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$100/hr bird chasing in florida? A cautionary tale for those contemplating signing up.

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I tried replying in the original thread but its as if i was blocked from participating, not sure. Anyways, im on day 5 of 7 and have zero hours nor have i even met thomas. I only have my iphone here so i will do a full write up when i return to california in a few days.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if i am beating a dead horse now, but i will do the writeup like i said i would. just take my experience for what it is and decide if this route is worth it to you.


02/15/2015- bought my plane ticket and arranged lodging for my 03/17-03/23 trip.

03/9/2015- emailed to confirm we are still good for next week. Got the address and time to be for day 1.

03/15/2015- received an email that operations may cease due to low bird activity....my plane leaves in 21 hours. My plane ticket was non refundable and lodging is prepaid and non refundable at this point. Some emails back and forth and there is no definitive word that operations have ceased for good, so i either fly out there and hope for the best or let my ticket/lodging waste away, so i take off as scheduled.

03/17/2015- arrive at the helicopter at 630am as instructed and theres no one there. Text and call thomas and no answer. I leave and he calls at 830am and says operations have ceased so he went home...a 2hr drive from the farm. He says hes still on standby status, so its a wait and see.


At this point, i become a tourist and just sightsee around florida, even though ive been there, done that.

I never expected operations to cease completely when i signed up. I knew it was dependant on the birds and i would have been ok if thomas and i met everyday, looked at the bird activity, then decide if we fly or not. If i got zero hours that way, i would be irked but at least i had a 1% chance of flying that day, but when he went home, that chance pretty much went to zero. Also, if i had known that the contract for that farm was due to expire on 03/27, i probably would have never signed up so close to the expiration date. Thats like planning a big ski trip one week before ski season is to end.


Now, im sure thomas is still a good guy and hes tried to make amends by offering a free weeks worth of flying, but even with that offer, its not worth the risk for me. Theres a sucker born every minute, but i was only born once, so im only gonna be the sucker on this deal once.

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If he offered you a free week of flying, why not take him up on it?

Do you think you'll get there and he will stand you up? I can't see how you can blame

the guy on low bird activity. They did tell you just before your trip that things were not

looking good, didn't they?

Next time maybe invest in travel insurance or reservations that are refundable.

When things go wrong, the first place to check is the mirror.

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Sorry to hear about your adventure. Sadly, the lesson is, do not look at these “time building” opportunities as a legitimate way to build time. In this case, it’s not about the birds. It’s about a helicopter industry non-professional who didn’t care about you in the slightest….

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I agree Spike, he could have at least meet the guy and shown him around, maybe talked flying or gone and had a beer....crap happens, but the treatment was definably not what I would have expected if it was me.

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