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Janneutanb

To be or not to be...

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So another post about to pilot or not to pilot.

 

Anyway me, my wife and our kids are moving from Sweden to the States. South California to be more precise, mainly due to me having my aunt out there.

 

So I've been looking into getting a commercial helicopter license and got some questions about it.

A rough estimate on the cost seems to be around 65k $, would you consider that correct?

Private, commercial, instrument and CFI.

 

But I haven't really understood on how long a full time flight school would take, any ideas?

 

After completing flight school I understand that basically the only job you would be able to get is as a instructor, are those jobs really hard to get?

 

I've driven trucks for 11 years, love everything with an engine and I've been fascinated with helicopters since forever.

I consider myself very hard-working and I've never had a bad word from any employer.

Unfortunately I don't have any college degrees since I took trucking high-school in Sweden and immediately started working afterwards.

 

Anyway, am I mad considering helicopters as my new career?

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If you haven't been keeping up with it there's a serious and growing commercial airline pilot shortage. Seems to be a more straightforward path with better/easier job and income prospects. If you're willing to plunk down that kind of cash it would probably be worth considering that as well as you have a wife, kids, etc and are looking for a new career.

 

Best of luck. And America is awesome, as is the weather in socal.

 

Mike

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Airplanes are cool but I think I'd rather work on them than actually fly them for a living.

I've got a feeling they might get a bit boring after a period of time whilst helicopters have a much bigger variety of jobs.

 

Thanks for your advice!

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I mean it is a helicopter forum. Having only a few hours of experience in both I tend to agree... but from what I've heard about career opportunities, from a practical perspective with a family if you would rather fly than drive trucks, you may want to seriously consider the airline route -- the numbers out there don't lie. Not to say there isn't opportunity in the rotary wing world, but not nearly as much, just look around here.

 

Mike

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I mean it is a helicopter forum. Having only a few hours of experience in both I tend to agree... but from what I've heard about career opportunities, from a practical perspective with a family if you would rather fly than drive trucks, you may want to seriously consider the airline route -- the numbers out there don't lie. Not to say there isn't opportunity in the rotary wing world, but not nearly as much, just look around here.

 

Mike

You come off like someone who THINKS he knows what he is talking about, but doesn't.

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You come off like someone who THINKS he knows what he is talking about, but doesn't.

Avbug,..?

 

,...that you buddy?

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You come off like someone who THINKS he knows what he is talking about, but doesn't.

Happy to be proven wrong -- the numbers don't seem to lie though. Plenty of publicly available information on median salaries, employment, etc, well beyond web-forum anecdotes. Again, this forum and various post from pilots throughout seem to bear out the same.

 

I didn't say there was no path to becoming a commercial helicopter pilot, obviously that's not the case.

 

Mike

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Happy to be proven wrong -- the numbers don't seem to lie though. Plenty of publicly available information on median salaries, employment, etc, well beyond web-forum anecdotes. Again, this forum and various post from pilots throughout seem to bear out the same.

 

I didn't say there was no path to becoming a commercial helicopter pilot, obviously that's not the case.

 

Mike

 

I have no need to "prove" you are wrong. 22 years in the helo industry. I have friends that fly choppa's and friends the haul people and freight in airplanes. The airplane guys make good bucks (similar to what I make), and they get periods with no work, but the flying is boring, and they are away from home a lot (think 1 day each way out and back home, plus schedule).

 

In my line, you are wrong, but I guess it depends on what you know and who you know about... and what you THINK you know.

 

And nice retort, Butters. Sure is a zinger...

Edited by mudkow60
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<<<<<------ For the vast majority--this.

 

Edit: ONLY if the timeframe works. It won't last forever and the requisite experience to be competitive must still be built.

Edited by METT-TC

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Dude I'm not at all trying to challenge you or your experience. What I "think" I know is just what is posted all over the internet and various news articles regarding the present state of the airline industry.

 

It remains my understanding that for those looking for a career in aviation that comes with stability, salary, among other things, airlines, at present, are hard to beat. This is pretty well reported on. It doesn't mean there aren't plenty of exceptions. This is also a complete generalization. I'm on this site cause I like helicopters and am currently in the pipeline to fly helicopters. Doesn't change the fact that I know many military helicopter pilots going to the airlines, and there seems to be a supply and demand system driving this.

 

Mike

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I'm always amused by (helicopter) pilots who say that a certain type of (fixed-wing) flying is "boring." As someone who flies both, I beg to disagree. Yes, there are parts of fixed-wing flying during which there is not a whole lot to do. But that doesn't make the entire segment of aviation "boring." It really points to a lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker - and it shows their obvious bias (and perhaps a bit of elitism).

 

But there's something else. You should not choose a flying job simply because it's "not boring." There's a whole lot more to it than that. There's salary, obviously, and other quality-of-life issues which will vary with everyone. Then there's safety. It's really easy to die doing what we do (i.e. flying helicopters). Really easy.

 

"But should that even be a consideration, you pansy? I always knew you were a fag." To some, it will be...must be...must factor in there someplace. The things we do with helicopters are risky. Perhaps overly so. There are segments of aviation that are..."not so risky." It all depends on what gets your juices flowing, I suppose.

 

I have a friend who thought he really, really, really wanted to fly Utility (long-line, fire-fighting, etc.). And now he does just that. And what he's found is that Utility is not really the be-all and end-all that he imagined or thought it would be. He realizes now that flying is flying, and the fact that you do certain tasks well doesn't make you a hero...or any better of a pilot than the guy doing tours around Vegas or flying EMS in some podunk town. I wouldn't say that he's disillusioned so much as that his eyes have been opened a little.

 

We were talking the other day and I told him that if I could go back and do one job, it would be flying tours again around NYC. It was the best! First of all, everyone that gets in the ship is probably riding in a helicopter for the first time. So there's that incredible responsibility of making it a pleasant, comfortable and fun experience. Seeing the look on their faces after the flight is (at least it was for me) priceless. Then, you get to show them the wonderland that is New York City! Damn, that was fun! I'd do it in a heartbeat. The pay isn't even all that bad now, but I'd have to live in the New York area again, so that's out. ...Those aforementioned quality-of-life issues. Thankfully, being nearly, almost, 99% retired, I'm not looking for any more flying jobs.

 

I have another friend...a great helicopter pilot but a couple of years ago (January 2017) he saw the handwriting on the wall and "went airlines." He's flying for one of the American feeder regionals. And he just got his notice that he's upgrading to Captain. Take that, you fixed-wing naysayers! Does he miss helicopters? Yeah, sometimes but he's glad he made the switch. Because he loves flying, see.

 

There is a great shortage of airline pilots now; that much is undeniable. It's likely to continue for some time. This means that there is a great shortage of helicopter pilots, too, as more and more "see the light" and make the switch to the airlines. I had a devil of a time finding pilots who would/could come up to Washington for two months this past summer and fly our old Sikorsky's. I had plenty of people who offered to come up for a week or two...and one guy who, even though he committed to staying for the lousy 60-days, bailed on me halfway through because a better job came along. Meh- that's helicopter pilots for ya. (Me, disillusioned? Naaaah.)

 

Bottom line: It's a good time to want to be a pilot. It's probably easier for a low-timer to get on with a fixed-wing operator (because you can start as an SIC, obviously, which isn't possible in the r/w end). My guess is that even the "lower-rung" helicopter operators will have to start "upping their game" if they want to attract and keep good pilots.

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I'm always amused by (helicopter) pilots who say that a certain type of (fixed-wing) flying is "boring." As someone who flies both, I beg to disagree. Yes, there are parts of fixed-wing flying during which there is not a whole lot to do. But that doesn't make the entire segment of aviation "boring." It really points to a lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker - and it shows their obvious bias (and perhaps a bit of elitism).

 

But there's something else. You should not choose a flying job simply because it's "not boring." There's a whole lot more to it than that. There's salary, obviously, and other quality-of-life issues which will vary with everyone. Then there's safety. It's really easy to die doing what we do (i.e. flying helicopters). Really easy.

 

"But should that even be a consideration, you pansy? I always knew you were a fag." To some, it will be...must be...must factor in there someplace. The things we do with helicopters are risky. Perhaps overly so. There are segments of aviation that are..."not so risky." It all depends on what gets your juices flowing, I suppose.

 

I have a friend who thought he really, really, really wanted to fly Utility (long-line, fire-fighting, etc.). And now he does just that. And what he's found is that Utility is not really the be-all and end-all that he imagined or thought it would be. He realizes now that flying is flying, and the fact that you do certain tasks well doesn't make you a hero...or any better of a pilot than the guy doing tours around Vegas or flying EMS in some podunk town. I wouldn't say that he's disillusioned so much as that his eyes have been opened a little.

 

We were talking the other day and I told him that if I could go back and do one job, it would be flying tours again around NYC. It was the best! First of all, everyone that gets in the ship is probably riding in a helicopter for the first time. So there's that incredible responsibility of making it a pleasant, comfortable and fun experience. Seeing the look on their faces after the flight is (at least it was for me) priceless. Then, you get to show them the wonderland that is New York City! Damn, that was fun! I'd do it in a heartbeat. The pay isn't even all that bad now, but I'd have to live in the New York area again, so that's out. ...Those aforementioned quality-of-life issues. Thankfully, being nearly, almost, 99% retired, I'm not looking for any more flying jobs.

 

I have another friend...a great helicopter pilot but a couple of years ago (January 2017) he saw the handwriting on the wall and "went airlines." He's flying for one of the American feeder regionals. And he just got his notice that he's upgrading to Captain. Take that, you fixed-wing naysayers! Does he miss helicopters? Yeah, sometimes but he's glad he made the switch. Because he loves flying, see.

 

There is a great shortage of airline pilots now; that much is undeniable. It's likely to continue for some time. This means that there is a great shortage of helicopter pilots, too, as more and more "see the light" and make the switch to the airlines. I had a devil of a time finding pilots who would/could come up to Washington for two months this past summer and fly our old Sikorsky's. I had plenty of people who offered to come up for a week or two...and one guy who, even though he committed to staying for the lousy 60-days, bailed on me halfway through because a better job came along. Meh- that's helicopter pilots for ya. (Me, disillusioned? Naaaah.)

 

Bottom line: It's a good time to want to be a pilot. It's probably easier for a low-timer to get on with a fixed-wing operator (because you can start as an SIC, obviously, which isn't possible in the r/w end). My guess is that even the "lower-rung" helicopter operators will have to start "upping their game" if they want to attract and keep good pilots.

 

Keep up your amusement. I was speaking of my 1st hand knowledge, from helo friends that now fly for the airlines.

 

FYI I have a multi engine commercial rating (fixed wing), so I have some background of both fields. Don't be so quick to dismiss...

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Matt, with all due respect to you as an experienced helicopter pilot, if you've "heard from friends" about airline flying, then that's *not* actually...you know..."first-hand" knowledge, as much as you might like to think so. As I understand it, you spent, what, 20 years or so in the Coast Guard? So that's not actually...you know...commercial aviation either. It's almost a stretch to say that you were "in the industry"...at least, if we define "industry" as a business or money-making endeavor.

 

But hey, I don't have any first-hand knowledge of airline flying either, and I've heard the opposite from friends of mine who've gone to the airlines. So...whatever. All's I'm saying is that I'd just never call any type of flying "boring." If I'm flying, I'm never bored!

 

And so yes, I do continue to be amused.

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Matt, with all due respect to you as an experienced helicopter pilot, if you've "heard from friends" about airline flying, then that's *not* actually...you know..."first-hand" knowledge, as much as you might like to think so. As I understand it, you spent, what, 20 years or so in the Coast Guard? So that's not actually...you know...commercial aviation either. It's almost a stretch to say that you were "in the industry"...at least, if we define "industry" as a business or money-making endeavor.

 

But hey, I don't have any first-hand knowledge of airline flying either, and I've heard the opposite from friends of mine who've gone to the airlines. So...whatever. All's I'm saying is that I'd just never call any type of flying "boring." If I'm flying, I'm never bored!

 

And so yes, I do continue to be amused.

 

Info from the source? Well, you are right. I didn't fly the line, but from close Navy buddies that do and are, it sounds dull. Pushing the throttles up on take off, and disconnecting the auto landing... yes they like that. But the transit part... jeez, they have foot rests on the side of the instrument panel. Sounds rather drab... and have been told, by those that fly it first hand, that it IS.

 

I like flying fixed... I plan on buying a sea plane in a year or so... just flying at altitude, for hours at a time, does not sound like my cup of tea...

 

But to each his own, I guess. By the way, I fly for a fire department now, so saying I'm not "in the industry" is not entirely correct. And, I can tell you, from first hand experience, if you have a moderate amount of experience, and good, quality hours (ie NVG, night, IMC), there are lots of helo jobs out there...

Edited by mudkow60

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I had a devil of a time finding pilots who would/could come up to Washington for two months this past summer and fly our old Sikorsky's. I had plenty of people who offered to come up for a week or two...and one guy who, even though he committed to staying for the lousy 60-days, bailed on me halfway through because a better job came along...

I shed a tear for ya buddy :)

 

 

I once thought flying corporate jets would be an awesome job, then I met my first helicopter instructor. See he used to fly them, which is why he responded, "meh" when I made the remark of how cool that must be, as I watched one take off before us one day.

 

I've had a lot of jobs in my life and it seems they all get boring and start to suck after a while.

 

I guess that's why my only career goal these days has been to find the one that sucks the least,...can't really ask for much more :(

 

For every joe who thinks a particular job would be "the end all, be all" of jobs, there's another dude who's sick of doing it.

 

Playboy photographer,...yep shoulda been a Playboy photographer :D

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Who's your buddy not enjoying utility Bob? Fires and sling loading is the most fun I've had with my clothes on! I'm sure I'll be over it when I'm old and tired but the fun of dropping off a helitack crew and going to work with the bucket and the money makes me forget about the schedule.

Edited by Fred0311

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Fred, I literally cannot tell you how many times in my career I've heard something like what you just said.

 

"I love doing this job more than life itself and probably will forever; you should too!"

 

"I got my flight time without being a CFI; you should too!"

 

"I was able to put a million dollars away in my 401k; you should too!"

 

Blah blah blah. The unspoken implication with all of these chestnuts is, "So what's wrong with you!"

 

Well, the reality is that everyone's wants and needs are different. Just because you might love Utility flying doesn't mean that everyone else will. Or does. I, for one, would never be happy in that line of work. The thought of having an engine failure (or tail rotor failure!) with a load hung off the end of a 200' line just gives me the heebie-jeebies. (...Says the guy who spent the first part of his career flying low-level in NYC over Brooklyn and Queens where there were really *NO* good forced-landing areas. Hey- I was young and dumb and....what can I tell you.) Like I said, it's about what gets your juices flowing.

 

When I was a kid, my dad worked for Pan Am. He'd take me and my brother out to JFK to let us sit in the cockpits of DC-8's and 707's. I always fantasized about commanding such an airplane to London or Paris or some other exotic destination. It was my fate, I was sure! Then these friggin' helicopters intervened and my career got waylaid - not that I'm complaining. But I'll tell you, over the years there have been many, many times when I wished I'd stuck with my original dream and flown for the airlines.

 

The friend I mentioned who's in Utility now doesn't hate it. He just doesn't wake up with a boner every morning because he gets to go do longline. To him, it's just another job - one that he's good at. But he could easily be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog sh*t out of Hong Kong with Mav and Goose - if they hadn't shot down those MiG's and redeemed themselves. And oh yeah, if Goose hadn't died (which he wouldn't have if I'da been flying). Can't wait for the next one! Can't wait to see how they're gonna stuff Val Kilmer into a flight suit without him looking like the MIchelin Man. It's like Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet...whaaaaaaat?

 

But I digress....

 

Flying anything for a living is "fun." Flying helicopters can be profitable...IF...you make it in certain segments. But those certain segments are not for everybody.

Edited by Nearly Retired

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Wow, quite a bit of interest on my post so thanks for all responses.

 

Anyway I'm not really interested in airplanes, I really don't think they are for me even though they probably would provide better financial stability and are safer.

But I don't think I would enjoy the job in the long run. And I need something that I enjoy doing.

The past 6months of trucking have been really horrible because I'm just so sick of it and I don't want to put down a lot of money with a big risk of getting to that same point again.

 

As for now, I think we will be putting my wife through school/University instead and I'll probably find something mechanical to do for now.

 

Unless I can come up with a chunk of extra money somehow.

 

But I will be doing my first heli ride for my 30th birthday next week, so if I still find it as fascinating or more than I already do I might just have to come up with the money somewhere...

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