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For you expeirenced pilots out there, could you give me an idea of what types of jobs are out there and how competitive it is to get these jobs? It looks to me pretty much everything is based on your hours and expeirence. I hope to get a chance to do a bunch of different jobs in various locations.

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Here's a more specific question that has come to mind. What do most pilots do about their living situation? What I mean is, do you have a house in your hometown, then do you just stay in H/Motels when you work out of state? Do some employers provide housing if it's like a few months contract? Do you get any kind of reimbursement for all that money spent on accomodations? Or is that just one of the pitfalls in the industry?

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I fly EMS and it's not a very competitive place to get into unless you're picky on where, when, and what you want to fly. If you have 2000 hrs, and instrument ticket, and some 135 experience, you'll get a job (provided you get through the training program.) You'll probably be able to get a job within 200-300 miles of you desired location. After a while, people transfer, quit, lose their medicals, and thus open locations closer to home. BTW, some states require 3000 hrs.

 

In the meantime, they should provide lodging if you live more than 1-hr from the base. With our company, most bases have a 4th bedroom room for the night pilot. One base I worked at had a little 2 bedroom house in the city for the pilots to stay in off-shift. Our base doesn't have either, so we can stay at the local hotel/motel at direct bill if we don't feel like driving home (we all live within about 30 minutes though).

 

Anytime you're working away from your assigned "home" base, we receive mileage from the base and $30 a day for food. (.....and anything over 7 shifts a pay period is time +half.....holiday pay too.)

 

Back onto the traveling question--and this is the best part--if you can prove that you work location is temporary and that you really don't have a home or "home" base, you can deduct a TON of money off your taxes. You can take the difference on the IRS mileage vs. the companies, any additional per diem as per the county, etc. I took an extra $4000 off my taxes last year because I could prove that I was travelling a lot and didn't have a real home until about September. Now whether or not I "made" any extra money out of that is debateable, but at least your not being punished for being a roaming pilot.

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It sounds like your company takes pretty good care of it's pilots, that makes me feel better. And that tax break sounds great too. Thanks for the insight delorean, I appreciate it.

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Delorean's situation is definitely not the way my EMS program works. We had an extra sleep room, and the feeling was that the off duty pilot needs to be off-site as well, so it was converted to other uses. There's some soound justification for that.

 

If we're temporarily assigned another base, or stuck for maintenance or weather, the company can arrange a room or reimburse expenses, including rental car. That's fairly typical for moving assignments, in my experience.

 

Regularly assigned duty pilots are expected to reside within a "reasonable daily commute" usually interpretted as an hour. You can live farther, but the commute, housing is your problem. Be at work on time.

 

If you're looking at something that you don't want to relocate to, ask the other pilots. It's not unusual to for guys to work together for everbody's advantage, share an apartment, a house, whatever.

You may also be able to make a deal with a local motel. Be prepared to haggle, they make their money charging the "rack rate" to the casual traveller. They know Americans generally don't negotiate effectively- We buy what we want and pay the asking price.

 

Writing off your expenses has limits. My recollection is that 6 months is the max the IRS will buy off on a base as temporary. After that, no per diem or travel expenses. Per diem varies by location, and people in the travel and transport industries (Us) have some additional IRS bennies... Been a while, and I don't recall the specifics.

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Delorean's situation is definitely not the way my EMS program works. We had an extra sleep room, and the feeling was that the off duty pilot needs to be off-site as well, so it was converted to other uses. There's some soound justification for that.

 

If we're temporarily assigned another base, or stuck for maintenance or weather, the company can arrange a room or reimburse expenses, including rental car. That's fairly typical for moving assignments, in my experience.

 

Regularly assigned duty pilots are expected to reside within a "reasonable daily commute" usually interpretted as an hour. You can live farther, but the commute, housing is your problem. Be at work on time.

 

If you're looking at something that you don't want to relocate to, ask the other pilots. It's not unusual to for guys to work together for everbody's advantage, share an apartment, a house, whatever.

You may also be able to make a deal with a local motel. Be prepared to haggle, they make their money charging the "rack rate" to the casual traveller. They know Americans generally don't negotiate effectively- We buy what we want and pay the asking price.

 

Writing off your expenses has limits. My recollection is that 6 months is the max the IRS will buy off on a base as temporary. After that, no per diem or travel expenses. Per diem varies by location, and people in the travel and transport industries (Us) have some additional IRS bennies... Been a while, and I don't recall the specifics.

 

Thanks for the heads up Wally, not as pretty as delorean's picture, but that's life. I assumed it was pretty much dependent on what company you work for and/or the circumstances you are under. I appreciate the advice. I'll take all I can get!

 

-Dave

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As to getting the jobs- hours, experience aren't the whole story. PIC time is the basic requirement, but once that's met, the rest is the usual job interview stuff, even getting to that point is the same old-same old as any field. That's too say, once you meet the minimums, you stand as good a chance of getting the job as somebody with multiples of the minimums, generally, if you present yourself well.

 

EMS seems to be especially personality-driven, they want pilots who're also teachers. We're constantly training the medical side- some of the horror stories about inter-disciplinary conflict are true. Medics and nurses are usually smart, often experienced and accustomed to high-stress situations, so they're not allergic to expressing their opinions (if you're luicky, to you), and you'd better be able to non-confrontationally explain and convince. We do a fair bit of instructing with our requesting agency personnel, as well.

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Might one end up stuck as a CFI for the rest of their career? IOW, could someone not get a job because of age or lack of training in particular aircraft-I.E. no turbine time or 300's only?

 

Later

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Hey Witch, I'm no pilot, but I have a comment for your post. I don't think anyone who really wants to be a field pilot will ever be "stuck as a CFI for the rest of their career". If that happens, then it's no ones fault expect their own. If you want to be a pilot, you have to pay your dues, then still after that you will most likely have to aggressively pursue a job.

 

The only reason I would think one would not be able to get a job is age (maybe), their safety record is bad, and/or medical reasons.

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"Witch" asked-

"Might one end up stuck as a CFI for the rest of their career? IOW, could someone not get a job because of age or lack of training in particular aircraft-I.E. no turbine time or 300's only?"

 

No turbine time, or time in model can be a handicap, not everybody's got the resources to train you. Some operators will, but you're competing for the slot. If the others pursuing the position come with experience, you'll have to distinguish yourself as the better choice. Use the strengths you honestly have, and a working CFI's probably got the best situation for that, compared to a non-CFI commercial pilot, also without turbine time.

 

I hate to hear somebody say they "fear being stuck as a CFI". I might still be teaching, if my last school hadn't been a rich man's hobby that his wife hated.

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EMS seems to be especially personality-driven, they want pilots who're also teachers. We're constantly training the medical side- some of the horror stories about inter-disciplinary conflict are true. Medics and nurses are usually smart, often experienced and accustomed to high-stress situations, so they're not allergic to expressing their opinions (if you're luicky, to you), and you'd better be able to non-confrontationally explain and convince. We do a fair bit of instructing with our requesting agency personnel, as well.

 

Wally, I'm curious, what is it about EMS that seems to get the pilots so much more agitated than other kinds of operations? There's a thread at JH about a suit by a pilot against CJ that has attracted a lot of commentary and there have been plenty of others. Is it the compensation, the management, customers or maybe the flying requirements...at night, in weather, maintenance issues? You mention the med crews, why does the relationship with the pilots seem so adversarial...egos? Do they actually chime in about the flying part? What kinds of "opinions" do you hear? Just wondering.

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I was getting that vibe as well fry, from some of the stuff I've read about EMS, there seems to be alot of tension for some reason between the medics and the pilots. I keep hearing about falling into the "politics" of EMS flying. I would be interested to hear more about it.

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