Training Part-Time

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kyleproject
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Training Part-Time

#1 Post by kyleproject » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:15 pm

Hi everyone,

I've been contemplating making a career change from software development to flying helicopters. I'm not 100% commited as IT offers steady and well-paying work and so I'd like to keep earning a paycheque while I work towards my PPL or CPL. Has anyone out there found a school that offers training on a part-time basis? Most schools make it sound like you need to attend full-time.

Also, does anyone have any feedback on Coast Helicopter College in Victoria (it's VIH's training unit)?

Finally do employers looking for pilots consider post-secondary education much? I've looked at several job postings put out by heli-logging outfits around here and they don't seem to require much other than hours, hours and some more hours. Will they hire a grade 12 grad with 1000 hours over a well educated pilot with fewer hours (like 750)?
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#2 Post by sky's the limit » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:37 am

Hey Kyle,

I think you'll find the main reason most schools assume full-time study, is that the learning curve is very steep, and if you only fly once or twice a week, you'll take forever to come up to the standard required to pass a flight test. The more intensive you can make the training, the faster and more smoothly you'll get through. Unless you have some significant resources, I would highly recommend going at it as hard as you can. That said, you could complete groundschool, and write your Commercial License first, that way you'd be able to focus on the flying only once you start. Just a thought.

As for the school in Victoria, I've heard good things, but as I've said on here a number of times before, I wouldn't train on the R22. Personal choice yes, but the Bell 47 or S300 would be far and away my picks. As I say, that's a choice that is personal, and will be affected by your location etc, etc.

As for "more educated" pilots getting jobs with less hours.... forget it. FLying helicopters in the bush has absolutely nothing to do with Scholastic achievement. It is a proffession where solid decision making skills, a cool head, an ability to learn quickly, common sense, and problem solving skills are of the utmost importance. That is coming from someone with many years flying in the bush, University and College education.... Check ANY idea of higher education being important at the door if you do decide to do this. You will piss off a lot of people who are extremely good at what they do who might not have more than highschool. The scholastic system allows success for certain types of people, and most helicopter pilots aren't them.

Hours are way for employers to get a rough idea of what you've been up, how you can handle an aircraft etc, etc. Unlike fixed wing, it is not relied upon as heavily though. There are a great number of higher time rotary pilots who've never been out of the flatlands, or don't long line... there are other guys who at 500hrs can fly circles around most others. Employers, if interested will take you for a flight, see what you can DO, then decide if you're what they're looking for. If they need a logging support pilot, and you have 1500hrs, and have never seen a 200ft long line, the coast, or the mountains, you're probably SOL, even with that degree in your back pocket.

Graining experience is the single most important thing in this industry. Bad wx flying, mountian flying, precision long lining, production long lining, Arctic flying, Coastal flying etc, etc. It takes time and often sacrafices to get this experience, but once you have it, employment opportunities are endless. That may mean turning down a good paying flatland job for a seasonal one in BC, or leaving a nice Southern town, and moving to the Arctic for a couple years. Completing a Commercial License in helicopters is where the learning starts, you barely know enough to be let loose in the working world at 100hrs. It will take years to learn some things, and weeks or days to learn others, you just have to keep at it.

It all depends on your goals. If Heli-logging is your interest, I suggest getting as much of that expierence as fast as you can, it's up there at the sharp end of the stick as far as skills go, and it's a pressure packed environment that falls into the Production Long Lining category, in very tough terrain/weather most of the time.

Hope that helps. A bit long winded, but I'm fogged in at the moment...

STL
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#3 Post by kyleproject » Sat Sep 09, 2006 6:39 pm

Thanks for your response STL. Your insight and advice on this and other threads has been very informative and valuable to me - it's much appreciated.

I spoke to Bob Reimer, the owner of Coast Helicopter College this morning for a good 30 minutes. He advised against training part-time for the same reasons you mentioned however he said they may be able to accommodate such a request. I guess for 50k, they can work around my schedule :)

Like you, he agreed my post-secondary education is useless and means sweet f-all.

Also what I found interesting was that he said the PPL is pretty much useless on it's own unless you have your own ride. I was toying with the idea of getting my PPL because it's cheaper and it would be easier to do part-time since it requires fewer hours plus it would give me an idea of whether I have the capacity to fly. Apparently there aren't any companies out there that will rent helicopters to PPL holders.

It's looking more and more like you need dive head first into this industry and give it everything you've got. It's tough giving up a well paying job doing work that I enjoy for something I'm not quite sure of but that really appeals to me based on my past experience (air cadets, discovery flights and being insanely jealous everytime I see a helicopter fly overhead). I'll have plenty of time to ponder the situation because I don't have anywhere near 50k saved up, lol!
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#4 Post by tellyourkidstogetarealjob » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:36 pm

kyleproject wrote:It's tough giving up a well paying job doing work that I enjoy for something I'm not quite sure of...
Excuse me? Give me your address so I can come over and slap you!

In all seriousness, think hard before doing this. It's very easy to make your hobby your job and then, before you know it, you hate your hobby. I've seen it happen to a lot of people.

You obviously don't hate your existing job so why don't you just take a license and buy yourself a little R22? Make other sacrifices in your life to afford it : drive a beater, stay in a smaller house, give up sex, eat porridge, etc.
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#5 Post by sky's the limit » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:43 pm

tellyourkidstogetarealjob wrote: In all seriousness, think hard before doing this. It's very easy to make your hobby your job and then, before you know it, you hate your hobby. I've seen it happen to a lot of people.
Truer words have never been spoken.

This is work, and you have some days when it's the best job in the world, but there are others that suck really hard. You have to be very commited to what you're doing, no question. Any romantic notions should go out the door with the Degree...! :wink:

STL
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