Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

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KiloDelta
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Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by KiloDelta »

As a stepping stone to major regional airlines. Im looking for some advice. Im in my 40, married with 2 kids (9 & 6). Wife is a homemaker. My current job and income is really comfortable. I get lots of free time to play with my kids.

However, I have been interested in becoming a regional (CRJ or Dash 8) pilot and if life allows then maybe Air Canada or WestJet.

Assuming I get my CPL + all ratings + 250 hours. Now I need to build hours.

1) Are there bush pilot jobs in the North? and is it a good way to collect hours?
2) What is the living condition up there?
3) Can I move with my wife & kids?
4) How many hours a day typical bush pilot works?
5) How many days in a row typical bush pilot works?
6) Can I find food there? I am a Canadian Citizen of South Asian background. I don't eat canned food, pasta , mac cheese all the time.
7) Are their schools for kids up there?
8) What is the pay structure like?
9) How many years do I need to work there before returning to civilization to apply for Regional jobs.
10) When I apply for regionals, which locations are the typical bases? I dont like to live in Toronto & Vancouver.
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northernpilot2
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by northernpilot2 »

KiloDelta wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:55 am

1) Are there bush pilot jobs in the North? and is it a good way to collect hours?
2) What is the living condition up there?
3) Can I move with my wife & kids?
4) How many hours a day typical bush pilot works?
5) How many days in a row typical bush pilot works?
6) Can I find food there? I am a Canadian Citizen of South Asian background. I don't eat canned food, pasta , mac cheese all the time.
7) Are their schools for kids up there?
8) What is the pay structure like?
9) How many years do I need to work there before returning to civilization to apply for Regional jobs.
10) When I apply for regionals, which locations are the typical bases? I dont like to live in Toronto & Vancouver.
1. Yes. Yes.
2. Shit (Not much to do, winter is boring as hell, and cold)
3. Yes, but a city or town would be good, don't take them to the reserves, I wouldn't recommend it.
4. 14 hrs / day 95% of the time, multiple legs
5. Max allowed by CARS, sometimes more
6. It's not easy unless you live in a city or town.
7. Yeah but they will probably make more friends in a major city vs a small one.
8. Varies company to company. Ornge is probably the best bet.
9. Varies. Minimum 1 for sure
10. With low hours, you don't have a choice. Take what you get. When you get to the big leagues, you can pick and choose.

Its not pleasant, but its good for experience. You learn alot. Be prepared to meet some dicks though, just don't let them kill you. :lol:
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KiloDelta
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stoner

Post by KiloDelta »

Thanks for the reply. If I am working 14 hours a day then what time I get for cooking, daily chores, sleep will be limited. I dont want to work at the reserves. No way, hell no.

I prefer a small town with regular stores such as walmart, sobeys etc.

Do I get weekends off? What is the pay like?

What are the maximum days allowed by CARS?
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porcsord
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by porcsord »

Based on your follow up questions, I don't think bush flying is going to be your cup of tea.

Small towns don't have Walmarts. Small towns start with Fort or end in Lake... and you will be 100's if not thousands of miles from Walmart. Expect full days in the summer, and yes, you're going to have to find time to do everything in the remaining 10 hours of the day. Weekends? No, you won't get those off. The pay to start will likely be in the $2000 a month range when you're getting started. Bush pilot top end pay isn't horrible, I've managed between 10k and 20k a month for the busy seasons but those jobs are few and far between, and probably a decade away for someone just starting. Finally, legal limit? 42 days on 5 days off.

PS
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KiloDelta
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by KiloDelta »

porcsord wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:14 pm Based on your follow up questions, I don't think bush flying is going to be your cup of tea.

Small towns don't have Walmarts. Small towns start with Fort or end in Lake... and you will be 100's if not thousands of miles from Walmart. Expect full days in the summer, and yes, you're going to have to find time to do everything in the remaining 10 hours of the day. Weekends? No, you won't get those off. The pay to start will likely be in the $2000 a month range when you're getting started. Bush pilot top end pay isn't horrible, I've managed between 10k and 20k a month for the busy seasons but those jobs are few and far between, and probably a decade away for someone just starting. Finally, legal limit? 42 days on 5 days off.

PS
What kind of airplanes do you fly? and out of curiosity just how many years do you have to do this, before you can find a job in a proper city with good amneties? Are there vegetarian option or is one limited to only meat & fish.
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CL-Skadoo!
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by CL-Skadoo! »

Vegetarian meals are the cans of beans without pork in them.
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KiloDelta
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by KiloDelta »

porcsord wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:14 pm Based on your follow up questions, I don't think bush flying is going to be your cup of tea.

Small towns don't have Walmarts. Small towns start with Fort or end in Lake..
PS
What are the chances of a job at places like Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Timmins etc.
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GoodGuy
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by GoodGuy »

Are Bush companies currently hiring? During Covid?
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valleyboy
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by valleyboy »

The one question is, what do you mean by -"Bush pilot" Flying floats is seasonal and does very little to get you into the commuters. Flying in remote areas in a navajo or something similar could be a different thing. With covid and the number of people looking for work and trying to get back being employed has seen many trying to go back to the remote flying. You are looking at several years before you become marketable and likely working and yes commuting, if that's possible. I hate to be negative but even making it to your dream you will be an f/o for a very long time and not making a lot of money. In this day of covid you are likely better off buying a little airplane, building time and wait to see where this all goes and plan your move from there.

Operators will take advantage of this surplus of pilots and money will be less and bonds will proliferate. You need to think of your family first because not many entry jobs cater to married with kids.

Like any service industry job economy deals the hand. Aviation went from insane expansion to bust over night. A pendemic has never entered into the mix before but economic times certainly have.

By all means chase your dream but do it wisely.
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digits_
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by digits_ »

Sounds to me like you'll be happier renting or buying a private plane.
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porcsord
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by porcsord »

KiloDelta wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:11 pm What are the chances of a job at places like Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Timmins etc.
At the moment? Probably Terrible. Eventually: Doable.
KiloDelta wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:45 pm What kind of airplanes do you fly? and out of curiosity just how many years do you have to do this, before you can find a job in a proper city with good amneties? Are there vegetarian option or is one limited to only meat & fish.
I fly a variety of types of aircraft, in a variety of configurations. It doesn't really matter what I fly, they are all mostly the same. It's impossible to say how long it would take to end up a city, everybodies path is different. Personally, if I were in your shoes I'd keep my stable job boring job that allows you the luxury of family, get a ppl via a flight school and if after that you decide that yes you love flying: buy a small airplane and fly on your own time. There's nothing glamorous about aviation as a career, and you'll become jaded just like the rest of us.

PS
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valleyboy
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by valleyboy »

There's nothing glamorous about aviation as a career, and you'll become jaded just like the rest of us.
I don't think that that is entirely a true statement. It's no different than any other profession, good days and bad days.

I consider myself having a great career and did it without going to the level one airlines. I did not stay in the bush and flew many types (11 endorsements) and many great light aircraft. Even when I started in the 60's I looked back at the pilots I followed and never considered myself a "true" bush pilot even though all flying was mostly floats and skis. We worked hard and played hard but the one thing that kept crossing my path was that families suffered. The first almost 10 years of my career was like having "no fixed" address.

With covid and all the restrictions "fast tracking" has faded and the aspirations of going from a student to a dash 8 captain in 5 years is gone and 10 years will be more like it. Unfortunately, it's all about that number. Rightly or wrongly seniority dictates and the industry is no longer geared for good workers or talent for progression. It has taken on the lowest common denominator approach. It gives everyone their proper turn.

Things have certainly changed, some good and some bad. Job and wage concessions will never go away in this industry. The cycle is always boom or bust and ironically the most job security usually turns out to be working for northern larger carriers where becoming a lifer is comfortable.

I know guys/gals who have been furloughed several times working for level 1 airlines, I never was laid off or furloughed once working mostly level 2 and north. YK has Walmart -- lmfaOOOooo -- :mrgreen:
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KiloDelta
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by KiloDelta »

porcsord wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:35 pm
KiloDelta wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:11 pm What are the chances of a job at places like Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Timmins etc.
At the moment? Probably Terrible. Eventually: Doable.
KiloDelta wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:45 pm What kind of airplanes do you fly? and out of curiosity just how many years do you have to do this, before you can find a job in a proper city with good amneties? Are there vegetarian option or is one limited to only meat & fish.
I fly a variety of types of aircraft, in a variety of configurations. It doesn't really matter what I fly, they are all mostly the same. It's impossible to say how long it would take to end up a city, everybodies path is different. Personally, if I were in your shoes I'd keep my stable job boring job that allows you the luxury of family, get a ppl via a flight school and if after that you decide that yes you love flying: buy a small airplane and fly on your own time. There's nothing glamorous about aviation as a career, and you'll become jaded just like the rest of us.

PS

:(
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by PilotDAR »

:(
Really doesn't show a lot of effort as a reply to some helpful answers. Success as a pilot anywhere, and particularly in the Canadian north, requires effort, and a positive team like attitude. The people there know it, and they're looking for it in the newbies!

Sort of unlike:
I dont want to work at the reserves. No way, hell no.
...find a job in a proper city...
Are there improper cities?
I don't eat canned food, pasta , mac cheese all the time
Says KiloDelta?!?
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'97 Tercel
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by '97 Tercel »

Improper cities are the ones that start with "Fort" or end in a "k", the Northern store is the place to be, and if you want a pet dog you just have to feed one of the 872 that are wandering the streets.
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2112
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Re: Bush Pilot career advice as a stepping stone

Post by 2112 »

If you go north counting the days until you can move south then you're gunna have a bad time. If you go north expecting to enjoy the same "conveniences" of living in Southern Ontario then you're gunna have a bad time. If you go north with an open mind, healthy sense of adventure and willingness to learn and be taught then you're gunna have the time of your life. Enjoy the experience, you will see places most Canadians are unaware even exist. You may even enjoy it enough to stay.
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