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Helicopter "residency"


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So, always alot of animosity towards schools that use students/low time pilots to generate profit for them and I don't really understand why.

(ok, sometimes these companies are not great with their salesmanship and are annoying, I get that..) disclaimer:I have never seen or been to these schools or spoken to any of them....ever.

 

Could this industry have a sort of "residency" period for low time guys to get experience doing all the stuff the old timers do while being monitored and paid (low pay mind you) WITHOUT the industry thinking this is some sort of double dipping bad thing?

 

1st thing is that not EVERYONE can apply and get accepted to such a program... this is the same as trying to get that CFI job... you have to be screened... then you endure long hours and low pay getting to do whatever job is the one that pays the bills...

 

This is where I get muddled... what's the difference with this and company A's plan that they currently offer?

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Could this industry have a sort of "residency" period for low time guys to get experience doing all the stuff the old timers do while being monitored and paid (low pay mind you) WITHOUT the industry thinking this is some sort of double dipping bad thing?

 

1st thing is that not EVERYONE can apply and get accepted to such a program... this is the same as trying to get that CFI job... you have to be screened... then you endure long hours and low pay getting to do whatever job is the one that pays the bills...

 

Unless I'm missing something, that sounds to me exactly like my current job: being a CFI. Long hours, low pay.

 

If you're referring to the Boatpix stuff lately (which I think you are, please correct me if I'm wrong) as Company A, then I think you may be misunderstanding the frustration here. I'm not sure anyone really has much issue with Boatpix once a pilot is hired there (getting PAID to do the photos). The issue, at least personally, is that a person FIRST has to buy 100 hours there (at a marginally discounted rate). You cannot make money there without first blowing ~$20K. Obviously you cannot be hired as a CFI without spending around $50-60K but the difference is that once you have that certification, you should be done paying (for the most part). Why should a rated and competent CFI have to pay "Company A" for another 100 hours so they can then get paid that residency rate you were talking about? Wouldn't a check flight with the chief pilot be enough? Or a more reasonable 5-10 hours so the company can see you know what you're doing?

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So, always alot of animosity towards schools that use students/low time pilots to generate profit for them and I don't really understand why.

(ok, sometimes these companies are not great with their salesmanship and are annoying, I get that..) disclaimer:I have never seen or been to these schools or spoken to any of them....ever.

 

Could this industry have a sort of "residency" period for low time guys to get experience doing all the stuff the old timers do while being monitored and paid (low pay mind you) WITHOUT the industry thinking this is some sort of double dipping bad thing?

 

1st thing is that not EVERYONE can apply and get accepted to such a program... this is the same as trying to get that CFI job... you have to be screened... then you endure long hours and low pay getting to do whatever job is the one that pays the bills...

 

This is where I get muddled... what's the difference with this and company A's plan that they currently offer?

 

No one seems to be willing to offer this type of "pay your dues" approach. Why? Because they don't need us (low-time guys that is)!

 

As long as there is an abundance of entry-level pilots, there will be no residencies, or internships, only us paying them until a cfi gig opens up,...then its Ramen and peanut butter for the next few years!

 

Company A's plan costs 20k and only lasts for 100hrs, that's not a residency, that's extensive time building!

 

Do doctors have to pay to work during their residencies?

Edited by eagle5
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Ok, so it is the pay to play desperate ones who didnt pay their dues with that company that you have a problem with lindsey? Or is it the idea that the company lets you "work" if you pay them 1st even though you already have all other necessay credentials.

 

So, if company A had an internship that you didnt have to pay 4 but you had 2 be trained initially because you only went to a conventional school ...how fair is that compared to students who come from that school and know the system? There has to be a comprimise for students who need to be trained additionally.

 

On the doc part of residencies..some dont pay at all...most are paid.

 

This is an idea ive been toying with for a while ... Offering an internship position for low time pilots....just trying to figure how it can be accomplished professionally and become a success. Is it just a way for the company to have cheap pilots.. Not entirely

Edited by apiaguy
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Simple.

 

Whatchdo, is have an major GOM operator incorporate commercial helicopter pilot training as a part of their business profile. That is, you'd show up to an interview with at least a private certificate and enough cash to pay for the additional hours to CFII certification. Once accepted and the applicant graduates, he is put on the payroll and assumes teaching duties to the next group of commercial applicants. After that group graduates, the CFII is upgraded into a 206 and given orientation left seat flights until he is released to function as a PIC or, as a SIC in mediums then released into a single. True, this would flood the company pilot pool; however, this could be simply controlled by the number of students they accept during application process. And, after the student graduates with the CFII, he can certainly choose to go elsewhere for employment if he so desires. How would CFII certification and trained at Phi look on a resume? Just imagine, during the entire time while training and upgrading, the student is molded/mentored deep into the company culture. IMO, you'd be creating a company-man for life instead of sifting through the "hired guns" of today.....

Edited by Spike
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To spike: What if the student comes with cfii in hand?...

Linds...what other option do low timers have?..keep beating the doors of the other flight schools?....what if the requirement was 25 hours? Would that make you feel better?

Edited by apiaguy
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I just saw that you added a paragraph that I didn't address. Regarding training, ideally of course the company would pay for the training or at least offer it at no pay. Most helicopter companies do this in helicopters that cost exponentially more than an R22. Now, even if we accept that perhaps some companies can't pay for the training and need the potential employee to fork over a bit, my opinion still stands that the notion that a CFI would need to pay for *one hundred hours* of time in order to learn how to take pictures of boats is completely absurd.

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In doctor schools... If you transfer before graduation..many times you are required to redo at least 1 year.

 

What we do isnt impossible or even difficult for most pilots... But it does take some training and for smaller companies that can be the killer

 

I'm unsure what you mean here. What who does?

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I know a few operators looking for pilots currently... Their request for x hours isnt based on insurance...because you still most likely dont have the skill set for the specific mission...it is because they have been burned by low timers just looking for hours and wanting to bail at the 1 st opportunity for something better...so how do i keep them from burning me in this game

 

 

What "we do"... Implies what my business and others do with helicopters that is mission specific

Edited by apiaguy
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I know a few operators looking for pilots currently... Their request for x hours isnt based on insurance...because you still most likely dont have the skill set for the specific mission...it is because they have been burned by low timers just looking for hours and wanting to bail at the 1 st opportunity for something better...so how do i keep them from burning me in this game

 

I'll sign a contract guaranteeing that I won't leave you for at least two years!

 

 

So, if company A had an internship that you didnt have to pay 4 but you had 2 be trained initially because you only went to a conventional school ...how fair is that compared to students who come from that school and know the system? There has to be a comprimise for students who need to be trained additionally.

 

There's only one company that does this, and I think we can all agree it doesn't take 100hrs to learn!

 

If they want me to pay for 5-10hrs of job training, sure, I'll do it,...or better yet, take it out of my pay, that way you guanantee that I won't be able to leave for a while!

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To spike: What if the student comes with cfii in hand?...

 

For this hypothetical, the company can't properly mold/mentor a CFI after the fact. Therefore, no CFI applicants will be allowed to interview. Only private pilots will be considered. Plus, the training department (flight school) would need to be self-sufficient and not incur additional costs to the overall operation. This is why the student must still pay their way up to CFII certification (say 50K). Additionally, not everyone would be accepted. This is what the interview process is about. That is, only accepting the applicants who meet company pre-established criteria basically guaranteeing a successful/productive employee. Foeveh....

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Doesnt Bristow do this? How many Bristow grads actually end up working for Bristow Group outside of instructing in a 300C?

 

I think one of the biggest issues is that you would have to get hundreds, if not thousands of people who are in competition with each other to decide this would be a good idea, when there is no need. We talk about this like we are all in it together. We arent. Every helicopter operation in the US is in competition with every other company, or at least could be should their paths cross. Why does a company need to hire on students and guarantee them jobs when there are already plenty of people out there who already have those minimum quals? Nothing irritates me more than a school who says "train to OUR standards...." Yeah, whatever. So your 300hr CFI has a lock on higher standards? Ive been to 4 different flight schools for ratings and have NEVER flown with anyone other than a CFI looking to bail at the first opportunity. In fact, several times I was that student who came in and found I now had a different CFI because mine left for Alaska last night.

 

Another issue..... We are a "grass is greener on the other side" society. We are ALWAYS looking for better opportunities. Another.... We are a transient society (meaning helicopters) People move around, relocate, decide living here or there sucks, get divorced, meet the love of their life 1000 miles away during a contract. The jobs arent local in our industry. That is evident by the number of companies who allow pilots to live wherever they want and commute. Not a whole lot of people looking to relocate to LA or MS long term. Another...... indentured servant laws were outlawed over 100yrs ago. You cant MAKE anyone stay with your company. Even if you provide them training. Sure you can make them sign a contract and sue them. Anyone know if any of those suits every pan out?

Your legal costs would probably exceed the cost of the training your trying to recoup. And in most if not all states, that amount would be way more than what would allow you to go to small claims court. Now you have Depositions, stenographers, jury selections, multiple administrative case management hearings, motions to dismiss, etc etc. So, guess what, get in line in state civil court and in 2-3 yrs we'll get to your case. And during that time your still paying an attorney for followups and filings that are required. You think you just walk in, show a judge a signature on a contract that says you owe $65,000 and win?

 

I dont. I know law enforcement agencies who sponsor your academy and pay you often have a contract that you sign saying you'll stay for 5 years or you have to pay back training costs. Never happens. They send you a nasty letter, and you throw it in the trash. People move around all the time. My thinking, lets take the GOM as an example. If, say, Era starts an academy that takes Privates, puts them through CFII, then transitions to the AStae, then up to the 135, etc etc. I would venture to guess that unless they hire from the local area, a large majority of those people have a desire to go back to where they came from. If that is their first helo job, they are going to be looking around at all the other missions AStars are used in and say "Hmmmmm, I wonder what its like to fly EMS in Colorado?" They punch out and they are gone. I understand mentoring new pilots who come to your company and who have proven they are going to be solid, but I just cant see any motivation for companies to start footing the bill for student pilots thinking they are going to make Company X a lifetime career. Taking a student pilot and expecting them to stay with the first helicopter job they get is like marrying the first girl you ever dated. Every once in a while it works, but I would say the majority of us cant even remember her name! Its not until later in life, after you've experienced some things, have some bumps and bruises, that you decide "OK, its time to settle down." Most pilots I know are adventurers by nature. We always want to see whats over the next ridge.

 

I get exposed to a lot of companies that come in and out and have talked to a lot of Chief Pilots. 2 separate times I have been told "If your willing to relocate for something long term call me."

 

I think they recognize that its not so easy to just move on a whim when your daughters cheerleading outfit is already paid for and your wife's best friend lives next door. You come to them with some "war stories" and the experience to back it up, I think the notice that "OK, this guy isnt looking to build (fill in the blank) time and move on, he's already got it."

Hiring execs see that if you are willing to relocate in that scenario your probably looking to land something just as long term as what you are leaving. A single guy with no ties and no experience looking to relocate? ehhhhh.... sure they are all willing to sign an unenforceable 10 year contract that means nothing.

 

So to sum all that up..... I think expecting a company to start a flight school thinking they will groom career long employes just isnt reality. There are just way to many opportunities out there for a wide-eyed young pup with 1500hrs of turbine helo time to think hes not going to test the waters. If you start a flight school as part of your business? Sure if it makes money. But to expect that doing it, getting them their first turbine gig and thinking they will stay I think is not going to happen.

 

Let me edit this to add: With these contract issues, regardless of the outcome, I have no doubt that a large operator would have the ability to make your life a living hell for a couple of years. Because when they are paying an attorney to go to court...... You are paying for yours. And when they sue you in Mississippi, and you have already relocated to Oregon, enjoy your 5 trips over 2 years back to Biloxi Superior Court for your 10 minute case continuance hearing! Even if you win, your life will have ended years earlier. So if you sign one, you better do it with that in mind.

Edited by Flying Pig
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In theory, it sounds awesome.

 

I don't think I would take it to Spike's level though. You'd have to be a very savvy business man to pull it off. To make it worth it you'd need a dedicated helicopter. Then you'd have to keep it in the air in order to justify the cost OR schedule it very tactfully (students in it 2-4 days a week and only on those days, Comm flying the rest). So that means only a handful of students. Then you factor in that a CFI is capable of teaching more than one student at a time and now you're producing more pilots than you'd be able to bring on.

 

I like your ideas though Spike and apiaguy. I definitely think a residency type business model could work out for everyone. Is it going to work out for insurance though, to bring on a 200 hr pilot, regardless of the 3k pilot sitting next to him? I'd apply for it in a heartbeat though.

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Doesnt Bristow do this? How many Bristow grads actually end up working for Bristow Group outside of instructing in a 300C?

 

Another issue..... We are a "grass is greener on the other side" society. We are ALWAYS looking for better opportunities. Another.... We are a transient society (meaning helicopters)

 

Yes they do and I'm not sure how many make the upward transition. However, I'm pretty sure even the kids who move out are a list to be rehired if the need arises. Nevertheless, the difference between my scenario and Bristows model is; my organization wouldn't take on a student just because he shows up with a bag of cash. This is an important aspect to understand.

 

As you pointed out, helo jocks are transient in nature. Why is that? Inner adventurism? Maybe. Or could it be the "at will" working conditions which means you can be "here today but gone tomorrow". Add this to the "hired gun" aspect and up-dating the resume becomes an important part of your daily tasks. These two elements are drilled into the most junior student at day one. Thus the packed bag and accompanying escape plan. With my little dream company, these aspects would be eliminated. The company and the employee would have a mutual understanding. That is, we (the company) will provide you with a career, not just a job. In return, you stay, and be a productive employee so we don"t have to waste additional costs on training a replacement. It all boils down to trust.

 

IMO, the bouncing around is an attractive aspect of this business and basically necessary to build time. However, for most, it loses its appeal over the long term. Why? Life kicks in and this becomes just a job. After that, we just want to make a living and pay the bills. Sure it would be really, and I mean REALLY cool to seek out a medium gig, but for me, I couldn't afford the pay cut and, wouldn't want to risk my family's well-being just to pursue a certain type of machine. That would be dumb.

Edited by Spike
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Thats the boat I would be in. Plenty of cool jobs out there, but taking the pay/benefits cut would make searching around pretty selective. If I ever did decide to move on, its because all the stars aligned and Michael the Arch Angel came down and hand delivered me an acceptance letter penned in gold leaf......... When your married, like me, the wife doesnt care what I do when I leave for work. She just wants to make sure the checking account doesnt reflect in the negative! Kids in school, kids in High School..... your options of just packing up and moving on narrow significantly and quickly.

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Very view companies insure helicopters. A handful. You deal with the agent or broker or whatever not the actual insurance company. Flight schools have a sort of waiver. Those master policies say 1000 hours. We have a waiver to do this work that requires 1000 hours normally and we do it at 300 hours. 100 hours and you learn a lot. If you think you can do it at five hours I disagree and I've only been doing this since 1986. I know that you don't see wisdom and knowledge on a web forum where negativity and jabs are the rule but whatever program you are looking for is probably the one we offer. You just don't realize it yet.

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