Seeking a Professional Helicopter Pilot Job in California
To land the top helicopter pilot jobs in California depends so much upon the "type" of piloting job you are pursuing. Meaning, not all helicopter jobs inCalifornia are the same. Not all helicopter jobs in California are considered to be the "best-paying jobs." The top commercial helicopter pilot jobs around California will require set minimum requirements.
Brand new helicopter pilots from California are very limited in the type of piloting jobs in California they qualify for because new pilots typically don't have enough flight experience. Most entry-level helicopter pilot jobs in California require a minimum of 1,200 flight hours. Brand new commercial pilots (those right out of pilot training school) typically have only 220 total flight hours. Two-hundred and twenty hours is not a lot of hours.
Unfortunately, many times there is a 1,000 flight hour gap between completing commercial flight training and having the minimum requirements to land an industry "entry-level" pilot job in California. Somehow the new commercial helicopter graduate must earn 1,000 additional hours or they don't qualify for the best paying helicopter pilot jobs in California.
Due to a lack of flight experience, the only pilot job a new commercial pilot can land is the CFI job (Certified Flight Instructors), training new student pilots in California. The truth is, most professional helicopter pilots start their piloting career as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Their first entry-level helicopter pilot job is a CFI in California.
In the early stages of a new helicopter pilot career, new pilots from California are very limited in what helicopter pilot jobs they qualify for. The main problem with hiring brand new commercial pilots is that they do not have enough flight hours. Typically, a brand new commercial helicopter pilot in California has earned 220 flight hours.
Essentially, the process of securing a commercial pilot rating will net a newly rated pilot with 220 total flight hours, and 100 of those hours are "pilot in command" hours, also known as "PIC" hours. The point is, the new commercial helicopter pilot in California don't qualify for one of the good-paying pilot jobs in California, therefore the only piloting jobs available are CFI jobs.
Commercial helicopter pilots only have a couple of ways to earn enough PIC hours to land the best-paying commercial piloting job in California, and most pilots earn their required hours as Certified Flight Instructors.
Top-paying Helicopter Pilot Jobs in California
Law Enforcement Pilot: Police Helicopter Pilots in California are typically police officers and commercial helicopter pilots. The typical law enforcement pilot job requirements are simple and clear: Must be a US citizen, pass a background check, and has either attended and graduated from a police academy or is willing to participate in and graduate.
The flight requirements of helicopter pilots seeking a job as a law enforcement helicopter pilot in California include a Commercial Instrument Rotor-wing Certificate, Class II Flight Physical, a minimum of 1,200 total times, 800 PIC hours, and 700 turbine hours.
Emergency Medical Services Helicopter Pilot: Professional helicopter pilots seeking a full-time job piloting for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) companies in California need to be the best of the best. Keep in mind, EMS helicopter pilots are "the best of the best" and the "top dogs" in the aviation industry, therefore most employers give preference to pilots with previous EMS experience with VFR proficiency.
Strong communication skills are a must. Desire to being an integral member of a medical-based team is a must. Job seekers must be able to perform strenuous physical tasks such as lifting and carrying weight up to 90 lbs.
Other helicopter pilot requirements include a current FAA Commercial Certificate, Class II Medical Certificate, Helicopter Instrument Rating, and it is preferred that pilot candidates possess ATP helicopter rating and have recent IFR experience.
Utility Inspection Pilot: Utility Inspect Helicopter Pilots in California must be able to survey powerlines using LiDAR and photographic/video equipment to inspect and document the condition of power poles. Top utility companies are looking for helicopter pilots with extraordinary helicopter experience flying in and around a "wire environment" (utility lines).
Helicopter pilots seeking employment with utility companies must demonstrate and prove their skills to operate a helicopter safely and in a professional manner. To land the best paying utility jobs, they must prove their ability to follow and comply with all Federal (FAA), State, and local regulations. Employers realize that the best utility helicopter pilots have established their ability to work independently and with a team.
Typically, helicopter pilot job candidates need a minimum of 3000 hours as Pilot In Command, a minimum of 300 hours in a turbine, flying utility inspections around power lines with photography is preferred. Job candidates should have FAA commercial license, current medical, clean driving record, clean background check, clean drug test, and no accidents or incident reports.
Charter Tour Pilot: The top helicopter tour companies typically recruit full-time helicopter pilots from California to fly public tours. Job seekers need a commercial pilot rating along with CFI and/or CFII.
Helicopter tour pilots must demonstrate their skills in operating a helicopter safely and in a professional manner. To land the best paying utility jobs, helicopter pilot candidates must prove their ability to follow and comply with all Federal (FAA), State, and local regulations.
Tour helicopter pilots have training in a Robinson R44 and Robinson R66, and turbine hours is preferred or considered an advantage. Helicopter tour pilots need a minimum of 250-1,000 hours and should be qualified for aerial photography, aerial surveys, and sightseeing tour jobs.
Certified Flight Instructor: Helicopter pilots from California looking to land the best flight instructor jobs must have plenty of hours in a Robinson R22 and R44 and R66 Helicopters. Strangely enough, the highest-paid flight instructors also conduct sightseeing tours as long as the pilot meets specific hourly requirements.
Job candidates need to be able to operate as independent contractors working on an hourly basis, flying anywhere from 5 to 25 hours a week.
Flight training job candidates need the following to be current: FAA Commercial Rotorcraft Certificate, Instrument Rotorcraft Rating, Flight Instructor Certificate, (“Instrument” rated Flight Instructor Rating usually preferred), Class II Medical Certificate, and SFAR CFI Endorsement for R22 and R44
Minimum flight experience - a minimum of 250 hours total time in a helicopter, and preferably 150 of those hours in Robinson Rotorcraft.
How the FAA Mitigates the Impact of Bad Weather
They include ground stops, which keep aircraft on the ground when air traffic control is unable to safely accommodate additional aircraft in the system, ground delays, in which aircraft are delayed at their departure airport in order to manage demand and capacity at their arrival airport, and Severe Weather Avoidance Plans, which minimize the impact of a large scale storm by easing traffic demand in portions of airspace impacted by the storm. Other tools include:
- The Airspace Flow Program which identifies aircraft scheduled to fly through severe weather and provides new estimated departure times, giving airlines the flexibility to accept the delay, fly around the storm or cancel the flight.
- Time Based Flow Management is a technology used to adjust capacity and demand imbalances at select airports and points in the sky throughout the U.S., while Traffic Management Advisor is a comprehensive, automated tool for planning efficient flight trajectories from cruise altitude to the runway.
- The fully-automated NextGen Weather Processor identifies safety hazards around busy airports and at high altitudes, and also provides support for strategic traffic flow management, including weather information needed to predict routes blocked by bad weather up to eight hours in advance.
- The Aviation Weather Display consolidates previously separate weather displays, providing important weather information at a glance for controllers.
Fixed-Wing Aircraft Factoid Maintaining the Aircraft
Airframe, engine, and aircraft component manufacturers are responsible for documenting the maintenance procedures that guide managers and technicians on when and how to perform maintenance on their products. A small aircraft may only require a few manuals, including the aircraft maintenance manual. This volume usually contains the most frequently used information required to maintain the aircraft properly. The Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for an aircraft also contains critical information.