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Why Aren't Helicopter Pilots Paid as Much as Surgeons?


Rotortramp

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Let's look at the cold hard facts for a moment:

 

There are about the same number of helicopter pilots as there are surgeons in the United States (i.e. a very small amount).

 

BUT, the average helicopter salary is ~$60,000 while surgeons make an astonishing ~$320,000.

 

We both require an exceptional amount of schooling to understand the machines we will be working on (body vs engine; roughly the same). On top of that we helicopter pilots have to learn about weather, navigation, communication, and deal with students trying to kill us as we gain experience...surgeons don't. And even more on top of that a lot of surgeons "specialize" (cop out) in one certain area of the body. That's like a pilot saying "I specialize in the main rotor, but let me refer you to my colleague about the tail rotor".

 

I know a lot of your are sitting at your computers saying "Cmon Rotortramp, surgeons are highly skilled and take years of schooling to learn what they do!", to which I agree.... However...go to any local bar off any interstate and tell one of the waitresses or dancers that you're a helicopter pilot, and watch their eyes light up. It's been scientifically proven (I'll get the source later) that any local interstate bar employee "can gauge the caliber, skill, professionalism, and demeanor due to their constant interaction with people" (/Source). A study done by a very well known college out West said that on the impressive scale helicopter pilots ranked a full 10 out of 10 while surgeons only reached a measly 8. I'm not one to argue with science or facts, but doesn't it seem odd that surgeons make over 5 times what we do? I think so.

 

Sure surgeons require a steady hand and the utmost precision in their work. Wait a second...let me retort by saying we require a steady right hand, a steady left hand, and on top of that we have to use our FEET. Large bonuses should be paid for R22 pilots.

 

Now I know some of you are now saying, "surgeons have people's lives in their hands Rotortramp, one slip up and they could die!". Sure, sure, the surgeon is in control of that person's life and surely they could die. Hold on to your cyclics though because if a helicopter pilot screws up, multiple people could die, including the pilot! Go to any surgeon you may know and ask if their live is in any danger at the operating table and I think you'll be surprised by the answer.

 

When starting their day all they have to do is wash their hands and flirt with the nurses...we have to worry about hot starts and potentially lose thousands of dollars if something goes awry. If the power goes out while they are operating, no worries, backup generators come on and it was like nothing ever happened. If the power goes out for us, we fall from the sky like a wind silo in a tornado, only to land in some weird forest with a dead ELT battery.

 

I apologize for any grammatical errors in this post, but I cannot contain my rage. The list could go on and on, but I demand to know the reason why their is such a disparity between surgeons and pilots. I CHALLENGE you to give me a good reason why our salaries are so different.

 

Next time I am laying on the operating table I will look at my surgeon...disdain and disgust in my eyes...anger boiling over...and say to him, "you are an overpaid, soulless, abhorrent person" as I drift off into the abyss. I encourage you to do the same.

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Next time I am laying on the operating table I will look at my surgeon...disdain and disgust in my eyes...anger boiling over...and say to him, "you are an overpaid, soulless, abhorrent person" as I drift off into the abyss for the last time. I encourage you to do the same.

 

Fixed.

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I will give you the cold hard truth. Flying helicopters has to be on of the most bad ass job there is on this planet. While it takes thousands of dollars and usually years to get a good job, pilots enjoy their training to much! Think of it this way, you don't have any surgeon that practice surgery as a hobby (inform me if I am wrong), surgeons do their job as a job to make a good living. You can't really have "fun" doing surgeries. While on the aviation side many people fly just for the joy of flying. If you add in that you can make a living off of what you love to do (flying) than us pilots are happy as can be. I can't imagine many surgeons "enjoying" studying but I could be wrong.

 

So basically a low time pilot will fly for food, than when "low timers" become "high timers" flying becomes more of a job and some of the excitement goes away. They then start wanting more money for what they do, so they try and tell low timers to ask for better wages, but for every low timer who agrees there is 5 more that will take his spot and fly for close to nothing. This circle of aviation evolution happens over and over again.

 

Surgeons are more closer to the line of killing someone in the public eyes than pilots are. Aka they are cutting into your body so people will pay big bucks (along with medicare, social security etc) to make sure they are safe. I agree with your post but flying is just to damn fun!

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Ive thought alot about this topic as i am a "surgeon"

 

I believe the gap exists for a couple reasons

#1. There are few qualifications to limit people who want to be pilots...thus the entry level arena and the entire industry is flooded with any yahoo who has the desire and some money. Imagine if the military was the only venue to heli flight training....the requirements to entry in the industry would be even higher than they are currently.

 

#2. The schooling required for heli training is a drop in the bucket compared to any doctoral program. Both in time required to complete training and in difficulty of course work... I have some friends that have been to rucker and from what i understand the presure there to perform could be compared...but definitely not in the civilian world....drinking from a fire hose comes to mind.

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Wow! Please tell me you were drunk when you posted this?!?

 

In your words "we both require exceptional schooling" you must be joking right? So 18 months max compared to oh I don't know at least 8 years. Yep pretty close. I went from 0-200 hours in one year almost to the day. Sure I worked my tail off but it sure as hell wasn't 8 years.

 

Another thing that you said that bugs me " all they have to do is wash their hands and flirt with the nurses" really that's all they do?!? You think we have regulations go ahead and look at medical law books let alone anatomy and everything else. Don't get me wrong I'm not downplaying being a helicopter pilot but comparing that to a surgeon is downright retarded!

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The answer is simple...

 

Surgeons take a part and reassemble their patients while their still running...

Helicopter pilots are required to kill their engines before opening or taking a part anything...

 

:) Have a great weekend...

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The answer is simple...

 

Surgeons take a part and reassemble their patients while their still running...

Helicopter pilots are required to kill their engines before opening or taking a part anything...

 

:) Have a great weekend...

 

Noted, but...

 

Perhaps you've never heard of my good friends Fred and Algene Key.

 

Fllying in a Curtiss Robin named Ole Miss, Fred and Algene remained aloft for 653 hours and 34 minutes. They constructed a metal catwalk around the front of the fuselage to enable them to lubricate the engine and conduct emergency repairs while in flight. The Key brothers endured thunderstorms, an electical fire in the cabin, and a close call with turbulence while Fred was on the catwalk.

 

3652159750_142eeee057_z.jpg

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Wow! Please tell me you were drunk when you posted this?!?

 

In your words "we both require exceptional schooling" you must be joking right? So 18 months max compared to oh I don't know at least 8 years. Yep pretty close. I went from 0-200 hours in one year almost to the day. Sure I worked my tail off but it sure as hell wasn't 8 years.

 

Another thing that you said that bugs me " all they have to do is wash their hands and flirt with the nurses" really that's all they do?!? You think we have regulations go ahead and look at medical law books let alone anatomy and everything else. Don't get me wrong I'm not downplaying being a helicopter pilot but comparing that to a surgeon is downright retarded!

 

I assure you I would never not attempt to not drink while posting negative things on a forum, but on the contrary, is the opposite ever the truth?

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Ah, but they still didn't open the engine while the engine was operating, and that is the problem...

 

Your path to riches as a pilot is simple... Find a way to change internal parts in an engine while it's still operating. Solve this problem and you will become rich beyond your wildest dreams...

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By that logic...I'm also a licensed contractor here in California. It takes 4 years experience, plus some schooling and it took me 1 yr 6 months of dealing with the morons at the CSLB. So I should also be paid the same as a surgeon right? :P

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Lets try it from this angle. Why do professional baseball/football players make such rediculously large, salaries? Because what they do brings in a butt-load of money for their boss'!

 

It has nothing to do with how much training you have, how technical it is, or how hard/long it takes to get! Its simply how much money your skills/job generates,...Economics 101.

:)

Edited by eagle5
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No, the real reason is because we are mostly idiots who think we don't even deserve the money we already get because we're "not really working."

 

That's why.

 

Truth.

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I work my butt off and earn every dime of it, but the truth is that there are hundreds (thousands, really) who willl take my place at the drop of a hat and pay for the privilege, or take a ridiculously low wage and not bat an eye.

 

Why are we not paid like surgeons? We're not surgeons. Get over it. You don't need a doctorate to fly an aircraft. The hardest part of learning to fly is paying for it. We're vehicle drivers above the ground, markedly easier than operating heavy equipment or driving a big rig over the road.

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