Don’t expect to find a job purely by sending out emails or making cold calls to operators. Unfortunately it is a fact of life in this industry that you will have to eventually pack up all you life in your car and pack up shop. Yes, some do get lucky and have picked up jobs over the phone, but it doesn’t happen often. Don’t be rude to the operations person on the other end of the phone/desk. CV’s have been binned on the spot purely because the potential employee was rude and belligerent to the staff on the front desk. Remember: how you present yourself to general staff, will be scrutinized.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This line bodes well in our industry. It can work in your favor and it can also work against you. For your first job; hit up all your mates who have “made it” and see if their operators’ are hiring. If not, read the first paragraph. Having said that; if you know very little about your chosen profession come interview time, say goodbye to that potential job.
Take care when writing your CV. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will always tarnish a potential’s chance of getting an interview.
Just remember though: once you’re established in your job; your reputation might make or break you down the track. Keep your head down, work hard and the rest will follow. – The aviation industry is like any other, it is very small so don’t go rubbing too many people the wrong way.
Don’t expect to find that first job right away, it will take time. Find another casual position outside of flying until something else pops up.
If you do gain an opportunity to have a sit down with a potential employer; do yourself a favor and present well. A business attire works well eg: Black slacks, button shirt, or pilot’s uniform without bars and wings. – I have seen many potentials walk through the door and sit down, only to disappoint themselves by wearing shorts, t-shirt, jeans etc. This is your only opportunity to make that first impression, make it count!
200 hour pilots do get charter positions. Your first 500 hours Total time will be the hardest to get, then your first twin, turbo prop and so on. Many I know of took at least 18 months to gather those first 500 hours. They got there by: station flying, private ops, remote charter operations etc. After that, it’s all downhill from there.
Don’t turn your nose down at the opportunity of being posted to a remote community. – Flying is only the half of the journey, the other half is the character building experience. Your closest mates will be made by the hardships sometimes faced in these remote areas and they will become your friends for life. You will depend on them and they will depend on you when times are tough. You will find that flying is only 20% of the job and by far the easiest.
You will screw up at some time. Be honest, and own up to whatever mistake you have made. – Your integrity is on the line. Those who deceive others, will eventually be found out and disciplined. Re-read the paragraph on “it’s a small industry.”
Your aircraft performance/weight and balance charts/checklists will save you from a scare/embarrassment to potentially your life. Use these with diligence and due care. The flight manual on the aircraft is your “bible.” If things are looking tight, it is time to look at the figures.
If something doesn’t feel or look right, it generally isn’t. – It will take time to develop this “sixth sense.” Swallow your pride and ask your senior pilots, as no doubt they would have found themselves in similar situations. Try and fill that bag of experience, before the bag of luck runs out.
Don’t give up on your dream. Many have dropped out along the way after spending their hard earned cash to gain their CPL.
If it’s time to move onto another operator: just remember, that it is far easier to find another job to go to whilst still being employed.
Just because you’re in the bush, by yourself and not under the direct scrutiny of your Chief Pilot; Don’t use this as an excuse to become ill disciplined in your flying. Bad habits are easy to form but hard to break! Low flying, beat ups and formation flying will not be tolerated by either your employer or CASA. At the end of the day, it’s your licence, livelihood and your company’s AOC on the line. It just isn’t worth the risk and you only have to look at some of the ATSB’s reports that are around to see that others have died because of this.
Above all: Have fun, enjoy the experience and take plenty of photos. You’re in General Aviation for a good time, not a long time!