Jump to content

Transitioning to turbines


Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

 

First post here, I'm currently working on my PPL at Hillsboro Aviation and I was trying to get a feel for the road ahead, specifically hows does one make that mythical transition from piston to turbine? I know reaching the 1,000-1,500hr mark is critical, but I'm just curious if it's by and large 'who you know' or if there's a more well travelled path. Thanks in advance!

 

- Breezy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Breezy,

 

Welcome aboard. Honestly, transitioning to turbine helicopters is neither mysterious, mythical, or even complicated.

 

Most often, a pilot will legitimately get a turbine transition (training to fly and operate a turbine helicopter) in one of three ways.

 

One - join the military.

 

Two - you will pay for it yourself, take the training, and voila, you are turbine trained. May or may not be useful, depending on the stage of your early flying career . . . depends.

 

Three (the most likely) - once you have the 1000 - 1500 hours under your belt as a piston CFII, some company either, in the Tour biz or the Offshore Oil Support biz, will give you a job and train you up to fly their light single engine turbine helicopters.

 

Not much more to it than that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like the most common path for CFIs I've known, is once you're somewhere between 1000-2000 hours in that little R22 you either go to work for Temsco in Alaska flying tours, Papillon in the Grand Canyon flying tours, or PHI in the Gulf of Mexico flying out to the oil rigs. These companies will hire you with no turbine experience.

 

Never pay for a turbine transition!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info guys! I had a feeling it was something along the lines of, "you'll get the training when your employer needs you to have it," but I just wanted to hear from some guys in the industry first.

I've also been in contact with a friend of mine, who's currently a CWO3 in the Army flying UH-60s, about the WOFT program. Just kind of putting my feelers out in every direction and keeping my options open. I did 5 years in the Marine Corps as an airwing mech and AO on CH-53Es, so my buddy was saying that as far as the WOFT program goes if I've got prior flight experience, at least 90 college credits, and I'm prior military, that sets me up pretty good, especially since he will give me a LOR to boot.

Basically just trying to weigh all my options. I love helicopters and I can't imagine doing anything else, so I'll do whatever I have to do to make a career out of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like the most common path for CFIs I've known, is once you're somewhere between 1000-2000 hours in that little R22 you either go to work for Temsco in Alaska flying tours, Papillon in the Grand Canyon flying tours, or PHI in the Gulf of Mexico flying out to the oil rigs. These companies will hire you with no turbine experience.

 

Never pay for a turbine transition!

 

Generally you are correct when you refer to Tour and GOM (Gulf of Mexico) career tracks, although there are more operators than you mentioned.

 

Tours = Coastal, Temsco, Maverick, Sundance, Papillon, HeliUSA.

GOM = Bristow, PHI, ERA, Rotorcraft Leasing.

 

This track will be reality for 9 out of 10 civilian pilots.

 

Also, I would never say "Never pay for a turbine transition."

 

I would not pay for it as part of my initial 200 hours of helicopter training. It has no real value at that time.

 

BUT, once you start pushing 1500 hours, in a tight labor market where there are a hundred helicopter CFII's all with 1500 or so hours in R22's/R44's - - - vying for each possible turbine job - - - I might consider taking action to make myself stand out.

 

For example, if I had the financial resources, I would obtain the ATP -AND- get a turbine transition. Assuming that you are not a jerk-off, can form coherent sentences, and can actually fly a helicopter, those two items would make you REALLY stand out and would almost assure you a leg up on the competition.

 

Been there and done that thousands of hours ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

BUT, once you start pushing 1500 hours, in a tight labor market where there are a hundred helicopter CFII's all with 1500 or so hours in R22's/R44's - - - vying for each possible turbine job - - - I might consider taking action to make myself stand out.

 

 

Sure at 1500 hours it might help you stand out, but definitely wait until then! These schools that are trying to get newbies to train in a 206 are just wasting their money! No one is going to care that you did a 20 hour turbine transition 5 years ago!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Sure at 1500 hours it might help you stand out, but definitely wait until then! These schools that are trying to get newbies to train in a 206 are just wasting their money! No one is going to care that you did a 20 hour turbine transition 5 years ago!

How many are using the GI Bill to pay for it though?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'll make a good pilot for sure! several acronyms in few sentences :P i got my turbine transition for free at the school that i worked for by doing "bonus" ferries. got 30 hrs turbine (combined) in a 407,206 and AS350B3E...ALL FOR FREE!

seriously, starting a turbine is nothing special

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'll make a good pilot for sure! several acronyms in few sentences :P i got my turbine transition for free at the school that i worked for by doing "bonus" ferries. got 30 hrs turbine (combined) in a 407,206 and AS350B3E...ALL FOR FREE!

seriously, starting a turbine is nothing special

Until you mess it up! :blink:

Edited by Flying Pig
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice guys, makes me feel a little better about something I thought was going to be a daunting hurdle. I've still got a good ways to go before I even start worrying about building turbine time and all that, just gotta remind myself to calm down sometimes :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuche Flying pig! 2 things you have to wory about on the turbine, over Torque, and hot start.....its a heck of alot bigger deal if you over pull that 407....not that big a deal if you go past you MP limits on the 44

Link to comment
Share on other sites

of course 500E, it is breaking the law (and here comes the big ol' fat) BUT! from a maintenance standpoint, you dont have a tattle-tail light thats makes your boss spend 30K to fix

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember some of my friends who had to pay for the BH206 safety course at Bell Helixopter to get hired by Scenic helicopters. If I remember correctly it was one of their pilot insurance requirement.

 

 

But most of the people I know got their first "turbine job" without any previoise turbine experience at bigger tour companies , in the GOM, or buy companies who hired them and taught them of to fly their bh206/as350...etc.

 

So me personally I wouldn't recommend paying for a turbine transition course..... But that's just my opinion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Until you mess it up! :blink:

Agreed. Until you have seen how quickly a turbine might try to hotstart, you shouldn't speak too quickly. By "you" I mean the proverbial you. Hung starts and false starts can be very problematic as well, especially if you didn't use a stopwatch to time your start and track possible starter limitations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...