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Old 04-04-2019, 12:15 PM   #11  
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Joined APC: Jan 2018
Posts: 62

My advice is to stay at the airline until you have a minimum of 1000hrs 121 time. If you're there now, might as well check that block and then have the option of a direct entry captain in the future, it shouldn't take to long.

I can tell you from many years in the helicopter industry, if you're not willing to move for a job, it can be a hard road. Since that is the case on the helicopter side, why not 1st try moving for your fixed wing job. People commute for airline jobs because some situation in life makes it necessary. Still, the overwhelming consensus of airline pilots is that living in base makes the job much much better.

What is your background for your 1500hrs of helicopter time?
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Old 04-04-2019, 01:40 PM   #12  
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Joined APC: Apr 2017
Posts: 159

Originally Posted by dbflyer View Post
My advice is to stay at the airline until you have a minimum of 1000hrs 121 time. If you're there now, might as well check that block and then have the option of a direct entry captain in the future, it shouldn't take to long.
This is excellent advice. If someone goes through the trouble of indoc, getting the ATP and type rating, and IOE, sticking it out a year and a half to put those 1000 hours in the back pocket just might be useful one day.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:51 AM   #13  
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Joined APC: Apr 2007
Posts: 427

Iím actually considering going back to HEMS ops as well. I made the switch to FW about 3.5yrs ago and am currently at Atlas on the 767. I enjoy the flying for the most part..itís kind of boring, but I enjoy the all weather ops vs just VFR in the helo.
I just donít like feeling like Iím living out of a suitcase for 17 days a month. That part wonít change no matter what airline I would be at.
The hard part for me is swallowing my pride and knowing that I if I go back to EMS, Iíll never see those big 200k/yr salaries. I can do 100k or slightly better though, and with the wife making 100k, I think we will be fine.
I just remember feeling like I had a lot more time off in EMS and really like being able to be at home at some point every day.
We want to have kids soon, and thatís another thing..I just donít know if I want to spend time away from home, especially while they are young.
Maybe Iím crazy, but I am starting to really lean toward having good QOL instead of chasing the dollar at the airlines??
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:40 AM   #14  
Joined APC: Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by badtransam97 View Post
Maybe Iím crazy, but I am starting to really lean toward having good QOL instead of chasing the dollar at the airlines??
Every day you miss with your kids when they're growing up you'll never get back, especially the holidays.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:32 AM   #15  
Joined APC: Jan 2019
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you arent crazy. I flew HEMS for 7 years. Army Helo's. got out flew FW Part 135/CFI for a couple of years, 9/11 hit, back to HEMS for 7 years, full time ARNG FW guy for 10 years. Did ACMI cargo in a 767 for a year, now at American so I have seen both sides of the equation.

FW, 121 flying is boring. It almost doesnt feel like flying. Its weird how much I miss hovering a helicopter. I would be at HEMS now if it wasnt for the fact the HEMS is not a stable career. Sure, I might have been able to stay at my hospital for 20+ years but I really doubt it. Bases closes all the time and unless you are at the mother base then it is always a crap shoot. I had 2 bases close on me in 7 years. Granted I still had a job but I went from a 15 min bicycle ride to a 90 minute car ride to the base. 12+ hour shift with 3 hrs of driving each day basically means I was not at home very long. HEMS is also known for personality conflicts and getting ridding of pilots for the stupidest stuff. I get along with most anyone but I still didnt like the atmosphere of HEMS where the medical folks get pilots fired at the drop of a hat. In HEMS you are going to be working at least half the weekends. This assumes your program can staff their program, if not you will be on the old 8 on, 4 off program until they hire someone. At one point I was on the work everyday program because we were down to 2 pilots. HEMS, at least in the midwest, is always short of pilots. That to me was a huge drawback. I wont even get started on the pay. We all know you dont make enough and the benefits are no where near a major airline.

How about airline life? The seniority progression/hiring is off the charts right now. This is a once in a lifetime chance to get on with a Major airline AND have awesome seniority progression and the BIG wave hasnt even arrived yet. I have only been at AA for about 18 months and I dont have to work weekends or nights if I dont want to. I can change my schedule as much as I need. It isnt just the pay that is already way better than HEMS, it is also the benefits. LTD, 16% 401K contribution, everything is way better. Does the commuting suck? Yes, especially compared to my 15 minute bicycle ride but there are numerous ways to minimize it. I try and work minimum days as possible and all in 1 or 2 work blocks. I only make my commute 1 or 2 times in a month. I am not trying to make max money like most guys, I am just trying to make more than HEMS which means I can get by with working as close to part time as possible. My kids are now teenagers and they dont need you around all the time. They dont even want you there everyday. When they are out of the house the airline gig will be even better because all my stress is trying to work around their events (which are many). At HEMS I wouldnt even have that option....I would miss all kinds of events. I was in HEMS when my kids were little and they didnt have soccer, track, basketball, dance, etc so working that HEMS schedule wasnt so bad. I couldnt even imagine it now, I would miss at least half the events (assuming I wasnt on the 8/4 schedule).
Hiring at the airlines is crazy, you might think your job stinks because you are at a regional/ACMI outfit and getting paid crap to be gone a lot. With all the hiring you will be called sooner rather than later. When one calls, they all call. I didnt have any job offers when I got out of the Army so I flew ACMI near my house. At the 6 months mark, I had interviews with almost all the big players within a 2 month time frame (except Delta and UPS). Point being, things change and dont judge the airline life solely by some regional or ACMI outfit. Also, the grass isnt always greener at HEMS, if anything it is greener because of all the BS over on that side.
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