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Old 05-08-2013, 05:30 PM   #1  
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Default Neptune Aviation

Hey I have not read a thread on these guys in awhile. Anybody here fly or know someone who flies for Neptune? How do they like it? Sched? Long term carrier or short? What does the future there look like say 5-10 year down the road? Thx-

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Old 05-08-2013, 07:17 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoJoy View Post
Hey I have not read a thread on these guys in awhile. Anybody here fly or know someone who flies for Neptune? How do they like it? Sched? Long term carrier or short? What does the future there look like say 5-10 year down the road? Thx-

Neptune has a great future, with a booming BAE-146 program (although I did hear an unconfirmed rumor they didn't get a nextgen contract for 2013 which would ground their jets or send them oveseas). They still have a bunch of P2-Vs in service all over.

The surplus of guys with a lot of hours and fire experience on the streets means they can be pretty picky with their pilot hiring. The chief pilot was polite enough to send me an email thanking me for my interest, giving me advice and telling me to apply once I had reached 4,000 hours.

They also have charter operations in Missoula. This company seems to have a strong future, because their BAE-146s have full support. They do have a slightly inferior tank design as it compares to other operators who've chose the same aircraft for nextgen operations.

If anyone has some more specific or detailed information, please come in and say so or let us know if I've posted anything wrong.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:14 PM   #3  
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Quote:
Sched? Long term carrier or short? What does the future there look like say 5-10 year down the road?
You realize that Neptune is an aerial firefighting operation, correct?

Schedule? You go out on a when dispatched, and come home when released. It could be anywhere from 90 days to 9 months. You get to come home when the season is over.

You won't know when the season begins, or when it ends until you're called-out, or when you're released.

Plan on 10-15 years for an upgrade. Don't plan on the P2's being around too many more years.

The large air tanker community is full. There are more experienced tanker pilots than there are aircraft. It's not to say you can't find a copilot job, but it may take a while.

Nobody cares if you have a degree, but an A&P will help make you competitive.

It's not a white collar job.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:06 PM   #4  
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Thx guys for the info. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:53 PM   #5  
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NoJoy,

I have no idea what your objectives are WRT Neptune Aviation...

I have a great deal of respect for the pilots who do the aerial tanker mission, but the accident rate is absolutely horrific. Try Googling "Neptune Aviation accidents" and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

In one article the company was saying something like "Last year we flew 2,500 hours without an accident"... like that was particularly good!. YGTBSM.

If you're looking to build hours, I'm sure that would be very challenging, and very rewarding in some ways, but definitely not easy.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:12 PM   #6  
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Actually I have over 9,000hrs tt and 7,000 turbine. I am just looking at my options. Money and sched of course for a given flying job.
Being a fire bomber pilot has always interested me. If it doesn't happen, then I can go to the Legacys-if I am lucky enough. Hard work and getting my hands dirty doesn't scare me. Right now, I am just looking at different options. Neptune looks like a good flying job-every flying job that everybody wants will always be competitive.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:10 PM   #7  
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FYI, Neptune was not awarded one of the NextGen tanker contracts. They were awarded a "legacy" contract for one BAe-146 and six P2V's. That contract only lasts for up to 5 years, or until sufficient numbers of NextGen tankers have been fielded. Unless they protest the award (and win), they may not be in the firefighting business for much longer.

USFS announces contracts for next-generation air tankers
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:01 PM   #8  
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Fire Aviation | News about fire suppression aviation, air tankers, and helicopters

Quote:
Neptune air tankers shut down Monday
Posted on May 7, 2013
After the U.S. Forest Service announced on Monday morning their intention to award contracts for next-generation air tankers to five companies, the pilots of all five Neptune Aviation air tankers that were currently working and available for fire assignments walked away from their aircraft in California and New Mexico at about 12:30 p.m MT. The aircraft were unstaffed until Tuesday morning. Neptune did not receive one of the next-gen contracts even though they supplied all but one of the large air tankers on exclusive use contracts for the last one and a half years. The company did, however, receive contracts a few weeks ago for one BAe-146 and six P2vs on a new USFS “legacy air tanker” contract.

One person who contacted Fire Aviation assumed that the pilots walking off the job was a protest about the fact that the company did not receive a next-gen contract.

We contacted Dan Snyder, Neptune’s Chief Operating Officer, who told us the following:

Neptune decided, for safety reasons, to stand-down our contract fleet (plus flight training in MSO) due to the number of questions and concerns that were flooding into Missoula from the crews in the field. The decision was made with the USFS’s full knowledge and done in accordance with the current “Legacy Contract”. We were notified of the contract awards at the same time of the USFS press release. The timing of the two messages did not give us enough time to send out a notice to our employees of the USFS decision and what it meant to the company and employees. We did not want our crews worried about the company’s future, their jobs, BAe program, etc, instead of being 100% mission focused. We took the opportunity to get clear and concise information to them and allow for questions and concerns to be addressed.

Bottom line, no one was told to walk off the job in protest and to my knowledge no one did it independently.

The first attempt to award the next-gen contracts on June 13, 2012 was overturned after protests by 10 Tanker Air Carrier and Coulson Aviation, who did not receive awards, were upheld by the Government Accountability Office. We asked Mr. Snyder if they planned to protest this latest contracting process, and he told Fire Aviation that their company would make a decision about that after a debriefing from the U.S. Forest Service contracting officer.

In their news release, the USFS said the five successful bidders were selected because their proposals were determined to offer the best value to the government based on a technical evaluation of their air tanker concept, organizational experience and past performance, combined with pricing. A person who is familiar with the air tanker contracting process told Fire Aviation that the reasons for not selecting Neptune for this latest next-gen award were most likely based on price and their accident history.

If Neptune submitted the same bid structure on this latest next-gen solicitation as they did the first time, their price, based on the total cost estimate for the 5-year base period, would have been higher than all of the successful bidders in round two, except for the proposal for the DC-10 from 10 Tanker, who based their bid on delivering 5,000 gallons, compared to Neptune’s BAe-146 with a maximum capacity of around 3,000 gallons. The DC-10′s bid allowed for options for the additional 6,600 gallons in their 11,600-gallon tank. The solicitation’s specification was for tankers delivering between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons. 10 Tanker shrewdly configured their bid to work within the constraints of the solicitation.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:33 PM   #9  
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Not surprising at all. I've witnessed a few of their incidents. Great guys and a neat legacy, but it can't go on forever (unless they get new airplanes).
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:11 PM   #10  
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I could be wrong, though I think it was a similar story with Hawkins and Powers demise. I think it was the accidents, with the old airframes...
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