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Everything posted by Hand_Grenade_Pilot

  1. RLC would probably hire you. Offshore transport for oil companies in the B206L and B407. https://www.rlcllc.com/
  2. 1.) Look into doing a keto / carnivore diet. Cutting out carbs has numerous health benefits, and you will lose a substantial amount of body fat. Outside of flight training, body weight usually isn't a deal breaker. The exception is HAA; most of those jobs have a 230 lbs duty weight limit. 2.) Part time training is definitely possible, although it will take up all of your free time. Stacking up on night flying will be valuable; you'll need 100 hours at night for an ATP cert, and not many helicopter jobs operate at night. So do a couple night flights per week after work. Dedicate the entire weekend to studying/flying. Consistency is very important. Don't train one week, and then skip a week. Long breaks in between training will waste a lot of time/money. 3.) While required by many fixed wing jobs, a college degree is rarely expected within the helicopter industry. If you pursue a career on the fixed wing side instead, your finance degree will check that box. 4.) Possibly. Many things in life are more enjoyable as hobby. I love cooking, but would hate working as a chef (low pay, long hours, insanely fast work tempo, etc). Flying helicopters is an amazing experience, but doing it for a living isn't always glamourous. Building flight time often times involves working for mediocre pay at a company with questionable practices. Even the largest corporations in the industry have problems; often times management is completely out of touch with what the job entails, and company culture/politics ruins an otherwise great job. Pay overall is decent, but substantially lower than the fixed wing side. Tour/ENG pilots earn $60-70k annually. HAA and VFR offshore pilots earn between $70-90k a year. More is possible if you work extra shifts. An IFR offshore captain can earn $100-140k. Working an international assignment pays more. Utility/ag/corporate pays the most. Can potentially earn $140k+ in those industries. If you decide to pursue aviation recreationally, I'd advise going the fixed wing route instead. It is much more affordable, and the rental market for planes is much more accessible. Renting a helicopter from a flight school is very expensive/restrictive. Don't expect to be able to land off airport with it or take it on a multi-day trip. Planes provide a wide variety of experiences as well. Can use a high-wing aircraft for sightseeing, float plane for fishing, a bush-plane for hunting excursions, an aerobatic plane for joy-riding, etc. Hope this helps.
  3. Very insightful; thank you for yet another highly objective and well-written post. The guy is burnt out with his career and wants to fly, without taking out loans. If law enforcement is a good fit for his personality, and something he has an interest in, it could be a good career move. While it’s obviously not a guarantee, there is at least an opportunity to achieve his goal in that scenario. That possibility doesn’t exist at all if he continues his career as a teacher.
  4. Another option to consider is law enforcement. Large departments like LAPD, CHP and NYPD have huge air units. Full disclosure, I am not an LE pilot, so I am only familiar with that career track in a general sense. My understanding is with these LE departments, you must start off as a patrol officer, with no guarantee of being a pilot. To be competitive for the air unit, you should have at least a helicopter or fixed wing private pilot certificate (which would cost you about $5-10k). If accepted into the program, the department pays for commercial, instrument and aircraft specific training. However, it could take 3-5 years on patrol before having an opportunity to go into the air unit.
  5. You’re partially correct, but it’s not due to dissymmetry of lift. Keep in mind that in a no wind hover, there is no difference in the advancing vs retreating blade. Lateral tilt to the mast is to compensate for translating tendency (tail rotor drift). Without that tilt, you would have to apply cyclic to compensate. One example is the S300; no tilt on the mast, but has an extra degree of lateral cyclic to one side.
  6. Many helicopters have a forward tilt on the mast to create a more level cruise attitude (more comfortable for crew & passengers). Otherwise you would fly around nose low. A negative effect of this though is that the helicopter will hover with a nose high attitude.
  7. Find a different school. I’m assuming they’re using an R44 for flight training if they quoted you $30k. Do your training in a small, 2 seat helicopter like the R22.
  8. A lot of tour operators hot fuel/load. So you could still find yourself in a situation where you are expected to complete multiple flights without shutting down. Offshore flying could be an option. The small helicopters generally fly a bunch of legs, but shorter in duration. Shutting down, taking a piss over the edge of the helideck and cranking back up takes hardly any time. The large helicopters generally fly 1-1.5 hour legs; after landing a crew member gets out to supervise loading and refueling, which also gives you an opportunity for a bathroom break. Something to keep in mind though is you fly IFR in these aircraft, and if you have to go missed could end up with a 2-2.5 hour flight. So you might find yourself wearing a diaper for peace of mind. I wouldn’t let it hold you back though. Certainly an inconvenience, but by no means a career killer. What I would be more concerned about is the current state of the job market and future outlook. But that has been covered in numerous other threads.
  9. If you haven’t already, check out RLC. They’re one of the main companies providing offshore support in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil/gas industry isn’t doing too great right now, but traditionally RLC has been a good place to gain experience and hires pilots at your experience level. I don’t know if they are currently hiring; if not keep following up with them and eventually a position will open up. https://www.rlcllc.com/
  10. Care to share your views on the subject? Single pilot airlines is debatable. As for the current state of the HAA, offshore and tour industries... it is very straight forward. Not sure what you disagree with there?
  11. I agree with what Spike said; the helicopter market overall is contracting. The three largest helicopter markets are HAA, offshore support and tourism. HAA has been expanding rapidly, but is now in serious jeopardy of additional government regulation. Charging patients $30,000 for a medevac flight, with almost no compensation from insurance companies, cannot continue unchecked. Once the government starts regulating pricing, the market will have to contract; fewer operators / bases/ jobs covering the same area. Meanwhile, offshore support has decreased substantially over the last couple decades. In the earlier days of offshore oil, a massive number of platforms were in proximity to the coastline and serviced by a huge fleet of light helicopters. As it stands today, the shallow water regions are mostly tapped out and major oil companies have transitioned to deep water drilling. Which means fewer flights, fewer aircraft and using heavy airframes (S92, AW139) rather than numerous light aircraft (B206/407). Which ultimately means less jobs. Tourism is facing ever growing noise abatement problems. It already hurt the market in NYC. Tours over the Hudson River were reduced substantially due to complaints from NYC residents. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawaii is hit next by extra restrictions. And even if tourism were to remain a strong market, very few pilots aspire to spend their career entertaining tourists... Meanwhile, markets like aerial survey and ENG will be completely replaced by UAV’s. Drone technology is rapidly evolving, and will provide the same benefits for the fraction of the cost of a helicopter. I am also expecting police departments and US Customs / Border Patrol to transition heavily into drones. There will be some situations where helicopters are needed, but surveillance can be handled by drones. I also believe the agriculture market will transition to either drones or unmanned helicopters. Pilots are expensive (and prone to making costly mistakes)... using a drone with highly reliable software would provide extremely high levels of precision and relatively low operating costs. Any job market article from a flight school should go straight in the trash; the ‘Vietnam shortage’ has been mindlessly regurgitated for over a decade. Any Vietnam pilots retiring can be replaced by Iraq/Afghanistan veterans (or a seemingly endless number of civilian CFI/tour pilots). The ‘airline shortage’ is a fallacy as well. There will be times of increased demand, but never a true shortage. Prior to Covid, we saw demand increase. But not enough to make regional airlines a desirable career. Rather than renegotiating labor contracts and offering desirable salaries, the airlines opted to keep salaries low and attract low hour pilots with one time training and new hire bonuses. None of the rotor transition pilots went to the regionals planning to make a career with them... they saw it as a pathway to a major airline or cargo. The plan was to take the training money, take a substantial pay cut and live frugally, until getting a cushy job with a major in a few years. Then they would be making more money than would ever be possible in the helicopter market. I almost went for the carrot myself. Why bother flying heavy helicopters IFR when I could be doing a very similar type of flying for a major airline, making double the money? It only takes a short while on the airlinepilotcentral forums to see the problem with this. Many regional pilots will not make it to the majors. There are numerous stories of pilots with years of Part 121 experience, a college degree, clean record, etc being stuck at their regional. And then when a ‘black swan’ event like 9/11 or Covid occurs, the entire market gets devastated. Some get lucky and avoid the furloughs, airline bankruptcy, and career limbo; they earn a fortune over a glamorous career and can honestly say it was the best job in the world. Many of them, however, get stuck chasing the carrot and it ends up being a not so great career. Airline crews went from 4 positions (PIC, SIC, engineer, navigator) down to 3 (PIC, SIC, engineer) down to 2 (PIC & SIC). The next logical step is a single pilot airliner, with auto-land capability and remote control from a ground station if the pilot is incapacitated. The technology isn’t there just yet, but they are very close. It’s already been implemented in light GA aircraft. And in a society that revolves around making $$$ for executives and investors, you better believe that every effort will be made to slash labor/training costs by using one pilot for Part 121 ops. The airlines (and their investors) stand to make a fortune utilizing single pilot aircraft. I realize this is a lot of doom-and-gloom talk, but I feel it is very important to have realistic expectations. Unlike an industry such as healthcare (which will continue to expand rapidly with lots of jobs available in every state), the helicopter industry will continue contract. It will remain a very competitive market, which unfortunately translates to lower salaries, unfavorable work conditions, and a gypsy lifestyle... constantly moving to where the work is (or long distance commuting).
  12. Typically people come to the USA to train and time-build on a work visa, not the other way around. Short of having personal connections, I can’t imagine there being any international time building opportunities for a US based pilot fresh out of flight school. If such an opportunity were to come up though, I would make sure that every flight is thoroughly documented in your logbook, especially if you’re flying for a small operator or a personal aircraft. Keep photos, notes, flight planning... whatever documents you can to back up your logbook entries. Those hours would be under a lot more scrutiny than someone who worked at a well recognized flight school where it is very easy to verify their resume / logbook.
  13. The Facebook group ‘Helicopter Pilot Network’ will have a lot more info; plenty of pilots there that are familiar with those programs. Unfortunately, this forum has become pretty inactive over the past few years. Just be prepared for a bit rough humor and jabs. Lots of strong personalities, so to speak...
  14. Check out ‘The Little Book of Autorotations’ by Shawn Coyle. May help shed some light on why certain things are happening during the maneuver that are catching you off guard. https://www.amazon.com/Little-Autorotations-print-Shawn-Coyle/dp/0979263840/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?adgrpid=68500088836&dchild=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAifz-BRDjARIsAEElyGLv--etrODdA-8g4VEe4RIyRQ2dHVAr1xPWZXbbsMxw-3JOaq4Q3nAaAgNeEALw_wcB&hvadid=340539598314&hvdev=m&hvlocphy=9030821&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=16861370329450453177&hvtargid=kwd-377921814196&hydadcr=29005_10734947&keywords=little+book+of+autorotations&qid=1608503455&sr=8-3&tag=hydsma-20 Cycling instructors for maneuvers training is always a good idea too. Stick with it, you’ll get it. We all had at least one maneuver that gave us trouble. For me, it was holding a constant orbit and assessing approach / departure paths w/ confined areas. It’s a really simple thing to do, but as a student I had a heck of a time compensating for wind drift and flying a clean orbit. Eventually the ‘lightbulb moment’ happened.
  15. Yes, you can log the time as dual received as long as your colleague’s rotorcraft CFI cert is current. Pax onboard is a non-issue. Wouldn’t be legal under a Part 135 operation, but as you said that’s not applicable to your situation. Hope you enjoy the time. Haven’t flown the 212 yet, but it looks like a bad ass machine.
  16. No operator cares about an entry level pilot having 50 hours in a jet ranger, because no one is going to trust you with an asset that expensive anyways. Nor is any operator going to use a 200 hour pilot as an SIC; you’re more of a liability than an asset. Specialized career training as an entry level pilot is pointless. You’re not going to be doing firefighting, sling load or power line work at 200 hours. Indentured servitude is bad for the whole industry. Don’t ever volunteer to work for free or a substantially reduced rate. Work your ass off and put in 110% effort, and earn the job with work ethic and determination... but don’t do it for a bottom rate; it drags everyone else down with you. The reality is you start this career in one of two ways; as a civilian CFI or serving in the military. Neither is glamorous, no one likes the idea of ‘paying your dues’ year after year, but that’s the way it works. Once you get 1,000-2,000 hours under your belt and prove you can handle yourself and the aircraft, start looking at pathways into more specialized types of flying. Flying tours/offshore in your first turbine helicopter, utility in an R44, and MD500 off of tuna boats, SIC for utility/fire, etc.
  17. One of your main goals in training should be making yourself as marketable as possible, while spending as little as possible. Thus, you should focus your training primarily on the R22 and meeting the SFAR requirements. The overwhelming majority of flight schools are using the R22/R44. The S300 is a vastly superior training helicopter (higher useful load, much more robust landing gear / rotor head design, manual throttle, more stable auto rotational characteristics, larger cockpit, traditional cyclic configuration + an electric trim motor). It really pisses me off that the industry leaned toward such an inferior airframe (the R22) for flight training. When I was in flight school, it was only about a $10-15/hr difference between renting the R22 vs. the S300. But apparently flight schools found it more profitable to operate the R22. So the reality is that your job prospects will be very, very limited if you train solely the S300. While some flight schools are pushing the R44 (or the newer cadet... basically a cheaper R44 with only 2 seats) for primary training, it’s a waste of money. Do the majority of your training in the cheaper R22, and maybe a little in the R44 if it looks like it could open up a good opportunity.
  18. 1.) For most jobs, it won’t be a huge leg up. Meeting all of the experience requirements, and knowing someone at the company is what will get you the job. That being said, test pilot positions occasionally come up at the various helicopter manufacturers, and they do require an engineering degree. I have never done it myself, but it seems like a pretty cool job. 2.) Yes and no. Flying helicopters is my greatest passion in life so far, but doing it professionally can definitely be a grind. Jobs like tours can be fun for the first year, but then quickly become monotonous. Most pilots can only stomach dealing with annoying tourists for a year or two. Aside from dealing with volatile weather, flying offshore oil and gas is not particularly exciting or rewarding. Utility requires you to be gone from home a lot... all of my friends doing it are bachelors. HAA is a lot of time standby, and may involve dealing with med crew drama. ENG is dominated by one company... pay and schedule is terrible. There is also the company culture to deal with. Unfortunately, there aren’t many great helicopter companies to work for. A lot of small operators that cut corners, and a lot of mega corporations run by executives who know nothing about operating helicopters and only care about share value. But I suppose that could be said of any industry.... 3.) There will never be a pilot shortage. Technology is rapidly evolving; airlines operating with one pilot and unmanned helicopters are a very real possibility. Occasionally there is an increase in demand, and operators almost alway lower experience requirements rather than increasing pay to attract experienced candidates. So what we see is an industry filled with companies just looking for a cheap butt in a seat. 4.) No, I think it’s admirable that you are trying to find something that brings you fulfillment. In the ten years I have been flying, there have been some truly incredible moments. There have also been many times when I questioned this career path. I don’t regret doing this as a career, but I also recognize that sometimes what we’re passionate about is more enjoyable as a hobby then a career. For example, I love cooking. But having previously worked in a restaurant, there is a snowballs chance in hell that I would do it professionally. I would much rather spend the time relaxing in my kitchen, going at my pace, cooking the things that I enjoy. The same can be said with flying. You can use your career to get pilot training, join a flying club and even own your own aircraft. In this scenario, fixed wing makes more sense practically and financially. Lots of options though... could fly a bush plane in the backcountry, or a float plane out to an island somewhere, or even get into aerobatics. My decision to start flying helicopters as a career was 100% based on passion. My love of helicopters propelled me through year after year of BS. That same passion would cause me to miss flying if I changed careers. But I am also very much looking forward to when I can just fly planes (helicopters are too expensive) for fun. No micro-managing executives, no unreasonably demanding customers, no crew member drama... just me and my plane. Whatever you decide, best of luck.
  19. I wouldn’t plan on getting a job with law enforcement. Other than that, I’m not aware of any civilian companies that as a matter of policy automatically DQ for an arrest / drivers license suspension. But it is possible that someone, somewhere will frown upon it and deem it as a no-go for hiring. And you are correct about the major airlines being much more rigid than the helicopter industry. Even something like a recent minor speeding ticket can be a problem. Regional airlines, not so much.
  20. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Do what you can to get it expunged. An arrest record may be a DQ for some job opportunities, but certainly not all. You’d be surprised how many helicopter pilots have had a DUI or other legal issues. Best advice I have is to always be honest if it comes up in an interview, and own up to your mistakes. And check the applicable box on 18v during your FAA medical app when it’s up for renewal. Don’t lie to the FAA on this; they will find it during your driver record check and deny your medical if you do not disclose loss of driving privileges.
  21. It’s not possible for anyone here to honestly answer that with so little information. An experienced pilot, with a well maintained aircraft, who uses a conservative approach / departure path and is mindful of the community should not be a problem. On the other extreme, it could be some weekend warrior with a shoddy home-built experimental, lacking basic pilots skills, buzzing roof tops at all hours in which case that clearly is a problem. You haven’t given us any information about the pilot, the aircraft or even a satellite image of the area to assess how they could go about landing and departing. So there’s really nothing to be gained from this discussion. I would suggest inviting your neighbor over for a cup of coffee and getting to know them. Have a polite conversation about your concerns and see if there is a way you can work together to maintain balance in the community. Discussion points could include not flying after certain hours, frequency of use, intended take-off and departure path, and potential hazards.
  22. Hiring minimums fluctuate with supply and demand. Right now, at least in the offshore industry, demand > supply (of pilots). Bristow, Era and PHI have significantly lowered experience requirements from years past. When I started flying offshore about 4 years ago, there had been layoffs/paycuts. When things started to stabilize and pilots were needed again, they were picky about wanting offshore experience. Now it seems as if they’re just looking for bodies to fill seats. Flying in Alaska will be a lot more fun. If you’re interested in utility flying, a few years at Temsco could open up an opportunity for that. It could open up opportunities to fly w/ other operators in AK as well. Offshore pilots only do the job for two reasons; $$$ and the schedule. If you want a solid paycheck, the freedom to live anywhere, and lots of time off... it could be a good fit. But the flying in itself is not particularly fun or rewarding. Which one you chose just depends on the type of career and lifestyle you want.
  23. Keep offshore oil/gas in mind once you get 1,000 hours PIC. All of the major offshore helicopter operators provide excellent training, and you are paid a full salary during training. No legitimate helicopter operator should expect new employees to work for free while receiving federally mandated training.
  24. Its a total crap shoot, and working over-time at your current job might make more sense than this, but what if you approached the remaining local flight school about working as a part-time ground instructor? They might be able to roll you into their employee insurance. I know that you have no desire to flight instruct (nor would hour hungry CFIs want to give up any potential flight time), but they may have a need for someone to give ground lessons. It doesnt take any flight time away from their current CFIs and could allow you to get a better rental deal. And getting your ground instructor cert shouldnt be too time consuming or expensive.
  25. Another note. Without observing you personally, it's hard to give any specific input for improvement. But if I had to guess, you may be fixating too much on your instruments, which makes it nearly impossible to maintain the correct glide profile. While keeping RRPM within limits is very important, fixating on a specific percentage or a very specific airspeed can do more harm than good. Just keep RRPM near the middle and airspeed around 60-80kts. Maintaining 70kts instead of 65kts won't have much of an impact. Also keep in mind that being out of trim can give an inaccurate airspeed indication. Anticipate when RRPM will increase (such as banking or initiating the flare) and be prepared to increase collective slightly. Be prepared to reduce a bit of collective when decreasing your bank angle. By anticipating changes before they occur, you are less likely to get caught needing to make a large cyclic/collective adjustment, which will have a significant impact on your glide angle. And try to keep your eyes outside the cockpit as much as possible, to keep assessing the glide angle throughout the maneuver.
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