I've been lurking through these forums for awhile now, just soaking up some information. I'm 29, with just over tens years in the Canadian Army as a Signals operator (aka Rad op). I'm currently at a crossroad in my career where I can easily go on and retire in 9 years, with plenty more tours in the Stan (i'm on number 3 right now), or get out and find something more stimulating.
Why choose helicopters? Well, my introduction into the world of flying (fixed wing)happened when I was 7. Step-dad had a cherokee 140 and got me hooked right off the bat. At 16 I was flying gliders, 17 got my PPL, both through cadets. at 18 I started working on my CPL, but quit. Why? who knows, maturity, intimidated by costs, having so many fules to follow... There were alot of factors. I eventually joined the army, just for 3 years, to get my priorities straight. Here I am ten years later, still working on it. Anyways, helicopters, they just have more appreal to me now.
So that being said, I've started researching various training establishements in and around Edmonton. I've come to realize that my best bet would probably be to do a full time program somewhere outside Edmonton or even Alberta. Funding is not an issue but I do have some other questions. In no particular order...
As I understand it, the chances of getting a flying job right after training are slim and that a year or 2 of ground crew work is in order. What exactly does that entail? how does that lead to getting more hours in the cockpit?
Camp Work... In a perfect world, I would like stay in Edmonton, my wife has a good job and her family is there. I have no issues with being away from home for weeks or months at a time (as long as its not Afghanistan) and she has grown accustomed to that lifestyle. So, with regards to Camp work, what kind of schedules are the norm? Weeks out/week in, months out/week in, or whole season (months?)... Is it even possible to have this kind of employment living out of Edmonton or Calgary?
Just before I left for Afghanistan, I went to an operator in the Edmonton area with some questions and asked about discovery flights. Got some good info, but I was told discovery rates = charter rates and that it was minimum one hour and was quoted over 900$. Am I wrong in thinking that this quote is somewhat ridicoulous? I realise that helicopters are expensive, but 900$ doesn't seem like the best way to pitch this world to someone that, if interested, might be forking over 55-60K for training.
Finally, I'm interested in getting feed back on any of the training operations going on in the Edmonton area (EZ-Air, Millenia). Can't seem to find much on these forums.
CANFORGEN 069/08 CAS 014 081205Z APR 08
LASER (EYE) REFRACTIVE SURGERY IN CF AIRCREW
For others that might be interested.
My two cents.
Something else that might open a door for me is the fact that i'll be getting my Sgts soon after this tour. I'm pretty sure I can CFR (commission from the ranks) as a Sgt. Anyways, I won't really know anything for sure until I speak to a BPSO.
As for the flying aspect, I'm already a PPL and if the military flying route doesn't pan out for whatever reason then at least I'll get an extra few hours in my logbook and some interesting stories before I go back to my old trade or the officer equivilent. I would be hesitant to leave the Forces entirely but I don't see any risk with trying for a Pilot position while I'm currently enrolled.
I've spent several months (years maybe?) reading whatever I can find on aviation,and lurking and chatting on all sorts of related forums, knowing that I want to pursue it. Some time ago now, I made the decision that specifically I want to fly helicopters.
I boarded with some friendly folks in Cold Lake for a while this past Autumn - he was retired from the Air Force, and while not a pilot, he did a lot to turn me on to the forces as a whole. Since then, I've been wondering about taking/looking into that route.
Anyway, to the point.
How does Joe Somebody learn to fly helicopters with the Canadian Air Force? What would restrict someone from being able to do so?
Am I better off pursuing a civilian flight school, if I prioritize the flying over the military (at least now, at this 21 year old outside-looking-in perspective)?
How about learning to fly in a foreign country? Can I take my certification from Zimbabwe/India/Russia etc. and get tested to prove my abilities and be licensed in Canada? Would learning to fly overseas, or in the states, be cost effective or recommended?
heh. I know I'm looking for a lot of info, but I appreciate any input.