The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

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mulky_1
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The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby mulky_1 » Wed Feb 24 2016, 01:04

[list=][/list]Hey slappers,

I'm 25 years young and have found myself at the crossroads I'm sure many of you have been before. Since the age of 15 I have had a massive interest in flying helicopters. At 17 I was a signature away from an $85,000 student loan and entry to my CPL course with Helipro in Christchurch, NZ. But with the cloud of a massive student loan at a young age hovering above my head and a back up offer of service to the NZ Army I decided to pursue the Army. But the love of flying still lingered...
I served 3 years with the Army and don't regret it for a second. About a year and a half ago I made the move to WA and have been working as a fly in fly out worker for a marine based company. The pros. I have a 3 week on 3 week off roster, I am earning a great income which has allowed me to finance and rekindle my love of flying! The cons. I am working in unhealthy conditions. It is mind numbing work. All I think about is flying for a living!!
So, basically I am looking for any advice from pers who have just finished their CPL and trying to find work. To the guys who have been in the industry for 20+ years and know the industry like the back of their hand.
I am at the crossroads. I am currently at 10hrs flying time. My flight school is recommending I get my books to start the theory. I will need to complete my medical etc etc. The way I look at it. I need to decide whether I go all in and tackle this thing with everything I have got. Try to step away from my current job and make CPL my primary focus or just leave it for recreational flights here and there.
I am hoping to get insiders knowledge on the industry. Now I understand and am being very realistic on what the future in tails for a freshly qualified CPL pilot trying to get his foot in the door. Working for most likely quadruple less than what I am now. Having to knock on plenty of doors to get the "sorry we aren't hiring at the moment". Having to chase the work wherever in the country that it may be. Having to sweep hangers, load passengers etc etc just to be able to get trickles of hours to help build my hours. But being young, single and wanting to explore I am okay with all that.
I am hoping that you guys can shed some light on the industry...
What are the job prospects like? What is the industry like at the moment? Do you have any dos or don'ts? What are your own personal experiences? Are there any top tips for trying to find your initial job? Is there anything you would have done differently? Do you have any recommendations?
I also see on here guys who are looking for work with anywhere from 1500 to 7000+hrs. Some even with military flying experience. Is it that they are struggling to find work or maybe more looking for different opportunities? My flight school has given me the impression once your on 100hrs+ you should be pretty steady sailing and a lot more doors open. Is this not the case?
I am also wondering if anyone has any idea on the Advanced diploma of aeronautics that the polytechnic west offers?
Lastly, is it everything you imagined it to be when you were at these initial stages? Do you enjoy being a pilot? Is it worth the sacrifice? The money invested? But more importantly is it that bit easier getting up and out of bed in the morning?.... Haha. I love every second of flying and the IDEA of doing it for a living seems like a dream job! But is the reality the same as the dream?...
I apologize for the long winded message but I thought I would try best explain the situation in order to receive the best guidance from you guys!!
Thanks for your time 8)
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Eastwoodblade » Wed Feb 24 2016, 07:13

PM sent
Rotary as in not the Wankel engine...
agusta
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby agusta » Wed Feb 24 2016, 07:22

Try and pick up some ground work with an operator. This is the best way to see the ins and outs. Flying is only a small part of the job. The don't show you everything in the brochure! Remember all the photos and cool things you see on Facebook etc, thats just the highlight reel!
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby mulky_1 » Wed Feb 24 2016, 09:35

agusta wrote:Try and pick up some ground work with an operator. This is the best way to see the ins and outs. Flying is only a small part of the job. The don't show you everything in the brochure! Remember all the photos and cool things you see on Facebook etc, thats just the highlight reel!

Okay I will definitely explore those options. Thanks for that. Haha that's a great way to put it! Thanks for taking the time to reply :)
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby hench » Wed Feb 24 2016, 10:08

My suggestion, use your training as your first job interview / work experience. Help where you can show how keen you are, sweep hangars clean machines, learn the manual.

For me it was my flight school that gave me a shot, first 600hrs with them, haven't looked back
since.

It's not easy, especially if you have family but I wouldn't change it, can imagine doing anything else.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby UnObvious » Wed Feb 24 2016, 16:33

mulky_1 wrote:My flight school has given me the impression once your on 100hrs+ you should be pretty steady sailing and a lot more doors open. Is this not the case?


Are you able to talk to previous students of the school and see if this is true?
Some schools have opportunities with sister companies for their students, and others just know a lot of people and can get a guy set up. Others just promise the dream and have no way of delivering, so choosing your training school (and instructors) can make or break the start of your career. Just remember you're never locked into one school. You can always move if it's just not working for you.

Try and keep in touch with everyone you meet in the industry. It's a small one, and sometimes the difference between you being just another applicant and getting the job is who you know, even if you've only had a beer with them.

Do your best. Don't whine. But also don't take s#!t conditions.

Good luck! Feel free to PM too if you want to chat.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Low500 » Wed Feb 24 2016, 20:23

Get your full medical done before you spend any more on lessons.
Also get a few study manuals to go over while you wait for your medical to come through.
If you fail your med for any reason you will save a house load of dough.
Some are put off by the amount and type of study you have to do to get your CPL(H).
This will take a few weeks to do so giving you plenty of time to get a better idea if you want to pursue this career.
Agusta is correct and has given you great advice.

If you still want it , then do it,

Good luck
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby JT » Wed Feb 24 2016, 21:53

Mate fair questions and there are plenty of other people on here more qualified to comment re the current state or future of the rotary industry, but I'll raise some points that might help.

Apart from what everyone has already said.....

1. Take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. (Including mine!!) No one else is responsible for your life but you, that includes your happiness, failures and successes.
I work with guys who earn six figure salaries with a terrible attitude and negativity towards the industry, yet none can give me an answer as to why they
are so jaded or even more relevant, why they haven't left ? Aviation seems to be a mixed bag of love & hate at times. Multiple times in my career I disregarded the advice given to me by colleagues to pursue what I knew was the right decision for me, failure or success I wanted to give it a go. Three of those decisions are a direct reflection of where I am now with my career, but it also helps to know when to heed good advice (Sometimes that's hindsight!!).... Point being, I always went with my gut as it left me with only my self to blame. "Fortune favours the brave" or something like that.

2. What do you want from life ? Aviation is long road where timing & health is everything. Tourism, Oil, Exploration, Charter, EMS/SAR, Airlines are all areas of dynamic stability that are affected by different things. Look how the Oil price has affected the Off-shore Pilots ? How economic down turns affect tourism ? Contract changes affect EMS/SAR & how defence budgets affect military pilots ? Point being, no sector of aviation is "safe" from change.... but relate that to other fields of employment. The mining downturn is an example of that. There are times of "boom" & times of "low". Is it worth it ? That's a question only you can answer and it might be one you answer in 10 or 20 years, but be prepared for an element of instability. It's your choice to way up flying as a CPL/ATPL career Pilot or a PPL recreational Pilot.

3. What's money ? They say "to make a million dollars in aviation start with two million dollars." We get loans/finance in life for lots of useless s#!t. Cars, laptops, phones, jewellery but I don't think you can't go wrong investing in a skill or qualification. Once you're a CPL or PPL Pilot no one, (other than CA$A or your health) can take that away from you. Whether you use it or not, it's yours & you can always come back to it when the times right. Point being, I have a friend who left flying as an instructor in the 1990's to pursue law and recently in the last 24 months has picked up his Pilot career again, albeit part-time. I also know civilian and military pilots who have left flying or are having a break. Obviously your financial obligations will change as life goes on... Enter marriage, kids & mortgages, so enjoy what you can NOW... while you can! As your decision to stop flying in the future might not be yours.

4. NETWORK. Talk to people. Not just one or three, talk to twenty or a hundred. Talk to as many Pilots as you can and the ones who wanted to be pilots! Get some insight from both sides of the fence. Knowledge is confidence, having all the information you need will help you make the right decision at any point in your career. Find a mentor and learn from them, everyone has someone in their career who they listen too, value and respect with like minded views or who challenges their views. You're already here asking questions, never stop. There are people who succeed very quickly in their career and there are those who struggle to find work, apart from timing... Networking has a lot to do with this. We all scratch each others back and sometimes you'll find the Pilot with the right attitude will get "trained" to do the job over someone with all the bells and whistles with the wrong attitude or reputation.

In reality you've answered your own question already.
Since the age of 15 I have had a massive interest in flying helicopters
10 years later and you're still talking about it.... Enjoy your flying career & best of luck. :wink:
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Zac Henderson » Thu Feb 25 2016, 04:40

My advice for what it's worth. As someone who has recently gone through what you are, and still going through. I say go for it. Obviously everything I say is my own opinion and not a reflection of the industry. Rule number one is don't listen to anyone, do what you want to do. Particularly people who have been in the industry for many years and especially ex military because they are way out of touch in regards to how it feels being a green Pilot looking for work. People will tell you to do this and do that. Go do joy flights or go do this. Do what you feel is right.
Work hard, be loyal,be honest and have low expectations. The goods will come. Whatever you do, DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!!!!
I've worked as a loader in the Ag industry and Pilot in the Mustering game. I've had great employers, always enjoyed my job and don't regret a thing. Both of these jobs have allowed me to gain hours in the 2 industries I'm passionate about. Which for me is what it's all about. Do as you wish with this advice, hope it can help.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby integrity » Thu Feb 25 2016, 08:26

PM sent...
Where there is no vision - the people shall perish.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Helicoil » Thu Feb 25 2016, 18:55

Hey bro

I was in the same boat as you back around 2006, but for me signing up for the student loan was an easy choice, as I had come to the end of a career in the computing industry. I was advised not to train through the same guys as you however, and instead went for the other main helicopter operator in Christchurch. A second student loan later to gain an instructor rating and a scoot over the ditch to the big island, meant I managed to land a job working as a grade 2 flight instructor (now grade 1). It's cost me my marriage and a debt now in the order of six-figures, but the debt is manageable and I suspect the marriage would have gone south regardless of the choices made. The experience benefits of being a pilot on the other hand well outweigh the negative - ship landings, tropical island transfers, Airwork operations, flying the larger turbine helicopters, good war stories etc.

It's not an easy road, and its a long one at that, but well worth the journey. If, like me back in 2005, you find yourself looking out the office window when a helicopter passes overhead thinking "that could be me", or "how much longer before I make the break to being a pilot", then I say go for it :wink:

H.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby heli2o » Sat Feb 27 2016, 06:42

"20 years from now you will regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did do" - Mark Twain.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Cavok » Sun Feb 28 2016, 07:07

I'm a newly rated CPL-H pilot, 107 hours in the book (LOOK OUT!), so i thought I'd put my 2 cents in. It took me 5 years of planning, saving, and in the past 18 months studying to get the theory out of the way before taking 2 months off work to fly 6 days a week and push myself through the CPL in the most cost/learning efficient way (for me). I have also sacrificed a lot (financially, living away from friends/family) but, as has been pointed out above, no one can take a skill, an education, or perhaps more to the point an enjoyable journey (being that of the CPL learning experience) away from you. Perhaps you WILL get to the end and realise that it's not for you, too hard due to life changes to pursue a career, etc. However that would be the worst case scenario and although you would have spent a heavy fee, life has taught me that not doing things that captivate me as much as flying helicopters would lead to a nagging case of the "what ifs". You seem to have a similar pull towards rotary flight. Although I have my license I'm still at my current employment and doing the leg work to enter a difficult, close-nit but worthwhile industry where there are plenty of people who enjoy the view from their "office".

It may be cliche, but the old "perseverance conquers all" has proved itself in my case. Good luck with the decision and thereafter! Feel free to PM if you want any further info.
Wish I was flying somewhere where it's...
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby SpecB » Sun Jun 19 2016, 01:25

I'm in almost the same boat. 26, mining industry, thinking it's time for a change.

It's a big investment to make (financial and time) and it will be hard to step away from my current salary and roster but I need to do something fulling.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Evil Twin » Sun Jun 19 2016, 11:11

SpecB wrote:I'm in almost the same boat. 26, mining industry, thinking it's time for a change.

It's a big investment to make (financial and time) and it will be hard to step away from my current salary and roster but I need to do something fulling.


I wouldn't spend your money hoping for a return right now..... Maybe wait a bit and save a bit more, the tide will change, but it's all the way out right now.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby SpecB » Mon Jun 20 2016, 02:40

Evil Twin wrote:

I wouldn't spend your money hoping for a return right now..... Maybe wait a bit and save a bit more, the tide will change, but it's all the way out right now.


So wouldn't it be better to start soon, then by the time I've logged a few hours hopefully it'll come around again?
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Evil Twin » Mon Jun 20 2016, 09:59

Entirely your call.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby Rotorpilot » Mon Jun 20 2016, 10:54

Job market is up s#):+ Creek

low HR positions have local and international pilots with hundreds if not 1000's of hours going for ground crew and entry level positions.

This is what your dealing with=

Wanted pilot 200hr 20 hr R44........I have 900hrs can we talk?

Yeah your 105hrs is not going to cut it sorry.
The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby havick » Mon Jun 20 2016, 18:06

Wanted pilot 200hr 20 hr R44........I have 900hrs can we talk?

Yeah your 105hrs is not going to cut it sorry.


Rotorpilot, I'm sorry but I have to disagree entirely with you on that one. I would take the lower hour guy because I know the higher hour guy taking a step back because of the current state of the industry will up and leave as soon as things get better or he/she gets a sniff of a better job elsewhere.

Employers look as much for stability as they do hour requirements etc. The higher hour guy in the scenario you suggested is actually going to cost the company more money from a training perspective that someone who is low hours and NEEDS to stick around.
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Re: The crossroads..... HELP PLEASE!!

Postby mulky_1 » Sat Aug 13 2016, 07:10

Hey all,

First and foremost I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to messages and comments. To say that things have been busy these last few months would be an understatement!

Secondly, I would like to say a massive thank you to each and everyone of you who have taken the time to message me, leave a comment on here or offer your numbers and have a chat. Your honesty and willingness to help a fellow aviation enthusiast has been much appreciated. It has been great to hear not only positive views and experiences but also the not so positive. Nothing in life is perfect and I would have never expected to hear the good without the bad. It has honestly been amazing to be able to get everybody's opinions and personal experiences. Just being able to talk and listen to everyone from people who are in the same boat as I am to the ones who have a few thousand hours up the sleeves and a wealth of knowledge has just been so humbling and definitely helped make my decision on my future as a pilot.

So, with that being said after over 8 years of pondering, dreaming and wishing....... I AM GOING TO BE A PILOT!

Not long after posting this I started actively pursuing my options. Do I train in NZ or Aus? Do i continue to work off shore and train or full time training? Do I look at the fixed wing option ? How am I going to afford this? These were just a small number of the questions I would be faced with in my brain daily! However without boring you all this is what I decided would be the best option for myself with my own personal situation.

So i decided to pack it all in and move back to the motherland. I decided that training in NZ would be best for me for several reasons.
1. I would be studying where i grew up- I have the knowledge of home. Having friends and family that helped out while i got on my feet. I was able to get part time work easily while studying. Plus I mean its NZ!! The country and environment has some beautiful scenery especially from up above!
2. Diploma in aviation- Now everyone has their own opinion and thoughts on this but for me it was good. I am able to get a student loan to help fund a portion of the training. Have allowances from the government to help with rent, food etc. It is a full time course. I go in Monday to Friday and am living in and around the industry all day rather than say trying to balance work and study. But the diploma especially with my training provider I feel has been set up very well. The course is outlined to provide you with not only the CPL but other helpful skills to hopefully increase your "hire ability" for the dreaded first job. Things such as first aid, DG by land for loaders and by air, ground crewman skills, maintenance courses as well as hands on learning experiences and opportunities to help with "real" commercial operations just to name a few things.
3. NZ CPL requirements- In NZ you are required to have at least 150hrs before you are able to sit your CPL flight exam. You are required to do sling training. You are required to have mountain flying experience. These are just a couple of things i found NZ required that I wouldn't have had to in WA.
I am currently living back in NZ. I have been studying my Diploma in aviation (helicopters) with CHCH Helicopters for the past 3 or so months and am loving it! At this point have completed and passed my PPL and CPL exams of Flight radio, Human factors, Meteorology (WTF lol), Air law and Navigation. I am currently studying Air tech. Unfortunately I have not been up flying just yet as I already have approx. 9 hours and they would like the others with less time to catch up. Hopefully starting next week I will be falling in with everyone and be flying 3x 1 week an 2x the next as well as ground school. I am honestly enjoying it so much and meeting some amazing people. I understand that there is a looooong road ahead and its not all the land of milk and honey. There are going to be some difficult times ahead and already have had a few frustrating moments but all in all I'm loving it!!

The thing that did it for me.... I sat there and thought about it. We only have one life. One opportunity to be able to do everything we dream of. I would hate to sit there in 40 years and wonder "what if" i did that. In all honesty, i hope that if anything I have a career i enjoy and a job that makes it a lil bit easier to get out of bed in the morning! Thanks again to everyone for your time and knowledge it is much appreciated.

Fly safe,
Mulky_1 8)

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