Oil & Gas Platform Helicopter Pilot Jobs
Oil rigs are unique places; the work is demanding, the standards are high and the room for error is nil. The same applies to the helicopter pilots whose job it is to ferry the workers to and from the rigs. However, there is much to consider before pursuing a helicopter pilot job in this industry.
The oil industry has been volatile in recent years. There are increasingly strong political opinions regarding the environmental impact of offshore oil drilling. As politicians take sides, the jobs of the rig workers and those supporting them are in flux. However, the modern world relies on oil production; as long as we need oil, we will need oil rigs.
Helicopter pilot jobs supporting oil rigs offer good pay and a unique opportunity for a qualified individual. Usually, oil companies require a minimum of 1000 hours pilot-in-command time. However, in recent years the jobs have been more highly competitive and we have seen an increase in the minimum requirements. Don’t be surprised if potential employers are looking for 1500-2000 hours in some cases.
As with most corporate helicopter pilot jobs, there isn’t a normal 40-hour work week. The average pilot works a 7-day on, 7-day off rotation. Oil rigs can often be several hundred miles offshore. Helicopter pilots sometimes make ferrying trips to shore, or sometimes they are needed to fly between rigs to transport workers or supplies.
Landing a helicopter on an oil rig can be a tricky proposition. The weather can often be quite poor that far offshore, and the pilots must manage around it rather than avoid it; there are deadlines to be met that cannot wait for the weather. Furthermore, landing a helicopter usually requires a keen eye on the horizon. In heavy seas, the rolling waves can create an optical illusion that makes it very difficult to maintain a proper orientation when landing on the small platform in the middle of the ocean.
The helicopter is the only practical transportation to these rigs for workers. Helicopter pilots who are looking for something average need not apply. If you are looking for extra adventure, you might have found a job that suits you well.