What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

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Mr. North
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What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#1 Post by Mr. North » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:10 am

With the new job ad up looking for CL-415 copilots, I was wondering what the working conditions are like there now? Its been several years since I heard anything substantial. Do they still do the 10 on, 4 off routine? How long until the left seat? Is there a "retirement wave" on the horizon or are the pilot ages evenly spread? Do you still have to live at one of the main fire bases?

Would appreciate any additional info. Im currently sitting in my hotel room on another boring layover and pondering what a fun job this must be. Please tell me the grass isn't always greener!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#2 Post by single_swine_herder » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:18 pm

While not specific to conditions at OPAS, if you're bored on a layover, you aren't going to do well sitting at a tanker base for days and days on end with zero flying staring at all too familiar faces.

Everything and anything other members of the group do at any time has the potential to be emotionally explosive. Somebody has bad breath because he (or she) eats lots of garlic will have you ready to choke the guy.

Failing to put the dishes into the dishwasher is reason enough to organize a blanket party behind the hangar.

Putting the knives in the dishwasher with the blades sticking up rather than handles up so you aren't stabbed when you unload the dishwasher will have you wondering if your co-workers have only just come down from the trees 2 generations ago and are at best marginally civilized.

The operational flying will have you miffed if your crew mate isn't of the right level of technical knowledge .... too smart, and he pisses you off because you're embarrassed to feel stupid .... too dumb and he pisses you off because you have to do all the thinking and heaven forbid .... conduct OJT.

If one guy hears (or speculates) what suppression pilots are paid in Upper Volta or Lower Slobovia, the conversation turns to how the entire tanker group should go on strike because the group is being screwed over by managers for whom only reason they wake up in the morning is to figure a new and dastardly way to make line pilots unhappy.

Then there is the guy who sleeps during alerts and every single day is sprawled across one of only two couches at the base. He snores loudly and blows farts about 3 minutes that make your eyes water. He looks like a beached Beluga in the process of putrefying.

About 15+ years ago, one of the provincial air services Chief Pilots spent a pile of money buying freezers full of ice cream, popsicles, etc. He wasn't supposed to spend many thousands of company dollars on these treats. When the expense claims were audited and he was told to not do it again, the line pilots took it to be "management is taking stuff away from us." If you want to stir up a wasp nest, that topic will still get older tanker pilots wrapped around the axle as if it happened yesterday.

Then there is the fight for the TV remote. One guy wants to watch Fox News Channel, the other wants to watch MSNBC and each thinks the other is a reactionary jerk.

As so it goes ...... the balance is almost always impossible to find.

You're either as exhausted and whipped as a rented Mule from flying against fires, or twisted out of shape over perceived working condition shortfalls, stupid crew members, too smart crew members, loaders that are idiots, lousy airplanes that should never have been bought in the first place without talking to you first, AMEs who supposedly know nothing, provincial fire officers and air attack officers who are clueless compared to tanker pilots, or whatever the latest manufactured red-eyed outrage and mock shock that seems to consume the group recently.

Now all that said, it is the closest thing to operational military flying you're going to find and it is truly exceptionally gratifying to be part of a team (air and ground) that has just saved a small town or a 100 home subdivision from going up in flames. Not many people get that chance.

Every now and then some homeowner will visit the base and say thanks for saving their house, or a nice letter shows up complimenting crews on the great job.

Also, if you're the type that looks at the best aspect of any job is not being there, you'll get about 7 months off, so its perfect for the people that show up on day one and announce .... "Well guys, only 133 more days to go and we're outta this F'ng place," suppression flying may be for you.

Cheers folks .....

SSH
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#3 Post by Meatservo » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:08 pm

I feel like this must be a very silly question, and if so I apologize: the weekly salary posted- is that for the time of year you're on duty, or is it for the whole year?
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#4 Post by digits_ » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:32 pm

single_swine_herder wrote:Putting the knives in the dishwasher with the blades sticking up rather than handles up so you aren't stabbed when you unload the dishwasher will have you wondering if your co-workers have only just come down from the trees 2 generations ago and are at best marginally civilized.
Aren't you supposed to do it like that? How else is the water flow going to clean the dirtiest part of the knife efficiently? :?
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#5 Post by North Shore » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:36 pm

Meatservo wrote:I feel like this must be a very silly question, and if so I apologize: the weekly salary posted- is that for the time of year you're on duty, or is it for the whole year?
That'll be for the whole year, meaty. It works out to about $72k for the year, at the top of the scale cited in the ad..

Single-swine-herder hits it outta the park! (some of the points mentioned come really close to my end-of-season debrief...I wonder if we've met?)

Digits - that might work with butter knives, but when it's sharp-pointed steak knives, sharp end down, please!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#6 Post by Meatservo » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:14 pm

.
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Last edited by Meatservo on Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#7 Post by CLguy » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:43 pm

Meatservo that is for the year plus overtime. You will work 10 on 4 off for the fire season but paid year round. You can live wherever you want as long as you are at base and ready to work for your 10 days on. Days off are yours and you will be brought back to your home base for days off if you have been working out of another base.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#8 Post by Meatservo » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks for clearing that up, CLguy and North Shore. I have always been curious about this job.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#9 Post by Mr. North » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:59 pm

I appreciate the colourful commentary! Sounds like a great gig!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#10 Post by CLguy » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:08 pm

What Single Swine forgot to mention was that the softest couch and control of the remote is not based on seniority but on a first come basis.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#11 Post by Tanker299 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:38 pm

How long for the left seat? And how much can you make in the left seat?
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#12 Post by single_swine_herder » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:44 pm

CLguy wrote:What Single Swine forgot to mention was that the softest couch and control of the remote is not based on seniority but on a first come basis.
CL Guy ....

I'm gobsmacked by that info, leaving me slack-jawed and with a thousand yard fixed-gaze stare ....... why would anyone that has been around for a while not impose and enforce the seniority clause in a union-friendly province like Ontario?

I have no doubt the union rep would be ready call a wildcat walk-out over something as serious as not being able to grab the best couch after a kick in the ribs for the junior guy while he is asleep to roust him from the best sleeping spot reserved for the equivalent of Pack Leader ..... like the power structure in a wolf pack.

Also like a Wolf social structure, the most senior pilots should also hold council and cast secret votes to determine which ones of the lower seniority positions will be allowed to breed for the purposes of perpetuating the self-selecting group genetics.

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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#13 Post by CLguy » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:32 am

Time to the left seat varies depending on movement and which base you want, Dryden or Sudbury. Dryden the wait is not as long cause it's a bigger base. Some guys a few seasons and others a lot longer. Captains range anywhere between mid $90k to $115k depending on the season and amount of overtime.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#14 Post by Tanker299 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:37 pm

Thanks CL. That is some city pay. 23k after tax more then the top end FO for top end PIC. Stellar rates for the right seat but geez I thought the left would top out higher. Stack that with no flight benis and some years you fly 35h... Sittin on ass at the airport from noon till dusk blows. Then you have a Timmins 9 type year and that's darn right low for putting your life on the line.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#15 Post by CLguy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:08 am

Actually we are pretty glad there is no flight bonus so we can just go get the job done and don't have to fly around in circles milking it just to get paid. Not sure who you work for but making a $100k plus for a 135 days of duty which about half of that is actually sitting at an airport is a lot better than a lot of job ads I see posted on here. But hey if you have a better deal, good on you!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#16 Post by Forestdump » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:32 am

Well, that didn't take long for someone to mention flight pay. Its like I've heard this before. Har har.
SSS awesome post!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#17 Post by CLguy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:20 am

Yep the most archaic form of salary payment there is. I also forgot that this is Canadian Aviation where copilots are supposed to be paid only a pittance of the mighty Captains salary so they can try and survive on KD while waiting for their upgrade to happen. Why pay them a livable wage and retain them!
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#18 Post by Meatservo » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:14 pm

CLguy wrote:Actually we are pretty glad there is no flight bonus so we can just go get the job done and don't have to fly around in circles milking it just to get paid. Not sure who you work for but making a $100k plus for a 135 days of duty which about half of that is actually sitting at an airport is a lot better than a lot of job ads I see posted on here. But hey if you have a better deal, good on you!
Yeah.. a small amount of really exciting flying on a wicked machine, the opportunity to feel good about what you do, most of the year to pursue hobbies, live anywhere you like, a pension, the admiration of other pilots...

To me, the pay sounds more than fair. Some people just can't be satisfied. This is my dream job.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#19 Post by Broken Slinky » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:43 am

digits_ wrote:Aren't you supposed to do it like that? How else is the water flow going to clean the dirtiest part of the knife efficiently? :?
Thank you digits_, I have been trying to convey that logic for years to my wife and daughters. Was starting to think I was the only one on earth going handle end down.
I also place the knives, forks and spoons in separate dishwasher holders so they can be put back in the drawer more efficiently. Can I get an amen?
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#20 Post by North Shore » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:28 pm

Broken Slinky wrote: I also place the knives, forks and spoons in separate dishwasher holders so they can be put back in the drawer more efficiently. Can I get an amen?
:shock: Holy crap, that's organised! Don't think that's going to happen on the tankerbases that I frequent, though - half of the guys insist on using steel implements on non-stick pans :smt014 , and the other half have trouble cutting pie in a conventional manner :lol:
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#21 Post by vstrom » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:54 pm

North Shore wrote:... half of the guys insist on using steel implements on non-stick pans :smt014 , and the other half have trouble cutting pie in a conventional manner :lol:
We just do that to bug the high-strung guys.

Nuthin' funnier than a pie dance eh C3PO?
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#22 Post by digits_ » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:51 pm

North Shore wrote:
Broken Slinky wrote: I also place the knives, forks and spoons in separate dishwasher holders so they can be put back in the drawer more efficiently. Can I get an amen?
:shock: Holy crap, that's organised! Don't think that's going to happen on the tankerbases that I frequent, though - half of the guys insist on using steel implements on non-stick pans :smt014 , and the other half have trouble cutting pie in a conventional manner :lol:
You should actually mix them up for optimal water flow. Especially spoons and forks will stick to each other this way....
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#23 Post by Hockaloogie » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:00 pm

North Shore wrote:the other half have trouble cutting pie in a conventional manner
Tis true, many have problems cutting the pie, but most are very good at cutting the cheese.
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#24 Post by North Shore » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:53 am

This is pretty funny, when you think about it....what sort of common personality traits do we have as pilots that we can have a semi-serious discussion about how to load a dishwasher properly! :smt040
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Re: What's it like working for the OMNR these days?

#25 Post by dhc# » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:05 am

So what are the differences working for a private outfit like Conair vs. the gov't ones ?
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