When I became interested in flying, I called many of the smaller operations in Southern BC to get an idea of the job market. It was a young pilot in Squamish who told me, “the best advice I can give you is get a job in the industry while you are doing your training.”
He said it looks better on your resume if you have some experience with a flying operation in addition to your pilot’s license as opposed to someone who is, for example, a waiter with a pilot’s license.
I took his advice and got a job working as a dock attendant with a float operation in Vancouver. This job gives me the opportunity to work around planes, and pilots.
My job entails: tying up the planes as they are docking, fuelling, loading cargo, washing planes and untying planes as they taxi away. Other duties include: pumping water out of the floats, de-icing the planes when necessary in the winter, and grooming the interiors before each flight. We are responsible for keeping track of the fuel supply and ordering more when we’ll need it. Sometimes we’re delegated to cleaning the washrooms in the terminal. It’s quite a glamorous job.
The planes we work with mainly are Beavers and Twin Otters. Many of the pilots got their start working on the dock. Sometimes, pilots working as dock attendants are hired and trained to fly in the right seat as First Officer of the Twin Otter.
Although I am not yet working as a pilot, despite having finished my commercial license, I still think it has been good advice and that’s why I am passing it on.
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