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Things I wish I'd been told during my training...
During those early days in flight school there's nothing but sheer excitement for the fun you're having and the challenges that lay ahead. No doubt you're looking around at all the options of what kind of flying you'd really like to do. We've all been there and it's like a 'pick-n-mix' shop of options to choose from, helicopters literally can and do go anywhere.
As the years go by there are a few things that have became apparent and perhaps if someone had explained it at the beginning it would have been very helpful. Not to disrespect all the flying gone before, but it surely would have helped to focus on the direction to choose. So here's some advice to those starting out to keep in mind....
"IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FLYING BUT ABOUT THE LIVING"
What do I mean? You'll be flying for perhaps a few hours a day, you'll be living for the rest. So the major aspect of your flying career is taken up with 'LIVING' not flying.
Instead of chasing the flying you'd like perhaps you should be matching the living you'd like and then do the flying that's associated with that lifestyle. It sounds a little backwards, but, if you speak to anyone they'll waffle all day long about the aircon in the hotel or the traffic to work or locals making too much noise. These are all 'lifestyle' issues. Rarely do you hear pilots saying the flight wasn't fun, regardless of what flying they're doing. So it's really important to be doing your flying in an environment that matches your expectations.
Some of the most enjoyable flying I've ever done was game capture, it's about as 'in your face' flying as you can imagine. The flying is awesome, the sense of achievement greater than any other flying I've ever done. But there was a snag and one that wasn't expected or planned for. I didn't speak the same language as the farmers. My lifestyle didn't match the flying environment. I understand the ocean, wind and waves, I don't understand farming, hunting and the ins and outs of Toyota 4x4's. My flying was fine, but my lifestyle didn't fit.
So perhaps during flight school you should be flipping the planning idea on it's head and think about how you would like to LIVE while on your flying journey. We all have a dream lifestyle in mind, sure know I do :-) , so what's yours and what are you willing to accept and more importantly what are you not willing to accept as each flying choice will mean different lifestyles.
So let's have a look at some options in your living environment:
Invariably it all revolves around your family situation and your career options will change as that changes. You'll go from having nothing to slowly building the traditional things in life.... a plant, a pet, a house, a spouse, a few kids. Be flexible with your career, it's the only way you will stay in the game.
What I suggest really is quite simple. You structure your flying to maximise your lifestyle requirements. If you hate camping don't waste your time trying to be a utility pilot. If you hate the hustle and bustle of towns then perhaps becoming a flight school/charter pilot isn't for you. If you have a wife and kids then offshore / utility may not be ideal.
Of course there is a flipside to being away on contract, you get periods of time at home when you have the full day with your family. Sometimes that can be better than the hour or so you get each night if you had a more traditional working package.
Try to choose the flying to match your lifestyle.
You only have One-Lap in this life, don't waste it doing something you don't enjoy.
Keep it safe out there boys and girls.
Thanks for stopping by
Just my experiences as a pilot in Africa, things learnt along the way and useful stuff for others following their dream...
All content is a personal opinion and not to be considered technical instruction or guidelines of any kind. All content is for entertainment purposes only.