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Everything posted by TXFirefly

  1. The guys that tell you not to take out a loan are trying to teach you from others mistakes. However, I think there are very few of us that could afford to pay cash up front for all our training. What you need to be prepared for is to have a $65,000 to $100,00 loan, and can you even qualify? Living with your parents is a great idea to save money. After training, you will be competing with all the other low time pilots for those coveted CFI jobs. $7 an hour is low. I was paid $20 and hour for flight and ground. After getting a few hundred hours instructing under my belt, I was able to move into a salaried position with insurance (few and far between). Do you have a plan for paying your loan while making $12,000-$20,000 a year? You will be stuck in a low time, low income job for at least a couple of years. Good luck. I hope you make it.
  2. I used the CX2 in flight school and haven't used one since, but was still carrying it in my flight bag until recently. I use my iphone and other short calculations.
  3. They all have their own in-house written. The ones I've taken have been very basic... definitions, charts, approach plates etc. Things you should already know if you have an instrument commercial rating. Pass and you move on to the flight and the interview.
  4. True! Era pays for your hotel and I think they pay part of your travel expense. Obviously, they wouldn't want to throw money away on candidates they are NOT going to hire. It's your job to lose at that point. Papillon pays for nothing. It's all on your dime. At least at the South Rim.
  5. Flying tours anywhere can be monotonous. You are flying the same routes every day, all day. And if you have a narration, you are listening to the same thing they are day in and day out... in french, chinese, german and every other language under the sun. Most of the tourists in the canyon are foreign and speak very little if any english. In my experience, I was so happy just to have someone who spoke and understood english that I wanted to talk to them. It was almost as much about me having a great tour as them. I would still play the narration for them, but would chime in to point out other interesting tid bits I had come to know. Also, if you can communicate with them, most tourists seem to be just as interested in the helicopter as what ever it is they are taking a tour of. You should be able to talk about that all day!
  6. I agree with the "making friends" attitude. I struck up a conversation with someone at an airport as I was passing thru on a ferry flight. He had a small tour business. We kept in touch and a few years later when he was expanding his business and looking for pilots guess who got the job. : ) Also, for you guys just starting out... make sure you keep in touch with your flight instructors and other students at your school. You never know who is going to be in a position to help you out down the line. It's a small world and an even smaller industry.
  7. I went to the canyon with 1200 hours. I wasn't there the full season before the GOM came calling and I jumped ship for a better salary and insurance.
  8. I think most companies post high minimums to keep the resume numbers down. You can get hired with less than the minimums, but as Goldy said... it's about relationships. I've watched HR write the employees name (that I knew) across the top of my resume more than once. It DOES make a difference!
  9. You nailed it. Just read the homepage... 300 hours and a commercial rating. At any other school, you would complete all your ratings in 300 hours. I'm not interested in trashing anyone on a public forum, but I will share my experience with anyone over pm.
  10. Well... not to name names... but we ALL know of 1 school who doesn't care about your ratings just how much money you have on account. I didn't train there, but I worked for him. And if your CFI only cares about building his/her own hours and doesn't care about you, you are screwed!
  11. I also did my training at Sky and worked full time flying 3-4 days a week. Great school, great staff and completely above board (not like some schools that are just out to get your money). I think the real question is, can you afford to keep flying on your current salary to the completion of your rating? If you don't fly often enough, you tend to lose ground (especially in the beginning). If you start to lose ground, then you end up wasting money going over the same maneuvers repetitively. That's not very cost efficient. If you are going to run out of money flying at that rate, then I would consider a loan. However, If you can afford out of pocket flight training 3-4 days a week, then you don't need a loan. That is plenty of time per week.
  12. You will hot load in the South Rim all day long!!! You will not even shut down to go to the bathroom, you get a "control hold." You may shut down for lunch, or they may just put the spare pilot in your place if they have a lot of tours booked.
  13. I would say the transition is difficult for everyone. Job interviews are like checkrides... you seldom do your best flying. I used to tell my students that if you talk through the maneuver, the DPE (check airman, or chief pilot) can at least see that you know the proper procedure, even if you don't execute it perfectly. Keep your chin up, and get back in the air, just for fun. Then go through the maneuvers you feel you did poorly on. Put this interview behind you and focus on the next one. My .02.
  14. I work 14/14. The best part is definitely the 2 weeks off. The worst is having to get up at 0430 every day for 2 weeks. I've worked a 7/7 and didn't care for it. If you have to travel it turns into a 9/5.
  15. I've been fortunate to do several ferry flights around the country, and I have to say that I have had the complete opposite experience. On more than one occasion, someone has come up to me and just wanted to look at the helicopter because they had never seen an R44 before. And once a complete stranger loaned me his personal vehicle to go get something to eat when there was not a pilot car available. Of course you can find a jerk anywhere. But, I don't think that describes the GA community as a whole. My 2 cents.
  16. I didn't get hired at the school I trained at. I, like the others made a job out of looking for a job, and emailed resumes to every school I could find. After working as a struggling CFI for 2 1/2 years I got a call from a resume off VR (one of those holy grail CFI jobs with salary and insurance).
  17. I did my training at Sky. It is a first rate operation run out of a heliport in the huge metropolitan area. In my opinion, it is one of the best instructor jobs you could get based on the number of hours they fly, not just instruction but tours and news as well. The salary is higher because they rarely hire low time pilots. They take the highest hour, best qualified pilots they can find. If you have a different story, I would be interested to hear it.
  18. As some of the other posters have said most civilian flight schools only do full downs with CFI students and usually only have 1 instructor that is authorized to do the training. I don't think they are trying to short change the student, just keep the accidents down. There is a huge learning curve between private pilot and CFI.
  19. The owner of the school I attended was completely upfront with myself and other prospective students about how much money was involved all the way down to their dress (tattoos, earrings etc.) and job prospects working your way up from the bottom. As for myself, I was also upfront with my students. Eager to answer any questions they had about what was to come but completely SHOCKED at their utter lack of knowledge and apparent disregard for what they were getting themselves into both financially and career wise. It's like they walk in with a checkbook and an idea that the want to be a helicopter pilot but know absolutely nothing about it. I knew exactly what I was in for, from the dollars involved, to relocating to be a CFI, to what I wanted to do for my next career step after CFI, who the operators were, who I wanted to work for and who I didn't. How about a little accountability on the part of the student?
  20. Make sure you have the qualifications for your ATP, those are the numbers they are looking for. Then brush up on your IFR! It will be a part of your interview (ground and flight) in the GOM. Don't worry about the aircraft. They don't expect you to know how to start it, just fly it. And last but not least... get your resume to them IN PERSON, whatever it takes.
  21. All the pilots I know that have flown for RLC have quit and went to Era or PHI. I even had 1 of their pilots approach me on the ramp one day about interviewing with us.
  22. I've taken 6 check rides and never had an oral take more than 2-3 hours, including my CFI (with a DPE) and the CFII (with the FAA). I was really stressed over the FAA since I was the first student I knew to ever take a check ride with them and didn't know what to expect. Other than being free, it was very much by the book. I was pleasantly surprised. The DPE that my school used, and who I coincidently sent all my students through as a CFI (working for another school), loved to fail cocky young males. You could count on it. I warned all my students of this propensity, and only had one fail (he choked big time and deserved it unfortunately). I do know of several CFI's that have had EXTREMELY long orals, including multiple days and making them teach EVERY single lesson. It sucks that it is such a crap shoot for who you get and there is not more consistency in testing.
  23. I agree with the above posts for getting a new instructor stat and negative transfer. Most of the fixed wing pilots I have taught could fly straight and level but hovering killed them. You should not go into this expecting to do it in the minimums. It is different for everyone. Try to shake it off and move forward.
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