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Hello all, this is my first post on here..I am kind of bundling alot together so I don't seem to redundant by asking the same questions in other parts of the forum..Hoping to pick a few brains here..

 

I am a 27 year old veteran and I am looking to get out of my small town..I have always loved aviation,just never thought about flying until recently...One is basically limited to working at Walmart,or being born into a good job around here..Since I came back from Iraq in 2009,it's been a real struggle work wise..My employment history for the past three years isn't good..Is that a big deciding factor for the helicopter jobs out there, or are they really concerned more about time?..

 

 

School wise I have it just about narrowed down to Northeast Helicopters,Guidance,and Mountain Ridge..MR isn't set up for the post 9/11 G.I. bill yet, but the lady who answered my call there spent about 90 minutes on the phone with me discussing the school and my career objectives...Plus the area seems really nice coming from Ohio..I called Quantum and the lady asked if I was ready to attend school within the next two weeks,when I said no,she hung up on me..Anyone have any insight to these schools?..Northeast is closest,but they don't have the mountains and high altitude training..But I would think they have many more actual IFR flying days..Does one trump the other?

 

As far as job questions, one pertains to what I touched above,and that is recent work history...How much does it really come into play if you have more hours than someone else?..The other ones are, how do you EMS and GOM pilots naviagte to where you gotta go?...Does it really come down to a heading and a figured flight time?..Seems rather daunting considereing whats at stake..I know it's basic piloting, but I would have assumed someone would have come up with something by now to make that easier to help with situational awarness..

 

I guess I am on the fence some what..Relying on a medical, political situation concerning the GOM and drilling, constant flow of pilots entering the market, lack of learning skills in other areas..But I would also like to take a stab at trying to do something I think I would enjoy..I would love to fly for 15 years, then settle down and start a small and HONEST flight school somewhere..I don't want to do one thing and dream about another, or do one thing and regret it..I guess only I can make that choice..If anyone has any insight about GOM and EMS navigation,the schools I listed,or the outlook in the industry, I would greatly appreciate it...

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There is no situational awareness in the gulf. Once your past the beach - it's just you, the HSI and the GPS. You need to know where you are going, STAY on course and have your distance, fuel and refuel figured out. If you have to go to the chart (gulf coast heli) it is very hard to fly and find your place on that chart because the print is so small (not impossible, but difficult). Personally, I use a chart that gives me distance, time, range and fuel (percentage, gallons and weight) for my planning. It makes my life a lot easier.

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From what I have seen, nobody really cares that much about non aviation work history.

 

I have no insight to those schools.

 

As far as GOM navigation, by the time you get your certificates and experience, it will be no issue at all. You have charts, aircraft gps, optional personal gps, and a com center (that may, or may not be able to help you). If all that fails, use your compass and fly north until you hit land, then land at a gas station and ask for directions.

 

Just my two cents

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You won't be doing any training in actual IFR since none of the training helicopters will be certified for IFR. They simply have the required instruments so you can learn to use them and the IFR infrastructure. Mountain Ridge is top notch... I highly recommend it. You have already seen that they are willing to spend extra time with you to answer your questions. That mentality extends to everyone I have had the pleasure to deal with there.

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Yeah, I forgot about that. I agree, the less IFR days, the better off a student is :-)

 

That's why the desert is great to learn in, the view can suck but there are very rarely cancellations due to weather. Another thing to consider is to train at an area where you wouldn't mind living for a few years, or even better... A place that you would love to live at for a few years.

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I would agree with HeliUtah, I do not work for Mountain Ridge, or train with them right now so Don't take this as an advertisement. I have had great experiences dealling with them though. I sounds like you talked to Jessica, she has been great with helping me out so far. Logan is a nice town, and is probably one of the more affordable places to live, may be something to look into.

 

One thing you should do is considder all your options. You listed three schools, is there a reason you limited yourself to these three? They are three that I have considdered my self, but there are others that are set up to accept Ch33 benefits. You should check out as many as possible and actually stop in to check them out before making a choice. If you visit Utah, there is Upper Limit, and Universal helicopters that are set up for Ch33. I have also heard good things about Leading Edge Aviation in Oregon.

 

If you search through the forum you will find posts regarding schools where you can use the Post 911 Gi Bill. You will find a longer list, and some peoples opinions about the schools. I would urge you to do your own research and form your own opinion though.

 

Good luck with your goals, and thanks for serving.

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Wow guys thanks for the responses...TXFirefly were would one be able to get ahold of the charts you said you use?...Pohi I could only imagine landing at a gas station lol..I have taken moving to a nice area into consideration..Nowhere can be worse than the town I am in now though lol....HeliUtah, the only thing that seems to be the issue with MR is lack of funds on my end until they start using the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill...I love the looks of their location..Seems like it would have a good vibe for me..Rick1128, I plan to put it all out there..I see alot of online resumes that just seem to inclide flight hours,conditions,and types...I plan to highlight my service time..Gary-Mike,I talked to Megan at MR,nice lady.. I checked out the other schools you listed..I am awaiting a phone call back from UHI...Not really sure if I want to get a 4 year degree though to be part of their CFI team...Upper Limit is on the table too..I have also looked into U.S. Aviation Academy..The probability of being able to get dual rated is a plus..They seem to push hiring their trained CFI's...Figure being dual rated couldn't hurt and they seem to be decent..Looking for horror stories as I type...It was my pleasure Gary-Mike..

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There is no situational awareness in the gulf. Once your past the beach - it's just you, the HSI and the GPS. You need to know where you are going, STAY on course and have your distance, fuel and refuel figured out. If you have to go to the chart (gulf coast heli) it is very hard to fly and find your place on that chart because the print is so small (not impossible, but difficult). Personally, I use a chart that gives me distance, time, range and fuel (percentage, gallons and weight) for my planning. It makes my life a lot easier.

 

I have to disagree here. There is just as much situational awareness in the GoM as anywhere else, but I guess that all depends on who is flying. If you know how to use the chart you can get around just fine without a functioning GPS. Of course it's easier with one, but to say there is no situational awareness is simply not true in most cases, but I can't speak for you.

 

In our new hire training, with pilots with 0 offshore experience, we do a 100nm cross country to include deviations and no GPS. It's easier than you'd think with just a little prep.

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Situation Awareness is something to be maintained by pilots at all times while flying. It is more than just knowing your position on the chart and over the ground.

 

Of the 37 accidents determined to be caused by the loss of Situational Awareness, 34 were fatal. National Transportation Safety Board findings. That is almost 92%.

 

Modern flight training should develop Situational Awareness from the first flight.

 

Be safe everyone,

 

Mike

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Thanks for the link pohi...I think I am gonna get one of those..Is there just one chart for the whole GOM?...C of G, when you mention deviations,are the radio operators on the rigs able to give you guys actual weather updates to include wind?..Anyone else get nervous before making this their career choice?..

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Thanks for the link pohi...I think I am gonna get one of those..Is there just one chart for the whole GOM?...C of G, when you mention deviations,are the radio operators on the rigs able to give you guys actual weather updates to include wind?..Anyone else get nervous before making this their career choice?..

 

Basically deviations are per customer request, so we will incorporate that in indoc training so when you find yourself on the job you are somewhat acclimated. Regarding weather, in general, you will not get that support from the platform, but you can get it at larger locations. There are more weather stations in the gulf now then ever. Other than that rigs are separate entities from platforms and the rigs can give you the local info to assist in approach planning. Your own company flight following radio can often assist with weather reports too, but in a lot of instances, it's more expedient to just change a freq and get the asos.

 

Yes, most are nervous about their career choice for any given career. The difference for helicopters is that after paying the equivalent of a 4 year college, if you don't find a job in your field, you aren't even qualified to pump gas into them. It's a risk, but depending on your flexibility, it is done every day. Do your research, which it seems you are, and then try and objectively weigh your goals and the reality of the job. You will be away from home a lot. A lot.

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I guess I am on the fence about the future of the industry...The GOM may be a non existing job in 10 years..I don't know..I have the opportunity to go from reserve to active duty..But I would like to keep the military part time,versus getting out at 50 and starting life over..

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If you want to keep the military a part of your life you could apply for WOFT, best chances of getting it is through active duty though. (At least that is what I have heard.) When I looked into it the cut off was 33 years old, that was a little over a year ago.

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Caution is good, but you need some confidence to be a pilot :-)

 

The GOM chart, btw is just one big one.

 

You could also get your ratings and go reserves if you want to keep enjoying the military lifestyle somewhat. I know of a few pilots who fo that, but then again, two jobs puts you home even less (if that is a factor).

 

As far as the job market in general, it's easy to get ratings but significantly more difficult to get a job. There are lots of threads about that, so I won't even get into it. I don't know what you heard about the GOM shutting down in 10 years, but I guess anything is a possibility. However, any time and experience you get will always be with you, and if one place shuts it's doors, it's just time to move on. Businesses will come and go, but for a while (I hope) the helicopter industry will be around.

 

The life of a pilot is a nomadic one, a lot of people only keep jobs for a few years anyway ;-)

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Hello all, this is my first post on here..I am kind of bundling alot together so I don't seem to redundant by asking the same questions in other parts of the forum..Hoping to pick a few brains here..

 

I am a 27 year old veteran and I am looking to get out of my small town..I have always loved aviation,just never thought about flying until recently...One is basically limited to working at Walmart,or being born into a good job around here..Since I came back from Iraq in 2009,it's been a real struggle work wise..My employment history for the past three years isn't good..Is that a big deciding factor for the helicopter jobs out there, or are they really concerned more about time?..

 

 

School wise I have it just about narrowed down to Northeast Helicopters,Guidance,and Mountain Ridge..MR isn't set up for the post 9/11 G.I. bill yet, but the lady who answered my call there spent about 90 minutes on the phone with me discussing the school and my career objectives...Plus the area seems really nice coming from Ohio..I called Quantum and the lady asked if I was ready to attend school within the next two weeks,when I said no,she hung up on me..Anyone have any insight to these schools?..Northeast is closest,but they don't have the mountains and high altitude training..But I would think they have many more actual IFR flying days..Does one trump the other?

 

As far as job questions, one pertains to what I touched above,and that is recent work history...How much does it really come into play if you have more hours than someone else?..The other ones are, how do you EMS and GOM pilots naviagte to where you gotta go?...Does it really come down to a heading and a figured flight time?..Seems rather daunting considereing whats at stake..I know it's basic piloting, but I would have assumed someone would have come up with something by now to make that easier to help with situational awarness..

 

I guess I am on the fence some what..Relying on a medical, political situation concerning the GOM and drilling, constant flow of pilots entering the market, lack of learning skills in other areas..But I would also like to take a stab at trying to do something I think I would enjoy..I would love to fly for 15 years, then settle down and start a small and HONEST flight school somewhere..I don't want to do one thing and dream about another, or do one thing and regret it..I guess only I can make that choice..If anyone has any insight about GOM and EMS navigation,the schools I listed,or the outlook in the industry, I would greatly appreciate it...

 

First, last, and foremost: Welcome home and thank you for your service. Hearing that always seemed kinda lame and fake when it became fashionable, but it's usually sincere, even if you suspect those speaking don't have a clue. It's sincere and I'm clueless.

 

To the questions asked:

Your non-flying job history is almost all you have when you're looking for your first flying job. There should be parentheses after that- build a good rep at flight school. It's cliche but true, "How you're taught (learn) is how you'll fly", be a professional from day one... This IS a small industry and you'll be surprised who knows who.

Your particular history is not, repeat- NOT! unique at your situation. The economy sucks at present. "Job to job" as an employment history is not a plus, but it's not a negative unless there's also a criminal history involving moral turpitude. If and when that discussion arises, be direct, clear and honest. Having an employer that would give a favorable reference from your non-flying period is a plus when you don't have experience and hours.

How do we navigate in the "GOM and EMS"? The over simplified answer is that we find our way the same way you do when you go to the fridge- I head off in that general direction, go around stuff and bear right or left as appropriate. If I've never "been there before", I use a chart to get a clue where stuff is and which way to start, etc. That's pilotage, which is kinda like "land navigation" taught in the military. Pilotage underlies everything (even in the Gulf of Mexico!!!), and there are techniques you'll learn to make pilotage, a/k/a WAG (Wild A** Guess) into SWAG (Scientific WAG) a/k/a "dead reckoning".

If you want to see the Gulf Helicopter Chart, go to Skyvector.com and search "KVQT".

And GPS helps (get you lost if you don't know where you're going).

 

As to the future prospects of the Gulf of Mexico- I suspect production will stop there someday. Perhaps in your lifetime, probably not. The helicopter market there has changed, is changing and will change, but I'd sure consider the potential as a job were I you. EMS is and will be in a flux, too.

Edited by Wally
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Pohi, I can get out in June if I want...The downside is once you're out for 2 years, you have to go back through basic training again,so they say..That wasn't fun the first time and I don't think it would be any better the second time lol...If I stay in and am forced to go active or starve, the process may be easier than trying to get back in...Wally, thanks for that..It was my pleasure..I checked out that map..I guess all the black dots are rigs/platforms?...I just thought how my first day on the job I would probably land at like 12 of them before finally finding the right one!...Does the company map out the ones they service?..If you are on an EMS flight to a car wreck and all they said is "the scene is to the east in Andover, and there is a field to land in on Johnboy Rd close by" , how would you plan?..Just head that way and get some help from the emergency workers on the ground to find the scene?..I know as far as hospitals go,some have a big H on the sectional and shown as private helipad...I struggle to find the ones in Cleveland that don't have that and are just listed as numbers on airnav...I can't find them on the map?..

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You and I shared some of the same soil in 2009, it seems. (same country, anyway).

 

Was that Missy Palrang at Quantum that hung up on you? Disappointing that if you weren't ready to train within two weeks, they didn't have time for you. It would be hard to spend one's hard earned money at a place like that. Quantum has a good reputation, too.

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"I guess all the black dots are rigs/platforms?...I just thought how my first day on the job I would probably land at like 12 of them before finally finding the right one!..."

The black dots mark structures, some are single well heads, most are actual platforms with heli-decks of some sort. They're each in a lease block and marked as such, example "South Timbalier 151" and if there's more than one platform in the block, ST 151-A. Finding the right deck in the block can be a challenge. GPS is a real advantage if the coords are accurate.

 

"Does the company map out the ones they service?.."

As far as the helo vendors, I never saw one. The production and or operating companies have them.

 

"If you are on an EMS flight to a car wreck and all they said is "the scene is to the east in Andover, and there is a field to land in on Johnboy Rd close by" , how would you plan?..Just head that way and get some help from the emergency workers on the ground to find the scene?.."

When a request to respond is recieved, it's pretty much that format except NO medical info at all, "scene request respond to city and county". If the com spec has a range and bearing it might be provided, but it's not always reliable. Once the request to respond is accepted, I will be provided coordinates, contact info, and the medical side will get what patient info is available. The scene boss wil describe the LZ and we look for emergency vehicles in that area, and fix the LZ reference to one of those, "in front of the ambulance by the sheriff's car".

Preflight prep is everything. The aircraft sits with as much useful fuel as I can load and carry a patient. That's enough to get to scenes or hospitals and then to a recieving facility. If I need more, I refuel while the medical crew is packaging for transport or at the receiving hospital.

It's something one is always calculating and appraising...

 

"I know as far as hospitals go,some have a big H on the sectional and shown as private helipad..."

Hospitals have a generic appearance, you look for that rambling incoherent building, then for the pad. If I've never been to the facility before, I'll ask for a briefing, usually somebody on duty has some knowledge. If not, flight following calls the hospital and asks where they want to land the helo. You have to have some level of consent to land on hospital pads, implicit or expressed.

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As far a schools go, here are a few things that I recommend when choosing a flight school

1) Find a school that has a reputation for hiring on their students as instructors-you would be surprised of the number of schools that take a student’s money, get them their 200 hours and then let them go. (This is a death sentence for most CFI's because most teaching jobs require 300 to 500 hours)

2) Find a school in a region where you can log mountainous time. It's beneficial to a few jobs out there, so it’ll come in handy someday down the road.

3) Chose a school that offers one-on-one instruction. Many schools have classroom settings where you share the teacher with one, two or more other students. You can get one-on-one teaching from a different school for the same price; why not take advantage of it.

4) I’m not trying to start a flame war or any arguments (so this #4 has nothing to do with what’s better or worse, it’s chosen based on increasing your ability to find employment), Find a school that teaches in Robinsons rather than Schweizers. Many low hour tour jobs are in R44s and if you’ve never flown one, it’ll keep some of those jobs out of your reach.

5) Some schools have turbine helicopters for students who want to pay the price. Many of these schools are 141 schools that can take the GI Bill. They see the students coming in with all that money and convince them to do their training in these turbine helicopters. Now, don’t get me wrong many jobs in the industry do want turbine time, but if you do all of your training in a Bell, you’ll be in a similar position as #1, you’ll be done, with 200 turbine hours which isn’t enough to get a real job, and you have no experience in the more standard trainer helicopters (Robinson or Schweizer) leaving you with no options so be very careful of schools who will take advantage of you.

6) Do your research with the NTSB. I’m not going to bad mouth any flight school, however one school was mentioned in a previous post, which if you looked into their safety record, you would wonder how they haven’t been shut down already. (If I recall 6 accidents in the past 7 years)

 

Good luck in your search

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3) Chose a school that offers one-on-one instruction. Many schools have classroom settings where you share the teacher with one, two or more other students. You can get one-on-one teaching from a different school for the same price; why not take advantage of it.

4) I’m not trying to start a flame war or any arguments (so this #4 has nothing to do with what’s better or worse, it’s chosen based on increasing your ability to find employment), Find a school that teaches in Robinsons rather than Schweizers. Many low hour tour jobs are in R44s and if you’ve never flown one, it’ll keep some of those jobs out of your reach.

 

A couple of comments.

 

While one on one ground instruction can be more tailored to the student, unfortunately it doesn't cost the same. Also the organized ground school, if properly run, gives additional benefits to the students. Many students don't like to ask questions because they feel it makes them sound stupid. Also other students may ask questions the you didn't think of or get explanations that help you understand the point a little better. The best way would be an organized ground school with one on one used to fill in the areas that need better understanding.

 

Probably the best option would be going to a school that uses both the Robinson and the Schweizer. That way you cover about 97% of the helicopter schools out there. Getting some R44 time would be icing on the cake.

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Avbug I was down at Camp Bucca From Jan-April of '09

 

Wally thanks again for more insight, I honestly appreciate it...

 

Zippie, I am gonna pm you...Is the research from the NTSB free?..Thanks for the good luck..

 

Rick I am still slugging things out with the G.I. Bill...Gonna take an eye exam hopfully before the end of the month just to make sure they are good...Can't think of anything else that would keep me from failing a medical..While they are not (too) bad, I just want to make sure they are 100% 20/20 becuase it has been about 1.5 years since last eye exam..I would like to find out if I need stronger glasses before I take the medical...

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