a,b and c flight. Can it be done safely? If not, we say no. The fact that there is a injured kid, out there can not play into your decision making. If it does, one day it will come back to bite you and your crew.

The EMS jobs will always be here. If you are lower time, then I would wait it out and build up some time and experience. There have been way to many accidents in the last few years.

"In my opinion those are even too low."

Unfortunately, hour level does not consider experience. I am an Army Aviator with only 1,500 hours, however, I am certain that my experience far exceeds that of most civilian helicopter pilots that have far more flight hours.

I have flown medical evacuation missions in Afghanistan landing at unimproved LZs at over 13,000' in combat. I have crossed international borders and flown in 17 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. I have over 160 hours of actual instruments (hand flying, not fully coupled) in Europe where almost every flight between September and May involved structural icing and where instrument approaches to minimums was routine. When compared to Joe who has logged 3,000 hrs of R-22 in a traffic pattern at a non-towered airport in Indiana where the highest obstacle is 500' AGL, who has never flown in Class B airspace, who has never had to talk on the radio to four different agencies at the same time, there is just no comparison.

I am an Instructor Pilot and Instrument Examiner and I have found that hour level is largely irrelevant. I have flown with 3,000 hour aviators who are just not very good pilots and I have flown with 300 hour aviators who are gifted aviators.

It is my opinion that the hour level requirement really needs to be reanalyzed and that a different indicator of a skilled aviator needs to be developed. Hour level has little to no impact on how skilled or safe a pilot is. I understand that with increased hour level there is potential for increased experience but I think that experience needs to be evaluated. There are a thousands of pilots who have the hours but lack any real experience. There flight hours are "fluff".



#22 d10

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:04

Helicopter pilots get fairly competent at about 200 hours, and they get as good as they'll ever get, as a stick, at about 500 hours. They then lack only the weather and wind experience that comes with repeated operations under varying conditions.

 

There's no chance this is right.


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#23 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:03

Hour minima are not going away.  Operators have to have a way to weed out non-qualified pilots, and they want to do it quickly and easily.  There are no other suitable metrics that don't involve more effort than operators are willing to invest, so like it or not, fair or not, accurate or not, flight hour experience is what is used, and will be used for the foreseeable future. 


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Gomer

#24 pilot#476398

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:51

 When compared to Joe who has logged 3,000 hrs of R-22 in a traffic pattern at a non-towered airport in Indiana where the highest obstacle is 500' AGL, who has never flown in Class B airspace, who has never had to talk on the radio to four different agencies at the same time, there is just no comparison.

 

 

Wow that's a lot of time stuck in the pattern!  I don't think I'd want to fly with that guy! :lol:

 

What is an "unimproved" LZ?



#25 Flying Pig

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:22

An unimproved LZ is what mother nature gives you. Au natural.

#26 Wally

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 13:20

"In my opinion those are even too low."

Unfortunately, hour level does not consider experience. I am an Army Aviator with only 1,500 hours, however, I am certain that my experience far exceeds that of most civilian helicopter pilots that have far more flight hours.

I have flown medical evacuation missions in Afghanistan landing at unimproved LZs at over 13,000' in combat. I have crossed international borders and flown in 17 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. I have over 160 hours of actual instruments (hand flying, not fully coupled) in Europe where almost every flight between September and May involved structural icing and where instrument approaches to minimums was routine. When compared to Joe who has logged 3,000 hrs of R-22 in a traffic pattern at a non-towered airport in Indiana where the highest obstacle is 500' AGL, who has never flown in Class B airspace, who has never had to talk on the radio to four different agencies at the same time, there is just no comparison.

I am an Instructor Pilot and Instrument Examiner and I have found that hour level is largely irrelevant. I have flown with 3,000 hour aviators who are just not very good pilots and I have flown with 300 hour aviators who are gifted aviators.

It is my opinion that the hour level requirement really needs to be reanalyzed and that a different indicator of a skilled aviator needs to be developed. Hour level has little to no impact on how skilled or safe a pilot is. I understand that with increased hour level there is potential for increased experience but I think that experience needs to be evaluated. There are a thousands of pilots who have the hours but lack any real experience. There flight hours are "fluff".

There it is: Exactly why the industry prefers military pilots. A couple more years and a few 100 more hours...

 

Not that there aren't any good civilian aviators at 1000, 1500 hours. Two of the best I ever worked with were 100% civilian, I'd be hard pressed to exclude either as the absolute best. At a couple-three thousand hours they would be, will be in one case, the best HEMS pilots I've ever seen...

 

The issue isn't stick-stiring at any level above the certiificate in being able to do this job. It's a matter of pure and simple experience in an alien environment- flying. The world looks different above the trees because it is different.

 

We'll see if the industry and regulators can create enough acronyms, forms and checklists, operational control and safety management systems to affect HEMS safety. My bet- and I'd bet everything I own on this- is that that won't change anything.


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#27 eagle5

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 13:21

"In my opinion those are even too low."

Unfortunately, hour level does not consider experience. I am an Army Aviator with only 1,500 hours, however, I am certain that my experience far exceeds that of most civilian helicopter pilots that have far more flight hours.

I have flown medical evacuation missions in Afghanistan landing at unimproved LZs at over 13,000' in combat. I have crossed international borders and flown in 17 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. I have over 160 hours of actual instruments (hand flying, not fully coupled) in Europe where almost every flight between September and May involved structural icing and where instrument approaches to minimums was routine. When compared to Joe who has logged 3,000 hrs of R-22 in a traffic pattern at a non-towered airport in Indiana where the highest obstacle is 500' AGL, who has never flown in Class B airspace, who has never had to talk on the radio to four different agencies at the same time, there is just no comparison.

I am an Instructor Pilot and Instrument Examiner and I have found that hour level is largely irrelevant. I have flown with 3,000 hour aviators who are just not very good pilots and I have flown with 300 hour aviators who are gifted aviators.

It is my opinion that the hour level requirement really needs to be reanalyzed and that a different indicator of a skilled aviator needs to be developed. Hour level has little to no impact on how skilled or safe a pilot is. I understand that with increased hour level there is potential for increased experience but I think that experience needs to be evaluated. There are a thousands of pilots who have the hours but lack any real experience. There flight hours are "fluff".

 

Sure you've got Joe beat, but he probably has some personal issues that have kept him in the pattern for so long!

 

Fred on the other hand is a 3000hr civilian CFI who spent 1000hrs teaching in the R22/R44 in some of the busiest airspace in the country, LA, then 500hrs flying an Astar in Alaska, then 500hrs flying an EC130 around the Grand Canyon, then finally 1000hrs flying a 407 in the GOM.  I'll bet he could give you a run for your money!

 

However, I do agree with you that bulk flight hours is a lousy way to measure pilots!  I also agree with Gomer though,...that this will never change!



#28 UH60L-IP

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 14:42

 I am an Army Aviator with only 1,500 hours, however, I am certain that my experience far exceeds that of most civilian helicopter pilots that have far more flight hours.

 

Your ego is obviously much larger too. 1500 hours and an "I'm an awesome helicopter pilot" attitude who can do such things as landing at unimproved LZs in a dual pilot aircraft designed to do just that will get you a smoking hole in the ground because your actual abilities don't quite live up to who you think you are. You obviously know that, because like me, you have gone through the military IP course and consider your "1500 hour military is better than 3000 civilian attitude" to be a sure sign of overconfidence as referenced in chapter 5 of the .33 and in the FOI manual.

 

However, being that I was first a civilian rotary wing commercial pilot prior to joining the Army I'll play both sides.

 

The Army produces some good aviators. The Army also produces some very poor aviators that have no business in aviation - but the Army doesn't care because you are an officer first and pilot second. No matter how bad you suck you can't really get fired from Uncle Sam until your contract is up and even then you might stay based upon that whole officer first thing and you happen to be good at that. Then your military is best, we can do anything attitude, trickles down to the WOJG who actually believes you and starts mimicking your dangerous beliefs. Before you know it, especially as an IP, you have produced many 1000 hour ass-clowns who cannot think on their own because of all the oversight and lack of an ability to manage themselves.

 

All that being said, you can get some awesome experience flying varied missions in the Army. If you choose to you can stand out and excel. You can fly some far off lands and gain that experience. That is valuable.

 

Don't discount the straight up civilian pilots. Most military aviators may not realize this but you can learn a heck of a lot flying a traffic pattern. There's something about flying a light ship with CG issues. You think being a military IP is tough. Try being a brand new 200 hour CFI who's trying to take Mr. Zero Hour Pilot from nothing to autos. Instructing is where you learn a ton. And I would argue that most, by the time they reach 3000 hours, have been a number of places and done a number of things. That's not all Robbie time unless someone is really stuck in the mud. In fact, these civi pilots don't always get the oversight the Army does. They actually have to make their own decisions about weather, risk, and don't get the benefit of daily crew briefings from weather, intel, you name it. They actually have to know what the heck they are doing and open a book, power up a laptop, look outside, and have the intellect to make some calls. When they take off they may have never flown to where they are headed. They just might have to navigate that airspace on the fly with a sectional instead of being in a two pilot aircraft, followed by another two pilot chase bird, using updated map datum and strip charts they looked over for mindless hours before take-off. 

 

Hey buddy. I'm both a civilian pilot (CFII) and a military IP. I've got more hours than you. I'm better than some civilians and worse than others. The fact that I know that I am not God's gift to aviation is likely what will keep me alive until retirement.

 

Do yourself a favor and take yourself down a notch. You'll live longer. About the only thing I agree with you on is the fact that hours alone are not the best indicator, but they are an indicator of sorts nonetheless.


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#29 Velocity173

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 14:55

 

Sure you've got Joe beat, but he probably has some personal issues that have kept him in the pattern for so long!

 

Fred on the other hand is a 3000hr civilian CFI who spent 1000hrs teaching in the R22/R44 in some of the busiest airspace in the country, LA, then 500hrs flying an Astar in Alaska, then 500hrs flying an EC130 around the Grand Canyon, then finally 1000hrs flying a 407 in the GOM.  I'll bet he could give you a run for your money!

 

However, I do agree with you that bulk flight hours is a lousy way to measure pilots!  I also agree with Gomer though,...that this will never change!

 

   

 

You forgot two important things. Joe's done all that single pilot and flying a type aircraft that most likely his future employer uses. While not a job requirement those were things mentioned in my interview that they look for. I had neither one of them and still got hired. Still, there are plenty of civilians who never flew in the military and have developed quite a set of skills necessary to do EMS.

 

I don't think my military experience played much of a role in getting hired. Combat flying in dual pilot, twin engine aircraft doesn't relate much to single pilot and single engine EMS. Sometimes the urgency and rapid decision making can feel the same but that's about it.  Now if I was applying for some  DOD contract job that operates similar aircraft and mission, well then my experience would be valuable and some cases required.

 

Some of us have said this before, employers want hours to reduce insurance costs. When I fill out my annual insurance data update, they ask for ratings and total hours, not how well I did pinnacles in Afghanistan. 


Edited by Velocity173, 21 September 2013 - 14:56.


#30 befoster

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 15:17

I was not trying to imply that I have superior flying skills to any civilian helicopter pilot. I am sure that most of the civilian pilots out there can "give me a run for my money". I was merely trying to give an exaggerated scenario to illustrate that the system is broken. I am certain that there are civilian pilots out there with less hours than I have that are better pilots than I am. I just think that merely looking at flight hours is a poor way to determine how much risk a company is assuming by hiring a given pilot. Even within the military there is vast differences in the quality of flight time. There are many Army pilots who have accumulated 1,000's of hours flying ring routes (resupply missions) just following the aircraft leading them from place to place and have no real quality behind there flight hours.

I agree, it will never change. Flight hours have been the standard indicator from the beginning. It is just an unfortunate fact.

#31 JDHelicopterPilot

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 01:24

The vast majority of HEMS accidents are IIMC related, hitting towers, wires and engine failures. A high power to weight helicopter is not going to get you out of that mess.

I won't get involved in the Military vs Civillian pilot discussion. Truth be told, each has its benefits and negatives.

I also want to point out accidents as of late have involved high time, low time, Civillian and former Military pilots. It has not involved just one demographic. What does that tell you?
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#32 Goldy

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 01:30

The vast majority of HEMS accidents are IIMC related, hitting towers, wires and engine failures. A high power to weight helicopter is not going to get you out of that mess.

I won't get involved in the Military vs Civillian pilot discussion. Truth be told, each has its benefits and negatives.

I also want to point out accidents as of late have involved high time, low time, Civillian and former Military pilots. It has not involved just one demographic. What does that tell you?

It tells me we all have the same brain and were not very good at using it sometimes.....


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#33 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 12:02

When I was going through training at my current employer, one of the pilots in the new-hire class was a retired CW5.  He had been flying for a long time, had lots of hours, but almost all of them in two-pilot aircraft.  One day he just didn't show up.  He realized that flying a single-engine aircraft at night, by himself, was beyond what he was comfortable doing.  Doing everything himself, with no help and no AFCS was taxing his capabilities.  There is more to it than just moving the controls.  

 

I think the theme of this thread is coming down to the fact that some pilots have flown thousands of hours, and some have flown one hour thousands of times.  I don't think it has much to do with whether the hours were in military or civilian aircraft, it has to do with the pilot and his (or her) attitude.


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Best Regards,

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#34 Spike

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 13:13

The civilian vs. military BS is pure bunk. Both have their pros and cons and neither is superior… The only superiority lies in the minds of those who’ve never experience the opposite discipline….. In the end, it boils down to the individual. That is, can you arrive at an operation and demonstrate good flying skills with acceptable decision making qualities and, exceptional judgment with minimum input from supervision and be productive, almost immediately, with little training?  If you can, regardless of the color of your clothes during initial training, you should be good to go…... And yes, I purposely didn’t use the words “safe” and “attitude” because if you don’t understand the importance of these qualities, then square-one is where you should go……….


Edited by Spike, 22 September 2013 - 13:14.

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#35 aeroscout

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 13:59

Insurance doesn't want pilots to do anything they haven't already done. And that just covers the safe experiences.



#36 eagle5

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 14:22

When I was going through training at my current employer, one of the pilots in the new-hire class was a retired CW5.  He had been flying for a long time, had lots of hours, but almost all of them in two-pilot aircraft.  One day he just didn't show up.  He realized that flying a single-engine aircraft at night, by himself, was beyond what he was comfortable doing.  Doing everything himself, with no help and no AFCS was taxing his capabilities.  There is more to it than just moving the controls.  

 

I think the theme of this thread is coming down to the fact that some pilots have flown thousands of hours, and some have flown one hour thousands of times.  I don't think it has much to do with whether the hours were in military or civilian aircraft, it has to do with the pilot and his (or her) attitude.

 

That's funny, because I'm the complete opposite!  I love flying at night in a single engine by myself, but I would never apply to a two pilot job, because I like to be the one in control of the aircraft all the time,...and I prefer to be alone!

 

...have no desire to fly HEMS though. :D



#37 SBuzzkill

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 14:52

Working with a copilot can be a great experience, especially when you're doing things that cannot be done single pilot.  Don't knock it until you try it.

 

The question that has been bugging me has been how a pilot gets the instrument time necessary to get hired for an IFR base.  I'm certainly not going to get it in my current position flying a single engine VFR aircraft.  When it comes time for me to leave the Army what sort of jobs should I be looking for?


Edited by SBuzzkill, 22 September 2013 - 14:54.


#38 Velocity173

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 19:36

Working with a copilot can be a great experience, especially when you're doing things that cannot be done single pilot.  Don't knock it until you try it.
 
The question that has been bugging me has been how a pilot gets the instrument time necessary to get hired for an IFR base.  I'm certainly not going to get it in my current position flying a single engine VFR aircraft.  When it comes time for me to leave the Army what sort of jobs should I be looking for?

Not sure if any of the companies have wiggle room on the IFR requirements. You'd have to go to a VFR base until you build the instrument actual / simulated hrs in your spare time. Still, in the company I work for pay isn't much higher for IFR positions and you get checked semiannually.

I'd prefer the IFR platform over VFR because of the second engine but I went with location over type aircraft. I'd rather make a couple grand less a year to live where I want over SPIFR in an undesirable location.

Edited by Velocity173, 22 September 2013 - 19:37.

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#39 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 19:37

You can build some instrument time flying offshore.  Elsewhere, it can be difficult.


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#40 JDHelicopterPilot

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 11:48

As Gomer said, off-shore in the GOM is the best and easiest place to get IFR/IMC time. That said, it is all done dual pilot not single pilot. So, be prepared for that. It is a lot different doing IFR single pilot. For some the transition from a dual pilot S-92 into a light twin can be a challenge. I can understand why.

Some companies will take a pilot with very little or no IMC time and move them into SPIFR operations. A lot of this is dependent on the individual pilots attitude, personality and if the company feels the pilot is ready and able to handle it.
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