Mar 10

Helo Pilot Shortage: 4 Key Factors

By Ian Robinson | Airplanes , Helicopters , Industry

Is the juice worth the squeeze? 

There are several reasons for the helo (helicopter) pilot shortage. Only 0.0048% of the U.S. population choose to become helicopter pilots. According to a joint study by UND, HAI, and HFI, the ratio is drastically declining, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a good market to enter. 


Executive Summary

​Multiple factors contribute to a low number of new entrants to the helicopter pilot job market. This article will illuminate the most important objectives that must be overcome to reverse the trend.

  1. Return on Investment - A lifetime of work minus cost of training yields an inadequate retirement nest egg.
  2. Risk of Investment - High cost of training easily at risk.
  3. Job Satisfaction - Lack of autonomy, recognition, and undesirable working conditions.
  4. Airline Trickle Effect - High paying airline jobs are poaching helicopter pilots.

Problem #1: Poor Return on Investment

​Helicopter pilots are often asked, "How much do you make?" Most often, the reaction is a surprise and disbelief at how little we earn compared to the cost of training and work required to get into the business. If you combine the cost of training with the average cost of living and work a regular full-time schedule, you will NOT be able to retire comfortably. Despite this fact, can it be done? Yes, it can, but it requires some major thinking outside the box. Many pilots work multiple jobs, have their training paid for by the government, or have other side investments to subsidize the unfair wages in the helicopter industry. 

Cost of training to the civilian helicopter pilot is about $80,000. If a loan is used, the student will pay more than double ​at current student loan rates. Due to the high difficulty of training, lack of life insurance, and low income, banks are now hip to the inclining default rate. They will charge between 10% and 15% for helicopter student loans assuming you can get approval under the new debt-to-income investigation process.

The Actual Cost of a Student Loan

 Helicopter salaries vary, but according to this survey by Just Helicopters, the majority of pilots earn between $60,000 and $90,000 GROSS per year AFTER 5 years of experience. 

Cost of living ranges from $40,000 to $90,000 depending on which city and how many people live in the household. The current national average cost of living is about $57,000 per year. Most pilots will find their cost of food is about twice as high because at least 1/2 of the year, they must eat out.

According to Forbes and AARP, the average person needs $1 - 1.5 million USD in order to retire without the need to flip burgers.  

The following chart will consider the averages. You may have a unique situation, so check out this online living expense calculator for a customized idea of how much you will need. 

Disclaimer:
This graph considers an average cost of living vs income in the United States.

It assumes that the initial training is taken on a loan and the living expenses are as follows:

  • First Five Years: Single adult on a bare-minimum budget
  • Remaining 20 Years: National average for a family of four

**The absence of a student loan can bring you closer to a satisfactory retirement fund. There are opportunities for tax-subsidized training via military or law enforcement. 

**Life events such as external pensions, medical emergencies, divorce, investments, and side hustle overtime can drastically affect the size of the retirement nest egg.**

**There are also unique opportunities that can offer much higher pay such as war-zone contracts, corporate aircraft charter/management, human external-load operations, and heavy-helicopter oil & gas operations. Keep in mind that these operations make up a small percentage of the pilot workforce. 

So what would be a fair wage? 

So how much would it take to reverse the trend and make a helicopter pilot a competitive career choice? USA Today says that the magical number to live the American dream is $130,000/year gross. How can one squeeze more blood from a rock? Helicopters have a limited number of seats, so the business model isn't exactly favorable for generating revenue. 

​Flight Pay vs Salary

"​I can't believe you're paying me to do this!"


​A common statement that all pilots say on their first day as a commercial pilot.

Pilots are often paid by the HOBBS (an hour meter that detects precisely how long the skids are off the ground). When a pilot is paid $25/flight hour, they live below the poverty line because they are only earning when they are flying. Some operators require that the pilots remain at the base all day regardless of whether or not they have flights.  If the weather is bad or if the aircraft is down for maintenance, the pilots are required to spend between 8 and 12 hours at work without additional compensation. Larger and more established operators may offer a small daily rate + flight hour pay, but insurance requirements often demand several years of experience as a commercial pilot in order to be named on their policy.

This leaves the industry in a very precarious position because of low time pilots training other low time pilots. They speed through this phase of their career as quickly as possible in order to achieve a higher paying job that offers a steady salary. This leaves unnecessary training deficits in the next batch of trainees and they are left to discover most of the hazards by means of trial and error.

Check out the story below for an inside glimpse of how being paid $25/flight hour can equate to $12.50 for a 16 hour day of work! 

Click this drop down. Join me in a day-in-the-life; see how $25/hr adds up to less than $20k/yr!

​Possible Solutions

Operators in the business of conducting pleasure rides are not going to be able to raise the rates per seat. ​The general population is used to paying current rates and doing so could possibly hinder business as this type of operation isn't necessary to society.

We would have to look to those operators that provide flights that are a necessity-to-society such as EMS, Fire, Oil, and overseas contracts to charge enough to provide the pilots an adequate wage. It may be tough, though, as there are presently multiple consumers and legislators pushing back against the high cost of air medical transport. The word is spreading and there is a looming possibility that the government will cap the amount billable to a patient. This will drastically affect profit margins and it is doubtful that the bean counters will offer a higher wage in preparation for a potential income cap:

Companies spend an astronomical amount of money on training to keep a revolving door of pilots on the line (usually $10,000 to $50,000). If they ​utilized this expense to retain loyal employees, it seems they may slow down the door and boost the general ​morale. This would have a compound effect because the line pilots are the face of the company and would surely have a positive impact on the customer experience. If you are a pilot, be sure to always try and negotiate the highest wage that you can. 


Problem #2: Risk of Investment

Life as a pilot requires extreme discipline. Those that disagree tend to congregate here in this database.

A pilot certificate is easily suspended or revoked. If a pilot finds themselves in any of the following situations - provided they are still alive - they will be paying for an education they are no longer able to utilize:

  • High blood pressure
  • Poor vision​
  • DUI
  • ​Increased BMI
  • Injury to an appendage
  • Suspended drivers license
  • ​Poor use of social media
  • Aviation accident or incident
  • An interpersonal relationship with a well-connected individual that went sour
  • ​Lose job on bad terms
  • Have a student that has an accident

Great care has to be taken so that a pilot doesn't end up on the black-list as well. Most helicopter companies are now going to great lengths to protect their fragile reputation by hiring pilots who maintain professional representation both online and offline


Problem #3: Job Satisfaction

​Job satisfaction is more than just wages, but wages do make the top 5 list. Employees want to be compensated for what they are worth and are likely to look for work elsewhere if they’re not. This probably explains the high turnover in the industry. Lower-than-fair wages cause an elevated psychological strain on those pilots who know ​that their duties are necessary to society.

​Lifestyle satisfaction is the other major issue. Pilots spend 50-90% of their time away from home resulting in an extremely slanted work-life balance.


Problem #4: ​Arline Trickle Effect

​​The Airlines are actively poaching helicopter pilots and are offering competitive salaries for first-year pilots to make the switch!

They now allow helicopter time to count towards the 1500 hour requirement with only 250 hours of total airplane time. This means that a​ helicopter pilot with two years of experience (≈ 1500 hours) that is only capable of earning $30,000 to $60,000 in the helicopter industry can now start out ​making $75,000 in the airlines.​

​The average 30 year earning potential of an airline pilot is $8 million​! On top of that, most major airlines contribute 16% of their annual salary directly into their 401k just to throw a little icing on the cake!

How can they do this? Well, the business model makes more sense. An airplane ​has 300 billable seats while the helicopter has three billable seats.

What helicopter company offers a 16% retirement GIFT?

Most major airlines provide 16% contribution to your retirement account. Meaning that for every $100 you make, they put in $16, with no contribution required on your part.

​A Window of Opportunity for Helicopter Pilots

​The airlines hire in cycles. In the 80s, they employed their fill of pilots. There has been a very low turnover in the major airlines in the past 30-40 years. ​A pilot in the regional airlines (i.e., United Express) would earn wages even less than present-day helicopter pilots. They would have to wait​ for a senior pilot in one of the major airlines ​to quit for a position to open up.
Due to scheduled retirements, the GATES ARE NOW OPEN​and the airlines are scurrying to fill the vacancies over the next 7-9 years. ​​​It is a scary thought.​ There will be more job openings in the airlines (​offering up to 6X more money ​and​ 2X more time off) than there are highly valued helicopter pilots currently in existence.

In 2017 alone, the airlines recruited 3% of the nations helicopter pilot fleet and the word has only just gotten out. The military is aware of the issue and there has already been a recall of military pilots. As a result, airlines have opened up rotor to fixed-wing transitions to civilian helicopter pilots. This WILL have serious consequences for the helicopter industry. According to this study, there are almost 16,000 helicopter pilots nationwide. This means that in the next seven years, there will be more available airline jobs in six of the major airlines than total helicopter pilots in the country. This doesn't even take into consideration the amount of open positions in the smaller regional airlines. 

Airline Scheduled Retirements by 2025


​Final Thoughts

Helicopter pilots will make statements such as, "Helicopters are so much more fun to fly." They are 100% correct. Helicopters are also the hardest aircraft to operate on the planet, but how can one argue with the type of retirement package that the airlines offer?

Some helicopter pilots will disagree about the shortage because they have resumes out with dozens of companies and NEVER get a callback. For those of you who are dedicated to rotary wing, it is probably because you haven't yet had your fill.

Please be warned. Love is blind. Your addiction to this machine is understandable but may trap you in a situation where you are spending just as much as you are earning for the rest of your career.

If you can't find a job yet, just hang in there. There is a huge void coming and you will get your opportunity if you choose to stick with it. Please keep in mind, once the hiring boom ends in the major airlines, opportunities will come to a screeching halt.

If you are considering a move to the airlines, I would highly advise it. You may or may not take a considerable pay cut for the first couple of years, but if you can swing it, I highly recommend the switch if you can make this narrow window of opportunity.

This will leave helicopter operators with no choice but to negotiate lower insurance minimum experience requirements or offer higher wages to compensate for the mass exodus. That will have its own consequences on safety statistics, but we will save that article for 2025.

I tend to discourage new applicants against the career choice unless they have an additional source of income. The BUZZ is out. One of the most popular Social media groups containing 15,000 members says it all. People join this group all the time and inquire about becoming a helicopter pilot. Nine out of ten responses are negative, warning new entrants NOT to do it because the juice is just not worth the squeeze.

Would I do it all over again if I could? ABSOLUTELY. I am half-way through a 30-year career in helicopter aviation and there is nothing better than seeing the entire world from a bird's eye view. I just wish I could have had a stable retirement on the horizon with my rotary career. As I switch to a career of flying above Flight Level 180 to obtain long-term stability, I will be able to smile from the flight deck knowing that I have had an extremely fun and rewarding career as a helicopter pilot. No regrets.

If you liked this article, you may also like these shirts! 

Feb 24

Build a Network Machine

By Ian Robinson | Industry , Success

How to Network in Aviation: Create a Clientele Support System 

A network is a group of specialists working together for one common cause: TO SUPPORT CLIENTELE 

Building a strong network is essential in many ways. It gives you the power to provide a well-rounded service to your clients and ultimately lead to ​more business.​ A well-oiled network operates as a full-circle. Not a triangle, but a circle.

Networking is NOT:

Networking is NOT beginning a conversation with the sole purpose ​to gain opportunity. Shaking someone's hand so they can place a face with a name (with the intent to submit a resume) is NOT networking. This is called interviewing​, and there is a HUGE difference.


​​Example of A Network

​​To start a network, you have to understand what a good network looks like. In any industry, you can't do it all. It takes a team of people to provide a ​variety of services. Even if you just want to be a pilot, your clients will ​have multiple needs. ​If you can make life easier for your clients, they will keep coming back. The more people that you refer business to, the more clients will be circled back to you.

​In aviation, ​some ​key players​ will make your network whole. ​​​If you are a well-rounded aviator, you'll be able to refer you clients to a tour operator when they visit Hawaii, to an aircraft broker if they want to purchase an aircraft, and to a maintenance facility if they need scheduled maintenance. If you are really on your game, you can even refer a​ nanny or housekeeper if they need such personal services. 

​My first introduction to a well-functioning network occurred several years before I started my flying career. ​Click the drop-down below Jan's Picture; maybe her example can​ spark some ideas about how to ​set up your network.

​Learn from Jan

I learned from Jan, so can you. Click here to see more.


​​Create Your Network in 3 Steps


Step 1: Establish a Personal Brand

​The foundation of a stable network is built upon a purpose. Before you start pouring the concrete, you need to decide on a personal mission statement. Your mission statement should be driven by your ultimate objective​ and be supported by how you will attempt to accomplish that purpose​.

​I chose the name Five Star Helicopters for my flight school because it highlights the quality of service that I wanted to convey to my clients. Safety and professionalism​ are to be expected if the customer is given a true Five Star experience.

​​Consider a selfless mission statement​ that you can carry with you throughout the rest of your aviation career. Make sure ​it is compatible with leading organizations in multiple sectors.

​​Selfish Mission Statement​ Example

​"I want to secure a steady job that pays well and that allows me to fly a lot."

Selfless Mission Statement Example

​"I want to safely gather experience so that I can supply consistent, predictable, and dependable service to my clientele, thus allowing me the opportunity to live a fulfilled life and eventually give back to the community that I serve."

Step 2: Build a Reputation

There are two types of reputation. Network reputation and customer ​reputation go hand in hand. While on the road to becoming a world-class professional, you'll be building your reputation. Be sure to dedicate​ hours of deliberate practice to perfect your craft.

Take into consideration that most of your reputation depends on what you do before the engines start as well as after they shut down. Success in this industry depends on your ability to provide a quality customer experience, so make sure to prepare for it.

​NOTE
​Make sure not to destroy your entire reputation in one fell swoop by making silly social media posts.

Step 3: ​Build Relationships

​Every interaction will have a life-cycle: a meeting, greeting, and an exit. Here are some tips to help you flow through that cycle and leave a lasting impression.


​Meeting

Initiating conversation is just the first stage of networking. It is ​essential to understand what makes people tick in order retain their attention long enough to establish a two-way relationship.

People don't owe you anything, so try not to come off like a needy baby bird.


​PRO TIP
​Use a basic understanding of human psyche to your advantage.

​There is such a wide variety of personalities out there, so your approach needs to vary from person to person. All humans have one thing in common:​ we are inherently selfish by nature. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind when you make your introductions.

​The human brain is designed to ​solve problems. ​​Allow your new friend to do some or most of the talking as it provides an opportunity to satisfy the ​upper levels of basic human needs: autonomy and recognition. Pose a question and let them utilize ​natural instincts that ​everyone desires to exercise. You can also apply these tactics to gain buy-in from people in your organization!

When talking to people, remember that everyone has the same common goal​: to provide quality products and services to their clientele.


Greeting: (i.e., Qualify)

​Try to fill the voids in your network with individuals who will bring value​ and quality​ to the table. ​Word-of-mouth and street reputation is the fastest way to sift through the crowds. Once you meet a potential network partner, ask them why and ​how​ they came to be in their current position.​​​ If it is a good fit, the conversation will evolve organically and ​you will identify how you can work together.

​Try to talk about Ideas for growth and development rather than yourself. Try to solve this problem: How can WE help each other satisfy a common mission? 


​Exit

After you feel the conversation has run its course, make sure to leave your new acquaintance with a positive impression even if you don't quite see a future. Always plant a seed; I have lost count of how many small interactions that have ​sprouted into great opportunity later on.

PRO TIP: Give the Gift of Time
Your time is the greatest gift you can give to someone. Always be generous with your time but don't be stingy with someone else's time.

Body Language​ is Key​

​What do their feet say?


​"​I want to go over there."​​​

You need to exit with grace. Pay close attention to body language. If you can be intuitive, you will appear to have some level of social intelligence. The person you are speaking with probably won't be able to put their finger on it, but they will have a positive gut feeling about you. This will play a role in future referrals because they will expect that you will emit the same considerations with the clients they send your way.

Maybe you can pick up a few tricks from this video:

Wait!

Before you leave, OFFER them something. Ask for their card and say something like “I may have a client I can send you.” Or “I know of someone who would work great in your team.” If you can’t honestly say either of these statements, just give them your card and kindly tell them if there is anything YOU can do for THEM, don’t hesitate to call.


How do You Know When Your Network Has Become Successful? 

If you keep pushing on the flywheel, eventually your network will gain so much momentum that it'll be hard to slow down. You'll have so much business you won't be able to handle it all. The key here is not to be greedy, but to present the opportunity for others to join your network. You will have the chance to mentor others, and THAT is where the greatest job satisfaction is.

​I'm not sure what happened to Jan, but I'm sure she is on a beach somewhere sipping on a​ tropical drink. 

​Sharing is Caring!

​Comment below and share some of your experiences with networking!

Networking is a group of specialists working together for one common cause.

Networking is NOT beginning a conversation in order to gain opportunity. Shaking someones hand so they can place a face with a name (with the intent to submit a resume) is NOT networking. This is called interviewing, and there is a HUGE difference. 

Initiating conversation is just the first stages of networking. In order to understand how to start a network, first lets analyze what a network is.

Feb 19

CRM: The Antidote to Silence

By Ian Robinson | eLearning , Industry , Safety , Success

The Number ONE Goal of Crew Resource Management: UN-ZIP Your Lips! 

CRM is a catchphrase that Aviation Administrations flock to - and they should. CRM was developed as a response to mass aviation casualties and has finally been mandated. Even small air carriers now provide CRM training to crewmembers. There is one major issue: no one is drinking the kool-aid. Why? Because to meet the new training requirement as inexpensively as possible, these small operators have turned to overused powerpoint presentations to teach one of the most exciting topics in our industry. Many pilots and crewmembers feel that CRM training is just a dull, monotone, one-hour presentation that they HAVE to sit through - and most of them can't even define CRM!

Note about CRM
​CRM training provides communication skills that all crewmembers understand, but it is much more than that. It is a language deeply embedded in the roots of all tight-knit teams and is at the heart of crew synergy. The military defines this as battle rhythm. It is an intangible commodity that a group must embrace, BUT for it to work, all participants must not be afraid to speak.

CRM training provides communication skills that all crewmembers understand, but it is much more than that. It is a language deeply embedded in the roots of all tightly knit teams and is at the heart of crew synergy. The military defines this as battle rhythm. It is an intangible commodity that a group must embrace, BUT for it to work, all participants must not be afraid to speak.

Silence Kills

​On a dark, misty night, a medevac team set out in a Bell 407 to rescue a patient in need of urgent transportation. They loaded up and pressed onward to the hospital. In the back - isolated from the pilot - the crewmembers noticed that the weather was deteriorating. As visibility continued to decrease, they felt nervous, an uneasy feeling that sent their hearts jumping into their throats. 

The helicopter began to lurch and bank. The engine started to wine. Gravity seemed to be there one moment, but not the next. Stomachs turning, warning systems beeping, a loud BANG, metal shearing, the onset of pain, and then...................silence.

The following day, NTSB began sifting through the carnage. Between the corpses of the nurse and paramedic they found a note:

The following day, NTSB began sifting through the carnage. Between the corpses of the nurse and paramedic they found a note:


​We can only speculate what kept the crewmembers in the back from speaking their concerns to the pilot. This situation is the most extreme consequence of a communication barrier. If you feel compelled to remain silent, however, the spirit of Crew Resources Management is being neglected.

We can only speculate what kept the crewmembers in the back from speaking their concerns to the pilot. This situation is the most extreme consequence of a communication barrier. If you feel compelled to remain silent, however, the spirit of Crew Resources Management is being neglected.

Be Assertive!

​The story above is very sad and tragic. Those individuals have left loved ones behind and no doubt have altered the courses of many lives. This is just one story. There are countless occurrences similar to this due to complex social psychology and the dynamic changes with every team.



The story above is very sad and tragic. Those individuals have left loved ones behind and no doubt have altered the courses of many lives. This is just one story. There are countless occurrences similar to this due to complex social psychology and the dynamic changes with every team.

ASSERTIVENESS


The immediate solution to all communication barriers.


Cat Got Your Tongue?

​A good crew briefing is essential to building a relationship that is conducive to effective communication and synergy. It is not an easy discussion to have, but here are some tactics that can help you get started in another article. Communication barriers may be residing deep inside our personalities due to human nature.

A good crew briefing is essential to building a relationship that is conducive to effective communication and synergy. It is not an easy discussion to have, but here are some tactics that can help you get started in another article. Communication barriers may be residing deep inside our personalities due to human nature.

​​There are endless barriers to communication. The problem with Crew Resource Management training by powerpoint is that they tend to bullet critical topics. Human beings don't learn by looking at lists. They learn by correlating compelling stories to practical applications. We all have deep-seated issues. The bottom line is that you understand the solution to ALL deadly silencers is ASSERTIVENESS. You must learn to recognize WHEN you have a communication barrier. If you realize that you don't feel like speaking out, then THAT is the very thing you can begin speaking about. Just politely say, "I don't feel comfortable talking about the way I feel." Consider what may be keeping you silent before traveling at unsurvivable speeds through obstacle-rich environments.

​There are endless barriers to communication. The problem with Crew Resource Management training by powerpoint is that they tend to bullet critical topics. Human beings don't learn by looking at lists. They learn by correlating compelling stories to practical applications. We all have deep-seated issues. The bottom line is that you understand the solution to ALL deadly silencers is ASSERTIVENESS. You must learn to recognize WHEN you have a communication barrier. If you realize that you don't feel like speaking out, then THAT is the very thing you can begin speaking about. Just politely say, "I don't feel comfortable talking about the way I feel." Consider what may be keeping you silent before traveling at unsurvivable speeds through obstacle-rich environments.

​The Bystander Effect

​I have noticed the bystander effect more often when a new crewmember joins the team. Here is why.

I have noticed the bystander effect more often when a new crewmember joins the team. Here is why.

​38 people watched a young woman named Kitty Genovese suffer a vicious attack that lasted over 30 minutes! Initially, she was stabbed but got away.​ The attacker continued pursuit and finally caught up with her a second time to finish the job. Kitty was SCREAMING the entire time, desperately requesting help. ​So why did no one take action? We have an innate tendency to follow the crowd; inaction is contagious. ​Read more here.​​​

38 people watched a young woman named Kitty Genovese suffer a vicious attack that lasted over 30 minutes! Initially, she was stabbed but got away.​ The attacker continued pursuit and finally caught up with her a second time to finish the job. Kitty was SCREAMING the entire time, desperately requesting help. ​So why did no one take action? We have an innate tendency to follow the crowd; inaction is contagious. ​Read more here.​​​
​So how does this murder scene relate to YOU and aviation?

​​This incident had psychologists perplexed. Shortly after, they created a study that demonstrated how inaction is contagious. As soon as I saw the resulting "Smoke-Filled Room Study" it clicked!

This incident had psychologists perplexed. Shortly after, they created a study that demonstrated how inaction is contagious. As soon as I saw the resulting "Smoke-Filled Room Study" it clicked!
​How do you feel when watching this video?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1510710035/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gotsky06-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1510710035&linkId=75c770538acd3217131d0e51906b271b

​Why didn't the woman get up and walk out on take two? When there is a ​variety of experience between crewmembers, often the less experienced will look to the more experienced for reassurance or validation. They feel that the expertise of the other crewmembers is superior to their own and, as a result, they keep quiet when no one else notices the issue - even with that little gut feeling nagging away. 

​You feel an unusual vibration and look to your partner. They seem unaware or unconcerned, so you suppress your natural survival instincts.

You feel an unusual vibration and look to your partner. They seem unaware or unconcerned, so you suppress your natural survival instincts.

​Next time you hesitate or you feel uncomfortable speaking, ANTENNAE UP! Uncertainty is a HUGE RED FLAG. It's time to prioritize. First alert someone about the flight issue - hopefully, your team is well aware, and you all choose the most conservative response. After landing, make sure to debrief about what caused your communication barrier. DO NOT gossip about it another day. Fail to do this, and you have just created a link in the error chain that is irreparable - for you have broken trust in your team.

Next time you hesitate or you feel uncomfortable speaking, ANTENNAE UP! Uncertainty is a HUGE RED FLAG. It's time to prioritize. First alert someone about the flight issue - hopefully, your team is aware as well, and you all choose the most conservative response. After landing, make sure to debrief about what caused your communication barrier. DO NOT gossip about it another day. Fail to do this, and you have just created a link in the error chain that is unrepairable - for you have broken trust in your team.

​PRO TIP: T​RAIN YOUR GUT
​​That little gut feeling CAN BE TRAINED. This book has stuck with me and has helped me understand why and how to trust that "6th sense." The Key Takeaway​: BE ASSERTIVE about what your instincts are telling you.

That little gut feeling CAN BE TRAINED. This book has stuck with me and has helped me understand why and how to trust that "6th sense." The Key Takeaway​: BE ASSERTIVE about what your instincts are telling you.

​​Practical Example of The Bystander Effect Occurring in the Cockpit

​​Often, during a malfunction, an aircraft will emit a pungent odor due to a fluid (e.g., hydraulic or engine oil) touching hot surfaces. Due to seating configurations in most helicopters, the crewmembers are closer in proximity to the gearbox and engine, thus, are typically first to smell the impending failure.

​A few extra moments could give the pilot the upper-hand to make decisions, execute emergency procedures, and select a safe spot to land.

A few extra moments could give the pilot the upper-hand to make decisions, execute emergency procedures, and select a safe spot to land.

​​Being assertive doesn't mean you should become a howling monkey every time you hit some rough air, but if you hear, smell, feel, see, taste, or predict anything abnormal, be sure to ASK about it. ​Try to be situationally aware of pilot workload ​​​as you could cause more harm than good (i.e., distraction). Situational Awareness is a whole can of worms I can't open right now - an entire CRM course can't possibly fit into one blog article. I recommend starting with a solid crew briefing as it will include how to time information delivery.

Being assertive doesn't mean you should become a howling monkey every time you hit some rough air, but if you hear, smell, feel, see, taste, or predict anything abnormal, be sure to ASK about it. ​Try to be situationally aware of pilot workload ​​​as you could cause more harm than good (i.e., distraction). Situational Awareness is a whole can of worms I can't open right now - an entire CRM course can't possibly fit into one blog article. I recommend starting with a solid crew briefing as it will include how to time information delivery.

​Timing is Crucial

​How Many Languages do You Speak?

Hopefully, you speak at least TWO languages - English and CRM. Even if you are the person who polishes the hangar floors at night, YOU ARE PART OF THE TEAM and vital to its success. See a little red puddle under the aircraft? Do you just mop it up or do you make a call to the aviation supervisor? Everyone is part of the crew, never forget that. An open culture of participation is cultivated when you welcome critique, solicit advice, and know that there is a science behind this topic that still has room for development.

Hopefully, you speak at least TWO languages - English and CRM. ​Even if you are the person who polishes the hangar floors at night, YOU ARE PART OF THE TEAM and vital to its success. See a little red puddle under the aircraft? Do you just mop it up​​​ or do you make a call to the aviation supervisor? Everyone is part of the crew, never forget that. An open culture of participation is cultivated when you welcome critique, solicit advice, and know that there is a science behind this topic that still has room for development.

​Crew Resource Management training teaches you how to effectively communicate your concerns and get the results you seek; I highly recommend you learn to speak the language. Drink the kool-aid, and know that "in the spirit of CRM" there is no such thing as a stupid question, so ASK, ASK, ASK.

Crew Resource Management training teaches you how to effectively communicate your concerns and get the results you seek; I highly recommend you learn to speak the language. Drink the kool-aid, and know that "in the spirit of CRM" there is no such thing as a stupid question, so ASK, ASK, ASK.

​Other Latent Communication Barriers

​Here are a few​ bullets ​that you may or may not see in your powerpoint classes. Just IMAGINE the actionable results that can take place if you expand upon each ​item​ as we have done here. We can not just rattle off a list these elements and then break for lunch.

Who is Teaching Your CRM Class?

​Do you have a designated CRM instructor in your organization? Have they been certified to teach CRM or are they just reading to you from a script? I recommend that your company instructor attend the CRM Instructor Course by Randy Mains. He facilitates a brilliant class, and you will leave well equipped to teach CRM; I can attest to its potency. If you can't take the course right away, ​here are two books to read in the meantime. The links will take you directly to his checkout page.

Do you have a designated CRM instructor in your organization? Have they been certified to teach CRM or are they just reading to you from a script? I recommend that your company instructor attend the CRM Instructor Course by Randy Mains. He facilitates a brilliant class, and you will leave well equipped to teach CRM; I can attest to its potency. If you can't take the course right away, I recommend his two books in the meantime. The links will take you directly to his checkout page.

​Sharing is Caring

​Have you ever felt uncomfortable speaking to someone in your team? Comment below and help us all!
Feb 18

Avoid These TWO Mistakes When Planning Your Aeronautical Experience

By Ian Robinson | Flight Training Tips , Success

Flight School

Night School

Flight School should be one of the most enjoyable phases of your aviation career. You'd think that you can just show up and have a clear outline of the next two years handed to you on a silver platter. Many students graduate with a serious logbook deficiency that could cost them additional THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

Take Your Training Plan Into Your Own Hands

FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) part 61 clearly outlines the minimums so grab a cup of coffee and DIG IN. I'll help you get started with some links but you need to comb through these regulations so you have a full understanding of the current requirements. 

Aeronautical Experience Requirements

PRO TIP - Save Money
Make a checklist of all flight hour requirements for ALL RATINGS and CERTIFICATES you plan on attaining. Fill as many columns as you can in your logbook during the each flight hour (i.e. night, cross country, IFR). Requirements for future ratings can be completed early on.


Mistake # 1: Not Enough Night Experience

Beyond flight school, night time flying opportunities drastically diminish. If you are a flight instructor, get as much night time as you can. This not only gives you more opportunities down the road, it helps your students as well.

If you follow the above PRO TIP, you'll notice that the ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) Certificate requires 100 hours of NIGHT experience. You could easily knock out your entire instrument rating AT NIGHT, some cross country AT NIGHT, and some solo time AT NIGHT. By the time you are ready for your ATP check ride, you won't have to blow $8,000-$24,000 on a rental aircraft and burn holes in the sky to build 80 hours of night time. Ignore this tip and your flight school will love you because you will be PAYING for the same flight time TWICE.

In addition to this, most desirable jobs require lots of night experience. Take a look at the following medevac job post. They require 500 hours of night and 200 hours of IFR. If you graduate flight school with the minimums, work as a CFI only in the day time, and then move onto flying helicopter tours in the Grand Canyon for a decade, you could possibly accumulate 10,000 hours of flight time but NOT qualify for an EMS job due to lack of night experience.

Mistake # 2: Flying Simulated IFR During the Day

A note of caution: Venturing out over uncontested areas at night could be dangerous. Read this article before attempting this and analyze instructor comfortability. There is no logbook column that can accurately depict this type of experience.

An added bonus of flying under the hood at night is that you will get used to disorientation while you have an instructor on board. It is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid using your peripheral vision during the day time while under the hood. The first time you get into the clouds at night will be a very scary situation if you simulate your entire rating during the day. 

PRO TIP - Log IFR & Night Early
Get as much instrument time and night time as early on in your flight training as possible. 

Also, reference the above job requirements. If you need extra cross country time, try doing it under the hood and at night. When it comes time to do some IFR flying, take the necessary steps to maximize your IFR experience because it is the one of the best tools in your bag. 

SCAM ALERT

Some flight schools FORCE their students wait until after their CFI checkride to begin instrument training. This will tack on approxametly 50 hours of unnecessary aircraft rental time for the IFR rating and CFII. Make sure you get the IFR rating in between private and commercial certificates. Your accountant will thank me later. 

IFR is a FREE Rating

If you are training all the way to become a commercial pilot, then the IFR rating is essentially free depending on which aircraft you train in. Sure, you will have an additional check ride and some more ground school to attend but your logbook hours will be the same when you take your commercial checkride with or without the instrument training.

The IFR training will make you a better pilot and in turn, help you with your commercial checkride. Frankly, I don't even understand why the rating is optional. Who wouldn't want the OPTION to be able to SURVIVE if you inadvertently fly into instrument conditions or deteriorating weather?


Reality Check

Many students find it difficult to get night time at their flight school. The reason for this blog? I am constantly coaching students who are being bullied at flight schools. This is one of many conversations I have had recently. Notice the very last message, they experienced some spatial disorientation after finally getting some night IFR training. This is a good thing to experience with an instructor on board rather than when flying a load of paying passengers. 

.... a few weeks later


Advanced IFR Training

If you want to take your education to the next level, check out Recognition and Recovery training by FX Academy. They come highly recommended and who wouldn't want the opportunity to fly with Chuck Aaron, RedBull's first aerobatic helicopter pilot. 


Care to share?

Drop a comment below. Tell us your experience with flight training. How much night time did you get during primary training? How did your experience during IFR training differ between night and day? 

Feb 17

How To: Negotiate a Higher Wage

By Ian Robinson | Success

Understanding Your Worth and Knowing How to Ask For It

It is not easy asking for a higher wage, especially when you aren't sure if you have the job yet. Furthermore, it can be quite stressful asking for a raise if you know there is a line of people who would kill to have your job AND do it for less compensation. 

Three Factors

There are three contributing factors that an employer considers when an employee asks for a raise:

  1. Do I have enough profit margin to accomodate the request? 
  2. Does this employee contribut to my bottom line enough to justify the raise? 
  3. How will this decision affect the rest of my staff? 

Perspective is Everything

I once flew a client to Atlantis, a beautiful resort in the Bahamas. In the evening, I accompanied my client to a venue that was being held in a nightclub. It was a typical club. Nothing spectacular, just people from all over who were gathered under the lights and loud music to have a good time. One particular activity sticks out in my memory: Pro athletes were making it "rain up in da club."

 They were tossing stacks of cash up in the air and laughing as grown women, dressed in heels and skirts, were on their knees raking in the money with their bare hands. It's impressive how resourceful some people can be when their hands are full.

My Perspective

Okay, allow me to share my observations and feelings as a medevac pilot. This may sound brash.

It baffles me that sports organizations can pay their players to throw dead animal skin back and forth across a grassy knoll in order to support their desires for gold teeth, Bentleys, and making it rain up in da' club while the medical industry can’t provide enough income to the transport team for them to live amongst the people they serve. Even if you make $100,000/yr, you’ll still qualify for low-income housing living in SF, but most helicopter pilots will never see that kind of annual income anyhow.

It just seems backward. Our nurses, paramedics, and pilots soar through obstacle-rich environments at unsurvivable speeds to save the children of those very players while suspended in a tiny plastic basket. Oh, and that tiny basket is suspended from thin air by twirling metal which is propelled by a 1300º ball of fire. The kicker? If you touch one leaf, the entire thing explodes. 

A Real Job
One that pays you even when grounded for maintenance or when the weather is bad.

Every career pilot wants a "real job." Employers who offer "real jobs" usually have a set entry-level pay with scheduled raises. You can’t squeeze any more green blood out of an aircraft with a fixed seating arrangement, but hopefully this article will help you pull in a few more pennies per pay period. 

Step 1: Become a Passionate Aviator

There is more to being a pilot than just meeting the minimum hour qualifications for the job. You need to become an indesposable asset to your employer and clients. 

PRO TIP: ​AVOID STRAIGHT AND LEVEL FLIGHT
Quality Hours are something that you should display on your resume. Straight and level time is nothing to be proud of. Try to create tangible results during each hour you fly (e.g., endorsing a student, flying IFR, performing approaches, practicing emergency procedures, or adding on other certificates, ratings, and endorsements).

​Think Outside the Box

You can also add another category, class, and endorsement. It is just a small upcharge if you need to build time anyhow. Who would you rather hire, Pilot A or Pilot B?

300 Hour Pilot A
  • check
    ​Commercial Single-Engine Land
  • check
    Commercial Multi-Engine Land
  • check
    ​IFR Rating
300 Hour Pilot ​B
  • check
    ​Commercial Single-Engine Land
  • check
    Commercial Multi-Engine Land
  • check
    ​IFR Rating
  • check
    ​Tailwheel Endorsement 
  • check
    Spin Endorsement
  • check
    ​CFI​​​​
  • check
    ​CFII
  • check
    ​AGI
  • check
    ​Aerobatic Experience
  • check
    ​CRM​​​​ Instructor
  • check
    ​Single-Engine Seaplane
  • check
    Multi-Engine Seaplane

Get as much diverse flight time as possible. Adding ratings not only builds your skill, but IT IS SO FUN! Log as much night and IFR time as you possibly can. Did you know that you can become a Crew Resource Management Instructor? The fact that you invest into your trade speaks VOLUMES to your employers. 

Step 2: Understand Profit Margin

You can't squeeze blood from a rock. Do some research on your organization and try to gain an understanding of how much you can justifiably ask for. Many small operators barely get by and that is probably why there is a large turnover of revolving doors. 

Each company is different, but you can estimate rough overhead. Try to calculate payroll, insurance, operating, and advertising costs. 

Compare your results to how much margin there is in each aircraft hour. For example, it would be a mistake to think your earning potential is $1100/hr just because the direct operating cost of an H125 costs $700/hr and your ​company is billing it for $1800/hr​. Remember, your boss needs a paycheck as well. You can ask around. Find a baseline of what other pilots earn who perform similar duties and try to bid for the higher end if you can justify it by your resume. This is where your networking skills can come in handy. 

​Note:
Some organizations are nonnegotiable because they have a long line of pilots who just want to be part of the assembly line. You’ll have more opportunity to negotiate with organizations that provide unique services or have eclectic clientele. 

After you make your calculations, you may discover that there isn't much wiggle room. If you are working for a new company, or one that has high overhead, don't bother asking for a higher wage right away. This is not always a bad thing. If you like the people you work for, this is a HUGE ​opportunity to make the company grow. If you put in hard work that yields ​a substantial profit, you will be able to do two things:

  • 1
    You can ask for some of that profit margin once things stabilize.
  • 2
    you can add the experience to your resume as more tangible proof that your work provides results. 

Step 3: Build a Relationship to Establish Value and Carefully Write the Request

​If you haven't read the book "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek, you MUST read it. He mentions that 250,000 people didn't show up just to see Dr. MLKJ speak. They showed up because they shared the same belief. Try to identify the common cause with your employer. This is how you establish your value as an asset to the organization. 

Here is a  short 10-minute overview from 20,000'.

If the pay is so low that you can't survive, then think twice about working there. You'll just build resentment and start the vicious cycle of opportunistic job hopping. Try to establish a career mindset, but make sure that your employer is going somewhere.

Don't be afraid to ask. Worst case scenario, you can be rejected, but at least your boss will know that you believe that you will put out a high-quality service.

PRO TIP: Don't be afraid to ask!
Worst case scenario, you can be rejected, but at least your boss will know that you believe that you will put out a high-quality service.

Comment below if you have any other tactics to share!

Feb 15

Think Deeper: Airspace Quiz

By Ian Robinson | eLearning

​Do you know your stuff? 

Airspace is one of those topics that requires many gigabytes of mental storage space. For some pilots, written exam test preparation software is the only official training they have received on this subject. While necessary to use, it only prepares you for the bare minimum to become a certified pilot. Tests are designed to sample your knowledge, not cover everything you must learn. 


When flying through the 3-Dimensional gauntlet of airspace, you must comply with many regulations to have a violation-free flight. 


Losing situational awareness (SA) can have more severe consequences than just a violation. If you are unfamiliar with the airspace that you are located in, then your attention is diverted from other critical tasks such as engine health.

NOTE:
Take this short quiz; if you know your stuff, it should only take about 120 seconds. 


**Disclaimer: This test is not designed to replace formal ground school. As my instructor used to tell me: "RTFQ, we ARE trying to trick you."

[tqb_quiz id=’1307′]

Feb 14

Should I Become a Pilot in 2018?

By Ian Robinson | Industry , Success

BITTER-SWEET TRUTH ABOUT LIVING THE DREAM


Globally, aviation is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet. As a key player in the game, is becoming a pilot worth it?

I could just tell you, “Yes! Do it. There is no better job!”. Once upon a time (before squeezing in two lifetime’s worth of experience in the past dozen years), I would have said those exact words. Knowing what I know now? I'd say largely, IT DEPENDS. There will be no sugar coating in this article. If you've considered earning your wings for a living but are not quite sure what road to pursue, we will explore some broad topics of the career choice and compare some differences between helicopter pilots and airline pilots

Research Required

Most people see a cool YouTube video and get the bug. It would be a huge mistake to start researching flight schools and just assume that, as a certified pilot, life will be great.

PRO TIP
First look into job security, wages, location, and job satisfaction; work your way backward to which flight school is best for you. 

​The very best advice I can give you is to PUT YOUR FEELERS OUT. Start talking to aviators who are currently in the industry. Join online forums, Facebook groups, call friends who are pilots for both helicopters and fixed-wing (airplanes) and take them out to lunch.

TIMING IS CRUCIAL. One of the most important factors in your decision is to find out what cycle the industry is in. Do some research in the general field you happen to be interested in and see where it is headed. There is a serious trickle effect based on several factors such as the status of the the oil and gas industry, retirement age in the airlines, and UAV innovation (unmanned aerial vehicle or drone). The autonomous helicopter control system has us all concerned. Things are very fluid and you must take economic timing into consideration.


Lets talk INCOME

If you are basing your decisions solely on the cash, there is no black or white answer. The above mentioned cyclical nature of the industry must be considered. If you are considering helicopters as a career, check out this article regarding return on investment and potential opportunities related to the looming pilot shortage. Click the drop downs to see what I mean.

1980's: Go to the Airlines

1990's - 2015 Helicopters are the Better Bet

2015 - 2022 Airlines All the Way

2022 and beyond

So, the big question: “how much can a pilot expect to earn?” Salaries vary within each sector of aviation. Helicopter pilots and airline pilots make similar wages in the first decade of work. However, airlines then fly ahead with a much higher earning potential in the long run. The following links accurately reflect current salary expectations: 


Airplanes vs Helicopters in GENERAL

I have composed an entire separate article on this topic, but let’s look at the short and skinny of it. If money is no object and you want a clear outlook of a day in the life, go shadow a pilot in each sector of the industry. If you want help setting this up, feel free to drop a comment below and I'll see if I can set you up with someone in your area. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough: You need to see a day in the life first-hand to see if this is something for you. If you are lucky enough to get to fly or ride along, keep in mind that the honeymoon phase does wear off and, more than likely, you'll only be doing the fun stuff (hovering, departing, or landing) for two minutes in a twelve hour shift. 

Helicopter Pilots

Helicopter pilots tend to be more blue collar. Degrees are not required yet and the level of interpersonal communication skills vary somewhere between high school and 2 years of college. Pilots don’t always make good managers. Often--but not always--the managers that you find in the helicopter world were once pilots who were promoted from within to fill a slot rather than being hired for their outstanding people skills. As a result, you will want to inquire about the management structure in the sector of your dream job.

As a helicopter pilot, you will check your own aircraft maintenance compliance, calculate your own weight and balance, plan your own flights, check weather, help with maintenance, test/sample fuel, wash the helicopter, and be more exposed to the elements. In essence, you are on your own: All of the responsibility lies with you and you had better not screw up because there are serious consequences.

The flying is unparalleled, however. You'll be flying 500-1500' above the ground (sometimes lower depending on the mission) and manipulating the controls. You truly do become a master of your craft. Just remember, the helicopter belongs to someone else and they want you to fly as safe as possible. This means that if you fly like a maniac, you'll quickly lose your job. Not to mention, you will have a hard time finding another due to the SIX degrees TWO degrees of separation in the industry. Someone is always watching and--99% of the time--someone is recording you fly.
Airplane Pilots

Airline pilot duties in the GA sector (general aviation) closely resemble the responsibilities of helicopter pilots. Once you move into the airlines, however, things get much easier. You belong to a support system. Weight and balance, weather, and flight plans are all pre-calculated for you. You'll stay in climate controlled terminals, wearing dress shoes and slacks. You'll walk through the same door that the passengers do, hang a left, follow a script, complete a checklist, and watch the airplane autopilot work its magic.

The flying will take you to amazing places but will also be more routine in the long run. If you get bored easily, I recommend you look deep inside and consider if repetitive days is something you can handle. 

 


Training is Expensive

Why is aviation training so expensive?The reasoning is simply The FAA minimum flight and ground school requirements. Small training helicopters cost about twice as much per-hour to operate as small training airplanes. Funding is tough, but there are some options and legitimate scholarships out there. You could also go the military route and completely eliminate the cost of training, but doing so has its own drawbacks. More information about that in another article.

Airplanes

Helicopters

250 Flight H​​​ours

200 Flight Hours

1.5-2.5 Years 

1.5 to 2 Years

$40-$60K Total Cost

$80-100K Total Cost

If you are getting into aviation for the money, the ROI (return on investment) is horrific. You will be responsible for the lives of your passengers as well as the safety of the aircraft,  yet earning less than most office workers, web developers, personal trainers, and other tradesmen. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you fly MedEvac throughout the night--punching in and out of clouds near icing conditions and over remote mountains--to save a child, but you are making less than the person pumping your fuel.**nighttime bonus** A $3000/month student loan payment can be quite distracting and discouraging. So why do we do it? We do it because it is fun, technical, respected, and challenging; definitely NOT FOR THE MONEY.


Schedule and Location

Typically, airline pilots are away from home between two and six days at a time with a guaranteed twelve days off per month. Those days off may be scattered throughout the month, but with tenure you can bid on your dream schedule. Senior pilots will often bid  to work only the minimum eight days per month. At that point, you could live just about anywhere in the world if you were willing to commute with your travel benefits. Most major cities have an airline with a pilot domicile, though, so you don't really have to stress about where you want to live.

On the other hand, Helicopter pilot schedules vary wildly from job to job. If you have a specific schedule that you are attracted to, you will have to choose a sector that has what you are looking for. The trick here is finding an operator with your schedule in the location that you want to be. There are a few overseas contracts that pay for travel from home, but the industry standard is that the commuting expenses belong the the employee. Most operators require that you live within an hour or two from your base.
Pilot Schedule Example WITH Commuting
Pilot Schedule Example WITHOUT Commuting

Who Makes a Good Candidate?

Aviation will chew you up and spit you out faster than medical school. It is highly judgmental---and rightfully so! Your passengers are entrusting you with their lives. Even if your best friend is coming along for a ride, you had better bet that if you are not in tip top condition, they will probably (hopefully) not get into the aircraft with you. This means that you need to be on your A-Game, ALWAYS. 

PRO TIP
Physical grooming is the easy part; honing your interpersonal skills is a little more difficult. However, with widespread access to information, you can learn how to succeed over time. Check out this free podcast that has helped a few pilots become more charming. I try to listen to one episode every time I drive.

Ask your friends and family if they think you would make a good pilot. Gauge their initial, candid reactions closely. You should also ask yourself, "Could I fit in at a dinner party with a billionaire and their entire family?" I know it sounds bad and that we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it STILL HAPPENS (When flying corporate, this is actually a daily occurrence!). The stereotype is severe and you don't want to find out that you are limited to crop dusting or flying on tuna boats after dropping $130,000 in student loans. If you haven't read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" yet, you should have a read and see if you can identify with the driving principles in that book.   

Note: Basic helicopter training costs about $80k. If you take a loan and hustle and pay it off as fast as you can, you may only spend around $130k like I did. If you take 20 years, plan on spending $500k in interest. 

Living the Dream

I absolutely LOVE what I do and I can't imagine work in any other field in the world. For me, flying is life and there are way more advantages than disadvantages. If you have the capacity and the drive to hustle, work long hours, be gone from home for months at a time, or walk out in the middle of a dinner date to go work, then you may just be a good fit as a pilot. 


I would love to hear from you. Why are you interested in aviation? If you are an experienced aviator, comment below. Would you recommend this career to a friend? 

Before you go, check out the new Got Sky shirt line! 

Feb 13

Gear: Top TEN Things Every Pilot Needs

By Ian Robinson | Industry , Products

Tried and True: Top TEN things that every pilot needs.

Some of the most succesful aviators that I know use these essentials on daily basis. If you are a creature of the sky, you should give these products a try - and hey, with free returns, why wouldn't you? 

**If you are a struggling aviator and need justification to drop more money on gear? Just remember that you WILL eventually need these items so why not start enjoying them earlier on in your career?**


#1 The Shades

Serengeti lenses provide technicolor sensations of warmth and are ideal for flying because they enhance both colors and contrast. These shades are IMPERATIVE during marginal weather conditions and have saved our lives numerous times. They are non-polarized so they will not conflict with digital display systems. Keep a pair in your flight bag at all times and when the horizon gets difficult to see, slide these babies on and enjoy the relief that you'll feel when you make it home safely. 


#2 The iPad Mini

The world of the paperless cockpit is here and THANK GOODNESS. Sure there are other tablets out there but consider this, if you are headed to a part 135 operator, chances are high that they are using iPad with ForeFlight subscriptions. If you are considering on working for the airlines, ForeFlight has a Jeppesen Publications so you can get used to their format for briefing the approach plates.  We recommend getting an iPad with 128GB for optimal speed performance in the cockpit. Cellular-enabled iPads allow you to see your aircraft location as it is GPS enabled. A data plan is NOT required for the GPS feature to work. 

Necessary items to go along with the iPad:

We use the double stick velcro to easily secure the i​​​​Pad to the kneeboard.


#3 The Dual Timezone Watch

If you fly, you NEED to have a dual time zone watch. When flying IFR, your clearance void times will always be stated in ZULU/UTC time. It is SO handy to be able just to look at your watch instead of converting local time in your head. Never worry if you remember your daylight savings time or standard time again. This will alleviate so much stress with one less calculation to make as you are burning precious fuel at the hold-short line. The best thing about this watch? YOU NEVER HAVE TO SET THE TIME OR REPLACE THE BATTERY. If you want to save a few bucks, check out the sports version with the rubber wristband. The E6b bezel makes it handy for quick time/distance/fuel calculations. Extra bonus, this accessory will add just the right amount of style and class to your suit at the Heli Expo and Heli Success Seminar.


#4 Hearing Protection

There are lots of options out there but here are two facts that inspire us to go with the Bose A20 over the competition. Never miss another radio transmission again, the clarity is unbelievable! 

1. Some airlines do not approve other headset brands in the cockpit as they are not compliant. 

2. I conducted a 3 year hearing degradation study on myself using the predecessor headset known as the Bose X. My first year using the Bose X, I noticed my ears ringing after a long day of flying so I decided to conduct hearing test every 6 months. Flying in the left seat of a piston helicopter 3000 hours with the doors off revealed a slight hearing loss in my left ear in the medium frequency range. A few short months later, Bose released the next generation A20 which added a second active noise reduction sensor and addressed other issues like roomier ear cups and more passive reduction. Did they send me a free set? No, but I am still a big fan since I don't have to wear custom molded hi-fi earplugs under the headset anymore. 

Note:


#5 Torch (a.k.a. Flashlight)

This companion of mine fits in my flight suit sleeve pen pocket which is a good thing. My issue is that I always forget to remove it before wash. I have washed and dried this flashlight multiple times and it is STILL kicking. I have had the original one since 2011 and use it during preflight and cockpit ops. Hang it on your shirt collar and it makes a perfect kneeboard chart light. I recommend doing that for every flight because, in the event of a total electrical failure, you can click it on and fly using the pitot-static system. This is my number one Christmas gift to all of my pilot colleagues. You can get them in a two pack.

Cool story about this light


#6 Logbook Pens

I don't know many people who still use paper logbooks but if you do, flight examiners prefer this one. Also, There are still lots of organizations that use paper aircraft logs and engineering reports. Pressing through three carbon copies will keep you from being hassled by the records department. These pens make great gifts if you want to get on the good side of your technician. We used to use the sharpie fine point but those bled through to the other pages. I've never had an ink leak when flying at altitude. Unlike rubber grip pens, these puppies slide nicely into your flight suit or coat sleeve pen-pocket and the grip is engineered to perfection. You can grab a pack of the baby Zebra F-301's here to save a few bucks if your colleagues keep stealing your F-701 or you plan on writing a book. 


#7 Portable Power 

With over 10,000 reviews and 4.5 stars, you can't go wrong with this particular battery. If your operator has a paperless cockpit, there is probably a requirement that your iPad has at least 30% battery power prior to launch for the mission. I never lift off without this device. It'll charge tablets twice over and your phone up to 7 TIMES! I don't know how they stuff so much power into such a little box but I love it. 


#8 Gluteus Comfort

Flying plays tricks on the mind. We think we are moving all day as we soar through the sky. Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we have to sit on our tush while we fly all day. I was lucky enough to receive this cushion as a gift from Oregon Aero for attending a CRM Helicopter Instructor class with Randy Mains back in 2015. Since then I have taken this cushion all over the globe and enjoy it, particularly when flying the Airbus H125 and Bell Huey. If it weren't for this little gift from the heavens, I'd probably rather dig ditches instead of flying. Fun fact, this cushion utilizes the same material that saved the F22 fighter jet from being scrapped because it enhanced the crash attenuation properties. If you are particularly tall, you may opt for the 1" cushion.

#9 Sleep System

Sacred Trust: Your passengers place their life into your hands when they board your aircraft. Often, you will be required to sleep at the most inopportune times and have to catch up on vital beauty sleep in the middle of the day. I personally have tried EVERY single eye mask available on Amazon and returned all but one. I love it because the temples are low profile which is ideal for side sleeping. Light leaks are eliminated by two enlarged cheek area pillows which also remove pressure from your eyelids to prevent REM sleep interruptions. I have lost this eyemask at least five times and keep re-purchasing the same one - worth every penny. Couple this with slim-fit earplugs and you'll wonder how you ever slept without this combo. 

#10 Bottoms Up 

I started wearing ExOfficio drawers in 2007 and haven't switched it up yet. Why? Because I can bring only one pair of briefs on a mission when flying weight limited aircraft. You can hand wash these in a hotel sink, wring them out, and they air dry in about 4-6 hours. They are not flame resistant though so best not to crash or play with flames, but I will take my chances with the comfort and versatility. Ladies, we didn't forget about you, ExOfficio also makes female knickers! Pick your own style but I know a particular lady pilot who raves about these. You can thank me later. 

Sharing is Caring!

Give your fellow aviators the chance to read about these products. Comment below if you have any other products you can't live without. 

Feb 11

Aviation Resume Tips

By Ian Robinson | Success

Get Your Resume Noticed 

A resume is your gateway into an interview. Consider your audience when constructing it. Don't forget you are dealing with an aviator and most of us have a short attention span - only a few seconds. Also, layout plays a HUGE role in your callback rate, and there are a few tricks to get your resume pushed to the top of the pile.


General Resume Guidelines

After reviewing thousands of resumes, these are some of the necessities that we are looking for. Our biggest pet peeve? When someone writes a long dissertation or unnecessary "Objectives" and "Special Skills." Instead of saying "I have great interpersonal communication skills with diverse backgrounds" simply state tangible accomplishments under the work experience section.

PRO TIP
Provide examples of your accomplishments. Example: You have endorsed 28 students with a 98% passing rate.


Precision Counts

This is your first impression and you need to have your resume dialed in. Here are some common errors that will cause your resume to dive head first into the shredder:

  • Using improper terminology such as pilot license instead of certificate. 
  • Misspellings and grammar errors 
  • Unprofessional email address such as dirtyscudrunner@hotmail.com

Layout

  • Keep it ONE page
  • Use bullets
  • Make separate sections for each of the following:
    • Certifications
    • Flight Hours Per Category, Class, Day, Night, X-C etc...
    • Flight Hours Per Aircraft Make and Model
    • Jobs/Experience
    • Formal Education
    • Other Skills and Certifications

We designed this resume with the aviator in mind but took it one step further. According to this study from the Neilsen Group, all articles, e-commerce sites, and search engine results, people almost always browse in an F-Shaped pattern that heavily favors the left side of the screen. This resume layout takes the primary prescreening qualifications (certifications & hours) and places them on the left side of the page.

As a bonus to the Mac users, the resume includes automatic calculation. You just put your hours in the aircraft make/model section, and it will auto update your total flight hours. Be sure to check your formulas so that those precious turbine hours don't go missing.


To Picture or Not to Picture

All too often, we get a resume with a profile picture. Most human resource recruiters prefer NO PICTURE. I'm sure you believe it should have been you instead of Tom Cruise in that Top Gun movie but take our word for it, don't use a picture on your main resume page. 

We just want to see how many hours you have and if you meet the necessary qualifications for the job. You'll have your chance to show your face in person. One thing that IS acceptable, attaching clickable links to your LinkedIn profile to your name. If you use our resume template below, don't forget to remove or change that link. 


Get a Free Resume Template!

STEP 1: Get Dropbox, 

STEP 2:

Download Resume Template

Drop your info below, give it a few seconds and check your email. It'll give you access to my Dropbox file containing a pilot resume template that you can use on Mac or PC! 

Your information is kept private, this is not a scam. Just trying to help my fellow aviators succeed. 


Show up like a pro

Impress your future employer by printing your new resume on quality stock paper. Take that paper and put it in a folder and dedicated resume letter. This demonstrates that you are the type of person who goes the extra mile to make sure the job is done right. 

  • Be sure that when you print it, there are adequate margins so nothing is cut-off. 
  • Make sure your printer has fresh ink in it, and the print is uniform across the entire document. Print a test page on regular paper to save your precious new resume paper. 

Military to Civilians

If you are military transitioning to the civilian sector, head over and check out Stacy Sheard's article. She is a great mentor and has some other templates available. 

You can meet up with Stacy at the Heli Expo on February 26th, 2018!

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Check out these articles when you finish updating your resume.

How To: Get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile
Suit Up! Let me be perfectly honest with you. Like most industries, networking is EVERYTHING in aviation. Many of us have[...]
Prepare for That Interview
So You Got a Callback? Congrats! Now don't freak out. A pilot interview can be one of the most stressful meetings you[...]

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We want to hear form you! Did we miss something? How do you like the templates? Any suggestions? Comment below!

Blue Skies!

Feb 10

Prepare for That Interview

By Ian Robinson | Success

So You Got a Callback? 

Congrats! Now don't freak out. 

A pilot interview can be one of the most stressful meetings you will ever have. You are being judged and interrogated. In aviation, you are being evaluated in a serious way. Your future boss is deciding if you can be trusted with a multi-million dollar asset as well as the lives of their customers. That multi-million dollar machine is probably on a contract. Maintaining client satisfaction is just as important as safe operations because a parked aircraft costs more than most of us earn.

You are being evaluated as more than just an equipment operator. You are the face of the company. You are responsible for keeping customers coming back.


You are being evaluated more than just an equipment operator. You are the face of the company. You are responsible for keeping customers coming back.

Time to Grind

Bombing an interview can have life-altering consequences. If you do, more than likely, you will have to relocate, potentially take a pay cut, or work for an organization that doesn’t provide benefits.

Most interviews are unpaid so you may be out the cost of airfare, hotel, food, and professional attire. You have your hopes up and your family is rooting for you. Time to prepare to nail that interview.

Do Research

You have your hopes up and your family is rooting for you. Time to

The first step to interviewing is learning as much as you can about the company. What is their mission statement/motto and why do they have the drive to do business? Think about how their mission coincides with your belief system or career objectives. What type of aircraft do they fly? What kind of mission or services do they provide? Are they profitable? Is their market saturated? Is their operation sustainable? Who do you know that worked there? Get an inside scoop if you can from current or former employees. If you don’t know anyone inside the organization, have a look on LinkedIn to try and meet some other people that work for the company.

The first step to interviewing is learn as much as you can about the company. What is their mission statement/motto and why do they have drive to do business? What type of aircraft do they fly? What type of mission or services do they provide? Are they profitable? Is their market saturated? Is their operation sustainable? Who do you know that worked there? Get an inside scoop if you can from current or former employees. If you don’t know anyone inside the organization, have a look on LinkedIn to try and meet some other people that work for the company.


The Three Part Interview

Typically, aviation interviews come in three parts:

  1. Technical Portion
  2. Non-Technical Portion
  3. Flight Portion

Part 1: Non-Technical Portion

Typically, in interview comes in 3 parts:


Bombing an interview can have life altering consequences. If you do, more than likely, you will have to relocate, potentially take a pay cut, or work for an organization that doesn’t provide benefits.


Most interviews are unpaid so you may be out the cost of airfare, hotel, food, and professional attire.

A pilot interview can be one of the most stressful meetings you will ever have. You are bing judged and interrogated. In aviation, you are being evaluated in a serious way. Your future boss is deciding if you can be trusted with a multi million dollar asset and the lives of their customers. That multi million dollar machine is probably on a contract. Maintaining client satisfaction is just as important as safe operations because a parked aircraft costs more than most of us earn.

This is where the interviewer will decide if you would be a good fit for the company. You can teach anyone how to fly, but not everyone can learn to work well with people. This is the essential part of the interview.

You’ll want to be suited up for this one. Make sure you are groomed, clean, and free of any scented sprays (no cologne or perfume). A tie clip is one of the most overlooked accessories. Ladies, you are usually smarter than the guys in this department but here is an article with some attire ideas.

Video Chat Interview

If you are taking a Skype interview, I have had great luck with a button-up shirt, blazer, and my favorite pair of boxer briefs.

When setting up your webcam, spend a few minutes getting ready beforehand and DO A TEST CALL! Do a quick chat with a friend to test the bandwidth, speakers, microphone, camera, and lighting. Set yourself up as they do in the video below a few days in advance. Give yourself ample time to purchase any items you may need or to find a new location if yours has noisy children and pets.

Interview Topics and Questions

Interviews should go both ways. It should not be run as an interrogation. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. If you want to get a little deeper, Peggy McKee wrote the book on interview questions.

Questions THEY will ask YOU
  • Why do you want to work for this company? 
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
  • Why do you want to be in aviation? 
  • How did you get into aviation? 
  • Tell me your background.
  • Have you had any incidents, accidents, or violations? 
  • Do you have any issues passing random drug and alcohol tests? 
  • Describe a scenario that was difficult and how you overcame it. 
  • Describe an altercation with a coworker and how you overcame it. 
  • What would you do if a customer asked you to do something you aren’t comfortable with? 
  • How do you deal with bad weather situations? 
  • How do you deal with maintenance issues? 
  • How do you handle last-minute schedule or operation changes? 
  • How do you handle stressful situations? 
  • How do you deal with policy when it conflicts with your moral compass?  
  • Name your biggest strength. 
  • Name your biggest weakness. 
  • Tell me a joke. 
  • What has been your biggest challenge in aviation? 
  • What are your strong suits? 
  • What areas would you like to improve upon? 

These questions can be very difficult to answer when put on the spot, especially when talking about your weaknesses and past altercations. 

TELL the truth no matter what. Chances are, they will ask someone you know about these stories. In aviation, there are only one or two degrees of separation. If you feel like you are not right for the job, STOP THERE. If you quit shortly after taking the position, you could get yourself blacklisted. These companies talk to each other. If they think you’ll bounce after they invest $20,000 in training to get you on the line, finding a job will become impossible. Try to stick around for at least a year.

So what is a good answer to the questions regarding conflict resolution? Here is your opportunity to show them that you are educated above and beyond the basic equipment operator pilot. The brass tax loves to hear that you implement industry standardized communication strategies to handle problems. Utilization of Crew Resource Management (CRM) is a HUGE ace in your pocket. USE the term at least ONCE in your interview. Explain how easy it has made team management and that even in single-pilot operations, a deep understanding has been CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS.

If you are unfamiliar, I suggest taking a look at a CRM course. Randy Mains hosts the best one; get a hold of that guy and schedule a class. You can also add it to your resume under your list of certificates. 

Questions YOU should ask THEM. Asking questions will make you stand out in your interview.

Every interviewer expects you to ask the standard questions.

  • Where will I be based?
  • How much will I be compensated? 
  • Do you have benefits? 
  • When can I start logging Pilot In Command? 
  • What is my schedule? 

You definitely need to cover these items but if you REALLY want to stand out, ask questions like these:

Ask WHY does your company do what it does?

Very few organizations can answer this truthfully, but there are some that stand out in my mind. 

  • Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - They provide the experience of a lifetime to folks. Their actions are tangible proof because they never solicit tips from their guests. 
  • Southwest Airlines - From day one, they have focused on providing affordable transportation for the common man. The result of their business model has allowed them to be the first airline in HISTORY to always turn a profit. United and Delta tried to copy their model but failed in just a few short years. 
  • Reach Air Medical Services - Their motto is “Always do what is right for the patient.” It is a clear objective, and their actions prove it. They host a culture of participation, never pressure the pilots to fly during inclement weather, never challenge the decision making of the pilots, and always consider mistakes as an opportunity for a training event.
Ask about their punishment and reward system. 

A good management team understands what motivates people and about the depths of job satisfaction. You want to work for a forward thinking organization who will give you a quality of life and a satisfying work environment. 

Very Special Note:

"Screw up and we will fire you!" If you hear this response, RUN.

The answer you are looking for is, "We provide an opportunity to learn from your mistakes."

Ask if they have a SMS

Take a look at PHI; they have an open culture of safety that promotes self-disclosure. Their Safety Management System (SMS) is one of the best in the business. I only wish they wouldn't keep all of their identified hazards a secret to the rest of the industry.

Ask about their CRM training

You want to be sure that your organization embraces Crew Resource Management. I can't stress this enough. It enables people to speak to each other with the common goal of safety in mind. 

Ask about upward mobility

Pilots have the opportunity to drive the industry from the ground up. In a time where the demand for pilots is on the rise, asking these questions will start to alert organizations that we care about our safety and the quality of our job. Don’t be afraid to ask why the company does what they do and that you want to be a part of their cause.

Stand out in your interview by asking these questions. 


Everyone in the job interview expects you to ask the standard questions.

Where will I be based? 

How much will I be compensated? 

Do you have benefits? 

When can I start logging Pilot In Command? 

What is my schedule? 


You definitely need to cover these items but if you REALLY want to stand out, here are a few tips. 


  1. WHY does your company do what it does? 


Very few organizations can answer this truthfully but there are some that stand out in my mind. 


Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - They provide the experience of a lifetime to folks. Their actions are tangible proof because they never solicit tips from their guests. 


SouthWest Airlines - From day 1, they have focused on providing affordable transportation for the common man. The result of their business model has allowed them to be the first airline in HISTORY to always turn a profit. United and Delta tried to copy their model but failed in just a few short years. 


Reach Air Medical Services - Their motto is “Always do what is right for the patient.” It is a clear objective and their actions prove it. They host a culture of participation, never pressure the pilots to fly during inclement weather, never challenge the decision making of the pilots, and always consider mistakes as an opportunity for a training event. 


2. How do you handle mistakes? 


Bad: We FIRE YOU!


Good: We provide an opportunity to learn from the mistakes. Take a look at PHI, they have a “Stand up and shout out” policy on safety. 


3. Do you have a SMS?



4. Tell my about your CRM training? 





Pilots have the opportunity to drive the industry from the ground up. We ARE the KEY PLAYERS in the game. In a time where the demand for pilots is on the rise, asking these questions will start to alert organizations that we care about our safety and the quality of our job. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask why the company does what they do.

Part 2: The Technical Portion

It's time to bust out the books. The technical portion of your interview is a Q&A to test your knowledge and gain insight into your ADM (Aeronautical Decision Making) skills. Some operators make you take a written test before the interview. Most of the time they will ask you general aviation topics to feel out if you are just a pilot or if you are a real aviator.

If you study as if you were preparing for a combined commercial and IFR checkride, you will be fine here. 

  • Approach plates
  • IFR charts
  • VFR charts 
  • Aerodynamics
  • Airspace (dimensions, depiction, required equipment, operating procedures)
  • Weather (such as reading a METAR, types of fog, stages of a thunderstorm, and the new GFA tool)
  • Aircraft systems, performance, limitations, and emergency procedures
  • Part 91/121/135 regulations.

Part 3: The Flight Portion

If you are unprepared, I can guarantee one thing: opportunity WILL pass you by. If you will be flying an aircraft that you are unfamiliar with, it is a good idea to get as much information as you can. You don’t want the first time seeing that aircraft to be in your interview. How embarrassing do you think it will be if you can’t figure out how to get the door open before jumping in the pilot seat with the company evaluator? Try to get your hands on the flight manual or training manual and start studying general aircraft information, limitations, emergency procedures, normal procedures, and performance.

PRO TIP
Use your networking skills to locate the same aircraft you will be interviewing in. Chances are, you know someone who has access to one. Play a little seek-and-destroy game to get familiar with the cockpit layout. Sit in the cockpit and do some dry-runs (a mock start-up, shutdown, and emergency procedures). Who knows, maybe you’ll be offered to take it up for a flight!

If you can’t get your hands on the actual aircraft, you can also look into cockpit documents. Most aircraft have a poster you can buy that has every button on display. Youtube is another excellent source for watching aircraft startup procedures.

When on the flight, relax and take things slow. A wise man once said, "Fly the aircraft like you are taking your grandfather for a ride." --Thanks, Kevin, I still use that mentality to this date.**

PRO TIP
Announce your every intention BEFORE you do it. 

Example: 

You:  "Tail clear left, nose is coming right."

Examiner: "Tail is clear left."

You: Execute a smooth controlled right pedal turn. 

When touching any switch in the cockpit, remember IVAC: Identify, verify, actuate, confirm.

You:  "Switch identified, switch verified."

You: Actuate the switch

You: "Result confirmed." 

Did you get the job? Now comes the second stressor: how to counter offer and negotiate a higher wage!


Opportunity will certainly pass you by if you are unprepared. ——LINK——-
If you will be flying an aircraft that you are unfamiliar with, it is a good idea to get as much information as you can. You don’t want the first time seeing that aircraft to be on your interview. How embarrassing do you think it will be if you can’t figure out how to get the door open before jumping in the pilot seat with the company evaluator? Try to get your hands on the flight manual and start studying general aircraft information, limitations, emergency procedures, normal procedures, and performance. 


Pro Tip

Use your networking skills to locate the same aircraft you will be interviewing on. Chances are, you know someone who has access to one. Play a little seek-and-destroy game to get familiar with the cockpit layout. Sit in the cockpit and do some dry-runs (a mock start-up, shutdown, and emergency procedures). Who knows, maybe you’ll be offered a fun flight! 


If you can’t get your hands on the acutal aircraft, you can also look into cockpit documents. Most aircraft have a poster you can buy that has every button on display. ——LINK——Youtube is another great source for watching aircraft startup procedures. 


Good LUCK!

So you got the job! Now comes the second stressor, how to counter offer to negotiate a higher wage!——- LINKLINKLINK——


Sharing is Caring

Have you had any interesting interview experiences that wasn’t covered here in this article? Drop a comment below and tell us the story!

The technical portion of your interview is a Q&A to test your knowledge and gain insight to your ADM (Aeronautical Decision Making) skills. Some operators make you take a written test before the interview and they will go over it during the interview. Most of the time they will ask you general aviation topics to feel out if you are just a pilot or if you are a true aviator. 


Here are some topics to brush up on before your interview:


Approach plates

IFR charts

VFR charts 

Airspace (dimensions, depiction, required equipment, operating procedures)

Weather (such as reading a METAR, types of fog, stages of a thunderstorm, and the new GFA tool)

Aircraft systems, performance, limitations, and emergency procedures

Part 91/121/135 regulations.


Study up as if you were about to take a combined commercial and IFR checkride and you will be fine here. 


This is where the interviewer will decide if you would be a good fit in the company. You can teach anyone how to fly but not everyone can learn to work well with people. This is the most important part of the interview.


You’ll want to be suited up —- GQ LINK HERE —- for this one. Make sure you are groomed, clean, and free of any scented sprays (no cologne or perfume).  


You’ll want to have some answers prepared for the following topics:  


Why do you want to work for this company? 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Why do you want to be in aviation? 

How did you get into aviation? 

Tell me your background? 

Have you had any incidents, accidents, or violations? 

Do you have any issues passing random drug and alcohol tests? 

Describe a scenario that was difficult and how you overcame it. 

Describe an altercation with a coworker and how you overcame it. 

What would you do if a customer asked you to do something you aren’t comfortable with? 

How do you deal with bad weather situations? 

How do you deal with maintenance issues? 

How do you do with last minute schedule or operation changes? 

How do you handle stressful situations? 

Name your biggest strength. 

Name your biggest weakness. 

Tell me a joke. 

What has been your biggest challenge in aviation? 

What are your strong suits? 

What are areas would you like to improve upon? 


These questions can be very difficult to answer when put on the spot, especially when talking about your weaknesses and altercations. 


TELL the truth no matter what. Chances are, they will ask someone you know about these stories. In aviation, there is only one or two degrees of separation. If you feel like you are not right for the job, STOP NOW. If you quit shortly after taking the position, you could get yourself  blacklisted. These companies talk to eachother. If they think you’ll bounce after they invest 20k in training to get you on the line, finding a job will become impossible. Generally, try to stick around for at least a year.

So what is a good answer to the questions regarding conflict resolution?——-LINK——— Here is your opportunity to show them that you are educated above and beyond the basic equipment operator pilot. The brass tax loves to hear that you implement industry standardized communication strategies to handle problems. Utilization of Crew Resource Management is a HUGE ace in your pocket. USE the term at least ONCE in your interview. Explain how easy it makes team management and that even in single pilot operations, a deep understanding is CRITICAL TO SUCCESS.

If you are unfamiliar, I suggest taking a look at a CRM course. The best one is hosted by Randy Mains, get a hold of that guy and schedule a class. You can also add it to your resume. ——LINK_———


Sharing is Caring

Have you had any interview experiences that weren’t covered here in this article? Horror stories perhaps? Drop a comment below and tell us the story!

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