Rescue crewman wages

What's a job in helicopters pay? Does it pay? Why do you get paid more than me?
buzz412
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Rescue crewman wages

Postby buzz412 » Fri Mar 4 2011, 07:19

Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone could give me some sort of idea how much rescue crewman make a year? Iv spent the last few months getting my lifesaving and 1st Aid qualifications up to scratch and still chasing a job hopefully with Westpac and finding it hard to get a straight answer from anyone.. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Cheers
Buzz
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FerrariFlyer
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby FerrariFlyer » Fri Mar 4 2011, 07:34

As a rescue crewman, only going down the wire, I'd estimate in the vicinity of $45-50k depending on where you go. Keep in mind that only CHC and EMQ pay for full-time down the wire guys, generally speaking.

As a qualified aircrewman with a winch ticket and 500hrs or so, expect closer to $65-80k as a rough guide.

Which Westpac organization are you talking about? Entry level spots at any of the 'Westpac' sponsored organizations are very difficult to obtain. Try the search function to find other handy tid bits re this subject.
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby buzz412 » Fri Mar 4 2011, 07:52

Thanks for that Ferrari Flyer!
Iv been talking to the guys at the Tamworth (northwest and new england NSW) based Westpac rescue chopper and just waiting for something to pop up.
Im just about to go up to Careflights training centre hopefully in the next few months and do their introductory crewman course to get some hours up and make myself look more attractive when something comes up.
Hopefully getting some time with national parks doing some dog baiting , do those hours count for anything?
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby FerrariFlyer » Fri Mar 4 2011, 08:32

It's all exposure and it's a learning curve from your first flight to your last! Remember that last bit especially.

Start with the baiting, then it's something else, then it's fires....then you're being winched trained then presto you have 500hrs and lots of winches. I got 200hrs and over 175 winches on my first 'casual' season between Heliaust and Parks. It was a busy season, I'll admit. Best day was over 7hrs flying and 40 odd winches...which takes forever in a Squirrel.

The crewing I did with Parks was around 9-10 years ago on the fires in both the Squirrel and BK and I worked with some good guys, got some great knowledge and had some memorable experiences. Those orange flight suits were also so damn popular with the lady folk too!?! (I'm joking by the way)
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby buzz412 » Fri Mar 4 2011, 10:45

Haha!! yeah i bet the ladies were all over you guys!!
Thanks again FF
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby Tactical71 » Sat Mar 5 2011, 02:55

Hey Buzz,
While certainly not impossible, the crewing industry can be difficult to get into. I've just turned 40 and have just got my first job crewing as a casual, after many years of trying. I dont have heaps of hours. I dont have a winch ticket. But I still managed to get this casual position, so its not impossible.

The industry has a lot of ex-military crewmen who have attained many hours of flying, which quite often makes them more attractive to an employer than one with less. However, if you can demonstrate that you are keen and not an idiot, you may be able to get a foot in the door somewhere.

As for working for Westpac (New England), I think you will find that due to the nature of the work they perform, you would need your 500hrs as it may be a requirement for the NSW Health contract they are fulfilling. Certainly the more you can do to make yourself attractive to an employer, the better. First Aid, HUET, CRM, DG, all of that helps. Its costly, but might be worthwile.

As for pay, from those in the industry Ive spoken to, it would appear that with more hrs and experience, comes appropriate remuneration. Low hrs, little experience = lower wages than those with more than you've got.

Unless you are willing to move where the work is, then your chances become even less of jagging a job.

I think the advice of Ferrari about Parks or or Heli Aust is good advice. But you would probably need to move location for that.

If you have your heart set on being a crewman, then keep on trying. The Careflight Crewman Course is expensive, but it might be just what you need to get a foot in the door. Otherwise you might considering doing you pilots licence. At least that way, you can pay your way to fly.

Good Luck
Gus
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby FerrariFlyer » Sat Mar 5 2011, 05:46

Buzz412 (and others)...learn the meaning of persistance and you'll come up trumps eventually. I networked for years and years before I finally gained my first full-time crewing job (5 years writing to one crew chief before he finally called me for an interview). I am not saying that it always take this long, but be prepared for a period of time gaining experience and training.

As Tactical71 eluded to, many a military crewman passed out of/retired from the military world for a somewhat more relaxed and steady position, and they can be tough to beat for experience and qualifications. That said, just as many crewman are non-military as their are with military backgrounds.

Keep a keen eye out on the CHC website for down the wire/rescue crewman positions as they have a large SAR contract for the RAAF with locations around Oz and often times they advertise for these types of roles which become the starting point of great careers.

If you haven't already looked into this area, some good qualifications to look into are HUET, Advanced First Aid and Resuscitation (as you already eluded to), Dangerous Goods Awareness, a Flight Radio Operator Licence from a local flying school, an ARN (issued by CASA...check with your flying school) and also a CASA Class 2 aircrew medical. CHC and most others request a Bronze Medallion and a knowledge of some aviation navigation procedures, meteorology etc will also stand you in good stead.

As one old salt said to me years ago, 'it is a long way to the top if you want rock and roll...and an even longer road if you want to fly EMS/SAR!'

Any other questions, fire away.
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Tactical71
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby Tactical71 » Sat Mar 5 2011, 06:56

Buzz,
If you have the time and money, then might I suggest taking on a few subjects at TAFE. I went to "night shcool" and did the Nav, Met and Aircraft Performance subjects of the CertIV Aviation Studies. These have assisted me to no end, understadning how the turbine engine of the aricraft I fly in work and and helping me out to understand what the pilot is talking about. As a crewman, Navigation is a great subject to be able to undertand. Whilst I didnt get any specific qualification out of it, I did get the necessary understanding and knowledge of these important subjects.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby LHSboy » Mon Mar 7 2011, 04:11

buzz412,
As you have been speaking to the guys at Tamworth, they obviously told you that they don't have rescue crewman based with them. So if you are waiting for something to pop up there you might be doing that for a while. As the others have said, your best bet is to get all the certificates required for the job plus your get your fitness level up to speed to be able to pass whatever test that may be needed to get a job.

Last year CHC created a rescue crewman apprenticeship program as they couldn't get crew to cover their contract. Did you know about this or not? At the time I said it was a great chance for guys/girls to get into the industry. At the moment, CHC are looking for air crewpersons for 3 of their bases. They are still looking for 500 hrs experience but will look at people with less hours if they have all the ticks in the box.

These days, to get experienced crew that have 500 hours is hard to come by as most crewies I know don't move around and are happy where they are. Some operators have lowered that mark, some to zero hours, so there is hope for you to get a start somewhere. All the guys I know that started their careers as casual rescue crew didn't have any helicopter experience prior to getting a start, but they mostly had all the certificates required and were able to pass the fitness test.

The option of doing one of Careflight's courses has merit as many people have gained employment after getting started with them. They are expanding but do not have rescue crewman either, only air crew. EMQ have full time rescue crew on their aircraft and they occasionally advertise, a former Tamworth rescue crewman now works for them in Cairns. Here at Westpac Newcastle, we have a couple of casual rescue crewman but the majority of the time our full time air crewman fill the position.

As FF said, persistance pays off and if you are committed to the goal of becoming a rescue crewman/air crewman, you will get there eventually.

PM if you want some more info.

Cheers :D
buzz412
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Re: Rescue crewman wages

Postby buzz412 » Mon Mar 7 2011, 10:22

Thanks for the great advice gents!! I've definately got some thinking to do and i'll try and get a few more courses under my belt.

At the moment I've got my bronze medallion, my advanced first aid and advanced resuscitation, I've undertaken some work experience with commercial helicopters in Mudgee (mainly mechanical type stuff with there Bell fleet) and I've got some more coming up with LHPA doing some dog baiting around the Nundle area near Tamworth. At the moment Im working as a lineworker for a powerline company so I've also got all my working at heights training, pole top rescue and EWP emergency descent,forklift and 60T crane ticket plus many more trade related qualifications. Im trying to keep fit by playing in the local first grade waterpolo comp as well as doing my own swimming, running and weight training. I've been looking at doing some navigation and communication courses either with TAFE or a local flight training school but still waiting on some more info before i commit the cash and im also doing my class 2 aviation medcal in the weeks to come.

I realise that these jobs arent easy to come by and take a lot of time and commitment. In saying that I'm also not in any rush to just jump straight into the deep end of EMS/SAR. I eventually want to end up as a fully qualified Aircrewman/winchman but I would much prefer to start out as a rescue crewman so I know whats needed at the other end of the wire.

Anymore comments/advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks again guys
BUZZ

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