Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

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oneill10999
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Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#1 Post by oneill10999 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:36 pm

Im just about to get into my flight training. My whole life i have been focussed on fixed wing aircraft, and now feel as if i may have not given helicopters enough thought.

So i have 2 questions for all of yah. if you dont mind?

1.) why would one choose a career in flying choppers over fixed wing? or vice versa, why would one choose a career in fixed wing over copters?

2.) I have recently been searching for jobs available in the helicopter indusrty in canada. There really does not seem to be many available at all, as compared to jobs flying fixed wings.... Is it really really hard to find a job flying choppers after completing school? and can you make an honest descent wage in the helicopter industry, from the beginning and up through the ranks?

3.) Actually, on that note, What the hell is the path to becommnga helicopter pilot, and advancing in the industry.. what roads must you travel to advance? What are your options when you complete your flight training, what are the directions you can take to advance? and how long does it take?

I know the fixed wing route, and all of the different options.... but have no clue about the helicopter indusrty??

Cheers ;)
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#2 Post by The Mole » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:58 pm

1. Helicopter flying is an art. Fixed wing is procedures.

2. The pay is better in helicopters in general. If your flying a helicopter your making good money. The more experienced and specialized types of flying you do, the better the pay. Same does apply to fixed-wing... But in general helicopters pay better

3. Getting a job is hard. There are very few entry level jobs. Ground crew jobs are where you start and the is pay bad. You have to earn your flying position. It was 5yrs working seasonal ground crew jobs before i got a flying position.
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#3 Post by oneill10999 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:01 pm

Holy... SH*T!! that is wild..... DOes it take the sameammount of time in fixed wing? and is the pay as bad?
It was 5yrs working seasonal ground crew jobs before i got a flying position.[/quote]
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#4 Post by All Sides » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:46 am

Welcome to aviation, there is no life like it. :prayer:
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#5 Post by The Mole » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:48 pm

In this life you have to earn things. In the old job market, people for got that. America's broke, thing are changing, your going to have to be more than a warm body to have a job.
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#6 Post by polarbear » Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:22 pm

the easiest route to the helo world is through the military, its "free" and you get great equipment. you jump the queue big time once you get out with an ATPH in your pocket and no debt.

if not, then well, you go the hard way, but you dont have to do the army stuff. Pros and cons both sides.

Top end fixed wing in the majors make more money than helos, but it takes time.

Marriages fail equally in both worlds, just different court judgment... Fixed-wing will give you several girlfriends far apart...safer. Helo will have an entire village knocking at your same motel door... watch out.

Enjoy
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#7 Post by All Sides » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:53 am

[quote="polarbear"]the easiest route to the helo world is through the military, its "free" and you get great equipment. you jump the queue big time once you get out with an ATPH in your pocket and no debt.

if not, then well, you go the hard way, but you dont have to do the army stuff. Pros and cons both sides.

Top end fixed wing in the majors make more money than helos, but it takes time.

Marriages fail equally in both worlds, just different court judgment... Fixed-wing will give you several girlfriends far apart...safer. Helo will have an entire village knocking at your same motel door... watch out.

Enjoy[/quote]
You might want to do a little research before going the military route. There are a few more concerns than just lead poisoning depending on what type of post military flying you intend to do after you leave. If you intend to do offshore oil (IFR) in multi crew/engine it would probably be beneficial, if you intend to do production/ precision vertical reference work I don't think it will help you much. If your intention is to eventually go to civilian flying you might want to talk to some folks in management about your best route, 7 years is a long time.
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#8 Post by sky's the limit » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:38 am

Taking the military route into civil Canadian flying is not recommended. I know several, about 6 actually, ex-military guys who made the switch into the civi industry - there is one left. Three are not flying anymore, and two went back.

Military piloting is a very different concept than what we practice out here in the civil world, and as stated - 7yrs is a REALLY long time.

stl
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#9 Post by definenormal » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:50 am

I'm just curious. I have looked at getting an RW licence for a while, but the cost has always scared me off. Apparently I can get some credit for my FW experience during training, but not much.

In your oppinion, do you think any potential employers would give credit to a brand new helo pilot for any FW turbine PIC time? (namely 4000+, turbine PIC, IFR, international experience), or is helicopter just such a different animal, that you are basicly back at square one?
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#10 Post by sky's the limit » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:51 am

Well,

Yes and no.

If you had 4000hrs with a healthy dose of bush experience, I would certainly say yes. Strictly IFR, pavement to pavement has almost nothing in common with utility type helicopter operations, but that said, for the Offshore, EMS, or Helijet type applications, your IFR experience counts for quite a bit.

The major issue is getting started. With you current experience and earning potential you have to understand that to go rotary is to start all over again, and starting over can be very, very, tough. The industry is taking a beating this year, and jobs for low timers are extremely scarce.

Be happy to answer any other questions you have, but feel free to search the threads in here as there are a number of longwinded responses to similar questions over the past few years.

stl
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#11 Post by definenormal » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:53 pm

Stl,

Thanks for your advice there. The company I work for does both IFR and VFR (bush) type of flying; and also operates a helicopter. So getting that second sting to the bow it's not something I have written off quite just yet.

However, as you mentioned, the current state of the aviation industry as a whole is a factor that must be considered before making any decision. And justifying spending 40-50k is not to be taken lightly..... :|
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#12 Post by sky's the limit » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:03 pm

Hey there.

The conversion course is 60hrs, and I think rates are in the $450/hr range these days, but you'll have to look more specifically. It was quite a bit cheaper when I converted from FW, but that should be close, so $40-50 is a bit high.

It's a matter of getting that initial time at the controls... It can be VERY difficult to do that, but if your company could work something out whereby you get a 100hrs or so on their helicopter, that could go a LONG way to getting a first rotary job elsewhere. What type do they operate?

You're right, it's not something to be taken lightly at all. Getting going is tough, but once you are going you have to remember that a helicopter can get you killed very quickly if you don't make it your business on every flight not to.... I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but it's a totally different concept than FW flying, and one that demands respect. I've said it before on here, but I'll repeat myself - if this is something you REALLY want to do, go for it, and be 100% dedicated to it, even then it can be very hard. Anything less and you either won't get a job, or you'll get yourself in trouble when you do.

stl
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#13 Post by sovereign » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:06 am

To Definenormal, The rarest of Aviators in this country is the holder of fix wing and Helicopter ATP licenses, The reason is simple, not a great demand and very expensive, but there is a need, I know because I am one of them, have been for 26 year, had 8000hrs on airplanes when I did my Helicopter training. It was the best thing I ever did, I have never been out of work, and nothing is more enjoyable then starting your day in the helicopter and then walking across the ramp,and finishing the day in a airplane. So go for it, you only go through life once. Regards Mel
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Re: Helicopters or Fixed Wing???

#14 Post by av8tor_assrope » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:13 pm

I’m no expert on the heli world but I did have a beer with a young dude (early 20’s) up in YEV last year. I think he worked for Canadian but I could be wrong. He had just under 1000tt and was making somewhere in the ballpark of $4000/month on rotation. I had 1400tt and I was making half that on rotation!
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