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Helicopter pilot

Scott85

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Anybody a helicopter pilot? I’m trying to decide what I want to do when grown up and I’m thinking about being a helicopter pilot.
With my GI Bill I will have to pay for my PPL out of pocket and medical certificate and the GI Bill picks up the rest. Looking for advise if anybody is a pilot. Thanks in advance.
 

TheTone

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A friend of mine is a pilot. Most of the work he does is spraying either weeds or ag crops. I don’t think he or the company he works for are hunting for jobs and in fact I think are pretty selective. I’d heard a few years ago that a lot of helicopter pilots were aging out as many were Vietnam era military guys. I can’t imagine much has changed with regards to that
 

Scott85

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A friend of mine is a pilot. Most of the work he does is spraying either weeds or ag crops. I don’t think he or the company he works for are hunting for jobs and in fact I think are pretty selective. I’d heard a few years ago that a lot of helicopter pilots were aging out as many were Vietnam era military guys. I can’t imagine much has changed with regards to that
There is a study by Boeing that there will be a shortage of 60,000 helicopter pilots by 2037.
 

Oak

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I'm not a helicopter pilot, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

I know that my local wildlife agency is increasingly struggling to find helicopters available when they need them due to the uptick in contract wildland firefighting. Can't imagine not being able to stay as busy as you want if you choose that route. In another life I might have done it. No experience to share, though.
 

Wallydeuce

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I'm a fixed wing pilot and my oldest son is a helicopter pilot. He's working on his fixed wing ratings so he can transition to the airlines. With over 4,000 hours of pilot in command (pic) time including 900 hours of night vision air ambulance time, other than flying oil workers out into the gulf of Mexico, the only jobs available are mostly seasonal. Fire. Tourism etc. He's devoted to his family so he's not interested in moving around the country.

Another thing to consider is the cost. You can get your fixed wing ratings at around $200 an hour including the instructor. Helicopter training hovers (pun intended) around $450-$600 an hour. It will cost you over $100k to get the ratings and hours you need to make a living flying helicopters. $60-70k for airplanes.
 

mikwat

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I'm a Navy helicopter pilot. I can't speak for the training on the civilian side, but most of the helicopter jobs I looked at (air ambulance, off shore) had a significant minimum hours requirement.
 

Scott85

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I'm a fixed wing pilot and my oldest son is a helicopter pilot. He's working on his fixed wing ratings so he can transition to the airlines. With over 4,000 hours of pilot in command (pic) time including 900 hours of night vision air ambulance time, other than flying oil workers out into the gulf of Mexico, the only jobs available are mostly seasonal. Fire. Tourism etc. He's devoted to his family so he's not interested in moving around the country.

Another thing to consider is the cost. You can get your fixed wing ratings at around $200 an hour including the instructor. Helicopter training hovers (pun intended) around $450-$600 an hour. It will cost you over $100k to get the ratings and hours you need to make a living flying helicopters. $60-70k for airplanes.
Thank you. Like I said I will only need to pay for my PPL, the GI Bill covers the rest.
 

Scott85

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I'm a Navy helicopter pilot. I can't speak for the training on the civilian side, but most of the helicopter jobs I looked at (air ambulance, off shore) had a significant minimum hours requirement.
I’ve looked at the jobs, it seems like most of the starter jobs are being an instructor until 500 hours and then other like tour jobs until you hit that 2,000 hour mark.
 

Bigjay73

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Anybody a helicopter pilot? I’m trying to decide what I want to do when grown up and I’m thinking about being a helicopter pilot.
With my GI Bill I will have to pay for my PPL out of pocket and medical certificate and the GI Bill picks up the rest. Looking for advise if anybody is a pilot. Thanks in advance.
Can you go back in the reserves and reclass as a pilot?
 

Wallydeuce

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That's great you can get your ratings via the GI bill. I doubt they will pay for the hundreds of hours you will need to qualify for a professional flying job after you've gotten your ratings. I may be wrong though. Check with the VA.
 

mikwat

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I’ve looked at the jobs, it seems like most of the starter jobs are being an instructor until 500 hours and then other like tour jobs until you hit that 2,000 hour mark.

Right on. Instructing is fun and helicopters are awesome. I can't help you too much on the civil side, but let me know if you ever want to talk stick wiggling.
 

Wallydeuce

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The good news is if you're at an active flight school you can log hours quickly. The bad news is you may die of hunger before you reach the magic 500 hours. Civilian flight instructor pay is horrible.

You helicopter guys have done far too many auto rotations. It's rattled your brains. Go fixed wing.
 

Scott85

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The good news is if you're at an active flight school you can log hours quickly. The bad news is you may die of hunger before you reach the magic 500 hours. Civilian flight instructor pay is horrible.

You helicopter guys have done far too many auto rotations. It's rattled your brains. Go fixed wing.
I really appreciate your insight, this is what I’m looking for. I’m not opposed to fixed wing either. I also have my military retirement to hold me over while I pay my dues either way.
 

theat

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I'm not a pilot, but I have worked with helicopters for about 15 years. I've worked with them in wildfire, spraying, surveying the Canadian/US border with the State Department, and finally doing wildlife capture work. On many of the jobs I was making more money than the pilots. Most of the pilots had to spend large parts of the year working away from home and seemed to be pretty stressed out much of the time. I was pretty sure I wanted to be a helicopter pilot until I got to know a handful of them, and not one of them recommended that I go that route. Several of the ones that I have stayed in touch with have transitioned to fixed wing or something non aviation related. Although, some days I wish I had.

Here is a video I put together of a whitetail deer capture project in South Dakota. We caught about 650 deer over that month and I of course picked the best shots and deer wrecks to put in the video. I know some of them look pretty rough, but deer are tough animals and only a few out of the 650 ended up hurt or dead.
 
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