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Subject: Show me the money!
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ghettobird1User is Offline
JH Member
JH Member

04/30/2012 11:27 PM  
I know none of us fly for the money, but I was just wondering what the "high end" flying jobs are and how much they pay. You would think that after spending years struggling with the high cost of training and making peanuts, there would be a pot of gold wait for the select few who are the best of the best. I assume they a chief pilot jobs for larger operations like Era or Air Methods? I have heard the fire contracts also pay well. How do you develop yourself beyond just being a good pilot to land these type of jobs?
boatpixUser is Offline
JH Master Guru
JH Master Guru

06/08/2012 4:28 PM  
The money is in flying the offshore oil industry.  The oil companies have the need to move people in helicopters and pay whatever it takes.   They call it "offshore" but it is really just working in the oil sector.

I have a cfi that worked for me as an entry level boat photo pilot in about 1995 that said he hires pilots for a big operator in Africa.  He said he hires at $135K for flyiing one type of twin and $145K for flying another twin, etc. and obviously you need a lot of hours in lighter aircraft.   He is probably the head guy and declined to explain what his compensation was but someone told me it was considerable and that's why I called him.   But he didn't want to discuss his own salary and I thought that showed a lot of class.   A guy that was there before him says he probably makes $250k a year as I just got off the phone with him.

I was at HeliSuccess and a fellow said that he made over $200K as a contractor in some geographical place I had never heard of.   As I list on my website you might get paid more in a foreign country or where people might be shooting at you or both (getting shot at in a foreign country).  You won't find that in the oil arena as if you are near unfriendlies you will be in a protected camp. 

Affiliated with this website is a website that lists helicopter salaries.  You can click around and find it but I've never looked at it. 

My personal experience is on the entry level as I always have at least a dozen R22 instuctors and  I get a least one call or email  a day asking if we are hiring.   Our entry level jobs are $20/hour and we give every pilot a credit card, a camera and an R22 helicopter with a student.  I list on my website are some yearly salaries that recent graduates have gotten.   The "testimonial" website is more interesting but doesn't list compensation.   I can review some of those pilots I still keep in touch with I don't keep in touch with any of my high school teachers and why should a pilot keep in touch with the folks that trained him?

I know that if you are Hawaiin flying on the North shore of Oahu and watching the surfers in the pipeline cathching a wave the compensation might not have to be as great as if you are doing pipeline patrol in the oil patch.   Josh flies in Oahu and he will be visiting at the end of the month and I'll ask him the tradeoffs of living in paradise versus higher compensation.

In the oil patch a pilot that is sent to multiple expensive Bell schools and stays allegient to that company will probably see his pay raise if he doesn't take his education and scoot to another company.   Allegiance is important in the industry and you might be rewarded with $600 to $900 a day and if it's overtime it might be $1200 a day.  

Now, there are also fun jobs.  Exciting jobs.   Jobs on TV that are both.   A friend that lies in Antartica usually stops by my booth at HeliExpo and brings some cool pictures from a reality show.   I have an idea what he makes from previous conversations but he does work for a nonprofit and he was never all about the money anyway.   But, he is now famous.

Show me the money was the question and I suggest you come to my school, get your cfi, get a guaraneed job and allegience to an oil and you will get the most money.
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