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Q's from a European pilot in the US

EC135 type rating FAA to EASA IR Conversion

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#1 Blackbird2



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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:41



I am about to start my training in the US soon. After 20 months of studying, following the schools plan, I will have FAA(PPL, CPL, IR, CFI/CFII) with the EASA CPL. I can then work for 2 years in the US, to reach my goal of 1000 hours. This I am pretty settled on(I am always open to at least consider advise on this too though). 


When the 2 years visa runs out, worst case is that I go back to Europe without a job. And I kinda expect that because most(if not all) European jobs require the EASA Multi-Engine Instrument Rating. The FAA IR to EASA IR conversion + Type rating + SE to ME course on the AS355N costs about $40,000 USD, and the EC135 costs $52,000.


My questions then is:



Prioritizing job opportunities highly, would it be smarter to take the more expensive course for $52,000 to get the EC135 over the AS355N, as the EC135 is, as far as I know, much more widespread in the industry and has a longer market-lifespan and as the with the AS355N I would have to take the type rating for the AS350 anyway, and so costs goes up again.


2. ( Q For European pilots that have done the same)

Which is the cheapest or most valuably way of gaining a EASA ME IR, when you hold the FAA Certificates and the EASA CPL


3. (Q for HEMS Pilots)

Would a HEMS company not value a type rated pilot significantly higher than one without the specific type rating required for the job - can you give me some insight into why or why not this is so?


4. (Q for HEMS Pilots)

Many HEMS operators state that they require a minimum of 2000 PIC hours and some 500/1000 hours turbine.

Is this a fixed legal thing for HEMS pilots or are these figures merely the company guidelines(ie. could one get a job with say 50 hours turbine in extreme cases)?



Many helicopter pilots say that getting your 1000 hours as a CFI/CFII is a common step in many rw pilots careers and then they say "go get a turbine job". Well as most rw jobs are turbine jobs, can you narrow down a specific branch of turbine jobs that are easier for 1000 hour-pilots to get than the average turbine job. In other words I am looking for the best entry-point into the helicopter industry after my 1000 hours. Is the industry so volatile that this is a difficult question to answer, or are there a common way here too.


Answers from anyone are appreciated, but especially question 3 and 4 is for people that are or have been in the HEMS branch of the industry.


Thank alot!






#2 r22butters


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Posted 08 September 2017 - 20:22

So after spending what, $60 to $80k to get to CFii, you'll still be able to afford a $52k me turbine course,...?!

I'd say, keep your day job, buy a 22, just get your ppl, and enjoy life!
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#3 Wally


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Posted 09 September 2017 - 18:00

1. EC135 or AS355N? Which is more common in the market in which you wish to work? That's the decisive issue. 135s are much more common in the US.

3. My experience in the US HEMS market is that time in airframe operated is nice to have as is time in a twin if that's the airframe operated. 1000 hours in type won't bump you up the list, you have to have the minimum tital time experience, and any specific requirements- night, xc, etc. My guess is that 3000+ will get your resume considered.

The operator will has to train each and every new pilot with the same FAA syllabus whatever you've been flying. 8-10 flight hours (??? I haven't been a new hire hire in a couple decades) and hours of classroom with an experienced pilot generally does it pretty well. YOU would be more comfortable having had experience in the specific airframe, but your comfort isn't on the FAA agenda. All the blocks on the required qualification syllabus and the FAA deems it Good to Go., like it or lump it.

4. Not a "fixed legal thing" but likely an insurance thing. The insurance company will write a policy for Bobo the Monkey but the cost would be STIFF, STIFF, STIFF! so operators prefer to hire what they can insure most cheaply... er- least expensively.

I have never, never seen a 1000 hour new hire EMS pilot, period. If you don't have the minimums required, lots of other applicants will. 2000 hours isn't much...

50 hours turbine? And 3000 hours, a couple thousand cross country, 500 night, an instrument rating is about right for a serious shot. Extreme cases go to the military trained pilots.

5. Get ALL the time you can teaching, you will learn more book stuff instructing than you will flying the line. You will make many, many more contacts instructing. Most instructing in this country is recips. Turbines are easier and more reliable, just DIFFERENT.

Edited by Wally, 09 September 2017 - 18:04.

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

#4 Little Bird

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 22:51

There is a difference between the European and US heli industry where it seems a self-paid ME type rating is necessary in Europe. Not so in the US. As Wally said, for each and every job the company will train you. If you have 0 experience and if you have 1000 hours experience on type, the training is the same. So, my suggestion would be to wait until the end of your 2 years to do any form of self-paid type rating. Maybe you find the love of your life in the US, get married and a green card and then settle down here...
While I've not worked in the EMS sector, I don't believe having a type rating matters at all. As I said before, operators train all new hires the same so no real benefit to get the job. I believe it comes down to networking and your attitude. Anyone can fly anything but if you're a cunt& you probably won't have too many people wanting to vouch for you for work. A mate working for one EMS outfit started on the AS350 due to previous experience in tours. He's now about to start training for the ME machine in his company after 18 months employment. This is how progression also works on this sector.
As for Q5, as you progress towards your 1000 hours as a CFI, hopefully you will be networking and making good friends/contacts. This is the best way to look for work for the next step. Typical 1000 hour turbine jobs are tours in Alaska and the Grand Canyon. As you work in this sector, keep networking and as you pass 2-3000 hours EMS, GOM and utility work becomes possible.
Good luck.

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