It’s 0200 and the phone ringing wakes you out of a deep sleep. You’ve got a scene request 10 miles south with one patient. Your final destination will be the trauma center at a hospital 20 miles east of the scene. The weather has been marginal all night. Can you take the flight? The clock is ticking.
My first pilot job, like many fresh pilots in the United States, was as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Back when I was first hooked on flying helicopters, I did thorough research to find the steps I wanted to take to achieve my goal of making a career as a helicopter pilot. The end goal was to be either a utility pilot or emergency medical service pilot. Figuring out how to get there was the challenge.
This is the first in a series of articles on different helicopter career fields.
Growing up I remember driving by a Bell 206 sitting on the ramp with the local news station’s logo covering half the helicopter on the way to the terminal to pickup my dad from a business trip. I thought it was pretty cool and asked myself “How do I become a helicopter news pilot?” At that time, I had no idea I would actually become a pilot, much less a news helicopter pilot at some point in my career. I ended up flying that gig for a few years before moving on, earning a pretty good salary.