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Hello everybody,

I have just started my flight training in helicopters. I have roughly 170 hours TT in Airplanes, Private Pilot with Instrument rating. I really enjoy helicopters (they're just more fun) and like the idea of a flying career with a possibility of sleeping in my own bed every night (I know not all helicopter careers allow this but it is certainly much more than the fixed-wing options). I have heard that getting a CFI job is kind of hard espeically if the school you do your training with does not hire you on. My question is, what is there to make any given CFI more or less marketable? I have seen a few ads for CFI jobs that say "250 hours TT Schweizer experience a plus...etc" does that TT count fixed wing?

 

My end goal is EMS, GOM, you name it, as long as I can fly helicopters I think I will be happy. I even look forward to potentially CFI (if I finish my training and can find a job that is). My summer job in high school was teaching sailing and I enjoyed that very much. Is there any advice that anybody out there has about the industry in general and landing a job?

 

Thanks.

 

edit: found a few threads on the issue. I still would love some advice though.

On a sidenote, how many of you professional guys are satisfied with your career? On the airline forums whenever a student just starting flight training comes online, it seems like a large amount of commerical guys (even flying for the big airlines, AA, DAL, etc.) reply with very negative comments about the industry advising the student to get out, get a good job, and fly for fun on the weekends. I haven't seen much resonance here, unless I am missing something.

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1st.. welcome to rotorcraft!

2nd.. some things make a CFI more marketable... but alot of those things depend on the job being offered.. what I mean is there are SO many things that could make you more marketable than the other guy that it is impossible to name every combination.

3rd.. your 170 fixed wing will count for alot more than some will give you credit... that means that you have a great foundation in aviation that will help you understand things the way the faa and industry have formed (fixed wing being their primary focus and adapting rotorcraft to their model)

Beyond that unfortunately the 170 hours of fixed wing won't go very far to fulfilling most primary CFI positions that mostly want you to have more hours to meet some insurance requirement.

4th.. If I were you, I would mostly narrow my focus to schools that operate the 300 or the enstrom as the robinson schools have much higher hourly requirements that no ammount of fixed wing time will offset.

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Awesome, thank you for the reply.

 

The school I am learning at now has a Hughes 269...I've been told that is basically the same as a s300? I did an intro flight in a 300CB and through my very limited knowledge I couldn't discern much difference, except the age.

 

Right now I work in a maintenance hangar at the nearest airport as a shop assistant (I'm currently a college student as well). We work on little airplanes (172s, piper seminoles, etc.). I really enjoy this work and I'm curious as to how much an A&P would help? I'm not too keen on parting with the money and time required to get one (especially considering the cost of flight training alone) and I don't reckon that it would help all that much if my end goal isn't..A&P. Is that a correct assumption?

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Right now I work in a maintenance hangar at the nearest airport as a shop assistant (I'm currently a college student as well). We work on little airplanes (172s, piper seminoles, etc.). I really enjoy this work and I'm curious as to how much an A&P would help? I'm not too keen on parting with the money and time required to get one (especially considering the cost of flight training alone) and I don't reckon that it would help all that much if my end goal isn't..A&P. Is that a correct assumption?

 

There are provisions within the regulations to give credit for the 'apprentice' time that you do within a maintenance shop. Talk with the shop manager or the lead IA about it. Basically it is 18 months experience for each of the ratings 18 months for the A and 18 months for the P. Then you can take the written exams. Then there is a practical. So it is possible to get your A&P very inexpensively. But it will take a alot of work on your part.

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Theoretically the most marketable you could be, would be the ability to teach VFR/IFR in the 269/300, R22, R44, Enstrom, as well as fixed wing SEL/MEL, and probably seaplanes too, and be an A&P!

 

However, I'd just go with the school where I believe I have the best chance of post rating employment,...no matter what they fly!

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eagle5 is correct. Attend the school which you believe will give you the best shot at a teaching gig once you graduate.

 

As far as the end result, the ultimate is; a commercial, ATP helicopter pilot with CFII ratings and an A&P with an IA. Therefore, an entry level guy like you, Commercial Pilot with the CFII is a good starting point. Furthermore, only get the A&P if you truly want to wrench. Realistically, it’s a mighty long road just to posture yourself for a flying spot.

 

As mentioned, time in the R22 (meeting the SFAR 73 requirements) and 300 is necessary for prime marketability. Personally, I wouldn’t put any time in the Enstrom as not many schools operate them. If they do, rest assured, they already have their own instructors lined up. Plus IF, on that rare chance that an instructor is needed, the Enstrom operator will hire a CFI with R22/300 time where the opposite can’t be said. And, I’d only spend time in the R44 in order to meet the SFAR requirement.

 

As far a job satisfaction is concerned, I’m very satisfied. However, after a while it becomes a job just like any other job and even though I make better than average money, fly multi-mission operation, in good equipment, things aren’t always peachy….. Even with that said, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else…..

Edited by Spike
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The reason I say do the 300 or enstrom is that you could have your CFII in 50-70 hours...

can you get a job then? Probabally not, but you have the ratings and then you can throw some money at the Robinson to make yourself more marketable.... and you never know what might come up... If you intend to teach in the robinson you will need 200 HELICOPTER hours...

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I have to disagree, due to the SFAR requirements for Robinson, if you learn to fly in a 300 and try to get a job at a school that flys R22/R44's you'll need to log 20 more flight hours in the R22 and 10 more in the R44 to be able to act as PIC, as well as a flight in each with a DPE or chief pilot to get your Robinson teaching endorsement.

 

If you go to a Robinson school, you'll cover the harder requirements of a CFII job automatically. To log PIC in a 300 after learning in an R22/R44 all you'll need is 5 flight hours. Not to mention that most schools teach in Robinsons. Learning in a 300 is just severing the job market in half, and with how hard it is to get a CFI job, you're really putting yourself in a bad position. Unless you attend a school that absolutely can give you a job teaching once you graduate, I would go with a Robinson based school.

 

In addition, many low time (200-500) tour jobs are in Robinson R44 which is another small section of the industry that you're excluding yourself from.

 

And from personal experience, if you get an A&P and your're a pilot, you're going to get a job doing maintenanace. I know several guys who have gone this route, and it's easy to get a job, but they're fix-it guys first and pilots second. They are forced to turn down a lot of flights because maintenance gets priority and you won't be flying as much as you would like. It's not as great as deal as it seems to be. It's a slippery slope and soon you'll be doing nothing but repairs and inspections and the flying will become very few and far between. Eventually these guys took the fact that they're mechanics off of their resumes and don't tell employers anymore.

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Awesome info thanks everybody.

 

the R22 vs S300 debate is kind of settled for me. The only flight school within feasible distance of me has one Hughes 269 on lease and even then its a 40 minute drive. I have looked everywhere for helicopter schools in the east Alabama/west Georgia area (I live in Auburn, AL) and the closest I could find is one in Columbus, GA. Is there any search engine online or any other channel to find flight schools that offer rotorcraft training? I have used AOPA's "find a flight school" page and some google searches but nothing has come up fruitful.

 

Thanks again!

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I have to disagree, due to the SFAR requirements for Robinson, if you learn to fly in a 300 and try to get a job at a school that flys R22/R44's you'll need to log 20 more flight hours in the R22 and 10 more in the R44 to be able to act as PIC, as well as a flight in each with a DPE or chief pilot to get your Robinson teaching endorsement.

 

I think you have the PIC requirements and CFI requirements confused. If you want to be a CFI in a Robinson you must have 50 hours ROBINSON and 200 hours TT. Only a DPE or FAA safety inspector that is authorized to give the Robinson rides can sign someone off. If you just want to act as PIC then it's 20 hours dual instruction for an Unrated pilot, and 10 hours dual instruction for a rated pilot.

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Awesome info thanks everybody.

 

the R22 vs S300 debate is kind of settled for me. The only flight school within feasible distance of me has one Hughes 269 on lease and even then its a 40 minute drive. I have looked everywhere for helicopter schools in the east Alabama/west Georgia area (I live in Auburn, AL) and the closest I could find is one in Columbus, GA. Is there any search engine online or any other channel to find flight schools that offer rotorcraft training? I have used AOPA's "find a flight school" page and some google searches but nothing has come up fruitful.

 

Thanks again!

 

At the Student Outreach Discussion Panel at this year’s HeliExpo, the overall message from the panel to the audience was clear and unanimous. Having time in both airframes will provide the best chance for employment. Otherwise, the opportunities will be limited….

 

For any prospective student, this means you must plan accordingly… In my opinion, to graduate with time in one machine (R22 or 300) is not a plan for success……

 

“A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.”

Edited by Spike
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I agree with Spike, if you can get time in the R-22, 300 and R44(IFR) it would be ideal. I never did my CFII (no $$) but wish I had or could have.

 

I did:

PVT in the 300CB

Instrument in the R22

Commerical in the 300CB and some R22

CFI in the 300CB

 

Here is the kicker, I landed a CFI job in the R22. If you do it this way be sure to get plenty of R22 time and the SFAR endorsement req for CFI done, including the Robinson Factory Course. I would have been more marketable if I had my CFII and that would have been best done in the R44 as many schools use that for IFR training now. I made do with what I had though.

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