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Old 11-04-2018, 04:22 PM   #1  
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Default Air Ambulance Job for Quality of Life

With the major airlines hiring so many qualified pilots, are conditions improving in second tier jobs like Air Ambulance Pilots? I will retiring with a military pension soon and so I can afford to put quality of life ahead of pay. I have the resume for a major, but I donít see wanting to work the airlines long enough to see the big paycheck so spending 5-10 years at the bottom of a seniority list isnít appealing.

The aspects of air Ambulance that appeal to me are:
1. Can live in a small town in a nice area without commuting.
2. Wonít spend much time away from home in hotels.
3. In some cases, can be on standby from home.
4. Fly a lot less than airlines, (I donít need to build hours).

Can anyone with first hand knowledge confirm that my expectations are realistic?

Thank you!
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #2  
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You're not going to get rich doing it.

Some jobs employ enough pilots to do 12 or 14 our shifts, but many still do around the clock on call (a violation of the regulation, but far from extinct).

I've flown for four different aeromedical operations over the years, everything from remote dirt airstrips to international turbojet operations, piston, turboprop, turbojet, administrative flying, organ recovery, and emergency medical.

At a lot of operations, more stock is placed in the wishes of the medical personnel than that of the pilots. I didn't tolerate that; never let medical personnel influence safety of flight decisions. That becomes a real problem if the company is run or operated by medical personnel.

There are some ok operators out there, and a lot that aren't.

There are a number of operators who illegally discriminate over insurance. It's common for a hospital or clinic to call for a transport, and be asked for the patient's insurance information. When its insufficient or the patient is uninsured, the medical facility is told that the airplane just broke down, or is assigned to another flight. This isn't legal, but it happens a lot. I refused to work for operators that do that.

Air ambulance flying generally doesn't have a lot of pilots who stay with it long term.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:55 PM   #3  
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My expectations are 70K to low six figures. If I only had to fly 20 hours per month it works out to about $300/hour and I would avoid hotel life. Is my logic flawed?
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:46 AM   #4  
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Your first bullet points are correct on. I flew out of a busy fixed wing base and only flew 22 to 30 hours per month.

There are a few bases where the med crew "runs" the flight department side and are "experts" on RVR, weather and anything aviation related. Not every base or flight nurses are like this, many are great, hard working people who focus on their job and let you do yours.


I only ran out of duty time about five to eight times per year and had to stay in a hotel. Your experience may vary greatly form company to company and base to base.

Good luck with your choice!
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:20 AM   #5  
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I would like to find a way into this business, any place hiring low time first officer?
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:54 AM   #6  
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Thanks for all the feedback!
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:01 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewitt549 View Post
I would like to find a way into this business, any place hiring low time first officer?
Hopefully someone with more experience weighs in on this, but from my research, air Ambulance companies are looking for about 2000 total and 1000 PIC. This seems a bit high for what they offer in pay so maybe they will go down as the pilots shortage continues. Another consideration that I have heard of the industry is that it is not a very good stepping stone if the airlines are your ultimate goal because you donít fly much.
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:05 PM   #8  
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If you like flying the backside of the clock, single pilot for low pay then it's for you. I did air ambulance for quite a few years and I'm young but getting called out at 1-3am to fly someone back and do it all again the next day can really burn a guy out quick. Yes, I did have my share of day flying and it was always good to help someone in need but I couldn't make air ambulance my last job.
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:37 PM   #9  
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Hugely dependent on what employer and what program. I flew for AMC on a hospital contract and it was a fantastic retirement job. Iíd still be there if the pay were adequate for a primary career. Community programs are less good. Smaller operators are also generally less desirable.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:12 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59lracc View Post
With the major airlines hiring so many qualified pilots, are conditions improving in second tier jobs like Air Ambulance Pilots? I will retiring with a military pension soon and so I can afford to put quality of life ahead of pay. I have the resume for a major, but I donít see wanting to work the airlines long enough to see the big paycheck so spending 5-10 years at the bottom of a seniority list isnít appealing.

The aspects of air Ambulance that appeal to me are:
1. Can live in a small town in a nice area without commuting.
2. Wonít spend much time away from home in hotels.
3. In some cases, can be on standby from home.
4. Fly a lot less than airlines, (I donít need to build hours).

Can anyone with first hand knowledge confirm that my expectations are realistic?

Thank you!
How about trying airline flying ( top six ) if you can get on , first . You can always get an air ambulance position later if airline flying isnít for you .
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