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Working up to EMS


p2xheli
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Hello All,

First time poster, but was turned on to the wealth of info here by RkyMtnHi about a year and a half ago, and have been a follower since. Thanks again D.P., sorry I'm so bad at keeping in touch.

 

So, I'm looking for some input and CONSTRUCTIVE advice. Here's my predicament. I'm a CFII at a busy school, and volunteer for a non-profit SAR group flying an R44. I'm able to fly 500+ hours per year at the school, and a few more for SAR. I'm currently just over 1300 hours.

 

I've decided EMS is where I want to end up. Yes, I've done my research and talked to many pilots in multiple fields.

 

So, the question is, if I decided to stay in my current position for another year or so, I'll be able to build just a little turbine time, maybe 50 or so hours in a 206, or, head to the ditch or Vegas for a stint of all turbine time to get above the 2000. Seems like at this point the Gulf is mins of 1500, which will probably take until next spring for me, and my current boss is looking for a time commitment from me. I'm recently single, so moving across the country is not a big deal.(currently in the D.C. area)

 

I know there's many threads on my situation, but always looking for fresh perspectives in the current market.

 

I look forward to meeting you guys and gals at Heli Success!

 

Thanks

 

 

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Hello All,

First time poster, but was turned on to the wealth of info here by RkyMtnHi about a year and a half ago, and have been a follower since. Thanks again D.P., sorry I'm so bad at keeping in touch.

 

So, I'm looking for some input and CONSTRUCTIVE advice. Here's my predicament. I'm a CFII at a busy school, and volunteer for a non-profit SAR group flying an R44. I'm able to fly 500+ hours per year at the school, and a few more for SAR. I'm currently just over 1300 hours.

 

I've decided EMS is where I want to end up. Yes, I've done my research and talked to many pilots in multiple fields.

 

So, the question is, if I decided to stay in my current position for another year or so, I'll be able to build just a little turbine time, maybe 50 or so hours in a 206, or, head to the ditch or Vegas for a stint of all turbine time to get above the 2000. Seems like at this point the Gulf is mins of 1500, which will probably take until next spring for me, and my current boss is looking for a time commitment from me. I'm recently single, so moving across the country is not a big deal.(currently in the D.C. area)

 

I know there's many threads on my situation, but always looking for fresh perspectives in the current market.

 

I look forward to meeting you guys and gals at Heli Success!

 

Thanks

 

 

 

Most EMS operators want their applicants to have a fair amount of turbine time. If you review at some of job ads, the target these days seems to be 1000 hours…..

 

My philosophy has always been total emersion. Therefore, the GOM or the Canyon would be your best bet. In fact, Sundance in Vegas has an agreement with Air Methods to pipeline tour pilots into EMS seats. And, of course Phi GOM ops which can lead to one of their EMS contracts. Either way, IMO, you’ll need to break away from teaching and widen your experience background and build T-time. Shoot, consider doing both. Tours for a while and then head to the GOM (or visa-versa)……

 

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What Spike said. You'll need 500-1000hrs turbine to start in EMS, 2000 total time is the bare minimum typically, higher to much higher depending on your target operator/position. The turbine time can be flown in 1-2 years in the canyon. Same with the GOM if you think you'd prefer that. Either way, the challenges of EMS are far more demanding than I think folks tend to consider early on. Definitely look to expand your operational experience in a (relatively) more controlled environment beforehand. Also, both the Canyon and the GOM are great places to meet pilots coming from everywhere and ultimately moving on to everywhere. It's well worth the time spent in either arena for more than just the bulk hours.

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Leave the school asap. You've got all the experience you need from it. If you think you can't get into the gulf right now go to tours. You'll build time faster there than the gulf and by the time you're ready to do EMS you'll probably know a number of pilots who left to do EMS and can help you get into the program.

 

Still looking to do gulf work? Do tours for a year and then apply to the gulf.

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General Requirements:

• Commercial & Instrument license (for category and class of aircraft)

• ATP rating in category meets this requirement.

• First OR Second Class Medical certificate required.

• Pilots must have flown in category within the previous 12 months

Flight Hours (Flight time must be verified through reliable documentation)

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Program:

• 2000 total flight hours with minimum of 1500 flight hours in category

• 1000 hours PIC in category

500 hours of rotor wing turbine time

• 200 hours of cross-country flight time, at least 50 hours of which were at night

• 100 hours unaided night as PIC

• 50 hours total actual or hood instrument time in flight and in category (simulator time does not count)

Instrument Flight rules (IFR) Program:

• 2500 total flight hours with a minimum of 2000 hours in category

• 1000 hours PIC in category

• 300 hours of turbo prop

• 500 hours of cross-country flight time, 100 hours of night flight time

• 75 hours of actual or simulated instrument time in category and at least 50 hours which were in flight in an aircraft including 20 hours in actual instrument conditions in category

• 100 hours of flight in actual instrument conditions in category.

We are proud to be an EEO/AA employer M/F/D/V. We maintain a drug-free workplace and perform pre-employment substance abuse testing.

 

Straight from the Air Methods find a career page, location specific stuff removed. Lots of ex-Gulf guys, some tour guys, retired military.

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Talk to Air Evac Lifeteam at HeliSuccess. CAMTS requirements were changed last year to allow hiring at 1500 hours under certain circumstances (ATP license or current in EMS/SAR operations). Most EMS operators are sticking to 2000+ but I know two guys who went to AEL with 1500. They have a lot of bases that seem really hard to fill so if you're willing to move out to some isolated areas that may be an option for you.

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Thanks for all the great feedback! A local EMS Pilot had mentioned something about 1500 hours as well, for the right person, if you are willing to take a base that's hard to fill. Not to get ahead of myself, but have any of you all had experience with taking a hard to fill base and being able to move after putting some time in? I'm leaning towards trying to get on in Vegas for a few years to build the turbine time up either way, but more of a curiosity question than anything.

 

Thanks Again!

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Thanks for all the great feedback! A local EMS Pilot had mentioned something about 1500 hours as well, for the right person, if you are willing to take a base that's hard to fill. Not to get ahead of myself, but have any of you all had experience with taking a hard to fill base and being able to move after putting some time in? I'm leaning towards trying to get on in Vegas for a few years to build the turbine time up either way, but more of a curiosity question than anything.

 

Thanks Again!

 

AMC bids open seats by seniority so it's not uncommon for pilots to be working at a less preferred base waiting to be assigned to their preferred base. One has to be a little careful in the process in that accepting a base can involve an obligation to continue the assignment for a definite term.

There is a real problem filling some bases, so the company pays 'hard to fill' stipends over and above usual pay rates to pilots willing to work those locations.

Edited by Wally
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I agree with Wally on this. My base is one of those 'hard to fill' bases, and pays extra. I've had several pilots come through, stay until a job opened up nearer where they wanted to be, and transfer when they could. Some bases pay as much as 25% extra. There is a reason for that, and they still have problems keeping them staffed.

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While some EMS operators may hire a pilot with 1500 hours, I’d never recommend going from the primary instruction sector directly into EMS, even if the pilot was found to be the “right guy”……

 

 

IMO, for the most part, EMS pilots don’t fly a whole lot. Therefore, EMS isn’t the place to learn to fly a turbine. GOM or tours can provide an entry-level turbine pilot with lots of time in the seat, backed up with a qusi-acceptable level of training. If anything, consider the Alaska tours as this experience can be challenging to any entry-level turbine pilot…….

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While some EMS operators may hire a pilot with 1500 hours, I’d never recommend going from the primary instruction sector directly into EMS, even if the pilot was found to be the “right guy”……

 

 

IMO, for the most part, EMS pilots don’t fly a whole lot. Therefore, EMS isn’t the place to learn to fly a turbine. GOM or tours can provide an entry-level turbine pilot with lots of time in the seat, backed up with a qusi-acceptable level of training. If anything, consider the Alaska tours as this experience can be challenging to any entry-level turbine pilot…….

 

I hadn't thought about how s-l-o-w most EMS jobs are, but what Spike says is exactly true. If you start with 1500 hour you will never bust 10,000, and probably never get a "year in the air" (8760 hours). You'll never take weather 'look-see" without patient considerations (extra pressure) and have that opportunity to scare yourself careful. And, at 1,000 starts a year (I've done that in about a month on a flying job) real turbine proficiency will take years, too.

 

I read somewhere it takes 10 years in the cockpit to make a pilot...

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Yeah, EMS is not the place to learn much of anything. I have gone more than a month without flying, and then was expected to be completely proficient for a flight in the middle of the night. Even after 40+ years, I'm still not quite comfortable after a week off, nevermind a month, but I can still do the job, although I tend to do things more slowly after a layoff. My flight time in a year is on the order of what I flew in a month in the GOM. If you're still learning to fly when you start, you'll still be learning when you retire, because you just never get enough flight time in a short enough timeframe to really learn much. I'm proficient at takeoffs and landings because I once logged about 9000 of them in 6 months offshore. 100 takeoffs was a slow day. Now 6 is a very busy day, and those are rare. Get the experience elsewhere before going to EMS, because you'll need it, but you won't get much of it.

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Thanks again everybody for the feedback. Sometimes I have to remind myself this isn't a sprint, and you have to build the basement and the ground floor before you can build the penthouse suite. I want to make sure I set myself up for long term success, and build the skills to do it right, but I'm tired of still being in the basement!!

 

I'm unfortunately not getting in to Vegas until Saturday midday, but look forward to seeing you all there!

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Thanks again everybody for the feedback. Sometimes I have to remind myself this isn't a sprint, and you have to build the basement and the ground floor before you can build the penthouse suite. I want to make sure I set myself up for long term success, and build the skills to do it right, but I'm tired of still being in the basement!!

 

Consider yourself fortunate to even be in the basement because there are a lot of unemployed CFIs that would love to have your job….. Plus, even in the basement, you’re still building (learning). Therefore, keep at it, be patient and start marketing yourself to where you want to go. Hiring season is just around the corner. Dust off the suit, polish up the resume, cover letter and interview skills, and be ready to move at a moment’s notice…..

Edited by Spike
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  • 9 months later...

Just doing some forum searching as I'm coming up on an interview (in person) for an EMS job.

 

I understand they'll want to review my logbook/759, flight physical, FAA license, civilian education, work history, etc. Is there anything specific I should review regarding EMS ops/FAA regs or any other applicable topics? I expect this to be a job interview and not a checkride but I want to make sure I snag this job since it's in the right location for us and the money seems decent.

 

Thanks for the help folks.

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Don't sweat the EMS technicalities except as reflected in the general civilian regulations. You'll be taught the company specific philosophy and the regulations.

The interviews (3) for my present situation were about decision making and general attitude, both in regard to the profession and to people.

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I agree with Wally. I was part of an AMC interview, for one pilot who applied. The people involved at the interview looked at his logbook and medical. As far as the questions, they asked him about is life, background and went on what he would expect in this ems environment and asked what he would do if such and such situations comes up.

They basically just try to get to know you better and see if you fit into the team.

They also will show you around the base and will be happy to answer your questions. after the interview they will most likely have you leave the room for couple minutes and then offer you the job if it all worked out.

 

I flew in utility before I did ems for 3 years. The flying during the day wasn't difficult, but at night under NVG at thigther LZs or hospital pads were demandig.

 

Especially getting up at 3 am and go on a flight is challenging, since your body is in sleep mode and them ems crew is all grumpy.

 

But dealing with family drama , looking at dead people , dead kids, ripped of body parts and brain matter is something else that can't be thought at flight school.

 

 

Me personally, I was okay seeing all those horrible things BUT what was hard for me, for example" was when i saw family members leaning over their dead loved ones, such as this one 5 year old little girl I have in mind right now, who was laying in front of me on the table, her body still warm, the doctor called it so the med crew stopped CPR. Then the parents were asked to come into the room to say goodbye to her. The mom grabbed her daughters hand and begged her to come back and told her how much they loved her ,,,,That made me tear up...,because then I could relate to that, unlike just seeing someone dead I don't know just laying there by them self.... So I realized it's getting to close to me I had to walk away, so I can stay focused on my job.

 

Some pilots like to stay with the helicopter at the pickup location, and some like myself stay with the medcrew and give them a hand loading the patient, getting paperwork from the hospital, carrying their med equipment ...etc.

 

But then there are cases where you as a team made the different in the patient outcome and some even came to our base and thanked us or sent us a card.

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I don't want to know anything about the call except where and what needs to be considered in my planning. En route, I monitor crew activity for medical situational awareness as it affects the aviation plan.

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I don't want to know anything about the call except where and what needs to be considered in my planning. En route, I monitor crew activity for medical situational awareness as it affects the aviation plan.

After 16 years as a cop, Ive pretty well made it a policy to just get the job done and move on to the next call. I don't follow up with people unless its necessary for the investigation. There just isn't time for a bunch of sad stories. Only 1 time, has anyone ever actually contacted me to find out some missing pieces of their memory so they wanted me to fill in some blanks. I was happy to do it.

 

When I was a training officer I would make sure my trainees saw every car crash and every crime scene and every dead body I could expose them to. After they were on their own, my advice was for them to go assist when needed and do their job, but if they knew the only reason they were going was to rubber-neck, I would advise against it, because one day you are going to go to check out a call and you are going to see, hear or smell (or all three) something you really wish you hadn't.

 

I wasn't like that when I started... I went to everything. Especially if the other officer is going alone. Just swing by to see if they need anything or need any moral support. But If the dead body is in the other room, and I don't need to see it, Im not going to make an effort to walk down the hallway unless you need me to. Everyone has their own philosophies. My view developed over time. I know officers who make an effort to follow up, contact victims afterwards. Not really crime victims, but victims of accidents or crashes and to me it seemed like it was a little overwhelming like they were looking for closure. But lets face it.... people who get smashed up in car crashes arent going to have a smile on their face or be happy to see you for the most part. Some do, but most arent interested in meeting the officer who pulled them out of the car, the medic who stuck a needle in their arm or the pilot who flew the helicopter they don't remember riding in.

 

Anything dealing with EMS or public safety, you will have your share of war stories by the end of your career. No need to have an over abundance of information to make it a picture book with pop-ups also.

Edited by Flying Pig
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I don't help load patients. Not my job, and if I hurt myself, the flight is over before it starts. I helped once, when I first started flying EMS, and pulled something in my back leaning way over to lift. It was lucky that the real pain didn't start until we were back at base, and the shift and hitch were over. I had pain for several days, and couldn't have flown if I had been on shift. Now, the crews know that I don't touch patients, not ever. That's their job. My job is to get the helicopter to where the patient needs to be.

 

I like knowing something about the call before we leave, so I have an idea about which hospital we may need to go to, but beyond that I don't care. It's all the same to me, and l don't even try to see patients. I hear the med crew discussing the patient during the flight, that's unavoidable, but I only pay attention to what might divert the flight. Like Wally, I don't want to know more than what is necessary, and I hate going into the ER. Some hospitals have EMS rooms near the entrance, with snacks and drinks, and that's where I head if possible. I only go to the ER if the weather drives me in and there is no other place to go. I try to treat patients like cargo. Getting emotionally involved with cargo is a losing proposition, and it can kill you if you do it enroute.

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A few years ago, we had a hiker code in the back county. He didn’t survive. I had to fly a couple coroner officers out to the scene so they could process the body. When they were done, I returned the officers to their vehicle. I then returned to the scene and reconfigured the aircraft and flew the bagged victim, solo, to the coroner’s vehicle. Friends and family members were at both locations… When I decided to get into this business, I never thought that one day in the future, my only passenger would be a dead guy……

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I got a call one night, while I was in a movie, to take a medical flight; it was a transport for a child that had just drowned. He had to be flown onto the reservation and interred before sunrise, for religious reasons. I made the flight alone, and looking back at the board with a half-length body bag, really bothered me.

 

I've had chainsaw victims who took it in the face, burn victims, cancer, heart attacks, gunshots, etc. None of them concerned me in the least. I don't get involved with the patient, and in the case of that little boy, I didn't either. There was something about seeing such a small body in that bat that the lump only took up part of the litter that really bothered me. It stuck with me for years, too.

 

I've flown for several EMS outfits, and had no problems with the work, save for that.

 

You absolutely cannot concern yourself with the patient; it's all about making safety of flight decisions, and there can be no pressure to complete a flight based on the patient. If you wouldn't make a flight without the patient, don't do it because he or she is there.

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