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1000 Hrs PIC.... Whats next?


Arkaine

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Hello all. I just reached the magic number of 1000 hours PIC but I find my self wondering what the next step is. I know the traditional path is flying tours or working in the Gulf. However to be honest, neither of those choices appeal to me. I am most interested in flying heavy lift helicopters or getting in the firefighting field. I have even considered converting my pilot certificate to a Canadian license to have more job options. If anyone has some suggestions or advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Thanks, Aron.

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Hello all. I just reached the magic number of 1000 hours PIC but I find my self wondering what the next step is. I know the traditional path is flying tours or working in the Gulf. However to be honest, neither of those choices appeal to me. I am most interested in flying heavy lift helicopters or getting in the firefighting field. I have even considered converting my pilot certificate to a Canadian license to have more job options. If anyone has some suggestions or advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Thanks, Aron.

 

Don't ask me. I'm in the same boat and considering going back to my old flight instructor gig, problem is one of the guys working there has grown some serious mutton chops. I'm not sure I can compete with that. ;)

 

You could look into some SIC jobs with Columbia or similar. Honestly, I've been looking for a job where I can commute (7/7 14/14 20/10 etc) and is not the GOM for about 2 months and have found nothing. I did miss out on one hiring round in the canyon because of other commitments, but otherwise I've gotten zilch. People want more hours, aren't hiring because it's end of season, or are simply too busy to bother to return calls.

 

Z

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First of all you guys are in too much of a hurry. You want it NOW. Unfortunately, at present you don't have the time or experience that those operators want and need. For fire fighting, you will need to meet USFS requirements and you are a little short. For now, I would do tours or the Gulf. Try to find a company that also does fire work and get on with them. You will need long line experience. There are several companies out there that have their fingers into a lot of pies.

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I also want to get into firefighting at some point in my career. I've looked into it a little and from what I've seen AG flying seems to be a good place to start. Get yourself on an AG job somewhere and not only will you be building tons of hours that will look good for the resume for a firefighting job in the future, but you will be putting yourself in a position to make some serious money for the time you're doing it. Granted it's really hard work and extremely long hours but worth it in the end. While you're doing that, keep your ears open for some long-lining work along the way and your resume for that firefighting job will start to look real good.

 

Now it's time to figure out how to get an AG job without having to spend a season doing the grunt work on the ground for a season before they let you in the cockpit!!!!

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I have historically not been in any type of hurry. I started looking for a job months before my last job (seasonal) was complete. I had plenty of savings set aside so I could take my time finding the right job. Sadly, I didn't make enough at the seasonal job to replenish those savings, so now I'm unemployed with no income and my savings are done. I do have a job to go back to, which is nice, but it certainly isn't ideal.

 

I'll gladly do tours, or any number of jobs. However, I am a bit selective in that I do not wish to go to the GOM and I don't care to be away from home more than 4 weeks at a time. I completely realize this limits my opportunities and I don't expect the helicopter industry to change to my whims. It would still be nice to at least be able to speak to people once in a while. Every call is met with an answering machine, and every visit seems to be when people are the busiest and out flying. Frustrating to say the least.

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Well, you are pretty much in the worst time of year to be looking. If you don't want to be stressed out, go back to the job you do have and spend the winter networking for the job you really want in the Spring. Come March, people WILL be calling you back, and if your winter job is any kind of flying, you'll be that much more employable the closer to 2000 you can get. If you want to sling buckets, prepare for some SIC time with the big guys, and plan to be away from home all summer, every summer...

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I have historically not been in any type of hurry. I started looking for a job months before my last job (seasonal) was complete. I had plenty of savings set aside so I could take my time finding the right job. Sadly, I didn't make enough at the seasonal job to replenish those savings, so now I'm unemployed with no income and my savings are done. I do have a job to go back to, which is nice, but it certainly isn't ideal.

 

I'll gladly do tours, or any number of jobs. However, I am a bit selective in that I do not wish to go to the GOM and I don't care to be away from home more than 4 weeks at a time. I completely realize this limits my opportunities and I don't expect the helicopter industry to change to my whims. It would still be nice to at least be able to speak to people once in a while. Every call is met with an answering machine, and every visit seems to be when people are the busiest and out flying. Frustrating to say the least.

 

While the Gulf is not the heaven of a job for most pilots, you will build time there. Most companies work 7/7 or 14/14. You will build turbine time. For fire operators, they have higher pilot requirements than the Gulf does, mostly due to USFS requirements. A 1000 PIC is not going to hack it. The requirements also include minimum turbine time and time in type. These are fixed in stone. As is the long line experience/training. Your best bet right now is to find an employer that does things other than just fire work and work for them. Get more flight time, turbine time, etc. Let them know that you want to work fires. If your work is good enough and they need someone, you will get the nod. Be aware that if the fires become big enough, that days off may go be the wayside.

 

As for people answering your calls, right now is the busy season for them. Your best bet right now is to talk with the guys working the fires if you can get a chance.

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Thanks to everyone for your replies. I have no problem paying my dues, I have been doing that as a CFI. I have no expectations to start at the top or work a job that requires years of experience. I just would like to find a good company to work for that I can start out with and gain experience in different areas and work my way up in the company. It would be great to work for a company like Evergreen or Heliquest that has a variety of missions. And being able to learn multiple facets of the helicopter industry.

 

I am competly open to any job, I just would prefer something besides the Gulf. Mainly beacuse I want to gain mountain time and would prefer to live in a nicer part of the country. Hey FauxZ, I think I know the guy with the awsome sideburns you were refering to. He is some tough competition and might be able to teach you a thing or two. :D

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