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Helicopter agricultural flight school


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I’m a 33,000+ hour agricultural pilot (17,000+ ag in helos + 12,000+ ag in fixed wing) and I have been talking with an existing helicopter flight school about establishing a flight and ground course for aspiring agricultural pilots. The school already does helicopter private through flight instructor and is a very reputable company.

 

There is a real shortage of agricultural pilots, both fixed wing and helicopter, that will soon become critical and I thought that there might be a real need for an old guy like me to pass along what I have learned over the years to some new pilots. I’m wondering if there are some pilots out there that would be interested in such a course?

 

The agricultural industry is financially very rewarding but also very difficult to break into and a reputable agricultural flight school would be a big help for those trying to find employment as an ag pilot.

 

If you think that you might be interested in a helicopter agricultural flight school, please respond on this website.

Edited by helojim39
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I’m a 33,000+ hour agricultural pilot (17,000+ ag in helos + 12,000+ ag in fixed wing) and I have been talking with an existing helicopter flight school about establishing a flight and ground course for aspiring agricultural pilots. The school already does helicopter private through flight instructor and is a very reputable company.

 

There is a real shortage of agricultural pilots, both fixed wing and helicopter, that will soon become critical and I thought that there might be a real need for an old guy like me to pass along what I have learned over the years to some new pilots. I’m wondering if there are some pilots out there that would be interested in such a course?

 

The agricultural industry is financially very rewarding but also very difficult to break into and a reputable agricultural flight school would be a big help for those trying to find employment as an ag pilot.

 

If you think that you might be interested in a helicopter agricultural flight school, please respond on this website.

 

Make sure you come up with a cost for people like me who will already have a CPL and what/how much/how long it might take.

Are you or the school planning on having agg. jobs avail. to graduates? Or insider contacts for jobs etc etc. Id be interested, especially if it might negate having to instruct for 1000 hrs, even if only in part, especially if it would allow me to step into an industry I may want to stay with and pay well.

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You can throw me in the loop of wanting to know a little more info. I think it sounds like a great idea, Location, cost, and such are all things I would want to know also. I know you probably don't have all that worked out yet, but keep us informed.

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I'd like to see the shortage... like all pilot shortages it is relative. In fact, I'd like to see it become "critical", maybe then the pay for doing an extremely dangerous task would be balanced by the financial gain... I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage then.

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I've always been curious about AG flying, but I've never really been able to find any info on it or any ag employers. I think such a course would be great if it could lead to a definite job. I know I would much rather fly ag than instruct to 1000 hrs.

I have been an ag pilot for a 30 years, you can make as much money in one month ag flying than would take you many months instructing. Last year I made 115,000 in 6 months and I always have the controls.

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I'd like to see the shortage... like all pilot shortages it is relative. In fact, I'd like to see it become "critical", maybe then the pay for doing an extremely dangerous task would be balanced by the financial gain... I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage then.

There is becoming a shortage but it ain't critical yet, but it is comming. I was at a recertification course to keep my pesticide license current and I looked around and almost everyone there had grey hair, what' that tell you. And every year some ag pilot gets killed. The company I work for lost a pilot this year, and another is close to retirement.

If you are going to get into this type of flying I suggest getting training from someone like helojim39 that has lots of exp. I don't know him but with that many hours, and still alive he can teach you things that aren't in any book, things that will keep you alive in this line of work. It is very easy to make mistakes in ag work. Powerlines don't mix well with helos. You are always close to them and always heavy with high gross loads. Someone like helojim39 will teach good (habits)

And as to the financial part, there is nothing like making a thousand bucks in a day, It takes all day, I mean 15 hours, but man it's legal, and that is what helojim means by rewarding.

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I've been in the helicopter ag business for over 30 years with over 7,000 hours of ag time. I make a very comfortable living and only work 6 months out of the year. Good, experienced, safe ag pilots are getting very hard to find. I am also a CFI and with half the year off I would love to get involved with an ag school as an instructor during the off season. There doesn't seem to be that many such operators out there. It's very easy to make a mistake and get yourself killed in this line of work so I highly recommend anybody looking to get into the business take as much training as you can.

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I've been in the helicopter ag business for over 30 years with over 7,000 hours of ag time. I make a very comfortable living and only work 6 months out of the year. Good, experienced, safe ag pilots are getting very hard to find. I am also a CFI and with half the year off I would love to get involved with an ag school as an instructor during the off season. There doesn't seem to be that many such operators out there. It's very easy to make a mistake and get yourself killed in this line of work so I highly recommend anybody looking to get into the business take as much training as you can.

 

What state are you in?

 

I think if you were to find a local school and tell them of all the gray haired fellows about to retire from the niche, and that you'd like to teach an ag portion of the school, a school would jump on it.

I mentioned this to my schools owner and she seemed quite intrigued at the idea.

Just a thought, i know i would really like to have the chance to see if I wanted to get into that industry, especially since i have no idea what it is like to be in it.

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Hey captkirkyota you are in big spud country lots of taters get sprayed out there. A friend of mine sprayed in Idaho and had fields a mile long! thats nice.

Here is what its like to be an ag pilot that works out of state that you reside in.

I pack my suitcase in may, leave my home in Indiana, go to Wisconsin check into a motel, work till august, fly about 500 hours, haul high gross loads, make 80 to 100 takeoffs and landing a day to the top of a platform nursetruck, fly under powerlines, fly over irrigators, dodge towers, make circles waiting for cars to get by my field so they don't get sprayed and sue my ass, fly in winds so bad it's as terrifing as driving on ice, collect my 75,000, go home for 2 or 3 days, go to southeast, Tx. LA. Miss. wherever, check into another motel same crap all over, only don't spray in as much wind cause timber chemicals will kill 150 year old trees put up with meth head nurse truck drivers, go to wall-mart get more jerkins lotion, cause ain't seen wife in forever, collect another 40,000, by november, go home, all the leaves are gone off the trees and it's cold and ucky, lay arround all winter, sleep late, wait for all the money to disapear by may, start over.

There you go, thats what it's like for me. Oh I almost forgot, one time I got my Nikes a little dirty, that sucked.

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You mean to say the company doesn't supply the lotion!!!! :huh:

 

Sounds like you wouldn't give it up for the world though.

No I really would not but it is not as easy as some might think, I love to fly but, 16 hours strait is tough. I did that one day and when I got out of the heli. my knees buckled. That was a 100 takeoff and landing day.

And living out of a suitcase for 7 months and being away from home ain't easy, and basicly it is the same thing from daylight to dark every day 7 days a week.

I told my employer the other day, this is what being an ag pilot is like in a nutshell.

You know how when you bite your cheek and it swells-up and everytime you eat after that you keep biting it over and over? And have you ever watched the same movie over and over that you have seen ten times? I was watching conair when I thought of this. It might be a clint eastwood or whatever, and you know everything that is going to happin.

So you are watching the same movie you've seen a million times and eating and biting your cheek and at the same time someone is stuffing your pockets FULL of money.

This is what breathing chemicals will do to your brain, sad ain't it.

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What are requirements for most ag pilots?

As to your previous post, Tell me where you live, I will tell you if there is ag. work near there.

As to requiriments, they want two things, hours in type, and experance. Some companys are hurting for pilot so bad that they will hire someone as a loader/mixer or crew leader, for a couple of years, let them do some ferring to get some hours in type, then work them into it that way.

This is a good way to weed out the the people that cant cut it, it does not take long to find out if someone cant get out of bed at 4am, work all day in the heat and not make stupid mistakes. It is very easy to make mistakes in this line of work. Some people can think when they are suffering from chronic fatige, and some cant. The ones that cant do stupid crap when they are tired like run the heli. out of gas, spray cars or drift onto non target areas, or run horses or cows through fences.

This is not like any other type of flying and it is not for everyone, and don't expect to fly anything but hillers, bell 47s or if your lucky 0h-58 however it does pay very well and you only have to work 6 or 7 months for same money as all year.

Got any more questions about ag. work would be glad to answer.

This is my favorite topic.

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hey, this is a good topic. I live up in MA and we spray the cranberries. No chemicals really, mostly fertilizer. I started working on the ground crew when I was in high school and worked my way up. I am still in training to fly the ag stuff, but do all of the lift work, tours, and photo work. It has been a pretty long road, but I have learned from a very experienced pilot. This flight school idea may be a faster way to get the experience it takes to get a job as an ag pilot, which is good. It is also very tough waking up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning to go do the work, so maybe it is better to work in the biz for a while before you go paying all that money to learn the trade and find out your not a really really early morning person.

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As to your previous post, Tell me where you live, I will tell you if there is ag. work near there.

As to requiriments, they want two things, hours in type, and experance. Some companys are hurting for pilot so bad that they will hire someone as a loader/mixer or crew leader, for a couple of years, let them do some ferring to get some hours in type, then work them into it that way.

This is a good way to weed out the the people that cant cut it, it does not take long to find out if someone cant get out of bed at 4am, work all day in the heat and not make stupid mistakes. It is very easy to make mistakes in this line of work. Some people can think when they are suffering from chronic fatige, and some cant. The ones that cant do stupid crap when they are tired like run the heli. out of gas, spray cars or drift onto non target areas, or run horses or cows through fences.

This is not like any other type of flying and it is not for everyone, and don't expect to fly anything but hillers, bell 47s or if your lucky 0h-58 however it does pay very well and you only have to work 6 or 7 months for same money as all year.

Got any more questions about ag. work would be glad to answer.

This is my favorite topic.

I live in Oxnard,Ca. there is a lot of farm land here and once in a while see some sprayers.

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I have been looking all over for a flight school that does Ag Training and have found nothing so far. I would be very interested in going to a flight school that offered ag flight training. Where would this school be located? Would you have any other advice for someone wanting to get into ag flying? I have fixed wing time but no rotary time. I am from southern MN

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