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Vegas Tours - training, pay, job security etc


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I heard recently that the pay for a new 1000hr PIC pilot in Vegas, for that first turbine job, was not so great when compared to GOM. I was also told that job security was not the best - since it is so seasonal they MAY or MAY NOT keep you on at the end of the season. Obviously there is no guarantee of job security in any job, but moving to Las Vegas only to be out of a job and moving again six months later would be a drag!

 

I always had the impression that Vegas was a viable and comparable option next to GOM for that first turbine job, and that salaries were very similar.

 

Over the past few years I have known several people who have been hired in the GOM for their first turbine job, making a little of $50k.

 

Anyone out there go to Vegas for their first turbine job? If so, could you provide some info on your experience? Specifics about the turbine transition training, starting pay, work shifts, job security etc would be a great help to us low-time guys!

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JD would be the guy to ask. He flew over there for the last year or two...you may want to send him a PM (JDHelicopterPilot)

 

Goldy

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Heli.Pilot, I worked in Las Vegas until recently. I worked with Maverick Helicopters. Maverick looks for 1,300TT and 300 Turbine. They pay really well. Visit, Maverick Pay Scale Click Here

 

This pay scale is current. The others on that site for some of the other operators are not but close to it. Sundance is looking to update theirs as many of their pilots went over to Maverick for more money and brand new EC130's. Maverick is a good company, high expectations, great maintenance and pay.

 

You will make more than $52,000-$55,000/yr in the Las Vegas. Don't forget about tips. At Maverick for example base pay is near $65,000/yr, not including additional flight pay or tips. Sundace isn't to far behind that I think. With some extra flights you can do well there. Cost of living is also cheap in Las Vegas. You will be home every night (that is if you move to Vegas), there is plenty to do in Las Vegas as well. Downside, it's hot in the summer but you'll get used to it.

 

As a pilot looking for a first turbine job at Vegas I would look at Sundance. Other than Maverick they would be my next choice. I have several friends there and they all seem to like it.

 

Papillon pilots working in the South Rim end up being seasonal. As far as those in Las Vegas, I think they stay year round. At Maverick you stay year round and at Sundance as well. Papillon offers 7 on 7 off and the rest of the companies offer 5 on and 2 off or 4 on and 3 off. Many offer vacation and sick pay, health and dental insurance as well.

 

Training is pretty standard, they have to train you under Part 135. You'll cover the companies General Operations Manual, Operation Specifications, FARS's, Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area and of course the aircraft Flight Manual. Flight training will cover aircraft normal and emergency procedures, Grand Canyon operations and more. Your part 135 ride will be just like a Commerical check ride covering parts 61,91 and 135.

 

Job security seems to be pretty good. Like I said though, the Papillon pilots in the South Rim tend to have seasonal jobs. In Las Vegas, it's year round but check with the companies in your interview. Remember, they are interviewing you just as you are them. I do wonder what impact the economy will have on tourism in Las Vegas. Although the majority of visiters are from Europe and Down Under.

 

Hope this helps you some, feel free to ask questions. It's a tough decision deciding on the GOM or the "Ditch".

Edited by JDHelicopterPilot
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Heli.Pilot, I worked in Las Vegas until recently. I worked with Maverick Helicopters. Maverick looks for 1,300TT and 300 Turbine. They pay really well. Visit, Maverick Pay Scale Click Here

 

This pay scale is current. The others on that site for some of the other operators are not but close to it. Sundance is looking to update theirs as many of their pilots went over to Maverick for more money and brand new EC130's. Maverick is a good company, high expectations, great maintenance and pay.

 

You will make more than $52,000-$55,000/yr in the Las Vegas. Don't forget about tips. At Maverick for example base pay is near $65,000/yr, not including additional flight pay or tips. Sundace isn't to far behind that I think. With some extra flights you can do well there. Cost of living is also cheap in Las Vegas. You will be home every night (that is if you move to Vegas), there is plenty to do in Las Vegas as well. Downside, it's hot in the summer but you'll get used to it.

 

As a pilot looking for a first turbine job at Vegas I would look at Sundance. Other than Maverick they would be my next choice. I have several friends there and they all seem to like it.

 

Papillon pilots working in the South Rim end up being seasonal. As far as those in Las Vegas, I think they stay year round. At Maverick you stay year round and at Sundance as well. Papillon offers 7 on 7 off and the rest of the companies offer 5 on and 2 off or 4 on and 3 off. Many offer vacation and sick pay, health and dental insurance as well.

 

Training is pretty standard, they have to train you under Part 135. You'll cover the companies General Operations Manual, Operation Specifications, FARS's, Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area and of course the aircraft Flight Manual. Flight training will cover aircraft normal and emergency procedures, Grand Canyon operations and more. Your part 135 ride will be just like a Commerical check ride covering parts 61,91 and 135.

 

Job security seems to be pretty good. Like I said though, the Papillon pilots in the South Rim tend to have seasonal jobs. In Las Vegas, it's year round but check with the companies in your interview. Remember, they are interviewing you just as you are them. I do wonder what impact the economy will have on tourism in Las Vegas. Although the majority of visiters are from Europe and Down Under.

 

Hope this helps you some, feel free to ask questions. It's a tough decision deciding on the GOM or the "Ditch".

 

Thank you so much for your insight. I like the idea of living and working in the same city (rather than flying to GOM each shift and being away from home) so Las Vegas appeals to me. I don't want to be away from my family for weeks at a time if possible.

 

I've read up a little on Maverick and they look like they have a very nice fleet of EC130's (largest in the world apparently). I just don't have any turbine time. For that matter, I don't have 1000 hours yet either - I'm working on that! So is Maverick not an option at all unless you have that 300 hours of turbine time?

 

I also looked through the payscale info on VR (very helpful, thanks guys!), however with the range in daily pay rates and not knowing how many flights would be made per day, it is difficult to estimate what a starting salary would be. Any idea what to expect you would make as a new pilot at Sundance?

 

Also, as a pilot for either Maverick or Sundance, would you be flying out of McCarran? I noticed that Maverick has a Grand Canyon location also, where do the pilots live that fly out of the Grand Canyon location? I looked at Grand Canyon airport on Google Earth, and it doesn't look like there is much there!!

 

What would you say you made in tips on an average day?

 

How do you like the EC130? It sure is a nice looking aircraft.

 

What lead you to choose Vegas over GOM?

 

Sorry to bug you with all these questions, I sure do appreciate having someone to ask!

 

Many thanks.

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Thank you so much for your insight. I like the idea of living and working in the same city (rather than flying to GOM each shift and being away from home) so Las Vegas appeals to me. I don't want to be away from my family for weeks at a time if possible.

 

I've read up a little on Maverick and they look like they have a very nice fleet of EC130's (largest in the world apparently). I just don't have any turbine time. For that matter, I don't have 1000 hours yet either - I'm working on that! So is Maverick not an option at all unless you have that 300 hours of turbine time?

 

I also looked through the payscale info on VR (very helpful, thanks guys!), however with the range in daily pay rates and not knowing how many flights would be made per day, it is difficult to estimate what a starting salary would be. Any idea what to expect you would make as a new pilot at Sundance?

 

Also, as a pilot for either Maverick or Sundance, would you be flying out of McCarran? I noticed that Maverick has a Grand Canyon location also, where do the pilots live that fly out of the Grand Canyon location? I looked at Grand Canyon airport on Google Earth, and it doesn't look like there is much there!!

 

What would you say you made in tips on an average day?

 

How do you like the EC130? It sure is a nice looking aircraft.

 

What lead you to choose Vegas over GOM?

 

Sorry to bug you with all these questions, I sure do appreciate having someone to ask!

 

Many thanks.

 

 

Maverick won't be an option until you have 300 turbine with 1300tt. Don't rule them out in the future though. They are expanding and opening up at Henderson Airport.

 

Sundance flys out of McCarran. Maverick flys out of McCarran and the South Rim. Papllion flys out of the McCarran, South Rim and Boulder City, Nv. There are a few other operators, but I don't recommend them to much. The South Rim location is out in the middle of nowhere!

 

The pay is harder to figure out since it's not the same year round. More in the Summer less in the Winter. You should make at least what they do if not better than those in the GOM. More than likely you'd make more. I will ask a friend of mine what salary to expect at Sundance and get back to you.

 

Tips for me were about $20-40/flight. That would be average. Not bad at all. Sundance, Papillon and Maverick all have EC130s. Sundance and Papillon also have Astars though. The EC130 is a great aircraft. More redundant systems such as dual hydrualics, dual channel FADEC with EBCAU back up. Very pilot friendly and simple to fly.

 

I have a family to think about. I was flying Astars in Los Angeles but wasn't making enough so I went to Maverick. I did so rather than the Gulf because I didn't want to be away from my family. Also, in the GOM it's hard to stay at one base for a long time so that was a factor. Now I am flying EMS in AZ and the family will move down here most likely in March. If I went to the GOM I wouldn't be able to be home every night.

 

If you end up in Vegas, and your family comes with you, I would look at living in the Green Valley area. East and South East of McCarran. Those are really nice areas to live. If you plan to buy a house look at Green Valley and also the South West. Avoid the West, Northwest, North and Northeast areas.

 

One good thing about the GOM though is there is much more opportunity to get into larger helicopters and IFR flying. You just have to weigh the pros and con and do what's best for you. No one can tell you what to do.

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I have a few friends that work at Papillon and I've been talking to them recently. Once you're off probation, you make 205 a day base. Add in tips, anywhere from 40 - 400 a week. If you are working a 7/7 schedule, that comes out to around 37k without tips (181 days a year.) So to match a normal GOM starting salary, you'd have to make roughly 300 a day on a split schedule, again not counting tips. Of course if you're working 4/3 or 5/2 your yearly gross goes up as you have more working days. Tips do add up, it's just difficult to count on them.

 

As far as where they fly out of. Papillon flies out of Boulder City (Eurocopters) as well as South Rim (LongRangers.) I don't think you make as much base pay at South Rim though they do offer housing for somewhere under $200 a month. They also have three EC130's at McCarren for VIP tours, so when you transition into those, you may be able to fly out of vegas.

 

Oh, this is all info based on the new 1000 hour pilot. I don't know how they pay for experience beyond your typical "CFI moving up."

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I do wonder what impact the economy will have on tourism in Las Vegas. Although the majority of visiters are from Europe and Down Under.

 

 

At the career seminar in Vegas, the representative from Papillon cautiously said they were "somewhat recession proof"--falling economy here drives foreigner visitors to the canyon. They also said they hired quite a few pilots...start looking at them in January.

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Maverick won't be an option until you have 300 turbine with 1300tt. Don't rule them out in the future though. They are expanding and opening up at Henderson Airport.

 

 

I'm considering making the jump from the dark side to the promised land (FW to RW) - in general, do the tour operators (or GOM) make any allowance for fixed wing time? I wouldn't expect to walk into a job with NO turbine RW time but I have a buttload of FW turbine time (~5,000 hours) - does that count for anything??

 

CL

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I'm considering making the jump from the dark side to the promised land (FW to RW) - in general, do the tour operators (or GOM) make any allowance for fixed wing time? I wouldn't expect to walk into a job with NO turbine RW time but I have a buttload of FW turbine time (~5,000 hours) - does that count for anything??

 

CL

 

Nope. It might count to the guy filtering out resumes, but not to the insurance companies.

 

Z

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Maverick won't be an option until you have 300 turbine with 1300tt. Don't rule them out in the future though. They are expanding and opening up at Henderson Airport.

 

Sundance flys out of McCarran. Maverick flys out of McCarran and the South Rim. Papllion flys out of the McCarran, South Rim and Boulder City, Nv. There are a few other operators, but I don't recommend them to much. The South Rim location is out in the middle of nowhere!

 

The pay is harder to figure out since it's not the same year round. More in the Summer less in the Winter. You should make at least what they do if not better than those in the GOM. More than likely you'd make more. I will ask a friend of mine what salary to expect at Sundance and get back to you.

 

Tips for me were about $20-40/flight. That would be average. Not bad at all. Sundance, Papillon and Maverick all have EC130s. Sundance and Papillon also have Astars though. The EC130 is a great aircraft. More redundant systems such as dual hydrualics, dual channel FADEC with EBCAU back up. Very pilot friendly and simple to fly.

 

I have a family to think about. I was flying Astars in Los Angeles but wasn't making enough so I went to Maverick. I did so rather than the Gulf because I didn't want to be away from my family. Also, in the GOM it's hard to stay at one base for a long time so that was a factor. Now I am flying EMS in AZ and the family will move down here most likely in March. If I went to the GOM I wouldn't be able to be home every night.

 

If you end up in Vegas, and your family comes with you, I would look at living in the Green Valley area. East and South East of McCarran. Those are really nice areas to live. If you plan to buy a house look at Green Valley and also the South West. Avoid the West, Northwest, North and Northeast areas.

 

One good thing about the GOM though is there is much more opportunity to get into larger helicopters and IFR flying. You just have to weigh the pros and con and do what's best for you. No one can tell you what to do.

 

Ahhhhh, another family man... I'm not the only one! I even LIKE my family!!

 

I hear what you are saying about GOM, although the guys I know down there say you don't get any night hours at all whereas it sounds like you can get plenty of night hours in Vegas. The nice thing about the GOM is that when you ARE home, you're REALLY home - meaning you're home for 14 days straight, no work. The 14 days at home sounds great, it's the 14 days away that I'm not so sure about.

 

Do any of the operators require you to sign some sort of contract requiring you to stay with them for a period of time? Naturally there is an unwritten expectation if a company puts thousands of dollars into training you that you won't turn around and quit after 6 weeks, or worse - go and work for the competition. But is there commonly any type of written contract? Just curious.

 

Again, I appreciate your advice. It's great talking with someone who has been there and done it.

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Most companies don't have a contract. Those in Las Vegas don't. I think but might be wrong PHI in the GOM does.

 

How many night hours do you have? The reason I ask is becuase you won't get to fly much at night in Vegas. Last I heard only two companies were doing night strip tours. Maverick being one and the other I can't remember. I'd have to ask around.

 

Fire away with the questions, as you can see I have a lot of time on my hands today at work. Making up for a busy last weekend.

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Things that i know about Maverick..

 

They are strict on their flight time requirements... especially the 300 turbine time. There have been a few that have gotten past that, but they are the extreme exceptions.

 

They seem to genuinely care about their employees, and i've heard that some of the others seem to not.

 

I LOVE the fact that they shut down the helos after every flight.. no hot loading... this tells you that they are making enough money to do things right and that safety is paramount.

 

They have set records many times this summer, that is they flew more than ever due to the increase in tourists. Most of these were from the European sector due to the strength of their money over here.

 

Maverick would certainly be my choice of operators there if i were in the position to do so.

 

aloha,

 

dp

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DP,

 

EMS has always been my goal all a long. An oportunity to do so fell in my lap so to speak and I just had to jump on it. I was lucky in that they took me with my night hours meeting just the minimums. I had hoped to get night time at Maverick but circumstances didn't allow me to. So, there it is. I am enjoying it and I'll have more time with my family. It'll be easier to take some time and travel.

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Most companies don't have a contract. Those in Las Vegas don't. I think but might be wrong PHI in the GOM does.

 

How many night hours do you have? The reason I ask is becuase you won't get to fly much at night in Vegas. Last I heard only two companies were doing night strip tours. Maverick being one and the other I can't remember. I'd have to ask around.

 

Fire away with the questions, as you can see I have a lot of time on my hands today at work. Making up for a busy last weekend.

 

I don't have many night hours at all right now, just a new CFI grad. It just seems that it would be of benefit to get a job where you can at least get some night hours (Vegas) rather than one where you get no night time at all (GOM). I know that night hours are somewhat like gold on your resume, so I wouldn't want to rule out the possibility of building night time by taking a job that precluded night flight.

 

I would have thought that other operators would be losing pilots left and right to Maverick, given their great aircraft and pay scale. I guess if other operators want to keep their pilots beyond the first 300 hours of turbine time, they need to offer competitive salaries and working conditions. Would it be considered "burning a bridge" to take a job with one operator until you had 1300 TT, 300 turbine, then applying at Maverick? I don't want to burn bridges in an small industry like this.

 

How do you like EMS? Do you miss "the ditch"?

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DP,

 

EMS has always been my goal all a long. An oportunity to do so fell in my lap so to speak and I just had to jump on it. I was lucky in that they took me with my night hours meeting just the minimums. I had hoped to get night time at Maverick but circumstances didn't allow me to. So, there it is. I am enjoying it and I'll have more time with my family. It'll be easier to take some time and travel.

 

 

What were the night hour minimums for your EMS job? Did you not get night hours at Maverick because the night shift was a shift that everyone wanted?

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Things that i know about Maverick..

 

They are strict on their flight time requirements... especially the 300 turbine time. There have been a few that have gotten past that, but they are the extreme exceptions.

 

They seem to genuinely care about their employees, and i've heard that some of the others seem to not.

 

I LOVE the fact that they shut down the helos after every flight.. no hot loading... this tells you that they are making enough money to do things right and that safety is paramount.

 

They have set records many times this summer, that is they flew more than ever due to the increase in tourists. Most of these were from the European sector due to the strength of their money over here.

 

Maverick would certainly be my choice of operators there if i were in the position to do so.

 

aloha,

 

dp

 

 

Thanks for your input. I agree, that shutting down is good company policy and says a lot about their commitment to safety.

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Heli.Pilot,

 

Try not to leave instructing until you have at least 100 hours of night. Many cpmpanies that need the night time require 150-300. The minimum for my company is 100 hours. The more the better. Many companies require more than 100 hours.

 

Maverick didn't need any night pilots and it didn't seem like they would for a while.

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DP,

 

EMS has always been my goal all a long. I am enjoying it and I'll have more time with my family.

 

 

For me, the family thing is number one... and then the goals... sounds like you've got them all covered!! you earn extra points as far as i'm concerned!!

 

dp

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Nope. It might count to the guy filtering out resumes, but not to the insurance companies.

 

Z

 

You are so wrong, Turbine time is turbine time, he more than meets the requirements of any fixed wing or helicopter company out there when it comes to turbine time. Turbine time is such a bunch of crap anyhow. As far as helicopter time that is a very different animal.

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If you end up in Vegas, and your family comes with you, I would look at living in the Green Valley area. East and South East of McCarran. Those are really nice areas to live. If you plan to buy a house look at Green Valley and also the South West. Avoid the West, Northwest, North and Northeast areas.

 

So what is wrong with West and Northwest LAS? Summerlin is very nice and very upscale. Perhaps you were referring to affordability? Green Valley, Anthem, 7 Hills also very nice but very expensive.

 

I would say, don't go North, Northeast and East!

 

Cheers!

 

Rotorrodent

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I'm considering making the jump from the dark side to the promised land (FW to RW) - in general, do the tour operators (or GOM) make any allowance for fixed wing time? I wouldn't expect to walk into a job with NO turbine RW time but I have a buttload of FW turbine time (~5,000 hours) - does that count for anything??

 

CL

 

Just my 2c worth... I asked the same question at the Pilot Seminar in LAS after the conference broke up. They like FW experience only to the limit that you know what is going on in aviation and you have pretty well proven yourself proficient in the aviation world. But as for the Rotor time? Have to have that magic minimum of 1000 helicopter, not waiveable due to insurance and the agreement among the tour operators. (industry agreement)

 

Like you, I have FW time as well. Have to build those hours by turning the rotors. Tour operators also like someone who is very personable and presents themselves well in public. The interview should weed out those not having that attribute.

 

Cheers,

 

Rotorrodent

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So what is wrong with West and Northwest LAS? Summerlin is very nice and very upscale. Perhaps you were referring to affordability? Green Valley, Anthem, 7 Hills also very nice but very expensive.

 

I would say, don't go North, Northeast and East!

 

Cheers!

 

Rotorrodent

When you say "North, Northeast and East" are you referencing downtown, the airport, or something else? I haven't been to Las Vegas yet, so I don't have anything to go by.

 

Do you still live there? Have you worked as a pilot there?

 

Thanks for your input.

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