Jump to content

Looking for career advice...


Recommended Posts

Hoping to get some feedback on this matter.

 

I have been researching the different pathways to becoming a helicopter pilot. This has been a life-long dream for me, but due to financial limitations has been unattainable.

 

I recently have thought up a way to attain my licenses and am looking for some industry advice from current pilots/experienced professionals.

 

Are there flight schools that are common employers of A&P mechanics? Basically, I am thinking of training for my licenses while working as a maintenance tech. at the same company I work for.

 

I am searching in reverse order because I have found many employers of maintenance techs are looking for candidates with very specific experience on their makes/models of choppers. I would rather know in advance a few specific places to have as a goal-employer and then be sure to attend an A&P program at a school that can provide experience with some of those makes/models. I don't want to come out of school unemployable and I would like to tailor my training to specific employers.

 

Any advice?

Thanks so much! :)

 

Also, if you feel you wouldn't mind chatting/emailing with me a little bit to help mentor me through this decision, I would highly appreciate it and will return the favor with a joy-ride some day - just PM me. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you really need to think this one out. If you become an A&P I believe you will only find yourself further from your goal as you will have spent money on something that doesn't get you into a pilot seat. An A&P will never be bad education, but operators looking for pilots want pilots... Sure, if I want a pilot to take care of the helicopter too because it doesn't fly much then that would be great... but those operators are small and few. I want a pilot who knows what is going on with the aircraft and if they have an A&P I believe they know better than the other dime a dozen pilots but if finances are your problem and the pilot seat is your goal... don't spend the time and money now on the A&P. Forget about finding an A&P school that will train you on the types of helicopters operators are using... there aren't any. You'll have to get experience as a grunt first and then in a couple years they'll send you to the factory school or you can pay for that out of pocket to try and impress an employer that you want a job with. I'd be happy to discuss this more if you'd like.

Edited by apiaguy
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've known of a few A&P's who gradually get their ratings, but it's a long, hard road. Honestly it depends on how long you're willing to wait. I think apiaguy said it best in that it will initially set you further from your goal. If you have the dedication, however, once you're able to "check the boxes" and walk into an employer with a CFII in helicopters and an A&P, you will be worth your weight in gold.

 

Both the A%P's at my school are slowly obtaining their ratings, but if it's at a reduced rate I'm not sure. Most of the day they stay pretty busy as it is, and time to fly for the sake of flying is few and far in between for them.

 

How long do you see this taking in your mind? Compare that with the length of time you think it would take to pay for 200 hours of R-22 time, and there's your answer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since your looking for a mentor, consider joining WhirlyGirls, NinetyNines and Women in Aviation International, they offer mentor programs. Visit a local meeting and determine which organization best suits your personality and goals prior to joining.

 

Another avenue, would be to enroll in college and start applying for the huge number of available scholarships. However the due dates for the 2011-2012 school year have passed, so that option would still be another year out. Plus this is a very competitive route with no guarantees.

 

It's airshow season and helicopters seem to be at most of them, so talk to as many helicopter pilots as possible, and ask about where they trained and what they thought of the school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew an IA who would get flight time when he could, granted he was not after a career flying, however, he was about 45 and only had about 1,000 hours.

 

Something to remember is you might be strapped for cash being a mechanic. A friend of mine is a Robinson expert an he only makes 38,000 a year, no overtime, no benefits.

 

I don't know many engineers though, so that might be an aberration.

 

Be careful about going the collage loan route as the loans are private, meaning higher interest and even harder to defer. For example even if you are disabled you still must make payments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately there are no shortcuts with becoming a helicopter pilot. While your idea is feasible, as the others have pointed out, its not a realistic method to obtaining a pilot gig. At least, not in the short term. However, as an A&P mechanic myself, I can say without a doubt, the certificate did help me with my career advancement as a pilot. In short, get the A&P if you want to wrench on helicopters, not because it will help you become a pilot.

 

To address the financial issue, I suggest you earn the cash to pay for your training. If you have a job already, then get another one. Fill all of your spare time with earning money. It doesnt matter how much you are being paid as long as you are making money above and beyond your basic living expenses. Work and save. Furthermore, try to reduce your living expenses to a minimum.

 

Heres a short story to express my point; Once at a gas station, a young man noticed I was wearing a helicopter t-shirt. He asked if I was a pilot. I told him I was. He thought flying helicopters for a living was really cool and asked me a bunch of questions how to become a helicopter pilot. So I explained the options available to him and he really seemed interested. Then he asked the all-to-familiar question how much does it cost? and I told him…. He said that was waaay to expensive and there was no way he could afford that much money!!! The young man thanked me for my time as he walked away wearing what looked to be brand new skate shoes and a DC hat (flat bill with the label sticker still attached) as he put in his earbuds connected to his Iphone. He walked over and climbed into a 2010 Ford F250 4X4 with a lift kit, grill guards, side steps, 22 inch wheels, trick paint job and a sound system that registered a 5.0 on the Richter scale as it played Jazzy G….. Cant afford it……

 

It basically boils down to, how bad do you really want it?

Edited by Spike
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all so much for your feedback.

 

I will chew on this for awhile and brainstorm. Look into the suggestions, etc.

 

I see the point with the "how bad do I want it"; right now that "how bad" is a compromise between my children (twin 4 year olds) and my career...so...not just me I have to consider. meh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's probably going to almost impossible to claw your way up from the bottom with limited funds and two kids. Traveling all the time, no health insurance, the massive cost of raising kids, etc.

 

In the course of my helicopter adventure I've been on food stamps, I can't imagine what would have happened if I had two kids to take care of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NOTHING is impossible. If it is your dream then you CAN figure it out and make it work. Helistar offered some great advice. Get involved with others in the industry through organizations like Whirlygirls, etc.

 

One of the BEST decisions you could possibly make for your potential future career is to plan on attending Helisuccess this coming fall in Las Vegas. This event was instrumental in helping me to develop my approach to a career in the industry. Lyn brings in people from all parts of the industry that you will have the opportunity to speak with and develop your plan of attack for making your dream happen. It is an unbelievable value, and in my opinion, should NOT be missed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

NOTHING is impossible. If it is your dream then you CAN figure it out and make it work.

 

It's completely different when you have responsibilities. What happens if you kids get sick and you can't help them because you spent all your cash on helicopters.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's completely different when you have responsibilities. What happens if you kids get sick and you can't help them because you spent all your cash on helicopters.

 

Are you insinuating that once you spend all of your cash on helicopters, that you immediately lose the ability to earn? Shaun you might be on to something! I think thats exactly what happened when I became a flight instructor!

 

But seriously, we could list what ifs until the cows come home. there are many factors to consider, and responsibilities must be weighed prior to undertaking any endeavor. However, those things do not make it impossible. You can find ways to make it happen that do not include neglect.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This brings up an interesting topic on raising kids and pursuing this dream. I made a topic about family man pilots because I was very concerned that the lifestyle of a pilot won't work with a family. But from the responses I got I found that there are lots of pilots out there with family's who have made it work and are walking proof that it is possible.

 

That being said, I'm going to assume that born2fly is a single parent. Are there any single parent helicopter pilots out there reading this right now that might be able to shed some light of motivation on this matter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...