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Bakersfield Area - current employment / need for helicopters

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Lease a 22 and start your own school.

 

That's the plan. Working on a business plan and saving up funds. Doing research, etc.... It will take some time to get set up.

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Do what works best for you, but wouldn't it be a little less expensive to go where the work is, whether that's Los Angeles or Florida, or where ever may be seeking a helicopter CFI?

 

You're not tied into paying for a replacement cylinder or engine, or waiting for a replacement aircraft if the student damages one, or paying the insurance, or arranging for inspections, oil changes, and the rest. You're not saddled with the debt or the investment, and you can walk at any time to take another job when the opportunity arises.

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Oh.... I thought it was the other way around... I need to look into leasing an R-22 more. Haven't got that far in my business plan yet.

 

I would love to move but I am unable at the time. Family health problems, I need to be close to home which is Lake Isabella. I never wanted to live in Bakersfield but it just happens to be the best fit for right now. I don't think anyone would live here if it wasn't for the oil industry. You can literally see cancer in the floating in the air! (sarcasm)

 

Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

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Working for yourself may be the best bet, then.

 

You might want to pursue some niche work, such as specializing in instrument training packages, and secure your own simulator. Arrange lodging packages with local hotels to coincide with a specific period of time, and advertise and sell it that way. A private pilot package, instrument, etc. Have add-on packages that tell the prospective student two weeks to checkride, here's the cost including lodging, and checkride, and so on. Get that helicopter working; do local traffic reporting, for example, even if you have to start with a local radio station as your first customer, and begin adding others. Get four or five customers, offer a good rate and split the cost between them, and soon you've got an economical helicopter eye-in-the sky deal to supplement your other work, running twice a day.

 

I'm making some changes this winter, too, staying close to home; it certainly limits the field with regard to what you can or will accept, and consequently what's available. In the early years, It's more difficult, as finding work at your qualification level can be even more of a challenge. Never the less, do what you can, working within the framework of what you've got.

 

Participation in boards such as this may be a big help, too; it gives you interaction, participation, and helps keep your mind circulating, especially during those times when you may be limited in how active in the industry you can be. More important than anything, it keeps your motivation and enthusiasm up.

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My only caution would be that there is a reason flight schools don't survive in that area. I don't know what that reason is. Maybe no real market. People go to Fresno but without their foreign student programs and VA tere wouldn't be much there either. I don't know why. I think Blue Sky lost their VA which was their money maker. SRT.... Well...... Anyway

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My only caution would be that there is a reason flight schools don't survive in that area. I don't know what that reason is. Maybe no real market. People go to Fresno but without their foreign student programs and VA tere wouldn't be much there either. I don't know why. I think Blue Sky lost their VA which was their money maker. SRT.... Well...... Anyway

 

I completely agree, the market for flight training is unknown in this area. I "think" between instruction, photo flights, specialized flights to hotels are mountains. There is just a big enough market to successfully run a helicopter company, but it is definitely unknown territory. Of course this is all personal speculation....which could mean nothing. LOL.

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Some comprehensive market research for your area would be in order before making a large commitment, or seeking financing for the same.

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Well, you just have to keep in mind that its been tried. I don't know why they didnt work out. Instruction would be about it. Not sure where in the mountains you would really be hired to go. An R22 isnt much good in those mountains except for training. What hotels would be providing helicopter flights to? Out to the coast? That would be a miserable trip cramped in a 44. Unless you are talking about a B206 or something like that. People don't do tours or photo flights in Bakersfield or the nearby surrounding areas. They just don't. Maybe for a couple weeks when the poppies are in bloom but thats not enough to base a business on. There was a little company out at Paso Robles airport that had a 300C, and they didnt even have much going on that side of the valley. Anything bigger, people go to San Joaquin, Rogers, A&P, PJ to name a few. I guess nothing says you cant buy something and give it a run. Businesses fail all the time, and along comes someone with the winning business model.

 

There have been small 1 helo ops out of KBFL in the past. I guess the key is finding out why they never went anywhere.

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So where do you work, if I may be so bold?

KVNY..and the pilot spot was filled last week.

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Funny...I was flying an Astro until last week.....let's just say I'm not gonna miss it much!

 

Anyway, the job will come up again, and plenty of others if you know where to look. Don't make the mistake that the first time you meet an operator is when you are looking for a job. Let them get to know you outside of that arena. Then when a pilot job opens up....you may just get a call.

 

I met a gentleman 3 years ago and told him I would come fly for him in 5 years...I remind him every time I see him....who knows, I might just show up at his door when it's time.

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