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

Cory Trevor

Well-Known Member
#41
Admittedly I enjoyed my time at Air America as well, but you'd be singing a different tune if you'd been injured on the job, in which case you would not have been eligible for Worker's Comp; or if you'd had an incident/accident and the company docked your pay to cover their deductible. There's also the issue of possible future dealings with the IRS thanks to the illegal 1099 arrangement.

It is true that it is a unique and usually fun job, but the same experiences can be had at any of the other vendors without the considerable risks of being a 1099 independent contractor.
There are for sure added risks of flying at Air America, but as long as you stay smart and vigilant and don't get complacent everything should run smoothly. All the accidents that I know of at Air America were not caused because of the aircraft. The gear up the pilot forgot to put the gear down. Someone hit a pole with the wing. A pilot porpoises an Aztec and didn't go around causing the nose gear to collapse. I'm not sure if the company came after the pilot for the damages in all those cases but I do know for sure they did with the gear up. I also know that one of the planes had the gear collapse on takeoff in one of the Aztecs and the company took the financial responsibility because it was not the pilot's fault.

Air America isn't perfect I know that but even knowing what I know about the company now I'd still do it all over again. In the year and a half that I was there I was able to pay off $35,000 in student loans which I probably couldn't have done at any other vender. Another downfall of aerial survey as a whole, though, is some guys get lucky and some don't. I consider myself lucky that I got good projects and was almost always with at least one other pilot.

Believe me, I'm not arguing with you at all and agree with your points but just want to share my experience with the company which was pretty much all positive.

One last note I'd like to make is that I have heard things have changed a little bit since I've left. It sounds like there are a lot more pilot/managers or something to that effect, which to me, sounds like it ruins a lot of freedom that AA had. When we were there as long as the projects got done and you weren't a complete idiot you would literally never hear from Jake unless you had to relocate somewhere
 
#42
One last note I'd like to make is that I have heard things have changed a little bit since I've left. It sounds like there are a lot more pilot/managers or something to that effect, which to me, sounds like it ruins a lot of freedom that AA had. When we were there as long as the projects got done and you weren't a complete idiot you would literally never hear from Jake unless you had to relocate somewhere
I'm not sure what it was like when you were there, but it's really only a couple Team Leads who fly on projects as well. I don't really hear from them either unless there's a question about my daily report or I'm relocating. Fly when you can, don't fly when you can't and you'll be fine.
 

Yakob

Grand Prognosticator Nominee
#43
There are for sure added risks of flying at Air America, but as long as you stay smart and vigilant and don't get complacent everything should run smoothly. All the accidents that I know of at Air America were not caused because of the aircraft. The gear up the pilot forgot to put the gear down. Someone hit a pole with the wing. A pilot porpoises an Aztec and didn't go around causing the nose gear to collapse. I'm not sure if the company came after the pilot for the damages in all those cases but I do know for sure they did with the gear up. I also know that one of the planes had the gear collapse on takeoff in one of the Aztecs and the company took the financial responsibility because it was not the pilot's fault.

Air America isn't perfect I know that but even knowing what I know about the company now I'd still do it all over again. In the year and a half that I was there I was able to pay off $35,000 in student loans which I probably couldn't have done at any other vender. Another downfall of aerial survey as a whole, though, is some guys get lucky and some don't. I consider myself lucky that I got good projects and was almost always with at least one other pilot.

Believe me, I'm not arguing with you at all and agree with your points but just want to share my experience with the company which was pretty much all positive.

One last note I'd like to make is that I have heard things have changed a little bit since I've left. It sounds like there are a lot more pilot/managers or something to that effect, which to me, sounds like it ruins a lot of freedom that AA had. When we were there as long as the projects got done and you weren't a complete idiot you would literally never hear from Jake unless you had to relocate somewhere
Well it's nice to know the company didn't dock the pilot's pay in that case where it was not the pilots fault. However docking pay to cover the company's insurance expenses would likely be illegal in a legitimate W-2 employee arrangement. In 2011 a Trinidad was landed gear-up at the flight school I did most of my training at and they certainly didn't dock the instructor's pay.

I am personally skeptical that you can make that much more at Air America than the other vendors although as you point out there is a certain degree of luck to it and I generally had bad luck with weather, also ended up by myself a lot too. Canada was where the real money was at with the extra per diem; I was lucky to spend as much time there as I did.

I'm not trying to argue with you either, I hope I didn't come across as trying to be nasty with my other post.

I'm not sure what it was like when you were there, but it's really only a couple Team Leads who fly on projects as well. I don't really hear from them either unless there's a question about my daily report or I'm relocating. Fly when you can, don't fly when you can't and you'll be fine.
I suppose it makes sense for there to be more managers, since as I understand it the fleet has grown considerably since @Cory Trevor and I were there. Still for the 1099 arrangement to be legal there should be even more freedom- I believe one of the legal tests for 1099 independent contractor status is that the contractor should set their own schedule. I'm also skeptical that there is much more freedom at AA than the other vendors. By the nature of the job you will have limited contact with management since you're away from the headquarters on the road most of the time. You have to admit there was plenty of kool-aid at Air America and all the stuff about how much freedom we had compared to other vendors was part of it.

Is there still a "Logistics Coordinator" or "Logistics Manager"? Toward the end of my time there they appointed one of the pilots as something like that. As far as I could tell his responsibilities were mostly booking flights when pilots left on vacation or came back. Supposedly he was promoted after he reported some Aztec pilots who were lying on their Hobbs and Tach sheets.

I still stand by my advice to avoid Air America- the risks of being an independent contractor simply aren't worth it in my opinion, especially considering that you most likely won't be eligible for Worker's Comp if injured.
 

Yakob

Grand Prognosticator Nominee
#46
What kind of information do people have on the Canadian picto vendor? How often were you working with them?
As far as I know the only Canadian Picto vendor is First Base Solutions. http://www.firstbasesolutions.com/

I've never worked for them but ran into two of their pilots once when we were working on the same project. I would assume First Base Solutions hires around the same time of year as the other vendors but I don't know much about their requirements or hiring process. Like the U.S. vendors they use Cessna 172s, and instead of Aztecs they use Cessna 206s. They also have a Cessna 414 for some non-Pictometry survey work they do. During the winter they do quite a bit of work in the U.S.A. as well.
 

Stephen Ivey

Well-Known Member
#49
https://careers.verisk.com/viewjob.html?optlink-view=view-55022&ERFormID=newjoblist&ERFormCode=any

These guys are hiring too and it's likely a better paying gig/qol than Pictometry flying, however I know nothing about what planes they fly or how much time you can expect to fly.

I had a digital interview with Verisk for GEOMN, 6 questions, 1. Tell us about you. 2.Tell us about the most challenging flight experience you have had. 3, What are your short term career goals?. 4 List the basic job requirements and wanted you to go over how you qualified for each. 5. Do you have any issue being gone for extended periods of time? 6. What are you pay expectations?

I did find out from on line digging, they seem to have Cessna 210s, Cherokee 6s (300HP),Navajos, Partenavia P.68, one A36TC and a few heilos, 36 aircraft in all.
 
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b3181981

Well-Known Member
#53
I had a digital interview with Verisk for GEOMN, 6 questions, 1. Tell us about you. 2.Tell us about the most challenging flight experience you have had. 3, What are your short term career goals?. 4 List the basic job requirements and wanted you to go over how you qualified for each. 5. Do you have any issue being gone for extended periods of time? 6. What are you pay expectations?

I did find out from on line digging, they seem to have Cessna 210s, Cherokee 6s (300HP),Navajos, Partenavia P.68, one A36TC and a few heilos, 36 aircraft in all.
My interview questions where the same as yours. Not word for word but the general gist of it.
 

srn121

Well-Known Member
#58
I have not heard back from Verisk for GEOMN. I do have an interview for AA Friday morning.
I'll try and steer you clear from AA as they only seem to be getting worse maintenance wise and with how they treat their pilots, but honestly survey flying and the travel you'll do is a lot of fun and if you can get on to a pictometry vendor this close to survey season you'll end up with 500 to 700 more hours you than you have by June. Just start applying for jobs as soon as you're two months out from your contract being over and don't aim beyond one season as a lot of job openings that pay better and offer you a better QoL will open up. If you come from a well off family and know you have a lawyer to back you up if they start threatening you with your contract even better as they count on young pilots just sucking it up, doing what they're told no matter how unsafe it is and getting their hours.

If you've got a wife or a significant other I'd recommend going something where you can spend more time with them, but if you're a bachelor it's not a bad life short-term. You might also want to review the contract before you accept anything as they keep adding clauses to it supposedly. Word is that they've added a clause which prevents any of their pilots from speaking ill of the company's practices online so if you're getting feedback from current pilots its bound to be one sided.
 

Stephen Ivey

Well-Known Member
#59
Yeah that's the general direction I've beeen givin. That's my plan one season and move on. The maintenance stories ive herd do worry me but you risk your life every time you go flying anyway. So will see what happens with it.