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Realistic career path?

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:52 am
by tcott
Apologies if this isn't the best forum for this conversation, but it seemed like the best fit so here goes:

I'm 32 and have been teaching ESL overseas for 10 years. It's time for a career change and I'm seriously considering flying. I'm probably the opposite of most people, though, in that I'd actually prefer to find a seasonal-only job. Ideally, I would work in Canada flying over the summer, and spend the rest of the year overseas here staying warm and doing some other odd jobs that I enjoy. I don't really know anything about the industry so I'm hoping for some advice, recommendations, or a slap to the face with cold hard truth if necessary :lol:

How easy would it be to find a job flying seasonally? What operators would I be looking at? Where would these jobs likely be? What kind of planes would I be flying? What kind of hours? Earning for a season? Pilot room and board likely to be offered anywhere? Is there room for salary growth if working seasonally every year? Lots of questions I know, but if anyone can help answer even one or two of these it would still be really helpful.

Training: I would have to borrow money, but I have confirmed the funds will be available if needed, so that's not an issue (paying it back will still be an issue of course :shock: ) The idea would be to just hammer out the training as quickly as possible and hopefully be ready to work within a year. Feasible? I would likely train at a small local airport to keep the cost down for the PPL, and then do the CPL or part of the CPL on floats at Air-Hart in Kelowna so I would already have 100 or so hours on floats when I'm ready to look for that first job, hopefully making me much more employable.

Long term: If I like the seasonal flying and the pay isn't horrendous, I might just keep doing that. I might be interested in flying some more "exciting" stuff in developing countries, or trying to get on with Kenn Borek later on, as they have some rather attractive routes. I wouldn't rule out the airlines later in my career either, but that's definitely not a goal in the near future.

As you can probably tell I've put a fair bit of thought into this, but without any feedback from people in the industry I'm not really ready to just dive in yet. Thanks to anyone who can help me out in any way here. :D

Re: Realistic career path?

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:24 pm
by North Shore
Yes, it's all do-able. It seems that there is a 'shortage' of decent float pilots around nowadays, given the experience levels that I hear of and meet sitting in Otters, Beavers, etc..

Sit back and think for a while,'re 32 now, let's say you get really organised and end up getting your licences and a job at the tail end of next season, leading into a seat at the beginning of 2019, so now you're 34. Somewhere along the way, you'll probably meet a partner and decide to have kids, and that's great, as they are pretty portable until they get to school age, so lets give you ~10 years for that..So now, at 44, you're working seasonally, offshore isn't really an option as your kids will need stability in their schooling (as will your partner with his/her life) and you have the worries of mortgage, etc..Are you still going to be happy with that seasonal gig? If so, are you going to be happy living where it is?? Can you get by without your sunny southern job/lifestyle?

good luck!

Re: Realistic career path?

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:43 pm
by Black_Tusk
Seems realistic to me. The industry has many jobs available.. if you don't have kids yet now is the time to get licensed and spend your time up north. Voyageur and airlines like that offer a decent gig as well once you get the experience. 2 months on 2 months off, and flying in Africa and Europe.

Re: Realistic career path?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:19 am
by tcott
Thanks for the advice North Shore. I'm not really planning to have kids, so those problems might not really be problems for me. If things change though in the next few years I could hopefully work toward getting on with the airlines then if I have a few years and a bunch of hours under my belt. That's more of a Plan B, though.

Black_Tusk, thanks for your input. 2 months on 2 months off sounds ideal since I am single and not tied down in any way. Do you know any other companies like Voyageur off the top of your head?

I'm still wondering what the conditions a seasonal float job would be like... 7 days a week? Based down south and flying north, or based up in the territories? Pilot accommodations or not? Etc. Obviously this varies from job to job but are there some general trends that anyone else might be able to comment on? This isn't hiring season so I can't look at actual job ads at the moment.