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Career Development

VA Benefits & Helicopter Training
By Heidi McBride

Having the opportunity to use our VA benefits to pay for professional helicopter flight training is, for many of us Veterans, an incomprehensible dream come true. Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can genuinely pay for 100% of your fight training, pay for your books and supplies, and provide a reasonable housing stipend. There are, however, many crucial factors to consider before you blindly pick a flight school and jump in feet first. More than one veteran has chosen too hastily and regretted their choice of school once they became aware of all the options available to them.

6 Tips to Keep Your Helicopter Career Moving Forward

By Janie Foster & Stacy Sheard

1.  Be in control
In order to move forward in your career, you need to exercise some semblance of control over it. You are accountable for your own success; stay proactive, think ahead, make goals, build a timeline, look for opportunities, and be adaptable enough to change plans when an unexpected opportunity comes your way.

2.  Stay positive
If you think your dream job is impossible, then you may as well give up now.  Your attitude will determine your success. It is easier to reach something if you are optimistic, see possibility, and actually believe it is attainable.  Positive people are inspirational and a pleasure to be around – no one wants to hang out with a Negative Nancy.

Schmoozing.  Brown-nosing.  Unfortunately, networking is often thought of as one of these less than flattering activities.  I encourage you to think again.  Embracing the true concept of networking could be the vital link to your desired career opportunity.

“Positivity” is the word that immediately springs to mind when I think of what my wife, Kaye, and I experienced at the fifth-annual HELISUCCESS conference that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November.  Positivity…yep, that’s what it was and the feeling was palpable.

Transitioning from the military to college can be challenging, at least it was for me. After completing my military service, I struggled with getting started on the next step toward fulfilling my education goals. I first enrolled in an online program, but the courses did not really interest me. I soon discovered that without excitement about the subject matter there was no motivation to continue. The only thing I was certain about is that I didn’t want to become one of those statistics about military veterans who don’t use their GI Bill benefits.

Did you wake up today and think to yourself, “I will go to work and crash my helicopter?” Writing it looks absolutely ridiculous and I am sure that it reads equally ridiculous. Although no one plans an accident, I am confident that we can all agree that accidents do happen. Given that several occur each month, we can also agree that they occur on a regular basis.

The problem is that none of us, including me, has an impending feeling that it will actually happen to us.

Fire Academy Brings Together Regional Helicopter Community with Unique Training Program
By Lyn Burks

It’s no secret that certain parts of the Midwest U.S. are a hotbed of helicopter activity, and Ohio is no exception. This is especially true when it comes to sectors like EMS, Law Enforcement, and Electronic News Gathering (ENG), where a variety of helicopters, from a variety of operators are literally operating in the back yards of the communities they serve.

When I left the military in pursuit of my first civilian flying job, I assumed Part 135 was a common component on several different Bell 206 models.  My first helicopter job was with a small company that had difficulty making payroll and cut corners on maintenance and training.  My priority after this experience was to seek out a large and stable company that adhered to the regulations and preferably had direct deposit.

It’s my third day in Vegas, and Heli-Success is over now, but I don’t want to leave the meeting room.  I’m hanging out as people are packing up the banners and booths and I’m saying goodbye to friends I probably won’t see again until Heli-Expo. When a suggestion is made to go grab a beer, my suitcase and I are the first ones there!

"After the first couple of speakers, it was clear to me that this seminar was different from other seminars/conferences I had previously attended. My pre-aviation career in IT, telecommunications and business development had given me my share of conferences. This was profoundly different in that the whole setup was rigged towards the goal. The speakers covered the most relevant, interesting aspects of career development within the helicopter industry."

By Barry Pomeroy - The answer to the shortage of qualified helicopter pilots and the ‘gray area’ for certified low time commercial helicopter pilots are; Interns - voluntary second pilots in VFR/SPIFR commercial and HEMS operations. I am Barry Pomeroy, I am a low time Commercial pilot with an existing career, and I am writing this as the result of a failure matrix analysis after observing and participating in the industry for approximately six years. I attend, listen, and read everything I can get my hands on from the helicopter world.


GOMER - Flyin in the Gulf of Mexico: Part 3

In the previous two articles and video supplements I covered the required qualifications and training involved for pilots who wish to work in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).  In this installment, my intent is to explore a few issues that impact the lifestyle of a pilot working in the GOM and some tips for adjusting to this unique work environment.

GOMER: Working in the Gulf of Mexico - Part 2
Article, Photos, & Video by Lyn Burks

Gomer VideoIn my experience, if you would like to see how serious a helicopter operator is about safety, then look no further than its new hire or recurrent pilot training programs. On one hand, there are programs which barely meet the FAA minimums, with their training program loosely packaged between the covers of Part 135 Operations Specifications. On the other, there are operators who go beyond the OpSpecs and fill the training “tool box” with innovative techniques and dedicated people.

Written & Video Feature!

Article. photos, and video by Lyn Burks

I remember when I was a much younger helicopter pilot clawing my way up through the helicopter world, one airframe and one mission at a time. Training, ENG, Utility, EMS, Corporate, you know, the usual stuff. I recall the first time I saw the term GOMER on the Justhelicopters.com message board and thought, “what the heck is a GOMER?” Frankly, it doesn’t really sound all that cool!

Need Money To Fly?

In aviation today, it is financially difficult to fund advancement in the helicopter industry.  However, there are opportunities out there.  These opportunities can be found through the Whirly-Girls Organization.  The Whirly-Girls Organization is a non-profit organization of International Female Helicopter Pilots.  The organization is a charitable organization that is dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation through the industry’s largest pool of annual scholarships, while providing women helicopter pilots a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities. Each year, the Whirly-Girls Organization attends the HAI conference and awards these scholarships.

Heli – Success!  Third  Annual Career Development Seminar & Networking Event

Las Vegas, NV. October 31 & November 1, 2010 – Put a face to a name! Shake hands with the hiring authorities! Get your resume into the right hands of the right people!

Sponsored by Bristow Group and Rotorcraft Pro Media Network, and produced by the team from Verticalreference.com and Justhelicopters.com, comes a two day Helicopter Career Development Seminar and Networking Event for Helicopter Pilots, Mechanics and Operators titled “Heli-Success” [READ MORE]

By Kerry Sullivan - The article by Susan Parson in the March issue titled “Personal Minimums: A Development Guide” provides a systematic way for pilots to determine realistic safety margins for weather. The EMS operator I fly for requires its pilots to develop their own personal weather minimums which are to be more restrictive than those contained in the Operations Specifications. I have found more restrictive minimums necessary because I do not believe the generally used weather minimums are adequate to keep me out of Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC). Despite strict weather minimums, detailed weather products and annual training in weather and pilot decision making we still have all too-frequent incidents of IIMC. As we are all painfully aware, some of these IIMC occurrences result in fatal accidents.

Written & Video Feature: Advanced Helicopter Training with FlightSafety International 

By Lyn Burks - Having been in the helicopter industry for a little while, I have been fortunate enough to experience many levels of training. While recently attending an S76C++ transition course at FlightSafety International (FlightSafety), I am reminded of the stark differences between the "haves" and the "have nots."

My reference to "haves" and "have nots" is not meant to be deprecating to those who offer or attend helicopter training at traditional facilities. It’s really more of an analogy which notes the difference in the level of training provided by FlightSafety as compared to other training providers I have experienced. The present model of our training industry is what it is, and this article will not change it.



By Lyn Burks - In previous career development articles we left off with the importance of the resume, along with several tips for “spooling up” your resume to a higher level of professionalism. Assuming you did everything right and your resume has convinced the hiring authority that you may be the person for the job; you may now be facing a new hurdle. The phone interview.

Understanding the Hiring Process! By Lyn Burks

As published in Rotorcraft Professional Magazine December 2008

So here you are, a Helicopter CFII who has been teaching in the "training bubble" for the last eighteen months and now you are bucking your first job in the real world of working helicopters. Or, perhaps you are transitioning out of Military flying and into the Civilian market. In either case, you may be looking for a little insight into what the general hiring process is like.

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