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The Forgotten Pilot

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Poll: Are you a forgotten pilot? (10 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you feel left out, like they're more interested in getting new people in the door than figuring out how to get pilots like you out of the low time black hole?

  1. yes (4 votes [40.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.00%

  2. no (6 votes [60.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 60.00%

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#1 r22butters

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 13:00

There aren't that many active posters on here anymore, but there are a lot of lookie-looz, so maybe a poll can get some of you more "anonymous" members to participate?

 

So, Rotorcraft Pro says its here, Vertical Mag says its here, and now ROTOR Mag confirmed it,...

 

THE PILOT SHORTAGE IS HERE!!!

 

So, as a low-timer, do you feel optimistic now, or are you still stuck in that entry-level black hole crying out, HEY, YOU FORGOT ABOUT ME DOWN HERE!

 

In ROTOR they mentioned that they want to have a "round table discussion" on how to create a sustainable workforce in this industry, and of course they always mention that they need to find new ways to get people interested in becoming career pilots, which always makes me cringe because it makes me feel like they're just ignoring the plight of the low-timer.  Sure, they'll give it a brief mention, but that's about it.  Their solution always seems more about bringing new people in rather than helping the struggling low-timer get beyond that $12 an hour R44 gig!

 

Anyway, its another dull weekend, so have at it,...chances are at the next HeliSuccess they'll just say, "sorry, looks like the shortage is another five years away",...like they did when I was there, making this all moot anyway. :rolleyes:

 

 


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#2 TailEndCharlie

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 14:01

Without your CFI that $12/hr R44 gig IS the way out of the hole. Do it and build the hours so you can advance your career.
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#3 overtorque

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 14:09

I am a lowly PPL pilot without a CPL (yet) but I can definitely see the path to employment. It just takes some leg work.


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#4 r22butters

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 14:21

Without your CFI that $12/hr R44 gig IS the way out of the hole. Do it and build the hours so you can advance your career.


If it makes you feel any better, in a few years maybe I'll transfer to Vegas and see if that guy wants a weekend pilot, but no way in Hell will I quit a descent paying job with benefits and a lunch break to be some douche's helislave again!
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#5 TailEndCharlie

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 14:41

If it makes you feel any better, in a few years maybe I'll transfer to Vegas and see if that guy wants a weekend pilot, but no way in Hell will I quit a descent paying job with benefits and a lunch break to be some douche's helislave again!


I'm pretty well convinced you'd never be happy as a professional helicopter pilot. If you had 3,000hrs of turbine time you'd be complaining about low wages in the industry and how your experience isn't being acknowledged by your employer.
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#6 r22butters

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 15:39

I'm pretty well convinced you'd never be happy as a professional helicopter pilot. If you had 3,000hrs of turbine time you'd be complaining about low wages in the industry and how your experience isn't being acknowledged by your employer.


Your right, in fact I only want to get to 3,000 hours so I can jump ship for the airlines!
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#7 TailEndCharlie

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 15:54

Your right, in fact I only want to get to 3,000 hours so I can jump ship for the airlines!


Lol!!! Well it's an exciting time for people who want to make this a career!

#8 Azhigher

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 16:48

How to get low timers out of the hole? Flight instruction, easy.


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#9 Wally

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 17:27

How to get low timers out of the hole? Flight instruction, easy.

 

What he said is the best answer.

 

But, this isn't a new problem.  There are other answers:

 

I know one (1, a single) pilot who went from ab initio to working professional on her own dime.  Not an heiress either.  You probably ain't her.

 

I know a few pilots who took their new rating and started various helicopter businesses, often employing other pilots, to build time.

 

Instructing is the quickest and surest way.  You will learn from your students and network (!!!!) so that when you qualify, you'll be ready for the next step.

 

If you hold your breath long enough, the days when a 500 hour comm could possibly expect to work might return....


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


#10 r22butters

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 18:40

Well plenty of cliched responses from the regulars, but I wonder if there are any new low timers out there? So many looking, so few participating?

,...and sorry guy, but ppl's don't count, as they haven't experienced the joys of the job search yet.
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#11 takefootoff

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 19:38

Job market on the lower end is pretty austere right now...at least in my region.

Though I respect what they have to say, most of the experienced/accomplished posters on here seem to be out of touch with that.
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#12 hotstart

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 20:40

The canyon is losing pilots to HEMS (HAA?)/the dread of the summer heat faster than they can hire right now. Almost every company is short staffed. Not really helpful to the sub 1000 hour pilots except that maybe current CFI/44 tour pilots will come and fill the void and open up more instruction jobs.


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#13 Bonzo828

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:24

I guess I am one of the lucky ones.  I payed my own way through CPL all while working as LEO.  I was fortunate enough to get transferred to our aviation unit with mostly R22 and R44 experience.  I would say the shortage is real.  I have personally had several friends transition to FW or take HEMS jobs that were vacated by people transitioning to FW.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" - The only thing we can control is our attitude.


#14 r22butters

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:37

The canyon is losing pilots to HEMS (HAA?)/the dread of the summer heat faster than they can hire right now. Almost every company is short staffed...

 

I'm sure none of those operators will attend the concert, but I'll be playing the world's smallest violin tonight at 8.  :lol:


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#15 Wally

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 15:00

Well plenty of cliched responses from the regulars, but I wonder if there are any new low timers out there? So many looking, so few participating?

,...and sorry guy, but ppl's don't count, as they haven't experienced the joys of the job search yet.

 

Butters, pull your pants up...

 

Like I said, there's nothing new in the challenges a minimum flight hour COM/CFI/CFII are facing.  Zero to fifteen hundred, two thousand or whatever magic experience level is required has always been a high hurdle to clear.

 

The only difference is now your ox is being gored.  And perhaps now civilian trained pilots are carrying a debt load that was uncommon in those days.

 

I left the Vietnam era Army as a 'shyte hot aviator' with 1400 hours, a vast number in my ignorance.  So- jobs?  Uh, no- plenty of other Army aviators entering the civvie market with thousands of hours more than me.  The oil patch or nothing at my experience level.  NO tour jobs, no photo flying jobs.  As a former Fort Wolters IP, I had instructional experience, so I got a CFI and instructed to fatten the log book.

 

In my career, I did see 500 hour SICs being hired (they were the first to be hacked when the market turned down).  I saw the hallowed 2000, 3000 hour HEMS requirement experience busted with 1200, 1300 hour pilots being put in HEMS seats.  Not when I was in the market, but It did happen, and I expect you'll see it again   I also saw A&Ps with fixed wing experience working through their helicopter ratings PHI.

 

The fact that it is not a new situation doesn't make it easier for you.  "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"  


Edited by Wally, 13 May 2018 - 15:05.

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


#16 Azhigher

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 15:27

Job market on the lower end is pretty austere right now...at least in my region.

Though I respect what they have to say, most of the experienced/accomplished posters on here seem to be out of touch with that.

 

Well I don't know if I'm considered experienced or accomplished, but (Here comes the old man rant) back in my day if you didn't instruct it was a career death sentence for all but the very very few. Has that changed? Maybe, MAYBE you got lucky and dried cherries on a schit job for a few years and built enough hours to get out to the gulf or tours. Are those still the main points of entry for CFI's and low timers to the "big time" of turbines? Or maybe you lived in poverty and worked a 500 hour R44 tour job. I think Butters knows about those.

 

Honestly the biggest change I've seen is more Asian students coming over to certain schools lightening the competition to land the coveted CFI job as those students are coming over, flying a ton up to their CPL and then leaving. In 2007/2008 For every 4-5 CFI graduates one or maybe two got a CFI job. The rest, thanks for playing.

 

Look, if I'm wrong I'm all ears to hear how things are different now. 



#17 LJS1993

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 15:40

Hey guys I'm an outsider but perhaps an outsider's point of view is what's needed?  From what I have researched and read it seriously looks like going military and coming out with a ton of experience is the best way to get in the game.  If my son wanted to be a helicopter pilot as a professional I would encourage him to go military.  Why pour tons of money while making someone else's living in the spirit of "building hours"?  If you love flying so much then go military and get paid to fly.  Come on with tons of experience and get on with fire or law enforcement.  



#18 r22butters

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 23:21

One thing about the cfi route still landing you in that black hole, is that you may be employed as a cfi, but you may not have any students,...or the ones you have aren't flying all that much. I have known cfis in this debacle, teaching for almost a decade to get anywhere near 1000 hours!

Which brings up another question.

With the GI bill factories drying up (as I read recently) we could be entering a time where there are even fewer students out there, which would make the cfi path an even deeper black hole!?

If there are any working cfis on here it would be great to hear how things are going out there?
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#19 SBuzzkill

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:00

Butters you raise some good points, but I think it's fair to say for some people the paths in aviation aren't straight.  It's kind of a mixture of luck of the draw, timing, who you know, and work ethic.  Any one of those might outweigh the others and you gotta be ready to lean on it.

 

I started training in 2006 to become an airline pilot.  I was 18, and after a couple years of bumbling around minimum wage paycheck to minimum wage paycheck I had spent $10,000 and had nothing to show for it other than a failed check-ride.  2008 happened and I just decided to quit flying altogether until I could work out a better way.

 

The Army gave me that better way.  I didn't want to be a helicopter pilot originally but once I had the opportunity I gave it my all and was hooked.  I loved my stint with the Army and really enjoyed the hell out of flying helicopters.

 

But now that I have a path back to fixed wings I'm taking it.  I never wanted to make a career flying helicopters, but it was a means to an end and a way to fly and make money.  I have a ton of skills I never would have learned and the means to make whatever changes I need to in order to get where I want.

 

My point is you have to be flexible, keep an open mind, and willing to take opportunities when they arise even if it's not what you really want to do and there's no clear bridge to your end goal.  As a low timer with few options (or a student pilot in my case) trying to make a career out of flying you just have to suck it up and take whatever path lies before you.  You're at the trunk of the tree trying to make it to the branches.  Not a lot of ways to get there yet but if you're presented with a branch maybe think about taking it.  You never know where it will lead.


Edited by SBuzzkill, 14 May 2018 - 11:02.


#20 r22butters

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 14:29

Yeah I spent years on that crooked path, trouble is the tree branch I finally tried to cling to was hanging off of that sad little thing Charlie Brown brought to Christmas.

 

,...but enough about me.

 

This thread is more for the guy who may be working, may be not, but now he's reading that the pilot shortage is here and he's thinking, will it ever trickle down to me?  

 

I'm sure there are guys out there now hearing about all these high time guys leaving HEMS for the airlines thinking to themselves, is this really worth it?  Why am I going through this insane struggle (like trying to make it off a $12 an hour gig,...or the last one I interviewed for that payed nothing for three months then $300-$500 thereafter) when the guys who did finally make it are leaving for the airlines? Does this industry really suck that hard?

 

If I were a young wannabee or struggling cfi I'd certainly be asking myself that!


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