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Why rotor wing and not fix wing?


jeffs
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I'm just getting some perspective on everything. Everything has fell into place to start training for pilot, but I must lose 50lbs to get to 180lbs so I can train and then teach in r22. I want to lose the weight anyways just because I hate what I did to myself, BUT I have to go to a school in salt lake, or Arizona. And I have a couple fixed wing schools out here in so Cali that I can go to. Honestly I just want to fly that is all I care about so I may end up doing this route anyways I'm just wondering why you guys went heli and not fix.

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What are your intentions with being a "pilot"? To earn a living and make a career out of it or just to putt around with the family? Fixed wing will be much cheaper to train in and aeroplanes can be bought for about 1/4 the price of a decent helicopter if you want to putt around.

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I want to make a career out of this. I just want to fly for the rest of my life and get paid for it. I don't mind teaching, wouldn't mind getting paid to fly for airlines or for EMS. For police or firefighter. I just want to fly haha.

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I think being an AK bush pilot might be cool, but other than that flying airplanes for a living just seems boring. And nothing beats hovering or flying sideways and backwards!

 

I am not a pilot of any kind yet, so take this for what it's worth.

 

I've flown in both fixed wing and rotorcraft, and enjoy both. However, as others have noted here, fixed wing will generally lead you into the airlines, though that's not a set-in-stone thing. Many of my fixed-wing pilot friends tell me to go fixed, since there are more jobs available, and it's significantly cheaper. However, my heart lies with rotorcraft, always has, and always will. I could afford to learn in airplanes for weekend $100 hamburgers, but cannot do so with helicopters, and since helicopters is where I want to end up, I plan to start there once I get my medical approved (working with the FAA right now to do just that, as I need an SI for a few minor and easily overcome issues, but we all know how the FAA works...).

 

I heard it once put that "To fly is heavenly, but to hover is divine!" I couldn't agree more. The sounds, the smells, the feeling of flying in a helicopter speak to my very core. I greatly enjoy flying in Cessnas, Bonanzas, Champs, etc., but as much fun as they are, they're not nearly as challenging or entertaining to fly as a helicopter. I don't desire to fly a bus around the sky, I want to be down where the "action" is, and helicopters will allow that.

 

Granted, I know the initial financial expense is great, and the job market is challenging, but none of those are impossible obstacles to overcome.

 

I'd suggest you find out what your really desire to do in your heart, and then act accordingly. I'd be happy flying airplanes for a living (given the "right" job that fits me, that is), but I would always yearn to fly a helicopter if I went that route, and would regret not doing so. Perhaps take a few flights in each and decide after that. Either way, from one perspective student to another, good luck!

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Planes never crossed my mind. I have zero interest in them. If I didn't fly helicopters, I wouldn't fly planes for a living, but that's just me. They bore me to be honest.

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Im a CFI in both FW and RW. The way I describe it to people is that airplanes are like driving a car on cruise control on a straight open highway and helicopters are like riding a dirt bike.

 

That being said.... if you ever get the chance to get a good airplane out and do some real mountain flying it can be pretty amazing. I used to fly a Cessna T206 through the Sierras looking for righteous reffer. Flying canyons, etc. One organization I always try to plug is Civil Air Patrol. There are some pretty amazing FW pilots tucked away in that organization who really enjoy passing on their skills.

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Over my 40 years of flying, I’ve owned (almost 50 aircraft) and flown every category except lighter than air and power-lift (tilt rotor)….Hang gliders, Paragliders, PPG, PPC, WSC (trikes), airplanes, sailplanes, gyros, helicopters, water jet packs and my body (sky diving and vertical wind tunnels)…99% for fun (short miserable stint with the Regionals).

 

If I had to pick one…it would be gyros. If I had to pick two it would be gyros and helis, and if I had to pick three it would be gyros, helis and trikes.

 

My favorite airplane (I owned) was my Quickie Tri-Q2…fabulous flying machine. My favorite FW (that I haven’t owned...but have 20 hours in) is the Air-Cam.

 

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Most fixed-winger jobs lead to the majors (121) as this is where the money is and, the greatest possibility to gain said job….. For me, the negative was; the more you move up, the greater number of people you become responsible for…… That is, I don’t even want to be responsible for 250 people on the ground let-alone flying at FL320 in an airplane that’s been touched by 60 different people in 4 different locations……

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Most fixed-winger jobs lead to the majors (121) as this is where the money is and, the greatest possibility to gain said job….. For me, the negative was; the more you move up, the greater number of people you become responsible for…… That is, I don’t even want to be responsible for 250 people on the ground let-alone flying at FL320 in an airplane that’s been touched by 60 different people in 4 different locations……

Plus the pay curve looks like a hockey stick. Truck drivers and Walmart Greeters get paid more in the early years. The good news is you qualify for G-assistance...they only ask you to not wear your uniform when you go in. The last time I checked (just a few years ago) the lowest airline was $13,500 per year. The average was around $19,000 per year. The rates used to be posted but the airlines got it pulled from Youtube...

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I liked the career path for helicopters better than the one for fixed wing, specifically that it was faster to get out into the industry and do what you want. Pay scale doesn't top out as high, but you make a livable wage faster. Jobs available where you can be home every night and sleep/play video games at work. Get to actually see what you're flying over, etc...

 

Bottom line was I needed to be home every night and I have been thus far. (Knock on wood)

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Thanks everybody. I really just want to fly, but the way FlyingPig put it, the plane is like a car, and helis are like dirtbikes, they do sound a lot more fun. I always wanted to be in a helicopter since I was a kid, so I may just end up going that route, BUT I will go do some flight tours before I choose. I love helicopters, and once I get my quals, I want to put in a package for the WOFT since I always loved the military too. So we will see what happens.

 

Next obstacle I need to get over is the 50lbs now. So I will be working on that and getting a flight physical.

 

Thank you everyone and if you would like to keep posting please do so.

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Hi..

Heli is a fabulous machine...getting close people in rescue situation..I'm lucky to have been in professionnal situation to make this in French Gendarmerie..When I was young, I wanted to be a fighter pilot..I didn't....I don't regret.

But a copter pilot bas to be always carefull...save humility..to rely on himself but not too mucb...because small mistakes can be fatal..next to the ground or obstacles...all jour career, from first to last flight.

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I've flown over 80 different types of aircraft to date, plus other things, such as parachutes, and so on. I've also done a good share of what can be done with an aircraft. In the end, you can have a lot more fun in rotorcraft, but you'll make your living (and retire) on fixed wing salary.

 

There are certainly advantages to both routes. For those who decry fixed wing as boring, they've probably not done enough with fixed wing aircraft to see otherwise. I can assure that fixed wing flying can be not only rewarding, but very interesting.

 

Thus far I haven't found a flying job that I didn't feel fortunate to do, or that I didn't enjoy.

When asked what my favorite aircraft is, it's the one I'm flying now, whatever that may be.

 

If you begin flying helicopters, you'll be into turbine equipment working as a commercial pilot sooner than you will fixed wing. You'll also be making a little more money, earlier. By the time you hit eight to ten years into your career, that's turned around and the money increases for rotor slow down to nill, and fixed wing just keeps increasing.

 

When you look down the road at what you'll make, accrue, or hope to have for retirement at some point, theres a very large disparity between a career rotor pilot and a career fixed wing pilot (taking into account the wide variety in missions and jobs).

 

If you seek an airline career, bear in mind that seniority is everything, and the sooner you get your seniority number, the farther you can go in your career, and the more you'll be making at retirement. You have to look at the ending numbers, not the beginning numbers, because the difference is in the millions.

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I approve totally this last post, thanks to the author. It's the same circumtances in France. The working cost of flight minute is too much higher for a turbo machine copter (25 euros per minute) with too much restrictive regulations (noise pricedures, authorizations, taxes). Fixed wings can assure a better career. sure, even if European economical context is difficult too un air transport. Young liner pilots (atpl/IR) are looking for jobs in East Europe, Canada...there will be needs in Asia too. In France, only few rotor wings companies are surviving despite the costs and EASA, DGAC regulations. (like EMS company as INAER which is recruiting a lot now, to arm with twin engines copters 48 French hospitals), and accidents rate is globally too important due to exploitation conditions in business (maintenance, piloting errors, humain mistakes....). It's a matter that is being treated by safety European aeronautical agency..modern machines are rather very reliable, and equipped. So exploitation conditions have to be respected (easier in government ans states structures I think). Good luck and make the good choice guy..follow your own intention to fly, but there are a universal reality in rotor wings world.

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I've flown over 80 different types of aircraft to date, plus other things, such as parachutes, and so on. I've also done a good share of what can be done with an aircraft. In the end, you can have a lot more fun in rotorcraft, but you'll make your living (and retire) on fixed wing salary.

 

There are certainly advantages to both routes. For those who decry fixed wing as boring, they've probably not done enough with fixed wing aircraft to see otherwise. I can assure that fixed wing flying can be not only rewarding, but very interesting.

 

When you look down the road at what you'll make, accrue, or hope to have for retirement at some point, theres a very large disparity between a career rotor pilot and a career fixed wing pilot (taking into account the wide variety in missions and jobs).

 

If you seek an airline career, bear in mind that seniority is everything, and the sooner you get your seniority number, the farther you can go in your career, and the more you'll be making at retirement. You have to look at the ending numbers, not the beginning numbers, because the difference is in the millions.

This is generally true and very good advice, but I would add that many 20+ year fixed-wing pilots have less than 10 years of seniority and numerous employment gaps due to furloughs. Airline pilots today make less money, have less job security, and have smaller pensions than they ever have before.

 

During a recent business trip, my flight (JetBlue) was delayed on the ramp due to a maintenance issue (A320 Brake Accumulator failure) and I ended up chatting with the Capt and FO for about an hour. The Capt had over 20 years Airline experience (including 7 years with Delta) and was on his 5th airline - he currently has 10 years seniority with JetBlue. The FO also has over 20 years experience but did a stint on the corporate side before getting on with JetBlue. He has 7 years seniority. Both plan to finish their careers with JetBlue - not because it's the best airline they've ever worked for; because at their age, they can't afford to start over with another airline.

 

One thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a "typical" fixed-wing pilot or helicopter pilot. Each of us does what we do because of varying measures of skill, knowledge, circumstance, luck, and timing.

 

The advice I have for the OP is to thoroughly research the industry by talking with pilots and HR reps, going to job fairs, and reading this and other forums. When you travel, chat up the flight crew. Visit FBO's and initiate conversations with aviation people (not just pilots). If you are serious about an aviation career, then put serious effort into gathering all the info you can. Then do serious soul searching to see where your heart (passion for flying) and mind (desire for financial security and personal stability) meet. Then once you have made a decision, understand and accept that it still won't go as you planned.

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I decided to go Rotor because I like the different jobs you can do with them. I initially wanted to fly HEMS until I found out how many hours pilots get to fly in other jobs. Now I want to focus on GoM, LE, or ENG. I did fly FW, but never got my PPL. It just wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The first time I rode in a UH-60 with the doors off, I was hooked. When I flew in a CH-47 with the tail ramp open and got to watch the other two that were flying formation with us, it became a fever. When the pilot flew a speed run through a canyon in a Blackhawk and came out of the canyon at tree top level at full speed, it became an obsession.

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This is generally true and very good advice, but I would add that many 20+ year fixed-wing pilots have less than 10 years of seniority and numerous employment gaps due to furloughs. Airline pilots today make less money, have less job security, and have smaller pensions than they ever have before.

 

 

And yet they still make more than rotor wing pilots. But then, there are a lot more opportunities in fixed wing, and a lot more jobs than the airlines. That's but one path.

 

When the pilot flew a speed run through a canyon in a Blackhawk and came out of the canyon at tree top level at full speed, it became an obsession.

 

 

You can do that in a fixed wing aircraft, too.

 

When you look at the salaries over a fire, the pilot of that Air Tractor 802 Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) Type III fixed wing airplane is going to be making double or more what the helicopter pilot is making; he will fly less, spend more time with air conditioning, less time living with the aircraft in the field and stays in hotels rather than tents, etc. It's relative, but there's no comparing the finances of fixed wing vs. rotor.

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I really agree John..I'm 50 and afraid about stopping flying because retirement arrives quickly. I've been hooked too..when I was young.. seeing Alouette III flying in French mountain called Mont Blanc then I was lucky to do it and tactical flight too with Gazelle...Rotor is a very spécial and unique machine..creating very strong and spécial friendship too..in militarian and gouvernemental units...even between pilots..rescuers...mechanics...winchers.. flight engineers.

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I agree too...with copters you're hooked or ont. Children I could see Alouette III rescueing in Mont Blanc mountain (4807 meters High)...then I flew this machine in mountain too...I realized a dream, after flying Gazelle 5 years in tactical flights sometimes high speed in effect (2.5 g max) next to hydraulic controls reversibilty..I think that rotor wings you are made for or not!! There is a very specific and very strong friendship too..between pilots. winchers, mechanics, rescuers. flying doctors. troops...it's due to thé proximity with people..the fact that copters are engaged vert next to people ans victims or fights. .it's specific to this machine...and at least you have to enjoy flying low level...sometimes very low..its completely différent of liners travels..which are..: a bit Boring I think.

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If y'all get to fly a tiltrotor, you'll be hooked, because you get get to fly low and fast, and then hover!

 

As a mil guy doing research in preparation to get out, it seems that helo salaries start a little better but top out sooner. It appears that the starting salaries for most of your typical offshore or EMS gigs are way better than airlines for the first several years, but if that fixed-wing guy advances (and doesn't get laid off) he can earn six figures, and while the helo pilot probably isn't.

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I agree too this post, really. I think that rotor, You are made for or not. In France, to become pilot un the Army, you have to pass a test on a simulator, three times four minutes to test your coordination and attention on diffent points un thé same times...only three per cent have the test. It's eliminatory, and you can pass it only one time in your life. Generally volunteers are guys who are hooked by rotor since their first youth. Me, when I was young, I could see Alouette III flying for rescue un high mountain (Mont Blanc 4807 meters). Then I was lucky to engage in Army and then in law enforcement militarian force called Gendarmerie and I could fly Alouette III...a fabulous machine. With rotor I had really good flying sensation and vert different human situations, always new and with intensive stress..never the same from day to day...I have often found a very strong and spécial friendship between pilots, mechanics, rescuers, doctors, ground troops. sometimes a link with victims...I really think it's an initial passion...

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