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HeliTorque :: View topic - how long will I be paying off my loan?
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Wannabes

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WhirlyGirl
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FW,

Thanks for your post.

flingingwings wrote:
Quote:
however the new CPLs tend to get the pleasure flying and the 15 minute tours on a weekend


Are your talking about basic 190hr CPL holders or the newly qualified CPL/FI holder?


The 190 hour CPL. Is that hard to believe? Whilst the FI's are around most of the time and tend to get the ad-hoc charter (not that there is much at this time of year), once the CPL has got base and lined, yes, we do use them.

By this time they don't really want to be spending more money to bridge that gap between CPL and FI, and whilst those 60 hours might not come in quick succession, every little helps and if the pilot meets the standard to pass a base and line check we do get them onto the airport to airport tours asap, later moving onto some light charter jobs once they have a bit more experience.


flingingwings wrote:
Out of a total staff of X, how many that work regularly with you are 185 hr CPL holders? Or were hired as such?


Out of all the commercial pilots and instructors on the team at present (excluding the FIC instructors), all of us were hired as such, and when the FI courses were completed it went from weekend working as many days as we wanted (I was down to Gatwick the next day to get my rating over the counter at PLD and came back to find about 5 hours of students booked in for the next day as their regular instructor got sent off on a charter. It wasn't long before two of the trial lessons I did turned into full time PPLs and before I knew where I was, I was doing all kinds of stuff including more challenging charter work, London tours, aerial filming etc. I didn't take a holiday for 18 months! I'm not hyping this up, just telling it like it is - isn't it encouraging for wannabe's and new pilots to know that it is actually possible to achieve your goals if you are prepared to work hard?

flingingwings wrote:
Quote:
The idea is to give people a chance to make their "break" and if this was not such a rarity there wouldn't be so many low-houred CPL's hitting a dead end in their careers.


flingingwings wrote:
Low houred basic CPL or low houred CPL/FI?


The single biggest failing within this industry (training issues is a whole new thread) is the lack of a structured progression for new/inexperienced pilots. For the steps being taken your employer is one of the decent operators. Adding balance, for every place like yours there are two or three that 'talk the same talk' and fail to deliver.


I appreciate this - there are good companies and bad companies in every walk of life. Hence why I said I cannot speak for other establishments. I do believe there are several decent operators out there but there are also some that use this kind of thing as a sales pitch without delivering. Not everyone has morals and decency unfortunately Crying or Very sad

flingingwings wrote:
How many of your current staff have trained fully from start to finish with Helicentre?


All but two (and I am one of those two). You would think with all the FI's we train they wouldn't have needed me. I only came along by chance with about 220 hours, with the view to doing my FI course. I didn't go in asking for a job but I got one. Because two of the staff left at the same time as I completed my FI course, and there were no "home grown" guys ready to go online, they had me working next day.

flingingwings wrote:
Roughly how many FI courses did 'you' run last year and how many of the successful candidates were employed by 'you' immediately after course completion?


Five. We took on two of them full time and one part time, one had a job opportunity elsewhere (closer to their home) prior to finishing the course so went straight off to do that, the other one had just come along to do FI training from further afield (they were never "our" ab-initio career students, they were just there for the sole purpose of getting the qualification - they qualified and they moved on).

flingingwings wrote:
Quote:
We had one guy do this for a year or so (no FI rating) and he went straight onto a police job with 700 hours.


I worry this may be a 'naughty' post Crying or Very sad Was this guy a self funded ab-initio? Was he a 185 hr CPL that walked straight in to a job? Or did Helicentre employ him with his basic CPL, BUT with roughly 600 hrs (and some specialised experience), based upon what I would guess was an Ex Mil pilot who'd attained a civvie CPL and then who worked with 'you' for a year and then went to a Police role? I'm guessing the Police ASU would still have insisted upon a twin rating, plus some hours, and a significant amount of night flying. I'd be thrilled if I was mistaken, but the twin and night experience isnt something readily available to a new or 700 hr CPL. My point, and I'm trying to be purely objective, is how many relevant twins hours do you have? (You being more qualified on paper than the CPL only you describe)


What do you mean by a naughty post? He was absolutely a self-funded ab-initio. Built up a lot of turbine time flying charter, doing positioning, flying for owners of JetRangers and EC120s and was in the right place at the right time when the position came up. The twin rating was provided (I belive two twin ratings actually). It wasn't actually a Police ASU but a company that had contract work amongst many other things, but went straight into doing it full time. He's a member on here in fact but I'll leave it up to him whether he wants to reveal himself or remain anonymous - it is a forum after all and he's probably too busy flying to be reading this thread anyway!

flingingwings wrote:
Your enthusiasm and loyalty is commendable but cash strapped mid dream/plan pilots deserve accuracy IMHO


I have never been anything BUT accurate. I genuinely want to keep on training tomorrow's pilots and I am 110% committed to my job, and would never dream of posting a - you're right, people need to know the truth and I'm just telling it how it is, but I am fully aware that there are people out there who are only interested in making money and will lie to get people through the door. I know you're cynical but consider that what I'm saying might actually be true!

flingingwings wrote:
Quote:
Why would you give them any less than the best possible training when you are looking at them as a potential candidate for a job at the end of their hard work?


Are you suggesting that every FIC provider only trains people with a view to employing them? Flight schools are businesses. They train people in order to make money. On that basis some will cut corners in order to get the money as quickly as possible, and we can all think of some of those places Cool


Not at all, as stated above we have people come along with the sole purpose of getting an FI rating - they may already have a potential job lined up else where, or they may just live too far away to even consider working for us - it happens and it goes without saying that we're not going to turn a course away just because they don't want to stick around at the end of it.

flingingwings wrote:
I can see what you're trying to imply. But plenty of places with and without an AOC offer quality training. Conversely some from either camp don't. A new FI does learn from his students.


I know. As I said, not digging at the non-AOC companies, just saying if you want to fly charter it makes sense to go to a company where you might actually do some!

flingingwings wrote:
For the benefit of those deciding how much money to borrow etc etc could you clarify
Quote:
the more experienced guys do end up working in the industry


FI'ing is within the industry. So I'm wondering what you're classing as 'more experienced' and 'industry'.


Sorry, by industry I was referring to jobs like utility, police and air ambulance work. Of course FI'ing is a career in itself, but once you have the FI ticket and over 1000 hours pilots tend to move on don't they (unless they want to go down the examiner route and become one of those experienced FI's that the industry WILL need to keep when the old salts retire!). The enthusiastic 1000 hour pilots always seem to want to fly bigger and better machines and it's a natural progression. - one leaves to go out to "industry" and he/she is replaced a new FI. With their experience of instructing the FI that moves on might eventually end up as a company training captain - who knows.

So long as there are students training schools arent worried. Add in some charters and the AOC holders will be happy too. All you then need is for suitably qualified and experienced pilots to outstrip demand. And thats currently what we have. Crisis management is the 'buzz' phrase that springs to mind Sad

flingingwings wrote:
Who will fill the experience void when the experienced have gone if 'we' carry on like this?????????????????


True, but I suppose about 10% of us will stay on and BECOME the experienced instructors of tomorrow. And isn't it cyclical? The ones who got their 1000 hours and then flew for the police or offshore for 10 years will probably come back around to instructing one day when they become an "old salt" themselves!

I suppose amongst other things your success depends how committed you are to living the dream, and how prepared you are to work hard and put 110% into your work.

This ramble has gone on long enough - I'm going to get a drink! Laughing

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: OK i'll take the bait Reply with quote

Quote:
flingingwings wrote:
Quote:
We had one guy do this for a year or so (no FI rating) and he went straight onto a police job with 700 hours.


I worry this may be a 'naughty' post Was this guy a self funded ab-initio? Was he a 185 hr CPL that walked straight in to a job? Or did Helicentre employ him with his basic CPL, BUT with roughly 600 hrs (and some specialised experience), based upon what I would guess was an Ex Mil pilot who'd attained a civvie CPL and then who worked with 'you' for a year and then went to a Police role? I'm guessing the Police ASU would still have insisted upon a twin rating, plus some hours, and a significant amount of night flying. I'd be thrilled if I was mistaken, but the twin and night experience isnt something readily available to a new or 700 hr CPL. My point, and I'm trying to be purely objective, is how many relevant twins hours do you have? (You being more qualified on paper than the CPL only you describe)


What do you mean by a naughty post? He was absolutely a self-funded ab-initio. Built up a lot of turbine time flying charter, doing positioning, flying for owners of JetRangers and EC120s and was in the right place at the right time when the position came up. The twin rating was provided (I belive two twin ratings actually). It wasn't actually a Police ASU but a company that had contract work amongst many other things, but went straight into doing it full time. He's a member on here in fact but I'll leave it up to him whether he wants to reveal himself or remain anonymous - it is a forum after all and he's probably too busy flying to be reading this thread anyway!


Sarah is quite right, self funded ab-initio, civvie pilot. I took the risk of being sure I didn't want to instruct until I become an 'old salt' with grey hair, so spent the extra cash which would have been used for FI rating on turbine & night hour building and FAA cpl/ir. So when CPL qualified I had enough turbine time to get insured and with my FI moving on to pastures new it left a couple of private owners that required moving around regularly which got my turbine time moving. This along with good recommendaions from the CP, when the opportunity came up, I was in a position to be employable, and the real learning curve started !!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarah, Wes,

Thanks for the replies Smile

Perhaps 'naughty' was the wrong word. But if you write a '700 hr CPL with no FI rating' there is opportunity for a percentage to believe that all they need to do is attain a CPL and then simply acquire 700ish hrs. Yes, I accept right time and place etc etc...... However,

What the other reply shows is how Wes used his post CPL hours. FAA CPL/IR, night flying, getting more hours to satisify insurance etc etc.Thats the meat to the 'bones' of the story, that gives a more accurate indication of a path/plan taken by another. It also gives an idea of costs! It further proves that its not 'hours' but what you've done with them AND the importance of recommendation. I got my break low hours too, and still stand by the opinion that 'we' are the rarity not the norm. A past colleague has just got his 'break'. He qualified before me, was ex mil and now has probably 3500 hrs!

Yes I believe 190hr CPLs doing any work is a rarity, and as stated previously the approach of your boss (and a few others) is to be commended. Did/Does Helicentre pay for the base and line checks or did the pilot?

Don't get me wrong, I'm most certainly not having a dig at your posts Sarah. In my Utopia every rip off school wouldn't exist. Getting the extra details merely enables those trying to decide to be in a better position to ask their own releavnt questions to FTOs in order to identify the 'chaff' for themselves. Afterall 'you dont know, what you don't know' Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just out of intrest, does anyone know anybody who has got all the licenses and ratings and have not found work and ended up in trouble? Don't worry about putting me off, I have become addicted now.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes.

I know a few guys who have gone to CPL/FI who have little or no work.
We have one CPL non FI with a single engine IR pass who posts on here who does not have a lot of paying jobs on (if any, maybe he will say what he's up to if he sees this).

There are a lot of CPL/IR holders without work at the moment, and it is these who are perhaps going to fill the void when some gaps become available for progression onto the North Sea.

I'll state the following for completeness only and not to blow smoke up my own arse:
I have over 3000hrs more than 1000 of which and is twin PIC with an IR, and onshore experience, I am an FI and FE, a TRI and TRE on the Agusta 109 and Bell 206 and last year I probably flew 150 hours. I have not flown at all this year with no flying in the pipeline. I am more than happy travelling and had to go to Southern Europe to do 25 of my 150hrs last year. I am known for being quite obsessive in my want to teach properly and spend a lot of my spare time trying to keep us all safe. Half the UK industry uses the websites I develop, so most of them know who I am and yet I woud spend whole days trying to make 50 or a 100 quid if I relied on flying at the moment.

Could I fly if I wanted to, yes. Could I live off it alone , not a hope in hell.

To keep my IR current will cost me 1.5-2 hours in a 109 + an examiner this year, if I were not in a position to have done a deal on the aircraft I'd be paying somewhere in the region of 2K just to keep it, is it worth it ?

There is no doubt there are some schools who are busy, most are not. I take my hat off to those who remain busy during this lean time. I have to wonder though what will happen when those who started their training during the recession will go when they complete the training and find there are very few gaps for them to fill in the industry.

If no one trains now the industry stops from the bottom up, so thats hardly an answer and in two or three years time when hopefully things pick up there would be no newcomers to fill the voids left by those who are teaching now IF they choose to move onto other things.

I guess some of us are caught in the lack of work now, and those who are training must remain hopeful that there will be positions for them to fill when they complete their training.

I think if you want to do it, do it and if people don't the industry will dry up, I would just hate to see people getting into debt to buy into the dream that MAY never materialise, somedays I wonder if I would spend the money again. I love flying, I enjoy teaching , I particularly like technical problems and I get all of these around helicopters, but even though reasonably well qualified I cannot live off it at the moment.

If I were 20 with no family would that be different ? possibly it would, but earning say 20-30k PA as an FI having spent maybe 60-70 to get qualified to FI(R) how long would I spend paying that off ?

I know several FIs who are caught in the lack of progression trap, who are happy to be flying but cannot progress onto more complex types like the 206 or 350 as they do not make enough money to pay for the ratings and no one else is going to pay for it for them.

I know a few FIs who have another job as they cannot afford to live (or pay off loans) from flying alone.

GS
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks that's the sort of answer I'm looking for. if i could get full time employment from instructing on a 22 or 44 i would be very content for 5+ years as i can live with my parents and 20-30K would cover a loan and possibly leave enough for a cheap ski holiday each year. I have no illusions that i would be flying turbine of twin IR jobs in the short term but is something to look to in later years. Am i being naive that i would get a full time instructor job at 21?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Novice

If you turn out to be good at it then I think the only deciding factor would be demand at the time, the one thing none of us can predict.

Earning 20-30k as an FI would mean I guess 400-600hours per year at 40-50 pound per hour.

For the training environment to be able to sustain the new FIs, there needs to be somewhere for them to go, be that filling the shoes of the guys who leave to go on to better (subjective I know) things or being employed instead of them because the new FIs are cheaper.

There is a trend in the states, and I don't know if its seen over here where in times of recession the hull losses go up because the flying schools employ the cheaper newly qualified FIs rather than the guys who have been around longer but cost more.

Regardless of whether there is a recession or not if there is a finite amount of work out there, then something must give when a new pilot comes along either the current FIs must accept less work in order for the new guy to get the work, or the new guy gets little or no work. Financially its of almost no consequence to the schools as they usually pay by the hour as long as the work gets done by someone they make money.

If you walk in with your eyes open, then I wish very good luck to you.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At a rough guess how many people get their cpl each year?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look here for all the stats relating to license issuing:
http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=175&pagetype=68&gid=559

So in 2008/9 215 JAR CPL(H) were issued.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember seeing a chart somewhere which had the number of PPL(H) issued to date but then the number of currently valid PPL(H).
The drop out rate was massive!
Does anyone have those figures to hand?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks that is awesome info. Roughly two thirds of the people who fly helicopters are going commercial if i have interpreted the figures 08/09 right, and the average age for people getting theirs CPL is mid thirties which is a little reassuring.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Average age mid-30s - interesting. I bet it's cross-between being at a time of life when you have a chance at affording the hellishly expensive training and discovering the career you've chosen isn't the one you want afterall. That's my situation anyway. I expect I'll be close to my mid-30s when I get my CPL.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may not be relevant but I think reinforces the general state of the commercial world at the moment.

I had a very interesting chat today with the Chief pilot of an AOC who asked my opinion on a training question. during the discussion he happened to comment that he spends more of his time at the moment 'Fending off' Commerical pilots looking for work than he does quotes for that work.

When I enquired as to the experience levels of said pilots he replied anything between 250 and 3000hrs.

They operate twins and singles and whilst he might be able to use me for some TREing he has no charter work to throw at me at the moment and we have worked together before and have a mutual trust.

I am not trying to be negative about the helicopter industry I love flying , but I've seen some newly qualified CPLs get there and then go back to what they used to do, due to lack of work and some are sorry they did it in the first place mainly due to having big loans to pay off and not a lot to show for it.

Incidentally when I asked the aforementioned chief pilot if he'd spend all that cash again getting qualified he said no, he'd have stayed in his old job and flown as a hobby.

And no I am not naming him or his company even by PM, it's his business but I did ask if he would mind me quoting him here and elsewhere and he was happy with that.

Clearly there are companies that are busy and good on them, some of the workload issues are down to attitude / marketing. some to location and some to a general downturn.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to put abit more scope to this.

What would you say the job prospects were in the developed world. Our market here is obviously crammed at the moment and due to the weather and other restrictions its a very difficult and expensive industry to get in where flying costs a lot of money for both the pilot to train to a level and for the customer to afford to do it.

Is this the same in other countries, im sure most countries suffer from it in a relative proportion to us but in terms of all our CPL's who can't get jobs. If they went to the US or Canada are they going to be better off? Maybe even within europe?

Any ideas?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been travelling for a few months since my trial lesson, still thinking of a way to get into the industry. I would start right away if i could just be sure i would get a job after but then i suppose everyone would. HSBC professional studies loan seems to have been put on hold and im not really keen on asking parents to fork out. Any ideas for funding or glimmers of hope in the market place?
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