Where would a rated low hour pilot find AG work? Where would jobs like that most likely be posted? Ive been looking but cant seem to find out how most pilots break into the world of AG flying Thanks for any replies
Entry Level Ag work
Posted 29 June 2013 - 16:44
Posted 29 June 2013 - 16:59
I'm guessing "rated, low hour pilot" means CFII under 1000hrs? Entry level jobs are rarely ever posted, you have to either know someone, or just simply drive around and inquire with these operators in person!
For what its worth last month there was an ad on JH from an AG company looking for a truck driver. If you have a CDL that is a good way in,...so I've been told.
Edited by eagle5, 29 June 2013 - 17:24.
Posted 29 June 2013 - 18:21
Posted 29 June 2013 - 20:40
You won't get hire to fly any ag work. Even with 1000+ hr but no ag experience. You should find out where the operators are that you want to work at and go talk to them or at least call them and shoot for a ground position. That's the most common way to get into ag. It's hard to find operators because many don't have websites. The NAAA website helps and there's one for each state; CAAA for Colorado or California. Ag work is usually posted in the late winter - spring if at all. Good luck.
Posted 29 June 2013 - 22:59
I dont fly Ag, but the issue with your time is that getting hired to be a ground crew, is just that..... you have a job to do as a ground crew. Its not a pilot training position. You are in the same boat as everyone else. Build time and then specialize when the chance comes. Unless you are somehow connected to an Ag operator, there is no quick way in I doubt. At 259hrs, You would be dead after your first couple of passes.
- aussiecop likes this
Posted 01 July 2013 - 12:51
Having some experience with an operator on the ground mixing and fueling would go a long way to getting into the ag business. That being said, ag is no joke and without a doubt is some of the most dangerous and grueling flying you can do.
You will have times in your career where you are in over your head. Anyone who disagrees hasn't flown for a commercial operator. Everything from teaching auto's, to flying your first tour in a helicopter you don't have much time in, to slinging your first load of Christmas trees. The trick is; don't let yourself get WAY in over your head......like doing ag work at 250 hours.
It takes time, but keep doing the CFI gig and try to crack into tours in a bigger helicopter. I've heard a lot of guys say they are trying to "avoid having to go do tours in Vegas or Alaska." I can only speak for myself, but when I did it, I had tons of fun and it allows you to learn a more complex aircraft without having a very complex job to do.
Enjoy the ride!
Posted 05 July 2013 - 22:18
Im completely willing to do the CFI work and tours to build hours but after that how do you get into AG work with no prior ag experience? Say 2000 TT around 800 turbine?
Posted 05 July 2013 - 23:03
Posted 11 July 2013 - 15:58
Cut your teeth and prove your worth on the nurse truck, in time ( a year or 2) they will let you ferry and eventually do 137 ops. Knocking on doors is your best bet, once you land the job you have to work your but off to prove you're worth the owner taking a chance on you.
Posted 11 July 2013 - 18:32
I recently saw an ad from Chem-Air for a CDL ground crew position. They seem like a decent sized company with room for advancement?
Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:20
A friend of mine started flying AG with 80 hours in helicopters...he had 10,000 hours fixed wing AG time tho...
Posted 04 August 2013 - 18:53
Every AG operator I have talked to wants you to be on the ground for minimum of 1 year but up to 5 years. You have to know the whole operation inside and out from the ground up. You have to know exactly what every crew member is doing so in order to help eliminate any mistakes. Once this has been done then you will be showed how to operate the aircraft and nav systems then start doing clean outs and ferrying. Back in the day it was not unheard of for most AG pilots to start out with as little as 150hrs. It's not AG work but, I know a female pilot who started flying her Dad's Huey and logging the day after her Comm checkride. If your serious about being an AG pilot, I would recommend getting your Class A CDL with Hazmat and tanker endorsements. Start driving truck and working on the ground.
Posted 04 August 2013 - 21:30
Do you need experience as a truck driver, or will they hire someone fresh out of truck driving school?
Posted 19 February 2014 - 12:44
Ag pilot here.
What everyone else is saying is basically correct. You're going to start out on a truck if you've never previously flown ag before. It is a good place to learn. You'll be amazed what you actually learned by watching another ag pilot when its finally your turn.
The work is hard and usually shitty, the season is long, and the job will kill you in a blink of an eye. But the pay is very good (as far as rotor pilots go) and having the off season to do whatever you want is nice.
- DanceswithCyclic likes this
Posted 06 March 2014 - 23:06
A fresh cdl would be fine.
I talked with Applebee Aviation back in 2012 when I was fresh out of CDL School with Class A Hazmat/tankers endorsed. They do some Ag work, but It sounded like they wanted their drivers/groundcrew to have experience driving log trucks. I guess they do a lot of forestry type work and don't want you smoking the clutch out on their trucks
Edited by hooked4life, 06 March 2014 - 23:09.
Posted 06 March 2014 - 23:32
I talked to applebee as well, it sounded like they want dedicated ground guys, not ground guys hoping to fly one day.
Edited by cryesis, 06 March 2014 - 23:33.
Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:07
At 259hrs, You would be dead after your first couple of passes.
Isn't this a little bit dramatic? Are you saying a 259 hr pilot is not capable of piloting a helicopter close to the ground and making sure they avoid hitting stuff? I feel like thats what Ag flying boils down to.
I was very blessed to be given an Ag job when I had very low time, yet here I am. When I went through Ag training I was not taught some magical new skill to keep me alive. I was taught to combine several skills into to one very fast paced job. Yes, it can kill you before you know what happened, but to say that someone with low time cannot will kill themselves is not giving that pilot enough credit.
I am going to stop ranting now because this is just bringing back old feeling I had when I first came into the industry. I knew I was going to be flying Ag, I was the one responsible for getting the business started where I am working, so I made as many calls to older pilots as I could for advice. What I got was people telling me not to do it. That was not helpful. What I needed and found from a few people was solid advice and cautions because I was so low time. I knew that I was getting into something that could kill me, couldn't any job in the industry do the same? I am thankful for the more seasoned pilots who told me how to stay alive instead of just calling me crazy and that I was going to kill myself.
That being said, yes the best way to get into Ag is by working on the ground. Also go to any conferences or conventions you can and meet people and network.
- WolftalonID and RotorVision333 like this
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