Pilot pay, Confirmed amounts

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

Are you happy with this information?

Yes, bring it on.
No, its private and up to the individual to sort his own pay out.
They earn how much??? Gee im a sucker...
I dont want to help you with this by PM ing my package.
Total votes: 183
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Silver Wings
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Pilot pay, Confirmed amounts

Postby paymaster » Mon Nov 28 2005, 11:59

Ok, no one seems to want to put some figures down so here goes.

After training in Australia you will most likely have to show how much you want the job and as you only fly a few hours a day in most places you will have to have more skills than just flying. This is where most people fall by the way side due to spending all their hard earned money on flying. Unless you’re really lucky you may have to spend some months working for nothing for someone to show them that you are useful to them and wont whinge and whine because you’re not flying. As most people don’t have the money to support themselves, or are living on their girlfriends or wives income, this is where they get divorced, break up with their girlfriend or quit their short stint in aviation to earn some real money and save their relationship. Sounds harsh but it is the reality for most people.

PHS for example has a mountain of log books with 107 hours, a B206 endorsement and then nothing, going back many years. The people never managed to get beyond this and never picked up their log book. Bare in mind though that there is a progression from PHS for the right guys and they now have a position as paid hanger rat who then goes to the rock. If you look at where a lot of guys from the rock have ended up, it is a worth while destination. For the first year PHS pays around $350 per week after tax, you are on a 12 month work experience contract and then onto the Award Wage if you make the grade. Your accommodation, a shared house with another pilot is included at no charge (from Pohm1), although soon you will have to pay $50 rent. If you like the outback, have good tourism skills and can manage the show, become the Base Manager for PHS and you could earn around $60000 plus your fuel and rent paid. Not bad for a single engine day VFR pilot. This is the same if you work at their Kings Canyon operation.

Ayers Rock Helicopter is considerably less at about $17000 pa (3rd world wage but i suppose the rock is classes as the third world) but fly more hours so the pilots don't tend to stay as long before moving on.

Australian National Helicopters Based at Glen Helen and Alice springs fly B47s and B206s doing scenics and geo work and pay $100 per day.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the schools will have the same pile of log books or maybe some are wise and throw them out after a few years, or at least post them to the owner.

OK, so you have proven yourself and get your first break. Most first time employers don’t want to pay your super or holiday and sick pay so they let you know you will be on cash for a few months (years). Most of the guys i have known get $400 per week no matter what the hours (they are usually long and maybe 6 days a week) BUT you're closer to your dream. Also note that these guys are flying R44s and B206s so piston or turbine it doesn’t really matter when you don’t have any experience. If you have a good boss you will probably get $27000 a year and maybe a caravan if you’re in the bush somewhere and you will have to pay rent for that as well.

Once you have proven yourself, you may get to the giddy heights of say $35000 to $42000 when you have 500 hours plus and can keep their business ticking over nicely. Also it will hurt when you have to give a moaning bus driver $280 cash commissions for doing his job. But as the old saying goes "if you think bus drivers and customers are a pain in the bum, try doing without them for a month".

Lets look at the companies that pay well in the tourist game, Usually flying piston, there is already a post about the award wages and this is paid by people like Heli Reef. Heli Reef R44 drivers start on $42 000 with salary sacrifice for your rent (about 35% off your rent and utilities bills). Twin trainee captains (co pilots) go up to about $50 000 and Captains wages are bargained by themselves but are usually around $80 000. All single turbine endorsements carry a one year service bond, pistons are free and Twins carry a three year service bond,

If you know of any others that pay the award please PM me. Lets get some true figures here with the names of the companies.

You could take the Instructor road once you have accumulated 400 hours somehow and these guys get paid from $38,000 if your boss has you over a barrel, to $60,000 if you are appreciated. Add on to that CFI and ATO and you can look at earning more than this these days as instructors are becoming more in demand. Some companies will give you your instructor rating in return for a commitment and a repayment deal or you pay 50/50, it's up to your negotiation skills.

Ag Flying I was recently informed that as an Ag Pilot you can earn $55,000 flat rate per year. This is quite low as others are earning in the order of $120,000 per year, I dont know the condition they work under but can imagine from a lot of the crashes recently you are flying on the edge with no room for error. A darwin operator recently sort employees offering $55,000 per year plus $75 per hour flown ag operations. Another way of getting paid is to receive 10% of the work completed.

Mustering This area used to be huge in Australia but recently has declined due to increased management using fences and the consolodation of equipment and pilots. Some smaller companies pay $600 before tax, others pay half this but include board and food. Senior pilots usually get $70 - 80,000 pa. Other companies pay $60 - $70 per hour flown. Once again its upto your negotiating skills and what you value yourself at. Anybody got confirmed pay rates for Helimuster?

Offshore Latest Bristow Helicopters Co Pilot offer is $66,426(Yr1 01/06/2009) to $79,752(Yr10 01/06/2009) depending on experience. This rises to $96,406(Yr1 01/06/2009) to $116,907(Yr10 01/06/2009) when you reach Senior First Officer after approximately two years and includes all the other things like accident insurance, loss of License insurance etc. Now really is the time if you have dreams of working in the offshore industry. A common misconception is that these larger companies only take very experienced pilots, this misconception often works to the detriment of pilots interested in a career in off shore. Currently if you have 500 Hrs Heli PIC and an IREX pass you could be 'command ready' within 5 years!

Offshore/Onshore CHC Co-Pilot as with Bristow’s these companies have EBA's which mean people joining the company know what they are going to be on. CHC start on around $71,801(Yr 1 01/07/2009) to $83,261(Yr 10 01/07/2009). If you tour with these companies you also get money for being away from home, around $4.75 per hour away from home. Check the Award... Senior first officer upgrade ups your base wage to $92,806 (Yr1 01/07/2009) to $107,792 (Yr10 01/07/2009). As you can see the SFO didn't get as good a deal this year in CHC compared to Bristows. For the low time pilot there is better promotional chances within Bristows due to the shear number of machines they are bringing into the Country and their well established training and promotion system. At 2 years you are assessed for SFO upgrade and on your 3rd year you have your command interview where they assess you for upgrade and further training. At CHC they have a 3 year wait for SFO and a 2 year BOND for your training which you have to pay back if you leave or they sack you due to your performance. This is one of the only companies who have used a bond to keep people, others realise that if you are not happy in the role its better you weren't there.

If you Take the Pilot transfer companies like Hydropilots as a Single pilot IFR Captain flying night and day you would earn in excess of $80,000 but you will work hard for that and its under the PVT category which comes with its disadvantages. Helicopters Australia based out of Karratha flying B206 night ops pay $75,000 but you also get a 4 bedroom house paid for including telephone line rental, electricity $25 of STD calls $40 mobile phone and Loss of licence insurance. This company is currently implementing a new EBA which rumour has it resembles the Bristows EBA, this should be a good step for its employees. They are also bringing in a new fleet of EC145 twins engine aircraft from MPT for safety which will also be IFR requiring their pilots to hold MECIR`s.

Australian Helicopters (Reef & Marine) working out of Gladstone pay the award.

Power Line Inspection These Guys obviously need some experience and quite often their insurance company requests a certain hour requirement. So when you have 2000 hrs total helicopter time plus 100hrs on type (H500 or H369) 100 hrs low flying experience and maybe a few friends willing to give you a leg up you can start on about $60,000 with the likes of Aeropower. Just changed these Hour requirements from 500hrs turbine to 100 hrs on type 27/01/2007 due to shortage of pilots!!

Contract Fire, Sling and Locust Spotting. Companies like HeliAust (a division of Helimuster) use mainly contract pilots from all over and pay about $350 per day, beyond 4 hours you get $75 per hour on top of that. These jobs are seasonal though so don’t spend it all at the pub, save some for the down time

Captains in the off shore world for
$113,801 (Yr1 01/06/2009) $134,321 (Yr10 01/06/2009)
$115,294 (Yr1 01/07/2009) $132,925 (Yr10 01/07/2009)
Not bad eh if that whets your appetite but look at that as a 5 to 8 year goal.

Then there are sort after jobs like the following but note the qualifications required! Keep working on all of these if the opportunity arises. You might not think they are important at the time but later down the track you will have the ticks in the boxes.
Victoria Police Air Wing
Recently advertised positions for these guys were:
Pilot CPL(H) with a minimum 500 hours, turbine experience, Hoist, NVFR and IF Rating or soon to get = $54,000 to $74,000 depending on qualifications.
Senior Pilot ATPL, Minimum 2000hrs including 400 IC ME, C&T Approval, Training Approval for CIR & NVFR and winch = Starting Salary $91,099 PA.

Over seas Once you have a good deal of experience under your belt you may get a transfer overseas, i have heard that Africa at the moment can pay $120,000 US for Captain S76 tax free. Nice if you're single or soon to be.

Tuna Spotting Tuna boat pilots out of Guam/Pohnpei etc., earn approx 3500 - 4000 USD tax free per month, if you're a pilot/mechanic then double that figure. You'll fly your max hours per year on a Hughes 500. You can usually get a start just shy of a thousand hours with a couple hundred turbine. Do a couple years of it and you will probably move onto base pay plus tonnage of fish caught.(Info From Havik)

But you have to like life at sea. Guess it's not for everyone. Some people last less than a month, others their whole career.
EMS/SAR Emergency and Search and rescue is a growing sector in Australia and around the world. These roles are some of the most demanding in terms of piloting skills and mental challenges having to make life or death decisions based on all the information presented to you at short notice. Your decision not to fly could mean the patient could die or alternatively you could take off into the black yonder under pressure from sponsers and managers and never come back. For this you will be SPIFR and paid around $90000 PA in Aus. (see the CHC EBA page for wages.)

Anyway I will update this when I get more confirmed amounts. At the end of the day when you're new to the game, tourist companies will fly piston or turbine to make money with a machine that fits the role. They have no interest in what you’re ambitions are, they just want you to fly safe, keep their customers happy and when you are sick of it or they are sick of you, you move on. Don’t expect to get rich in your first, second or even third job, you may have to wait years before you see any return on your investment. If you can wait that long and remember you don’t stop spending money when you get a handshake congratulating you on your CPL(H) you just paid for.

Fly safe, be nice to all, you may share a cockpit one day and remember "You have the Best Job In the World"


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Last edited by paymaster on Wed Mar 12 2008, 04:48, edited 25 times in total.
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Silver Wings
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Pay rates wanted

Postby paymaster » Fri Sep 7 2007, 12:02

I Have updated the CHC Bristows Pay for 2009. If anyone has new pay or a link to new EBA`s let me know.


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