I was talking to a pilot friend online today. He was bemoaning the fact that those of us who fly utility type helicopters seldom get to fly new state of the art helicopters. The fact that he is on a seismic job flying bags with a Lama that was built in the 70’s and I am firefighting with a Sky Crane of similar vintage confirms his complaint. If you don’t fly for Public Service, Corporate,E.M.S., Offshore or Tours you probably don’t get to fly the new iron.
His question to me was; would a career shift to say, offshore be his ticket to flying newer and better helicopters. Newer yes and better maybe,although I happen to think that both the Lama and Sky Crane are in a class of their own. The real question is, would he be happy flying in a new helicopter if it meant doing a type of flying that perhaps does not suit his personality. There are so many different types of flying to be done with helicopters that you have to find what works best for you.
My friend asked his question because he knows that I have experience in all the types of flying previously mentioned and a dozen or more after that. I can’t really help him with his decision. I am a firefighting pilot in what I consider to be the finest firefighting helicopter in the world. Most of the time I like what I do a lot.
Last year I flew as a tour pilot,logging pilot,movie pilot,corporate pilot and firefighter. They all have something to offer and differ considerably. He may want to get out of the utility work and try offshore. I know he has the talent and it may be something he enjoys. At the very least he will, as the stock brokers used to say, “diversify his portfolio” and resume.
Flying is a great career ,that allows a person to travel and for the most part be his or her own boss. I hope he makes a choice that he is happy with. Work is important but at this point in my career I realize that a career is simply what I do part of the time. How I live now and what I will do when my chosen vocation ends is worth even more thought. Am I living the life I want ?
My last line before we signed off was a quote that my friend may have seen before ,but, that I try and live by.
“Never confuse having a job with having a life”.