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Hello, I am a hgihschool student and I have been interested in flying an medevac or similar helicopter for years. I have an astigmatism and I where contacts that correct my vision to 20/20. The side of my contacts box says -1.50,+2.00

 

Would my vision allow me to fly? Also would it be possible to fly an ems helicopter part time while pursueing another career such as engineering? Please get back to me and thank you very much.

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Would my vision allow me to fly?

 

Yes.

 

Also would it be possible to fly an ems helicopter part time while pursueing another career such as engineering? Please get back to me and thank you very much.

 

Yes. Most EMS flying jobs are week on/week off. If you are able to attend school every other week or online classes it may work for you.

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Hey MPC

 

Well, I'm no expert here, I'm 40 and still trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life......

So if you can do it at 17 or 18, you're way ahead of me.

 

I think I would look into a school to get your degree in engineering that also had a flying program, either airplane or helicopter. Get your education, find a job and work the flying in as you can.

 

Your biggest obstacle will be getting the ratings, hours and experience to become an EMS pilot. It's very seldom mentioned, but it will take years, not months, to get to that point. Once you get there though, you would have a good job, a good education, and the ability to do other things.

 

Most EMS jobs are 7 day on, 7 days off or 14/14 etc. But you usually work 7 12 hour day shifts, the 7 days off, then 7 12 hour night shifts, not exactly an easy thing to do.

 

There doesn't seem to be a lot of EMS guys/gals on this board. Find out where they are based in your area, call or go visit them, ask them how they got there, how they like it etc. All that I've talked to have been very helpful, a lot of times they are board out of their mind and you may end up there all night.

 

Hope this helps

 

Good luck

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

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I am no expert on this subject either since I am currently seeking employment as an EMS helicopter pilot. Your eyes will not be a factor premitting you to fly, the main factor will be obtaining the qualifications needed to fly for an EMS company which usually consists of being a commercially rated helicopter pilot with an instrument rating and a minimum (usually require more depending on company) of 1500 hrs in turbine helicopters with 1000 hours Pilot in Command. Your main concern should you seriously want to pursue this goal is where to get the funds to pay for the training and certifications. Helicopter training is not cheap and unless you or your parents are very well off and have an unlimited amount of financial resources your best bet is to go to school, get a degree, and a nice job and then start flying privatley at first then slowly work your way up to the time necessary to get your foot in the door with an EMS company. Another option is join the military to get them to pay for your flight school, but to fly for the military they require a BS degree for all services except the Army which requires an AS degree. But with your eyes you might not meet the medical standards for military flight school which I don't think they accept people with astigmatism currently. You would have to look into this if you want to go that route, I'd talk to a military flight surgeon or doctor to see what their current acceptance medical standards are for the military flight training. Make sure you talk to a flight surgeon and not a recruiter who will tell you anything to get you to sign on the dotted lone. It is great to have aspirations to fly, but you have a long ways to get where you want to go. Make sure you wtke everything into account before rushing into anything. Good Luck!

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Hello, I am a hgihschool student and I have been interested in flying an medevac or similar helicopter for years. I have an astigmatism and I where contacts that correct my vision to 20/20. The side of my contacts box says -1.50,+2.00

 

Would my vision allow me to fly? Also would it be possible to fly an ems helicopter part time while pursueing another career such as engineering? Please get back to me and thank you very much.

 

 

Hello, I am a hgihschool student and I have been interested in flying an medevac or similar helicopter for years. I have an astigmatism and I where contacts that correct my vision to 20/20. The side of my contacts box says -1.50,+2.00

 

Would my vision allow me to fly? Also would it be possible to fly an ems helicopter part time while pursueing another career such as engineering? Please get back to me and thank you very much.

 

 

As far as the vision problem, no. But the part time thing won't fly. To my knowlege there aren't ANY part time EMS pilots. Think about it. You are carrying professionals like Doctors and Nurses that make more money than you anyway. Are they going to get on a Helicopter that is being piloted by someone that is

"part time". That like being operated on by a "part time" brain surgeon. Get my drift???

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MPC,

I don't want to "dash" your hopes. But most EMS pilots have at least 1000 hours of flight time before they are hired. Your best course of action is to get your helicopter rating, after 200 hours you can get your Commercial rating, then when you get 500 hours the Offshore Oil Companies (Gulf of Mexico) will hire you. You build up your time and then you get into the "EMS Show". There, if you haven't been through 4 or 5 divorces. You could meet a Nurse or Doctor, get married and live happily ever after.

The other alternative, is to go in the military. Where they pay you while you build up the flight hours.

You get to have fun and take out a few "unfriendlies", get expierience and come out with everybody wanting to hire you.

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Get your instrument ticket, and all the unaided night you can- 200 hours minimum.

A couple thoughts on GoM (Gulf of Mexico):

A VFR single pilot seat will build your PIC experience, but at the expense of nights and IFR.

An IFR SIC seat allows night and IFR experience, and pairs you with an experienced pilot- a very good thing, in my opinion.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Get your instrument ticket, and all the unaided night you can- 200 hours minimum.

A couple thoughts on GoM (Gulf of Mexico):

A VFR single pilot seat will build your PIC experience, but at the expense of nights and IFR.

An IFR SIC seat allows night and IFR experience, and pairs you with an experienced pilot- a very good thing, in my opinion.

 

 

Wally, that was a very valuable post. Thanks! As a person who has just started training, and knows nothing except what a helicopter looks like, what would be the best path to take for someone who wished to fly EMS? I have long thought that the GOM was potentially the fastest hour builder job, but as you have listed that doesnt mean some of the experience is directly relatable to the EMS mission. The night hours, and IFR come to mind. Any suggestions on how to get ahold of that kind of time?

 

Thanks for any information you wold be willing to share!

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I'm about to start my flight training, and my current thinking as far as my career path is that once I'm in the Gulf, I get as much experience in as many craft as I can get my grubby paws on. Most EMS pilot positions I've seen require 2000-3000 hours, 500 night hours, 1500 turbine... things like that. Look through job ads. An example would be a company like this:

http://careers.lifeteam.net/aviation.html

 

They require 2-3000 total time, 1500-2000 in a helo, 1-2000 as PIC, 1-200 night hours. The variances are from state to state.

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Wally, that was a very valuable post. Thanks! As a person who has just started training, and knows nothing except what a helicopter looks like, what would be the best path to take for someone who wished to fly EMS? I have long thought that the GOM was potentially the fastest hour builder job, but as you have listed that doesnt mean some of the experience is directly relatable to the EMS mission. The night hours, and IFR come to mind. Any suggestions on how to get ahold of that kind of time?

 

Thanks for any information you wold be willing to share!

 

The miltary. If that's not an option, then the GoM on an IFR crew assignment.

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  • 4 weeks later...

MPC...

 

I've been flying EMS (Helicopters) for nine years and I can tell you this...

For me, it's the best job in flying!!

In fact, it's the best job in the World!!!

 

I've flown Military (Helicopters), Corporate (TurboJets & Helicopters), Airline (Regional Turboprops), etc...

 

We DON'T fly 7/7 or 14/14.. we fly a 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off ...that's a two-week cycle.

We DO fly single-pilot IFR ...get that Instrument rating.

We DON'T make loads of money

We DO make enough to carve a good life!!

 

It might not be the first (or even second) job you get, but it's worth the effort and the wait!!!

 

Good luck to you!!!

james

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MPC,

 

You will need a minimum of 1,500 to 2,000 hours to get an EMS company to even look at your resume. You'll have to do a lot of other flying first in order to build the time. And don't wait until you get your feet firmly planted before you start. If you do, you may not be able to reach your goal. The "dues" you have to pay to be an EMS pilot are way to high to pay if you already have a good job. I am in that situation myself. I recommend getting your degree, then going into the militar to fly helicopters. That's a good way to build your time, but don't forget that military is more than just a fun place to build flight time.

 

Jeff

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  • 1 year later...
MPC,

 

The other alternative, is to go in the military. Where they pay you while you build up the flight hours.

You get to have fun and take out a few "unfriendlies", get expierience and come out with everybody wanting to hire you.

 

To add a little insight: I have a degree but you can enter the Army WOFT (Warrant Officer Flight Training) without a degree. After 7 years I am quickly approaching 2000TT, 100N, 400NVG. The only reason I have gotten there is because of 3 deployments-some of which now can stretch to 15 months. During my current deployment I will end up with about 650-700hrs this year in mountainous terrain up to 14,500MSL. I've had a breadth of experience but it does come at a cost- as everything does. As Aviator James said, it's a great experience. Keep in mind you're at the beck and call of someone else and you won't have much choice in where you live, etc. The upside is the quality of continuous training you'll get and the experience doing things that few civilian pilots will ever have the opportunity to do. For example, one of my best flying experiences here in country has been leading and planning an 18 ship air assault and doing a one wheel, max gross weight, one wheel roof-top insertion to a 7000ft HLZ- and the satisfaction of knowing that our ground bretheren knocked off around 60 insurgents and destroyed an IED factory. It's a good feeling to have but like I said it comes at a cost. My wife is ready for me to move on to the civilian side where I might see her a bit more often. Definately talk to a flight surgeon before considering this option. I watched pilots get DQ'd after finding a Flt Surgeon that let them slip through at the bare minimums only to get kicked out afer going to basic training, Warrant Officer school due to eyesight. Wasted time and lost opportunity. Do your homework.

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I found this site and registered to ask a question about something I read (or think I read) in a local newspaper. There was an article in the Highlands Today (Sebring, FL) about the local based EMS. I think it mentioned, Air Methods.

 

My question concerns the cost of the service. My memory is hazy and I'm not able to find a copy of the story, but I think that it said the minimum cost to take off was $10,000 and then there was a mileage or time charge. The EMS apparently serves a pie shaped sector, South and East of Tampa. I'm guessing no more than 75-80 miles from Tampa General Hospital. Can anyone enlighten me as to what a typical charge is?

 

While I'm at it after reading this thread, I have a couple of other questions.

 

What is the typical crew for an EMS helicopter?

 

What is, unaided night time?

 

Isn't 2000 hours for a 7 year military pilot kinda low?

 

What is NVG time?

 

What is "a one wheel, max gross weight, one wheel roof-top insertion to a 7000ft HLZ-"?

 

One post stated that Air Methods had only one 2 pilot IFR operation and that it was in Miami, FL. It seems to me that there is less IFR conditions in South Florida than many other locations.

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What is the typical crew for an EMS helicopter?

 

What is, unaided night time?

 

Isn't 2000 hours for a 7 year military pilot kinda low?

 

What is NVG time?

 

Typical crew: 1 pilot, 2 medical types. Usually nurse and paramedic, but other combinations used.

 

"Unaided night" is night flight without NVG or other technical assistance to pilot vision. "NVG" is night experience using night vision goggles.

 

"Isn't 2000 hours for a 7 year military pilot kinda low?", matter of opinion. Is it more or less than your flight experience?

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Hi Wally,

 

Thanks for your response.

 

If the normal crew is pilot & 2 medical personnel, who does the service on the aircraft? At the Sebring Airport, I have seen what looks like a periodic inspection being done. All the inspection panels were removed and a crew chief/maint. tech was climbing all over the aircraft. It was on the pad on a 90+degree day.

 

How do you train new pilots? local area familiarization and stuff like that?

 

NVG wasn't around in my time. Is it used by EMS pilots, or only the military?

 

I thought that military helicopter pilots, especially warrants would fly more than 2000 hours in 7 years. I know that RLO's often have jobs that limit their flight time. In my 4.5 years of Army flying, I was right at 3,800 hours. Very little IMC, but a lot of night.

 

"a one wheel, max gross weight, one wheel roof-top insertion to a 7000ft HLZ- "

 

I think I figured this one out......max gross landing on a pinnacle with space for only one wheel on a surface, at 7,000 ft above sea level? Of course, I never flew anything with wheels except the TH-55 with the training wheels. I always did want to be able to report, "gear down & locked."

 

Do you know how the charges for the service is computed, or is that one of those "need to know" things?

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Hi Wally,

 

Thanks for your response.

 

If the normal crew is pilot & 2 medical personnel, who does the service on the aircraft? At the Sebring Airport, I have seen what looks like a periodic inspection being done. All the inspection panels were removed and a crew chief/maint. tech was climbing all over the aircraft. It was on the pad on a 90+degree day."

 

I think the normal arrangement is having maintenance assigned to the base. Some outfits allow the pilot to do daily inspections. My employer, AMC generally assigns at least one A&P to each base, and we have part-timers and extra, full-time maintenance pros that cover as needed. Maintenance is broken into as many small segments as possible, and then done progressively, or scheduled for a low call volume time. We try to do ours in the couple hours before and just after dawn.

 

"How do you train new pilots? local area familiarization and stuff like that?"

 

There's varying levels of centralized training. My program sends new hires to the head shed for basic indoc, they return to a regional training facility for actual flight and operational stuff. Once tentatively assigned a base, they'll fly day and night orientation, then as observers on actual runs and then observed pilots before being released to fly the line, days only. That's the ideal, and there's occasional discretionary variance allowed after management consultation.

 

"NVG wasn't around in my time. Is it used by EMS pilots, or only the military?"

 

NVG weren't deployed during my service, either. It's finally being adopted fleet wide.

 

"I thought that military helicopter pilots, especially warrants would fly more than 2000 hours in 7 years. I know that RLO's often have jobs that limit their flight time. In my 4.5 years of Army flying, I was right at 3,800 hours. Very little IMC, but a lot of night."

 

I can't speak to that one.

 

"Do you know how the charges for the service is computed, or is that one of those "need to know" things?"

 

The last 'nominal' rate schedule for my program, many years ago, was a $4500 lift off fee, and $70 a mile, patient loaded. This isn't my department, so take that as only the roughest obsolete estimate. If we don't provide care, there's no charge- in other words, if the patient declines, dies before we arrive, there's no charge. I don't know if there are $30 aspirin, etc.

This is generally a race against time, and a fair few scrag it no matter what is done. The business rational is that we optimize outcome, minimize acute and in-hospital charges, and provide a wide area of coverage to "force-multiply" the ground units. A fair few (I don't know the per centage) of our patients are "no pays", like medicine in general, and the folks who do pay, pay for all...

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Maintenance is done by an A&P mechanic. There are no crew chiefs, that's a military only deal. Under FARs, maintenance has to be done by a licensed mechanic. The military (and any other government entity, such as police, etcc) isn't bound by FARs, but civilian operations are. Charges for EMS flights are normally determined by the loaded mile - so much per mile, with a patient on board, the same way ground ambulances charge.

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