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Paying to ferry helicopters


mechanic
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Hi Forum,

 

I read a persons thoughts on ferry flight time as being worthless far as training goes. Well, how about building cross country time for your IFR or just general building to help with later jobs, ie.. need 300 hrs? If you were flying with a CFII and IFR equiped heli you could log some IFR cross country and that's valuable? I have seen jobs listed with a fair amount of cross country time required. I think that it depends on the situation myself, whether its worth it or not. I am mainly thinking after the private or commercial rating.....I have enough time to know that alot of cross country won't help much at the student level.

 

 

There are many fixed wing schools that charge for training to help you build hours. Some have different amounts of training time you can purchase with a carrier. Some let you purchase huge amounts (50-100 hrs) of block time to be used at night after normal buisness hours. I know there are different schools of thought on pay for training programs. What are your thoughts?

 

 

Thanks for your response.

 

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"""I read a persons thoughts on ferry flight time as being worthless far as training goes"""

 

 

First- Flying and logging time in a helicopter is never worthless ! Lets just get that straight !

 

Learning to fly- cross country is probably not a great option. Straight, level, no patterns, no turns, no quickstops, no autos, as few landings as possible....does not make a great classroom.

 

However, that said, as a private pilot looking for more hours, I would jump at the chance to log some serious CC time...as a student, I would still go...but 20 hours of straight and level does not give you the experiences of 20 hours of normal flight training.

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I can't imagine why XC time would be "worthless" to a rated aviator. XC skills and minima are required for a reason, and keeping current with that skill set is important. Unless, of course, you're just following the GPS needle, in which case you're just a meat-autopilot.

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a meat auto-pilot?

 

If you're flying x-c, chances are very high that you're following a GPS needle. It's possible that you're tracking a VOR, but not as likely.

 

Most of my x-c time has been with airplanes but the same reasoning applies to helicopters. On x-c I try to practice a few maneuvers while en route. I practice holding altitude and airspeed as close as possible to targets. I practice regular instrument scans. And I keep a sectional and paper handy to practice basic navigation (even though I use GPS as primary navigation). And every few months I practice lost procedures.

 

I still have one more x-c to make for my CPL(h) and I'm looking forward to it. And never thought about it as wasted time.

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Guest 13snoopy

Anyone who says cross country is worthless hasn't done any REAL cross country flights. And by that I mean three to five hour deals across unfamiliar territory, mountains, etc.

 

As a low-time pilot (less than three hundred hours) I have flown the following flights:

 

Northern Vermont (near the Canadian border) to southern Virginia

New Hampshire to Virginia/North Carolina

Northern New Jersey to southern Virginia

Southern Virginia to the Great Lakes (northern Ohio)

Southern Virginia to western Pennsylvania and return

 

Four of the five flights were performed by myself alone in the helicopter and were all done in a day. If anyone here thinks that solo mountain flights alone over long distances are "worthless" they are very mistaken.

 

As far as charging pilots for x-country flying goes, as I mentioned in another thread most of the critics of charging for the time are people who have never owned and probably never will own an aircraft. Go sign the front of the checks for awhile instead of the back of the checks and then come back and give us your opinion. The cost of operating a heli is too expensive to not try to minimize your costs.

 

Anyone who thinks the owner of an aircraft should let someone else fly it long distances for free is thinking with their heart and not their brain and if they would like to start an student pilot welfare department they have my blessings. I won't hold my breath.

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13Snoopy -

 

I completely agree. XC ferry flights have MUCH more to do with understanding Wx (a big difference between what is expected from a forecast vs. actual cond's), an in depth knowledge of the aircraft's performance (fuel burn, performance at various altitudes...), proper flight planning, having contingencies in place, having self discipline to be able to not go past one's personal minimums, and to be able to adapt to changes (flight over unfamiliar terrain, popup TFRs). These are the skills that take a lot longer to develop, nurture and mature, yet not always introduced or reinforced until much later in the game.

 

Even with GPS helping the nav on an XC, there are still many things that can go wrong with little advance notice. On a ferry flight from Cali to Akalaska with another pilot in a L-3, we still commented on how long it would take assistance to reach us if we had to set down somewhere far outside of civilization. Help is not always 5 minutes away, nor do you always have the luxury of an airport or prepped LZ. I think our great VR host can testify to this. In addition, there are still many places that comms don't exist - filing the flight plan and the ELT are the only items that will alert for help.

 

Now back to the original topic: To pay for a ferry flight? I think that becomes a personal ($) threshold question. All hypothetical questions regarding XC time...What would you pay /hr for an R-22? What about a a 412? What about an Aircrane? Now throw in a highly experience pilot/instructor who can provide some valuable knowledge nuggets for free, for the duration of the flight.

 

If you have a good network with people who know and trust you, free offers usually come up. In the offers that were made to me - which I accepted, I still offered something in return (meals, rooms...beers at the end) just to show some appreciation for the costs.

 

-WATCH FOR THE WIRES-

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Two distinct topics - first: the value of "XC time". Well, you get out of it what you put into it. Pilot "A" can push the D-> button on the GPS, stay 1,000' above terrain, go with max fuel and get there. Pilot "B" can lay out the charts, plan weather and waypoints, fly using DR and pilotage, and get there. If you are just going point-to-point, well, the GPS is more efficient. If you are training to be able to do more than fly the GPS, well obviously DR and pilotage is the way to go.

 

Anyone who is trying to go point-to-point with a reliable GPS in the aircraft should be using the GPS as their primary mode of navigation. However, a heads-up pilot will be keeping track of their position, heading and groundspeed for two reasons - first, just in case, second, to see how the flight compares to the plan, even if the plan was just a rough estimate of wind correction and fuel burn.

 

As far as what is a "real" XC, well the FAA defines that. Any further definition is personal. Flying 120NM in a straight line over water might not do much for your ability to find a particular valley in the New England wilderness, but it will do wonders for your fuel planning.

 

Topic two is: should people be trying to generate income from ferry flights? Hey, this is America - this is a capitalist economy, nothing wrong with trying to generate a little extra income. Nothing wrong with giving it away either, if that's your desire. If there's a market for $100/hour time-building in an R22, go for it! If a student can get the time for free, score!

 

So should you do a ferry flight to get XC time? I dunno - it demends on your goals and wallet, I guess.

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I think having to pay to ferry a machine is a slap in the face. The machine already has to be moved from A to B and the company pilot is already going anyways, so why should you pay to sit in the vacant front seat with the duals put in?

 

Back in the spring there was a school that had a seat available in a 300CBi for a ferry flight from New York to BC. The school was looking for a low timer wanting hours to fill one of the empty seats and get some SIC time. I thought it was a great opportunity, until I heard they wanted $300/hour for the 30+ hours you'd get!!! Throw on a few hundred more for food and hotels. :blink:

 

Needless to say the machine came to BC with just the company pilot. Anyone willing to pay to ferry a machine has only themselves to blame for a light wallet.

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I think having to pay to ferry a machine is a slap in the face. The machine already has to be moved from A to B and the company pilot is already going anyways, so why should you pay to sit in the vacant front seat with the duals put in?
....because you will? Why should one person pay $800 for seat 12A on a BOS-LAX flight when the person in 12F only paid $290? Because they will. Why should a helicopter operator attempt to generate revenue from a ferry flight? Because they can. It's their helicopter, and their business. To take your thought process to a barely exaggerated end, an airline should give away empty seats on any flight - the plane is going anyway, right? Selling helicopter flight hours is a schools business. Giving flight time away can only be considered a goodwill act. So like I said earlier, if a "time-needy" pilot happens upon some free stick time, good for them! But condemning a business for trying to sell their product (flight time) seems somewhat one-sided.
Back in the spring there was a school that had a seat available in a 300CBi for a ferry flight from New York to BC. The school was looking for a low timer wanting hours to fill one of the empty seats and get some SIC time.
There is no such thing as SIC in a 300CBi. If you were a student pilot, it would be flight time and dual received (assuming the PIC was a CFI-H). If you were a rated pilot, it would be PIC for all the time you were sole manipulator. Since the minimum crew for a 300CBi is one, no SIC time can exist in VFR flight.
I thought it was a great opportunity, until I heard they wanted $300/hour for the 30+ hours you'd get!!! Throw on a few hundred more for food and hotels. :blink:
:blink: indeed! $300/hour is more than most schools charge for dual in a Schweizer. Even if it was $Canadian, that's a bit steep for ferry time. It seems they priced themselves out of the market on that one.
Needless to say the machine came to BC with just the company pilot. Anyone willing to pay to ferry a machine has only themselves to blame for a light wallet.
Absolutely. Of course that's pretty much true for paying to fly in general... <_>
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I once travelled to the US (FLA) from the UK just to ferry an R22 from Torrence (CA) back to Florida with an instructor.

(I was about a 60hr Private Pilot at the time).

 

It was worth the 31 hours for my logbook, the experience, the money saved and it was great to travel and see a fair bit of the US, all from 1000 ft or below.

 

I still saved money even though I flew internationally to do it.

 

(It was also good to do 52 hours worth of flying in 5 days, taking into account all flights.)

 

From the perspective of some of us less experienced pilots at the time - it is always an opportunity you can benefit from. Unfortunately - I didn't bother with any of the navigation planning, which was a great experience I could have tucked under my belt.

 

Take it or leave it. It is popular and there is often a waiting list.

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Ferry flights are a great experience.....especially if they're going through big airspace, around TFRs, high density altitudes, or anything out of your normal operating area. As long as they get to fly, and you're TEACHING them vs. BS'n the whole flight, how can't that be worth at least $100/hr?? Especially if you do all the x/c planning prior to.

 

If the helicopter has to be relocated, the owner is going to lose the fuel costs, ferry pilot costs, depreciation, etc. on the machine. That's expensive. If something can offset those costs, then any business man with half a brain is going to persue it.

 

NOW, if you're double dipping, that's friggin' wrong (e.g. photo mission, charter flight, pipeline, whatever client pays you to fly to a location to pick them up or you're flying the whole mission by yourself, THEN you charge someone on top of that to go with you, that's wrong--and in some/most cases ILLEGAL, if the student does not hold a commercial certificate or isn't on your 135.)

 

I used to try to get my students as much free time as possible with maintenance flights, photo, tours, or any flight where I had a spare seat. Even if that seat was in the back, it showed them what we did and didn't do these missions. The experience they gained from those flights was probably more that 5 hrs in the pattern. Real world $hit, ya know?

 

Remember that RHC's ferry agreement requires that you have flown their approved route as PIC before you can pick up a helicopter at the factory (unless you meet double their hour req's, I think). Decoding that--you have to had a dual ferry flight from the factory once before. That makes RHC ferrys a hot item and worth money. If there's a restriction on who can do them, that makes RHC approved ferry pilots worth more money, which makes the training to be one worth more money. So why not pay to take dual on a ferry flight from RHC?? You can turn around and charge for the next one!! Econ101. Plus, I hear that's a great flight......would love to do it one day.

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An operator is free to TRY to charge for ferry flights, and pilots are free to demand payment for doing them. Paying to do a ferry flight is idiotic, but there are lots of idiots around. I would never pay to fly, and in fact would have to be well compensated for doing it, but then I stopped logging time years ago, except for what is required for night currency. It comes down to whatever agreement can be made between the person who needs the aircraft ferried and the prospective pilot.

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Hey,

 

Thanks everyone for the professional responses! I am a mechanic for a independent JD Ag dealer. I have been here 11 years. As time goes on I see the "Free" attitude or Wal-Mart syndrome more common place in the general public. I also have owned 5 part time, service oriented businesses over the years. I always try to give the customer more than what they expected at a fair price. I am amazed at how many people think we should repair just any problem for free. I have to remind people that we can't keep the doors open for them to be a repeat customer by doing FREE maintenance. They also don't understand why it costs them more to come to them to repair their equipment than for them to bring it into the shop. The same logic applies to helicopters in my mind far as repositioning a copter goes, especially if it belongs to a small flight school.

 

With that being said, I have often wondered what I would do if I owned a helicopter company and ferried copters from time to time. I personally feel that if the helicopter owner runs a "Training Facility", then hands down yes if there will be a CFI on board giving guidance. Far as price goes, I surely don't think that full hourly rate would be cool. Other situations would have to be considered on a case by case.

 

Common sense rules the low time pilot trying to build time whether to 300 or 1000 hours. Buy a 10 or 20 hour block of flight time at full or block rate? Or, buy some ferry time at possibly a good savings per hour? I know what I would do. Everyone does not have the luxury of working at a flight school large enough to keep you flying 8 hours a day with students or owning your own aircraft, either.

 

There was a website that gave Fixed Wingers a place to post flights whether to share a flight, split costs for IFR work, or ferry flights being offered. I often wonder if Vertical Reference could use a section for people to post such offers? I am thinking the Pay it Forward mentality here and just thinking out loud. I have been reading the heli forums since 98' and have not seen a dedicated effort in the heli forums of such information like some sites offer the fixed wingers. I also realize that the heli industry is small and these offers are not as common as found in the fixed wing world.

 

Anyways, sorry for the rant. Thanks again to everyone.

 

Blue Skies and safe flights…….

 

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Duh!

 

 

 

Thanks Goldy, I rarely go down the forum list. It sure is there isn't it. Sorry. I see that there are not anyone looking to build IFR time together listed. This sharing of time, safety pilot, would save money esp at schools that use the R44 as the IFR platform.

 

 

 

Thanks again.

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Duh!

 

 

 

Thanks Goldy, I rarely go down the forum list. It sure is there isn't it. Sorry. I see that there are not anyone looking to build IFR time together listed. This sharing of time, safety pilot, would save money esp at schools that use the R44 as the IFR platform.

 

 

 

Thanks again.

 

 

Yeah, I wasnt trying to embarass you...just to let you know its there. It doesnt get much action...but I am definitely trying to hook up with some ferry flights like everyone else.

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