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How long did it take to get to EMS?


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A question for ems pilots out there... How long did it take you (in years, months) from the time you finished your flight training until you got your first ems job?

 

I earned my private certificate in fixed wing aircraft a few years ago just for the fun of it. I thought it would satisfy that desire I've had to soar with the birds since I could first say the word "airplane". I was wrong. I live near a hospital and every time I see the life flight Aw109 fly over I feel that burning desire to be up there daily. I have a very good paying job right now that sometimes makes me want to put my car in drive and never turn around. Turns out that doesn't necessarily make one happy. One the other hand, doing what I love while helping people who are in need, and having a fairly stable family life could do the trick. I don't doubt that I have what it takes. When I earned my private fixed wing, I did so in 43 hours over the course of 2 months. All while finishing my senior year of college. I'm also prepared to make sacrifices for a few years to make this happen. I'm just wondering how long I will have to work away from home flying in the gulf or in Alaska making significantly less than my family has become accustomed to. I plan to earn my ratings while I keep working at my current job and then make the switch full time. Any input or advice would be welcome. Thanks.

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7.5 years and had 3000 hours before I went to work flying this helicopter in 1999.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trauma_Hawk_Aero-Medical_Program

 

I left in 2004 to fly the AW109E Corporate.

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The Pilot Examiner who conducted my Commercial check-ride was an EMS pilot. While filling out my certificate, he asked what my ultimate goal was. I said EMS because I wanted to help people. He explained; flying EMS is not about helping people. In fact, the pilot needs to be removed from that environment because all decisions need to be made for safety of flight reasons. Not because you want to help an injured or sick individual…. That said, while I don’t do EMS in the classic sense, I do sometimes transport injured or sick people to the hospital and when I do, my former examiner was right, I don’t get that satisfying feeling of helping mankind as my primary concern is operating the machine…

 

I was in the business 10 years (roughly 5000 hours) before it provided me with the experience to compete for my current position.

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I'll go step further than Spike- wanting to help people is the wrong reason to be in EMS. Yes, you do help people who are making a difference in somebody's life. That can be a very positive experience. It can also be a very difficult environment. Thinking of it as altruistic will allow you to rationalize questionable flights, and the motive can be a lever to guilt you... So you need to keep it at arm's length. If you wouldn't go for a box of rocks, you shouldn't be going at all.

 

I started considering EMS at around 4000 (8 years, not counting ten years non-flying screwing-off jobs) hours, but didn't jump in until 8800.

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I started flying helicopters in 1994, got my private in 1998 and slowly started building time. Got my commercial in 2001, and my CFI in 2002. Flew instruction, photo, tours, 135, etc until I got my instrument & CFII in summer of 2004.......was immediately hired for EMS. I was lucky and snuck in when turbine time was not required, and have been at the same company & base ever since.

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About 39 years. I had never aspired to be an EMS pilot, but I finally wound up as one. It's a good retirement job, not so good as a learning job. Not nearly enough flight time to become proficient if you're not already. I know several pilots who quit EMS because of the lack of flight time. I'm not trying to build time these days, so that's not a problem for me.

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In my personal experience 2.5 years after the end of my training I had the hours to meet the CAMTS requirements for an EMS position. I didn't take an EMS position at this point because I made more money flying in other sectors. Now 4.5 years after the end of my training I'm heading off to EMS.

 

So there ya go. It can be done quickly you just have to work hard.

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One man I spoke to flew in the Marine Corps for 20 years, now flies EMS over my house all the time. Another man I know has been flying for 5 or 7 in the civilian side. Like Azhigher said, it can be done quickly if you work hard. It also depends on who you know! The second man I mentioned said he about gave up sending out resumes when a buddy said "Hey, apply to this base! We're short on pilots!" Bam, EMS pilot.

 

Keep in mind, I'm not speaking from experience, I'm just a kid after all. ;)

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