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Thread: Any helicopter pilots on here?

  1. #1

    Any helicopter pilots on here?

    I'm looking into training and have a few meetings coming up, but does anyone have a PPL or Commercial licence on here willing to give me an honest opinion if you make it your living or hobby.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    There's an oldish saying that the last time Britain was short of pilots was Summer 1940. A lot of commercial rotary pilots are ex-forces, getting their eye-wateringly expensive training and ratings courtesy of Betty's Flying Club (air, land, or sea sections). A good starting point for info is http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/122...e-posting.html

  3. #3
    Chanty, Thanks, I have been perusing that of late, some good info on there.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Sprocker,

    I got my PPL(H) back in '99. Sadly I am colour blind so was never able to get my Commercial (CPL) but have spent a lot of time amongst struggling pilots on their way to a career. I had to let my licence lapse when I set up a new business back in 2009 and didn't have the time (or finances) to fly enough to stay safe and a couple of engine failures (one in particular) brought that home to me in rather dramatic style. I walked away with bruised ego and a bent chassis but otherwise I. One piece so a successful landing!

    I loved every moment that I flew and would love to go back to it. There is nothing that I have ever done before or since that comes close to it.

    As as a career choice, it is tough. Get your PPL, build hours, get your instructor rating, become an instructor to keep building hours and eke out a small living while you try and pay for your CPL. Charter work, (taxi driver) and teaching while you work towards your instrument rating. Now you become employable. Not sure what that costs today but it was the wrong side of 100k 15 years ago.

    Jobs bs are fought over and so don't pay particularly well, right now with the oil sector cutting back, it has to be even tougher.

    However, it is one hell of a way to spend your day. Honing your skills handling an incredibly complex piece of kit. Flying like fixed wing pilots never can and probably having one of the coolest jobs out there!

    few can afford it, but they find a way. Everybody moans while they are getting there, I don't know of anyone who would willingly give it up as a career!

    hedge

  5. #5
    Hi Hedge,

    Sounds pretty similar to most I have spoken too. I'm in a very lucky position where I can afford to train myself up fully, should I be competent enough of course....

    I'm torn between property buying and letting and working in a job I don't enjoy, or taking a gamble on myself and making it work one way or another in a job I would enjoy doing, and hopefully prosper financial from in the long term..

    Cheers

  6. #6
    I don't know much about this, very little actually, but I do know that my brother who's an airline pilot says the bottom is dropping out of flying. Too many graduates being enticed into it for the glory instead of the money.
    New pilots on a quarter of what he earns. That's not good if you're going up against that mentality.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocker101 View Post
    Hi Hedge,

    Sounds pretty similar to most I have spoken too. I'm in a very lucky position where I can afford to train myself up fully, should I be competent enough of course....

    I'm torn between property buying and letting and working in a job I don't enjoy, or taking a gamble on myself and making it work one way or another in a job I would enjoy doing, and hopefully prosper financial from in the long term..

    Cheers
    I was never a heli pilot although I spent a lot of time as "crew" as a CAA & FAA Licenced Helicopter and Fixed Wing A & C Engineer for 20+ years, followed by 15 years in the oil & gas industry, so I have a foot in both camps. Life does not always have to be all or nothing, so why not split it? Buy and let some property which will always be worthwhile and just as important will be there if you don't make the grade. Having established yourself in property don't go for the job you think won't enjoy but for the flight training instead. If financially constrained it may take longer, and you won't ever make a fortune in driving or operating helicopters, however if you want to make money stick with property and fly (other people's, DON'T be tempted to buy your own) helicopters recreationally. As pointed out above the North Sea oil sector is shrinking, there are very few other opportunities if you are in Europe and lots of home grown competition elsewhere.
    Last edited by Wapinschaw; 13-09-2015 at 19:06.

  8. #8
    Sprocker, I a, sure you have heard it said before. "If you want to make a small fortune, take a large one and invest it in an aviation business".

    There are one or two successful charter businesses, but very very few people make any money in this space.

    However, changes in the last budget are going to make buying and letting a very tough business also, tax on gross income without deduction for financing is going to have a huge impact on yields and potentially the market in general.

    If if you can afford it, get your PPL(H), you won't regret it. Then decide whether you want to pursue it further. You will also meet lots of people in the industry as you get your ticket, that will help you form a view. At the least, you will have learned a new skill and had an extraordinary amount of fun. You can also use your helicopter to visit your properties around the country!

  9. #9
    Sorry to disagree with several other replies but, in my opinion, flying for a living is a tedious (and now very underpaid) job that satisfies only certain peoples ego's.

    100 people in a room - which one is the pilot? Easy, because he / she will tell you soon enough.

    Paying near 100k in full cpl training fees to be paid 16k a year for First Officer with Ryanair (and others) does not make sense. Also, if they can fly war planes from behind a desk in Texas then how long will an on-board pilot be required?

    The best flying I have had from a variety of aircraft is mountain / hill flying in a glider (sailplane to some). Flying from A to B to C then D with self loading cargo is no better than being a cabbie - but you do get nice epaulettes?

    Also, after you have frightened yourself or crashed an aircraft you realise how flippant you have become with your life at a time when possibly your family needs you most.

    Property will increase in value, a CPL will not. Buy property, live on the rent and do something you really enjoy. I found the buzz of flying very short term.
    Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it, hump it or learn from it then piss on it and walk away.

    "HOSPITALITY" - the art of making guests feel at home (when you wish they were).



  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocker101 View Post
    Hi Hedge,

    Sounds pretty similar to most I have spoken too. I'm in a very lucky position where I can afford to train myself up fully, should I be competent enough of course....


    Cheers
    Whilst you are fortunate enough to be able to afford to train yourself to be 'qualified', you could never afford to become as experienced as the competition you will face. Imagine the amount of ex military rotary wing pilots that are out there with literally thousands of hours experience as well as low level night flying and instrument ratings backed with vast experience. Then consider that most of the senior employers in these companies are of similar background and would rather employ known quantities (especially if they know them personally as is often the case!) and you will realise that it is a very hard industry to get in to. The rig helicopters are taking big cuts as Fracking produces more energy resources. Police helicopters are taking cuts. I started flying helicopters quite late in my military career and quite simply didn't have enough hours or experience to compete with others leaving at a much younger age.
    Have you considered a career in the military? You may as well get paid to do it rather than pay out!!
    MS

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