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Sundance's new program for lowtimers,...kinda feels like they're leaving some of us out :(


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https://www.verticalmag.com/press-releases/sundance-helicopters-partners-university-north-dakota-aerospace-pilot-development-initiative/

 

I get emails all the time from HEMS recruiters wanting me to work for them, but never anything from a company like this, whose new minimums I actually meet?

 

Its a screwie industry!

Edited by r22butters
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The program sounds like a good idea, but there's a world of difference between having a good idea and making it work well. The end employer's participatiom in the training process should be a good idea, as would be the student's knowledge that at the very least a credible employment interview opportunity awaits successful completion.

 

There are some issues between th starting point and the maximally qualified finished product, an HEMS pilot, in the current regulatory environment and the application of it in the industry. Nothing in any mainstream training syllabus that I've seen provides useful skills in evaluation of a scenario, usefully shapes the decision process, or the psychological profile to work in the HEMS industry. Further, the process described is going to result in an HEMS pilot with very little scope of experience.

 

I am glad to see the first steps in the industry towards participating in the supply of pilots. An analogy: this is a move from hunter-gatherer towards integrated supply.

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If the ultimate goal here is a HEMS pilot, then perhaps instead of sending out all these emails blindly hunting for pilots (I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one getting them) they could just ask us if we want to apply for a HEMS mentorship! I mean I would still say, "thanks for the offer, but I look terrible with helmet hair", but I'm sure there are plenty of existing lowtimers who would jump at the chance?

 

They don't need to start with another school "hook", they could just begin with pilots who already meet 135 minimums!

 

I'm just wondering how many wanabees will get the funds to go to these "select" schools, hoping to be "selected", then hoping once again to be "the chosen one" after yet another interview, and not make it in?

 

,...I mean you don't even get "evaluated" to enter the program until after you get your cpl,...with that "select" school of course!

 

It seems like a good idea, but smells kinda funny just the same.

 

You want to make pograms like this not look like just another flight school scam, make them available to ALL pilots regardless of which school they attended!

Edited by r22butters
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Partnering with flight schools to insure a stable supply of pilots makes sense for a tour operator; it's a very easy job and a great way for a new pilot to gain experience and transition into commercial flying.

 

It will be a disaster for HEMS operators. Rather than paying competitive salaries to recruit highly qualified pilots, they keep finding ways to lower the bar further and further. Paying $65k for 2,000 hour pilots who have done nothing but flight instruction, tours, or dual pilot in a blackhawk is idiotic. And based off of the job listings I'm seeing (and this article) it's only going to get worse.

 

HEMS is a job you do at the end of your career, not the start. But sadly, I have seen numerous pilots hop over to that sector who haven't even figured out the fundamentals of real world flying.

 

 

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Partnering with flight schools to insure a stable supply of pilots makes sense for a tour operator; it's a very easy job and a great way for a new pilot to gain experience and transition into commercial flying.

 

It will be a disaster for HEMS operators. Rather than paying competitive salaries to recruit highly qualified pilots, they keep finding ways to lower the bar further and further. Paying $65k for 2,000 hour pilots who have done nothing but flight instruction, tours, or dual pilot in a blackhawk is idiotic. And based off of the job listings I'm seeing (and this article) it's only going to get worse.

 

HEMS is a job you do at the end of your career, not the start. But sadly, I have seen numerous pilots hop over to that sector who haven't even figured out the fundamentals of real world flying.

 

Yessir.

 

A wise man once told me..."you bring experience to HEMS, you should not (look to) get experience from HEMS"

Edited by takefootoff
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Dammit Butters, I'm starting to not like your attitude!

Sorry,

 

What I meant to say was, the story of butters has been a major topic at all helicopter seminars, and his story has not only brought light to the previously ignored plight of the lowtimer, but every industry big wig has made it his mission to employ all the butters of the world,...and for a liveable wage!

 

,...AND EVERY HELISLAVE WILL GET THAT WELL DESERVED LUNCH BREAK!!!

 

How's that? :D

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If the ultimate goal here is a HEMS pilot, then perhaps instead of sending out all these emails blindly hunting for pilots (I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one getting them) they could just ask us if we want to apply for a HEMS mentorship! I mean I would still say, "thanks for the offer, but I look terrible with helmet hair", but I'm sure there are plenty of existing lowtimers who would jump at the chance?

 

They don't need to start with another school "hook", they could just begin with pilots who already meet 135 minimums!

 

I'm just wondering how many wanabees will get the funds to go to these "select" schools, hoping to be "selected", then hoping once again to be "the chosen one" after yet another interview, and not make it in?

 

,...I mean you don't even get "evaluated" to enter the program until after you get your cpl,...with that "select" school of course!

 

It seems like a good idea, but smells kinda funny just the same.

 

You want to make pograms like this not look like just another flight school scam, make them available to ALL pilots regardless of which school they attended!

 

Butters, are you unhappy because you're not part of this 'program' or do you think the program is not what it presents as being?

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Butters, are you unhappy because you're not part of this 'program' or do you think the program is not what it presents as being?

 

I'm skeptical because they would rather focus on newbies than existing struggling lowtimers, who I'm sure could easily handle flying tours for Sundance at 135 minimums!

 

Like I said, if it wasn't limited to only the "special" ones who not only go to the "right" school but are the "chosen ones" from that school, then I'd be more optimistic that this is not just another attempt at getting bodies in the door at said school!

 

,...and Wally, how can I be unhappy, its free fry Friday! :D

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In your opinion what should be the typical pilot progression through a career?

 

I agree that HEMS should be towards the end of a career but I can also understand why pilots gravitate towards it so quickly.

IMO, there is no perfect career track. All that matters is having a diverse background with many years of experience doing different operations.

 

Generally speaking, CFIs have excellent academic knowledge. Ag/utility Pilots have excellent stick & pedal skills. Military pilots are highly proficient at flying IFR and operating complex, multi-crew aircraft. ENG pilots fly over busy cities and are comfortable in complex/busy airspace. Etc, etc...

 

The more a pilot has done, the better off they are. That applies to flying in different regions and climates as well, not just different jobs.

 

But when a pilot essentially ends their career progression after only a few years, they are setting themselves up for failure.

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https://www.verticalmag.com/news/aviation-futures-to-provide-career-paths-for-helicopter-pilots/

 

There are a few industry individuals that have shared their ideas on this and worked hard to take them forward.

 

I have collaborated with them in the past as we worked on other initiatives.

 

Aviation Futures has pilots currently proving the value of the ideas to provide for pilots.

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I'm skeptical because they would rather focus on newbies than existing struggling lowtimers, who I'm sure could easily handle flying tours for Sundance at 135 minimums!

 

LOL, I think the reason they are going after newbies is because they want to attract talent, not people with poor work ethic and sour attitudes who want to fly, but only if it works out just perfectly for them.

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I'm skeptical because they would rather focus on newbies than existing struggling lowtimers, who I'm sure could easily handle flying tours for Sundance at 135 minimums!

 

Like I said, if it wasn't limited to only the "special" ones who not only go to the "right" school but are the "chosen ones" from that school, then I'd be more optimistic that this is not just another attempt at getting bodies in the door at said school!

 

,...and Wally, how can I be unhappy, its free fry Friday! :D

 

I believe I've heard you complain that the industry doesn't develop new pilots? This is a start, is it not? The world changes.

 

I. Am. Trying. Not. To. Remark. On. "Free fry Friday". And. Working. Through. Lunch. Because. The. Work. One. Was Hired. For. Needs. Doing.....

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I'm kinda confused about the expected progression here. What kind of work prepares you for EMS? Flying tours and the gulf doesn't. Flying Utility maybe has some parallels but as far as making weather decisions and flying at night with NVG's etc, not really. I would say the only thing that really prepares you for EMS is flying EMS. Not even the military seems to prepare you for the EMS industry (sure you may have loads of goggle time but how much time do you have flying as a solo PIC coming out of the military? Chances are that's a big fat zero). How do you get that experience without doing it? Also, EMS companies cannot keep staffed right now. And I don't think its a matter of not paying well enough (although I certainly wish they would pay better). I can't imagine that there is a load of qualified pilots out there waiting for an EMS operator to start paying what they are willing to work for. There just aren't enough "qualified" pilots anymore. There's a shortage. But that shortage is really only a matter of perspective. I think there are plenty of qualified pilots capable of doing EMS. And they aren't in the twilight of their careers either. Many of them just don't meet all of the requirements to get the jobs.

 

I went into EMS right out of tours with a little less than 3000 hours TT (1500 Turbine). EMS is pretty straight forward with good training and a company that doesn't push you to take flights. You have to have your head on straight and be thorough though. And in my short time as an EMS pilot, I can say that the best ones I know are coming from the tour industry, while a lot of the old, high time guys are lazy and barely competent. That's a personal anecdote, so mileage may vary, not available in all states, yada yada. I'm not trying to make a blanket statement. I have just found that there are lots of low to mid time pilots that definitely have what it takes to be safe and successful EMS pilots, and there is a need for them so companies cannot afford to be too picky about high time guys.

 

My biggest gripe with this industry is and always has been that every operator out there wants turn-key pilots who have experience doing that particular job. No one wants to have to invest in their people, and the ones that do make the pilot "earn it" by paying a **** wage while they get the experience they need to move on to a better paying operator. I am hoping the current trends in staffing force some change, but I would be willing to bet that the industry will simply shrink before that happens.

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I went into EMS right out of tours with a little less than 3000 hours TT (1500 Turbine). EMS is pretty straight forward with good training and a company that doesn't push you to take flights. You have to have your head on straight and be thorough though.

 

Exactly. Attitude!

I don't remember seeing any Gulf guys in my last 10 years in HEMS. I left the GoM 25 years ago, when 'take a look' was the rule. In that, I think the Gulf made some pretty good HEMS pilots- I have been pretty deep in weather, sufficient to have an idea what I would accept and what I could accept without 'working too hard'. I also got very, very used to the idea of aborting, stopping short, etc. No way was I busting minimums- as far as I was concerned, my HEMS company told me to take it easy, so I did. I went if I could do it legal, period.

The program hired a lot of local talent, some very good, some not so much. The best hire in that period was an ex-tour guy, but he was exceptional because that's what he was- professional, driven to do the job.

 

HEMS is a job you bring skill and experience to because you're not going to fly enough to build on that.

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I. Am. Trying. Not. To. Remark. On. "Free fry Friday". And. Working. Through. Lunch. Because. The. Work. One. Was Hired. For. Needs. Doing.....

Yeah. You're. Right. Work. That. Helislave. All. Day. Long, 'Cause. No. Work. Needs. To. Get. Done. More. Than. Giving. Rides. To. People. On. Vacation.

 

,...man talking like that is exhausting, I need break!

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I'm kinda confused about the expected progression here. What kind of work prepares you for EMS? Flying tours and the gulf doesn't. Flying Utility maybe has some parallels but as far as making weather decisions and flying at night with NVG's etc, not really. I would say the only thing that really prepares you for EMS is flying EMS. Not even the military seems to prepare you for the EMS industry (sure you may have loads of goggle time but how much time do you have flying as a solo PIC coming out of the military? Chances are that's a big fat zero). How do you get that experience without doing it? Also, EMS companies cannot keep staffed right now. And I don't think its a matter of not paying well enough (although I certainly wish they would pay better). I can't imagine that there is a load of qualified pilots out there waiting for an EMS operator to start paying what they are willing to work for. There just aren't enough "qualified" pilots anymore. There's a shortage. But that shortage is really only a matter of perspective. I think there are plenty of qualified pilots capable of doing EMS. And they aren't in the twilight of their careers either. Many of them just don't meet all of the requirements to get the jobs.

 

I went into EMS right out of tours with a little less than 3000 hours TT (1500 Turbine). EMS is pretty straight forward with good training and a company that doesn't push you to take flights. You have to have your head on straight and be thorough though. And in my short time as an EMS pilot, I can say that the best ones I know are coming from the tour industry, while a lot of the old, high time guys are lazy and barely competent. That's a personal anecdote, so mileage may vary, not available in all states, yada yada. I'm not trying to make a blanket statement. I have just found that there are lots of low to mid time pilots that definitely have what it takes to be safe and successful EMS pilots, and there is a need for them so companies cannot afford to be too picky about high time guys.

 

My biggest gripe with this industry is and always has been that every operator out there wants turn-key pilots who have experience doing that particular job. No one wants to have to invest in their people, and the ones that do make the pilot "earn it" by paying a **** wage while they get the experience they need to move on to a better paying operator. I am hoping the current trends in staffing force some change, but I would be willing to bet that the industry will simply shrink before that happens.

 

Ill have to respectfully disagree with you on a couple points. The first being the pilot shortage.

 

There is no pilot shortage. The endless sea of HEMS openings stems from the ridiculously low pay that is being offered. There are numerous pilots out there, myself included, who far exceed the minimum hiring standards but will not hop over because flying offshore, utility, and international work pays much more. But if AMC, Metro, MedTrans, etc start offering six figures and 14/14 schedule, you will see a wave of new talent coming in.

 

As to only the job itself being what prepares you for the job.... that is true to a certain extent. Any job will have certain unique aspects that you only learn from doing it. But there are also a lot of experiences that cross transfer. All the years one has spent dealing w/ mx issues, weather, emergencies, tough landing sites, training received from other 135 operators, etc prepare one for any job.

 

Wally hit the nail on the head. HEMS is a job you bring skill and experience to because youre not going to fly enough to build on that.

 

An exceptionally talented and professional pilot may have all the knowledge and skills they need at 3,000 hours to safely and efficiently carry out their career for the next 20 years. But that is the exception, not the norm. Most pilots in that experience range still have a lot they still need to figure out.

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And as follow up to your experience regarding old and high time guys being lazy and incompetent.... that is due to your company not paying enough. They are recruiting and retaining bottom of the barrel, black-listed turds because the good ones all have cushy jobs.

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Wally hit the nail on the head. HEMS is a job you bring skill and experience to because youre not going to fly enough to build on that.

 

An exceptionally talented and professional pilot may have all the knowledge and skills they need at 3,000 hours to safely and efficiently carry out their career for the next 20 years. But that is the exception, not the norm. Most pilots in that experience range still have a lot they still need to figure out.

 

So according to you I haven't built my skill or experience at all in the 5 years I've been doing EMS? Wow, see I thought 5 years worth of working with crews, dealing with emergencies, flight planning, and going in/out of scenes at 3am would teach me lessons and make me better at my job. Guess not huh?

 

Come on, you can't really believe that, right? Of course pilots are going to learn and grow the longer they operate in their chosen sector. Lord knows the last 5 years have taught me plenty.

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So according to you I haven't built my skill or experience at all in the 5 years I've been doing EMS? Wow, see I thought 5 years worth of working with crews, dealing with emergencies, flight planning, and going in/out of scenes at 3am would teach me lessons and make me better at my job. Guess not huh?

 

Come on, you can't really believe that, right? Of course pilots are going to learn and grow the longer they operate in their chosen sector. Lord knows the last 5 years have taught me plenty.

 

There is something to be learned from every flight. The point I'm trying to make is that in HEMS, you are developing skills and practical knowledge at a much slower rate than a job where you fly every day. At a really slow base it can even turn to the point of complacency.

 

In those 5 years, do you really think you've experienced as much as someone flying utility or offshore who is logging 600-1000 hours a year?

 

For the average pilot who has only been flying a few years, the last thing they should be doing is getting paid to be on standby and only fly 200 hours a year.

 

The trend I'm seeing increasingly is that new guys get burnt out with tours or offshore flying after a year or so, and HEMS is an easy out. There's a ton of jobs open in that sector, so it's more or less a guaranteed job, especially with companies like Air Evac.

 

Do you really want to see 1,500 hour pilots with 1-2 years of commercial experience being funneled into your part of the industry?

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So according to you I haven't built my skill or experience at all in the 5 years I've been doing EMS? Wow, see I thought 5 years worth of working with crews, dealing with emergencies, flight planning, and going in/out of scenes at 3am would teach me lessons and make me better at my job. Guess not huh?

 

Come on, you can't really believe that, right? Of course pilots are going to learn and grow the longer they operate in their chosen sector. Lord knows the last 5 years have taught me plenty.

Five years in HEMS?

 

,...isn't it time for you to move up to the airlines!

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