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Another EMS question, but different. Be nice.


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Hello everyone.


I'm a long time lurker and am admittedly a newbie in the industry, trying to get started off on the right foot....however....


...hopefully I'm not cast out of here with my tail between my legs, but I am interested in....wait for it...




Now before I lose your attention I have experience in both helicopters and airplanes, but feel more "in command" of an airplane. Of course I go back and forth everyday, but when it comes down to pursuing a career and making a daily life out of it, I feel more at "home" in an airplane (maybe that sounds stupid).


Anyway, I respect all of those who do HEMS and it seems like a very rewarding career. Most of my peers say to avoid the airlines like the plague and focus mainly on corporate. While this is somewhat cruddy advice it has me looking into other sectors of fixed wing aviation, and here I am.


A little bit about myself: I am an avid rock climber, hiker, scuba diver, etc (i.e outdoorsman) and enjoy traveling around the world incorporating all of these hobbies.


What does this have to do with EMS flying? Well the 7x7 seems like a fantastic schedule to apply that "work to live" mentality everyone always talks about. I have no reservation about getting dirty and putting in a good hard days work, but I'd rather do it in one long string so I have the time to go and experience life.


So with that said, fixed wing EMS seems right up my alley. However, it seems virtually impossible to find any concrete information about it. I was hoping some of you HEMS pilots could give me some perspective on what you've seen from the sidelines about what I can expect.


The usual questions apply:


Typical pay, schedule, requirements? Is it a "retirement" job, or is it attainable without considerable stroke of luck?


Thanks for your help!


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Then get all of your fixed wing ratings, MEII, build a ton of multi engine time as an instructor. Then go off to charter or airlines or fly bibles into the congo to build your turbine multi engine and maybe even a cessna citation type rating. Then, after that, apply to an EMS operator who uses airplanes.

Reach, AMRG, SkyTrek are a few I know of.


Not sure about feeling more at home in an airplane? Are you a pilot already?

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CALSTAR would be another.


I talked to a guy today who flies an EMS citation. He suggested looking on their sites and check out their minimums. He said quadruple the numbers and youll be competitive :)


before everyone freaks out, the citation pilot wasnt with Calstar.

Edited by Flying Pig
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Your perspective is in the right direction - the schedule, not to save lives...



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Not sure about feeling more at home in an airplane? Are you a pilot already?


I have about 80 hours in helicopters, and 250 in fixed wing. If you were to stand the two side by side and asked which one do I want to fly today I would probably lean towards the fixed wing.


Don't get me wrong they are both a blast and have their own pros and cons, but when looking long term I feel like I belong in an airplane. This is where the challenging part comes in because when you look into the HEMS field it seems like a pretty dynamic/challenging job that has a sustainable QOL. So to turn my back on it and face the gremlins of fixed wing aviation with the ongoing reputation of bad pay, bad QOL, bus driver mentality, its quite a difficult decision to make.


As mentioned above though, I have a number of different physical hobbies that the HEMS schedule would fit perfectly with. So it becomes a difficult decision when trying to face what the more satisfying job would be, versus what I actually feel comfortable and good at. I'm still a baby in each of the airframes, and probably am not at a point to really understand the ins-and-outs of each of the fields and what they truly require, but money always becomes an issue, and I need to pick whats best for me long term.


The R22 does make me fairly nervous from time to time (by its nature) and when I start to hear very loud groaning bearings, oil leaking leaking everywhere, and the auto-now or die in the back of my head, it somewhat puts me off. This isn't necessarily what my career will entail, but if I can't handle a tricycle, who knows where my nerves and comfort level will be when trying to land in the dark of night at some intersection. I like to think I'll be able to handle it (as does everyone), but its hard to really say. It gives me warm and fuzzies inside when I have an approach plate sitting in my lap and know exactly where I'll be at any given point.

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I know what you mean by in command. It took me about 300 hours to get a good solid feel for the aircraft. Biggest thing is challenge yourself to be precise and deliberate with your maneuvers. Stay over that taxi line, get the power in early, stay in trim, control your approach speeds, practice picking up and setting down without jerking the aircraft into the air, etc.

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Pay- mid 50s. Plenty of overtime so actual pay is around 70.

Schedule- 7 on 7 off. 12 hr days. Workout, surf web, movies, sleep, while on. Go travel during 7 off.

Location- everywhere. Find somewhere you want to live and go there.

Retirement job- I suppose. Easiest job I've ever had.

Min requirements- 2,000 TT, 1,000 PIC, 200 night / NVG, COM / INST rated.


Not many FW EMS jobs around. We just got rid of one of our King Airs because it wasn't flying enough to pay for itself.

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