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Job Locations/Freedom


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Hello all,

I'm relatively new here (been lurking for a while, love all the information available). I'm in the crux of deciding whether to continue pursuing a fixed-wing career (currently have PPL-IFR) or switch to rotorcraft. I have ~3 hours in a s300 and it's been absolutely wild. A whole different animal than flying a plane (as I'm sure everyone here knows). Anyways, I've been reading lots of "doom and gloom" about the helicopter job market in general and I'm curious as to how much freedom you have in terms of where you go/ live, given that you are qualified for a job. I'm not asking for anybody to "hold my hand" or anything of the like, I understand it's a small market in general.


Living away from home (currently live in Alabama, from Connecticut) has made me realize how much I miss it (nothing wrong with AL, its just not "home"). My true dream job is EMS, however based on the (albeit minimal) 3 hours of flight time I have I think I will be happy flying basically any helicopter, especially getting paid to do it.


Have you found that you are basically "slave to the job" and have very little freedom as to where you live?




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Generally speaking, as a pilot, you're a beggar and not a chooser. You go where the work is, which means going where the aircraft is. Few jobs are commuter jobs. For those working block schedules such as a week on, week off, you can commute on your time if you wish. That allows you to live anywhere you like, so long as you live with the aircraft on your days-on.


If you're doing fire or other utility work, you go where the aircraft goes, when it goes, for however long it's gone, until it's done. Then you can do what you like.

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Generally speaking, you go where the work is. As you said, it's a small market, consider how many helos are there in the area where you want to live? That's your market. How competitive are those jobs? There are "hard to fill" bases at my company, bases where for some reason the turn-over is high, and there are bases with near zero attrition. If your target market is desirable with very few helos, it might be hard to ever get in.


For a general overview of the EMS market, try:




and click down to the US states of interest.

Edited by Wally
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