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Hello all.


I am told that the key to success in life is networking, and while I am not new to aviation, I am new to this site. I took a few years off from flying to focus on my studies and unexpected family additions so now I am looking to connect to fellow aviators and get myself back into the network of life. So in short.... Hello.



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First of all, hello Nick! Welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of helicopters. (Or...is it "welcome back?" If so, you should have your head examined.)


From talking to young, aspiring pilots, I sometimes get the impression that the concept of networking is this "thing" they can do...like...like they can do it once and be done with it...or perhaps that they can set it in motion and let it run automatically. But it's not either of those things.


Networking simply means "living in the industry." It means this whether you actually are already in the industry or not. If you're not, you have to ACT like you are. Get to know people, and let people get to know you. The more you do that, the greater your chances of getting a job.


Friend of mine...young pilot, very low time...went to visit an airport at which a bunch of helicopters are based. I have to add here that this boy does not look like a typical helicopter pilot. He's got kind of long hair, the little chin-whisker beard thingee that I hate, the surfer-dude clothes...kind of a counter-culture vibe going on. Great kid though, really nice guy and an EXTREMELY good pilot (I've flown with him). Being naturally shy, he just looked around, didn't say much, just acted like an "outsider" and we've all seen plenty of those. Finally he stumbled on some office and felt he ought to ask permission to take a picture of their helicopter. At first they were typically standoffish (as we sometimes can be in this industry)...until...he mentioned that he was a fellow helicopter pilot. Then...big smiles and a welcoming attitude, "Come on in!" As soon as he mentioned that he flew he became "one of us." Now, this kid is special - he's got a really good personality and has, as far as I can detect, no ego (which sort of makes me doubt his success as a helicopter pilot). He's very humble and unassuming - naturally likeable, which draws people to him. Needless to say, I'm one of his biggest fans. Heck, I'm not going to be around this business forever, I'm already nearly retired! We *need* good, young pilots to take the place of us older guys.


The kid left that day having made some new acquaintances that hopefully would become friends. More importantly, he felt that warmth of inclusion...felt that he actually *is* part of this fraternity and not just some out-of-work outsider trying to break in. Some time later, the airport needed a lineboy and he got the job. No it's not flying, and no it doesn't pay well, but it is in aviation, and now he's hanging around with a bunch of real, working helicopter pilots whom he will get to know...and more importantly...who will get to know him.


THAT is how you network!


That, and of course using the internet.


Personally, I know three guys...three working helicopter pilots who began emailing and messaging me back a loooooong time ago when they were just "interested" in pursuing this as a career. None of them was rated, and two of them had never even taken a single lesson. One of them owns his own (admittedly small - a single ship) company. Over the years I watched them progress, through all of their frustrations and setbacks. The common denominator in all three was their determination to do it. They simply refused to give up.


Now, understand that I wasn't the only one they were communicating with. I was just *one* of the ways that they were networking.


So, you've been told that "networking" is something you need to do, eh? Well, get yourself down to an airport where there are some helicopters and go meet some other pilots. Establish two-way commo with other pilots online. In other words, act like you're already in the business; it'll make you feel like you already are "one of us" (because really, you probably already are). Don't be all pompous and "I'm here, give me a job!" about it. Just be humble and always "know your place." If you're not a complete piece of sh*t, personality-wise, you'll make some new friends - which is what this is all about: Make some new friends who maybe can help you out someday.


Remember this! All of us...every one of us who are in this business have probably been helped by someone older than us or someone who had been in the industry longer than us. And it is our duty to in turn help the ones who are just coming up. It's not a burden and we're usually glad to do it. You'll find that if you just put yourself out there, people will be happy to help you. Sooooo...keep the faith and don't give up. If you want this badly enough (and if you do, see the fourth sentence of this post), just believe you can do it and you can make it happen.


There's even more to it - because networking is important even after you get your first job, maybe even more so! I should really write a book on networking in this industry. ...Oh wait, I think I just did!


So good luck to you, Nick. Saaayyy, tell us a little about yourself! You could start by filling in your profile; right now it has ZERO information about your. Not a good start at networking, if you know what I mean ;)

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Nearly Retired, I appreciate your input and probably do need to get my head examined. Sorry about the profile info, I got caught up with work and family life as most people can understand. And while I agree fully with your post, I feel networking is an art in my opinion not just a task you set out to complete.


A brief history of me. I started out as an Army Helicopter pilot. After getting out I almost got sucked into the Silver State Helicopter pit. Thankfully I talked to them one day and when I went back the next day they were closed. Took a real hit on my confidence of finding a flying job when searching for jobs with low time under my belt. So with my loving wife by my side I put flying aside and went back to college full time ( while working full time) and received my BS in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle. After roughly 4 years of not flying I just happened to get the miracle of a lifetime. Through family networking I recently landed a flying position at the company I work for now as their safety director/helicopter pilot and training to take over the fixed wing side as well. Well with the economy and outside factors together, the company has had to downsize thus the aviation dept was the first to go. Sucks but what can a person do?



So now onto the important questions.


Am I hear just to get another job?


No. I am here to make friends in the aviation community both locally and nationwide. A person never knows where they might find themselves living one day.


Do I have the determination to keep going?


Absolutely yes. Just because life threw me a curve ball AGAIN, doesn't mean I will give up the chase.


Will it be a tough road? most likely but It will feel that much better when I do succeed.

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Silver State huh? Ive gotten a lot of comments on Silver State because I bought a used headset from a guy who went to Silver State and the case it came in was a Silver State helicopters case. One of the instructors at my school actually went there and lost out on a lot of money...Same with the guy I bought my headset from. Such a bummer - but it seems like you, and the others, are pushing on through it! Good job!

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Silver State huh? Ive gotten a lot of comments on Silver State because I bought a used headset from a guy who went to Silver State and the case it came in was a Silver State helicopters case. One of the instructors at my school actually went there and lost out on a lot of money...Same with the guy I bought my headset from. Such a bummer - but it seems like you, and the others, are pushing on through it! Good job!


I have heard the horror stories about people that paid thousands to SSH and got screwed. I thankfully am not one.



That's good, because in aviation, it may well happen to you quite a bit. Best to get used to it now.


Not much in life is certain anymore. Whether it’s another SSH ordeal or a sat afternoon fun flight, a person has to stay situationally aware as much as possible because the curveballs will hit you if you’re not ready.


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