A question.......

TallFlyer

Well-Known Member
Just wanted to pick the brains of some of the smarter folks on here.....

I'm trying to make a decision about a career path and just wanted a little advice, which I know this site is good for.

I just had an interview with a Pictometry operator the other day and I thought it went pretty well. They said they'd let me know in early October for a possible late October start. FYI it's all single pilot 172 time doing aerial survey. They said expect about 500 hours over 7 months.

Back home in ANC I have a friend who's a former Capt for a 1900 cargo operator and he's offered to walk both myself and resume into the Chief Pilot's office for a FO gig there. No idea if they're hiring or not at the moment so who knows if there's anything even available.

I guess the question is assuming offers from both companies what makes the most sense right now? I know, at first glance it seems like a no-brainer, take the 1900 gig but I will admit a part of me would enjoy the Pictometry gig and then being a somewhat higher time FO rather than a 500-hour wonder. The thought of getting some experience in a very different environment (namely, the lower 48) sounds pretty appealing as well. (seriously, there's a LOT of roads down here)

Current times are 560/20 with a fresh multi ticket.
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
Easy

I know, at first glance it seems like a no-brainer, take the 1900 gig but I will admit a part of me would enjoy the Pictometry gig and then being a somewhat higher time FO rather than a 500-hour wonder. The thought of getting some experience in a very different environment (namely, the lower 48) sounds pretty appealing as well.
It sounds like you've answered the question yourself.

I think the aerial survey thing sounds like it would be fun.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
Just wanted to pick the brains of some of the smarter folks on here.....

I'm trying to make a decision about a career path and just wanted a little advice, which I know this site is good for.

I just had an interview with a Pictometry operator the other day and I thought it went pretty well. They said they'd let me know in early October for a possible late October start. FYI it's all single pilot 172 time doing aerial survey. They said expect about 500 hours over 7 months.

Back home in ANC I have a friend who's a former Capt for a 1900 cargo operator and he's offered to walk both myself and resume into the Chief Pilot's office for a FO gig there. No idea if they're hiring or not at the moment so who knows if there's anything even available.

I guess the question is assuming offers from both companies what makes the most sense right now? I know, at first glance it seems like a no-brainer, take the 1900 gig but I will admit a part of me would enjoy the Pictometry gig and then being a somewhat higher time FO rather than a 500-hour wonder. The thought of getting some experience in a very different environment (namely, the lower 48) sounds pretty appealing as well. (seriously, there's a LOT of roads down here)

Current times are 560/20 with a fresh multi ticket.
Remember your time in the right seat at Hageland (or maybe it was PenAir I don't remember) at some outfits being an FO kinda sucks.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
Tallflyer, how old are you? The FO gig will set you up to get PIC faster (maybe) then the 172 gig will. And the PIC will (in theory) get more job options down the road. However, if you feel you are young enough that a year or two flying a 172 around won't hurt your options down the road as far as getting to your dream job (what ever that may be) then, as Nick said, I think you answred your question. Go have fun flying around for a while. I really wish I'd been able to spend more time running charter in the Islands before I got locked into the right seat of a jet.
 

TallFlyer

Well-Known Member
Tallflyer, how old are you?
30
The FO gig will set you up to get PIC faster (maybe) then the 172 gig will.
The 1900 operator does have a reputation for quick upgrades. Company mins for upgrade I believe is 2000TT and an ATP.
And the PIC will (in theory) get more job options down the road. However, if you feel you are young enough that a year or two flying a 172 around won't hurt your options down the road as far as getting to your dream job (what ever that may be) then, as Nick said, I think you answred your question. Go have fun flying around for a while. I really wish I'd been able to spend more time running charter in the Islands before I got locked into the right seat of a jet.
At this point dream job is probably some kind of fractional if I choose to relocate out of AK. If I stay in AK it gets a little murkier. Although I think I would enjoy the job itself, at this point I have no desire to dive into the lower 48 regional market; as some other folks have said this is not the time to get on the bottom of someone's seniority list. And I hear ya on the Islands. I'm strongly thinking about looking into a few different Caravan PIC gigs in nice places when I get 135 IFR mins, both because I really enjoyed the Caravan and also because I think a flying job like that with close pax interaction might look good on a resume if fractionals are where I head.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
With that being your goal, I'd say go tool around in the 172 for a year. At that point you may even be competitive for some of the Caravan PIC spots.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Given the two choices, I'd probably go with the 1900. It's multiengine turbine experience, and you'll stay proficient on instruments.

There are places out there that don't give a whole lot of weight to single engine VFR time, unless you're a CFI.
 

mhcasey

Well-Known Member
Pennair just furloughed and I think ACE picked up enough guys from there that they aren't hiring...at least I've not heard back from them. I think you'll be waiting around for a while if you don't take the pictometry gig. Which pictometry gig is it? (Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the public).
 

TallFlyer

Well-Known Member
Pennair just furloughed and I think ACE picked up enough guys from there that they aren't hiring...at least I've not heard back from them. I think you'll be waiting around for a while if you don't take the pictometry gig. Which pictometry gig is it? (Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the public).
Actually Penair just outright let a bunch of people go, including some newly upgraded Captains. In the process of parking one of their Saabs they decided to let go of the bottom of both the FO list and Capt list. So

But yeah, didn't really think of that. We'll see....... and PM sent.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
Pennair just furloughed and I think ACE picked up enough guys from there that they aren't hiring...at least I've not heard back from them. I think you'll be waiting around for a while if you don't take the pictometry gig. Which pictometry gig is it? (Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the public).

Ace is always looking, they've got another ground school coming up.
 

TallFlyer

Well-Known Member
Ace is always looking, they've got another ground school coming up.
Yeah, I'll be checking in with my contact there to get the straight dope on their current situation.

Speaking of straight dope (since I know you're good at it), what's you're no BS assessment on job conditions there?
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
Yeah, I'll be checking in with my contact there to get the straight dope on their current situation.

Speaking of straight dope (since I know you're good at it), what's you're no BS assessment on job conditions there?
Pluses:

Good job, great maintenance, great people, best paying FO job in the regional world, lot of cool destinations, a lot of VFR flying in addition to the usual IFR runs, challenging wx that teaches you a lot, you will be able to fly a good approach by the time you're done with ace. Upgrade is at 2000TT and 1000 in type or 3000TT and 500 in type, so if you come in at 600TT you'll upgrade after about a year. You're home every night. Its fun.

Minuses:

You have to fuel the 1900 before everyflgith, you have to unload everyflight and sometimes load, somehow the airplane is always at 17710 (Beech 1900 Max ramp weight, how it always equals that is beyond me), the schedule is chaotic (you'll end up one day with 2:00AM show for a 3:00AM Go, then a day later you'd be on for a 3:00PM show for a 4:00pm go, they know how to meet the limits of the floating duty day). You will fly over a 100hrs per month on a regular basis (which sounds good for people with 500TT, but when you fly 130hrs in a month a couple months in a row, you'll get a little burnt out, in fact burnout factor is why turnover is high there) The weather is such, and distances in Alaska are big enough so that you will push the wx (I mean realllllllyyyy push the limits of the FARs) on any flight out to the chain, and any flight to south east. You'll work 6 days per week, every week. (Never expect a 2 day weekend. Good luck getting any time off. There is no company loyalty to their employees (although from what I here from my friends there this is changing) and they will drop you like a hot rock (see below) You're payed for block not flight.


FO Pay:

$25/hr. This won't change while you're an FO but the upgrade is a year or less (the only reason I didn't upgrade was age restrictions on the ATP)
Decent Benes if you need them
CASS is coming (suppossedly)
$25/hr * 1200hrs of Flight Time = $30,000 per year.
You'll make more than this if you turn and burn, and you get a load of loading slips (available for charters where you unload)

Captain Pay:
Starts at $50/hr with $2 per year
$50/hr * 1200hrs of Flight Time = $60,000 per year


As for loyalty, there was a crew last year who aborted takeoff then passed out in the ramp area (which is the only reason they survived because they would have passed out in flight and crashed in the river had they not) the company tried to fire the captain because the FAA investigated the incident. The only reason the captain was brought back on was because the FAA went to bat for him (yes the FAA went to bat for the captain). At the end of the day, don't expect them to try to stick up for you, but expect them to push you to operate in difficult conditions.

That being said, the job is an outstanding job. Its one of the best paying jobs of its type, and the experience is invaluable. I am all for anyone working their, though I think 500TT is a little low for the job (I went there at 500TT and wish I would have waited, because its hard to stay principled when there are guys with 25000TT telling you "this is how its done")

The training is really really really good for the captains and FOs, most of your FO training is "on the job" so to speak, but the captains are all very knowledgable. The more senior captains have more than 20000TT apiece and the and the newest captains (two of my friends) are sitting right at a little above 2000TT, so the range of people you're working with is pretty varied. The chief pilot is Wayne Carter and is a god among men. He has over 30,000TT and has forgotten more about flying then most of us will ever know, and is incredibly knowledgable about the airplane and its systems, he's been flying since he was 18 or so and is now well pased 65. The DO is Mike Murphy, and is of the typical bush pilot type. I only flew with him once, but he's a hell of a pilot. He flies the 1900 like its a damn 207, but he rarely flew the line while I worked there, that being said, the guy is a damn good guy, and is funny as hell, but stay on his good side.

Management...euh...its ok. Its of the MarkAir heritage, and is primarily concerned issues of management issues. They tend to be in their ivory tower, and communication with them is not a typical thing, though the President of the company did take it upon himself to know everybody's name (which I thought was damn decent) and was always seen with a smile on his face and would shake your hand and greet you in passing every time. Additionally, they threw an outstanding christmass party with an open bar and free cabs home.

Conditions destinations vary, many places are not paved (Donlin Creek Mine, Nixon Fork Mine, Nikolski, anything in the YK, Togiak, I think they do Tatitlek now too). You'll scud run at 170kts indicated to get to some of these places and places like Klawock in south east, or wrangell and petersburg. You'll operate out to the pribilof islands (really long overwater flight, which even in the twin makes me kinda nervous), dutch harbor, cold bay, and some other places you see on the deadliest catch.

They've never had a fatal accident, though that is because of luck not because of no accidents. They crashed an EMB-120, a 1900, and the airplanes were totaled. They also crashed a bunch of sleds (207s) back when they ran em. They hit a tree in Juneau with one of the airplanes, and have had other incidents, but for the most part, are pretty safe statistically.

I can't think of anything else, its late, if anyone has any more questions, post em.
 
Top