Float rating for 2016 season

This forum has been developed to discuss Bush Flying & Specialty Air Service topics.

Moderators: ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, North Shore, Rudder Bug

Post Reply
Message
Author
oldirtypilot
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:41 pm

Float rating for 2016 season

#1 Post by oldirtypilot » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:16 am

Hey guys and girls, I am an 800 hour pilot looking to enter the bush flying world and I have a few questions regarding the float rating.
1: I understand Transport Canada requires 7 hours on floats minimum to fly float planes solo, but what is this whole 25 or 50 hour ratings i keep seeing? Are they basically just money pits designed to bring in more money?
2: How is the bush flying industry in Canada these days? Am i trying to enter at the wrong time? I know Quebec is having a rough time with caribou quotas decreasing.
3: Lastly, I haven't flown since 2011, how many hours do you think i should get on my own? I've had a few companies interested in having me with my hours but then decline when they see I haven't flown in 4 years.

Thank you!
---------- ADS -----------
  

North Shore
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5257
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:47 pm
Location: Straight outta Dundarave...

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#2 Post by North Shore » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:45 pm

1.) 7 hours is pretty skinny to cut someone loose with their 'own' plane. Most operators would prefer to see much more than that..thus the proliferation of 25 and 50 hour courses. Your TT would probably count for you in this regard.

2.) I think that bush/float flying is dwindling slowly. There will always be a need for float/offstrip work, but much less than in what I perceive to have been the heyday of the 80's. It is cyclical, though - the US dollar should help out the outfitters and fly-in fishing, but exploration (I believe) is way down..

3.) Get current and comfortable..I'm sure that if you were to get, say 25 hours on floats, you'd be looking at a seat next summer..

Good Luck!
---------- ADS -----------
  
Say, what's that mountain goat doing up here in the mist?

Ass, Licence, Job. In that order.

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#3 Post by TheNorthman » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:01 am

Hey,

I'm also going to be trying to get into the float plane world next year.

I've got about 950 hours TT with a mix of instructing and commercial ops type stuff. Just got the 7 hour float rating at the mo but looking at doing one of the 50 hour courses. My question is I'm now 36, do you think there would be any possible barriers to me getting into the float/bush world at that age? I'm no Schwarzenegger but I'm in reasonably good shape.

Thanks
---------- ADS -----------
  

North Shore
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5257
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:47 pm
Location: Straight outta Dundarave...

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#4 Post by North Shore » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:20 pm

Don't think so, TheNorth... I'd say that your age and experience will stand you in pretty good stead: you're past the age where young men do testosterone-driven stupid sh!t, and you've got s fair bit of flying under your belt - so you have an idea of your limitations there, too. Not sure that I'd pony up for 50 hours on floats - try 25 first, and see if you get any nibbles. I managed to get my first float gig with about the same TT, and only 25 (IIRC) on floats.
I'd hit the job trail now, though, so that you can work all winter, in preparation for flying next summer...

Good Luck!
---------- ADS -----------
  
Say, what's that mountain goat doing up here in the mist?

Ass, Licence, Job. In that order.

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#5 Post by TheNorthman » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:41 am

Hey North Shore,

Thanks for the reply and advice, it's much appreciated!

Luckily I've got a bit of a flying job at the moment that should see me through the winter, then I can hopefully start flying floats in the spring. Just got to figure out what to do during the winters then to keep the money coming in. To be honest though I think the seasonal thing will suit me perfectly.

Thanks again.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Jonnyboy
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:31 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#6 Post by Jonnyboy » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:23 am

Hey there, I'm currently flying C210 in Namibia I have 750TT now and am planning to leave here Jan or Feb with 950-1000TT. I don't know if I'll be able to get to 1000 exactly before making it back in time to do the float training and hit the road, I've been battling with the idea of staying longer to get to 1000 or not. I want to come back and get a float rating with some extra time. I'm really not keen to pay for 50 hours... I can't really. So I will come back and hit the road with what I have and what I can afford. I've read almost every thread on AVCANADA and elsewhere regarding the subject of getting the first job on floats. I gather it requires showing face and some luck. I have sent out my Resume to nearly every operator on Pilot Career Centre Canada and have received 4 semi positive responses. Don't get me wrong I'm not discouraged as I know they receive a ton of emails. Anyhow, any sort of advice or ideas would be very appreciated.

Jon.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Confliction
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#7 Post by Confliction » Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:03 pm

I had a 7 hr float rating and rented a floatplane at Air Hart for another 15 hours. It helped at my first real job up north - I was flying a 206 on wheels and the boss would not have put me on 185 floats with only 7 hrs but the 20-25 that I had was enough.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
Mr. North
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 734
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:27 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#8 Post by Mr. North » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:12 pm

I don't imagine you'll have too much trouble Jon. I wouldn't get too hung up on the 1000 hour mark at the risk of missing out on a float flying opportunity. You'll already have more than 500TT and that will set you apart from the rest of the pack trying to get their start. Get your float rating. Whatever additional hours you can afford the better, but I wouldn't go overboard. The biggest handicap for most starting on the float side is that they have zero time. Some operators have an "open pilot" clause with their insurer allowing them to check out whomever. But most aren't willing to pay the additional premiums for that clause so they hire guys with a little time. The requirements vary from place to place but having a few hundred hours of total time seems to counter balance the initial float time.

Come back to Canada in time for spring and have your float rating finished as soon as possible so you can start making the rounds.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Jonnyboy
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:31 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#9 Post by Jonnyboy » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:19 am

Ok that's really nice to hear, I think I will come back with enough time to do the rating and a few extra hours then hit the road I think Ocean Air sounds pretty great from what I hear that way I can move East and I can do it there in Jan/Feb. Sometimes you just need to hear someone who knows what's going on to give you that push. Can't wait to come home! It's been 2 years over here. Thank you for the advice.

Jon.
---------- ADS -----------
  

BC04
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:30 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#10 Post by BC04 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:12 pm

From my experience (not extensive at 4 years working on floats) a 25 or 50 hour float course seems to be a bit of a money grab. Now I know everyone has a different opinion on this, but of all the operators I have spoken to over the years they have all agreed that they will need to train you on their procedures regardless of the amount of time you have before they set you loose. That being said, you are certainly going to feel more comfortable with 25 hrs opposed to 7, so if you can afford it go right ahead. I myself, as well as most of my peers got hired on with under 20 hrs on floats and under 250 TT. Work hard, be honest and definitely network, it seems that in the Canadian float scene you can always find mutual connections.

Good Luck and Happy Flying!!
---------- ADS -----------
  

trey kule
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:09 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#11 Post by trey kule » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:29 pm

If you come to an employer with 7 hours, they are going to, as required, add some more time doing company training. And then a good employer will put you on simple, light load, good weather flights for a bit, then finally cut you loose.

The 25 and 50 hour float courses are , in my opinion add absolutely zero to your hire ability except maybe to those companies that don't want to bother doing any in house training. I have hired dozens of float pilots in my younger days...if you have 500 hours TT under your belt and a basic float rating you will do just fine.
Haven't flown for a few years. Go get a checkout on the CPL exercises until you can fly again to commercial standards. It is not so many hours. It is getting yourself back to the standard and current. My guess is less than 10 hours including a couple hours of solo just to practice circuits.


In less than a couple of weeks on the job you will have your 50 hours on the type you will be flying, in the area you will be flying, and with the mentoring and supervision of those that are familiar with such things.

Experience is important, but you will get it on the job...Love float flying. Loved the bush during the hey day when it was not dock to dock or camp to camp...But those days are pretty much gone, and my enthusiasm for loading drums of fuel diminished.

Good luck..enjoy.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Everyone is a genius in hindsight

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#12 Post by TheNorthman » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:14 am

Hey all,

Hoping someone can help me out with this, further to my earlier message about 25 or 50 hour float courses.

One of the main benefits of doing these courses, from what I can tell, is that it might make it easier for you to get employed because of the insurance requirements some companies have for their Pilots to have '50 hours on type'.

If though you were to do your training on say a C172 on floats then would this be of any benefit to you? As the smallest aircraft I think float operators use is the C180, so you still wouldn't have '50 hours on type'.

Or do all small piston seaplanes fall under the same type?

Thanks
---------- ADS -----------
  

North Shore
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5257
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:47 pm
Location: Straight outta Dundarave...

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#13 Post by North Shore » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:23 pm

NorthMan,

I cant really speak to the insurance side of things, but I have done 10 or so float ratings over the past few years.. A 172 is a great starter floatplane. Its docile, light on the controls, and (at least the one I flew) rewarded good technique on the water, while not biting at poor. Its performance was roughly the same as a standard 172 on wheels, so it was largely a matter of transitioning onto floats. Speakinig from personal experience, both from instructing, and my own float rating, the step up into a 180/185 is a big jump from a 172 when you are starting out - gobs more power, the controls are heavier, constant speed, and so on.. If you already have that experience with 'bigger' aeroplanes, through prior experience, then the jump isn't nearly as hard. I'd like to think that operators, and insurance, would notice the difference between a guy with 200TT and a 180 on floats, and a guy with 5/6/700 and a 172 on floats..

Good Luck, and have fun!
---------- ADS -----------
  
Say, what's that mountain goat doing up here in the mist?

Ass, Licence, Job. In that order.

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#14 Post by TheNorthman » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:44 pm

Thanks for that North Shore, I did my float rating on a 172 and it was a great aircraft to learn the float skills in - took up a good chunk of the lake to get airborne though (and it was a big lake!) :wink:

Good to hear you think they'll take some of my Total Time into account too, I got about 1050 TT and a fair bit of multi turbine time so hopefully that'll help a bit trying to get a job.

Thanks again.
---------- ADS -----------
  

trey kule
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:09 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#15 Post by trey kule » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:27 am

Here are some good stats for you.

There are 7255 float planes registered in thecworld.
3628 in the US.
2322 in Canada... 32% of the workd fleet.
Yes, it is down from years ago, and the annual hours per plane in the bush is down as well..
But that is still a whole bunch of pilot jobs in Canada.

Float piloting takes real piloting skills.
And unlike the deteriorating airline wages, float pilots are getting rarer and rarer..wages are going up.
Coastal float flying is year round work,

If you love flying, it has great career possabilities.

And, from a personal point of view, the 7 hour minimum is fine. Any company hiring you is going to do more training, and keep you on a short leash until you get some experience. And 50 hours come quicly when you start work. These 50 hour courses are a crutch for operators and a hope for those trying to get a leg up. Again just my opinion.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Everyone is a genius in hindsight

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#16 Post by TheNorthman » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:03 pm

Hey Trey,

Thanks for the info, it's good to know there's still so many float planes in Canada! Like you say the numbers show there's a good chance of getting a job in the industry.

What you said there with the wages makes good sense too, and is pretty much exactly what I've been thinking. I expect to make fairly low wages for the first couple of seasons and then hopefully start to make something decent after that.

The thing is, airline work isn't for everyone. I've done it for a couple of years and I really miss the hands on, no auto-pilot, relatively low level, kind of flying I did before getting into working for an airline.

The reason I've been thinking about doing the 25 or 50 hour course (apart from the obvious benefit of improving my skills - it's really the docking skill I need to work on, I've got the image of me pulling up to the dock, jumping out, missing, and then watching the plane, with all the passengers in, floating off into the lake :wink: ) is because I'm 36 now and I don't really have time to be spending a few seasons just working on the dock, so I was hoping it would give me a leg up straight into a flying job.

Maybe I'll chance just doing a few more hours and then send off the resumes.
---------- ADS -----------
  

digits_
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1274
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#17 Post by digits_ » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:39 pm

TheNorthman wrote:The reason I've been thinking about doing the 25 or 50 hour course (apart from the obvious benefit of improving my skills - it's really the docking skill I need to work on, I've got the image of me pulling up to the dock, jumping out, missing, and then watching the plane, with all the passengers in, floating off into the lake :wink: ) is because I'm 36 now and I don't really have time to be spending a few seasons just working on the dock, so I was hoping it would give me a leg up straight into a flying job.
Then go practice the docking a few hours. You don't need 50 hours for that. The feeling will go away. Consider it a horizontal landing with flare and possible go-around.
---------- ADS -----------
  

TheNorthman
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#18 Post by TheNorthman » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:16 am

You don't need 50 hours for that.
I seriously hope not! :wink:

Yeah although I'm sure I'd learn some useful experience doing some more hours, a big reason for doing the course is to try and get a flying job.

It's just trying to work out whether the cost of doing all the extra hours to try and increase the chance of getting a job is worth it or not.
---------- ADS -----------
  

cessnafloatflyer
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 9:02 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#19 Post by cessnafloatflyer » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:11 pm

Ok, so I've been teaching float flying for 14 years now -- on the West Coast.

The course at least that I teach is to learn how to fly a floatplane. The rating does not teach that. The rating teaches soft field landings in 8-10 kts or less in the most perfect of conditions. That is the only way you can get 5 solos done in my plane. You will see a few dockings, we will maybe sail for a bit if there is a reason to do so. I will sell you a book that explains may techniques if you choose to buy it. When you fly more than that we actually have a chance to do the things that you wil want to do, if you want to learn to actually fly the plane. Full flaps, short fields, density altitude, heavy loads, rivers, loads of dockings in different places, countless emergencies, tail winds, cross winds, low vis, high winds, mountains, high altitude lakes and on and on and on. How to do this all safely and competently.

If a pilot wants to learn what the plane can do and how to safely get it done. Then they learn from a professional and more than just the absolute minimum, If you do 7 and get a job with some on the job training, that is fine. However if one wants to really learn, they go in depth with an experienced pilot who can really teach the stuff in an appropriate plane. If they do this, it's not a money grab, it's learning from a professional rather than figuring it out on your own. Company training is a minimum of 3 hours.
---------- ADS -----------
  

LousyFisherman
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 577
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 8:32 am
Location: CFX2
Contact:

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#20 Post by LousyFisherman » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:49 am

+1 to the above.

With 7 hours I could land. No way would I take a passenger. In addition, the two things I found critical that are not covered to an adequate extent as part of the rating are choosing your landing site and docking/beaching.

After 20 more hours with 3 other instructors at 2 different schools, I had assessed numerous real world landing sites in windy conditions, with an aerodrome nearby and with power lines complicating the approach. Are the waves too big? Where is the best place to land? Going into a strange float base, or a remote lake is much more complex than an aerodrome.

As well, docking and beaching is not really covered that well during the rating. I had the real world demonstrate why you never dock downwind no matter how scared you are of hitting the big plane on the upwind side :oops:, in front of the dockhand no less :oops: :oops: Beaching in a blustery wind with 6-8 inch waves is nerve-wracking :shock:

My bush navigation was already pretty good but if you are not familiar with shield or tundra country there is another large learning curve.

At 25 hours I was willing to take passengers and I was quite comfortable flying to remote places in a wide variety of weather. At 7 hours I could land the plane safely in calm conditions.

YMMV
LF


.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Women and planes have alot in common
Both are expensive, loud, and noisy.
However, when handled properly both respond well and provide great pleasure

digits_
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1274
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#21 Post by digits_ » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:29 am

TheNorthman wrote:It's just trying to work out whether the cost of doing all the extra hours to try and increase the chance of getting a job is worth it or not.
I wouldn't think that just doing 50 hours to increase your chance for a job would really work. However, if you spend 10 hours on increasing your skill level, that will work. If a company gives you a chance, and your landings suck, you can't fly a stable approach, you are going full speed into the dock etc, then it will really hurt your chances of getting hired there.

So spend your money on improving the most basic skills in the type of flying (in your case float flying) you want to get hired in. Doesn't matter how many hours, as long as you get somewhat consistent and decent in it.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
xsbank
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 5654
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:00 pm
Location: "The Coast"

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#22 Post by xsbank » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:01 pm

Excuse me, "never dock downwind"? You mean when the dock is parallel with the wind or 90 degrees to the wind? You should clarify, the 90 degree docking downwind makes you look really good as long as you remember to pull up your rudders.

Float flying is a hoot. Beware the (we used to call it the thousand hour disease) over-confidence that comes with experience. That is when you over-estimate your ability and if you're lucky you only bend tin. Float flying is like skiing, motorcycling flying and sailing all combined and some get quite good at it. 8^) Just remember the feelings and the challenges that you face when you start out, then remember those feelings when you are thinking you are sh#t hot.

The single most important skill and one of the hardest when starting out is learning to read the water: the wind, swells and gusts (particularly).

One last thing (before I hunt down some butter tarts) that is frequently overlooked, is learn the rules of the road. You are suddenly turned into a boat as soon as you touch the water and so you have to follow all of those rules too. You will quickly learn that many boat operators hardly have a clue (you have to wonder how some people dress and feed themselves) so take a Power Squadron course or just read the books. Sooner or later you will be operating into Nanaimo or Kenora and you won't get any respect.
---------- ADS -----------
  
"What's it doing now?"
"Fly low and slow and throttle back in the turns."

LousyFisherman
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 577
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 8:32 am
Location: CFX2
Contact:

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#23 Post by LousyFisherman » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:50 am

xsbank wrote:Excuse me, "never dock downwind"? You mean when the dock is parallel with the wind or 90 degrees to the wind?

Parallel :oops:
xsbank wrote: The single most important skill and one of the hardest when starting out is learning to read the water: the wind, swells and gusts (particularly).
Agreed

LF
---------- ADS -----------
  
Women and planes have alot in common
Both are expensive, loud, and noisy.
However, when handled properly both respond well and provide great pleasure

Hot Wings
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Float rating for 2016 season

#24 Post by Hot Wings » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:38 pm

I've already posted on the flight training forum, but maybe it's appropriate on this thread, too. I've been looking to do float training myself, and the best deal I've found so far was Pacific Seaplanes. They're doing the rating for $1699.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Post Reply

Return to “Bush Flying & Specialty Air Service”