Off-shore Oil Support Helicopter Pilot Careers

Off-shore oil support helicopter pilots fly in support of the oil and gas industry. They perform numerous functions but the two most common is transporting equipment and personnel to and from oil rigs from strategically located shore bases.

Off- shore flying is the biggest employer of helicopter pilots worldwide and as the need for energy increases the need for more pilots to support the energy industry will also increase.

In the United States the primary locations for off shore oil support operations are along the Gulf coast and In Alaska. Globally there are many locations such as the North Sea, Indonesia, and Nigeria to name a few.

A wide variety of both light single engine and medium twin engine helicopters are used to support the industry. Some of the more typical types that off-shore support helicopter pilots fly include the Bell 407, Sikorsky S-76, Eurocopter EC-135, Bell 430 and the new Sikorsky S-92.

Along the Gulf Coast off shore helicopter pilots operate primarily under VMC (visual meteorological conditions).In Alaska a lot of time is spent operating under IMC (instrument meteorological conditions).

If a career as an off-shore oil support pilot interest you you're entering at a good time. There is currently a lack of pilots that is only going to widen as increasing numbers of veteran pilots retire.

This benefits the pilots in many ways. First it allows future off-shore helicopter pilots to be more particular when choosing a company to work for. Second it puts upward pressure on salaries, raises, bonuses, and benefits in order to attract and retain qualified pilots. Third it forces employers to improve working conditions particularly at shore bases where pilots spend most of their time when not flying.

Presently, at least in the Gulf of Mexico, helicopter operators require new pilots to have approximately 1000-1500 hrs of HELO time as well as an instrument rating. With the increasing demand for pilots operators are developing ways to decrease the numbers of hours needed to qualify for a position.

The work schedules involved in off shore oil support operations vary widely. There will be some days whew you might fly 3 hours during an eight hour shift and others where you'll be flying all day.Some companies use a one week on one week off rotation. Others use two weeks on two weeks off, and still others use different variations.

For pay most U.S. operators pay between $50,000 and $80,000 per year. Volunteering to fly overtime can increase pay.

As the worlds appetite for energy increases the energy companies will respond by tapping new sources of oil. This creates a bright future for anyone who’s interested in a career as an off-shore oil support helicopter pilot.


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