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Advice

jafo20

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So, like, I'm pretty lucky compared to a lot of guys. My flying job is secure, and I'm slowly working my way into a decent professional spot, etc. I get to see whacky parts of the world, and deal with some strange situations.

That said, I really, really miss my years flying single-pilot night freight. Is fixed-wing air ambulance something a guy can be happy with for the long term? What do you all think about your fixed-wing air ambulance lives?

Does air ambulance look better than it really is?

Do people spend 30 years flying fixed-wing air ambulance?
 

DA50pilot

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I believe most "fixed" wing air ambulance companies are mostly on demand part 135. Most of them have CP's and DO's who dont give a crap about anything in your life.... The only thing they care about is keeping the planes flying (which I know is there job). That being said...... stepping stone job, with great international experience, and great overall experience; YES. A job for the long term; we all are different; but for me it was a NO. Being on a pager or cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is not a way to live your life forever. Most of them will not honor days off. Most of them will not allow you to schedule a weekend off, most of them are just scumbag operators.

I look back at the air ambulance and appreciate it every day. It made me a better pilot, gave me great experience flying around the world, It makes me respect every "Lifeguard" I hear signing on in the middle of the night; and it makes me appreciate what I have now.

If you are happy with your "secure job" now; I would not recommend leaving it.....
 

DFries

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DA50 about sums it up! If you have a schedule, decent equipment, OR decent pay......STAY!!!! You will get none of there with an Air Ambulance operator! What you will get is..... D.O.'s who get bonuses for keeping payroll to a minimum, When red lights come on you are told to ignore them because "that comes on all the time", on call 24-7 (which is illegal I might add) being to be on telephone standby when you are on a "scheduled day off". And best of all, after flying 9.9hrs and being on duty for 17, company says "you're pt91, come on home!!!!" Avoid it like the plague Bro!!!!!
 

DA50pilot

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DA50 about sums it up! If you have a schedule, decent equipment, OR decent pay......STAY!!!! You will get none of there with an Air Ambulance operator! What you will get is..... D.O.'s who get bonuses for keeping payroll to a minimum, When red lights come on you are told to ignore them because "that comes on all the time", on call 24-7 (which is illegal I might add) being to be on telephone standby when you are on a "scheduled day off". And best of all, after flying 9.9hrs and being on duty for 17, company says "you're pt91, come on home!!!!" Avoid it like the plague Bro!!!!!


Yeah..... That too.
 

DA50pilot

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http://www.corporatecrimereporter.co...yjet020409.htm

Our last few posts give you OUR experiences with the on demand scumbags. This link should advise you also regarding long term emplyment with outfits like this. I know your question was leaning towards air ambulance, however the mentality of these "managers" in this article is the norm for most charter/air ambulance outfit. We like to refer to them as the battered pilots shelter.

If the link doesnt work, it is posted in the charter page under the "Luxury............"

Not trying to talk you out of doing it, just trying to warn you about what types of "Management/ CP's; DO's you are dealing with. Most of them are not "REAL" Chief Pilots or Director of Operations.... They are usually the YES men for the company prior to the position opening.
 

MASH4077

It's 5 O'Clock Charlie!
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It really depends on who you work for. I fly for an air ambulance operator and it is nothing like what others have described. Sure, it's tough flying sometimes, but the buck always stops with me. Good ones are out there. Just ask a lot of questions!
 

DA50pilot

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It really depends on who you work for. I fly for an air ambulance operator and it is nothing like what others have described. Sure, it's tough flying sometimes, but the buck always stops with me. Good ones are out there. Just ask a lot of questions!

I agree that there are some "good" operators out there. I also know that there A LOT of bad operators too. Its a fun end of the business, and as you said, its extremely tough sometimes.

Good advice on asking alot of questions. Also, know your limits, know the regs, and do not be afraid to say NO.
 

jafo20

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Thanks for the info, all. I appreciate the thought put into the responses.
 

xrated

Jeezz, What have I Done?
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Posts
654
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Huh?
DA50 about sums it up! If you have a schedule, decent equipment, OR decent pay......STAY!!!! You will get none of there with an Air Ambulance operator! What you will get is..... D.O.'s who get bonuses for keeping payroll to a minimum, When red lights come on you are told to ignore them because "that comes on all the time", on call 24-7 (which is illegal I might add) being to be on telephone standby when you are on a "scheduled day off". And best of all, after flying 9.9hrs and being on duty for 17, company says "you're pt91, come on home!!!!" Avoid it like the plague Bro!!!!!

My experience with Air Ambulance was 180 degrees different than this. No pagers, 4 on 4 off type sched, good equipment with no pressure, (dispatchers would pressure you and you'd tell them to F themselves and management would back you up), good benefits. Downside was pay was marginal. 40k-50k. I chased the money and while I now live in a bigger house, I do miss the flying.
 

anewunion

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May 2, 2005
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173
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6000
For the guys that fly for Air Ambulances. Did it seem to be a profitable sector of aviation. Also, would it be a smart choice to base an aircraft in BOS. Thanks guys
 

golfkilo

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Posts
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6600
I believe most "fixed" wing air ambulance companies are mostly on demand part 135. Most of them have CP's and DO's who dont give a crap about anything in your life.... The only thing they care about is keeping the planes flying (which I know is there job). That being said...... stepping stone job, with great international experience, and great overall experience; YES. A job for the long term; we all are different; but for me it was a NO. Being on a pager or cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is not a way to live your life forever. Most of them will not honor days off. Most of them will not allow you to schedule a weekend off, most of them are just scumbag operators.

I look back at the air ambulance and appreciate it every day. It made me a better pilot, gave me great experience flying around the world, It makes me respect every "Lifeguard" I hear signing on in the middle of the night; and it makes me appreciate what I have now.

If you are happy with your "secure job" now; I would not recommend leaving it.....

Dang DA50, you must have worked for a real dirtbag operation! My experience is quite different. We have excellent jet equipment, have 4 hard days off every week, great job security and the company really cares about their employees.

Sorry you had such a bad air med experience, but I can assure the readers that as for my experience, this is the exception and not the rule.
 

DA50pilot

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Nov 19, 2002
Posts
92
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Dang DA50, you must have worked for a real dirtbag operation! My experience is quite different. We have excellent jet equipment, have 4 hard days off every week, great job security and the company really cares about their employees.

Sorry you had such a bad air med experience, but I can assure the readers that as for my experience, this is the exception and not the rule.

Like I said in an earlier post.... I know there are some good operators out there. However; where I flew in the Tampa FL area in the late 90's, it seemed like all of the operators at that time were; (as a very good friend of mine refers to them as) "Battered pilot shelters".

Im happy that you actually work for a company that cares about its employees; that seems very rare these days. If you are happy; that means you probably have a "real" Chief Pilot; not the type that is just in the position for the title. While your company cares about you, the company I flew for cared about keeping the planes in the air (which I know is what they are supposed to do), and they would do ANYTHING to make it happen.

It was great experience, and I met alot of great pilots and friends.

Just out of curiosity; what area of the country are you in? Did you mean 4 hard days off per month, or 4 hard days off per week?

Take care
 

DA50pilot

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Posts
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For the guys that fly for Air Ambulances. Did it seem to be a profitable sector of aviation. Also, would it be a smart choice to base an aircraft in BOS. Thanks guys

Not really sure how profitable it was. I know our owners at the time had all the nice toys; big boat; nice houses; motorcycles. So, they were abviously doing something right.

It seems like alot of competition now in the air ambulance sector; with each company trying to underbid the other when the brokers start calling around getting quotes.

Im not sure about where to base an airplane. Maybe you can call a broker and pick his or her brain as to where the where a weak area for ambulance operators is. I know in Florida, there seems to be a few operators at every airport.
 

golfkilo

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Posts
24
Total Time
6600
Like I said in an earlier post.... I know there are some good operators out there. However; where I flew in the Tampa FL area in the late 90's, it seemed like all of the operators at that time were; (as a very good friend of mine refers to them as) "Battered pilot shelters".

Im happy that you actually work for a company that cares about its employees; that seems very rare these days. If you are happy; that means you probably have a "real" Chief Pilot; not the type that is just in the position for the title. While your company cares about you, the company I flew for cared about keeping the planes in the air (which I know is what they are supposed to do), and they would do ANYTHING to make it happen.

It was great experience, and I met alot of great pilots and friends.

Just out of curiosity; what area of the country are you in? Did you mean 4 hard days off per month, or 4 hard days off per week?

Take care

I'm in Texas, and we have 4 hard days off a week, making it a 4 on, 4 off schedule. Real nice!
 
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