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Thinking about getting a commercial license need advice


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Hi,

 

Im 22 and working as a chef right now and i love it but im not happy with the money im making. I always thought it would be awesome to fly a helicopter.

 

there is a local school by me but they charge 285$ an hour, they said it takes 40 hours but normally 50-60 to get a private license and then about 150 to get a commercial license and thats its 1 on 1 with an instructor and i can make appointments at my connivence.

 

Is that a rip off? how much should i expect to pay? its an R22.

 

Im currently taking classes online as well to get a business degree but i really think i would enjoy my job flying if i can get through the course.

 

Would anyone recommend another place?

 

Also what should i know about school, licensees etc. ?

 

Is there anyone here from bradenton- sarasota fl area?

 

Thanks

 

Jordan

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It takes alot of dedication and money to pursue a career as a helicopter pilot. How much do you make a year as a chef? I'd be willing to bet it's better than what your first two years as a pilot would be. You should be prepared to make as little as $10k-12k your first year as flight instructor. Not much better your second year. Bread crumbs really. After a few years of experience, over 1000 hrs, and landing a good turbine job, you'll start to make more. It takes sacrifice, dedication, and alot of time and money. Not trying to scare you away, but many people have the false idea that helicopter pilots are paid like airline pilots.

 

I do believe those hours they told you sound correct for the minimums to get the ratings. But, those are minimums. Everybody is going to be different. It could take you 50-60 hrs. The 150 hrs would be the minimum needed to get a commercial rating. After passing your private pilot check ride, a good way to work towards those 150 needed for the commercial rating, is to get your instrument rating. Once you have that done, go for the commercial. I'm not up to snuff on R22 prices, since I'm in the R44 for my training.

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Your post states, you want to get a "Commercial License". Be forewarned, a Commercial Certificate (license) alone, will not garner a helicopter career. The school you visited should have told you this. You’ll need to attain Commercial Certification with an Instrument Instructor Rating in order to compete in this market. Plan on paying for 200 hours of flight time to meet the R22 SFAR requirements. With that, you’d be looking at paying 70 to 80K-plus to become employable. Again, the school should have laid all of this out to you. If they didn't, look for training elsewhere...

 

Furthermore, helicopter pilots in general don’t make much money. Therefore, when you say you’re not happy with the money you’re currently making, whatever that may be, I’m pretty sure you won’t be happy with money you’d be making as a pilot.

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These are extremely basic questions that you can find the answers to by reading through these forums. The search feature is your friend. Doing your own research will save you from big, expensive "surprises" later on ("you mean I can't fly helitack right after I get my commercial??").

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Like Spike said, probably one of the biggest misconceptions when non-aviation oriented people look into flying is thinking that once they get the ratings they can get a job. In most jobs, you get the cert, you get the job.

 

Although that is legally the case with aviation, it doesnt work that way. Unless you have some "in" with some company, your first job for a couple of years will most likely be as a flight instructor. Now.... nothing says you couldnt do both. Stay working as a chef, and them pickup instructing part time. Just make sure you really look at the industry and how it works. Its not truck driving school.

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If you love what you're doing now, but aren't happy with the money, you're not going to like flying a helicopter commercially,...we don't make sh*t either! Its $400-$800/mo. for the first few years, then maybe 30k/yr,...if you're lucky. Oh yes, and that's IF you can ever find a job?

 

The R22 runs around $250-$300/hr depending on the school. It doesn't take 150hrs of training to get a commercial license, just 150hrs total flight time! Generally here's how it goes;

 

1. PPL 50-60hrs

2. Instrument 40hrs

3. Commercial 20hrs

(the other 30 or so hours to get to 150 is usually done either solo, or you can start your CFI training)

4. CFI maybe 10hrs

5. CFII maybe 10hrs

 

Your first job (if you can find one) will be as a flight instructor. In the R22 that takes 200hrs total flight time in helicopters to get.

 

After a few years or so teaching, if you have around 1500hrs you can start applying to entry-level turbine jobs in the Grand Canyon and/or the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Good luck!

 

P.S. Try Mauna Loa Helicopters!

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These are extremely basic questions that you can find the answers to by reading through these forums. The search feature is your friend. Doing your own research will save you from big, expensive "surprises" later on ("you mean I can't fly helitack right after I get my commercial??").

 

Funny story. A couple years ago I had a conversation with a guy who told me that his "buddy" could probably get him on as a co-pilot in a P3 Orion if he went and got his Multi Engine FW. The guy (19yrs old) was begging his parents to pay for his multi and that he would easily be able to repay them after the first fire season. Now.... keep in mind, the kid was planning on JUST getting a "multi-engine rating" He knew nothing about Private, Inst, Comm, CFI

 

So I come to learn about it when we all happen to meet up at a local restaurant, and the dad looks at his son and says "Tell him your idea." After I explained the realities of life, I was left with a very deflated 19yr old kid, and very appreciative father who didnt have a whole lot of money to spare. Because mom and dad were going to front the money.

The buddy who promised this kid a hook up, was a pretty young, first year forest service seasonal fire fighter who had over heard the P3 Orion pilots talking about hiring a co pilot, or at least thought thats what they were talking about, in the break room. The friend thought he had over heard some hot insider information, immediately got on the phone with this kid and essentially said "Dude... get your license and Ill introduce you to these guys, they need a pilot."

 

If it sounds to good to be true, its because it is.

Edited by Flying Pig
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So, you're a chef who wants to become a commercial helicopter pilot? That's funny, since I'm a low time pilot who's also been looking for a career change, and was considering becoming a chef (after seeing those commercials),...well, either a chef, or an electrician?

 

By the way, the last flying job I interviewed for paid $7/hr. How's the pay for chefs?

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You have to really want to be a helicopter pilot for reasons other than pay. I'm a helicopter mechanic. It's tough going from a cush $31/hr job with 20 hrs of OT permitted weekly, and excellent benefits, to pursuing a career as a pilot, knowing what I'm getting into. I think it's crazy that the mechanic makes more than the operator, but, it is what it is. I'm taking a 1 yr break from school, and heading to Afghanistan next month as a private contractor working on helicopters, to save up money that will get me through my rough CFI career, and potential gap in unemployment after I graduate.

 

Research. Research here on the forum. Call like 10 flight schools and talk to them. Talk to anyone you know who is a pilot. Ask your friends if they know any helicopter pilots. I'm a new guy as a pilot. But this forum is full of highly experienced and knowledgeable pilots that are full of info.

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So, you're a chef who wants to become a commercial helicopter pilot? That's funny, since I'm a low time pilot who's also been looking for a career change, and was considering becoming a chef (after seeing those commercials),...well, either a chef, or an electrician?

 

By the way, the last flying job I interviewed for paid $7/hr. How's the pay for chefs?

 

haha thats funny! Well ive always wondered about flying helicopters so i thought id look into it after reading and your replies i think i decided otherwise for a career anyways however i think i may go to learn how to fly one anyways.

 

chefs pay really depends on where you work, who you work for, and what type of food your producing. Also you experience is much more important than schooling. It helps to have a degree however its not necessary.

 

If you want to be a chef id recommend getting a job at the absolute best possible restaurant you can i mean like Michelin star rating and work for peanuts and learn and work your way up, if you can do that after that you can get a job anywhere.

 

I work at a high end place down here and i make about 35k a year, nothing special, im on hourly as i get lots of OT during the season, if you get on salary expect long hours and not much family time, also most places do not offer benefits unless your with a hotel or something. My hourly works out to be 17$ an hour, most line cooks start at 9-12$ per hour. Im a sous chef and could make more at other places, however i get some good benefits at my place i only work 11 months and get paid for that 1 month off, as well as get bonuses for every holiday etc.

 

feel free to pm me if you want me info

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Glad VR was able to help you make an educated decision about a career change. After you're initial post, I was pretty sure being a pilot was not going to be for you. However, flying recreationally is rewarding. Just know that you are easily going to spend $15,000 just to get the basic Private Pilot license certification. Unless you really really love it, you will likely find that $250-$300 to rent a helicopter is really not worth it. I happen to really really love it, and I rented once or twice a month just to go fly before I landed my part time instructing job. Now I get to fly for free (the pay I make covers cost of the commute). Turning wrenches is what is paying the bills right now though. If you really want a career in aviation that will pay better, get your A&P from a school that has a program. Even then, pay will probably start around what you are making now, but over time it will get better. So will what you are currently doing by the sound of it. And I am pretty sure sous chefs probably top out higher than aircraft mechanics after a 20 year career. One of the instructors I know is from Japan and used to be a sushi chef. He made 3-4 times as much as a sushi chef than he does as a flight instructor. He does it because he loves flying helicopters. When you've been bit, you've been bit. If you are in it for the money, you are just throwing money away (which is ironic, to say the least).

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