Author Topic: Do I take the pilot offer??  (Read 25571 times)

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Offline GungHo

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Do I take the pilot offer??
« on: July 30, 2008, 08:30:56 »
Hey Guys,

Please bear with me if I get a little long winded but its important to me and it isn't covered anywhere else

So here's the conundrum; I'm 31 years old and currently a professional firefighter in Victoria, I make $70K a year, full pension at 55yo, 4 days on / 4 off schedule, 7 weeks paid holiday, full benefits, basically I'm cruising on easy street in a great city with all my outdoor hobbies at my doorstep (surfing, paragliding, kiteboarding etc)... BUT I have that itch to do more, to really push myself to the max. 

To that end I applied for pilot and was offered a spot!  Now I'm facing a pretty big fork in the road of life and i'm not sure what to do.  Probably like most here my first choice would be CF-18 but i'd also be happy to fly Griffons fast and low.  The idea of multi-engine, Sea Kings, Comorants etc doesn't really fire up my seratonin levels.  I've read the posts about being streamed after your wings so I know i don't really have a say in the matter.  Also being 31 now i know i'd be pushing the envelope to start in fighters.   

I guess my questions more regard lifestyle and the level of job satisfaction and excitement. 

1) Is being a non-hornet pilot any more exciting or rewarding than being a firefighter?  Are there Herc pilots wishing they were firefighters?  Do I just think the grass is greener (ie more rewarding) or is it really?
2) Once into it how rare/hard/realistic is it to do a tour as a snowbird?  I'd spend ten yrs flying anything to do a tour there. 
3) I don't have a family yet but I hope to eventually.  How do guys find the moving, deployments, housing etc ?
4) I LOVE Victoria and the idea of small, remote, northern towns isn't my favorite, is it as bad as i imagine?  Of course to fly hornets or griffons I'd be happy living anywhere, but flying something else from a crummy town....

I know its all subjective and ultimately its a decision only I can make, but i'm struggling and any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.  If you were in my boots what would you do?

Thanks




Offline Moody

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2008, 08:44:44 »
Don't have much to say other than a lot of people would love to have an offer for Pilot right now. Congrats and good luck with your decision.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2008, 09:22:34 »
I am not a pilot, never will be but my father was aircrew on Long Range Patrol aircraft (Argus).  He loved his job (Flight Engineer) and was in the air ALOT. 

My thoughts, which are just that as I've no experience flying anything other than kites, is to search around the forum, and learn more about what KIND of flying (i.e. tasks, missions, training, etc) the non-fighter types do.  There is certainly more to it than driving the plane from point A to point B. 

Maybe some of the aircrew on here will fill you in as to the experiences they have flying Maritime Helicopter, Long Range Patrol, Hercs, SAR/FWSAR, etc.

Getting a pilot offer is something many people dream of, however, you'd have to be willing to accept the type of aircraft you get put on, the type of flying and deployments that come with that, and the postings as well. 

I encourage you to learn as much about the non-fighter and TacHel environments before you turn down, what I see as, a chance of a lifetime.

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline GAP

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 09:38:15 »
If your dream is be a pilot, be one, it matters not what the shape of the wings......  :)
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aesop081

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2008, 09:52:58 »


To that end I applied for pilot and was offered a spot! 

Take it.

Quote
  Probably like most here my first choice would be CF-18

Most pilots i work with have never had any desire to fly the thing.

Quote
  The idea of multi-engine, Sea Kings, Comorants etc doesn't really fire up my seratonin levels. 

I would start warming up to that idea right now if you are going to accept that offer because chances are...........

Quote
Is being a non-hornet pilot any more exciting or rewarding than being a firefighter? 

I'm not a pilot but from my perspective ( 10 feet behind him/her), 300 feet above sea state 4, middle of the night with 45 degrees of bank on, turbulent air, helos flying everywhere, thousands of tons of warship around is pretty sporty.

Quote
4) I LOVE Victoria and the idea of small, remote, northern towns isn't my favorite, is it as bad as i imagine?  Of course to fly hornets or griffons I'd be happy living anywhere, but flying something else from a crummy town....

Another idea you had better start warming up to............


Offline TheCheez

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 10:10:33 »
Honestly if you really love where you're at now, why the hell do you want to leave?

Not to take anything away from the pilot life but the grass isn't always greener. Also AFAIK there's no surfing, paragliding or kiteboarding communities in Moose Jaw, Cold Lake, Pet, Gagetown, Edmonton etc. Hope you also like hunting, fishing and bundling up for -40. Make sure you have enough motivation to get through the crap. Too often there's guys/girls who walked into recruiting and thought that pilot sure would be cool and in many cases that isn't enough to get the job done through 3-5 years of training. If it's your dream your chances of success are higher.

It's a big decision for you, consider it carefully and what you're leaving behind.


Offline milnews.ca

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2008, 10:12:22 »
Don't have much to say other than a lot of people would love to have an offer for Pilot right now.

Not to mention how many others never got an offer (myself included).

Cliche alert:  what's your heart/gut say? 

If you REALLY want to fly with the military, you should jump @ the rare chance you've been given.  If the pluses of your current situation outweigh the passion to fly (that's a legit choice, as well - you contribute a lot serving the public by being a firefighter, too), stay where you are and learn to fly on your own coin on the side to enjoy it.

Tough decision - good luck with it.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 12:34:10 by milnewstbay »
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Offline Niteshade

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2008, 10:32:10 »
I would have to concur with all the people here.

You currently have a good job with great pay and fantastic benefits. The training is long, and at 31 the odds of you flying a hornet are low. The requirements are extremely high. (See Jetstream the TV show on Discovery). They may stick you in rotary, but honestly they will put you where they need you. Flying any aircraft for the forces is a wicked job. It's all mission oriented flying. There is a lot more to flying than just flying, there is flight plans, comms, admin, and a HUGE procedure list that is always on the go at all tiems. Top it off with maintaining your physical and mental health and dress standards.

It is a tough job but from my three friends who are CF pilots, they love it to death.

IMHO This is not an "if you really" want to be a pilot situation. This is an "If you absolutely, most definitely, without-a-doubt, 150%, balls-to-the-wall" opportunity. If you can give that kind of commitment, and absolutely will not fail, then go for it. Otherwise pass it off to the next eligible candidate who IS ready to give that kind of commitment.

Expect a massive pay cut. To make $70k a year you would have to be in for a good while to get into that pay rate.

Be prepared to be posted to other bases than in BC. Hornet's are flown from Cold Lake and Bagotville. Both get crazy cold in the winter.

Think the next 5 years as if your going through college (but substantially more difficult), and then you still need to develop a career after that.

Good luck on your decision.

Nites
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and every man wants to be in his missus,
Give it up for Victoria and David Beckham!" - Ali G

Offline SF2

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2008, 10:37:19 »
take the offer.

You have a lot less to lose as a single guy if you decide that its not for you (or the system decides for you....)
And for the love of god, don't base your decision on what you saw on Jetstream.

I got my wings in 2002 and have flying Griffons ever since.  PM me if you REALLY want to know.

Offline hauger

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 11:14:52 »
There's nothing funnier than a BC guy on basic training in Farnham in late November - March.

I don't know, you sound a bit like a "grass is greener" kind of guy, like you walked into the recruiting office after a night of Pepsi and Cheeto's while watching Top Gun and Jetstream (with maybe a bit of Iron Eagle thrown in).  Pro Firefighter is a hell of a job, with great benefits and pay.  You'll see that pay cut nearly in half and enter the "two bad flights away from a Log Officer Patch" training system (it's not that bad, but that's the jist).  Any cockpit in the military ranks much higher on the fun scale than any other cockpit at Air Canada, and with appologies to fast air, I'm not sure strapping yourself into a 25 year old fighter for your max. 200 hours a year is all that fun.

You're going to get LOTS of "take the offer" advice simply because there's a lot of people that'd give their soul for the same offer, but that doesn't make it right for you.  If you're really into flying (say, you've tried it or have a private licence or something like that), then absolutely, the job is fantastically rewarding and worth the crap it takes to get there.  If you're chasing "cool", then walk away.  Cool isn't enough to get you through the 3 to 5 years of training.

With regards to being single, it's all good to be single, probably a LOT easier really.  Just keep in mind, it's a bit tricky to find and keep a girlfriend long term when you go from place to place every 6 months or so for a different phase of training.  Not to mention, although I've never tried in Cold Lake, I'm not sure how good the pickings are there for single women (or Bagotville, or Pet, or Moose Jaw, or Trenton, or Goose Bay, or Gander for that matter).

Let us know what you chose though.

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 11:17:25 »
The training is long, and at 31 the odds of you flying a hornet are low.

Can you explain me why?

The requirements are extremely high. (See Jetstream the TV show on Discovery).

It was on TV, it must be true....  But yes, the training is hard and the instructors demanding.... On ANY stream.

Top it off with maintaining your physical and mental health and dress standards.

 :rofl:

Think the next 5 years as if your going through college (but substantially more difficult), and then you still need to develop a career after that.

Actually, I thought University was much harder.

GungHo : Moose Jaw and Cold Lake aren't that bad.  Winters in Bagotville aren't as bad as in Cold Lake or Moose Jaw.  Yes, you will be able to kiteboard in all cities (maybe not at your doorstep in Moose Jaw, but there are places withing 1 hour.  Life in those places isn't as bad as people make it look.  It is what you make of it. If it can motivate you, there are some older people than you right now on the Advanced Jet Training.  Age isn't really a factor if you really want to do it.  However, it will be a challenge and there is no guarantee you will get your wings and get what you want.

If you have any questions about the jet side of things, PM me

Max
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 11:22:35 by SupersonicMax »

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2008, 11:20:13 »

I'm not a pilot but from my perspective ( 10 feet behind him/her), 300 feet above sea state 4, middle of the night with 45 degrees of bank on, turbulent air, helos flying everywhere, thousands of tons of warship around is pretty sporty.


Now that sounds like the crap to me.  Jets might be 'cool' but...I'd rather be a GIB in the LRP world than a CF-18 driver any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.  But thats me.
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Offline kincanucks

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 11:59:24 »
Can you explain me why?

It was on TV, it must be true....  But yes, the training is hard and the instructors demanding.... On ANY stream.

 :rofl:

Actually, I thought University was much harder.

GungHo : Moose Jaw and Cold Lake aren't that bad.  Winters in Bagotville aren't as bad as in Cold Lake or Moose Jaw.  Yes, you will be able to kiteboard in all cities (maybe not at your doorstep in Moose Jaw, but there are places withing 1 hour.  Life in those places isn't as bad as people make it look.  It is what you make of it. If it can motivate you, there are some older people than you right now on the Advanced Jet Training.  Age isn't really a factor if you really want to do it.  However, it will be a challenge and there is no guarantee you will get your wings and get what you want.

If you have any questions about the jet side of things, PM me

Max

Come on! Five years of Air Cadets has to give him the ability to speak knowledgeably of all things air.
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 12:19:52 »
I don't know, you sound a bit like a "grass is greener" kind of guy, like you walked into the recruiting office after a night of Pepsi and Cheeto's while watching Top Gun and Jetstream (with maybe a bit of Iron Eagle thrown in). 

Iron Eagle that was just on TV recently! 

Mullet - Check
Tape Deck - Check
Rocking out while shooting down bad guys - Priceless.

I don't know which is better for recruiting, Red Dawn or Iron Eagle?  Fear the mullet.

Only you know what to do about the offer.

aesop081

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2008, 12:28:24 »
for your max. 200 hours a year is all that fun.


I joined my trade to fly........i get 500-600 hours a year and i wish i got more. i cant imagine me being happy with under 200.

Quote
Now that sounds like the crap to me.  Jets might be 'cool' but...I'd rather be a GIB in the LRP world than a CF-18 driver any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.  But thats me.

i did forget to add " third night flight in a row on minimum crew rest" and "Hawaii" and "Europe" and "Australia" and ......... ;)


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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2008, 12:33:14 »
I'm not sure strapping yourself into a 25 year old fighter for your max. 200 hours a year is all that fun.

Most people get more than that in the Hornet community.  I can tell you for a fact that in the initial year(s) (when learning is at its max), it's a lot.  I've flown about 200 hours last year and that was enough for me. I would have been able to do more, but I'm satisfied with what I did.  1 hour of flying isn't 1 hour of work.  It's much more than that, depending on what kind of mission you do.

Max

Offline Ditch

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2008, 18:11:25 »
Sounds like lots of good advice.  In the end - the decision is yours to make.

You can expect a pay cut - it will take about 5 years to get back to where you are now, and then it will grow to 6 figures.

Military aviation is a whole new kettle of fish - there is nothing similar in the civilian world when it comes to flying.  We don't worry about fuel costs, passenger comfort or delays - we just ensure the mission is completed.

If you take the offer and decide that the job is not for you - you can leave anytime you like, just up to Wing's standard.  You will always have your firefighter job to fall back on.
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Offline Klinkaroo

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2008, 19:26:15 »
Also just to had too that even if you don't get fighters or Griffon's, landing a sea king (or hopefully the new cyclone) on a moving ship in the middle of the ocean is probably pretty amazing and fun too and launching torpedoes and sonar buoys... Also the C-17 and Hercs are tactical transport so you would get to land that big bad boy on dirt runways barely long enough for the aircraft, fly up to Alert with the Herc and land it on a snow covered runway or even flying the cormorant threw a storm in the middle of the North Atlantic.

Or you never know, you might be flying the challenger or Polaris with the prime minister in it to different places around the world. As you can see if then passenger aircraft are very interesting.

If I had the eyes and the university degree I would jump on an opportunity like yours.

The way I look at it anything that the military flies is going to be some pretty amazing stuff and probably never routine unlike flying commercial aircraft from one full service airport to another.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 20:21:33 by Klinkaroo »

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2008, 19:31:46 »
Also.......just to add: SPELL CHECK is a marvelous invention and helps me to read your post a little easier.

What type of aircraft is a Gryphon?
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Offline Klinkaroo

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2008, 20:25:01 »
I'll have you note the gryphon is another way of spelling griffon according to the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

grif·fin also grif·fon or gryph·on
n.   A fabulous beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.


Also the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

gryphon
Grif"fin\, Griffon \Grif"fon\, n. [OE. griffin, griffon, griffoun, F. griffon, fr. L. gryphus, equiv to gryps, Gr. ?; -- so called because of the hooked beak, and akin to grypo`s curved, hook-nosed.]

1. (Myth.) A fabulous monster, half lion and half eagle. It is often represented in Grecian and Roman works of art.

2. (Her.) A representation of this creature as an heraldic charge.

3. (Zo["o]l.) A species of large vulture (Gyps fulvus) found in the mountainous parts of Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor; -- called also gripe, and grype. It is supposed to be the "eagle" of the Bible. The bearded griffin is the lammergeir. [Written also gryphon.]

4. An English early apple.

Offline AverageJoe

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2008, 20:26:43 »
There is also a really really long waiting period for pilots. You will go to st.jean for your IAP BOTP and then go to Second language training for up to 8 months unless you already speak fluent french. After second language training you will probably end up doing on the job training( which is pretty much doing nothing other then occasionally catching a ride on a herc ) for years before even beginning your real job training. Also the different phases of training has long break between because they are so backed up. I had a bunch of friends back at my basic which was about 11 months ago and they all tell me that all of them won't actually get to fly anything for years to come. If excitement is your primary interest in being a pilot I suggest you look into the actual timeframe of you training at the recruiters and any other pilots in the training system before you sign on the dotted line. Once you sign on the dotted line.....they own you. Just something to think about at your "fork."

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2008, 20:28:02 »
I'll have you note the gryphon is another way of spelling griffon according to the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

grif·fin also grif·fon or gryph·on
n.   A fabulous beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.


Also the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

gryphon
Grif"fin\, Griffon \Grif"fon\, n. [OE. griffin, griffon, griffoun, F. griffon, fr. L. gryphus, equiv to gryps, Gr. ?; -- so called because of the hooked beak, and akin to grypo`s curved, hook-nosed.]

1. (Myth.) A fabulous monster, half lion and half eagle. It is often represented in Grecian and Roman works of art.

2. (Her.) A representation of this creature as an heraldic charge.

3. (Zo["o]l.) A species of large vulture (Gyps fulvus) found in the mountainous parts of Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor; -- called also gripe, and grype. It is supposed to be the "eagle" of the Bible. The bearded griffin is the lammergeir. [Written also gryphon.]

4. An English early apple.


So?  You have covered Birds, monsters and apples.  You still haven't identified the aircraft type.

'And if you don't think it is important, then you don't know anything about AFV identification and how serious a business that is.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 20:31:03 by George Wallace »
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Offline Klinkaroo

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2008, 20:32:13 »
Well see the word gryphon or griffon is actually not an "aircraft type". If you look up griffon in the dictionary you will not get a helicopter of the Canadian forces. The helicopter is named after the mythical animal so if gryphon is the same animal as the griffon well then it is also the same "aircraft type".

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2008, 20:42:48 »
Good grief.

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Do I take the pilot offer??
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2008, 20:44:21 »
The helicopter is named after the animal so if gryphon is the same animal as the griffon well then it is also the same "aircraft type".

As we have derailed this topic a bit, but it is still relevant, especially to a person who may be wanting to become a pilot in the CF.......Klinkaroo you are WRONG.  It is a very important matter as detailed in my previous post on AFV Recognition.  This simple "indiscretion" in lax spelling of an aircraft type, could cost someone's life in the future.  Get it right or get called on it.  What you write is understood by most, literally as you print/type it.  If you get it wrong in print, someone may have to pay for it with their life.

The helicopter that the CF flies is not a Gryphon.  It is a CH-146 Griffon.  The Gryphon, for all we know, may be some multi-role fighter in Outer Slobovia.
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