A Growing Number of Professional Pilot Jobs

Many frequent visitors to Upper Limit Aviation‘s website already know that now is a tremendous time to be a professional pilot. The amount of professional pilot jobs available today has increased substantially, outnumbering any previous time in commercial aviation history. The ongoing hiring boom shows no signs of slowing down, with even greater access to opportunities looking increasingly likely as industry plans for the next year are announced. The aviation industry is in the midst of a tidal wave of transformation, as the industry finds new and exciting ways to utilize the services of pilots and aircraft.

The Expanding Array of Today’s Professional Pilot Jobs

There are many potential career paths for tomorrow’s professional pilots within the modern aviation economy. Whether you are a helicopter pilot or a fixed-wing/airplane pilot, you will find that there is an increased reliance upon quick, effective transport solutions to meet the demands of the increasingly diversified infrastructure of many domestic and global companies. Professional helicopter pilots may find themselves working in oil and gas support in the Gulf of Mexico region. In the same industry, professional airplane pilots can envision themselves working in the field of pipeline inspection.
The reason we’re taking this moment to point out the breadth of opportunities available to today’s professional pilots is because we want to let potential students know that they have an important decision to make. Many of these prospective pilots do not even know that there is a life altering opportunity available to them. So if you have found yourself here out of curiosity, take a short amount of time to browse through some of the information we have on this site about the opportunities available to professional pilots, and know that we are doing everything we can to help prepare our students to meet the demands of the most significant moment in aviation history.
Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Top 6 Tips for Student Pilots to Land the Best Aviation Jobs

For most student pilots attending helicopter flight school, it is all about landing the best paying jobs as a career pilot. Why else would anyone invest a great deal of money to learn to fly (as a commercial pilot) unless it was to position yourself to compete for the best aviation jobs?

Therefore, there are certain decisions that student helicopter pilots need to make before they start flight school. In other words, before you move across the country to attend a top flight school, you need to consider the steps successful student pilots have taken to land the best paying commercial pilot jobs. We recommend that you learn from those who have succeeded.

#6.  Personal Branding – Develop Powerful Social Media Presence: Start branding yourself before you start flight school. This may sound presumptious, but there is a lot you can do before you start developing your piloting skills. At the very least, get plugged into the vast network of commercial pilots and helicopter companies.

In the very near future your personal brand will become extremely important. And, it takes time to get your personal brand established (e.g. Social Media). When it comes to your current and future commercial helicopter pilot career, you need to establish and then promote your personal brand (your professional image). Imagine “branding” success when the brand you’re promoting is YOU!

What is a personal brand? “You’re a brand. I’m a brand. We’re all brands, whether we try or not”.

Personal branding is the purposeful process of managing and optimizing the way that you are seen by others, especially potential employers.sam-cribbs

The benefits of developing a powerful online personal brand.

1. Being seen by the right people (prospective employers), seeing you in the best light.
2. Build positive network associations – building your brand reputation.
3. Develop beneficial associations (connections) within your industry
4. Generate greater credibility and value
5. Create recognition and prestige through your associations.

Effectively designing social media profiles is the best way to promote and manage your personal brand. You can either control the narrative (the information), or be controlled by it.

Just how vital is your personal brand strategy? We recommend that you do a Google search of your name. Trust me, your future employers will Google your name before they schedule an interview. After Googling your name, what did you find? Is it positive? Does it represent you well? Will the info that comes up when Googling your name help you compete against others, helping you land the best aviation jobs?

The top search results should be from your social networks; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google+. If you’re serious about promoting yourself professionally, people should also find images, videos, and blog posts that you have written and published online. Next, when clicking on your social media accounts, is your professional image proprely presented? Does your social media presence help you to stand out above the rest?  If not, it’s time to get started.A helicopter association conference - Networking is a big part of landing the best aviation jobs.

Your social media presence (and content: images, video, blog posts) can be the backbone of your personal branding strategy – helping you to get your foot in the door and effectively compete for the best jobs.

#5.  Networking – Attend Aviation Association Conferences: You will hear the following over and over again… “its not what you know, as much as it is who you know.“ Mastering the art of “networking” is how most people get the top jobs in the aviation industry. For examples of top paying “Tier 1” industry jobs, click here.

Networking is hard work and takes skill and patience. Networking is not brown-nosing or schmoozing. There’s actually an art to it. When done properly, with authenticity, integrity, and honesty, networking will open doors like nothing else can.

#4.  Find an Experienced Mentor: Most employed commercial pilots can identify at least one person who took them “under their wing”, helping them to advance their careers. Before you get your start in the aviation industry, we recommend that you find a flight training program stacked with mentors.

r-44-feedAn effective mentor is an experienced pilot (or pilots) who will contribute to your overall success as a commercial pilot. A good mentor will educate you, through wisdom and experience, so that you can plot your career path before it ever gets started – and then be there as a guide as you advance your career towards the best aviation jobs.

At its most basic level, mentoring is a process in which an individual with more experience or expertise provides encouragement, advice, and support to a less experienced colleague, with the goal of helping the person being mentored learn something that he or she would have learned more slowly, less effectively, or not at all if left alone (definition by Chip Bell as written in “Manager as Mentors”).
Webster defines a mentor as, “a trusted counselor or guide.” Mentors will make the difference between getting a job and being unemployed.

Mentors, people with industry experience, will not only help you start your career, but also open some doors when you are ready to land your first industry job.  The aviation industry is small, and competing for good paying jobs is all about “who you know.” Through a well-connected mentor you can get your resume to the top of the stack.

If you have a family your spouse must be 100% behind your career. Before starting flight school your spouse has to know what you are getting him/her into – your spouse needs to know everything about becoming a commercial pilot (how long it will take, the time commitment, the cost, the career opportunities, the salaries and wages, location(s) of the jobs, and the type of work schedule). This commitment is a shared commitment (all family members), and without the spouse’s support it will become a nightmare.

Choosing the right flight training school is the first step to your commitment. Do your homework – don’t choose the first school that comes along.  Your flight school will determine your value and worth as a pilot, so make an informed educated decision. The flight school you choose should help you with all six of these “6 Tips”.

#3.  Total Commitment and Focus: Experienced pilots will tell you, that in order to become a commercial pilot (especially pilots with the best aviation jobs), you need to be 100% committed and focused on your training and career development. Becoming a commercial pilot means that you must be a professional pilot – with a big emphasis on “professional”.

A commercial pilot is not a part-time recreational endeavor.  Learning to fly can be fun, but to become an employable commercial pilot it takes tremendous sacrifice, persistence, and total commitment. Total immersion is required.

Becoming a commercial pilot is very similar to becoming a doctor or a lawyer.  Your training and education is very important, and not very forgiving. Meaning, as a student pilot you can’t afford to make mistakes. Your mind, energy, and focus must be completely funneled toward your training. If you are not ready, or able, to commit everything toward your training – don’t start.

#2.  Know the Industry: Before you start your journey toward becoming a commercial pilot you have to make the right moves from day one (i.e., choosing the right flight school). Your career depends upon making the right choices at the right time for the right reasons. Therefore, before you start training, you need to know the industry.

We recommend that you do your research. For example, call a few of the Helicopter Tour companies in Las Vegas. Tell them that you are serious about becoming a commercial pilot and you are conducting some research. Ask to speak with a Chief Pliot, or the Chief Instructor. You need to know the answers to the following question:

  • “What pilot jobs are available?”
  • “What is a good career path as a professional pilot?”
  • “What makes a good pilot?”
  • “What are employers looking for when hiring pilots?”
  • “What experience will make me more employable?”
  • “What is the typical cost for flight training?”
  • “How long is training going to take, and what personal commitment must I be willing to make?”
  • “What are some of the mistakes others have made that hurt their careers?
  • “What are the choices of high paying pilots that advanced their career?”
  • “Do I have what it takes?”

Once you have a pretty good idea about the questions above, start looking for a flight training school that will present a path towards the best aviation jobs. When interviewing prospective flight schools they should answer each one of the question above exactly in the same way that the Helicotper Tour companies did. The school’s answers to these questions should jive with the best Tier 1 Employers answers. If they don’t, move on to the next school.

#1.  Choose the Right Flight School – Do Your Homework: Have you ever noticed that most presidential candidates graduated from Harvard or Yale? The same is true with Wall Street executives and CEO’s of top corporations –they’ve all graduated at the top universities (there are always exceptions). The point is, to get the top jobs in government or private business you need to attend a top school. The same is true with getting the best aviation jobs.

Your flight training and education will matter. It will make you or break you. The type of training you receive, along with “who trained you”, will either advance your career or hold you back. Our recommendation is that you carefully explore your options and make an informed choice. Go so far as to visit at least three flight schools before you enroll. Interview the people who will be training you. Look deeply into their results… meaning, “Where are their graduates? Where are they employed?”

Related Articles

Tier 1 Helicopter Pilot Jobs

Landing a Tier 2 Helicopter Pilot Job

Types of Tier 3 Helicopter Pilot Jobs

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Certified Flight Instructor Training Pays Off for ULA Graduate

Jeff Vogel, Certified Flight Instructor with Upper Limit Aviation is “Living the Dream”. Jeff instructs student pilots at ULA’s Cedar City campus. If your dream is to fly helicopters for a living, contact Jeff.  He is more than happy to talk you through the process of going through certified flight instructor training and becoming a commercial pilot ([email protected]).

Against All Odds – Chasing The Dream Until it is Achieved
Some people have a knack for spending every waking moment working to reach a goal they have set. Jeff Vogel is that type of person; he knows what he wants to do in life and won’t let anything deter him from his dream. The world of aviation can be intimidating, but for Jeff it has been an adventure. At thirteen, Jeff had already completed his first intro flight in an airplane.
“I grew up in an aviation-loving family; I have photos of when I was a baby sitting on the hood of the car watching planes come in while eating french fries. When I was thirteen I flew my first intro flight lesson in a Cessna 172. I remember that I could not stop smiling for weeks,” said Jeff Vogel, CFI with Upper Limit Aviation.
“As a kid I usually had a GI Joe in one hand and a model plane or helicopter in the other, and when I was in kindergarten I remember telling my teacher I wanted to be a pilot.”
Jeff’s father passed away when he was only eight years old. However, Jeff’s father did influence him in regard to “following his passion” for aviation.
“My father told me when I was young ‘Don’t fuss about things in life that you don’t really love or care for… if aviation is your passion and you know that’s what you want to do, give it your all, give everything you have to strive and make it work, and that really stuck with me,” said Jeff.
With his determination to become involved in aviation, Jeff flew an airplane before he drove a car, and while most kids participated in the regular extra-curricular activities after school, Jeff flew over them in an attempt to continue building his solo flight time.
“I remember my Junior year in high school, the football coach came to me and told me that he wanted me to play on the varsity football team. The coach told me that I needed to stop flying so much. I remember looking at him and saying ‘I don’t think so’,” recalled Jeff. “Football was all this guy lived for and flying was all I lived for. I remember flying over the football team while they ran scrimmages saying to myself and smiling, ‘I think I made the right choice here’.” 
Jeff_Vogel_HelicopterAfter Jeff had finished high school, he joined the United States Marine Corp while attending Ohio University and received a degree in Aviation Management.
“I went into the Marine Corp because I thought I would like to be a pilot in the military and it was good. But I realized didn’t want to pursue being a military pilot, but that’s where my love for helicopters grew,” said Jeff.
“I flew around in helicopters in Afghanistan, but that wasn’t nearly as fun as being up front and in control.  I looked at twelve or more flight schools before I choose ULA.  I really wanted to make sure I picked a great flight school. One that would take care of my needs – having an impeccable job placement rate to set me up for success.  So, I chose Upper Limit Aviation and I haven’t looked back.”
Never Looking Back – Setting Goals Until They Become Reality
After leaving the military, Jeff joined Upper Limit Aviation’s Helicopter Pilot program. Like most first-time helicopter pilots, Jeff’s first flight was one he would never forget.
“I distinctly remember my first flight in a helicopter and walking out to the flight line, seeing all the Upper Limit pilots in their flight suits and it was slightly intimidating. But everyone one was just really nice and had a fun attitude.  When we first picked up into a hover, I knew this was something special, and absolutely exciting,” said Jeff.
“I knew this was where I wanted my office to be, in the front seat of a helicopter – in the pilot’s seat.” 
Jeff_Vogel_MarinesFlight school has its challenges, but for Jeff these challenges have been learning tools he’s leveraged for success.
“My biggest challenge was being as proactive as possible. People are there if you need help, especially in Upper Limit, but its up to you to be your own leader and make sure you study” said Jeff.
“You have to be a self driven and motivated individual. I have wanted to fly since I was born. I would pick flying over everything, but sometimes it can be a lot of work. You have to be dedicated and disciplined to become a professional pilot.”
Jeff makes it clear that anyone coming into the ULA Flight program should know a few key things. “You have got to be focused and driven – you have to know where you are headed and the pathway that gets you there,” said Jeff.
“You have to be driven, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. People can get burnt out and just go too fast without realizing the work behind it.  I like to set a good pace and focus on the finish line.”
Jeff_Vogel_as_a_young_pilotJeff does take some time to focus on other things besides flying, and has found a way to stay focused and proactive to reach his goal of becoming a skilled professional helicopter pilot. Jeff is a newlywed and he loves to ride motorcycles and enjoys the great outdoors.
“For student pilots it’s non-stop studying, and our students group up to study together, and have fun doing it… It’s a family atmosphere at ULA. In the summer students are out by the pool and they study by the pool in-between swimming and playing golf,” said Jeff.
Jeff highly recommends Upper Limit Aviation to any prospective student who has the dream to fly, especially if they are interested in certified flight instructor training.
 
“With big work comes big payoff, and flying helicopters is not for everyone. You have to be willing to sacrifice and stay focused. Everyone at ULA has had to get in a U-haul and move across the country to attend flight school. It’s scary, but understand that most of the ULA students and instructors have had to sacrifice, and those that took the leap and worked their tail off are happy they did.  For me, I am entering into a booming industry with fantastic job opportunities. I am living the dream.”  
Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

More Female Helicopter Pilots in the Industry

There is a very recent upward trend of female helicopter pilots entering into the “male dominated” helicopter industry. We believe this is good news, and this movement seems to be world wide. At Upper Limit Aviation we are finding that more women are donning flight suits with the aspiration of becoming commercial helicopter pilots.

This article focuses on this upward trend, and attempts to bring more awareness to women regarding the career opportunities in aviation – specifically the helicopter pilot segment of aviation.

Currently, there are many women working in the aviation industry – from airline gate agents and flight attendants, to every nook and cranny of the corporate airline arena. However, until recently, not many women have been found in the cockpit as pilots, especially in the rotorcraft world. But things are changing.

And on that positive note, the Whirly-Girls Scholarship fund has announced five additional scholarships to be awarded to women in the helicopter aviation industry. The application for procuring these scholarships closes on October 1, 2015.

One example among many is Starlite Helicopter and Fixed Wing Training Academy, out of Western Cape, South Africa. Starlite has seen a tremendous increase in the enrollment of women into their helicopter flight school. (see recent news video below). Starlite’s story is only one of many stories being played out all over the globe.

For many years now most everyone in the aviation industry has been trying to attract more women into the pilot’s seat. However, for women there seems to be insurmountable walls, hurdles, and obstacles preventing them from joining the commercial pilot ranks. We believe that we can be a part of changing that.

There has been a noticeable stagnation in the number of women pilots up until 20 years ago. The reason for the lack of growth is complicated. Some of the more obvious reasons are related to our culture, lack of funding, misconceptions regarding skill development, and lack of awareness of career opportunities. And, there has been some unexplainable “mysterious” reasons that no one can put their finger on.

Growth Trends of Female Helicopter Pilots in the Industry

Although women have been involved in the aviation industry since its beginning, the growth of women pilots over the last 100 years has been less than impressive. Nonetheless, we believe that there is a bright future for women in aviation, especially in the area of helicopters. There are strong indicators in the industry that the number of female pilots is going up, and will continue to do so into the next decade.

Currently, 5% of airline pilots are women, and only 450 sit in the captain’s seat. However, the 5% represents a big increase when compared to twenty years ago. We believe this growth trend will continue for fixed wing pilots. In the helicopter world women pilots make up less than 3% of the total number of pilots. Even though 3% seems small, its a huge increase when compared to even 10 years ago.

At Upper Limit Aviation we have seen a steady flow of women enrolling in our flight schools. However, we are not satisfied, and we are committed to work even harder to recruit female students until we see explosive growth and see more female helicopter pilots.

The Misconception of Skill Development in Women

It takes a great deal of physical coordination to fly helicopters. In addition, pilot’s have to have good eyesight, good hearing, and be able to handle mulit-tasking well (both mental and physical activities). It should also be obvious, that good pilots need fast and smooth reflexes, and stable minds (they cannot panic or crack under pressure).

Some industry experts say that women are better equipped than men in their ability to make the delicate and graceful controlled movements that are required of helicopter pilots. They even say that women can react more quickly, handle navigation with more finesse, and have a better sense of direction (intuition).

Some believe that women, in regard to their fine motor movements are more subtle, giving them an distinct advantage over men when movement involves piloting skills. Women pilots are also thought to have great leadership abilities. They are more patient, more humble, and more cautious. Whether any of these statements are true is debatable, and more importantly, irrelevent. Female pilots we have known have shown that women can be great pilots, just like men, period!

Generally, most women are physically and mentally equipped to be pilot helicopters. It is our experience that women make incredible pilots, and we would like to see more women enroll into flight school. If this is true, the issue must be that too many women do not think they can become good pilots.

To become a commercial pilot it takes a total 100% commitment. To become an employable (safe and competent) pilot it takes piloting skills, competency, and professionalism. We believe that women are just as capable as men, in regard to fulfilling the important elements of piloting. Women are just as committed, dedicated, and willing to make the sacrifices of becoming a professional pilot as the men. The only issue is that there are less women venturing into flight school. We would like to change this dynamic.

If you know any women that have dreamed of becoming a pilot, please go and encourage them to pursue their dream. Perhaps share this article with them and be a part of the movement of more women becoming commercial pilots.

For more information about Helicopter Pilot Careers, see the links below.

Tier 1 Piloting Jobs

Tier 2 Piloting Jobs

Tier 3 Piloting Jobs

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Landing Helicopter Tour Jobs

“Almost every day during flight training or flying tours you’ll have an incredible Ah-Ha moment.  You are in the air when it  hits you; you can’t believe you get to fly helicopters for a living,” said Troy Barnum, former helicopter Flight Instructor for Upper Limit Aviation.

An aptitude test taken in high school is what ignited the spark of curiosity for Troy to look into the aviation industry.  The test recommended he seek a career in fixing airplanes, but he saw himself flying them instead. “The test said my interest would put me as being an airplane mechanic. I said ‘I don’t know about turning wrenches, but I’ll go fly the darn things’ and from there that’s where it all started.”

Troy attended Boise State University in Boise Idaho and earned bachelors degree in Business Administration.  After he was done with his degree, he decided to go to flight school where Tina Barnum, Troy’s wife helped to keep him motivated throughout his training.

“My wife was supportive of me following my dream and without her I don’t think I could have made it trough it.  She helped quiz me when I was learning everything I needed to learn, but the biggest help was when she helped boost my confidence after a bad flight.”

After Troy had completed helicopter flight school, he began instructing new students that enrolled in the school.

“It was the biggest weight lifted off my chest, this was the career I wanted and to be offered a chance to be an Instructor after flight school was a huge relief.”

While Troy was the teacher, he was still able to learn a few things himself. “Your first student, when you start instructing, is always the scariest, it is because of the small amount of instructing time you have gone into it.  Every little thing seems like a big deal and after you get more time as an instructor you realize it actually isn’t that big a deal.”

“The thing I love the most is teaching new students how to hover.  I remember sitting in the seat and watching them struggle thinking ‘I was that guy just a few months ago’ and now I’m the guy that stabilizes the helicopter for them.”

For Troy, it was important to know he gave his students everything they needed to succeed. “I loved to see my students get it and succeed, for me it is more about teaching them how to fly rather than just building my own flight time.  The first student I sent for his check ride actually failed it, and it just felt like I had failed the check ride.  After a remediation flight, he went back and passed and was actually flying at commercial standards.”

Helicopter Tour Jobs After Flight Training

Troy took his first job after Upper Limit Aviation, landing one of the available helicopter tour jobs in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  While Troy’s main job was doing tours over the beach, he was able to do a few unique flights that opened his eyes to just how diverse helicopters could be. “You get groups of people who get weird ideas and they throw a helicopter into it because they know people love helicopters.  I was able to do an Easter egg drop for a bunch of school kids. I had never done it before so when I dropped them they all landed in one big pile; afterward I realized I should have scattered them.  As I flew away, I looked back to see a bunch of kids running toward this big pile of eggs… it was great. The other flight that was different was a golf ball drop for a fundraiser, where I dropped about one or two hundred pounds of golf balls on the putting green. uUnfortunately I missed the hole by about 10 feet.”

After flying tours in Myrtle Beach, Troy made the move to come back to ULA as an instructor, but this time he had more than just the normal point-to-point flights under his belt.  Troy had real helicopter industry experience to share with his students, which gave them a first-hand account of the industry, and opportunities such as helicopter tour jobs, outside of flight school.

“Helicopters are different from airplanes; you get to do random things like drop Easter eggs and golf balls, which makes flying helicopters a lot of fun.” While it was important to keep his students excited about their future in flying, he also tried to keep them focused on the hard work ahead.

“The biggest misconception about flying is that it is only filled with fun – that is only 50 percent of things. There is a lot of work to do as a pilot and when you go through flight school.  You have to know how to react in emergencies and such, there is a lot of serious natured things when flying a helicopter that people need to be prepared to handle when they get into it.”

Troy has built enough flight time after instructing at Upper Limit Aviation to move on to helicopter tour jobs in the Grand Canyon.  He is now flying for Papillon Airways, which is the world’s largest aerial sightseeing company. “I look forward to continuing my progression in learning new things.  The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world, and I get to fly in it every day.  You never get tired of seeing all of these beautiful scenic locations.  The variety of things you get to see when you fly is what makes flying so great.”

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Pilot Resume: This is Key to Your Career

In the aviation industry, a resume is much different – unique – and does not follow the traditional resume format that you will find within most industries. Building a pilot resume for a helicopter employer should be designed to fit the specific needs of the employer. Essentially, your resume will be all about YOU as it relates to the job offering. Sounds a little narcissistic, but it’s the truth. It should be noted, your resume should be about the AUTHENTIC you!. The following information was presented at HAI 2015 by Lyn Burkes, from Rotorcraft Pro.

What is the purpose of a resume? Simple, to gain the attention of the hiring authority which results in a phone call, email reply, and ultimately an interview. Your resume, along with some well-placed networking support, is the hook that will hopefully land you the job.

“Having a dream IS NOT a plan”, Randy Rowles – Helicopter Institute

Your resume is a key component to getting a face-to-face interview (initial interview). As a pilot, your goal is to get in front of the decision maker(s) and create dynamic interest. If you do it right, your resume will lead to an in-depth interview, a test flight, written exam, and then landing the JOB! You are competing against many other prospective pilots, including those with more experience. Your resume is one important part of getting an interview.

Keys to Presenting a Successful Pilot Resume

  • Format counts – present vital info how they want to see it
  • Realize and understand that aircraft experience is KING
  • Understand how hiring authorities read resumes
  • Gain positive attention by being creative and different
  • Little experience? Then highlight your experience as it relates to the position
  • Keep your resume to 1 page
  • Do not add a picture to your resume
  • Follow the employer’s instructions
  • Use a WORD doc with KEYWORD list
  • BE and sound interesting when sending the resume via email
  • Always customize your resume for the position that is being applied for

Resume Mistakes to Avoid

  • Spelling errors – poor grammar
  • Long-winded paragraphs
  • More than one-page resume
  • Funky format
  • Flight hours not broken down or too vague
  • Lists helicopter flown but fail to list flight hours in each aircraft
  • Only listing the last job you held
  • No schools listed
  • Does not match up resume with the job description
  • Fail to get the company name correct
  • Poorly written cover letter
  • Contact info incorrect or not listed

Proper Format of an Pilot Resume

  • Name, Address, Phone Number, Email Address
  • Summary of Qualifications
  • List of Qualifications – Professional Pilot Skills
  • Flight Time – Aircraft Type
  • Related Aviation Training
  • Education
  • Employment History
  • Personal Statement

More Resources for Pilots

Resume Writing for Pilots

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Knowing Simple Aerodynamics Helps Your Aviation Career

When it comes to teaching someone about aerodynamics, it is possible to teach simple aerodynamics in a way that doesn’t require a physics course as a prerequisite. I am a firm believer that as your flight career progresses, so should your knowledge. However, we need to take a simple to complex, known to unknown approach. If you are a Flight Instructor, you know this is a key fundamental of instruction. Take ‘Lift’ for example; at what point should someone be expected to know the Coefficient of Lift (CL)? Here’s what NASA says regarding the lift coefficient:

“The lift coefficient is a number that aerodynamicists use to model all of the complex dependencies of shape, inclination, and some flow conditions on lift. This equation is simply a rearrangement of the lift equation where we solve for the lift coefficient in terms of the other variables.

The lift coefficient Cl is equal to the lift L divided by the quantity: density r times half the velocity V squared times the wing area A. Cl = L / (A * .5 * r * V^2)

The quantity one half the density times the velocity squared is called the dynamic pressure q. So Cl = L / (q * A)

The lift coefficient then expresses the ratio of the lift force to the force produced by the dynamic pressure times the area.”

Above, NASA states this equation is “simply a rearrangement of the lift equation”.  Perhaps if you have a PHD and work for NASA this equation is simple. Why is this complex lift equation shown to brand new student pilots across the Country? If we know that a key fundamental principle of instruction is to go from simple to complex, known to unknown; why would we ever introduce a complex physics equation to a new student? Instead, when introducing lift, ask your student a few simple questions:

“Have you ever been driving down the highway with your hand out the window? Have you noticed that if your raise your hand up slightly, your whole arm wants to shoot up like you’re waving to oncoming cars? That is lift…simple”

When learning simple aerodynamics, where should one start?

The first thing I have my students learn, are the basic definitions of helicopter aerodynamic terms. I focus on their rote memorization of bullet point definitions. Once they have these memorized, I then focus on their understanding and application. I present aerodynamic terms to my students in a question / answer format. Before a Student Pilot is ready to take their Private Pilot exam, they will need to be able to describe aerodynamics much more in depth. However, if you’re new to aerodynamics, I recommend you start by memorizing the key definitions below. Writing these questions / answers down on index cards is a good idea to aid in your memorization of these key aerodynamic terms.

What are the forces of flight?

A. Lift, Weight, Thrust and Drag

How is lift developed?

A. LIft is developed by creating an area of positive pressure beneath the airfoil and negative pressure above the airfoil.

What is Bernoulli’s Principle?

A. Bernoulli’s Principle states that as velocity increases, pressure decreases. This is also known as the Venturi Effect.

What is Newton’s Third Law?

A. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

What is Angle of Attack?

A. The angle between the chord line and relative wind.

What are the three types of drag?

A. Profile, Parasite and Induced drag.

What is Profile Drag?

A. Drag caused by the frictional resistance of the blades moving through the air. Composed of Form Drag and Skin Friction.

What is Parasite Drag?

A. Drag caused from all Non-Lifting surfaces of the aircraft.

What is Induced Drag?

A. Drag that is a result of developing lift. Also known as Vortex Drag.

What is Coriolis Effect?

A. As the center of mass moves closer to the axis of rotation, the blades have a tendency to accelerate.

What are the two external factors that cause Coriolis Effect?

A. Coning and Blade Flapping.

What is Coning?

A. Coning is the result of two forces acting at the same time; Centrifugal Force and Lift.

Why do helicopter blades Flap?

A. Helicopter Blades are allowed to Flap to compensate for Dissymmetry of Lift.

What is Dissymmetry of Lift?

A. Unequal lift between the advancing and retreating halves of the rotor disc.

What is Retreating Blade Stale?

A. Due to Dissymmetry of Lift, at high forward airspeeds the retreating blade exceeds its critical angle of attack causing the blade to stall.

What is Translating Tendency?

A. The tendency of the helicopter to drift in the direction of tail rotor thrust.

What is Translational Lift?

A. Improved rotor efficiency resulting from directional flight or surface winds.

What is Effective Translational Lift (ETL)?

A. ETL occurs at approximately 16-24 knots when the rotor system completely outruns the recirculation of old vortices.

What is Transverse Flow Effect?

A. Occurs at speeds just below ETL. Induced flow drops to near zero at the forward disc area and increases at the aft disc area.

What is Gyroscopic Precession?

A. Gyroscopic Precession states that when an outside force is applied to a rotating body, the result of the outside force will occur 90 degrees later in the plane of rotation.

Begin introducing the “Why?”

450px-Clear_light_bulbOnce you have memorized some of these key definitions, it will be time to start asking “Why?” The short list above is exactly that…short. Notice I did not include aerodynamics of autorotations, conservation of angular momentum or other complex aerodynamic principles. There is a lot more to learn, but building a foundation of key definitions is where we should start. Once you have the definitions memorized, the next step is to gain an understanding of what is actually happening. Helicopter Aerodynamics can be made simple and enjoyable to learn. Start with the basics and develop a good foundation to build on. This is my approach to teaching aerodynamics to a brand new student. There are other good approaches that Instructors use and they are successful in their teaching. With a goodFlight School you will be surrounded by a large amount of Flight Instructors ensuring that your individual learning needs will be met.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Preparing For Your First Commercial Helicopter Pilot Job Interview

Do you want to land a commercial helicopter pilot job with a top company? Do you want to make good money while working for a great helicopter company? Then be prepared to follow this advice… The purpose of this article is to teach new commercial pilots how to conduct an interview with a prospective employer AND LAND THE JOB!.

Our first recommendation is to refrain from pursuing a commercial helicopter pilot job (scheduling an interview) until you’ve done ALL of your homework on the prospective employer(s). To be successful (which means you are offered a job) you need to be totally prepared for the interview. You have to “kill it!”

You Need to Know the Company, and Know People within the Company – Be Strategic

The first step to a successful interview is to get an interview scheduled. There is an art to scheduling an interview. For the best advice in setting up an interview with a Tier 1 helicopter employer.

If you have already networked with industry leaders and you have the necessary flight hours to compete for a job, your next step is visit the company (the interview). In the best scenario, you already know someone who works for the company, or someone who once worked at the company. It’s always helpful to know someone in the company (insider leverage) who will make an introduction and a recommendation on your behalf.

If you have not networked, or you do not know anyone within your company of choice, read “Helicopter Pilots: Landing a Good Job Includes Networking“. Again, there is an art to getting an interview, just as their is an art to landing the job through the interview. They are both connected to each other. There are no short cuts.

Become Known and Make a Positive Memorable Impression

If you do not know someone who currently works, or worked, for the company, be prepared to make your own memorable introduction (but please, do not attempt before you know everything about the company).

Although it may seem awkward, you have to get to know someone within the company of your choice. At the very least, be brave enough to call someone within the company and ask the right questions. Follow the company’s Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram…). “Friend” employees of the company (especially pilots). “Like”, “Comment” and “Share” their posts (be supportive and postive, but be geniune).

Take your time building relationships through Social Meda, and don’t be pushy. If you do “friend” people within the company, make sure your Social Media account are 110% professional. Thier first impression of you might come from your Facebook news stream. An inappropriate meme (politically charged) or an image of a drunken escapade will not help your chances.

After building “professional relationships” through Social Media look for opportunities to schedule an informal visit. Let your intentions be known, but always be appropriate in your engagement with staff and employees. And, most importantly, if you do schedule an informal visit (“just dropping by to introduce myself in person”) make sure you are ready for an impromptu interview on the spot (you just might get one).

BIG WARNING: Find out all that you can about a company before you submit a resume and fill out an application – the goal is to get an interview. But if the employer does don’t know your keen interest in their company you are just a resume on a stack of many resumes.

In addition, before you submit your resume and complete an application, make sure the targeted company knows the resume is coming. If the company is lookin forward to receiving your resume, you have won half the battle. Then, we highly recommend that you “get prepared” for the interview. Don’t wait! You might get a call for hastily scheduled interview (“can you come in for an interview tomorrow?”). Be ready for anything.

For advice on writing a solid commercial helicopter pilot job resume, click here.

How Do You Get The Interview?

How do you get an interview with a Tier 1 helicopter company? There seems to be some “magic” to it. The more you are invested into the process, and the more you know the prospective employer, the higher your chances are of setting up an interview. It’s weird, but the truth is that when you are prepared, you are more likely to be bold. The more bold you are, the more likely you will find unique opportunities that others miss.

To be successful in landing an interview with a helicopter company, you must first be willing to invest in yourself.  Be prepared for an interview by investing into the process, as if you already have the job (at least in your heart and mind).

For example, be thoroughly prepared to slam dunk the interview before it is even scheduled. For instance, be willing to go so far as to seek out people who have gone through the interview process with the company and actually landed a commercial helicopter pilot job with them. Know what to expect and be ready to successfully navigate the employers unique interview process.

The more you are invested, the better you will show up (but don’t be cocky). The employer will see your heart and your good intentions (the employer will see you as a potential loyal and committed employee… his or her impression of you will be positive, as you increase your chances of being the one they choose to hire, over all the rest).

Second, invest in yourself and your future. Remember, this will be your first aviation interview, but not your last. If you are a good pilot and career-minded, there will be many more interviews in your future as you advance your career – so be prepared to learn from the experience and become a “professional interviewer”. Those that show up the best in interviews tend to get the job, even if they have less qualifications and experience than other interviewees.

Finally, to become an experienced pilot whose career has advanced up the employment ladder, he/she has viewed the interview as being a part of the job. These pilots have taken the interview process seriously and have developed a positive attitude about it. They found a way to “like the chase” between the employer and the employee, and they got good at doing it. It’s almost like dating. To get the best “girl” or “guy”, you got to know how to play the dating game. If you hate/loath/fear the interview process, your career will be stifled. I recommend that you change your attitude now, and find a way to like/love the interview process.

How to invest in yourself in constant preparation for the next interview:
  • Do your homework on prospective employers and know everything about them.
  • Know yourself.
  • Know your personal mission – be able to articulate it.
  • Know your personal brand – know your values and career plan.
  • Know your weaknesses and how you plan to address them.
  • Find out what these employers are looking for in their pilots.
  • Let your mentors know your career path.
  • Continuously keep in contact with industry references (friends and colleagues) and previous employers.
  • Attend industry events and network with influencers.
  • Share your professional pathway and vision with people who like you and believe in you.
  • Visit the prospective employers (always schedule an appoinment).
  • Always be patient – never be pushy.
  • Be diplomatically persistent and always show continued interest.
  • Keep your one-page “aviation” resume updated with relevant info only – ready to send out at anytime.
  • Know your strengths and continue to work on them.
  • Keep educating yourself.
  • Take leadership and communication courses.
  • Take “people skills” courses.
  • Mentor others.
  • Have positive and professional Social Media accounts – employers will check you out.
  • Don’t be involved in negative posts in industry forums.
  • Don’t get arrested for domestic violence, drunk driving, or drug use.
Once I get an interview, how do I prepare?

Be prepared to demonstrate, answer, convey, and articulate the following (practice makes perfect):

  • Know everything about the company who is interviewing you.
  • Stand out from other candidates because you know the company intimately.
  • Know the company’s mission, vision, and culture.
  • Know their interview process.
  • Know what they are looking for in pilots through the interview.
  • Know the top people in the company and their experience.
  • Know what strengths you bring. Have a plan to work on your weaknesses.
  • In everything you do communicate how your personal brand message matches the company’s brand message.
  • Show how you are committed to “safety”.
  • Know the company values and be able to articulate how you will represent them.
  • Outline your best attributes (but do not brag).
  • Be ready to describe how you handle pressure or adversity.
  • Be ready to describe your experience working with the public.
  • Be ready to describe how you are a team player without bragging.
  • How are you willing to improve your communication and people skills?
  • How do you deal with any transition (i.e., be willing to relocate)?
  • Receive employer training with eagerness.
  • Arrive early.
  • Be ready to describe why the employer should hire you over others.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Be ready for the test flight and any other exam.
What is my Personal Brand?

Be prepared to demonstrate, answer, convey, and articulate the following (practice makes perfect):

  • Your values.
  • Your attributes.
  • Your attitude.
  • Qualities that make you trustworthy.
  • Qualities that make you memorable.
  • Your legacy – who did you train with and why that matters.
  • Your career goals.
  • Your career plan.
Sins of the Interview Process

Avoid the following:

  • Failing to do your homework on a company.
  • Not knowing the history of the company.
  • Not knowing the experience and credentials of the key players within the company.
  • Bragging.
  • Exaggerating your flight experience.
  • Certificates not signed.
  • Medical not updated or not signed.
  • Log book in disarray or inaccurate.
  • Failing to be prepped for the test.
  • Bashing present or former employers.
  • Dressed inappropriately.

In summary, if you follow these guidelines you will have a much better chance of success in landing your next job as you advance your career.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

How Jodi Brommer Became a Commercial Helicopter Pilot

Meet Jodi Brommer, former Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Upper Limit Aviation (ULA), who was recently hired to fly for PJ Helicopters, a helicopter company out of Red Bluff, California. Dream finally fulfilled, Jodi is now flying as a commercial helicopter pilot, and enjoying the fruits of her hard work, diligence, and perseverance.

Jodi had an impossible dream, a dream that she harbored for many years. Jodi, against all odds, took a leap of faith and followed her well-developed plan. Step-by-step, with great patience and a strong commitment, Jodi followed her plan until she achieved her dream. And she chose Upper Limit Aviation as the launching point to achieving her dream of becoming a commercial helicopter pilot.

For all the women out there that do not believe that they can achieve their dream to become a commercial helicopter pilot, Jodi has a message: “Women, who happen to be skilled pilots, are valued and highly sought after in the helicopter industry.”

It is true that the helicopter industry is currently dominated by men, but that is not necessarily by design. Helicopter employers are looking for skilled and competent pilots, period. In fact, it might even be a bonus if you are a woman with the right piloting skills.

Jodi Brommer gives much of the credit to her supportive family, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and Upper Limit Aviation for helping her to achieve her dream.

Jodi’s Remarkable Journey Started with a Decision

Jodi’s flight school adventure began in the summer of 2011, as she enrolled in ULA with the determination with which only a few can relate. Today, Jodi is more than an aviator. She is a leader among her peers, a professional woman, a valued employee, and one heck of a commercial helicopter pilot. But her journey was not always an easy one. Jodi met turbulence and headwinds with every step she took.

“I never knew that being a pilot was possible,” Jodi Brommer.

Despite growing up poor, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jodi did not believe that accomplishing her dream of being a commercial helicopter pilot was possible. However, with unstoppable drive, determination, and service to her country, Jodi’s dream is more than a reality today.

Since starting her flight training, Jodi has earned an Associate Degree in Professional Pilot and is working toward a Bachelors of General Studies. She is a dual rated pilot, having earned certificates in both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.

My family was poor… my parents earned less than $20,000 a year and managed a seven-member household. I never even considered flying helicopters to be a possibility. Then, President Bush signed the 9/11 G.I. Bill, and in effect, I knew that it would help pay for my flight training. I realized that flying was something that I really wanted to do – so I made it happen through Post 9/11 GI Bill Educational Benefits.

Video Clips of Jodi as she progressed through Flight Training

Jodi’s parents have been supportive of her career choice from day one. Her parents were excited for Jodi, and ecstatic about her accomplishments. It is truly an exceptional accomplishment, and Jodi claims that without the VA educational benefits and ULA it would not have been possible. Jodi served five years in the Navy as a Combat Constructionman before attending flight school with ULA.

In addition to providing amazing aviation training, Jodi says that “Upper Limit Aviation is ‘the place’ if you’re looking for a home-away-from-home.ULA has been like a family since I got here; they treat me like a sister – they really do. It’s nice to have a place where you work that you feel happy to go to each morning, and that’s the key – to be happy when you go to work.

After earning her pilot’s certificates (Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI, and CFII), Jodi was hired on by Upper Limit Aviation as a Certified Flight Instructor. While logging flight hours as a CFI, Jodi was promoted up the ULA ranks to Assistant Chief Flight Instructor before taking a job with PJ Helicopters. Jodi’s story is a remarkable one of vision, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. If you asked Jodi today, she would certainly say that it was all worth it.

Jodi was not the only woman pilot at ULA, and she certainly was not the exception. Over the years, dozens of women have chosen ULA as their flight school. Upper Limit Aviation is co-owned by a woman. The environment and culture at Upper Limit Aviation is perfect place for a women to achieve their best.

The Sky is not the Limit!

Jodi has advanced her career thanks the opportunities at ULA. “I had an industry job offer – my first industry job outside of ULA and I took it. I was really surprised that ULA was willing to let me go, to move on, considering how much I enjoyed working here. But they put my name in the hat because PJ Helicopters needed the flight skills that I had. There’re no words to describe the opportunity I have because of it”, stated Jodi.

Jodi now flies for PJ Helicopters, a utility helicopter company out of Red Bluff, California. The company conducts utility and powerline work, law enforcement support (Marijuana eradication), as well as forest firefighting. Jodi started out earning $65,000 per year.

The coolest thing about Upper Limit Aviation? Jodi says, “ULA is specifically designed to help pilots get good jobs after flight school. It’s either do the training right and get a job, or do it cheaply and do not get a job. It’s that simple. At ULA, they do it right! I am a Post 9/11 GI Bill benefactor, and because of my training I’m already a VA success!

Jodi’s message to any prospective student with her same dream is to consider flight training with ULA, “The quality of Flight Instructors and Mechanics in the Maintenance Department is exceptional. They personify professionalism. When it comes to safe flight instruction, maintenance is extremely important, and our mechanics ROCK!

It turns out the sky is not the limit, at least not for this girl. Jodi says, “If you’re hungry and you have a passion for flying, you need to do it when you can. Flight school needs to be there for you, and Upper Limit Aviation has been.

Lastly, Jodi recognizes that there are pilots out there that are struggling to find jobs, and its a shame. Getting a good paying Tier 1 job in the helicopter industry requires more than flight hours and turbine experience. A college degree is very helpful when competing for job openings. Additionally, attending a school that is “connected” with the helicopter industry is critical. Employers are recruiting ULA pilots because they are the best. ULA pilots come with a good reputation and are trusted to do a good job.

Jodi Brommer’s Certificates and Flight Hours

  • Private Pilot Helicopter
  • Private Pilot Fixed Wing
  • Instrument Helicopter
  • Instrument Fixed Wing
  • Commercial Helicopter
  • Commercial Fixed Wing
  • Certified Flight Instructor Helicopter
  • Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Helicopter
  • Jodi has accumulated 1,200 helicopter hours and 150 fixed wing hours

Here are a few Related Articles for Student Pilots:

Top 6 Tips for Student Pilots Attempting to Land Their First Aviation Job

Tier 1 Helicopter Pilot Jobs

Six Student Pilots Mistakes That Can Ruin an Aviation Career

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Looking for Airplane Pilot Careers?

Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) is a professional flight school for student pilots aspiring to launch their airplane pilot careers. Deciding on a career as a commercial pilot is a life-changing decision.  Do you dream of flying for a living?  Do you enjoy traveling and realtime adventure?  If you are exploring the possibilities of a professional pilot career or simply want to earn your Private Pilot’s License, ULA is the place to start your journey.

A twin engine aircraft that a pilot might fly in many airplane pilot careers.

As per the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020, the number of jobs for airline and commercial pilots is expected to grow by 11% per year. (www.bls.gov). Globally, aviation is experiencing significant growth with over 8.3 million people working directly in the aviation industry.

Upper Limit Aviation is More Than a Flight School – We Launch People into Careers

There are two powerful reasons why today is the right time for you to pursue fixed wing piloting career.  One, there are employers looking for experienced well-trained pilots. Good pilots are in demand worldwide.  Two, flying airplanes for a living is your lifelong dream.  It is your passion. You know in your heart that flying airplanes is what you were born to do.  What are you waiting for?  The obstacles, to becoming a commercial pilot, will not go away. Let us help you find a way to navigate through the obstacles and find the way to fulfilling your dream. Upper Limit Aviation is one of the top flight training programs in the US.  For more information about flight school training call 844-iFLYEDU today!

Fixed-wing careers with annual salaries ranging from $22,000 to $200,000
  • CFI
  • Airline
  • Charter
  • Corporate
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Cargo Transport
  • Movies and Film
  • Search and Rescue
  • Law Enforcement (Local/Hwy PD, CIA, FBI)
  • FAA
  • Tours and Sight Seeing
  • Oil and Gas Industry Transport
  • USFS – BLM Transportation – Firefighting, Game Control, Capture and Count
  • Environmental Projects
  • Reclamation Projects
  • Agricultural Pilot / Crop Dusting
  • Alaskan Bush Pilot
  • Sky Diving Pilot
Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (801) 596-7722.

Should I Be a Helicopter Pilot or Airplane Pilot?

Helicopter pilot or airplane pilot?  The answer depends on whom you ask. Experienced helicopter and airplane pilots will be very specific with their answer to this question.  But what about “aspiring pilots”, those who are not yet pilots, but their dream is to become commercial pilots? To an aspiring pilot, the response to this question varies tremendously. However, the answer to this query will define their career, so they need to get it right.

The Main Difference between Helicopters and Airplanes

The main difference between the two types of pilots is obvious; airplanes and helicopters are completely different machines with different flight characteristics, capabilities, and missions. Therefore, for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the reason pilots become a specific type of pilot. The outcome of this question really depends upon your “heart and passion” for flying, as well as your individual life goals.

For a detailed list of information as to the differences between professional helicopter pilots and career airplane pilots read the article below (underneath the video “Airplane versus Helicopter”). The article may contain information you never thought of, but need to know.

The “career” is where the key differences between the helicopter pilot and airplane pilot reside. With both airplanes and helicopters, pilots need to build hours (flight time) to get a job. For airplane pilots, you will need 1,500 hours as a pilot and get what the FAA calls an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, known as your ATP, before you will see your first job. This is a requirement for airplane pilots in order to begin working for Air Carrier operators.

Once you are a certified airplane pilot you will being to work on getting the required flight hours before you start your move up the employment ladder.  As an airplane pilot you may have to take two or three “entry level” jobs before you can enjoy a lucrative career as a commercial airline pilot (working for a major air carrier hauling passengers or cargo). Airplane pilots have to compete in a very competitive job market. Without a college degree, it is almost impossible to move up the job ladder.

Should you become a helicopter pilot or airplane pilot?When it comes to helicopter pilots the flight time and requirements are similar to the airplane path described above, but there is less competition for the best jobs (there are less helicopter pilots available combined with a very high global demand for helicopter pilots – all good news for helicopter pilots).

Typically, helicopter pilots can reach the top paying jobs faster than that of an airplane pilot.  The real question boils down to… do you want to fly straight line distances at 30,000 feet on autopilot, or do you want to FLY in a dynamic environment, landing almost anywhere?

Airplane flying can’t be compared with helicopter flying. Most people have one or the other in their blood, and the decision is easy.

You have to ask yourself what type of flying you actually want to be doing for your career. Hopefully, your career will be long, so you have to make the right decision for yourself. Although there are are plenty of flight careers for both airplane and helicopter pilots, those with the right training and education get the better opportunities.

Below is a Short List of Possible Career Paths for Experienced Airplane Pilots.
  • Airline Pilot carrying Passengers or Cargo.
  • Private Charter Pilot
  • Certain Law Enforcement or Government Operations
  • Bush Flying or Division of Wildlife Work
  • Professional Instructor Pilot
  • I’m sure there’s more, but if we’re being honest, most who choose to be an Airplane Pilot are looking for a career with a Major Airline.
Here’s a List of Possible Career Paths for the Experienced Helicopter Pilot.
  • EMS Pilot
  • Pipeline Patrol Pilot
  • Offshore Oil Rig Pilot
  • Air Tour Pilot
  • Charter Pilot
  • Logging Pilot
  • Bush Pilot
  • Utility Pilot Carrying External Loads (How do they get those Air Conditioning Units on top of those Skyscrapers anyway?)
  • Border Patrol
  • Local, State or Federal Law Enforcement
  • Professional Instructor Pilot (Many start their career as an Instructor, but don’t forget there are Chief Instructors who are at the top of the Industry when it comes to flight experience at Every School).
How Much are You Motivated by Money?

We recommend that money should not be your primary factor when it comes to deciding between a career as an helicopter pilot or airplane pilot. Unfortunately, for many people “money” is the sole motivating factor. And that’s okay. Some people are motivated by materialistic things and they measure their success based on the size of their bank account and the list of toys they have acquired. Be forewarned: working 65-80 hours a week performing a job that you hate is not good. Would you rather make less money doing what you love (flying)?

How does “money” fit into our conversation on becoming a helicopter pilot or airplane pilot? Simple, in the long run, you potentially make more money as an airplane pilot. This is due to simple logistics; Airplanes can carry more passengers or cargo. If you are solely motivated by money, you may want to consider becoming an airplane pilot. Mature experienced airplane pilots can make well over $100,000 per year, but it takes longer to get to the big money than it does for helicopter pilots. Experienced helicopter pilots can make $65,000 to $85,000, and some make up to 100K and above.

Flying at high altitudes going in one straight line on autopilot is not very much fun for helicopter pilots. If you want to be creative, adventurous, and “free” consider becoming a helicopter pilot. Regardless of the pathway you choose, if you are considering becoming a Professional Pilot, you need to ask yourself what motivates you and why you want to be a pilot (either type). When you find that answer, Upper Limit Aviation is here to help you make it happen.

Airplane Pilots: Job Opportunities and Salaries

For valid information regarding the job opportunities and salaries of airplane pilots, click here. Airplane pilots flying turbo-prop planes enter the aviation industry making around $20,000 to $25,000 per year (entry level jobs). New pilots take these jobs to build flight hours. They sacrifice money for flight hours so that they can advance their careers and make “the big money” later down the line. They may fly for 2 to 5 years with a Regional Airline (turbo-prop or jets) before they can compete for a piloting job with a major airline. Airplane pilots flying for the major airlines can make $100,000 to $200,000.

Recently, Boeing proclaimed that the world will need at least 28,000 new pilots per year to keep up with the demand. The same report claims that the world will need 500,000 new pilots between now and 2034.  This is great news for airplane pilots.

Helicopter Pilots Job Opportunities and Salaries

Newly certified commercial helicopter pilots will make $25,000 to $30,000 per year as a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). Once they have accumulated 1,200 to 1,500 flight hours, they start looking for what is known as a “Tier 1” pilot job (for more info about Tier 1 jobs, click here). It will take a year or two as a CFI to build 1,200 to 1,500 flight hours.

However, Tier 1 helicopter pilots make $45,000 to $65, 000. Pilots with 3,000 to 5,000 flight hours can advance to “Tier 2” pilots jobs (click here for more info on Tier 2 pilot jobs), making $65,000 to $85,000 per year. Next comes “Tier 3” pilot jobs. The best helicopter pilots with 5,000 hours or more can compete for Tier 3 jobs and make $100K plus (Tier 3 Jobs, click here).

Aviation Schools Online published an article recently pointing to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statics regarding job forecasts for all pilots. The article is especially important to helicopter pilots. The point is that the world will need new helicopter pilots for decades to come. Right now there is a huge shortage of pilots, and this is not expected to change anytime soon. The pilots with the best training, most hours, and top education will have less competition for the best piloting jobs anywhere in the world. For more on the story of helicopter pilot jobs, click here. Simply do a Google search and you will find dozens of articles from reputable sources, and all of them are saying the same thing – the world needs helicopter pilots!

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (801) 596-7722.

A Look Inside a Helicopter CFI Checkride

Your initial CFI Practical exam is widely recognized as not only the most difficult of all checkrides; but also the most important. “Checkride” is a term those in the industry use when talking about the FAA Practical Exam. Passing the CFI Checkride, or CFI Practical Exam, is the moment where you are finally going to set yourself apart from a ‘student’ role, to a marketable role as a Flight Instructor. This important milestone is what will allow you to start your career. It is well known that here, in the U.S., your first job as a professional helicopter pilot will most likely be as a flight instructor. First, we will discuss what it takes to become a Helicopter Instructor Pilot; then we are going to go inside a CFI Practical Exam.

Where to start, and what it takes to get there

Anyone who has never flown before will start out as a Student Pilot working towards becoming a Private Pilot Certificate holder. You will need to find a Flight School to begin your training. There are several options out there, and choosing the right one for you is a discussion for another time. Once you complete your Private Pilot Training and you are ready, you will take a Private Pilot Practical Exam. Practical Exams are the same in regards to how the exam is conducted.

You sit down with either an FAA Examiner or a Designated Pilot Examiner also known as a DPE. The day starts with an in person oral quiz known as the ground portion of your checkride. After hours, yes hours, of answering questions; you will either be approved to progress to the flight portion of the exam or hear the dreadful words that you did not pass the ground portion of the exam. If all goes well in the ground portion, you will then move on to the preflight and flight portion of the checkride. This is often times referred to as the ‘easy part’ of the Practical Exam. The only people who say this, are the ones who feel confident in their piloting skills. Make no mistake about it, you can and many people do fail their checkride in the air. This is perhaps why it is so important that you wisely choose who you go to for your flight training.  For another viewpoint regarding the CFI Checkride click here.

Great! You’re now a Private Pilot…..what’s next?

Once you become a Private Pilot Certificate holder, your flight training can go one of three ways. One, you can stop training and remain a Private Pilot. Several people in the General Aviation sector take this route. These are likely the people who are fortunate enough to own their own aircraft and all they want is to be able to legally fly. They have no ambitions of flying for a living and are content simply being a ‘pilot’. However, most of us are doing this because this is what we want to do for a living. This brings us to the other two options in our flight training career. The most common step is to begin your instrument training.

This is where things get ‘serious’. In order to be a Private Pilot Certificate holder with an Instrument Rating, you are going to dedicate yourself to in depth ground training, simulator training and flight training with a view limiting device. At this point in your flight training, you are going to learn how to safely fly the aircraft with no outside references by solely relying on your instruments inside the cockpit. This stage of training is what I like to call, the make or break stage. If you complete this invaluable training, you can walk proud because everyone in aviation will know that you are serious about becoming a career pilot.

What’s the third option?

As a Helicopter Pilot, the other option would be to start training for your Commercial Pilot Certificate immediately after obtaining your Private Pilot Certificate. This option is only available to Helicopter Pilots and many schools do not allow this course of training to be taken. I think it is important to gain the skills needed for an Instrument Rating before you begin training as a Commercial Pilot. In fact, this makes so much sense that those on the fixed wing side are required to receive their Instrument Rating prior to obtaining their Commercial Pilot Certificate. Regardless of your path, you need to do both before you are ready to become a Flight Instructor. You can become a Flight Instructor without being Instrument Rated; but I stand behind my statement that both are needed before you are “ready” to be a CFI. Both the Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot Certificate will require ground training and flight training. They both also require a separate FAA Practical Exam or ‘checkride’ in order to be granted the certificate or rating. Again, the Practical Exams are conducted in the same manner; pass a lengthy oral exam and then prove your skills in the air.

You are now an Instrument Rated Commercial Pilot. Ready for your first job? Not so fast. Here’s why…

Once you become a Private Pilot, get your Instrument Rating and then knock out the flight training requirements to become a Commercial Pilot; your next step is likely to begin training to become a Certified Flight Instructor. According to the regulations, as a Commercial Pilot you can now be paid to carry persons or property. But let’s face it, at this stage of your flight career, you simply do not have the hours needed to be marketable for a job. This is why the next stage of your training is the most important. It is now time to begin training as an Instructor Pilot. You will begin learning how to fly from the Instructors seat and start transitioning from student, to teacher. You will learn Fundamentals of Instruction and begin writing detailed lesson plans in order to be prepared to teach someone who has never flown all the way up to a Commercial Pilot level. Once you complete your flight instructor training; you will be ready for your CFI Checkride and Practical.

What makes a CFI Practical so different from the rest?

My CFI checkride was in Colorado with an Examiner that is known to be one of the toughest. The practical started with me teaching the Fundamentals of Instruction. We then moved forward into certificates and endorsements. We spent nearly three hours as I was given scenario after scenario demonstrating I knew what I could and couldn’t do as a Flight Instructor. I was then given a list of items to instruct on. In addition to the requirements of the Practical Test Standards (PTS), I taught lessons on Airworthiness, Risk Management, Commercial Pilot Privileges & Limitations, Auto-Rotations, Translational Lift and Special Awareness Training required for Robinson Helicopters. We finished the ground portion at 6;30 that evening…yes, 11.5 hours of ground. I had a 30 minute break for lunch that I used to prepare my next lesson. Day two started again at 7am. We did a thorough preflight and then flew a 1.8hr flight. In total, my CFI Checkride took 18.5hrs over the course of two days. Due to the training, preparation and mentorship I received from Upper Limit Aviation; I am now a Certified Flight Instructor, ready to begin my career.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (801) 596-7722.

Call Now ButtonCall Us