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Wally,

 

How much flight time do you typically see per week/year and are you paid directly through a hospital or are you contracted out through a service?

 

Less than 200 hours a year.

Employed and paid by Air Methods.

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I fly 200-250 hrs a year, and I cover LOTS of extra shifts for the overtime. We are assigned to 7on/7off, and I typically work at least 10-11 days a pay period.

 

All flight crews in this company are employed by the company. While we do have several crews based on hospital grounds or nearby, usually the hospital is just PROVIDING the crew quarters, hangar, utilities, etc. They do not directly PAY for our services, just offer incentives to stay. Otherwise, most of our bases are located on rural airports.

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Usually starting base pay is high 40s to low 50s for single pilot VFR programs. Add a $1-2K for every year of service. That's for 182 days a year, plus you'll usually get 7 vacation and 7 sick shifts after a year. Most companies have some sort of bonus as well......ours was anywhere from $500-2500 depending on how long you've worked there.

 

Plan on $50K for starters. But with workovers......after a combination of mileage, food, OT, holiday pay, etc, it's easy to make at least another 50% of your base if you're willing to work a few extra shifts on your week off. The three other guys at my base have all had $100K+ years. It's really easy to do when you go cover 48hr HEMES shifts on your weekend off--it's just under $2000 for ONE weekend.

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I posted the link because there's a wide variation in starting pay. The local trend is definitely upward, and 50K to start isn't exceptional. It's not a hard and fast rule though, some companies seem to be lagging that, some markedly. Some don't have a pilot pay scale, and you negotiate increases. Many don't pay time and a half, and some are very, uh, "flexible", personnel policy-wise. Bonuses, and profit sharing are policy at some operations, but they don't seem to be wide-spread, and policies change.

 

"Single-pilot VFR" is the majority of the industry, "single pilot" the vast majority.

 

Program management seems, in my five years in the industry, to be the determining factor of job satisfaction- after location- both are more important than parent company. A good program can buffer some of the BS from the puzzle palace, and a bad one is... well, a bad place to work, no matter how good the company. It seems companies will put up with constant personnel shortages at a program that has good "run" numbers.

 

This isn't a job that works well with commutes- the duty hours can be long, and pilot housing isn't usually provided. If there's an extra bunk at the base, crashing there gets to be a problem. 14 hour days aren't unusual- sometimes longer- you've got all the usual aviation plan wreckers and medical issues, too- think geometric progression of problems in a tightly planned, time-limited run plan. Then a cascade effect on pilot schedules- Live close.

The "good" programs are pretty stable from the pilot's point of view. We've had one seatt filled in the last 4 years at my base, and program wide (6 aircraft/bases) approximately the same rate. The open seats are usually filled with transfers.

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  • 7 months later...
Wally and Delorean

 

of the 200-250 hours flight time per year, how much of that time is actually at night?

 

and is night flying strictly IFR?

 

We're a single pilot VFR company. I work more days than nights, and average about 40-50 hrs a year of night time. More in the winter because of the shorter days, of course. Night minimums are 1000/5 and some sort of surface lighting (by the moon or by ground lights).

 

If you're not into flying nights, you might find someone who only wants to work nights because they have family issues or a second day job. I did that for the first six months. Just make sure you stay in 90 day night currency just in case you get a late flight.

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Wally and Delorean

 

of the 200-250 hours flight time per year, how much of that time is actually at night?

 

and is night flying strictly IFR?

 

A very little more than a third of my EMS hours are nights, all STRICTLY VFR- we're a single-pilot VFR program.

My averages at this program: 155 hours annually, of which 56 hours are night.

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