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Former Silver State Student Searching For Options

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Hi Guys!


I tend to read this forum WAYYY more than I write in it. I'm hoping someone that knows a lot about the inner workings of the helo industry might see this and be able to offer me a suggestion or two, but let me start at the beginning.


I am a fat pilot :-) Yeah, I know. . . Go on a diet.


My average flight weight as I was instructed at SSH was about 255-260lbs. Honestly, I'm striving for 240 (but I'm built like a brick shithouse, getting any lighter than that is going to be tough).

Because of this, all of my hours were logged in the R-44. I thought this was pretty cool at the time. . . Because they didn't know how to write a contract I could continue to fly all of my time in the R-44 for the same price as the R-22. It seemed like a cherry deal until I started closing in on my commercial license and was discovering that unless I worked as a CFI for SSH, that I was going to be left high and dry by the industry as the minimum insurance carrier for most schools that flew the R-44 was 300TT.


I currently have 217.5 hours. That's where I was left by SSH, with an hour of full down training in

the bag and mere weeks from my CFI & II checkrides.


For the record, if you are responding to this. . . I don't want to turn this into a Silver State discussion. The only reason I've said that much is I wanted everyone to have a good look at my background because the thrust to come is. . . Where do I go from here???


Obviously, the CFI market is flooded in the wake of SSH's demise. I've heard many of the SSH instructors are being overlooked by companies still hiring new CFIs, so I wasn't sure how economically sensible it was for me to just jump to another school and pay more money. especially seeing that unless I have 300 hours, even as a full time CFII just flying the R-44, I'm still probably not going to have a lot of success landing a job.


If you are following me so far, here is what I think I've decided is the best way to go and here is where some good advise from industry insider's that may read this will really help me.

I think I have decided rather than to go back to school to get my CFI & II in a helicopter, airplanes actually make more sense at this point. 85 hours (if I am reading the FAR's correctly) is all that I would have to fly (minimally) to get my commercial fixed wing rating and this would put me over the 300 insurance hump required of insurance carriers for R-44 time.


Also, if I went to a couple of the bigger academies, I could also get my instrument fixed wing, CFI & II and MEL and then build hours (in a plane) to the all important 1,000 hour threshold possibly at this point completely circumventing the need to go back and get my CFI & II in a helicopter.


So here are the next questions. . .


How appealing would I be to a helicopter employer at 1,000TT (or more) with still just 220 hours of helicopter time?


How appealing would the dual ratings be (and what employers like to see dual rated pilots)?


Is it worth it? This would cost me another $10-$40k minimally, however, another 80 hours of R-44 time would cost me $40k. . . . Atleast going about it this way, I get as many as four new ratings and over 200 more hours (plus I can actually start an aviation career in 90 days as a CFI in an airplane if I go with one of the bigger academies).


Is my logic flawed?


Bottom line, I still really want to fly helos. This would primarily be a means to an end, especially with the current state of the airline industry, I really don't see myself flying fixed wing long term. . . But how opened arms is the helicopter industry going to be towards welcoming me back after 1,000 hours of playing for the other team?

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One thought and one story.


Go find a school that flies the 300. Make a deal. You buy 50 hours of 300 time...you get your CFI in the 300 and they then hire you as a CFI. 250 is no big deal...last time I flew one I was at 245 and my co-pilot was 230...no problem..Also, Pathfinder does not insure 300's...and so those rules of 300 hours you speak of don't apply.


Now a true story. There is a female pilot out flying in the GOM right now that got her start at 250 hours TT becoming a second in command on the S64 doing logging work up north.


Either may be an option for ya.



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I would highly advise you check out a school called Rotors of the Rockies. They have about 6 300C models and just got 2 new R-44's..Well not new, but new to them...Also they have a Schweizer 333 and EC 120...You could get some time in the 300 C model and still get time in the R 44...Plus they prefer to have their own students as instructors....and they need more pilots with R 44 time..

Feel free to contact me if you need any more info..I know quite a bit about them...

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I've gotta second everyone who has said go for the 300. There are plenty of schools out there that would gladly help you get your CFI and -II.

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A few things...


First, for the R-44, Pathfinder insurance requires 500 hours total HELICOPTER time, not total time, so don't bother trying to buy your way there, or to use airplanes, because neither helps.


Second, most helicopter operators that hire at 1,000 hours want HELICOPTER hours, not total hours, so again the airplane time doesn't help.


Finally, not all schools use Pathfinder (we do not). I could get you insured to teach in the R-44 in five minutes with your current time, so not all is lost.


The biggest issue is not that I can't use you, it is that I may not be able to keep you fed. There are really no R-44 only schools, so you really should look into the 300. I'd talk to schools and find out who might be interested in hiring you when you're done. No one can guarantee a job, but they can talk with you and let you know if you're even in the running.


Best of luck to you, in whatever you do...

Edited by jehh
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How much time do you require to get your CFI 11 check rides? would seem to me if only a few go get the license at least you will have something to offer employers, at present you are not viable to employ.


jedd nice comment :huh:

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Agree with Goldy.


All things considered if you went the airline route you could be hired on with a regional at or around 500 hours of fixed wing time. However, that market is not as stable as the helicopter market in my opinion.


So, if still thinking about helicopters. As others said you'll need 1000 PIC Helicopters not just total time. Again, look at getting your CFI AND CFII. With a CFII you'l be more marketable. Network if you can. Do you know some friends that may have gotten jobs or are students at a school with a 300CB and or R-44's? Talk with them and network. This is how I got my CFI job, by networking. Try to work a deal, although no one can insure you a job at the end at least it's worth the effort. Then you'll have your CFI and CFII and can at least send out your resume at that point.


Hope this helps you some, good luck.....also, maybe you should post more offten. We like to have hearty discussions here and would love to have more join in.



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