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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 11:49 pm 
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So lately I have been entertaining the idea of becoming a Commercial Helicopter Pilot. I have been looking into the Chinook Helicopter school in Abbostford. I am just looking for some advice and info about what it is really like after you get your license. Is it easy to get a starting job? Are you living out of camps to get your hours? After all the time getting your hours is it worth it? Etc. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:42 pm 
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Better place to look into and research is the Vertical Magazine Forums. There are a lot of Canadian helicopter pilots that post there and there is lots of information for people such as yourself.

I will be honest with you, now is not a very good time to consider getting into this industry. Getting a Commercial License is the easy part, finding a job within the industry is the challenge. For most people that get their license, this challenge is too hard and they never succeed. Once you have your license, and you end up getting a job within the industry, you will not be flying for 3-5 years, if ever. The days where you can get a job flying while the ink is still wet on your license are long gone. You have to really be passionate about flying to make the sacrifices to make this career work. You will endure extremely long hours, no benefits, probably not many, if any days off and terrible wages all for the possibility of maybe getting a job flying one day. There are a lot of companies out there that will dangle a carrot in front of you saying that they will eventually get you flying, but have no intention of ever doing that.

Whatever you do, do not listen to what the flight schools try to sell you. There will not be a shortage of pilots because the baby boomers are going to be retiring soon. There are probably hundreds of newly licensed pilots across Canada that will never start a career in this industry because of what schools tell them. The flight schools are a business, and right now with the state of the helicopter industry in Canada they are probably in the best position, because there will always be people willing to pay 50-60 thousand dollars to become a commercial helicopter pilot. They don't care if you never get a job, they are in business to make money.

There are ridiculous customer requirements that have been in place for several years now and most companies will not even consider talking to you unless you have 1000 hours. You finish your license with 100. Don't want to be all doom and gloom, but you need to be aware of what you may potentially getting yourself into.

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 8:57 pm 
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Location: Red Deer, AB
I started my commercial airplane to commercial helicopter conversion at Chinook 2 summers ago (finished up here in Alberta). My perspective is a little different as I have no aspirations of flying for a living. I do agree with Heisenberg's post. Particularly, that flight schools are a business. Their business is selling flight training and should be examined carefully from that perspective. Another issue future helicopter pilots will need to consider is the advancement of drones.

Having said that, in ANY field there is always work for top people who are hungry enough to go get it. I will also add that the training I received at Chinook was excellent.

Good Luck!


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