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Some words of encouragement...


WOLF13
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MY STORY

 

I have been reading a lot of negative threads on this forum lately... Most are warranted, but I just want to give my two cents and experience on training, jobs, and the industry right now.

 

I started my training in February of 08 at 23 years old. I went through at an accelerated rate- 6-7 days a week, studying at home every night, and spending as much time as possible around the school. I worked part time throughout my training.

 

Just like most people, I got a loan through Sallie Mae. My parents co-signed. This was when getting a loan was as easy as making a phone call and signing a piece of paper. It seemed like a good idea, as this was also the time when a student would finish school, move straight into instructing, gain 1000 PIC within a year, and go to the GOM, NV, or AK.

 

It took me about a year and a few months to go from 0-200, with CFI and II. Within that time, lending had tightened, Silverstate collapsed, and jobs weren't readily available at the 1k mark any more.

 

I was diligent in my training, worked hard, helped out around the hangar, and just tried to stand out among the other students. As I was finishing up school, the list of CFII's started to compile. There were a few (maybe 4 or 5) in front of me waiting for a job. This didn't bother me, as I had my place in line. A few months to wait for a job seemed like a long time, but I figured if I fly helicopters as a career for 30 years, a few months wasn't that big of a deal.

 

As I had hoped for since day one, it was finally my turn to teach. I jumped right in and learned a lot of knowledge and skill in the first month or so. I couldn't believe I was actually getting paid to fly!

 

Fast forward to now, a little over a year later. I am nearing the thousand hour mark. I still love my job; I get paid to fly, I choose my own schedule, I have a lot of friends at work that I see every day, and most importantly, I am building time.

 

Our school has slowed down a bit over the past few months, but it's still steady. I have a couple full time students, and a few part timers and weekend warriors. On average, I fly about 60-70 hours a month, and usually bring in around $3,000 to $3,500 a month. I am single with no kids. My income is more than enough to pay my bills, pay Sallie Mae (about $700), pay rent, and have some extra for whatever...

 

I would not change anything for the world. As I said, I love my job, have met a lot of great people along the way, and I still love flying. I would recommend this career, but not to everyone. It is definitely much easier for a single person with no attachments or baggage (or pre-training debt). Not only is it easier to go through training on a budget without supporting others, but it will make it much easier to pick up and move for a job if needed. If you do decide to go through with training, give it 110%. Not only your training, but your school too. Your chief flight instructor and owner will see your extra effort and take this into account when it comes to hiring.

 

I have made some great relationships in the industry throughout my training and teaching, and I have secured a job when i am finished teaching here in a few months. This industry is so small that everything you do is like a job interview. Network and make connections whenever possible. You never know where it will lead you.

 

THE INDUSTRY

 

I didn't sign up for this to get rich. I did it for the love of flying and the challenge. My sister spent more than me on a bachelor's degree in business and I make more than her right now. She has been out of school for 2 years. She had to go find a job when she graduated, just like I did when I completed my ratings. I don't even consider instructing a 'real' job. I feel like its just continued training, or a paid internship. A student even commented to me the other day that its like I am getting really cheap flight time right now.

 

The industry isn't great right now, but nothing is. There's a plethora of 200 hr people, and 1,000 hr people. BUT, there's also no Silverstate or easy financing any more. Over the next couple of years, these people WILL FIND JOBS. Then, hopefully, there will be much more balance without CFII's being pumped out into the industry by the 100's. People and lenders will be much more cautious if another high-volume school comes along.

 

In closing, I guess I just wanted to post a positive story to give people some encouragement. Figure out what you want to end up doing in the industry and estimate if it will pay well enough for your personal needs and situation. Hopefully you are able to overcome the greatest obstacle right now: financing. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

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In closing, I guess I just wanted to post a positive story to give people some encouragement. Figure out what you want to end up doing in the industry and estimate if it will pay well enough for your personal needs and situation. Hopefully you are able to overcome the greatest obstacle right now: financing. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

 

Anybody want to buy a bridge to Brooklyn...this guy's selling one.

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Im Curious as to what you are doing with the school you are working at to make 3k a month. At 60 hours a month that would mean you are being paid $50 per flight hour. If thats the case you need to let us all know where your working at!

 

Ummm.... GROUND INSTRUCTION? Usually more ground than flight per pay period.

 

Fry- I was waiting for you to chime in. Go ahead, what about my experience do you not agree with?

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Anybody want to buy a bridge to Brooklyn...this guy's selling one.

I'm not selling sh*t Fry... In fact, it would be in my best interest to discourage people from flying as it will provide more competition in the future. I am almost out of instructing, so I couldn't care less if my school gets busier or closes down. Just trying to help out.

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60 hours a month that would mean you are being paid $50 per flight hour

 

Don't forget that you get paid for ground too.

 

I earned $3000-$3500 at Bristow Academy when I was there. I flew between 90 and 120 hours a month though.

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I was also grossing around 3000-3500 flying 60-70 hours a month. Flight pay + ground school.

 

You can make it in this industry, just have to do your research and go to a school that has connections with employers and a good reputation. Well, maybe you don't HAVE to, but it sure does help.

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thats great to hear a success story. i wish i was hearing it alot more. i was wondering if people stick with instructing or just use it to get where they really want to be. i am quite looking forward to being a cfi.

on a side note, thanks for writing "couldn't care less" instead of the way more common "I could care less" which makes no sense. <_<

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Anybody want to buy a bridge to Brooklyn...this guy's selling one.

fry,

There's that ray of sunshine you always bring to the forum. Crawl back under your rock and take the black cloud with you. Do you walk around looking over your shoulder waiting for someone to stab you in the back? You need to grow up and not be afraid anymore.

 

WOLF13,

Thanks for the positive story. Do not let fry put a damper on your attitude. I think it's great.

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Wolf- Good for you! Positive people like yourself make the world go round.....negative nellies slow it down. I can so clearly remember following my gut....having a positive attitude....and not listening to naysayers when I started out on my own building curved stairways. I would hear..."But you never built a curved one before".....or.....you will never make it." That was many years ago....and I still run across these guys once in awhile...and they still are lathered up in theii cloud of negativity.

 

Its refreshing to see I have done it..or I can do it threads. I wish you continued success.

 

 

Stan Foster

 

www.stansstairways.com

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Thanks,

for that great positive and supporting story of yours Buddy ...

 

New comers need to hear those kind of life career story.

I shure agree with pretty all what the guy have said.

 

Easyer to be single and no attachment to perform those studies to become a HELO pilot ...

And yeah, that is the way each student should be doing it ,,, hang with the PRO all the way to your licences delivery ...

 

That way you'll be making contacts and have a great out look towards the compagnies owners and CFI that could later help you getting into a postition that your have study hard for to get ...

 

Also you will gain experiences by listening to them with they're flying stories experiences.

And they will bring you along on the journey flights if you suite they're expectation as a person, and character ... Yeah, those pilots take good care to have they're serunding buddies at best ...

 

I started to fly at 15 years old with a private on hand,,, then was working as a dispatcher at

a flying school at the same time and the High school studying included and while I was going for my Commercial, IFR, ATP ...

 

Okay, it was not at any helo flying school ,, but the same in the way of going for a carerr goal ...

 

Also was hanging with the CFI and other commercial pilots to fly and gain hours as experiences

befort my other licences big test ... Sharing with the senior pilots got me to go with ease on

the next level to be acheiving to gain my ATP later ...

 

Yeah,

like the guy said, it is not easy to be doing any kind of career's in today's world.

But if you don't go for a move fowards towards your dream goal helo career,,,

you will never know how you will do ... Miracle happen even in that industry ...

 

Best of luck to all new HELO students pilots that will go for the kill ...

And smile, smile, smile,, and show your positive attitude in life ...

 

Cheers ...

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Fry- I was waiting for you to chime in. Go ahead, what about my experience do you not agree with?

 

Well…my first impression was that your timeline doesn’t work. You started training in the month Silver State went belly-up, February ’08, and it took “a year and a few months” to get your CFII. So we’re at…what…April of ’09 at best? You began to teach sometime after that (“A few months to wait for a job seemed like a long time…it was finally my turn to teach”) and “a little over a year later” you’re “nearing the thousand hour mark”. By your timeline we should be into summer.

 

But really, the whole thing just sounds like a sales pitch. All the talking points are covered…e.g., financing: “I got a loan through Sallie Mae. My parents co-signed.”; a job after training: “Your chief flight instructor and owner will see your extra effort and take this into account when it comes to hiring.”; and, college as an alternative: "My sister spent more than me on a bachelor's degree in business and I make more than her right now." Even a Horatio Alger angle: "training 6-7 days a week, studying at home every night, and spending as much time as possible around the school” plus working part time.

 

It’s all just too perfect, and if it sounds too good to be true...well, you know the rest.

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Wolf,

 

Thanks for sharing your story. If you would, keep us posted if you ever move on to bigger and brighter horizons as this will complete the picture.

 

Just so you know I’m not the kind of guy who likes to spew about my experience. I’ll just say, on more than one occasion, I’ve been on the hiring side of the table. With this being said; your positive attitude will take you far in this business and while telling your story here on this site really doesn’t mean much, feel confident in the fact people are recognizing your effort. Just remember, as you progress through your career, you’ll need to continue to see the light in the dark. If you do, your future will shine.

 

Keep up the good work my friend…

 

Spike

Edited by Spike
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Wolf,

 

Thanks for sharing your story. If you would, keep us posted if you ever move on to bigger and brighter horizons as this will complete the picture.

 

Just so you know I’m not the kind of guy who likes to spew about my experience. I’ll just say, on more than one occasion, I’ve been on the hiring side of the table. With this being said; your positive attitude will take you far in this business and while telling your story here on this site really doesn’t mean much, feel confident in the fact people are recognizing your effort. Just remember, as you progress through your career, you’ll need to continue to see the light in the dark. If you do, your future will shine.

 

Keep up the good work my friend…

 

Spike

 

 

Very well said and ditto from me.. i see positive posts like these and put that person on the list of people that will make it in this, or any other business, people that i want to know in the future.... as compared to photos of pilots/cfis on facebook chugging alcohol at parties.... i put those people on a list as well!

 

as i have said before, this is a small industry, you don't know how small till you get to know people from all aspects of it.. act professional from the start as it will follow you where ever you go.

 

dp

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Wolf,

Congrats on all your success, but I think my story is more like what more of us have gone/ are going through:

Started flying in March '06. Took over a year to get my private, because i had to work more and could fly less. Private May '07. Instrument Nov. 07. Was just fixin to go for my Commercial checkride when Silver State closed in Feb. ’08. Went to another school and got my Commercial in March ’08. CFI Nov. ’08. Hoped to start working then, but the school only hired CFII’s. Trained for II. I got paired with an instructor who got their CFI the same day I did, and then got their CFII in 2 weeks. Months rolled by of this green instructor stringing me along, saying “one more flight and you’ll be ready,” even though I was performing to PTS standards the whole time. I was having to pay with credit because another student loan was out of the question. My credit maxed and I had to quit. “So close!” as my instructor said, glibly. More months go by. Kept working at my REAL job. You know the type, the job that sucks but actually pays. Finally found an opportunity at a fixed-wing flight school that wanted to add a helicopter. Only instructed 80 hours in 7 months there. Today, I press on, slowly, with my 2 loyal students.

On the verge of being forced to quit just so I can pay my bills and support my family. You’re right that it sure is easier if you’re single. I’ve been criticized by nearly my whole family for “selfishly” going after a career that I would love. Fortunately, I didn’t have to burden anyone else by having them co-sign my student loan. I look back on signing on at Silver State as one of the worst decisions I ever made, but if I hadn’t, I probably never would have known how awesome flying is. I can’t be as positive as WOLF, nor am I pessimistic as Fry. I just think it’s time I got a break.

What I want to know is this: Are there really as many jobs out there as there were made out to be? Is the helicopter industry in “dire need” of pilots like we were led to believe? And if so, why don’t they lower the experience requirements, or offer training positions in which a low time pilot can build time 2nd seat to an experienced one? Why are so many 250 and 350 hour pilots sitting on the bench? Even CFI jobs are hard to come by now because nobody can afford flight training.

This is my first post, and I’m sorry it’s kind of a downer. I wanna hear real solutions from you experienced guys, and not just “Hang in there!”

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I'll follow Jake's story, just so you get another point on the continuum of outcomes for would-be helicopter pilots.

 

I started training June 2007, part time. Finished my CFI in December 2008, right after 6 other students finished their CFIs. I kept my training going even after seeing the SSH collapse and asking the owner and CP at my flight school how that was going to affect my chances of getting a CFI job. And I kept my training going even when I started talking to unemployed flight instructors from my school (one that still advertises a 100% success rate in getting their graduates hired) who hadn't flown for 6 months. When I was advised repeatedly to get my CFII--even though I knew there wouldn't be a job for 6 or more months--I finally said "this doesn't make sense" and put my training on hold.

 

I haven't flown an R22 for over a year now. My confidence in being able to be an effective instructor, should I get that opportunity, gets lower every day. I haven't just sat around emanating my determination to get a CFI job. I've used this time to try and consolidate and improve my lesson plans and overall knowledge, while continuing facing the reality of having to pay the bills. The school I went to recently told me and the others who gradated at the same time that they would only be considering more recent graduates for instructor positions. I expected this. The others who graduated with me and didn't get hired are working hard--very hard--to keep up with their Sallie Mae payments. Because of the contacts I've made, I figure I have, at best, a very slim chance of getting a flight instructor job. If I do, I hope it will be at a flight school that doesn't see it's students as a pot of money to be emptied, and but a school that values quality instruction and is willing to guide students down a career path that goes beyond the 200 hrs of instruction. Those schools are out there, and many of you will follow your dreams right into the former when, if you'd accept some of the negativity that is inherent in reality, you might have ended up at the latter.

 

I have probably less than a 1% chance of ever getting to 1000 hrs. If it happens, it won't happen for many years. I am very lucky that I have the financial stability to continue pursuing this route. I'm pretty lucky that my wife hasn't thrown me out of the house for having nothing to show for after spending enough money to put our kid through college, to invest in our retirement, or to have gone on a dozen dream vacations.

 

Some of you mistake this as negativity, and I figure that I probably get lumped in with the other negative nellies. But Fry and apiaguy and others were saying the same things 3 years ago, and they have the right to say it because they have experienced the way the aviation industry cycles. When Fry says it sounds like WOLF's story is a sales pitch...well, realize that for WOLF to make it, at least 5 other would-be pilots had to believe in the dream. For every story like WOLF's and Jake's, there are many others who have also tried very hard and didn't make it. They don't come here to post their stories because they probably don't want to think about it. They have no stake in educating you, especially when they get bashed for having a bad attitude when they try.

 

My message to guys who want to get in is this:

Determination and a positive attitude are absolutely essential to making it. They are not enough though. Big brains, professionalism, and money are helpful, but an unlimited supply of any of those things does not necessarily guarantee you success. Have a plan--if you don't have a plan for getting to 1000 hrs, at least have a plan for surviving if you never make it past 201 hrs. Jumping in with just a good attitude and no plan is not a good idea, and probably one that you will be paying for for a long time.

 

WOLF is very fortunate, but he still hasn't made it (there are lots of unemployed 1000-hr pilots right now). Even Jake is exceedingly lucky to have landed the opportunity he did. At this point, I even consider myself lucky. None of us would be where we are without determination and a positive attitude, but as you can see, it ain't enough.

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Here’s some perspective.

 

I started my “dream” in 1982 and didn’t gain employment until 1992. That’s 10 years guys.

 

In my office, I have a page pined to the wallboard of various leadership quotes. One in particular reads, “Focus and determination beat brains and intellect every time”.

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Hey Fry, with all the negativity in this industry from all the pilots experiencing it, can you let them have ONE FRIGGIN thread that is just positive?????

 

Jeeze man, let them breathe a little. :angry:

 

Yes, the industry sucks right now for new pilots and we can thank SSH for that. The light at the end of the tunnel is that it WILL turn around. Will you be the person that looks back, thanking God that he/she stuck it out and just kept with it (I understand it's hard to do) and slowly made it to the "flip" or the person that gave up his/her dream cause the going was too tough and lives with the regret every day that they sit in that office looking out the window (if they have a window) wishing they were in that blue sky?

 

PERSEVERANCE

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Well…my first impression was that your timeline doesn’t work. You started training in the month Silver State went belly-up, February ’08, and it took “a year and a few months” to get your CFII. So we’re at…what…April of ’09 at best? You began to teach sometime after that (“A few months to wait for a job seemed like a long time…it was finally my turn to teach”) and “a little over a year later” you’re “nearing the thousand hour mark”. By your timeline we should be into summer.

 

But really, the whole thing just sounds like a sales pitch. All the talking points are covered…e.g., financing: “I got a loan through Sallie Mae. My parents co-signed.”; a job after training: “Your chief flight instructor and owner will see your extra effort and take this into account when it comes to hiring.”; and, college as an alternative: "My sister spent more than me on a bachelor's degree in business and I make more than her right now." Even a Horatio Alger angle: "training 6-7 days a week, studying at home every night, and spending as much time as possible around the school” plus working part time.

 

It’s all just too perfect, and if it sounds too good to be true...well, you know the rest.

 

Yeah Fry... you are right. It is perfect. I couldn't be happier. If it wasn't a good story, I wouldn't have posted it. Like I said, I have nothing to gain by posting this. I am almost done with instructing and if people read this and decide to fly, it will not effect me.

 

The reason I covered all of my bases is because I knew people would ask questions if I didn't, and I figured some of my points may be helpful to others.

 

So my timeline might be a couple months off... sorry I didn't get out my past few years worth of calendars prior to posting. I was simply posting a success story, because believe it or not Fry, out of the hundreds of bad stories about the helicopter industry, there may be a good one.

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Fantastic story. BS as far as I'm concerned. If he was working so hard why did it take over a year to get the ratings. I did up to CFI in 5 months, full time but also with family commitments. Then in just over a year he gets to a 1000 hrs and makes 3000-3500 a month..... BS

 

But to anyone who wants to make it, positive attitude, perseverance as said before is key. But getting to a 1000 hours in just over 2 years BS, making good money also BS. Apart from the fact that 1000 hours R22 won't give you a decent job nowadays. 1500 is minimum and you need Turbine Time and preferably real life PIC experience not just flying around in the traffic pattern, hardly touching the controls. I have friends with 4000-5000 hours unable to find jobs! One of them has 4000 hours of turbine including twins, that's the state of the industry. One guy with 4000 R44 work freelance for absolute peanuts flying a few hours a week (if he's lucky).

 

The last thing this industry needs is an influx of low-time pilots..

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First of all Wesp,

 

So what if you did up to your CFI in 5 months. Some people either take longer. I would say 10-12 months is the average of what I have seen. Depends on the school too.

 

If you complete your rating in a year, it is more than possible to have 1000 hours at the end of the next year. That is an extra 800 hours or so, once again depends on the school. I worked at the country's largest flight school and it does happen. If you work at a smaller school, you're right, doubtful. I also made very good money for an instructor there ($3000-$3500 on a lot of months, I can show you my wage slips if you want)

 

I just landed an ag job with under 1000 hours and no turbine. So it is certainly not impossible. It is all about getting to know people and having a good attitude. Some of the people with these huge amount of hours may not be looking hard enough or not willing to move, etc. I'm not saying everybody but there are jobs out there for those guys.

 

Anyways, Wolf was just trying to inject some positivity into a largely negative industry. I say fair play to him. I was unemployed for a few months last year due to my own reason for leaving my job. I have since found new work but it took a while.

 

For new CFI's it is extra hard right now but there is no harm in telling people a success story because maybe thats all someone needs to go on a road trip, call into somewhere and land that job.

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Fantastic story. BS as far as I'm concerned. If he was working so hard why did it take over a year to get the ratings. I did up to CFI in 5 months, full time but also with family commitments. Then in just over a year he gets to a 1000 hrs and makes 3000-3500 a month..... BS

 

But to anyone who wants to make it, positive attitude, perseverance as said before is key. But getting to a 1000 hours in just over 2 years BS, making good money also BS. Apart from the fact that 1000 hours R22 won't give you a decent job nowadays. 1500 is minimum and you need Turbine Time and preferably real life PIC experience not just flying around in the traffic pattern, hardly touching the controls. I have friends with 4000-5000 hours unable to find jobs! One of them has 4000 hours of turbine including twins, that's the state of the industry. One guy with 4000 R44 work freelance for absolute peanuts flying a few hours a week (if he's lucky).

 

The last thing this industry needs is an influx of low-time pilots..

 

Read, Jack Welch and the GE way: management insights and leadership secrets of the legendary CEO.

 

Here you’ll find out why a guy with 4000 hours is unemployed and guy with 1000 hours can get a job.

 

Furthermore, at a so called "pilot factory" school 800 to 1000 hours per year is doable. Not so much for a mom & pop shop. Plus, if you actually fly that much and add in ground instruction, $35K would be easy. I'd call it kickin-azz.....

Edited by Spike
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Read, Jack Welch and the GE way: management insights and leadership secrets of the legendary CEO.

 

I do know why people in general don't get jobs, but in this case it does show how bad the market is as well.

 

The only school where you could get those amounts of hours was HAI/Bristows Academy but even now that's not the case anymore.

 

I don't want a pissing contest, it's just that I think one shouldn't mislead wannabe pilots to investing/borrowing a lot of money. It just sounds very Silverstate. (and No I didn't go there, went to HAI, never been without a job)

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Good on WOLF and all the others keeping an up-beat attitude. Attitude is everything. You can sit back and piss and moan because opportunity doesn't come your way and land in your lap. Or, you can keep your chin up and go out and do everything in your power to create opportunity, and position yourself to be "the guy" (or gal) an employer wants. If you are generally disgruntled it will show.

 

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" [Winston Churchill]

 

For those who want to call BS on WOLF's story, ask yourself what his motive would be for blowing sunshine up anyone's 4th point of contact. What does he have to gain by it?

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