At a crossroads, need some advice

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awitzke
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At a crossroads, need some advice

#1 Post by awitzke » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:08 pm

Hey guys, long time lurker here. Hoping to get some advice from the old timers...

So a quick background on me. I'm a SMELS rated pilot, CPL flight tested with 185 hours. 28 of that on a C180 with floats, 8.5 multi (Seneca 1) and the rest varies from C152/C172.

At this point, I have just started my SIM sessions for my Group 1 IFR rating. The last 15 hours of my required 200 was going to come from this. However over the last few weeks I've started to question if this is the best route for me right now. Especially after going out for a quick rip on the floatplane the other day through the gulf islands. It really rekindled my love of float flying.

My plan is to pack up my car and head north in about a month/month and a half. Start in NWT, try to get on with the guys at Wolverine or Simpson (which would be a dream). If that fails, keep heading east through Northern AB/SASK/MN until I find work. Basically I'll drive as far as I need to to find a job. The plan is to bush fly for a few years to get experience and PIC time before possibly trying to move to a place like Borek.

So the question. To IFR or not to IFR. I feel like I am spending money I don't need to right now to do this rating and essentially wasting time too since I won't be using it for at least a year or more. For the bush guys, do they look at the fact someone might have an IFR as a benefit? At least for hiring purposes knowing they have additional training in WX/Icing/Radio NAV etc.? It would also be there as a fall back incase I couldn't find a job flying VFR. Who knows, so many things running through my head right now.

What are your thoughts? Should I just go maybe top up to 30 float hours and a few XC's on the C172 to get my 200 and go north? Or should I go forward with the IFR.

Thanks in advance,
Aaron
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#2 Post by Johnny#5 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:08 pm

I would still do the IFR rating if you have the time and money...you never know what you'll want to do in a few years, things may change. Plus an instrument rating can help one get a VFR job...

I went to Fort Simpson with 30 hours on floats and an IFR rating (I had more total time though) and both helped me get the job. We didn't fly IFR at the time but the ticket looked good to the boss - and now there's a Navajo and Twin Otter at Wolverine/SNA (if they're still there?)
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#3 Post by awitzke » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:35 pm

Thanks for the input Johnny, did you enjoy your time up there? My plan was to do a year or two then get my IFR rating. It wasn't as though I was saying I would never get it... just not now. I have the time and the money to do it as I can't leave until Feb anyhow.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#4 Post by angry inch » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:07 am

I like the plan of trying to get some Bush experience & PIC time first.... If you do get an actual flying job logging PIC in the bush then you won't get stuck as an f/o down the road trying to get PIC experience to be able to advance to the left seat... The reality is you NEED SOME PIC experience & the first few hundred hours are the hardest to get. Certainly if you have a bunch of money to spend, get the MIFR done. Do remember that unless you are actually using it, that those skills deteriorate quickly & you may be faced with having to renew on your own dime & time... Initially, I spent all my money on getting as much float time as I could in those 200 hrs & did the bush thing for a few years before doing the MIFR. I never ran into any advancement hang-ups. (and by the way, "Advancement" is a relative term... you could spend a whole career developing your skills flying single engine aircraft in the "BUSH"...)

Go North & get a job...
Good Luck!
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#5 Post by nbinont » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:59 am

awitzke wrote:I have the time and the money to do it as I can't leave until Feb anyhow.
IFR training will undoubtedly make you a better pilot. Even if you fly mostly VFR after the training, the extra knowledge and experience gives you another set of skills to draw on when flight planning or handling inadvertent IMC (though you hopefully have avoided it with that better planning...).

Unless you've got something better to do with the next couple months, go get your IFR done. Heck, do it on floats if you want to tick both the float and IFR boxes! You can get flight time whenever, but lining up training and fitting that into a work schedule is much more difficult. Don't waste the next couple months puttering around (though feel free to putter around in the hours you're not training!).
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#6 Post by PointyEngine » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:44 am

I live north of 60, have done for a few years. No one is ever hired onto a ramp position with the hopes of flying, yet alone directly onto the flight line unless they have their Multi IFR, unless they're local born and breed. It comes down to can you be upgraded down the road, and as mentioned above, even thought you strictly might not be using it, the skills all come into play in making you a more rounded pilot. Some companies will hire guys on as First Officers before they're sent out in the single piston machines and the like, so certainly a must here.

The guy standing next to you will probably have his IFR, so give yourself the best shot of landing that job - and good luck, the north is a great place!
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#7 Post by awitzke » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:52 pm

angry inch wrote:I like the plan of trying to get some Bush experience & PIC time first.... If you do get an actual flying job logging PIC in the bush then you won't get stuck as an f/o down the road trying to get PIC experience to be able to advance to the left seat... The reality is you NEED SOME PIC experience & the first few hundred hours are the hardest to get. Certainly if you have a bunch of money to spend, get the MIFR done. Do remember that unless you are actually using it, that those skills deteriorate quickly & you may be faced with having to renew on your own dime & time... Initially, I spent all my money on getting as much float time as I could in those 200 hrs & did the bush thing for a few years before doing the MIFR. I never ran into any advancement hang-ups. (and by the way, "Advancement" is a relative term... you could spend a whole career developing your skills flying single engine aircraft in the "BUSH"...)

Go North & get a job...
Good Luck!
That was the idea. Originally I was thinking about trying to get on with CMA, Perimiter or Borek but that would entail dispatch or ramp for a year. The way I look at it, I'd rather go up north and fly a small single and get some PIC + Experience. Then in a few years if I still want to, I can apply as direct entry VS low time pilot pool. Or something along those lines. We all know plans change but that's the current idea. The main argument I'm hearing on here and from some pilot buddies is the skills deteriorating thing. If I go fly bush for a few years, my currency will lapse on the IFR and loose the skills I obtained. However, if it helps get a job then I can definitely see it's benefit.
nbinont wrote:
awitzke wrote:I have the time and the money to do it as I can't leave until Feb anyhow.
IFR training will undoubtedly make you a better pilot. Even if you fly mostly VFR after the training, the extra knowledge and experience gives you another set of skills to draw on when flight planning or handling inadvertent IMC (though you hopefully have avoided it with that better planning...).

Unless you've got something better to do with the next couple months, go get your IFR done. Heck, do it on floats if you want to tick both the float and IFR boxes! You can get flight time whenever, but lining up training and fitting that into a work schedule is much more difficult. Don't waste the next couple months puttering around (though feel free to putter around in the hours you're not training!).
I agree, I've already started the SIM sessions and have already learn a lot. I also took the aerocourse INRAT seminar and it was great. Also the more I've been searching on here, and reading the road trip thread I think I might be planning to leave too early. Which would give me even a bit more time to get it all done. I wish I could do the IFR on a floatplane but that isn't possible. Maybe I'm just starting to feel the bug of getting out of here and finding an excuse to end early and go find a job.
PointyEngine wrote:I live north of 60, have done for a few years. No one is ever hired onto a ramp position with the hopes of flying, yet alone directly onto the flight line unless they have their Multi IFR, unless they're local born and breed. It comes down to can you be upgraded down the road, and as mentioned above, even thought you strictly might not be using it, the skills all come into play in making you a more rounded pilot. Some companies will hire guys on as First Officers before they're sent out in the single piston machines and the like, so certainly a must here.

The guy standing next to you will probably have his IFR, so give yourself the best shot of landing that job - and good luck, the north is a great place!
I see what you're saying but is this true for small towns where most if not all flying will be VFR? I can see that being the case in Yellowknife working for Tindi or something like that, but that's not really what I'm after for a first job.



The more I read over these comments the more I'm thinking I need to just stick it out and get it done. I'm half way there already with the multi rating. What's another 10k... Ha!

Anyone else find when they were training that their perceived value of money drastically changed? Nothing like dropping $1000 after a 3 hour flight in the twin and not batting an eye.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#8 Post by Just another canuck » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm

Decide on whether you want to get a job flying in the bush for your typical seasonal float company or work for a company like Transwest, Borek, Tindi, etc... I would vote for option A. Reason being, that's where the PIC time is and it's valuable PIC time. Not that all PIC time isn't valuable, I just like to put single engine, single pilot float time as a low timer above the rest. You are constantly making decisions and it's great start to career.

That being said, you do not need a MIFR for these positions. In fact, I would say that most operators will look at it as a flaw. A 200 hour pilot at their door with a float rating and a Group 1 only means one thing to them. That he wants to gain some experience and GTFO. Now, if it's option B you desire, then you need the Group 1. Just as a personal opinion, I wouldn't go that route. Borek for example, you'll sit in the office or as FA for a year minimum, then right seat for the next 6+ years. Transwest, at least, has some smaller machines to jump into.

Anyway, if you want to go in the bush and plan on spending more than 2 years there, which you should, then hold off on the Group 1. You'll only have to renew the damn thing anyway and due to the long gap between your last ride and this one, you'll end up spending a lot of dough.

My 2 cents.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#9 Post by awitzke » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:38 pm

Just another canuck wrote:Decide on whether you want to get a job flying in the bush for your typical seasonal float company or work for a company like Transwest, Borek, Tindi, etc... I would vote for option A. Reason being, that's where the PIC time is and it's valuable PIC time. Not that all PIC time isn't valuable, I just like to put single engine, single pilot float time as a low timer above the rest. You are constantly making decisions and it's great start to career.

That being said, you do not need a MIFR for these positions. In fact, I would say that most operators will look at it as a flaw. A 200 hour pilot at their door with a float rating and a Group 1 only means one thing to them. That he wants to gain some experience and GTFO. Now, if it's option B you desire, then you need the Group 1. Just as a personal opinion, I wouldn't go that route. Borek for example, you'll sit in the office or as FA for a year minimum, then right seat for the next 6+ years. Transwest, at least, has some smaller machines to jump into.

Anyway, if you want to go in the bush and plan on spending more than 2 years there, which you should, then hold off on the Group 1. You'll only have to renew the damn thing anyway and due to the long gap between your last ride and this one, you'll end up spending a lot of dough.

My 2 cents.
That's exactly it, I don't want to work for those companies... yet. In the future yes, but for now I want to go north to get PIC time. I don't want to fly in the right seat on anything since it will take forever to get upgraded to the left without that PIC time. That, and a few seasons in the bush will drastically help my prospects at places like Borek in the future.

As for Borek, I know a guy whos flying a King Air out of Inuvik for them. He said it's a great place BUT I don't want to work the dispatch for a year only to get stuck in the right seat on a king or twin otter for 5 years because I only have that 100 PIC from my license.

Your argument is exactly what's been running through my head. I have 28 hours on floats already and need 15 more to fulfill my 200 hours for my CPL. So I could spend that time getting more float time and look a bit more employable up there than a MIFR and 25 float hours. I already have my multi so that's good if there's ever opportunity to go onto a twin VFR plane.

Thanks for the input.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#10 Post by Slats » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:28 am

My plan is to pack up my car and head north in about a month/month and a half. Start in NWT, try to get on with the guys at Wolverine or Simpson (which would be a dream).
I spent about 4 years there working for both companies and had the time of my life. The flying was incredible and the lifestyle was really fun. l originally went with about 800 hrs or so on floats already, so it wasn't quite the same situation as someone just starting fresh. That being said, I recommend finishing your IFR. It is valued by both companies (and I believe both have Navajos now.) The float flying there can be quite challenging at times and unless you show up with at least a couple seasons of float time, you won't fly floats right away. If you have 7 or 28 or 50 hours on floats won't matter much. You will more likely start out helping with the grunt and office work and 172 charters. If you do your job well and can get along with everyone, your progression onto other machines and/or into floats will only be limited by the more senior guys and when they move on. It could be quick, or it might be a while.
l don't know if I'd start the drive quite as soon as you're planning, but definitely start calling and emailing (not at a bothersome frequency) to get your name in the forefront of their minds when the time comes to hire. Their busy season will start when the ice bridge across the Liard River shuts down, so if you don't have an offer by 2-4 weeks ahead of that, that's probably the time to get in your car and drive. Call ahead to make sure they haven't already filled all positions and that the boss is in town.
Good luck. If you get on, you stand to gain a lot of wonderful experience. There aren't many places out there where you can get single, multi, VFR, IFR, wheel, float, ski, tail dragger, gravel, off strip, mountain and sometimes arctic experience all at the same job.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#11 Post by flyinthebug » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:30 am

Just another canuck wrote:Decide on whether you want to get a job flying in the bush for your typical seasonal float company or work for a company like Transwest, Borek, Tindi, etc... I would vote for option A. Reason being, that's where the PIC time is and it's valuable PIC time. Not that all PIC time isn't valuable, I just like to put single engine, single pilot float time as a low timer above the rest. You are constantly making decisions and it's great start to career.

That being said, you do not need a MIFR for these positions. In fact, I would say that most operators will look at it as a flaw. A 200 hour pilot at their door with a float rating and a Group 1 only means one thing to them. That he wants to gain some experience and GTFO. Now, if it's option B you desire, then you need the Group 1. Just as a personal opinion, I wouldn't go that route. Borek for example, you'll sit in the office or as FA for a year minimum, then right seat for the next 6+ years. Transwest, at least, has some smaller machines to jump into.

Anyway, if you want to go in the bush and plan on spending more than 2 years there, which you should, then hold off on the Group 1. You'll only have to renew the damn thing anyway and due to the long gap between your last ride and this one, you'll end up spending a lot of dough.

My 2 cents.
In my opinion, this is the BEST advice you have received on this thread. I agree 100% with JAC. Believe it or not ;)

Good luck with your decision.

Fly safe
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#12 Post by Alberta_x51 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:48 am

You might as well regard the need for an IFR rating as being necessary 99% of the time
you are being considered for employment and even with low hours, you will be no different to
every other pilot who had those hours and experience at a stage in their lives.

Even with thousands of hours, if your IFR is not valid, and needs to be renewed, its nearly always worth
taking out a loan to renew it unless of course, you just fly 180 on floats and even then, most operators
will feel a little more comfortable if you have a rating, not that they intend to have you use it with them
when your most challenging flying will be scud running at legal boundary's.

Make sure you invest in a decent desk top computer with at least a stick and put in some decent
flight simulator software.

Then spend a few dozen hours practicing a wide variety of approaches to get a real handle on
what you need to do to get to a polished standard.

It's that kind of polish that will provide a measure of confidence in letting you loose
and placing their insurance policy at risk.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#13 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:32 pm

Are there any companies in Canada that have an IFR operating certificate using only float planes?

There used to be but that was a long time ago.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#14 Post by BBQ Chips » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:32 pm

As what many have already said, I would definetly go for the MIFR. Your biggest challenge coming up will be finding a job at all. Without your MIFR you will be greatly reducing the options that will be available to you. I am just taking a guess but I imagine less then 10% of the flying jobs in Canada are strictly VFR (once again just a guess).

I was in your same position when I started but I was debating on getting my 7 hour float rating. Many told me it was a waste of time and money but I went for it anyways. My very first job I ended up flying a 180 on floats which was spectacular. The MIFR came in handy when it was time to move on. The bush flying mixed with IFR literally opens up any option you strive for down the road. I ended up flying high performance aircraft into dirt mountain strips, water bombing, and the airlines, all due to giving myself the most options right from the beginning. I think it would be an excellent investment in your future.

Good Luck!
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#15 Post by awitzke » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:07 pm

Yeah most people told me the float was a waste of time. But honestly it's made me a better pilot for it. I don't think I'm going to add much more float time hearing what some are saying on here. 30 is enough to show that I at least have a grasp on most things. The money will be better spend towards the IFR. Just gotta get the INRAT out of the way and the flying is the easy part.

Where did you end up finding your first job if you don't mind me asking?
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#16 Post by awitzke » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:09 pm

Cat Driver wrote:Are there any companies in Canada that have an IFR operating certificate using only float planes?

There used to be but that was a long time ago.
Not that I was able to find. It would be interesting, basically allow them vis arrival and departure with controlled transit through A or B airspace but what floatplane is going to go that high anyways. I wonder... if a plane like a twin otter has amphibs and IFR gear would they basically be allowed to fly IFR approaches into airports? I would think so?
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#17 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:53 pm

We flew Twin Otters on straight floats with approval to fly ILS approaches to ILS minimums of 200 feet and half a mile in Victoria and Vancouver and we had center stored flight plans for efficiency.

We also used the PMA method for safety.


P.S. ::

Get the multi IFR because it makes you more employable.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#18 Post by awitzke » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:44 pm

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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#19 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:38 pm

No that is not what it stands for.

It means Pilot Monitored Approach.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#20 Post by Rowdy » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:07 pm

Cat Driver wrote:We flew Twin Otters on straight floats with approval to fly ILS approaches to ILS minimums of 200 feet and half a mile in Victoria and Vancouver and we had center stored flight plans for efficiency.
.
The ILS with a break for the river was still in the rcap when I was at KBA.. although it's been a few years :wink:
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#21 Post by awitzke » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:46 pm

......
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#22 Post by awitzke » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:47 pm

......
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#23 Post by Just another canuck » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:14 am

flyinthebug wrote:In my opinion, this is the BEST advice you have received on this thread. I agree 100% with JAC. Believe it or not

Good luck with your decision.

Fly safe
FTB
Thanks FTB. I guess I'm not completely lost. :wink: :)
Cat Driver wrote:Are there any companies in Canada that have an IFR operating certificate using only float planes?

There used to be but that was a long time ago.
Borek still has IFR procedures for floats, but there are no longer any ops that require the use of them.
awitzke wrote:As for Borek, I know a guy whos flying a King Air out of Inuvik for them. He said it's a great place BUT I don't want to work the dispatch for a year only to get stuck in the right seat on a king or twin otter for 5 years because I only have that 100 PIC from my license.
Your buddy in Inuvik will be lucky if he flies 300 hours a year. If you choose to go the ramp/dispatch type of route, at least pick a company that flies a lot. You won't sit in the right seat for 6 years in a Twin Otter at Borek because you don't have PIC time. You will sit there because they require 2500 hours and an ATPL to sit in the left. A lot of guys end up having to rent a plane to get their night time as well because they just don't fly at night.

Pick the companies that are right for you and pursue them. If you want to fly floats, then go start in a Cessna somewhere. Sitting in the right seat of a Twin Otter on floats is no help to you as a low timer.

Getting a Group 1 certainly makes you more employable as a whole, but like I said, if flying a Cessna on floats is what you desire then it's not really necessary at this point, unless you want to work for a company that does it all. Transwest for example. But if you want to fly for Joe Blow's fishing lodge, then get on the road and knock on some doors and follow up with phone calls every so often at the prospective operations.

As a sidenote, I've found the low timers in the past who have an IFR, then step into the Cessna and later on the Beaver, figure they can fly a little IFR when they run into bad weather. Not a great idea. Just an easy way to get yourself into trouble. And like I already mentioned, if you do get your Group 1 completed, I would maybe omit that from your resume when targeting the VFR only float ops.
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#24 Post by CLguy » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:24 am

There used to be a saying in the bush world, "you want to ruin a good bush pilot, just give him an instrument rating."
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Re: At a crossroads, need some advice

#25 Post by Bede » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:53 am

I don't think anyone cares whether you have 28 or 30 hours on floats. I'd save your money for Ramen noodles.

Best of luck!
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