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Msg ID: 2619292 RTP or Stay HAA? (NT) +1/-0     
Author:Who’s doing what?
2/11/2020 12:00:33 AM

Msg ID: 2619294 RTP or Stay HAA? (NT) +1/-0     
Author:gotta do the math
2/11/2020 12:02:03 AM

Reply to: 2619292

Msg ID: 2619296 RTP or Stay HAA? +1/-0     
2/11/2020 12:13:54 AM

Reply to: 2619294

once I get class start dates I’m dropping my two weeks at my HAA gig. 

Msg ID: 2619298 How old are you?? (I mean that in a rational way, not  +2/-0     
Author:sarcastic way)
2/11/2020 1:34:56 AM

Reply to: 2619292

If you are fairly young, like in your 30's or early 40's, it is worth it.   If you are in your late 40's and beyond, it is really not worth except to chase our dreams.   Chasing being the key here.


With a mandatory retirement age of 65 in the Part 121 world, you''d be forced to retire just when you were getting started.

Msg ID: 2619299 First Class medicals are every 6 months, Second Class are every 12 month (NT) +2/-0     
Author:It becomes stressful keeping that going
2/11/2020 1:36:19 AM

Reply to: 2619298

Msg ID: 2619333 How old are you?? (I mean that in a rational way, not  +1/-1     
2/11/2020 8:27:08 AM

Reply to: 2619298

32 , Air Force is scooping up army guard guys and gals and sending them back to flight school . Most of us seem to be getting into heavy squadrons. if someone plays their cards right they can go straight to a major and avoid a regional. 

Msg ID: 2619322 I am 50, dual rated and I am... +4/-2     
2/11/2020 7:10:25 AM

Reply to: 2619292

Staying HAA.   Been in this gig over 20 years with same company.  Don't want to start over at the bottom again.  Regional reserve, junior FO to Jr. Capt., then start the cycle all over at the main line.  I would have 14 years on the line to retirement.  

Also, not really interested in answering to a 26 year old capt with 2k hrs...

I'd rather stay and be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around.

Msg ID: 2619693 I am 50, dual rated and I am... +1/-1     
2/12/2020 9:26:45 PM

Reply to: 2619322

ego much?

Msg ID: 2619329 RTP or Stay HAA? +4/-1     
Author:Air Cav Pilot
2/11/2020 8:16:47 AM

Reply to: 2619292

You will make as much in your first year or two with an airline than you will at any EMS job. Now if you've been at the same helicopter job for the past twenty years then it might take you 3 years to get back to the same helicopter earnings. With your experience you are not competing with the kids at 2000 hours. Any professional Helicopter pilot worth their salt can be at an airline above the regional level in less than 2 years.

Not only will you make more in just a year or so you will be home even more too. I do three 3-day trips per month but leave the house at noon on day one and am back by noon on day 3. Doing helicopter math that works out to only being gone for 48 hours - and I'm counting drive time to and from the airport in there. Times 3 works out to the equivalent of 12 EMS shifts per month. For fun I'll go in on a day off for a quick out and back and be home in time to pick up the kids from school. 

Keep telling yourself that Part 135 helicopter flying is so awesome. I did it for 15 years and can tell you I thought I had it good. All I can say is I wish I had made the move earlier. 

Msg ID: 2619342 Shouldnt your post read “former” Air Cav Pilot? (NT) +1/-0     
Author:Stolen Valor
2/11/2020 9:12:59 AM

Reply to: 2619329

Msg ID: 2619346 Shouldnt your post read “former” Air Cav Pilot? +1/-0     
Author:Air Cav Pilot
2/11/2020 9:47:11 AM

Reply to: 2619342

Technically it should be "former EMS Pilot". I'm still very active flying helicopters in my reserve unit. That is the great part about aviation. The rewards are fantastic for those willing to take a professional risk. I was locked in by my golden handcuffs. My myopic view of the world held me back. All I am saying is this is a great opportunity for those willing to take a risk. 

Msg ID: 2619366 They don't call it "risk" if it isn't "risky". (NT) +1/-0     
2/11/2020 11:09:31 AM

Reply to: 2619346

Msg ID: 2619383 Starting a restaurant is a risky adventure. 1% make it, 99% fail (NT) +1/-1     
Author:But the rewards for that 1% - damn good
2/11/2020 12:18:59 PM

Reply to: 2619366

Msg ID: 2619436 Shouldnt your post read “former” Air Cav Pilot? +0/-0     
2/11/2020 3:55:14 PM

Reply to: 2619346

No Cav in the Reserve.

But if you earned those spurs, they're yours for life!

Msg ID: 2619365 Three 3-day trips a month. That's a 9 ON / 21 OFF? +4/-0     
Author:Doing that simply helicopter math
2/11/2020 11:07:46 AM

Reply to: 2619329

Given that most, if not all, have monthly guarentees of 85-90 creditable flight hour a month (creditable towards you pay), you're schedule of three 3-day trips per month, with the last trip day being home early demands you average 10 or more FLIGHT HOURS A DAY.

No way are their lines like that unless you are a really senior guy flying international routes (rare in a crowd of many).


You aren't going to get to a gig like that without lots of seniority, as an FO, and then again as a Captain!



(ok I cheated and used a calculator)

Msg ID: 2619368 Three 3-day trips a month. That's a 9 ON / 21 OFF? +1/-1     
Author:Air Cav Pilot
2/11/2020 11:28:44 AM

Reply to: 2619365

Work rules my friend. I drop a four day usually around a drill weekend or when I want to go in and fly extra at my army unit. Swap and vacation touching are another great perk. Believe it or not bidding reserve is a great way to get time at home if done smartly (technically not days off though). Rarely do I ever fly the line I was actually awarded and I always end up with higher than min guarantee. Like I said, picking up premium time on my days off is a big bonus at the end of the month. 

Everyone's mileages will vary but I did my research and am very happy with my individual situation. 

Msg ID: 2619369 "Swap and vacation touching are another great perk" (NT) +1/-0     
Author:That's what makes HAA great too!
2/11/2020 11:32:01 AM

Reply to: 2619368

Msg ID: 2619408 RTP or Stay HAA? +3/-0     
2/11/2020 2:00:19 PM

Reply to: 2619329

Above results not typical.  Expect to be gone more than that

Msg ID: 2619351 Just two options? Anyone ever tell you there's more to helicopters (NT) +1/-0     
Author:than Just HAA?
2/11/2020 10:19:38 AM

Reply to: 2619292

Msg ID: 2619355 Just two options? Anyone ever tell you there's more to helicopters +1/-0     
Author:Crazy not to
2/11/2020 10:38:08 AM

Reply to: 2619351

As was noted, if you are in your 20's, 30's, or 40's, you are crazy not to. There are big changes coming to HAA with the medicare billing and payments. There will be closures and a general drop in activity. 

The last of the Vietnam era pilots are turning 65 and will retiring. That's a big number!!! Wish I was younger. I would jump in a minute. 

Think of your family first!!! 

Msg ID: 2619357 Just two options? Anyone ever tell you there's more to helicopters +1/-0     
Author:Crazy not to
2/11/2020 10:41:22 AM

Reply to: 2619351

As was noted, if you are in your 20's, 30's, or 40's, you are crazy not to. There are big changes coming to HAA with the medicare billing and payments. There will be closures and a general drop in activity. 

The last of the Vietnam era pilots are turning 65 and will retiring. That's a big number!!! Wish I was younger. I would jump in a minute. 

Think of your family first!!! 

Msg ID: 2619370 think of your family first: wave goodbye as you leave again +1/-0     
Author:for yet another trip! Here's to family:
2/11/2020 11:34:16 AM

Reply to: 2619357


Msg ID: 2619378 think of your family first: wave goodbye as you leave again +1/-0     
Author:probably the same for
2/11/2020 11:55:20 AM

Reply to: 2619370

helicopter pilots. Maybe worse since were so poorly paid.

Msg ID: 2619381 $60k+ starting is not "poorly paid" (NT) +1/-0     
2/11/2020 12:15:26 PM

Reply to: 2619378

Msg ID: 2619393 $60k+ starting is not "poorly paid" +4/-0     
Author:Poverty Pete
2/11/2020 1:06:16 PM

Reply to: 2619381

you are right 60k isn’t poorly paid , it’s plain awful and absurd to be paid that low flying 14/14 in the gulf Or much less a crappy town in a 206 . 60k stay 20 years maybe to make barely 100k a year and still work till your 70 becayse you can’t afford to retire . Meanwhile the airline captain at 50 just bought his second vacation home . Look we get it , airlines are not for everyone , planes move faster through the air and file ifr everywhere . That’s just above some folks skill level . Lots of folks are afraid of clouds , it’s ok keeping flying vfr hems. 

Msg ID: 2619387 You assume we all have a ball and chain? You know what happens (NT) +1/-0     
Author:when you assume!
2/11/2020 12:53:38 PM

Reply to: 2619370

Msg ID: 2619494 I didn't assume nothing, You said think of your family. This article is (NT) +0/-0     
Author:about that.
2/11/2020 8:06:15 PM

Reply to: 2619387

Msg ID: 2619405 RTP or Stay HAA? +6/-0     
Author:I left HAA
2/11/2020 1:57:24 PM

Reply to: 2619292

A couple years ago.  Making less than I did in HAA, but I will be making more next year.



I liked HAA.  The only reason I switched was for the pay and benefits.  I work harder and am away from home more often, but the difference in future earnings made it worth my while.  

Msg ID: 2619438 Money & QOL +2/-0     
2/11/2020 4:08:40 PM

Reply to: 2619405

Your post is realisitc. 

Regional pay sucks. They also d1ck you around with the scheduling. But, if you can get into a major, you can make 120k as an FO up to over 200k as a captain. 

That wouldn't happen for 5 years, but the pay-off COULD be worth it, rather than staying at 75k-90k in HAA. 

For your average helicopter pilot, most jobs are going to top out in the low 100k. The industry needs to change. 


Msg ID: 2620739 Money & QOL +1/-0     
2/18/2020 7:30:05 PM

Reply to: 2619438

really care if the industry changes, but sure wish the pay would  evolve more quickly.

For those who think unions are not worthwhile they need to think again.  Without unions you'll have guys and gals hiring on at 35K.

What frosted me in the very late 90s was a retired Warrant Officer at the big one was in the center of screwing new hires on pay and anything else he could take credit for with respect to corporate leaches.  He wound up being the carnival man because he lost his medical due to a crash he created, inadvertently, but, did so all on his own.  Lucky he didn't get killed.

And no, I was never the attention of his ire.

Msg ID: 2619444 RTP or Stay HAA? +3/-1     
Author:Cashing out completely
2/11/2020 4:40:23 PM

Reply to: 2619292
Aviation is a horrible career. I'm the only one in my flight class hanging on for some unknown reason after 30+ years of flying. Taking my $2.4M in savings and never flying again. Traveling the entire coast of the continental US over the next year by boat with my lovely wife and three dogs. Starting in Newfy and ending in Vancouver in summer 2021. Bon voyage!

Msg ID: 2619449 RTP or Stay HAA? +1/-0     
Author:If you
2/11/2020 4:59:31 PM

Reply to: 2619292

are confident your career and life will be better in RTP go for it.  Pretty simple and I wish the best.

Msg ID: 2619496 RTP or Stay HAA? +5/-0     
Author:20 years in helicopters
2/11/2020 8:27:43 PM

Reply to: 2619449

 The other day I talk to an old HAA coworker. He went to the Airlines about a year ago and is loving it. I talk to him about how after 20 years of flying helicopters and not having had a serious incident or accident. I am becoming more aware ofThe chances of something bad happening if I keep flying helicopters.


Over the years I have been to a lot of funerals for coworkers. Helicopters is a brutal industry.


I think I am going to take the leap to the airlines. I know I am getting in very late. And I'll probably have some mid 20s snot nosed  kid Telling me what to do. Quite frankly I'm looking forward to the change.


Msg ID: 2619517 RTP or Stay HAA? +1/-0     
2/11/2020 10:57:16 PM

Reply to: 2619496

the helicopter industry in general is being naive and not doing anything to retain talent or develop it . 10 years ago the majority of military guys and gals came to the gulf or hems to continue flying . Now the majority go to the airlines , hello management wake up ! 

Msg ID: 2619520 I'm staying +4/-0     
2/11/2020 11:03:07 PM

Reply to: 2619292

I'm 33 and have kicked the idea of swapping over many times, in the end I just can't get my head around being gone for days at a time and living out of a hotel. The money is there, but I'd have to give up a nice cushy life to get to it, and even then I'd really just want the money to be able to spend more time at home. All seemed a bit circuitous to me.

I keep telling myself that if things really do go downhill where I'm at and I have to commute to an HAA job I'll pull the trigger, but who knows.

To those who have made the jump, good luck and best wishes!

Msg ID: 2619683 I'm staying +1/-0     
Author:HEMS ret mil
2/12/2020 8:40:01 PM

Reply to: 2619520

If i was young I definitely would at least try the airlines. You can always step back into the cesspool. Good luck.

Msg ID: 2619689 Same position as you, but.. +1/-0     
2/12/2020 8:54:21 PM

Reply to: 2619520

I'm in the same position as you, but I feel that if my base closes down in 5-10 years because all the HAA bases moving/opening/etc., then I'm already out 5 years seniority with the airlines. 

If my base closes down and I need to commute to another base, living in hotels, I'd rather be making airline pay instead at least.

But who knows, maybe the coronoavirus or some other economic force will slow down the airline growth and could be furloughed.

At least I could get a HEMS job while furloughed.

Roll of dice it is.

Msg ID: 2619705 I'm staying +2/-0     
2/12/2020 10:42:16 PM

Reply to: 2619520

The cushy EMS job goes away.  You're crazy for not going to the Airlines.  Biggest regret in my 45 years of avitaion.

Yes, I've been in EMS for 25 years and make a little over 100k, but my buddy who joined United when he was 35 makes about 350 a year flying a 787 all over the world.  It's a sweet gig. 

I promise you you won't regret it when you're my age.

Msg ID: 2619707 RTP or Stay HAA? +2/-0     
Author:Biggest Regret in my aviation career
2/12/2020 10:52:02 PM

Reply to: 2619292

I was 33, my buddy was 35 and we were flying helicopters in the military.  He says he's going into the airlines and tries to talk me into going with him.  No way, I've got it too good.  I love helicopters.

I've been in EMS now for 25 years.  I make just over 100k without workover.  45 years of flying helicopters.

My buddy has been with United now for 30 years.  Makes 350K flying a 787 around the world, but he's had some really great gigs along the way.  They pick him up at the airport, put him in a nice hotel, always flies 1st class, and works about 14 days a month.  He does 18 hour flights, two full crews.  One for enroute and one for takeoffs and landings.  Stays in great places at company expense in places like Singapore, Australia, Bankok, etc.  (can't spell any of those). 

He says the shortage is just starting to kick in.  There even buying training schools to get pilots trained and moved up into United.

I promise you, if I was even 40, I would be making the move.  Life is really much better with the airlines.  Yea, there are a few years up front you pay your dues, but you're paid handsomely after that.

Msg ID: 2620045 RTP or Stay HAA? +2/-0     
2/14/2020 7:50:34 PM

Reply to: 2619707

In my day there was no such thing as getting to the airlines without at least five to ten years of groveling, even with good connections and so on.  If one didn't want roommates and live like a rat the helicoptter world actually paid much better.  Obviously the pilot deficits are changing the game.  If I had it to do over I'd go airline but the boredom of sitting for hours on end inspecting the inside of clouds would be really really difficult for me.  No wonder air line pilots make sure to get a life outside plugging routes.