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I want to be a professional (non-airline) pilot when I grow up

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#1
I know there's many here who may have already started planning/learning/living for what comes after the Navy, so I figured I'd start a new thread rather than compete with boring airline talk in the airlines thread. Obviously some of the same info applies.

While I still have plenty of time, I've started to do some of the initial research on "who" exactly is out there on the commercial helo/ASEL front. Some of my research has started to generate questions and figured I'd start here:

- Is there a decent commercial helicopter (or non-airline) web forum? I've found a few sites on Google, but the discussion seemed almost worthless. It's the simple things like "who owns the base in X city?"

- one of the more well-known EMS employers has 200 hours of CCX time as a requirement. In the FARs, it defines everything except military rotary (50 miles FW/25 miles RW). For fixed wing time, it's pretty easy to just include all of the military time as CCX (except maybe any 2K2 time). Presumably you could just use the civilian rotary definition for military time, but talk about a giant pain in the ass in trying to actually calculate that, especially as an IP where some flights you don't even leave the pattern. Anyone been given any advice on this? Is it just easiest to include all military rotary time as CCX time?
 

PhrogLoop

Adulting is hard
pilot
#2
- Is there a decent commercial helicopter (or non-airline) web forum?
- Is it just easiest to include all military rotary time as CCX time?
-I love Vertical and Vertical 911. I'm not so sure that their forums are robust, but through their website you can sign up for their email newsletter with lots of great industry articles and job postings.
-I have never seen this requirement, but if I were making the calculation, I would try to come up with a percentage of my total time shore based that did not involve course rules to/from an OLF and time spent at home field/OLF. Why? Because we are expected to memorize course rules in the crowded airspace near home field so we can keep our heads up. But I imagine you could consider route flying as CCX time because of the added navigation workload. So as a rough swag I might say 30-40% of my non-deployed time. For me that would end up being at least 300 hours so I have to imagine you're well above the minimum.
 

SynixMan

Professional CCX Wrangler
pilot
Contributor
#3
http://helicopterforum.verticalreference.com/

I read a lot on there and there's some good discussions. The military forum is (sadly) basically all talk about getting picked up for army aviation (tests, applications, etc). Wish they'd split that off and we could have more productive discussions about cross service rotary. The sub forums for various communities (EMS/LEO/ENG/O&G) have knowledgeable folks.

As for your second question, it seems CATMS defines the requirements for accreditation and insurance purposes. Don't know if they have a discussion on that or not. I'd argue anything in the TERF/VNAV arena would be CCX time. I'd have to imagine your flying around JAX/SD at night, on goggles, is the type of experience they're looking for. The total time requirement for them is sobering for a first tour guy. Getting 2000+ means HTs or DH at a minimum these days.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#4
Thanks for the links, gents. I'll have a look over the next few days.

-I have never seen this requirement, but if I were making the calculation, I would try to come up with a percentage of my total time shore based that did not involve course rules to/from an OLF and time spent at home field/OLF. Why? Because we are expected to memorize course rules in the crowded airspace near home field so we can keep our heads up. But I imagine you could consider route flying as CCX time because of the added navigation workload. So as a rough swag I might say 30-40% of my non-deployed time. For me that would end up being at least 300 hours so I have to imagine you're well above the minimum.
My first tour was in HI, so unless you were FCF'ing, pretty much everything was more than 25 miles because everything was an island with only a few fields to go to. Everything in the VTs is pretty much right at 50 miles or more (maybe just under if you only count OLFs, but you almost never just went to an OLF unless you were an RDO). The FARs define it as requiring dead-reckoning, which is pretty much exactly what following course rules is, so that was my logic there. FCF'ing in Jax can sometimes yield more than 25 miles, though not landing at another field, so I guess removing any -60 2K2 time during my DH tour would be legit.

As for your second question, it seems CATMS defines the requirements for accreditation and insurance purposes. Don't know if they have a discussion on that or not. I'd argue anything in the TERF/VNAV arena would be CCX time. I'd have to imagine your flying around JAX/SD at night, on goggles, is the type of experience they're looking for. The total time requirement for them is sobering for a first tour guy. Getting 2000+ means HTs or DH at a minimum these days.
Generally I agree, but when I did my electronic logbook, I did it in block time per month, so going back to find out when a VNAV was logged is just not all that interesting. See above about how it might not really matter. With over 3K, I'm not worried about mins, just making sure it's at least reasonably accurate for an interview.

All good stuff guys. Appreciate the info. I'm digging into LE stuff, as well, and can post here. So far, at least according to web sites, finding a walk-on flying job in local LE is tough, despite a survey in 2009 saying there's many units out there that do it.
 

SynixMan

Professional CCX Wrangler
pilot
Contributor
#5
Generally I agree, but when I did my electronic logbook, I did it in block time per month, so going back to find out when a VNAV was logged is just not all that interesting. See above about how it might not really matter. With over 3K, I'm not worried about mins, just making sure it's at least reasonably accurate for an interview.

All good stuff guys. Appreciate the info. I'm digging into LE stuff, as well, and can post here. So far, at least according to web sites, finding a walk-on flying job in local LE is tough, despite a survey in 2009 saying there's many units out there that do it.
I have to imagine the CCX requirement comes from a need to prove you did more than beat up the pattern instructing in a Robbie for your first 1k hours, then did Grand Canyon tours for the next 1k. However, the resume reader is the ultimate authority, unless CAMTS provides further guidance. Their site is here, including drafts of the newer requirements.

As I haunt the web, I've seen people talk about a general trend from Single Pilot, Single Engine VFR to Multi-pilot, multi-engine IFR in the EMS, LE, and Oil/Gas communities. Seems to be largely for insurance reasons in the larger organizations.

There was a thread a while ago, and I've looked for it unsuccessfully, from a Marine 53 driver who detailed his movement into civilian helo jobs.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#6
...All good stuff guys. Appreciate the info. I'm digging into LE stuff, as well, and can post here. So far, at least according to web sites, finding a walk-on flying job in local LE is tough, despite a survey in 2009 saying there's many units out there that do it.
I am pretty certain Maryland State Police switched to contract civilian pilots a few years ago, they are more MEDEVAC than police though.
 

mad dog

*** liter of dunkin’ ***
pilot
Contributor
#7
...I'm digging into LE stuff, as well, and can post here. So far, at least according to web sites, finding a walk-on flying job in local LE is tough, despite a survey in 2009 saying there's many units out there that do it.
It is tough, Gator...both as a walk-on and even if you're already at that agency as a sworn officer. I looked into it (unsuccessfully) when I was a Cincinnati Police Officer from 2004 to 2006...definitely a tough gig to get. Have you thought about getting hired as a Law Enforcement Officer first and then possibly getting an aviation slot after doing 3 to 5 years on patrol? All the agencies that I contacted in the 2004 to 2006 time frame (Jacksonville PD, Tulsa PD, LAPD and NYPD) all required that you get hired and then serve in a patrol capacity (at their respective agency) prior to applying for an aviation slot (at their respective agency). Something to think about if you're willing to invest some time.

I believe Flash is correct...from what I remember Maryland State Police does hire contract civilian pilots. Also, our local Hamilton County Sheriff (Ohio) does hire walk-on pilots...but it's rare since the most recent slot that became available was due to the unfortunate passing of one of their pilots. So, timing is everything as you well know. In addition, Wink may be able to shed some light on this matter since he's currently involved in LE flying.

I wish you well, Gator...although I wasn't successful in finding an LE aviation slot, I truly believe it's one of the best (if not THE best) flying gigs out there.

Collin
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#8
Don't forget the federal LE route. Knew a VP guy who flies for DEA. Any interest in forest service work or one of the state forestry units like Cal Fire?
 

HokiePilot

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#9
The generally accepted custom at the HTs is to log all of your boat time as CCX. It is presumable that the boat moved 25 miles from taking off to landing.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#10
I am pretty certain Maryland State Police switched to contract civilian pilots a few years ago, they are more MEDEVAC than police though.
Yeah, but then you have to live in Maryland.

<--Lived in MD when I was younger. Pretty, but not where I'd want to be now.

It is tough, Gator...both as a walk-on and even if you're already at that agency as a sworn officer. I looked into it (unsuccessfully) when I was a Cincinnati Police Officer from 2004 to 2006...definitely a tough gig to get. Have you thought about getting hired as a Law Enforcement Officer first and then possibly getting an aviation slot after doing 3 to 5 years on patrol?
Yeah, I know that's generally how it's done. I just don't really have any desire to be a beat cop. I think it could be pretty interesting...for about a month or two.

As I haunt the web, I've seen people talk about a general trend from Single Pilot, Single Engine VFR to Multi-pilot, multi-engine IFR in the EMS, LE, and Oil/Gas communities. Seems to be largely for insurance reasons in the larger organizations.
I believe some of it also came from the FAA. A lot of the smaller HEMS operators were VFR/non-aided and started crashing in bad weather. I can't remember if it was a mandate or just a "fix your shit" type thing from the FAA, but talking with some EMS pilots that I've worked with over the last few years, it seems the companies are much more interested in having IFR/NVG rated helo dudes. No doubt insurance is also a big reason, as well.

Don't forget the federal LE route. Knew a VP guy who flies for DEA. Any interest in forest service work or one of the state forestry units like Cal Fire?
BP is on my short list to look into, but location can also be a detractor. Since they're now taking old, decrepit 42 year-olds, I'm definitely keeping my eye on it. I haven't personally seen DEA listings on USAJobs. I'm assuming that's where they populate, unless it's like the CIA, where they tend to either recruit off the tarmac or you go to their specific site to do their White support flying.

I think Forest Service could be interesting, but it's extremely low pay. Not the end of the world if I can just mooch off my wife and use my retirement to pay for a mortgage. The other issue is available assets. For example, I've looked at the LE side of Florida's Forestry Service, and they only have a handful of planes, and apparently not always in an "UP" status...again, based on what I've read on the 'net, anyway.

As I said, I've got time, but just trying to learn the business before moving into the networking phase in the next year. At the end of the day, it seems like EMS gets you the most bang for your buck: decent locations (or states, anyway) while also doing a pretty rewarding job and not getting completely screwed on the pay.

The generally accepted custom at the HTs is to log all of your boat time as CCX. It is presumable that the boat moved 25 miles from taking off to landing.
Makes sense, thanks.
 

Criminal

God's personal hacky sack
pilot
#12
I don't want to thread jack, so maybe I should create a new thread since this one is geared towards rotary. But have any fixed wing guys got gigs flying outside of airlines. Right now, still have a lot of time left, I am not to interested in airlines. Has anyone done corporate, small cargo operations, pipeline, skydiver, medevac, or some other gig?
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#13
I don't want to thread jack, so maybe I should create a new thread since this one is geared towards rotary. But have any fixed wing guys got gigs flying outside of airlines. Right now, still have a lot of time left, I am not to interested in airlines. Has anyone done corporate, small cargo operations, pipeline, skydiver, medevac, or some other gig?
I'd say definitely relevant here.
 

webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#14
I (along with a few others on this forum) did contract work flying King Air 350s after I retired. There are quite a few flying gigs out there that aren't the airlines, that job kinda opened my eyes a bit since so many of the pilots there had varying backgrounds.

CORPORATE. I actually debated applying for a corporate jet position with a couple corporations. The beeper lifestyle wouldn't have phased me, and I guess is one of the detractors to that lifestyle (that and if that corporation has a shitty chief pilot running their corporate air, then well, life sucks there).

DOD/DEFENSE. If you still have your clearance, and like Vegas, then there is always EGG and "Janet" flying their 737. Other companies like L3 have job openings stateside in various locations. One popped up the other day on my news feed for here in Fort Lauderdale of all places.

Customs has positions open with some regularity, quite a few I couldn't apply for since they required you to be able to fly helos also.

Anyways, best of luck!
 
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wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Off. Former Recruiter.
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#15
Navy helo guys have the benefit of being "dual qualified" , something some corporate and lots of fed jobs require. If a helo guy were to consider seriously other than airline pro flying, I'd suggest spending money on a multi FW ticket. Of course getting some civ multi time would be useful, but some employers would have no problem hiring a helo guy as a primary helicopter driver and then get him the fixed wing multi time in company aircraft flying as co pilot.
 
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