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Old 02-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default i want to become a (real) heli pilot for a career!

Hey guys and one here recently got their helicopter pilots lisence or in the process?
I want to start the classes at my local airport (Van Nuys, CA) but its pretty pricy. by the time id have a heli pilots lisence it would cost about 20k! haha but i stil want to do it and can pay as you go.

I own my own business selling alternators and starters but my dream is still to fly a heli as my career!

Anthony
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That would be a lot of fun.. If I ever win the lottery.. I think you can easily spend more than 20K though!
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was going to get my ratings at Van Nuys... Nice guys over there. Do they still train mostly on S 300c's?

At the time I was over there I had taken out a 90K loan to go all the way to ATP, then my car got jacked, lost my job and ran out of money. Needless to say I didnít use a penny of the loan and gave it back. I have been training here in NY, I have 2 sources, 1 is a local flight school (thatís where I get my 'official' training) and the 2nd is one of my stepdads flying buddies, he just got his CFI in a heli and has over 20 years in fixed wings... He owns 13 airplanes and 2 helis so I sort of got lucky here, we go flying and I pay for the fuel and I get to practice a lot. Have not taken my check ride yet, its pointless anyway as I donít have the money to buy or even rent a heli so till I get a new job I'm not going to bother.

Good luck, its A LOT of money but if you can afford it, hey go for it.

Oh, if you wanna be a career pilot you are gonna need more then 20K, 20K will get you a private certificate, if you want to make ANY money at all you need to at least get a commercial and a CFI rating. But realistically speaking, you will spend 80K+, spend at least 1 year as an instructor making no more than you would in any other 'regular job' then if youíre lucky (and good) can get a job flying tours... then after maybe 5 years of that you will have enough seniority to move up and make decent money, but, most donít make it that far.

Helis are a bit different then airplanes, heli pilotís donít get the credit they deserve... Look at heli loggers, power line inspectors, heli fire fighters, ski operations, medevac pilots, oil rig pilots... Some of them do real well but most are lucky if they ever get to 80K a year.


You can also go into the military.

Good luck man, itís not really all the glory and prestige as it was in 1950 but you do it cuz you love it...
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For what you'll pay for the ratings and necessary flight hours, just to be hireable, the return on investment sucks. Plus you won't get paid squat for all the time and money you invested. I don't know of anyone that will buy a low-time heli pilot. You got to have hours and lots and lots of them to satisfy the insurance requirements. That's why it' best to join the military and let them teach you to fly and let them pay the bill for all the hours you'll need to get a job on the outside. Or, just go buy our own full-scale heli and fly to your heart's content. Look at the inexpensive, single-seat Mosquito. Less than 30K and you don't need a pilot's license because it's an ultralight heli. Pretty cool. [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr44Q8MQHL0[/ame]
And if you got the extra $$$, they got a turbine one also. [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5slM2JWYnBw[/ame]
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Man, I'm with ya... I'm going to do the same thing, albeit not to make a living at it, I already have a career. My honey bought me a full first lesson for valentine's day... couple hours of ground school and a 1 hour first flight. I was stunned. I got hooked on rc helis recently, wanted to be a pilot since I was a kid, local airport about 15 minutes away, gonna take a look at it. I also hear it's 15-20k to get your private license, but I'm more into the journey than the destination so it can happen when and if it happens. I'm just gonna have some fun. Newton, Bernoulli, flight... love it.

Good luck, have fun. It doesn't matter how much you make... if you love what you do, you will be successful.

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Old 02-28-2011, 06:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Vico is right, flying is not what it was. My dad learned how to fly in the Army Air Corp. When he started as a DC-3 co-pilot, he was a big deal, then captain of a 727. He told me back when that "they" were turning him into a flying bus driver...
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Unless you have a helicopter ATP rating and 1000+ hours, or were lucky enough to get trained by the military, there are no jobs out there. A couple of years back, one of the bigger, well-known heli flights schools that actually gave you a job when you were done went under. Before that, near me guys were flying for free to get time. You could always start studying for the written test now...they're not hard, they just contain a lot of info.

There is a rotorcraft pilot hiring stand-still right now. So if you time it out right, hopefully in a few years, many pilots with high time will be retiring and you "could, maybe, perhaps" work your way in. There will be a need sooner or later just like with the airlines, but that's a whole other story.

If you're serious and young enough go military. Do your research before you ever drop serious coin.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This would be a job of passion. If you love helis, love to work on engines always having grease under you nails...go for it.

Get a job working at the airport, washing helis, apprentice under someone as a mechanic...live helis. Now, get a college degree while you're working. Some will say you don't need it but not having one may keep you from getting brought on with a big firm.

as long as you're paying your bills...who cares how much you make.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2112 View Post
Unless you have a helicopter ATP rating and 1000+ hours, or were lucky enough to get trained by the military, there are no jobs out there. A couple of years back, one of the bigger, well-known heli flights schools that actually gave you a job when you were done went under.
You mean "Slither-State"?? That outfit run by that thief Jerry Airola? Pure pyramid scheme with those people.. They left a LOT of people hanging with huge loans over their heads.

Do your homework on the school if you decide to pursue your ticket. Most schools are reputable and many will hire you should you decide to earn your instructor ticket. You won't make squat while instructing, but you'll be generating valuable hours...

Quote:
Before that, near me guys were flying for free to get time. You could always start studying for the written test now...they're not hard, they just contain a lot of info.
I fly for free when I find a "paying" gig. I'd much rather have the hours than the $$. I've got a good paying job right now. Each "free" hour is another hour closer to the 1,000 hour mark.

Quote:
There is a rotorcraft pilot hiring stand-still right now. So if you time it out right, hopefully in a few years, many pilots with high time will be retiring and you "could, maybe, perhaps" work your way in. There will be a need sooner or later just like with the airlines, but that's a whole other story.
Funny how the hiring happens in a cyclical fashion.. It seems to come back every few years tho.. Keep an eye on the industry and like Mike said, you may get lucky.

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If you're serious and young enough go military. Do your research before you ever drop serious coin.
Yep. If I had it to do over again, I'd have joined the military and let them pay for my training. My son wants to fly helis and I've told him to join the Army and get them to park his butt down at Ft. Rucker for a year and train him.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i was looking in to getting a helicopter pilots license when i lived in tennessee, this is before i got in to RC helicopters. always loved helicopters

any ways it was about 90 thousand dolors to get the license. i know a guy who is a real heli pilot, well i talked to him on the phone about it. one of my dads frirnds knows this guy, he said he as about 120 grand into getting his helicopter pilot liscense.

it is not cheep, the flight school also told me the average job flying a helicopter may only pay around 40k a year. i mean that is descent money but not that great. the guy my dads friend knows delivers cargo that needs to be delivered ASAP. he said he makes about 5-15 thousand on ever trip they send him on depending on how far it is..
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You mean "Slither-State"?? That outfit run by that thief Jerry Airola? Pure pyramid scheme with those people.. They left a LOT of people hanging with huge loans over their heads.
Not sure, I forgot the name. I don't think that was the one though. Seems all too common over the past years though.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dannylightning View Post
i was looking in to getting a helicopter pilots license when i lived in tennessee, this is before i got in to RC helicopters. always loved helicopters

any ways it was about 90 thousand dolors to get the license. i know a guy who is a real heli pilot, well i talked to him on the phone about it. one of my dads frirnds knows this guy, he said he as about 120 grand into getting his helicopter pilot liscense.

it is not cheep, the flight school also told me the average job flying a helicopter may only pay around 40k a year. i mean that is descent money but not that great. the guy my dads friend knows delivers cargo that needs to be delivered ASAP. he said he makes about 5-15 thousand on ever trip they send him on depending on how far it is..
You can get your private for about $12k - Figure on about $225 hour with the instructor and you need a minimum of 40 hours. Almost nobody does it in 40, most take their checkride after 50-60 hours. After that, tack on another $8-10k for your instrument, then grind out your commercial (now you're legal to make money, but nobody will hire you) and then your instructor (and maybe your instrument instructor) ticket.. All told, you're looking at about $70k and then you instruct - at $15-18/hour and that only when you're flying...

It's a rough gig for sure and you've got to love it to want to try to make a living at it. Don't get me wrong, I *LOVE* to fly, but I started too late to have any chance of making a career out of it....
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I have several friends that are REAL heli pilots, most of them struggle month to month. The only ones who really will make any amount of money are the Mountain pilots who take peeps to the high arcs, or who take people to the remote fishing destinations that will pay the private bucks.

Here locally there is a Heli training center half hour from where I live, private is 25-30K, and commercial will be 42-47K in total to get all the hours required.

One of my friends who flies for Stars ambulance and other is a remote process operator who flies into remote locations, exits the heli and does other professional work. The other two are more commercial, but none of them are getting rich, or even really well off to say the least.

If it is your dream rock on, but do not expect to get rich as those pilots are few and far between and also expect that after some time as I have even found as I have been in real helis a ton and every kind there is, it becomes well ....an air taxi and is not that exciting after awhile. RC Helis are MUCH more exciting IMO.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Helis are a bit different then airplanes, heli pilotís donít get the credit they deserve... Look at heli loggers, power line inspectors, heli fire fighters, ski operations, medevac pilots, oil rig pilots... Some of them do real well but most are lucky if they ever get to 80K a year.


You can also go into the military.

Good luck man, itís not really all the glory and prestige as it was in 1950 but you do it cuz you love it...
He'll need more than luck.....

I used to work in the fixed wing division for one of the biggest heli outfits in the country. One of the things I did was to ferry pilots and mechanics from field operations as well as running parts so I got to talk with a lot of the pilots. We also ran both heli and fixed wing air ambulances all across the country so I think I can speak to some of the issues the OP will have.

When you look at an operation which does high risk work like air ambulance, long line, seismic, logging etc. the minimum flight hours for the insurance companies is 3000 or the resume goes into the round file.

I know one guy who actually got into air ambulance flying by going with a National Guard unit for a number of years and that along with flying off tuna boats for three years got him enough time to get hired and he passed the flight tests. It took a Father-In-Law with LOTS of money to get him to where he could get into those spots...

Military is about the only realistic way to get the necessary flight time for the insurance companies if you want to do anything other than instruct and I promise you, that will get old.
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