From what I understand, many bush/float operators do the majority of their flying within a fairly specific season during the summer. What is the viability of completing university classes on the side during the winter? Does anyone have any sort of experience in this regard?
Most bush tourism /fishing operators will support you knowing that you will be back for 4 years. Something that is getting harder to find good people willing to do that it ,as takes time to build rapore with their seasonal fishing guests. . Be up front about school start dates etc . expect to be dockhand season one ,ck out season for 2 n fly 180- 185 then maybe beaver season 3 otter season 4. Should have enough saved cash to pay for tuition in books, beer is your problem,lol. With a degree n 1200 1700 hrs pic after 4 yrs you probably will feel like family to the operator. the world may beat a path to your door NO GUARANTEE of course but you are a leg up on the rest. I wish you GOOD LUCK with you choices.hope that helps.
I'm glad to hear that the joint piloting-university route is not just within the realm of possibility, but actually is a fairly good option.
To supplement my original question, I'm curious as to whether I will be able to get a job outside the hiring months for the summer float season.
As a result of school, I won't be able to do a road trip until late June/early July. I plan on trying to find a job on the dock in northern Ontario or Manitoba. Will most of the hiring be complete by this time, or is there a reasonable chance of me being able to find a job somewhere working on a dock?
Thank you for your time
It can be done.
"Fly low and slow and throttle back in the turns."
As for the road trip -- start applying to places NOW. Fire off those email's and pick up the phone. Don't wait until June/July to look for a job as that is getting late in the season. You will likely get picked up by someone if you are diligent enough.
I realize this may be a difficult path to follow as I'd have to look for a fairly specific job. That being said, I'm willing to work hard to make this work, and if it doesn't end up working out, at least I've tried.
I'll start sending out resumes ASAP.
If anyone has any suggestions as to places to work where they're more lenient in terms of duration of season so to fit outside the university semesters, I'd certainly appreciate it.
Is the concept feasable, very much so. Been there, done that, got that t-shirt. Flying in the summer, school in the winter, got lotsa fond memories of those days.
As an aside, for somebody wanting to stick with the cockpit for a lifetime, it may not be a wise decision. In my case, after some years, when my priorities changed, and feeding a family became a higher priority than flying an airplane, that education gave me lots of options, one of which I took. Tripling my income overnight, by simply changing jobs, was a welcome change in that home at the time. I've never looked back.
Thanks for the side note as well. The fact I may be persuaded to pursue a higher paying job later in my life due to my degree is something I haven't thought about, but something I'll certainly have to take into consideration.
I had to drop university in favor of getting the finances and work done for CPL. I also hope to find something like that you are doing in 2015 to help finish my degree (Takes around 3 years for me).
I sincerely wish you all the best!!!
For financial planning purposes, roughly, what'd be the salary someone could expect to earn per May 1st - Sep 1st season, with the first one on the dock, then hopefully flying floats the next four seasons thereafter?
The money will never be enough. (Is it ever?) If you go flying for the university summers it will be for fun, responsibility and outrageous adventures.
I did it for 5 years 1969 on starting in Kenora rolling barrels, then Ball Lake doing the minnow run, then Kenora and Red Lake and finally to Gods Lake Narrows with Beaver. OCA and Taylor Airways. I started at $300/month and ended up at $1200/month. Not nearly enough to pay for schooling but great times. Wages have changed but so has tuition.
There can be a slight division between you, a part-time uni guy and the full-time career boys but common sense will pull you through. You will need lots of that in any case flogging around NW Ontario/Manitoba.
Do it anyway. You will love it.
I echo the sentiments of everyone here. This is a very doable situation.
In '97 as I was finishing my 2nd year of university, I was able to score my first job as a dockhand. And later on, because of a professor's fascination with all things flying, I was able to do a course that was taylor made just for me to finish off my degree a bit early.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
As well, the study habits that were acquired when studying for my degree have paid off in my career time and time again. Every little edge that you can give yourself is important.
A senior float pilot could command enough money to afford this but even then it would be tight!
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To answer Mr. North's question, I have been fortunate enough to have had a very well paying part-time and summer job for the past four years, allowing me to save up a decent amount of money. Along with possible scholarships and some money saved by my parents, I don't anticipate going too far into dept going this route; however, it is helpful to know the expected salaries for a seasonal float pilot for financial planning.
Thanks again everyone for the help!