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Time building to 200


Flyinhigh728
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Hey guys, I recently got my commercial at 110 hours. I was able to do this since I have previous fixed wing time as well. Anyway, I'm planning on getting my CFI but there will still be a large gap to the 200 hours needed to instruct. I'm running a little low on money and I'm wondering what the best way to build the remaining time would be. Is there a cheap alternative? I feel like I'm so close but I really can't afford to spend $25,000 more right now just to get to 200.

 

It has always been my dream to do this, but I'm considering just getting my fixed wing CFI and going with that route since it would only be a few grand. I know helicopters would always be in the back of my mind and I would always wonder what if. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks again!

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Where are you located? You are going to pay a lot more for a 300. In your case, time is time. Don't sweat some schools internet reputation if al you are trying to do is get some fast cheap hours. Nobody cares what school you went to.

 

I'm in the South Eastern PA area and close to Maryland as well. I don't mind traveling for a good opportunity though. That's a very good point. I will look into that and try to get some info on their time building opportunities.

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The helicopter industry really hasn't changed all that much over the years. You still need 200 hours to instruct (and probably only at the school where you got your ratings. And you're still going to need 1,000 hours before you qualify for a "real" (read: entry level) turbine job (e.g. Tours or Temsco-Alaska). There are no shortcuts that I've heard of.

 

There are no jobs ferrying helicopters to and fro.

 

There are no powerline patrol jobs for low-timers.

 

There are no ag-operators who'll hire you so you can spray and build time to go do something else.

 

The *only* viable options are: 1) Join the military and go to their flight school, and 2) Become a cop with an airborne division and hope you get in. Neither are short-term opportunities. Are there other, less-viable options? Sure. Anecdotally you'll hear about guys who went straight from their Commercial rating into some cushy job. But trust me, it doesn't happen often - and more importantly YOU cannot depend on it happening.

 

Flight schools really need to do a better job of educating aspiring professional pilots on the realities of this industry.

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The helicopter industry really hasn't changed all that much over the years. You still need 200 hours to instruct (and probably only at the school where you got your ratings. And you're still going to need 1,000 hours before you qualify for a "real" (read: entry level) turbine job (e.g. Tours or Temsco-Alaska). There are no shortcuts that I've heard of.

 

There are no jobs ferrying helicopters to and fro.

 

There are no powerline patrol jobs for low-timers.

 

There are no ag-operators who'll hire you so you can spray and build time to go do something else.

 

The *only* viable options are: 1) Join the military and go to their flight school, and 2) Become a cop with an airborne division and hope you get in. Neither are short-term opportunities. Are there other, less-viable options? Sure. Anecdotally you'll hear about guys who went straight from their Commercial rating into some cushy job. But trust me, it doesn't happen often - and more importantly YOU cannot depend on it happening.

 

Flight schools really need to do a better job of educating aspiring professional pilots on the realities of this industry.

I understand all of that and am not asking for any shortcuts. I knew going in that I would need to have at least 200 hours. I'm just curious what everyone else did to get to 200 for the first job.

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I don't mean to sound crass, but "pay for it" really is the answer for damn near everyone, whether through educational benefits, financial aid, loans, or just outright cash.

 

Occasionally you see some good hour building opportunities on here, but they still come at a cost. By the time you fly to where it's located and figure out lodging, it might not be any cheaper than just renting the helicopter.

 

An idea that (in my experience) is more common in the fixed wing world, but would be just as legal in the helicopter world, is "safety pilot" time. Two helicopter-certified pilots rent an aircraft, and both can log PIC time if one of them is using a view-limiting device to simulate instrument conditions, and the other, the "safety pilot", is acting PIC. This can cut the cost nearly in half, but you have to find someone willing to do it, and a school that will let you rent the helicopter (some don't).

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Try asking the place your learning at if they will let you fly tours for them once you have your CFII and if your training in robbies,the safety coarse? It might not be often but say christmas light tours, county fair tours, the occasional whatever tour. These will add up. You might be able to get in with the mechanics and fly or run up a few maintenance flights. Just throwing out some ideas that I have observed along the way. Get in with the cherry drying ops, but do it now and build that network of relationships before spring hits...otherwise they get their pilots early and you sit...I found that out this year myself.

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I just want to point out that every time someone posts an opportunity for a paying-timebuilder to buy in on a ferry flight, he/she gets trashed on the forum. However an opportunity like that is perfect for Flyinhigh728 to complete his 200 hour minimum requirement at a much lower cost.

 

@Flyinhigh728: I made the same mistake - earned my commercial helicopter license with 120 hours of helicopter time because I thought it would be cheaper to get an airplane license to build time. After not being able to land myself any helicopter jobs, I ended up just having to wait until I could save up enough for the other 80 hours and pay out of pocket.

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WolfTalonID:

Just throwing out some ideas that I have observed along the way. Get in with the cherry drying ops...

 

 

Sorry to disappoint you, but no cherry-drying operator is going to hire a 200-hour pilot as a PIC. You'd have to be Bob Barbanes, Chuck Yeager, Chuck Aaron and Jesus H. Christ all rolled into one astonishingly good-looking and charming pilotstud. And even then it's a gamble. 1) It's not a job for low-timers. 2) You just don't build many hours, even in a good year. And 2014 was a "bad" year for time-builders (at least where I was).

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Funny nearly retired....many of the CFII pilots coming out of the school I went through have done just that and every season, they continue to get cherry drying jobs. Its about networking, and reputation, not about popularity.

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Contact Jon (280FX here on the forums) You're already commercial, you can fly an F28F or C with him for I think it was $150 an hour to build hours versus $300 and he does a route right in your area last I knew of him. Best bang for the buck.

 

Thanks, I've spoken with Jon recently and unfortunately he is slowing down on the pipeline patrol.

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Everyone does want his autograph, right after they get yours. Hopefully your autograph is not on a citation.

 

That's mine and Pig's favorite kind of autograph signing session, although the lines are pretty short, you can wait a full 8 hour shift and only sign your autograph a few times. 4 copies, don't forget to press down hard when you sign...

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