Trying to decide on a career path after completing your helicopter pilot training can be a difficult choice to make and you’ll want to be sure you are making the correct one, whether it be long term, or something to help boost your flying hours. The top careers you might think about are law enforcement, search and rescue, or air ambulance pilots, but have you ever looked into what else there is out there that doesn’t follow the status quo.
As well as training to be a pilot, you may have other hobbies outside of aviation, or jobs you’ve previously worked in and enjoyed but stopped because you wanted to follow your dream of being a pilot. But doing one doesn’t mean sacrificing the other. Here are a few career paths that might get your brain thinking about different opportunities. We’re talking Hollywood pilots, tour guide pilots, agriculture pilots, TV news pilots and offshore pilots.
If you’re a Hollywood movie lover then what could be better than combining two of the things you love to make one amazing career. Getting a job in the filmmaking industry, even if it’s just being a pilot, is an incredible opportunity, with multiple paths you can follow. Whether it’s as daring as being a stunt pilot, or something simpler, but still very technical, being an Ariel photographer or cinematographer. To say that you had a role in making that film is something you’ll never forget!
When you’re watching a film, have you ever thought about how some scenes were shot? You’ll be concentrating on how amazing that scene was, not how it was created. But that’s the thing, they aren’t easy to create! It takes a lot of skill and talent to get the shot perfectly angled, centred correctly on the screen, whilst following a fast moving car, or a person, remaining dead still, hoping no one will see them. But who says you can’t do that? Whatever the job role, whatever the industry, you have to start somewhere and it all takes practice. The fact that you have such a strong passion for flying helicopters is an amazing start.
Tour Guide Pilot
On the other hand, a job that doesn’t have as high an adrenaline rush, but requires good people skills, is a tour guide pilot. This job offers you the chance to meet some lovely people on a daily basis, and you’ll be able to show them some extraordinary places and teach them all about the history of your country. You could be flying over some amazing landmarks and areas of interest to give your passengers a sky-view of the surroundings.
Take time in researching different areas where you could be a tour guide, as there is such as wide range of places this can be offered. You could be a tour guide in England, offering football fans a Football Stadium Helicopter Tour, or a Historic City Sightseeing Helicopter Tour for Two covering many features and landmarks over Britain. On the other hand, you could be a tour guide in Europe, offering a tour of Sicily’s Volcanoes or a Ferrari & Helicopter Experience in Barcelona.
Wherever you may be from or wherever you may want to go, if providing your knowledge of the history of some of the worlds most amazing landmarks to tourists sounds good, then this is a potential job for you!
A kind of job you might have never considered when training is being an agricultural pilot. Being a pilot for an Agricultural Aircraft normally consists of flying at a low altitude to apply pesticides, fertilisers or fungicides on fields as well as being able to mix and add chemicals for applications. This job would be good for a pilot that has an agricultural background or an interest/ hobby in this field. However, even if you don’t have a history working in agriculture, it can still be a career to consider.
You may think this job seems pretty simple and easy, you just have to fly over the fields a couple of times, applying the necessary chemicals, however, there is much more to it. Firstly, it’s good to know the farmers and landowners in order to build trust and a good relationship! You’ll also need to be able to keep your helicopter and equipment properly maintained, as well as maintaining certifications and the licenses that are required and mentoring new pilots if necessary. Another responsibility that you could have is assisting firefighters in the containment and extinguishing of forest fires!
TV News Pilot
Are you someone that has always been interested in the news? Have you always been intrigued in major events that have happened, in the UK, Europe and across the globe, or just learning about the world? Have you ever considered being a helicopter pilot for a news media station? This could be a way to combine two things that you are interested in to make one amazing career!
When major events occur, helicopters are the best way to capture footage from above to follow the story. From planned events, to shockingly unusual fires or incidents. If the news station wants footage of it and a helicopter can get there quick enough, it will be recorded. This means that they will need a qualified helicopter pilot to be able to skilfully, creativity and safely approach the specific area to get the best shots, and who said that couldn’t be you?
In different circumstances, not everything that TV News Pilots will see will necessarily be a bad situation. If the news are doing an article on London’s attractions, you might be able to fly the helicopter over the beautiful city for the camera crews to be able to get some amazing shots. Or you may be doing an article on wildlife over the Lake District National Park. So as well as this being your job, you’ll be able to say that you witnessed that first hand, and what a remarkable thing to be able to do!
When you hear the word ‘offshore’ you are sure to know this job isn’t going to be over the safety of land, but over water. This type of job is probably more for a pilot that wants to test their skills, whilst doing it in a safe and professional way. Being an offshore pilot isn’t easy and it does come with lots of responsibility, however if working offshore is something you're interested in, then it should be something to consider.
When looking for an offshore pilot role, the most common is for offshore oil rig helicopter pilots, but there are other options as well. This career would have multiple duties and need absolute attention to detail with simple tasks, such as checking the helicopters equipment and carrying out safety checks and ensuring clearance from air traffic control to take off. You’ll mainly be flying from point A to point B safely, in multiple types of weather conditions, with passengers and crew on board and being able to land a helicopter safely on small, and possibly moving platforms.
If you were to choose this type of career path after your helicopter pilot training, it would be a rewarding job, however, you would need to be prepared for some long hours and difficult weather conditions. Oil rig workers that are offshore rely on you and other helicopter pilots to safely get them from land to their working stations, as well as getting them out when the weather starts to deteriorate. This calls for a hard and passionate worker.
To conclude, there is a larger variety of jobs out there for helicopter pilots. Who said you need to follow the status quo and work in a career that everyone else goes into? This job is for you, not anyone else, so be your own person and make your own decisions that are best for you with a job that you love. Diving into something different will give you a new view on life and might even give you some skills you’d never thought you would have. So before making a huge jump into a career you’re not sure about, just take a bit of time researching other more unique helicopter pilot careers and see what you find!