Having a dream of becoming a commercial helicopter pilot is not a plan. You have to have a lot more than a dream. Those who actually land Tier 2 helicopter pilot jobs started out with career goals and a solid plan to achieving those goals. The best helicopter flight schools will help you devise a career plan from day one. It’s not about getting through flight school fast; it’s about setting goals and following a success plan to achieve a long-term aviation career.
What are Tier 2 commercial helicopter pilot jobs? What are the prerequisites to land a Tier 2 job? How much do employers pay Tier 2 pilots? What is expected by the employers of Tier 2 pilots? What is the best career path in order to be sought after as a Tier 2 helicopter pilot? Got answers? If not, you need them.
If you are a student pilot and thinking about a career in aviation, you need to have answers to these questions before you choose a helicopter flight school. Your chosen pathway to a helicopter pilot career will be determined by the flight school you pick, as well as your attitude, the people you meet, your attentiveness to safety, and your customer service skills. In order to land a Tier 2 pilot job, you need the perfect mix of experience and professional attributes to convince an employer to trust you with their aircraft and customers.
“What is the best path to becoming a sought after commercial helicopter pilot? Have you thought through the process, from start to finish?”
Industry experts recommend that prospective student pilots chose a flight school that will FULLY prepare them for a long-term career – covering all the phases of a career. Typically, there are five phases to a “full career”. Entry level jobs, Tier 1 jobs, Tier 2 jobs, Tier 3 jobs, and then perhaps administrative or leadership (non-pilot jobs). Each step builds upon the other, and there are no shortcuts.
In order to eventually earn a Tier 2 piloting job, one must start with the end in mind. A good plan must be devised in flight school, and then followed as you build your career. A great mentor with actual industry experience is a must – starting in flight school. Following the advice and guidance of those who have gone before us is “wisdom at work”. The top flight schools employ experienced mentors who have the right industry experience. Your mentor can help plan out your career.
When competing for Tier 2 commercial helicopter pilot jobs, your reputation and integrity as a person and a pilot, will make all the difference in the world. Without a solid reputation and proven integrity, you won’t be considered for a higher level piloting job.
To become a successful career-minded Tier 2 pilot, you will need more than PIC hours. At the second level of piloting, it takes skillful networking. The aviation industry is small, and it’s all about what you know, and “who you know”. You can make minor missteps as an aviator, but there are some decisions that will prevent you from transitioning from a Tier 1 to the a Tier 2 piloting job – transgressions that will follow you forever. The first mistake you can make for your career is choosing the wrong flight school.
Note: Do not apply for a Tier 3 pilot job unless you have 5,000+ hours, with 1,000 hours of longline, and 500 hours in the S76 or AW139 (or similar aircraft). Of course, you will need plenty of 135 experience as well. You will need to be the ultimate professional in every way, networked within the industry (known and proven), mature, self-driven, and motivated to serve your employer in all the intangibles.