Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:40 pm Post subject: Prospective student
I apologize if I'm the 10,000th person to ask these questions. I wanted to get some other perspectives so thanks in advance for your feedback.
My interest in flying helicopters goes way back, but more recently a combination of things has motivated me to start researching. I’m 29 and have an MA in my field (GIS and spatial analysis) with about four years of experience in a career that is becoming less lucrative following the severe downturn in development. Going back to school has been on my mind for awhile. Then a recent series of radio ads caught my attention, stating a shortage in helicopter pilots. My searches for information have uncovered a lot of negativity about careers in piloting helicopters, specifically to do with non-military people who want to fund their own training and make an entry into the career. Mainly I wanted to check some of that information with the community here and get a better perspective.
Is there really a ‘shortage’ of helicopter pilots like the recent radio ads are saying?
I’ve read that a general guideline is 1500 hours of flight time for most job openings. If this is true I cannot understand how someone breaks into a career in piloting. Local R22 rentals in Florida seem to run about $250/hour, so that would be $375k just for the hours, not including tuition and fees for training.
Are pilot jobs flying for hospitals and police departments extremely rare? Is a typical helicopter pilot going to travel constantly for missions and/or have to switch jobs every couple of years?
If this is a pipe dream then that’s ok, nobody is going to hurt my feelings by saying so. Thanks again for checking out my thread.
Don't worry - we've all asked it..... and most of us have carried on and done it, despite the answers!!!
It is hard to get to that magic number of hours and you'll also face the omnipresent questions of Instrument Ratings, and turbine vs piston time.
But... there are few good things in life that aren't hard work. (I suspect there'll be a few suggestions on here to contradict that!)
Some of your hour-building you may get through friendly owners, schools, companies - its an industry that is very much "right place, right time", with a sprinkling of "who you know". The Instructor Rating seems to be the proven route for getting hours built at someone else's expense, plus you build good disciplines along the way (well, you should... ).
There are some hugely experienced people on here, with diverse backgrounds, so you've pitched your question in a useful spot!
Personally, I'd say JFDI..... but be realistic about time-scales!
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