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Looking into being a Pilot, did research and have questions

Thatoneguy

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Hi everyone,

I took aircrew selection and passed recently for pilot, have to say I was really happy, like a dream come true. But now that the high is over I need to consider if signing up for being a pilot in the RCAF is the best for me. I am 30, have a wife and 1 kid, expecting a second at the end of this year. Before taking the aircrew selection test I was already taking flight lessons as my goal was to work as a pilot in the airlines. I have just gotten my Private Pilot License and was on my way to completing the Commercial License when I got an email for aircrew selection.

Anyway, I've been reading and search everything I could about the pros and cons of being in the RCAF and hoping for some insights for my concerns:

1. I read somewhere (maybe on this forum) that some pilot's son didn't recognize him when he got home due to the long hours away. I hope this isn't true but it worries me a lot. 

From research, once done with training I'm expecting to be moved to a new base every 3-4 years, but I was under the impression that the work days ends around 5PM and I would be able to go home to my family. Is this not the case?

2. Will there be a lot of flying? I would like to be on fixed wing if possible (I understand the RCAF's need is priority) but so far could only find some references from pilots on the CF18 flying 200 hours a year, which truthfully isn't a lot. Anyone with experience can speak to how many flying hours you have on other airframes?

3. From this forum it appears just because I passed the Aircrew Selection doesn't mean I will get an offer anytime soon. Would like some anecdotes on exactly how long the offer comes (I know I will still need to have passed the Medical and an interview, but I'm hoping those would be within weeks?)


Appreciate any other pointers you can give, thanks.

 

BurmaShave

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[*]The hard answer is gonna be "it depends". Stream to stream, squadron to squadron, day to day. In the training system alone, I've started weeks with 2 hour days and ended them with back-to-back 16 hour days (what is crew rest anyways). Other guys will be able to speak more for specific squadrons.

Certain squadrons/fleets have more time away, though. Air Mobility (J Hercs, C-17, Polaris) spends huge time on the road, while instructing you might have 2 days a year. By all accounts, squadrons have a pretty normal work schedule when you're not away (barring SAR and fighter alert).




[*]Depends again. Fighters, some helicopters, you won't get much. Air Mobility, you'll do a lot more.

It won't be Air Canada hours anywhere though. The most flown pilots get 6-700 a year. I only know 2 guys with 10,000 hours. You trade quantity of flying for quality, though. Fighters, you might only get 150-200 hours a year, but some of that is blowing s*** up. You won't get that at WestJet. Same goes for form flying, landing on boats, valley shoots, tactical descents, and so on. There's seriously cool flying on every platform.




[*]And, completing the trifecta: it depends. Performance, intake demands, time of year, blind luck, phase of the moon, etc. I've heard as long as 5 years (massive outlier). It took me 8 months from the door of the recruiting centre to the green door at BMOQ. Keep poking the recruiting centre until you get scheduled.
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That's my input as a wee little new wings grad. Others will be along shortly with much more experience.
 

Thatoneguy

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Thanks Burma.

I'm planning to ask the recruiter tomorrow about my results and if whether they were competitive.

If you don't mind, from your experience were there anyone in your class who got helo but wanted fixed wing?
Also say if I want to go into fighter, but fail let's say the centrifuge test, will I get kicked out of the RCAF altogether or will I get posted to another airframe?

 

BurmaShave

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Thatoneguy said:
Thanks Burma.

I'm planning to ask the recruiter tomorrow about my results and if whether they were competitive.

If you don't mind, from your experience were there anyone in your class who got helo but wanted fixed wing?
Also say if I want to go into fighter, but fail let's say the centrifuge test, will I get kicked out of the RCAF altogether or will I get posted to another airframe?

Not my course, but guys do. And, get this: they all love it. Guys are afraid of getting helos till they fly em. Turns out, all the cowboy flying is super sick.

Centrifuge course is not a failable thing, barring medical issues. Lotta people worry about it for some reason (Jetstream, maybe?). It's like land/sea survival or AMT: a course you do, not a course you pass. Also, it's Hawk/Hornet only, and no one is going that way for the time being. Worry about that after you top your Phase II.

In general, once you're winged, it takes a lot more to kick you out. Like as not, it'll be a penalty box tour and then on to something easier.
 

Dailyrcaf123

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Thatoneguy said:
3. From this forum it appears just because I passed the Aircrew Selection doesn't mean I will get an offer anytime soon. Would like some anecdotes on exactly how long the offer comes (I know I will still need to have passed the Medical and an interview, but I'm hoping those would be within weeks?)

I've been on the competition list for 1.5 years now. I completed Aircrew Selection almost 2 years ago. Since being on the waitlist, I've completed my PPL, CPL, ME, and working on my IFR now. I wouldn't stop working on your licences now that you've passed Aircrew.
 

Thatoneguy

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Thanks for the answers you two, I really appreciate it.

And Burma yes I got the idea of failing the centrifuge from Jetstream haha. I for some reason, thought that once I passed ASC that I'll be getting an offer soon so I searched and watched everything I could. Anyway it now seems a more reasonable wait time would be in the "months" and not "weeks" as I wrongly assumed. I see now it's more reasonable to expect about 2 years of wait and be surprised if it's earlier.

I also went in and talked to the recruiter yesterday and they told me now they have to do security check and then medical, which should take a few months. Here's hoping they're right.

Thanks Dailyrcaf, I was hoping I could save money by not going to flight training but now I will just continue with it and hope I hear back from the RCAF side. 
 
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