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Dual-rated


Parafiddle
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I should have my Commercial SEL rating within the next couple of months. I plan to knock out the Commercial MEL rating as well. I also have my Instrument-Airplane rating. I'm considering pursuing a Commercial and CFI/CFII rating in helicopters at some point in the future. Will the fact that I would be dual-rated (in helicopters and airplanes) be beneficial to me when job hunting? I am looking at a flying career as a follow-on career after retiring from the military (not as a pilot). I plan to build FW time by flying with the Civil Air Patrol until I have enough hours to get some entry-level part-time flying jobs like flying skydivers, etc. Do employers prefer dual-rated pilots? What about adding on float plane or taildragger endorsement? Any value to it beside being a fun and interesting experience?

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Dual rated pilots fill a very specific job type in the aviation world. It won't help you much if you are seeking a job flying tours in Las Vegas for example, except maybe as resume fodder to separate you from an identical pilot without the fixed wing time.

 

However, if the job requires you to be dual rated, no amount of helo or fixed wing only time will qualify you. While not the norm, there are quite a few jobs requesting dual rated pilots. If you would like to fly both, there are plenty of interesting jobs to be found which will keep you current in both.

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Dual rated pilots fill a very specific job type in the aviation world. It won't help you much if you are seeking a job flying tours in Las Vegas for example, except maybe as resume fodder to separate you from an identical pilot without the fixed wing time.

 

However, if the job requires you to be dual rated, no amount of helo or fixed wing only time will qualify you. While not the norm, there are quite a few jobs requesting dual rated pilots. If you would like to fly both, there are plenty of interesting jobs to be found which will keep you current in both.

 

What job type is that? I ask because, even though I've just started on my helicopter rating, I've got about 240hrs fixed-wing on my PPL. Once I get the helicopter add-on, I am contemplating going back and staying dual as much as possible. I know there is an air-tour company up in Sedona that flies both bi-planes and 206's... although I don't know if they have the same pilots doing both.

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Hi,

I'm dual-rated, flying jets and helicopters. I agree that it could help set you apart in competition between yourself and someone else looking for the same job when both have the same amount of hours as the other person in helicopters and you're looking to win a helicopter only position.

I do *not* agree that there are quite a few jobs out there requiring both... ...I've held two positions requiring both in the past and ended up starting my own contract pilot company because it was the best way I could find to allow to fly both, and in the variety desired, in order to get my "fix". I just like flying anything and the variety, so that's what works for me. Unlike a cushy corporate pilot position, I must continually hustle and network, in order to find work. I do much more networking than flying. If you look through the job postings, maybe 1 percent to a seldom seen high of maybe 5 percent at any given time require a dual rating. That's not much. I am definitely seeing an increase of a dual-rated positions over the years, and I think that is due to the proliferation of helicopters and general aviation overall, so things are looking up for dual-rated pilots.

In the corporate world, my view is limited to what I've seen, but what I have seen is four scenarios. 1) A flight department purchases a helicopter and gets a high time helicopter pilot come into a flight department with it, with little fixed-wing experience. He is easy to insure fixed-wing, so when a new fixed wing copilot is needed, he/she gets pulled into the RH seat of the jet, then maybe co-captains or captains later. 2) The flight department has some pilots that are rated for one or the other, but contracts other pilots (like myself) for when there are vacations or a pilot is ill. 3) A high-time jet captain that runs a flight department is told that the flight department is to acquire a helicopter. He goes and gets his helicopter rating, and flies it when it is purchased. ...Or 4) High-time jet captain that runs a flight department is told that the flight department is to acquire a helicopter. He goes and hires a copilot that can fly both. He has the copilot train him for helicopter rating, and flies it. He then lays off the dual-rated copilot, because the dual-rated copilot is more expensive than a relatively low time plank-wing copilot and cuts into the fun that the newly helo certificated captain is having. Ask me how I know about the last scenario :P

Surely others have seen different scenarios... I'd like to hear them.

 

If you want to fly corporate, and fly planks and spinners, there are other ways, but one of the best would be to get your ratings, and establish yourself in the flight department of a reputable company, that is planning on purchasing a helicopter, and most important - get in a very good relationship with the owner. That's the advice from several successful corporate dual rated pilots I've run across. The corporate flying world is very volatile, so getting in a good relationship and keeping it with the owner whenever possible is very important.

There are also some local, state and federal law enforcement units that require dual-rated pilots, and other types of flight departments, companies, so maybe someone here can speak on that.

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I totally agree with NBIT. That's what we've found also. Last season on the road doing rides with the helo, every one on my pilots and ground crew were dual rated. Just luck mostly, since I wasn't requiring it.

 

As a dual rated pilot myself, I saw several benefits in my overall aviation knowledge and skill. Granted a FW flies nothing like a RW, but flying isn't just about moving the craft around in the air.

 

Any aviation knowledge you get will help you in your career!

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Thanks for the info and insight. Just curious - does anyone know of any law enforcement agencies that are hiring pilots to fly their A/C (FW or RW) without requiring them to be on foot patrol for a couple of years first? Most of the RW law-enforcement jobs of I've seen require the applicant to go through the police academy and then work the stree for several years before getting the chance to apply for a pilot position. I'm a pilot, not a cop - I don't mind attending the academy, but at the end, I want to fly - not ride around in a squad car. Any thoughts?

 

On a separate note, how long does the average helicopter contract job last (assuming you have 1,000+ hrs.)? I'm wondering about how frequently I'd have to move if I chose a career flying helicopters and wanted to be nomadic. I know it is also possible to work EMS, law enforcement, etc. where you stay in one location for many years. Thanks.

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Thanks for the info and insight. Just curious - does anyone know of any law enforcement agencies that are hiring pilots to fly their A/C (FW or RW) without requiring them to be on foot patrol for a couple of years first? Most of the RW law-enforcement jobs of I've seen require the applicant to go through the police academy and then work the stree for several years before getting the chance to apply for a pilot position. I'm a pilot, not a cop - I don't mind attending the academy, but at the end, I want to fly - not ride around in a squad car. Any thoughts?

 

As a retired cop, all I can say is you're out of luck. If you want to fly the police bird, you've got to do your time. There are a few smaller jurisdictions that contract out helo services, but this is not full time work. Remember also, when the budget gets tight, the aviation department is the FIRST thing cut.......

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Being dual rated will often help with an employer because any additional flying experience without accidents or incidents will show them you are a safe and responsible pilot. However, most employers minimum hiring requirements are set by their insurance company and insurance companies are moronic when it come to pilot time. They don't count RW for FW time in any format. I have around 1,000 hours in turbine helicopters, but I have difficulty finding an insurance company that will insure me in a turbine airplane. Flying a turbine airplane is so much easier than a turbine helicopter, but they are not knowledgeable enough to know this fact. I am also an A&P IA, and this has helped me get many jobs as a pilot. It shows I have a deeper understand of the aircraft systems, and I can help out in a pinch.

 

Personally, I think you are better off with 2,000 hours of helicopter time than 1,000 airplane and 1,000 helicopter.

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I'm only allowed to hire from within (LE Agecny) so dues paying is part of the game. Like mentioned above, a few agencies contract pilots and have an LEO as an observer. In these days of tight budgets it will be those without a badge and gun that go first.

 

Being dual rated goes a long way towards our hiring as we have no full time rotorcraft pilots, everyone must fly planes and those that are dual rated fly helicopters.

 

We do have a airplane training program for officers that are Private Pilots with instrument ratings. We'll take one a year and train them through their Comm pilot certificate - airplane. When they have 500 PIC, they can be a part time pilot, get pilot pay for such duties, and gain seniority for full time openings.

 

Currently we don't train helicopter pilots, but with pending retirements that may change.

 

Dual ratings may not help as much where both are not flown, but a lot of knowledge of flying, airspace, mechanics, etc can be gained from either and will serve you well no matter where you end up working or what you fly.

 

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nashville, TN uses civilian pilots for their helicopter program. Need 1500 hours, preferably with some turbine time. They fly military surplus OH58 and OH6.

I'm sure there are other cities that hire non-sworn pilots.

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I think border patrol normally uses dual rated pilots. If you don't have one, they will train you for the other. Don't quote me on this however.

 

That is correct. Customs & Border Patrol hire dual rated pilots. I just helped an Ex-Army/Coast Guard helo pilot add an instrument rating to his PPL. He had commercial helicopter and private airplane ratings with instrument only on the helicopter rating. He did not HAVE to have the dual ratings to get hired, but it made him more competitive and allowed him to get an earlier slot for some type specific training.

 

BTW, I am dual rated and it allows me to do two different jobs. I flight instruct at the local Navy flying club with my fixed wing CFI/CFII/MEI and fly for the FLARNG with my commercial helicopter instrument rating.

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  • 7 years later...

Nashville, TN uses civilian pilots for their helicopter program. Need 1500 hours, preferably with some turbine time. They fly military surplus OH58 and OH6.

I'm sure there are other cities that hire non-sworn pilots.

Hey propwasher. Just curious about this job in Nashville mentioned. Can you tell me more?

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I should have my Commercial SEL rating within the next couple of months. I plan to knock out the Commercial MEL rating as well. I also have my Instrument-Airplane rating. I'm considering pursuing a Commercial and CFI/CFII rating in helicopters at some point in the future. Will the fact that I would be dual-rated (in helicopters and airplanes) be beneficial to me when job hunting? I am looking at a flying career as a follow-on career after retiring from the military (not as a pilot). I plan to build FW time by flying with the Civil Air Patrol until I have enough hours to get some entry-level part-time flying jobs like flying skydivers, etc. Do employers prefer dual-rated pilots? What about adding on float plane or taildragger endorsement? Any value to it beside being a fun and interesting experience?

I met a guy at the Robinson factory course that showed up in a different aircraft every day (fixed wing and rotary). He worked for some guy that had like 9 aircraft for different types of charter. He was dual rated so he was hired. A lot of the aircraft didn't get used a lot so part of his job was flying each one for something like 2 hours a month to keep them functional.

 

I would consider that an extremely nitch job and you'd be hard pressed to find one like that, but if you do, freakin' awesome for you!

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