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Supplimenting Pilot LIcense plus Extra


Harlinder
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I did a 1 hour flight here in St Louis and absolutely loved flying. Got the rotor bug and my wife and i researched and found i can afford the initial pilot license.I did a 7 year stint in the Army and have been out for a while and im a 22 vet of communications and VIOP tech.

 

Do you guys often see IT folk mix skills with Pilot to land jobs? Just curious. fly the chopper and do IT/VOIP related while not flying? Trynig see if it worth pursuing a career in Helicopters.

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Having job skills outside aviation is always a good idea if one embarks on a flying career. Aviation lives on a razor-thin profit margin, and flight departments, companies, and even entire agencies tend to dry up overnight at the drop of an economic hat. Jobs go with them, and it's good practice to have other skills to stay employed.

 

I don't think there are very many employers that look for a pilot/IT professional combination, but it's very possible that you may become more valuable to an employer because of your skillset. Having additional abilities, certifications, etc, is always a good thing.

 

With most flying jobs, your'e either a pilot, or something else. Some companies like to have pilots doing other activities on behalf of the company when they're not flying. This is most commonly found in corporate jobs (some, but definitely not all). Most operators, however, don't want pilots too tied up or distracted doing other things; flying is often something that requires going to work with full devotion to flying and the dropping of all other things in one's life to make that happen. I keep a helmet and flight suit and gear in a bag ready to go around the clock, for example, and have responded to very short notice requests numerous times throughout my career. It's not that one can't be doing other jobs, but they often get pushed on the back burner when it's time to fly...which means sometimes they get delayed or not done.

 

The most compatible skill to have when flying is probably maintenance; employers do like to have pilots who are capable of being mechanics, too. I do both, and it's kept me afloat more than a few times in this business when flying work became "thin."

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Your talking about your skills in IT landing you a job after you have all of your related flying certificates correct? How are you going to get all of your other ratings? Commercial, CFI? CFII?Honesly, if all you can afford is a Private Helicopter rating, youll need about $55,000 more to get a CFI, then at minimum probably a thousand more flight hours instructing after that to get a job where you could even think about supporting a family. With the money you would spend on a private helicopter rating, you could probably swing a Private and Instrument rating in airplanes and still be able to afford to fly decently. Or...... like how I started way back when, if you just want to enjoy flying, maybe get into aerobatics look into sailplanes.

I only offer that because you stated you have enough money to get your "initial" which I am interpreting to mean Private Pilot License. You cant be employed with only a private rating.

Edited by Flying Pig
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I have a bit of an IT background and I've been able to use it to improve the operations in every job I've held. I don't know if it would help all that much when applying to jobs and you won't find many job postings specifically asking for both (although a few months ago skyvector.com was looking for an iOS programmer with a pilots license), but I've found ways to use it to make myself more valuable to my employers. As others have mentioned, your biggest obstacle to employment over the next several years will be to get a commercial license and at least 1,000+ hours of experience. After that you may have a slight advantage over similarly experienced pilots.

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You could do that, but there's a big difference between being hired as a pilot, and being hired as something else. When a company hires a pilot, they generally hire someone qualified, who meets their standards, who meets their insurance requirements, who has a verifiable background of flight experience.

 

It's a very different thing to hire into the company to do another job, then get hired with no experience. If you've done all your training in an R22 and that's what the company flies, then you probably won't have a lot of trouble...but not many corporate departments are going to have an R22.

 

Usually a company won't waive their requirements for the pilot position simply because you're already employed there. They might, but it's a gamble.

 

This is the catch 22 of finding work. Having the pilot certificate doesn't mean much. You generally need to have a certain amount of experience, and the most common metric for tracking experience is hours. In order to gain that experience, you'll usually end up needing to work at entry level positions, often flight instructing, in order to get enough experience to start looking elsewhere.

 

By all means talk to the company when you're interviewing, but if you're making plans for the future presently, bear in mind that there's a strong probability that you're either going to have to stay in entry level positions for a long time, working part time, or abandon your regular career to devote yourself to gaining enough experience to be marketable.

 

I've known professionals working in the industry who couldn't advance because they didn't have the right kind of experience. A pilot who went to the airlines, for example, might have a couple thousand hours, but because he hired on with nearly no experience, as a second in command, didn't have enough to upgrade...and had to leave to go instruct again to gain more PIC experience. I know a flight engineer who's doing that same thing right now. The same is true for the positions your'e talking about; I've seen it happen before. A pilot wants to get out of his cubicle and fly, and the company likes him. He's a good employee, and a good fit with the company. Unfortunately, they can't use him until he has more experience...he has to leave to go get the experience, before trying to come back. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

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