Aerial work: Airborne Survey

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TG
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Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#1 Post by TG » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:27 pm

I like the idea of burning fuel (flying) looking for fuel!
They will not stop doing it anytime soon if you know what I mean.
But that's only one side of the job.

Some used it as a step stone, some as a career, I will be happy to help anyone gearing himself or herself into Airborne Survey.

There is some great people in this board who did it or are still doing it and I welcome them too...
To help me!
So I won't always be struggling with the answers :wink:
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#2 Post by sdogg0 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:50 pm

Just curious, whats the job like? Hours? Pay? Sounds like an interesting job, im going to be getting my commercial license soon and was looking at entry level jobs. What are the hiring minums??
Any answers would be greatly appreciated
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#3 Post by chipmunk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:05 pm

I'm here to back you up, TG!
:D
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#4 Post by Cat Driver » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:59 pm

If you want some advice on flying survey in an Anson Mk5 I can help you. :mrgreen:
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#5 Post by TG » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:04 am

chipmunk wrote:I'm here to back you up, TG!
:D
I was hopping so :smt023

Nice try Cat :mrgreen:
But nobody would put aside your flying experience.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#6 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:09 am

You mean they don't use the Anson Mk5 anymore?

It was a great survey machine because it was made out of plywood ...so if you crashed you had lots of fire wood.

It did have a bit of a problem if you lost an engine when flying with a heavy fuel load though because the props were non feathering....

We flew with a three man crew ...pilot...navigator....operator.... so of course there was more competition at night looking for companionship in the bars.

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#7 Post by TG » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:49 am

eeeheeheeh...

There is still bars competitions!
Now it's the pilot, copilot, operator. Plus the engineer and the data processor on the ground. Also usually the last one stay locked in his room for all duration of the project.


sdogg0

Maybe be not what I would call a first entry level job but it can be done with Sanders who hire right seat guys/gals with low hours for their C-208.
You will act as a copilot and also operate their on board survey system.

Fugro will also hire copilots with around 1000hrs total for their Casa 212 (two crew aircraft)
Then, when you reach 1500hrs or so you could jump to a Caravan.

But usually a Survey company will ask a for experiences.
It might also be a client requirement on top of the insurances.

You just have to picture yourself on your own, flying into remote location at either 3 or 400' AGL while staying within your cross track limits (50m up, down, left, right)
Can you do it safely ?
Can you manage your aircraft, weather, reliefs, low flying's traps, etc.... at those height !?
You might think so but the insurances won't.

And flying is one part of the work.
It become more interesting when you have to deal with logistics, mechanical problems, crew crisis, etc... here in North America or in third world countries.

Ask chipmunk :mrgreen:

Otherwise, it's a great type of flying with 99.9% of the time great people.
-It will brings you a great flying and life experience.
-Pay and benefits can vary but is usually descent. (ask me via PM if you need details)
-All your expenses will be paid while in the field.
-Training bond is an alien concept in this domain.
-Rotations can vary between:
2 months on, 1 month off,
6 weeks on, 3 weeks off,
1 month on, 1 month off.
-Also, if you can do a lot of flying in one day it is not a time building job.
-You have to be willing to stay with the same people for the required time in the field. And accept loosing your spot with dignity at the bar :mrgreen:

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of stuff and I stand to be corrected.
If I sounded a bit negative, wait for some great stories that will hopefully shows up in this topic and motivate you to try it for real.

:smt023
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#8 Post by sdogg0 » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:41 pm

Thanks for all the help!
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#9 Post by chipmunk » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:12 pm

Good post, TG.

Re: the experience thing - many people build their time before they get a survey job with things like flight instructing and dropping skydivers. Gives you not only the flying experience, but also the "real world" experience and a bit of time to grow and mature in the world, because as TG mentioned, flying over spectacular scenery (in some places!) is only a small part of our job! Logistics, dealing with clients, foreign cultures and customs, planning ferry flights, breaking up fights between other crew members... sure doesn't get boring!

Cat, did they put a loop around the Anson, or was it straight mag?
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#10 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:56 pm


Cat, did they put a loop around the Anson, or was it straight mag?
We reeled out a bomb on a five hundred foot line and as I recall we flew at one hundred feet trailing the thing behind us.....hell that was a long time ago so I could be off on the altitude.....the navigator sat in the right seat and he used strip photos so we could fly exact lines.

I believe it was in 1967 because I remember I wanted to quit and go back flying the Beech 18 on floats but they offered me type ratings on the DC3 and the PBY so being a young dumb pilot I stayed on and sure enough in the spring they gave me the type ratings on both the DC3 and the PBY.

I was flying for Austin Airways at the time.

Weird how the aviation business goes because I ended up with a fair bit of time on both the DC3 and the PBY, about ten thousand hours between the two types.

I think I'm getting old Chipmunk because I was out on the sail boat today and somehow had my main sail lines and stuff all fu.ked up and couldn't get it straightened out because of the God damned waves so I went into a small cove and spent several hours at anchor getting every thing all sorted out.....I used to be able to do that kind of thing with a boat pitching and rolling and never got tired....but I am tired tonight so I guess time is finally catching up with me.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#11 Post by TG » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:54 pm

http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/viewtopi ... 13&t=46620
Very good post from wallypilot in the employment forum.
Worth a reading.
Sander Geophysics will hire low timers for the right seat of the caravan. You do double duty as a survey equipment operator until they feel you are ready for the left seat. Obviously, with the type of work they do, this will take longer than the normal charter operation. However, probably at the 1000hr mark, (if you started around the 200-400hr mark) you would be in the left seat.

If you want to go direct as PIC, I imagine it's somewhere around 1500 hours, with a good amount of PIC time, or at least some survey experience, and experience working overseas. Otherwise they need you to gain that experience with them before letting you loose.

Doc, that's a silly remark when you don't qualify it.

Sander is a good company with good pay, and very good experience. It's a lot of VFR work, and you get very good experience for the hands and feet. The international experience can't be matched....much better than flying to the same 9 airports for 3-8 years while building your time. This job teaches you to be flexible, expect anything, learn about flying in other countries/climates/geographies, and I personally think it teaches you to make good decisions. Pilots are well supported in their decision making w.r.t weather, flight conditions, etc. You won't find a better operation to start out in and learn from the beginning that you don't have to give in to the pressures that some managements give you in the multi IFR charter/cargo world that many guys start out in.

I'll end with the qualifier that the numbers stated above may not be entirely accurate, as I have been out of that business for a few years now. But I doubt much has changed. If you like to travel, and want to do something a little different, go for it. If you need to be home more due to family, or just personal preference, I'd look into the standard IFR charter/cargo world.

Best of luck.
wp 8)
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#12 Post by wallypilot » Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:02 pm

TG wrote:http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/viewtopi ... 13&t=46620
Very good post from wallypilot in the employment forum.
Worth a reading.
Awww....thanks TG. :goodman:

For those interested, I'm here to back up TG as well. Anyone with an interest in traveling the world on the company dime should give survey work serious consideration.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#13 Post by Beothuk1 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:37 pm

wallypilot wrote:
TG wrote:http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/viewtopi ... 13&t=46620
Very good post from wallypilot in the employment forum.
Worth a reading.
Awww....thanks TG. :goodman:

For those interested, I'm here to back up TG as well. Anyone with an interest in traveling the world on the company dime should give survey work serious consideration.
Hey you guys didn't by chance share a room when you were out there did ya?..........Just Kidding!
:oops:
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#14 Post by Louis » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:22 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Anson wrote:A distinctive feature of the Anson was its landing gear retraction mechanism which required no less than 140 turns of the hand crank by the pilot. To forgo this laborious process, Ansons often flew with the landing gear extended at the expense of 30 mph (50 km/h) of cruise speed.
So Cat, did you leave the gear down, or did the crewmember with the thickest beer goggles the previous night end up with that task? :P
(Or had someone devised a hydraulic/electrical system by then?)
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#15 Post by Chuck Ellsworth » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:30 pm

The Ansons we flew were mark 5's and they had hydraulic landing gear retract and lower.

They did not have full feathering props though.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#16 Post by Barney » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:41 pm

I can give a perspective from a Casa F/O on survey work.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#17 Post by brokenwing » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:21 am

I have about 700tt, mostly PIC on floats and a class 4 instructor rating, all single VFR. My career goal is to hopefully work for Aries, Fugro or Sander Geophysics. I don't hold a multi or IFR rating, is there any chance without the multi IFR? If not when would be the best time to get the multi IFR rating for minimum upgrade time? or is that redundant in survey work considering having to learn how to fly lines and use the equipment?
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#18 Post by chipmunk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:05 am

brokenwing wrote:I have about 700tt, mostly PIC on floats and a class 4 instructor rating, all single VFR. My career goal is to hopefully work for Aries, Fugro or Sander Geophysics. I don't hold a multi or IFR rating, is there any chance without the multi IFR? If not when would be the best time to get the multi IFR rating for minimum upgrade time? or is that redundant in survey work considering having to learn how to fly lines and use the equipment?
For Fugro, you need the multi-IFR to get hired, even if you're hired directly on to the Caravan. You'll be trained for an IFR PPC or PCC. You won't use it every day, but will sometimes file IFR to get from one job site to the next, and can file composite IFR-VFR-IFR flight plans for survey flying (i.e. if our survey block has good weather but localized conditions at our base airport require an IFR departure/arrival.)

Typical minimums are 1000h TT plus IATRA for CASA FO, or 1500h with a significant amount of PIC time for Caravan Captain.

Not sure about the other companies.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#19 Post by brokenwing » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:12 pm

Thank you for the informative post Chipmunk, much appreciated. How long/Hard is to get used to working survey equipment? (this is comming from someone who has no idea what it even looks like)
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#20 Post by chipmunk » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:09 am

brokenwing wrote:Thank you for the informative post Chipmunk, much appreciated. How long/Hard is to get used to working survey equipment? (this is comming from someone who has no idea what it even looks like)
At our company, for the most part, pilots don't run the survey equipment. Phew! In all but two of our aircraft, we fly with an electronics operator who runs and monitors the computers, and, if equipped, works the winches that control two "birds" (sensors/receivers) that we tow behind the aircraft during flight.

Image

On two of our smaller aircraft, the electronics operator starts and checks the equipment prior to flight, and then during flight all the pilot(s) has to do is change the line number so his/her navigation display depicts the route to fly. It's quite simple and will be the least of your worries!

The actual part of learning to fly survey is a little trickier. Tolerances can be fairly tight, and you're expected to fly better than 50 meters left or right of the middle of the line, and less than about 30 meters above and below, and after a few months you'll be expected to stay within 25 meters 99% of the time. People commonly think that we look at our instruments the majority of the time but it's actually more accurate, less fatiguing, and safer to spend 70% of your flying time looking outside and using things like trees, ridges and roads to keep the correct track as straight as possible. You typically get at least 15 hours of survey training after your aircraft training is complete, but it takes a while to settle in and be able to relax and enjoy it, since we do all this stuff between 300' and 500' above the ground.

I started as an FO on a large twin turbine with about 1500hTT about 5 years ago. The minimums change as the economy and supply/demand changes, and from my post above you can see that in the past couple of years with the movement in the aviation industry the minimums had dropped (pilots were sticking around at our company for a year or two then heading on to Jazz, Georgian, etc.) It's important to have a good attitude and people skills, since only part of your job is flying and the rest is being able to work well with your crew of 4 to 6 people, sometimes in isolated or challenging locations. The company I work for likes you to have a good chunk of PIC time, as they want folks who have already been making decisions and have the maturity to self-dispatch, be responsible for an aircraft in another country or continent than where their supervisor is, and represent the company well.

Good luck!
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#21 Post by brokenwing » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:21 pm

Thanks again!, the insight is much appreciated. Looks like i'll have to wait a bit and start saving my pennies for a group 1.
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#22 Post by TG » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:48 pm

Some questions answered about Sanders in this topic.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=55914
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#23 Post by Sam300 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:13 pm

TG wrote:I like the idea of burning fuel (flying) looking for fuel!
They will not stop doing it anytime soon if you know what I mean.
But that's only one side of the job.

Some used it as a step stone, some as a career, I will be happy to help anyone gearing himself or herself into Airborne Survey.

There is some great people in this board who did it or are still doing it and I welcome them too...
To help me!
So I won't always be struggling with the answers :wink:
Looking to get into some survey work, sounds like it would be something I would enjoy. I have applied to several companies but nothing yet, wondering if the survey world is slow like everything else.

I have a decent amount of hours as well as MIFR, turbine and low level experience. Any info or advice you could pass along would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#24 Post by chipmunk » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:00 am

Hey Sam
In general, survey is fairly slow right now. I don't know of any that are hiring (pilots are sticking around longer because of the lack of movement elsewhere) and regardless of the economy, winter is always a slower time of year for us.
If I were you, I'd send a fresh round of resumes out in late February/March, as many companies typically do their hiring in springtime. If you can do it in person (call ahead!), even better.

Do you have an ATPL/IATRA? How's your PIC time?
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Re: Aerial work: Airborne Survey

#25 Post by Sam300 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:10 am

chipmunk wrote:Hey Sam
In general, survey is fairly slow right now. I don't know of any that are hiring (pilots are sticking around longer because of the lack of movement elsewhere) and regardless of the economy, winter is always a slower time of year for us.
If I were you, I'd send a fresh round of resumes out in late February/March, as many companies typically do their hiring in springtime. If you can do it in person (call ahead!), even better.

Do you have an ATPL/IATRA? How's your PIC time?
Writing the exams soon(hopefully)approx.4800 pic.(looking for something new) Maybe I'll take a road trip and see some operators just to intoduce myself, schedule is open now. If it is slow might be a good chance to meet some people, and chat with them about survey work. Can you point out some good operators to go see? Thanks in advance

P.S. Have a good Thanksgiving weekend!
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