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Picto Companies Hiring for 2017-2018 Season (Fresh Commercial)

Discussion in 'Jobs Available' started by srn121, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. srn121

    srn121 Well-Known Member

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    It's great for pilots looking to triple their flight time over the course of 7 months. The season typically starts in October and runs into mid to late May. Most companies start looking over resumes late July/early August and interviewing/hiring folks soon after. I had a great deal of fun flying mapping and it can be a great way to build a ton of time without instructing. I think the amount of flying is typically 500 to 700 hours over those 7 months.

    Most companies will hire from all over the US and you fly out for training and then off all over the country going from project to project. It's a 7 day a week job and you're expected to fly when the weather is good where you're working. Some companies offer rotations and will fly you home for one or two vacations a season.

    JAV Imagery (The Alaskan company, female owned, Stephanie Painter, steph@javimagery.com)
    $135 per diem and $25 to $30 per hobbs hour flown. I don't know much about them, but I ran into a great guy who knew the owner and said he was impressed with her. It's a relatively new company and they only had a few planes initially.

    Landcare (out of Rome, NY http://landvue.com/Home.html)
    One of the biggest companies. I'm not sure if the pay's changed, but it was on the lower side of operators as of two years ago. I believe all the planes had 430s and they tend to stay in nice hotels.

    Sandhills (out of Lincoln, NE http://sandhillsaviation.com/employment/)
    They offer rotations and are quite flexible so it might be the best company to go to if you can't commit to a full 7 months.

    Ground Imaging (Formerly Northern States aviation, but Williams Aerial bought out that side of them. Email Doug at dgourley@williamsaerial.com).

    Skylens (Hammond, LA might be the best paying company out there for this work http://www.skylensaerial.com/index.html please follow the directions carefully)

    Air America (It used to be great, but I can't tell people to stay away enough due to some changes in pilot liability, lack of pay increases and what's become of the maintenance as I've heard some distressing stories). They used to require a contract so if you decide mapping isn't for you or need to quit they'll come after you for a few to several grand.

    I'm more than happy to update this with any new information.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
    bri-guy, KKochan, hndav8r and 5 others like this.
  2. ActionAxson

    ActionAxson New Member

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    Thanks for the great info.

    Sent from my ZTE A2017U using Tapatalk
     
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  3. 5Right_5Left

    5Right_5Left Well-Known Member

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    Landcare is out of Rome, NY unless they moved over the past couple of years. Kind of the middle of nowhere.
     
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  4. ChicagoPilotJohn

    ChicagoPilotJohn Well-Known Member

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    Great info. I'm kind of in a dilemma. I have to fulfill a financial obligation with my current occupation. I should have that paid off by jan next year. I'm thinking of getting my CFI ratings, but I like the thought of doing picomertry, just not the part about being away from family weeks/months at a time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. BVA

    BVA Active Member

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    As a new commercial pilot I applied to each of these companies. Hoping to hear back!
     
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  6. Yakob

    Yakob Well-Known Member

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    To expound on this, in case anyone is wondering what the issues with pilot liability are: the main issue is you would be a 1099 independent contractor, which is technically illegal although rarely enforced*. The contract you sign is written so you would be responsible for any damage that occurs to the airplane while you are assigned to it, even if you were not operating it at the time. If you do damage an airplane, the company will dock your pay to cover the deductible on their insurance, which would most likely be illegal if you were a legitimate W-2 employee.

    In 2015 an Air America pilot landed one of the Aztecs gear-up, and the company docked his pay $5,000. As an independent contractor, you would also most likely not be eligible for worker's comp if injured on the job. Because of the liability issues, the company actually recommends that you purchase insurance out of your own pocket to cover your liability; on top of this, they recommend you purchase renter's insurance which absolutely will not cover a commercial operation.

    There is a training contract for the duration of the season; the early termination fee was $5,000.00 when I left and if you stay on after your first contract you will have to sign another contract with a $5,000 early termination fee. Supposedly since I left, some sort of non-competition clause has been added to the contracts. I'm not sure exactly what it says, hopefully someone who has been at Air America more recently will be able to fill us in.

    Besides the main liability issues, as a "self-employed" independent contractor you will be required to pay double social security and medicare taxes, since traditionally the employer and employee each pay half. *Because the 1099 arrangement is technically illegal, you could potentially get in trouble with the IRS for it, although it is probably unlikely you would ever be audited with the amount of money you would make at Air America. That said if you are self-employed and deduct a lot of business expenses that can increase your chances of an audit somewhat.

    As for Maintenance, I never really had any issues when I was there but it sounds like it may have gotten worse since I left. I did get the impression that some of the maintenance issues were caused by pilots not writing up squawks, to avoid grounding the airplane and preventing them from building time. I actually encountered this situation when I took over a plane that had a badly leaking fuel line, and the previous pilot hadn't told me about the issue or put it on the official squawk list. When I talked to him about it, he said he'd just been flying with the windows open because of the fumes. However, there were times when the company refused to fix some pretty significant squawks or insisted on deferring them to the 100 hour. This seemed to be more of an issue with the Aztecs than the 172s. Last fall a pilot was fired for refusing to fly an Aztec that had some significant maintenance issues, so there seems to be quite a bit of pressure from management to fly unairworthy aircraft and you may be fired for refusing to cave.

    I did enjoy my time at Air America for the most part, but I got lucky in that I never had any major issues with liability or maintenance. Others have not been so lucky. So I would recommend staying away unless you are absolutely desperate. If anyone is considering Air America, feel free to PM me. I would be happy to answer any questions about it you may have.

    Despite the issues with Air America, the Pictometry vendors in general are an excellent opportunity for low-time commercial pilots, especially if you do not want to instruct or can't afford to get your CFI certificate. I believe at most of not all of them besides Air America you would be a W-2 employee.
     
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  7. Marika Diepenbroek

    Marika Diepenbroek Well-Known Member

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    Any information about the interview process for these companies? Thanks!
     
  8. Yakob

    Yakob Well-Known Member

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    I can't really say for the other vendors but at Air America, at least when I was there, it was a 30-minute or so phone interview. If you were selected to progress to the in-person interview, they would fly you to DAB for that.

    For the in-person interview you would come in the night before, and usually have dinner with the chief pilot or someone from management, and the other candidate they interviewed (usually they interview two candidates per day). The next day there are essentially 3 parts to the interview, a flight portion, which is the same checkout Air America's flight school administers to renters; a written portion, which was about 170 questions (I think you had an hour or maybe 1.5 hours to complete it); and a flight planning portion where you will be asked which route you would take when planning a relocation flight through the mountains (follow a road) and/or over water (stay within gliding distance from shore; do not cross the great lakes directly). I was also asked where I would land if I had an engine failure on a flight through the mountains.
     
  9. daydreamer

    daydreamer Well-Known Member

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    My friend just got a call from landcare.
    Is there a contract, if so what the amount?
     
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  10. Marika Diepenbroek

    Marika Diepenbroek Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the response. That in person interview is my main concern with Air America, because I'll be out of the country almost all of September and wouldn't be able to fly out. It seems that a few others only do phone interviews, which would be ideal.
     
  11. srn121

    srn121 Well-Known Member

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    I'd skip on AA. I worked there and loved it, but if I was doing it all over again they'd be close to my last pick unless they're implementing some changes in the fall. The big part of the interview is how you get along with sharing a room with someone. It's expected at Air America that you'll share rooms to stretch you per diem. They had one female pilot that I'm aware of on their picto side since I flew for them years ago and I don't know how she did it, but she was quite happy to leave.

    Landcare has a ton of planes and I've met more than a few of their female pilots over the years. They seemed to like the job fine, but I know one complained about the pay. Ground imaging was looking for pilots late in the season too so I don't think it'll be too tough to get with them. I'd focus on Skylens, Sandhills and JAV Imagery and use the others as a fallback.
     
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  12. Marika Diepenbroek

    Marika Diepenbroek Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the response! And thanks for the information. I think I will be skipping on AA, but I'm definitely applying to all the other ones you mentioned, plus a few more. I've been in contact with Williams on and off for a year and wouldn't be able to start until their fall season, so Ross told me to send him an updated resume later next month. Crossing my fingers for SkyLens, but I think all of them seem like a pretty good gig!
     
  13. Yakob

    Yakob Well-Known Member

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    Probably wise to skip on AA, for all the reasons I mentioned above. Sounds like you should have a good chance of getting on at a different survey company. Best of luck with the job search.
     
  14. LjtheFA

    LjtheFA Well-Known Member

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    Picto? Don't you mean Eagleview?
     
  15. EAD

    EAD Well-Known Member

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    Pictometry Imagery is now considered one of their products. Less pedantically, Pictometry is the name that is best known so it will likely be referred to that way for a while. Much like "Kinkos" is a part of and actually inside Fedex Office, but a lot of people still just call it Kinkos.

    https://www.eagleview.com/product/pictometry-imagery/
     
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  16. Yakob

    Yakob Well-Known Member

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    Does this mean the PDR is now the EVDR?
     
  17. frankgh

    frankgh Well-Known Member

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    There was not contract with Landcare when I was there. However, if you complete the season there was a bonus. Great outfit!
     
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  18. daydreamer

    daydreamer Well-Known Member

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    Great
    Thanks for the response
    Will pass the info on
     
  19. pocho

    pocho Well-Known Member

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    Are these companies actively accepting resumes already or should I hold off until August to submit?
     
  20. NickH

    NickH Dank Meme

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    That's so illegal I don't even. This is tax fraud. I am not an employment attorney, but gear up guy needs one.
     
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