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How to start my flight career at 18 years old.

Helicopter flight young start new career

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#21 Azhigher

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 16:34

 

How about when it comes to competing for a job?  Let's say you want to fly for Cal-Fire or some other equivalent.  Are they going to favor the guy who went to Embry Riddle over the guy flying Blackhawks?

 

I think Cal Fire would give preference to someone who had time in type of aircraft they're flying and previous fire/utility experience. As with every operator, I think they'd give preference to time in type, time in sector, and any other relevant experience. I.e. instrument time, multi-engine time, etc...

 

I don't think just being in the military puts you above civilians in most operators' eyes. 


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#22 avbug

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 01:46

CDF (Calfire) doesn't hire pilots.  They just own the aircraft.  Many of the aircraft that are used by the State of California, or in Region 5 (USFS)  are privately contracted, as are CDF mechanics and pilots.



#23 AS350 pilot

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 11:21

CDF (Calfire) doesn't hire pilots.  They just own the aircraft.  Many of the aircraft that are used by the State of California, or in Region 5 (USFS)  are privately contracted, as are CDF mechanics and pilots.


Sorry, Avbug but I have to correct you. Cal Fire does employ helicopter pilots. The airplane pilots and mechanics for both airplanes and helicopters are all contract employees. The machines themselves are modified H models that oddly enough are actually owned by the Federal Government and are on a lease program to the state of California. I’m sure this will change to some degree when Cal Fire takes delivery of their new Blackhawks.

That being said, Region 5 is a very busy place to fight fire and Cal Fire and the USFS will contract outside vendors to come fight fire.

#24 Wally

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 12:19

There are no universal rules for success in this biz, sorry. The one constant is that it takes years of work, plus a little luck.

I know civilian pilots who worked hard, saved their money and did it in 'bursts', ie private in one go, next commercial/ifr, then CFI/I, then... I know some who started their own business, then... Some who carried a bunch of debt for a while. Thy are all persistent, smart, hard workers who had the qualifications at the right time and right place.
I also know civilian pilots who didn't....

I know military trained pilots (Theme music playing "Army! Navy! Air Force! Marines!" Oh, and Coast Guard!) who were in the right place, at the right time, with the right qualifications, etc.

If I was I your shoes, I'd plan for 3-10 years slurping ramen, chasing hours, whether in the service or civvie world before you are widely, competitive for the 'good jobs'. the one advantage of going military is that Uncle Sam will do most of the thinking, feed and clothe you, and could send you to foreign lands where you'll meet exotic people and kill or be killed.
And, there are some who think that the 'junior' military pilot (low time in civvie ops) is not the best choice. But that same pilot gets hiring credits at other operators.
You can complete your post-flight school service obligation and still not have 'the hours'.

The constants are diligence, intelligence, and being in the right place at the right time, no matter how often you do it before it succeeds.

Oh, and professional networking. Not that it will 'get you in', but knowing who, what, when and where will help you be in the right place, etc. with the right qualifications.
  • TomPPL and AS350 pilot like this

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


#25 TailEndCharlie

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 13:18

Being dependable with a positive attitude through the process will pay dividends when looking for opportunities (even when circumstances may appear unfavorable).

#26 avbug

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 21:54

Correct: CDF works on a GOCO (government owned, contractor operated) basis for pilots and mechanics.  Some helicopter pilots are employed directly by the state. Formerly all employment was done by San Joaquin Helicopters, now by Dyncorp.  

 

Much of the lift, bucket work, etc, is done by contract aircraft and pilots, including on CDF helittack crews. 

 

 

--CDF (Calfire) has received funding approval from the state legislature to swap out the current helo fleet for 12 S-70i Firehawks.  This change is not certain, but does have financial approval.  Indications are new purchases.


Edited by avbug, 14 March 2018 - 16:08.






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