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Questions about getting hired for helicopter tours


HawkMTP1
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New to the forum and currently I am deployed to Kuwait. I am a Blackhawk MTP in the National guard with low time. I went to flight school back in 2010 and have about a 1000 hours. When I return from my deployment I am scheduled to attend the C-12 fixed wing course then I would like to start flying helicopter tours in Alaska during the summer and Gatlinburg during the winter. My question is how hard is it to get a job in the helicopter tour business at my hour level? I know I won't make much but that really doesn't bother me at this point. I would just like to build my time to set myself up for success down the road. What would you guys recommend and what advice would you be willing to share? Thanks in advance!

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1,000 PIC is the number for tours. Unfortunately, SIC time means about nothing to tour operators. If you have that, then you are definitely marketable to tour companies. I can't speak for Alaska but the tour jobs in Vegas paid pretty good….at least they did a few years ago.

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They usually need you to have part 135 minimums. I would expect them to need that for them to even consider you at any of the bigger operators. So that's 500 hours pic, 100 x-country, and 25 night x-country. They receive hundreds of resumes to fill a handful of slots each year so my advice is to go visit them if you can and meet in person. They start looking around February so that would be the best time. Your turbine time is a big plus since you are going up against mostly robby guys.

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Thanks for the replies. If I can't get Alaska I would definitely be interested in Vegas! I plan on taking some trips to get a face to face meeting. That is a huge chunk of money for a round trip ticket to Alaska but I would do it if I got to fly up there in the summer.

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Stupid question here: are you trying to supplement your Guard flying with civvie flying job or are you getting away from the ARNG? I'd think it may be easy to find a flying job with the Guard (deployment/special duty orders/border/RAID, S&S, etc).

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Speaking of hours, have you converted your Mil hours to civi hours? Sowing up to a potential job without having the correct hours is a fail……

I haven't converted my hours yet. I plan on building a pilot tailored resume when I return return from my deployment in the next month. Should I add in all my ground check hours as a test pilot doing Maintenance Operational Checks on aircraft systems as well?

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In a logbook; Total, PIC (RW & FW), Night PIC (aided & unaided), PIC-External Load, PIC-XC, as an instructor (CFI), as a student (dual received), PIC-IFR (simulated & actual), PIC-Mountain……. What you did during those hours shouldn’t affect how you convert them…..

Edited by Spike
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A lot of the tour operators in Alaska's minimums are 1000 PIC, 100 XC, and 25 Night XC. The bigger guys up there are ERA, Costal, North Star, TEMSCO, and Alpine Air (Flies 44's). There are a couple other smaller places but I can't remember their names right now. The pay is alright but you'd make a little more in the Canyon probably. The company I worked for paid $3270 a month starting as low man tour pilot. There are a couple others around that pay a little more, and each one kind of have their own niche and area they fly in.

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A lot of the tour operators in Alaska's minimums are 1000 PIC, 100 XC, and 25 Night XC. The bigger guys up there are ERA, Costal, North Star, TEMSCO, and Alpine Air (Flies 44's). There are a couple other smaller places but I can't remember their names right now. The pay is alright but you'd make a little more in the Canyon probably. The company I worked for paid $3270 a month starting as low man tour pilot. There are a couple others around that pay a little more, and each one kind of have their own niche and area they fly in.

I am more interested in flying up in Alaska during the summer. I would take less pay to do it. I meet all those minimums as well. From what I have read and heard you have to get a face to face with the chief pilot to even think about getting hired by Temsco or Costal. Is that true?

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Speaking of hours, have you converted your Mil hours to civi hours? Sowing up to a potential job without having the correct hours is a fail

I would be careful with any "conversion", as far as counting PIC time the civilian way. Some companies don't want to see a different number of PIC hours on your resume than your military paperwork reports. I have seen a former Army pilot let go the first day of training for just that. Find out ahead of time what is acceptable to the particular employer, or local FSDO for that matter.

Edited by ChopperJ
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I have seen a former Army pilot let go the first day of training for just that.

 

Biased on this statement alone and not knowing the facts; that would be a management f-up (HR, CP, DO or whomever) and not the fault of the pilot. That is, IF he was let-go on the first day of training, that would mean he apparently got through the interview process without a thorough examination of his previous Mil flight experience, which makes this negligence on the management side. Plus, per the statement, it’s fairly obvious, he was let go for misinterpreting the hours in the wrong direction, i.e. he inflated/embellished the hours…..

 

Related pertinent info…..

 

http://helicopterforum.verticalreference.com/topic/17009-logging-experience-as-pilot-in-command/

Edited by Spike
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Spike, I certainly agree that management failed in this instance, no doubt. I can assure you it happened though. From my understanding when he converted his time he logged time as PIC before he had the official Army PIC checkout. He was not let go because they felt he was being deceitful just because he ended up not having the min PIC time required for the job.

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Spike, I certainly agree that management failed in this instance, no doubt. I can assure you it happened though. From my understanding when he converted his time he logged time as PIC before he had the official Army PIC checkout. He was not let go because they felt he was being deceitful just because he ended up not having the min PIC time required for the job.

 

Which is why; I suggested converting the hours prior to visiting a potential employer. That is, as guy with 1000 hours of Mil time, you better understand how those hours translate or you may find yourself being dismissed during the training, as you described……. Or, not even being considered simply because the H R Dept., CP, DO or whomever, are aware and caught the discrepancy beforehand. Moreover, some of those folks in those positions are in fact ex-Mil folks and they know the drill…. Meaning; they know a lot more about the topic/regulation/requirement then you, or I.....

 

Basically, after filling out insurance forms for the last 23 years, it’s abundantly clear, insurance companies don’t care about the specifics of the flight time other than PIC time. Specifically, PIC time per the FAR’s as there is no column for PI time, -12 time, 759 time or form 337 time…... With that, any ex-Mil applicant should do whatever they can to get it right… The first time around……. Which is why I’ll stand behind by initial recommendation ……

Edited by Spike
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Hey guys, just wondering whether languages are a plus in getting hired for tours? I lived in several European countries as a kid so I know my Danish, German and Norwegian and a little bit of Swedish and Dutch. Not sure how many visitors from those countries hit Alaska, but it might help in a typical tourist spot like GC...?

 

Any suggestions?

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