OT- Any pilots in Denver?

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by Bad Wolf, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    Anyone do line or pipeline inspection stuff or light cargo?


    My dream plane has been making appearances at the hanger next door to Aspen at KAPA.

    I fantasy life, I would win the lotto, buy a light cargo jet, load a couple motorcycles in it and maybe a jeep, and outfit it like an RV. Retire in that, different location every couple weeks until my sudden demise.
    #21
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  2. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    Your sudden demise would be at the end of the runway, first attempt at take off. You can't carry even one of those items in a VLJ. You would be way overgross.

    So take an intro flight. See if its something that you might want to spend 16 hrs a day 7 days a week for the next 5+ yrs without a paycheck. So that you MIGHT be able to find a minimum wage flying job. It can be brutal. then the entry level jobs are not worth having. I know its different now than when I was training, but not that much different. My neighbor just went back to UAL. Furloughed after 9/11. He had probably one of the top 10% corporate jobs in the world. Got tired of never having a life of his own. Don't open a beer until all the planes are in the air, ON YOUR DAY OFF, because they may call you to go. Vacation, sure its yours, but stay in touch, just in case somebody gets sick. I told him when he decided to go back to UAL, "You gonna work your ass off, and be totally exhausted all the time". He now says, that's true, but at least when I'm off, I can actually be off. Like everything else, its not what it looks likes from the outside. expect extremely long hours, low pay, bad working conditions, exhaustion that you could never believe you could still function with. Jet lag, being a zombie for weeks at a time. Dangerous stuff that the boss says, "do it, or your fired", and hope you survive. Bad hotels, or no sleeping quarters at all. I have slept in the back of the plane on many nights, took a shower the next day in the hanger wash bay, so I could go back and do it all over again. Did a night freight gig that I liked for a while. Carried my own sleeping bag, and slept in the plane during breaks on the ground. Then off to my day job, only to repeat it that night again. Flying cancelled checks between ABQ and DEN at night. Fly down, couple hours sleep on the ground until they started loading up the plane, fly back, go home sleep a couple hours, off to the day job, repeat that night. Just to get enough multi engine flight time to be qualified to apply for a starting job at a commuter airline that wasn't worth having.
    With 3000 other qualified pilots applying for 10 seasonal jobs. It can be real ugly. If your lucky and can get to the top, it can be great. But by that time your so burned out, you can't appreciate it. It's a very small pinnacle being at the top. at most 1% of the jobs are what people think they all are. The perceived glory and prestige won't do much for your failing health, or fill your bank account. Maintaining your health while on the road is difficult at best. And maintain it you must, or your career is over.
    #22
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  3. youngan

    youngan -------

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    It seems that the airline and corporate worlds have been well laid out here, so I’ll fill in some details on the Part 135 Air Taxi life (as that is my world).

    As with the other realms, things vary widely among air taxi operators. Most are in Alaska, and most are seasonal. The place I work for now is what I would consider the best in terms of quality of life and a great operator to work for. There are plenty of other good ones too. I work five days a week, always have the same two days off, and can count on them being off: no standby. I have a 14 hour duty day, but most days I get released at about the 10 hour mark. If I have a portion of the day with no flight scheduled, I can go home, go to a coffee shop, whatever, as long as I stay within ten minutes of work. I fly an average of about 50 hours per month; more like 85 in a busy month, but there are also slow months. Combined pay and tips brings in roughly $10,000 per month. Some people at my company make more, some less. Flights all start and end at the same place, so home every night, but home has to be in that town in Alaska, at least for my six month work season. Or at least close enough to get to work every morning. There are no health insurance benefits, no 401k, and for six months each year, I’m on my own with no paycheck, at least not from that job.

    Other air taxi jobs I’ve had or known about were similar in most respects, but pilots worked harder. At some, it’s six days a week, flying 120 hours a month. At others, it’s seven days a week. Yes, that’s legal. The FAA has strict rules requiring 13 days off each quarter, but since the jobs are seasonal and the summer season is split between two quarters, your 13 days for each quarter come before you start your season, and after you end (most of these jobs have a shorter season than mine).

    Used to be no one in Alaska would even consider hiring you until you had 1,000 hours. Things have changed with the pilot shortage. I just spoke to a guy yesterday who has been offered a co-pilot position with a big operator, and he has less than 300 hours.

    I haven’t done pipeline or power lines patrol, but I’ve talked to people who have. Boring work, but good way to build hours. There are a wide variety of survey jobs that are similar, and perhaps safer than pipeline/power line.
    #23
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  4. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    Thanks for filling that in. I'm sure we know some of the same people. I have a few friends who are doing that. It can be a great gig. Would be fun for a week or two.
    I don't really want to rain on your parade, but you should know what you are getting into. It's either a passion you can't live without, or its not for you. I spent many years never being able to get enough. Like cocaine, airplanes are an addiction, if not, you probably are not cut out for the long haul. At your age, getting a decent job worth having will be very difficult to get trained for. Unlike in the past, you CAN do it. But expect to pay your dues, big time! And the big time rewards you might dream of won't happen. that can take 30 yrs at one major airline for that. Required retirement age for part 121 pilots is 65 yrs old, if you can stay healthy long enough to make it that long.
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  5. D_F

    D_F Meat servo

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    Rotor mostly (utility) but also fixed wing. Grew up in ag biz, army for a bit then back to rotor in the summer and wildlife work in the winter. Short stint in AK doing capture work. Oldmanb777 speaks a lot of truth. Hard for me to imagine another life but it’s feast or famine and all or nothing. I’ve spent a lifetime chasing this dream. A good outcome SAR flight makes you feel like the king of the world, a complaint over some dope farm owner puts you in hell. I think in the end it’s like many other jobs great if it’s your passion, but a job all the same if it’s not. Good luck!
    #25
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  6. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

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    The title of this thread should be
    The World According to Grandpa Garp.
    Good read, sage advise.

    I've got no advise other than..........

    You know you don't have to jump out of a perfectly good plane?
    #26
  7. KDRoss

    KDRoss Riding Multistrada in Colorado

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    Just for the heck it, I got my private pilot's license two years ago at age 62. Loved getting it! Love flying out of APA. Starting there gives you a great leg up on some things that challenge a lot of starting pilots... such as controlled air space, high altitude and wind and mixing it up with commercial jets.

    Check out https://www.executiveflighttraining.com Larry Camden. He was my instructor. He school is just upstairs from Aspen at APA. Larry is ex-Continental/United. He takes a very personalized approach to training and has students who are both casual (like me) and working on the career track (many). He can get you through the program as quickly or as slowly as you want to go -- but you will be a safe, confident, and competent pilot when you go for your check ride.

    One thing that helped me out immensely as I was a new student was listening to the KAPA control tower stream on https://www.liveatc.net. You get the ATC/pilot protocol down much more easily this way. Just be aware that the stream is a mix of pilot, ground, tower, approach, and departure controllers, so you won't always hear a complete dialog with one aircraft.
    #27
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  8. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    I didn't want to do anything else, still wouldn't. I have done a lot of other things. Jack of all trades sorta thing.(you need to be able to do that to eat, or you will starve!) And flying is what I lived for. Family suffered, I suffered, a lot, chasing that dream. Made me a syndical, crotchety , pessimistic old bastard. But again, if you live for it, you might be able to make ends meet.
    It's damn near impossible to make an airplane pay for itself. Usually dangerous to try. I Also grew up in the business. My Dad thought I was crazy to persue his career. But my brother and I did. Looking back, I would have been better off in many ways doing something else. But again, there are so many reason why I stayed in the game. Hard to explain the passion. Hard to justify why someone would put themselves and their families through it, just to fly. Now that I am retired, I didn't think I would miss it. But I still stop everything I'm doing, mid conversation, just to watch an airplane go over head.
    I have friend I taught to fly many years ago. He spent his career as a flight attendant. He now teaches aerobatics in his Citabria. I think I need to give him a call and go waste $400, for an hour.
    #28
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  9. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    Actually, on better thinking, maybe I'll just go ride my bike, instead.
    #29
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  10. youngan

    youngan -------

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    I feel that I need to provide a counterpoint to Oldmanb777’s perspective. Not to disrespect your experience, just to provide another one, which has been so very different.

    I didn’t start flying until I was 30. I had always wanted to do it, but looking at it rationally, it just didn’t pencil out, much as you describe. Expensive to get the license, then even more expensive to own an airplane, or even to rent. However, at 30, I was in a funk, and needed something new to excite and challenge me, whether it made sense or not. Funny thing is, once I did it, it turned out to make sense after all! I bought an airplane a year or so after getting my private. A few years after that, I ended up getting a job at an office right next to Centennial airport. As I was living in Boulder, I didn’t want to do that horrible commute, so I flew in nearly every day. The direct cost was not much more than driving, and I eventually sold the airplane for more than I paid for it (and bought another). Several years later, I decided I wanted to try flying for a living, so I banged out my instrument and commercial tickets, and found myself a job in Alaska. Turns out all of that commuting had allowed me to build the shear hours that I needed, and the ATC experience. My own recreational flying, especially the backcountry stuff in Utah, Idaho, and Alaska, got me the other experience types that were required. The flying work allowed me to move on from other careers that were quite good, and that I had enjoyed, but was a bit bored with. From the start, my flying jobs have been very positive: exciting, challenging, fun, and with good pay and lifestyle, right out of the gate. Not that there are not downsides, occasional frustrations, and hard days; it is a job. But it has been and continues to be an overwhelmingly positive experience. I still own my own airplane, and yes, that costs me some money when I use it for play (mostly for fuel). I do use it some for work during the half of the year I am in Colorado, and that makes the plane pay for itself, plus puts some money in my bank account, though likely not quite enough to cover what I spend in gas flying around Alaska on my days off in the summertime. The plane is worth more now than I paid for it, so it’s better that way than a car, a boat, or somesuch.

    Note that I have NO experience in the airline world. So if that is where you want to go, you really need to listen to the airline guys. Just wanted to put it out there that there are some really positive experiences in aviation.
    #30
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  11. youngan

    youngan -------

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    Funny, I’ll often do the same thing, if I don’t have a particular mission in mind. If I’m just going to go screw around aimlessly, I’ll often jump on the bike vs. jump in the plane. It does cost a lot less. Still, $400 for an hour seems excessive. Citabrias at !ongmont rent for $115/hr ($160 for a Decathlon) and an aerobatic instructor is $45/hr.
    #31
  12. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    I'm not after fame, or money. Hell, for the last nearly 30 years I have worked law enforcement and investigations. Unless I somehow snagged someone famous, my name was never mentioned and I'm more or less at top of my payscale.

    I just really like flying. When I was young there was a helicopter news reporter I hung out with and he would occassionally let me have the stick when he would sneak me on board. The station found out about it and that ended. I've done a couple "discovery flights" and now have a whopping TWO hours logged in actual training. (I know, right! Just another $22000, err 1998 hours to go).

    I've been looking at my life and my dad's life since he died last year. I can honestly say the ONLY regret I hold is never really taking to the sky seriously. I honestly feel I should have taken the opportunity to flunk out of high school to retake senior year for that aviation program.

    I am really not that interested in the big planes. Maybe cargo. I would really love to transition into rotary (had a huge allure for helicopters since Airwolf). To this day I catch myself looking at those things with pure, childlike magic in my eyes.


    I'm experienced enough to know reality, I don't care as long as there is PFM holding me up where the view is cool and I am not around too many people or near the idiots they give driver's licenses to these days.
    #32
  13. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    Hondo,,,,EVERYONE knows that you have lived a charmed life. :rofl But really, that's pretty common. Some better, some much worse. I know many who trained in the aviation world, and gave it up for greener pastures during the bad years. I still wonder why I stuck it out. But as Hondo said, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. And I have done a LOT of everything else along the way.

    I would whole heartedly recommend this. Limber up, maybe $4000 and go learn enough to solo. First Solo is a life experience. The first several are life experiences never to be forgotten. I don't know of anyone who has done it, whether they continued or not, that hasn't looked upon that as one of the most precious, exciting, and rewarding things they have ever done in their entire life. Truly a life event.
    #33
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  14. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    There is enough of us around here, maybe we should all get together and meet in person. Might be fun. breakfast, lunch,coffee? Anybody interested?
    Maybe Perfect Landing, or something like that? :ear
    #34
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  15. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    IN!

    I would take a day off for that kind of meet up.
    #35
  16. jimco

    jimco Been here awhile

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    IN!

    Can I invite my son in law? He wants to be a bush pilot.

    Jim
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  17. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    Need to pick the brains of a fire pilot. That seems to be the direction of the future and reliable work year round any more.
    #37
  18. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    I'm a n00b, don't see why not.
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  19. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    You know I am kidding you, anyone who has been in the trenches know all to well what I mean. You have been there, my friend. One of my few regrets is, that we never flew together. Really, that would have been a great trip. Just take a breath and try to enjoy it along the way. It's over soon enough. doesn't feel like it at the time. I always liked deicing my own plane, loading the bags, then off to the next stop where I could unload the bags, and deice it again, better clean up that barf in the back row before we load the next group of passengers, and then fuel it, load the bags again, and off to the next stop. The glamor doesn't stop.
    #39
  20. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism! It's a bad drug!

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    Yep somewhere around $200 bucks an hour, hobbs time not tach time, and no way I could shut it down after only 1 hour. :D
    #40