Real Answers from Real Pilots

RTP at 54 years old?

Hello all

Quick background: 54 years old, 55 in December. Started flying helicopters in the military way back in 1988. Exited the military in 1997 and have been flying helicopters commercially since. Just over 6000 hours with plenty of PIC time etc. IFR commercial rating with helo APT written done a few months ago. Zero fixed wing time.

Currently flying offshore in support of the oil and gas industry. Low oil prices have caused major downsizing and downgrades in addition to no pay raises in two years with none on the horizon. Downturn expected to last 5+ years and may never fully recover. Making 85K right now and working 14 days on, 14 days off.

RTP (Rotorcraft Transition Program) being offered by PSA, Envoy and Piedmont for ex military helicopter pilots. PSA using Sky Warrior for flight training which is about 30 minutes from my house. Starting pay with PSA is being advertised at 55K with bonuses etc. I’ve been researching a “day in the life” of a regional pilot etc. and I’m totally OK with being gone, commuting etc. I’m single and kiddos are all grown up.

Realistically, how long would it be before I’m back at the 85K level. Definitely not planning on the majors unless I get really lucky so probably will retire as a regional captain. Good 10 years left if everything goes right. Thanks for reading.

Randolph,

Out of curiosity, do you happen to fly for Air Logistics?

To get back to the 85k level you will need to be a Captain at the regionals and that really just depends on the airline and the industry in general. Right now the most junior Captain at PSA has been there two years, while that isn’t guaranteed to stay true into the future, it is a good indicator of where things are now. I would plan on 2-5 years as a first officer, but in reality it should be more towards the two year side,

Chris

Randolph,

I agree with Chris regarding the 2-5 to upgrade, BUT PSA Capt pay doesn’t hit the $80k range 7-8. You’re really only looking at being in the $80s the last few years of service.

Adam