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Bakersfield Area - current employment / need for helicopters

bakersfield central valley r22 r44 cfii cfi helicopter robinson low time instructor

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#1 Anonymous???

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 10:43

I hope this is the right area to post this topic.

 

I currently live in Bakersfield, CA and I have 400 hours in Robinson helicopters.  About 60% r-44 time and 40% r-22 time.

 

I was wondering if anyone on here knows information on the current market and demand for helicopters in this area.  I know there are a lot of private helicopters that do not advertise but they are heavily involved in frost protection and the agriculture industry.

 

I am mainly just looking for some info and potential work (any work in the industry, not just flying). So far, the only local helicopter companies I know are SRT and San Joaquin Valley helicopters.  I know I should move locations to get myself a job, but I currently do not have that option.

 

Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.


Edited by Anonymous???, 01 November 2014 - 17:16.

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#2 Flying Pig

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 13:36

SRT isn't a helicopter company. It's a part 61 flight school with 1 S300. SJ helicotpers isn't a place that's going to be within your skill/employment options. You could contact American in Fresno. He seems toget frost contracts but it's a little unrealistic to be a 2 hr drive away to respond to frost.

You are in a terrible area right now given your situation.
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#3 Anonymous???

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 17:14

"You are in a terrible area right now given your situation."

Yep.....  :angry: Which is why I am on this forum.   Oh well.  I will fly soon enough.  Which brings me to another question.  Have others on this forum taken an extended break from flying such as a year or more? ( I am assuming yes)  If so, how hard is it to feel comfortable again in the cockpit?  How will I be viewed by future employees if have an extended time away from flying?  These are my biggest worries about this whole situation.

 

I know It will all come back to me, eventually.  But at some point I will want to start renting a helicopter to keep some of my proficiency.  

 

I know SRT advertises for other services as well but I get the feeling that those "other services" are not happening that often.  I am ok with just doing instruction but I would also love the possibility to do instruction and get some semi-real world experience such as frost/photo flights/part 135/ etc...


Edited by Anonymous???, 01 November 2014 - 17:16.


#4 Lindsey

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 20:54

You'll be fine after a couple flights. I went a year without flying when I joined the Army, and the next time I flew was in a TH-67 (Bell 206, had been flying and instructing in R-22s before). After a couple flights I was good to go. You'll have a little rust but don't worry about it too much.
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#5 Anonymous???

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 00:44

Since I know I am in a terrible spot for finding a job flying.  I believe that their is a decent market for R-22 and R-44 work with photo flights, aerial tours, 135 and frost flying.   Of course I have nothing to validate this with......just what I think.  Anyone else want to weigh in?

 

Before anyone else says it.  I will save you the trouble.   

 

I know that in order to make a million dollars flying helicopters, you need to start with two.......

 

Ok, good.  We got that out of the way.



#6 eagle5

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 01:36

Having been to Bakersfield I have to ask. What is there to take pictures of or go on a tour flight to see?
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#7 Flying Pig

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 08:27

Ummmmm...... Nothing.  That area, like we said earlier is just a tough market.  Thats why nothing is there in regards to helicopter operators.  


Edited by Flying Pig, 09 November 2014 - 08:48.


#8 Anonymous???

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 11:53

Well, if you go flying the day after it rains (not two days after) you can actually get a good view of the sierra's.  It rains maybe once a month....so yeah.  You can't wait two days after though.  Usually the visibility is so bad it becomes IFR because of the haze and Fog.  



#9 iChris

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 12:11

I hope this is the right area to post this topic.

 

I am mainly just looking for some info and potential work (any work in the industry, not just flying).

 

So far, the only local helicopter companies I know are SRT and San Joaquin Valley helicopters. 

 

Forget about SRT if that fool owner is still around...

 

Work with what you have, stop by San Joaquin helicopters and see what they have. Never be afraid to ask. You need the practice.


Edited by iChris, 09 November 2014 - 12:12.

Regards,

Chris

#10 adam32

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 12:34

The best thing to ever come out of Bakersfield is the porta-potty that saved Chuck Noland and Wilson...



#11 Spike

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 13:33

Are you a CFII?



#12 Flying Pig

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 13:35

There is no tour business in Bakersifield. I spent 10yrs flying around central CA..... Nobody pays for tours. Not even the day after it rains.

#13 Whistler

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 14:27

You didn't quite hit your 500 before bluesky went belly up eh?  Try to get another 100 at SRT and then apply to a tour operator in Myrtle or Florida (Avoid Helicopter Adventures and Old City).  You can get 300-400 hours in a season there.



#14 Flying Pig

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 14:49

Make the drive and fly at Mazzei or American in Fresno.

#15 Anonymous???

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 00:23

The best thing to ever come out of Bakersfield is the porta-potty that saved Chuck Noland and Wilson...

Merle Haggard.....Buck Owens.....  I love how this post turned into a long list of why Bakersfield is awful.

 

Are you a CFII?

Yes I am CFII.  About 100 hrs instructing instrument (R-44) and another 100 instructing normal operations.

 

Thank your for the suggestions, Flying Pig, but I have emailed and called Mazzei, American Helicopters and San Joaquin but no joy.  I could have been more aggressive and stopped by but I didn't want to be a pest.  This was about three months ago now.

 

500 hours would have been a nice milestone to reach but oh well.  Long story short, the instructors that had better chances at reaching their next milestone such as 500 hrs or 1000hrs, they took the majority of flights left over.  Which makes sense.  Me having 415 hrs is not as good as a friend going from 485 to 500hrs.  We were all ok with it.


Edited by Anonymous???, 10 November 2014 - 00:24.


#16 eagle5

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 00:50

You didn't quite hit your 500 before bluesky went belly up eh?  Try to get another 100 at SRT and then apply to a tour operator in Myrtle or Florida (Avoid Helicopter Adventures and Old City).  You can get 300-400 hours in a season there.


What's wrong with HA and OC? Besides them who's left, Huffman?

#17 avbug

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 09:35

"You are in a terrible area right now given your situation."

Yep.....  :angry: Which is why I am on this forum.   Oh well.  I will fly soon enough.  Which brings me to another question.  Have others on this forum taken an extended break from flying such as a year or more? ( I am assuming yes)  If so, how hard is it to feel comfortable again in the cockpit?  How will I be viewed by future employees if have an extended time away from flying?  These are my biggest worries about this whole situation.

 

I know It will all come back to me, eventually.  But at some point I will want to start renting a helicopter to keep some of my proficiency.  

 

I know SRT advertises for other services as well but I get the feeling that those "other services" are not happening that often.  I am ok with just doing instruction but I would also love the possibility to do instruction and get some semi-real world experience such as frost/photo flights/part 135/ etc...

 

It's axiomatic that to get a job in aviation, you need to have a job in aviation.  Which is to say, it's a whole lot easier to get someone to hire you to fly an aircraft if you're already flying an aircraft.    It's not just a matter of getting comfortable, again.  Employers look for recency of experience, and many employers look back at your history (and logbook) to see about consistency.  

 

Breaks in flying with a good explanation (family emergency, injured in a tragic tank collision, attacked by mina birds) are acceptable, but generally employers want to see an upward progression.  Everyone is affected by economics along the way, particularly in aviation, so much so that in certain times no one bats an eyelid if someone was unemployed or left the field (such as the recent economic downturn).

 

If you're going to seek employment, especially while standing on the lower rungs of the experience ladder, the employers aren't going to come to you.  You're going to need to go to them.  That usually involves moving, not commuting.  

 

You're also far better off delivering your resume in person than you are sending an email.  Emails are easily forgotten, easily deleted.  If your resume contains a paltry few hours and the bare minimum certification, what makes you any different than the last 50 emails that got deleted with the same resume attached, from 50 different other minimally qualified hopefuls?  Nothing.

 

Be different.  Showing up on the doorstep, resume in hand isn't being a pest.  It's showing an interest in the job, and it's allowing the employer to to put a face with a name.  When it's time to hire, often it's the one standing in front of the Chief Pilot's desk that gets the job, rather than those who have been sitting in a stack on the edge of the desk for the past six months.  Remember the "law of recency."  It's not just about proficiency or about training a student; it's about what people remember, and you want to be remembered when the school is looking for someone to hire.  

 

I know that 415 hours looks like a whole lot less than 500 hours in your shoes, but it really isn't.  It's insignificant.  That is to say, a few extra hours doesn't amount to a hill of beans.  It's nothing to an employer, either, unless it meets a new threshold in their insurance policy.  

 

Remember that when you're looking for work, it won't come to you.  Beat the bushes.  Drop resumes.  Shake hands.  Go everywhere with your logbooks and headsets, ready for an interview on the spot.  I've had it happen probably half a dozen times that I showed up and was interviewed.  Hired several those times.  You never know, but those opportunities absolutely will NOT  happen unless you're there to make them happen.  Get a road trip going, have a plan well in advance targeting all the places you intend to stop.  Print out your resumes customized to each individual employer.  Don't simply have the Objective line say "To be employed" or "Employment as Helicopter Instructor." Have it say "Employment as R22 Instructor for Mazzei Flying Service, International School of Aeronautics."  Everyone likes to hear their own name; employers, too.

 

Have a cover letter with each resume.  Print two.  Have them separated, so only the resume for the place to which you're applying shows.  (Don't look like you're applying everywhere; just to them).  If they have an online downloadable application, fill it out and bring it with you.  The duplicate resume may be needed if you happen to get a pop-up interview; a second person there might want your resume, and it looks better if you have another available.   Be prepared to answer interview questions before you go; know what to expect in an interview.  Be prepared to answer "TMAT" (tell me about a time that) questions, such as a time you had difficulty with a co worker and handled it.  Be prepared with answers to questions about your best traits, why you should be hired, your worst traits, an emergency you handled, something you've learned, and so forth.  Be prepared to answer questions about the aircraft you're flying and that you've flown, as well as regulatory questions, and so on.  Show up to the interview ready to go to work that day, if needed, meaning you're on the ball, ready to teach, ready to talk, ready to fly.  

 

Dress for the interview when you go, even if you're just dropping a resume.  Remember, this is how you'll be remembered.  Don't be the guy that shows up in a corduroy suit or shorts and a tee shirt.  It maybe how their people dress, but it's not how their people showing up to an interview dress.  Dressing well and professionally speaks about your respect for the employer, your desire for the job, your own professionalism.  It shows that you know how to behave.  Fresh hair cut, no dirt under the nails, clean shave, goes without saying.

 

If you don't have a professional looking resume, get one.  See what's in use, format it the same.  It doesn't hurt to get some assistance with your resume, your interviewing, and your preparation.  Remember that a cover letter attached to your resume has one purpose; to get you an interview.  Most people who write cover letters forget that one single most important thing: ask for the interview, generally in the last paragraph.  Pick up some reading on resumes and cover letters if you're not familiar; they're readily available these days.  Don't get into fancy parchment papers or colors.  A resume on plain white paper works just fine.  Don't fold it.  Don't wrinkle it, either.  Remember that in the employers hands, the resume IS you.  

 

Emphasize your willingness to relocate at the employers request.  Don't hesitate to do so, if you want the job.  Early in your career, a good I'll-do-what-it-takes attitude is quite helpful.  Essential, even.  In the meantime, look at additional ways to make yourself more marketable.  Mechanic experience and certification is useful; the number of maintenance-qualified pilots is relatively small, and there are a number of operators out there that could use such a pilot (especially those that work in remote areas, and utility operators).  If your'e a CFII already, you don't need the AGI and IGI, but they do add to your resume, and they're easy to get.  Pick them up.  Consider adding a few other qualifications.  Go add on fixed wing with a glider rating.  It's inexpensive, but makes you "dual qualified, " and that alone might open other doors.  If you're looking to instruct at a place that does both rotor and fixed wing, then you might consider adding an airplane category to your certificate at the school; instructors are often hired at the place where they train.  

 

The big thing right now is to get out there and get known.  Squeaky wheel syndrome.  Go get the grease.  


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#18 Anonymous???

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 09:50

Avbug, thank you for your post.  That is a substantial amount of really good info.  I appreciate you taking the time to write all of that.  I will definitely keep this post for when I start applying again.  Thank you.



#19 avbug

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 10:32

If you haven't picked up a copy yet, I highly recommend that you obtain and read The Savvy Flight Instructor, by Greg Brown.

 

You might also want to consider the Robinson Factory Pilot Safety Course, if you haven't done it.  Not a bad thing to list on your resume.

 

Additionally, look beyond your local area.  Reach out to surrounding states and areas.  Those who cast the broadest nets and so so in the more plentiful waters stand a much greater chance of harvesting more fish.



#20 Whistler

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 12:02

Huffman is now known as Oceanfront.  They are the company to work for in Myrtle.  I won't say anything bad about HA, but I have nothing good to say about them.  I have no personal bad experience with OC, but I know two things: 1. they have a VERY high turnover rate and 2. they pay their pilots AND mechanics minimum wage.  Personally, I don't want to fly for minimum wage but more importantly I don't want to fly an aircraft maintained by a guy who gets paid minimum wage.  In Florida there are a sh*t ton of tour ops that will hire you at 500 to fly a 44 for 5 minutes at a time.

 

 

What's wrong with HA and OC? Besides them who's left, Huffman?







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