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Everything posted by Fred0311

  1. 1.No 2.Yes 3.No 4.Yes You're engineering experience will be useful to you for helping you understand the systems and how the helicopter operates and good help you progress quicker than your peers. But any help iy gives you would be hard to quantify as no one will look at your resume see engineer and say "hire that one!" I love what I do and worked extremely hard to get where I'm at. It's still jard work though. Hanging out the window in bad visibility in a 200 foot hover with people hanging from your helicopter is stressful. I'm guessing if I don't advance to an easier job in five years or so I'm going to look for something else to do. There us a shortage of experienced piloys but there is never a shortage of inexperienced pilots so bridging the flight school to career gap is the problem. This is a rough over simplification but I like to explain it as this... Your graduate flight school with about 200 flight hours and you need 1000ish to get your first non flight instructor job. That means you have to take the equivalent of four students from nothing to everything to move on. Now you've created four new pilots who will be competing for one open position. Will you be the most hirable of your four? And best pilot doesn't always equate to most hirable. Of course in practice though those 4 students will end up being more like 12 because some quit, change instructors, change schools etc but it illustrates a valid point. Would you be an idiot to do this? Well most people who start fail. A number of my friends have been killed by this. If you're married it destroys relationships because of how often you move and travel. You will not live where you want to for about the first 5 years or maybe never. So I would say probably find to try meaning, excitement, and work satisfaction elsewhere. But if you need to do it give it everything you have because thays what its going to take.
  2. Well they also get used as helco so my guess is they'll replace them with an another helicopter. But who knows, it could go any way.
  3. So I'm going to piss some people off here but some food for thought on going from military to civilian fire/utility flying... In my experience military pilots have a hard time making that transition for a few reasons. They are taught to fear the "dead man's curve", The height velocity diagram should be avoided as much as possible but as a long line utility pilot you'll live in it. Respect it, but you'll have to be able to work in it. They have a hard time with vertical reference. When military pilots fly external load its usually a short line and they have a crew chief giving them instructions while they're looking out the front window. They're not head out the door looking straight down. Also I've seen them struggle with a high workload. I worked with an army pilot who had never solo'ed until she retired and went civilian. Her flight school solo had another student on it and one flew the leg out and the other flew the leg back. So while they may have great crew resource management they can become dependent on always having someone to manage coms or watch a torque gauge for them. Its a whole different world when you're trying not to over torque with your head out the window and listening to four different radios. All of this is pretty premature when you haven't even started woft yet but maybe you'll loolkout for it during you're career. And disclaimer, there are many great military pilots in utility, but the biggest problem is when they get out and they're still the Colonel. I can't tell you how many times I heard "thats not how we did it in the marines..." Well Colonel you're not in the marines anymore and thats not how the forest service wants it done, so if you want to fly here you're going to have to listen to this pilot who got out of the marines as a terminal lance.
  4. So I don't know too much about it but Ive worked with them a few times. USFS has two and Im not sure how many cal fire has, bit word is they will all be retired in the next few years for lack of parts. I got to stick my head in the forest service one and they have a really impressive camera system on it. My mechanic googled it and said it was 3-5 million for that optics set up. Honestly though as cool as an airframe it is it's pretty unnecessary. You could do the same job with and Astar or 407.
  5. I haven't seen a problem with that yet except for one company that has an antagonist relationship with the Forest Service and FAA. But some people are definitely missing out on fires. I know a few places still trying to fill seats and one that lost an EU contract over it. It's a good time to know how to long line.
  6. It seems like there's a lot of fire/utility openings for this late in the season. Do you think we'll see machines grounded for lack of qualified pilots this year?
  7. Okay first off the one bit of advice I haven't seen yet (or glossed over is DO NOT pay for everything up front! Schools can and do close and walk away with your money. If they want to give you a discount for 5-10 hour blocks fine but no more than you're willing to lose. And since you've gotten so much good advice already I'll just give you a few anecdotes from my career. I started flight school in 2012 and just this year got my first no sh*t good job. I have had 8 jobs and have had to move 13 times since finishing flight school. I quit three of those jobs over maintenance that was straight up deadly. I love what I do but it is a tough life. I can't even count how many relationships I've had fall apart because of it. The company I work for has great mx but that doesn't mean I won't die tomorrow because of a mistake I make, because my mechanic is having marital problems(hypothetical), or a problem didn't get noticed in the factory and a part fails earlier than designed. Since I've been flying I've had a friend die in a crash every two years. Your attitude that flying for fun would be throwing money away is if concern. When your boss threatens to fire you if you don't do something unsafe/illegal will you be able to walk away? Especially since you're living in poverty as a new pilot? Why not get your fixed wing and rent? Anyway, you can do this and be successful. But do you want it bad enough to put in the hardwork? Is it worth what you'll lose? I wouldn't change what I did but I started as a gypsy bachelor with no debt and a gi bill to pay for it all.
  8. It depends on the fligjh school you learn and instruct at. How busy are they? How many students does each instructor have at a time? It took me about 9 months to get out of instructing but that would probably be on the very fast side. Probably plan on about 2 years. And the pay is terrible. its usually between 10 and 20 an hour but only on the hobbs. They might expect you do stuff like make sales calls and clean the hangar but only pay you for flight time. So you could easily make 100 dollars or less a week. A friend of mine had to work two other jobs to get by. I was lucky and actually got paid salary at 40k but again thats extremely rare.
  9. Both Temsco and Papillion are good options for getting into utility and with the current job market it might not be a difficult route. But often in this industry the path from where you are to where you want to be can be circuitous. So here are some other ideas... Powerline patrol jobs will often hire low timers and it's a foot in the door into the utility world although you'll have to move on from it to get long line experience. In my case though it was helpful to have on my resume. Some caution though, there are some pretty bad bottom feeders out there with horrible maintenance. Flight time isn't worth your life. Also it's a hazardous enviroment to begin with so although the flying is relatively simple you have to be careful. The gulf of mexico is also a decent place to cut your teeth. There's not a lot of work there that directly correlates to utility but I've found most utility companies respect the time if your looking at an entry level position. It also doesn't hurt that the money and schedule are pretty good considering the hiring requirements. Since you said you want to fly mediums think about doing a season of cherry drying. There are two operators flying old Sikorsky in Washington and that flight time in a larger helicopter absolutely helped me get my first Huey job. I enjoyed working for golden wings but i don't know much about the other guys. NearlyRetired is a user on here who is a great resource for cherry stuff. In either case though those are old machines so watch your maintenance. Florida Forest Service is a place to look for your first Huey job. They treat their pilots quite badly, underpay them(though that improved a little), and you have to go through both the structure and wildland fire academy. But because of those downsides they have a hard time finding pilots and will hire inexperienced pilots. They are a state agency though and do not card you, but its a good way to get 50 hours in type. The 100 hours in weight class for mediums requirement for carding has also been dropped so when you leave you only need the 50 in type to get carded. It can be hard to get the 100 hours total flight time a year working there that you need to get carded though. I wouldn't really recommend doing SIC in a heavy until you reasonably qualified to be the PIC. Meaning several seasons of fire in mediums. It does help you learn the fire environment and how things work but you'll never get promoted to captain. Sure you can show me some one in a million example but there are two types of heavy SIC's. meat in the seat who have no chance of upgrading and are basically told to sit on there hands, and people who have enough experience fighting fire to justify putting the investment into them to get them the 100 hours of heavy time needed to card them. If you want to fly type ones show up with everything you need to do it except type one time. How to get in the Huey without flying for Florida? Find a utility operator that has lights and mediums, get a job with them flying their lights, work your ass off to show them your a valuable employee and are good with a line, and then ask for every opportunity available to ferry the Huey. Especially if its on a day people don't want to fly. Holidays, weekends, etc. They're investing in you, make sure they know they will get a return on investment. A word of warning on building a Huey career. I'm not convinced it going to happen but I'm hearing talk from Forest service and BLM people that they want to get away from using Hueys. They don't like how old they are and the Astar B3e is pretty competitive with it if you look at gallons of water delivered per dollar. I have no idea if that will come to pass but it's something to keep an eye on. What not to do. Don't go fly EMS. Everyone I know who has gone to EMS has gotten stuck there. Between good pay and schedule they have a hard time taking a pay cut to get that entry level utility experience. I have quite a few friends who started fly ems as an intermediate job wanting to get into utility and only one has been able to make the jump and that was a "who you know" situation.
  10. I'm looking at replacing some 206L blades with the new longer life Van Horn composite M/R blades, has anyone heard of any issues with them? A friend told me that they are harder on the aircraft and cause issues with various parts wearing out early because of it. He isn't able to back that up with anything other than anecdotes but I thought I'd ask to see if anyone has had issues with them.
  11. In other industries I've heard of things going wrong and the liability being passed off to the contractor. I have no experience with contracting in the helicopter world. And let me make it clear I'm not planning or expecting to crash a helicopter. But every year professional and experienced pilots crash and I don't have such a big ego as to think "it can't happen to me". Doctors carry malpractice insurance. When working as an employee unless you've done something egregious generally mishaps are covered by the company and or insurance. I was wondering if its advisable for a pilot working as a contractor to have something along the lines of a doctor's malpractice insurance. Anyway I had already made my decision by the time my question had it's first substantial reply 10 days later thanks to how dead things are here these days.
  12. So I've been offered a job as a contractor and I'm trying to figure what pitfalls there are to it. So far the obvious issues are health care and paying the employer side of taxes as well. But what haven't I thought of? If something ever went wrong would I face more liability than I would as an employee? Could an employer's insurance come after me if I'm not an employee?
  13. AkAr, I've complained about Bob's attitude towards women on here before (and I'm a man) and you're not going to change his world view or how he communicates it. He comes from a different generation that says if you're so weak that a anonymous person's statement on the internet about your gender could discourage you than we don't need you in the air (or insert other male dominated profession. And honestly I kinda agree with that sentiment. However I also have female friends who I respect and care about and I've watched sexism and sexual harassment discourage them in aviation. So maybe some comment on the internet is the straw that breaks the camel's back and make someone quit after getting laughed out of the fbo by some dipshit saying she's not a real pilot. Bob is a real life friend of mine and he is a good person, but I can disagree with him on his sexism. I've personally watched him mentor a young female pilot though and he's a different person in the real world. He lacks some perspective though while having some that we lack. I would suggest voicing you disagreement, learning from his valid points, and not letting his trolling get you wrapped up. Or not. You do you. -Fred
  14. Good write up NR, I enjoyed reading it this morning while doing a track and balance flight and drinking my coffee. I wish I disagreed with something you said so I could troll you a bit but the only thing I come up with is this strange grudge you have against this woman. Is it sexual tension? In any case... We all know all these little safety tidbits as does she. Either people abide by them or they wont, another post about them probably isn't going to change anyone's mind. But the best take away is about the videos. I personally put alot of pictures and videos on Facebook and try to make sure they don't catch any oopsies because you never know who's watching. Aside from the FAA there's always potential future employers. We had a saying in the Marines, "dont put your war crimes on YouTube".
  15. Also if your not able to move around you probably won't be successful in this industry. I recently did my 10th move since I started fly 7 years ago.
  16. Switch back to post 911 gi bill. Move to an area were you can use it. Anything else is a massive waste of benefits. The rules have changed a bit since I did it but it covered 100% of my flight training, my degree, and gave me a housing allowance. It's worth the move.
  17. You might try checking forums specifically for the sim you play versus a real world helicopter forum. But yes there is a long list of helicopters that can be fitted with autopilot. If any of then are available in your simulator and if they model the autopilot is a completely seperate question that we can't answer.
  18. I think you misunderstand me Bob. First off LTE is real and I disagree with you calling it a myth. Call it what you want but in certain aerodynamic conditions helicopters lose tail rotor effectiveness. But it is easily correctable and avoidable. What I was saying before was you seem to be on a crusade against LTE because you think pilots are using it as an excuse to crash a helicopter. I'm saying that pretty much everyone I've met views it like a VRS/SWP crash. Yes the immediate cause was an aerodynamic condition but the root cause was the pilots failure to avoid and then correct for that condition. I don't think anyone see it as a get out of jail free card. If someone says to me oh that was a LTE crash I don't think oh those damn Bells... I think that pilot either needed better instruction or had a lapse in judgement. Is anyone here arguing its the helicopter's fault? Edit: After rereading my previous post I can see it was my poor choice of words and not Bob's reading comprehension that caused the confusion.
  19. I'm with you on LTE butters. While Bob is right about what he says regarding LTE he seems to think it shifts the blame from the pilot to the aircraft. Maybe that was the excuse pilot's made back when Moses and Bob were flying helicopters together (just playing with you bob) but today I'm pretty sure it's looked at like VRS. No one would say oh that damn helicopter got into VRS despite the perfect actions of the pilot. Same goes for LTE. Yea its a thing but its the pilots fault if he crashes because of it.
  20. Unless he just wants to wiggle sticks once a year and doesn't care about flight time.
  21. I could see it pushing smaller operators out of buisness. I don't see the Forest service increasing rates so companies can afford to pay more and hire more pilots for 12 and 12. Maybe they'll get the hint if they can't get enough aircraft this summer.
  22. That was actually a really fun job. Can't make a career of it (unless your Bob) but it was a great way to spend a summer.
  23. I notice there are still quite a few companies advertising positions for fire pilots and I would expect them to have been filled by now with the season so close. I know the company I work for will probably have a helicopter grounded this year for want of a pilot. Do you think we'll start seeing more of this or is JSFirm just reposting old adds? I saw that once before where a company paid for a recurring add and never took it down.
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