Most people who go in for the fixed wing way of living will always end up yearning for something that provides them with more freedom like rotary wing flying. There are few jobs that are exciting, interesting, and challenging in the aviation industry. One such job is that of the helicopter pilot.
The opportunities available for the up and coming helicopter pilots today are more than ripe. Once upon a time, this field was brimming with Vietnam war era pilots who had absolutely no intentions of leaving their jobs.
However, these numbers have dwindled since then, because of age factors and of course, the lure of retirement. Most companies are perpetually on the lookout for new and talent pilots to fill vacancies that range from helicopter tours to offshore oil support.
In the past, the total time required for employment was approximately 3000 hours. However, these days, the time limit have been shaved down drastically to 500 hours in extreme cases!
In such cases, you need to ask yourself why aspiring helicopter pilots aren't breaking down doors to get the jobs of their dream, since the requirements are so great. The answer to that is simple - in order to become a marketable pilot, you still need to pay your dues in this field.
Operator's personnel should be highly qualified. So as a job applicant, you would seem more appealing to the helicopter operators if you had more time. Another valid and excellent point is to build time in an aircraft with a respected name. Enstrom, Hiller, Schweizer, Hughes and Bell are all well-known names in the aviation industry.
The planning that is involved in order to become a professional helicopter pilot is not easy - it requires loads of research, study, logic and observation of industry needs. Let us have a look at some of the possible pilot jobs, where you can make your mark.
What Jobs are available to Aspiring Helicopter Pilots?
News stations require helicopter pilots who can cover live news as well as high-speed chases occurring on highway. These pilots help in gathering news for radio and TV as well help carry out aerial shooting for mini-series as well as movies.
Many times, helicopter pilots from the police department are involved in search and rescue operations as well. One may even find openings for helicopter pilots with security contractors.
There are many fire departments around the world, who use helicopters during fire. These helicopter pilots need to transport firefighters on skyscrapers or apartments to reach the fire quickly. These pilots also help in rescuing people stuck on terrace or windows of high-rise buildings.
However, being in the military calls for a different lifestyle and requirements. Not only does the army help add flying experience to your resume and open up more avenues when you opt for civilian service.
If you have the skill it takes to teach an amateur pilot to turn into a professional helicopter pilot, then becoming an instructor will prove to be the best job for you.
Helicopter pilots can carve a niche in the EMS field by helping patients receive prompt medical care in the hospital. The job of becoming an ambulance pilot is full of adrenaline pumping moments as well as immensely satisfying as indirectly you help save a life or more.
When choosing helicopter flying as your career path, it is advisable to first talk to other helicopter pilots who are experienced in the field. You can then observe whether that type of flying is your thing. As with any business, moving into a managerial position would warrant an increased salary and in some cases good benefits.
Literally speaking, there are practically thousands of pilots who are competing with each other in the helicopter industry and the industry demands for thousands and thousands of flying hours as experience to make you good enough for the job.
So, it is wise to expect at least five to tens years of low pay before you can even think of qualifying for an airline career. On the other hand, a year or more will make you a highly qualified candidate for offshore flying.
Is becoming helicopter pilot a good career choice? Yes, it definitely is. There are many airline pilots turning to helicopter flying for a job that's more stable and the ability to keep flying even if you have crossed 60. This makes helicopter piloting an exciting career option.