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AirMethods vs Omniflight


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I'm debating with myself whether or not to jump the GOM ship for EMS.

 

I live in south FL and I would probably gun for Miami Dade Fire/Rescue or Palm Beach Trauma Hawks. Anybody know how easy, or hard, it is to get in there?

 

AirMethods and Omniflight also seem to have their share of contracts down there. And it seems to me that AirMethods has the better pay scale...? Any other opinions on the differences?

 

The biggest concern for me is the pay cut going from GOM to EMS. We just renegotiated a pretty decent contract last year with Bristow.

Does anyone know if the EMS giants will be matching this?

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I worked for Omniflight. I was not impressed. I had a bird come through the chin bubble and wanted a helmet. They told me to buy my own. This was already after dishing out $1,500 for a kneeboard moving map because all they had in the ship was a KLN 89 POS. I don't feel they cared in the least about the comfort of their pilots.

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EMS is a different critter altogether than the GoM. Every EMS base is different, largely through the way the puzzle palace policies are applied by each program. That's a bigger determinant of satisfaction than the parent company. If I had a region in mind, I'd visit bases there for a general impression.

 

RockyMountainPilot- you're crackin' me up with that "I don't feel they cared in the least about the comfort of their pilots." stuff...

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Wally,

 

Say as a brand new AirMethods pilot, what is your situation like as far as being able to work in your desired region. Do you have to start working undesirable regions and build seniority to get where you want to be? Or do I just wait for a certain location to open up and apply for that in particular?

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I guess he might be calling you a bit naive. If helmets were not offered to you as something you would be provided with, just because you had an incident, you can hardly expect them to

then supply you one. All of a sudden every pilot and med crew would (rightly) expect the same.

I'm guessing they're contract specific. As far as avionics, if you think the aircraft is under-equipped, you need to

to keep looking for what you want, or buy what you think you need without complaint.

Edited by helonorth
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Wally,

 

Say as a brand new AirMethods pilot, what is your situation like as far as being able to work in your desired region. Do you have to start working undesirable regions and build seniority to get where you want to be? Or do I just wait for a certain location to open up and apply for that in particular?

 

 

Dude, if I couldn't work in my home town or a short commute, I'd be so back in the Gulf it ain't funny (13 years in the GoM). I wouldn't hire into a "living out of a bag" for EMS money and hassle (8 years). And, there are very few, if any, AMC programs with off-duty quarters, so each move uproots the family.

 

Yes, you can build seniority and bid desirable programs. Turnover's pretty low in those, so it might be a decade or so before you'll be there. If you're interested in EMS, pick a place you'd like to live and work that you can hire into.

 

RockyMountainPilot- It's funny because, like Gomer Pylot says, I've never worked for a company that even considered pilot comfort. Survival, or the legal requirement to provide a situation not immediately injurious, is about as good as it gets.

It also tickled me that you'd spend your own money, and a fair bit of that, to get something better than a KLN 89- but not a helmet. Nothing personal, I think it's a hoot that I work with people who think a GPS is a go/no-go item.

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To echo what Wally said, I think that it really depends upon the program (especially hospital based programs) and the hospital. The program that I work for has two EC135s, a A119 and a 206L3 (quite the range of capabilities). All are equipped with either the Garmen 430 or the 430 and 530 and are also NVG compatible. This is due to the wishes of the hospital rather than the parent company. The hospital is the bill payer so it depends on how much they are willing to cough up for the contract.

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I guess he might be calling you a bit naive. If helmets were not offered to you as something you would be provided with, just because you had an incident, you can hardly expect them to

then supply you one. All of a sudden every pilot and med crew would (rightly) expect the same.

I'm guessing they're contract specific. As far as avionics, if you think the aircraft is under-equipped, you need to

to keep looking for what you want, or buy what you think you need without complaint.

 

 

I did get real and got a real job were they actually care about what I think and are concerned with my comfort. Sorry if you have resigned to working for jerks. Not me.

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I have to agree with Wally about the GPS. If not having a GPS is a no-go item, you really need to rethink your priorities and skill level. The GPS is a backup nav system, not a primary. My eyes/memory/map are the primary, unless I'm IFR. In VMC, you should be able to navigate by pilotage, and if you can't, you need a lot more practice.

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To add to what Gomer and Wally have stated about the GPS, you never know when you are going to get bad coordinates from dispatch and have to rely on the good old chart to get there from here. Knowledge of the area in which you are flying is extremely important to prevent looking like an a$$ when you get that bad info. Taking a few extra moments to conduct a map recon can pay big dividends.

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To add to what Gomer and Wally have stated about the GPS, you never know when you are going to get bad coordinates from dispatch and have to rely on the good old chart to get there from here. Knowledge of the area in which you are flying is extremely important to prevent looking like an a$$ when you get that bad info. Taking a few extra moments to conduct a map recon can pay big dividends.

 

Just because I think a GPS is important doesn't mean I can use a chart. A chart requires much more time with your head in the cockpit. It also means a greater likelihood of getting disoriented in poor weather. It is very easy think you are buy one road and set of powerlines when you are, in fact, mile away. And, if dispatch gives you bad coordinates, how is a chart going to help over a moving map GPS? When I received coordinates from dispatch, I plugged them into my kneeboard GPS and I could confirm the location via landmarks in seconds.

 

I don't know what it is about pilots who think that doing things the "old fashion way" makes them a better pilot. Technology can greatly improve situational awareness and safety. Sure it can fail and knowing how to do it the "old fashion way" may be needed, but to make a practice out of not using technology because you think it is less manly, or makes you less of a pilot just makes you less safe.

 

I stuck to my guns as a pilot and I opened my mouth when I didn't like what I saw. I got things to change for the better around me. I don't sit back and just go with the flow. That is probably why I work a job that pays better and gives me more time off then any EMS job. Wealthy people like pilots who will keep them safe and have no problem telling them what they don't want to hear. "Yes men" pilots get people killed.

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RockyMountainPilot, I congratulate you on your principled stand and professionalism. Finding humor in your statement doesn't mean I don't respect or acknowledge your abilities. I work with a guy who's phobic about chickens- I respect him a great deal, but rag him about poultry. It's real challenge for him, we live in the 'chicken capitol' of the South, but there it is.

 

My disagreement with OVER-reliance on GPS has nothing to do with 'the "old fashion way"' as you put it. One is lost when one loses situational awareness. That has nothing to do with where you are. 'Being lost' is all about where you think you are or possibly might be, that's a mental state. If the box is all that stands between you and that positional confusion- doing it all for you, you're lost to the N-th decimal point, and the box knows where you are. If you're using the box to keep abreast of changes, 'navigating', you don't NEED the box, you want it for convenience- and it's not a 'go/no-go' item.

FACT- One very, very seldom needs to know position to the N-th decimal point in this business- until you land, that is- but getting used to having it leads to the illusion that you need it and skill deterioration. Navigation is a skill that needs constant honing to keep sharp.

Edited by Wally
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Wally is right, the GPS should be just a confirmation of your position, not the only source of it. When dispatch calls, they are required to give a distance and heading. I don't even bother to listen to it, because all I need is a town name. I know the area, and I know very well how far it is, in which direction, to that town. On most scene flights, I don't even get a good set of coordinates, often none at all. When I get close I just look for the flashing lights. If the GPS dies, then I won't be able to write down the exact scene coordinates on the spot, but that's about the worst outcome. I can still find the scene, and find the hospital from there. If you can't do that, then you really shouldn't be out there in the first place. I like the GPS, and I use it all the time, but I don't bet my life on it.

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Wally is right, the GPS should be just a confirmation of your position, not the only source of it. When dispatch calls, they are required to give a distance and heading. I don't even bother to listen to it, because all I need is a town name. I know the area, and I know very well how far it is, in which direction, to that town. On most scene flights, I don't even get a good set of coordinates, often none at all. When I get close I just look for the flashing lights. If the GPS dies, then I won't be able to write down the exact scene coordinates on the spot, but that's about the worst outcome. I can still find the scene, and find the hospital from there. If you can't do that, then you really shouldn't be out there in the first place. I like the GPS, and I use it all the time, but I don't bet my life on it.

 

 

You all are putting words in my mouth. When did I ever say I rely solely on the GPS?? Please reread my posts and respond accordingly.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...

To echo what Wally said, I think that it really depends upon the program (especially hospital based programs) and the hospital. The program that I work for has two EC135s, a A119 and a 206L3 (quite the range of capabilities). All are equipped with either the Garmen 430 or the 430 and 530 and are also NVG compatible. This is due to the wishes of the hospital rather than the parent company. The hospital is the bill payer so it depends on how much they are willing to cough up for the contract.

 

Fred R, and anyone who has any information they would like to give,

 

I am currently working on my CFI and I aspire to be an Ems Pilot. The current equipment I use is 2 Garmin 430s soon to be NVG compatible also. In my program we use 300cbis. It caught me somewhat by surprise when you mentioned that your 135s, 119s, and 206s had the same set up as our trainers. Is this something that is normal out in the normal EMS work force or is this due to low budget. I am by no means ragging on your program or equipment I am merely wondering for personal reference since I would have thought that most helicopters you fly would have more of the g1000 type set up. I also understand that having an NVG set up along with a part 133 external load certificate and capabilities in a 300cbi are not normal set ups but I was just wondering for general information. Thank you

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It is pretty common to have either a G 430 or G 530 GPS.

 

 

The Garmin 1000 is not availible for most helicopters right now. There would have to be an STC if an operator wanted to install them and they are not going to invest that kind of money.

 

Most helicopters have the traditional 6 pack along with the "steam gauges" for the engine instruments then a Garmin 430 or 530. Some of ours have two Garmins some have just one. We've added the Garmin 396 with XM weather as well.

 

Newer helicopters are equiped with more "glass" if you will on the panel. For example some will have to flat screens for engine gauges and then the traditional 6 pack and a Garmin 530. Some will then also have electronic HSI/attitude indicators.

 

It's a slow process but someday all helicopters we fly will have all glass panels. Until then they either don't or have a mix of steam gauges and glass. When I was training there were no such things as GPS's and GPS approaches in aircraft. Let alone NVG's.

 

I fly both the A119 and AS350B2 right now.

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Sling Wing MGC,

Since I posted last in this thread, our program was sold to another company and the Koala (A119) was sold (yes, those are electronic tears). I just changed bases and was flying a new AS350B3 (dual hydraulic) ship. All glass engine instruments, FLI (first limit indicator), two garmin 430s with a GMX200 multifunction display... I'd give up that AStar in a heart beat for the Koala and it's steam gauges.

 

AirMethods vs Omniflight....only worked for one and I can't complain. Money isn't very good but from what I've seen, most of the EMS big boys are fairly compatable in the wages department. It's like the old real estate phase "location, location". The job is a great deal better living somewhere that you like.

 

Nice pic of the EC135 office space.

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I can only speak for the Airmethods side and, more specifically, the base I work at.

 

The good

-Little to no pressure to fly in the sh*t which, in this pilots opinion, is the reason Airmethods has the best safety stats in the industry

-descent aircraft, avionics, nvg's

-good mechanics

-the pay is not bad as long as you are at a base with extra pay (120% or better)

-the union does an ok job of protecting the individual pilots and our interests as a whole

 

The Bad

-Tons of bullshit corporate busy work. We must have a dozen things that need to be initialed each day for the simple purpose that, if we don't initial them, management can bust our balls.

-The company is all stick and no carrot and makes no effort to hide it. I have read several emails where managers have said things like "this will make it easier to reprimand them when the time comes"

 

 

Bottom line. If you dont mind doing lots of pointless audits and occasionally having your balls busted by a desk jockey ass chief "pilot" its not a bad place to work.

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