Wages for flying skydivers

skippy22

Well-known member
Joined
May 12, 2002
Posts
61
Total Time
4000
I was curious if anyone out there had recent input on how much a skydiver pilot gets paid. Is it per load, per day, per person and how much. I have a job offer that gives $6 a load is this realistic or not. Thanks for your input.
 

Jump Pilot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2001
Posts
277
Total Time
1200
Where I work, my contract calls for $5.00 per load (C182). A skydiver usually brings a complimentary burger and a Coke which I eat in the plane. Duty time is usually 12 hours per day in the summer.

On a good weekend, 20 - 25 loads total (12-15 hours). More fun that a person should be allowed to have flying. Where else can your "uniform" consist of a tie-dyed company shirt, baggy shorts, and sandals? PM me if you want more info.

Now, if I can just convince a regional that this is "valuable" time...
 

avbug

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Posts
7,602
Total Time
n/a
Six bucks is good. Most DZ's pay their pilots in jumps.

Then again, many jump pilots would prefer to be skydiving.
 

Lifestyle

Active member
Joined
May 1, 2002
Posts
39
Total Time
4200
$6/ load is great, I used to get $4/ load back in 97 and I flew my ass off. It' was all about building time I get. But wearing Birks and cutoff shorts was a hell of a great perk. Have a blast c-bass.
 

skydiverdriver

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
869
Total Time
5000+
Avbug,
Most jump pilots would prefer to be skydiving? I hope you are kidding. I would rather go down with the ship! I tried it a few times, as it was almost too cheap not to try, but I would much rather stay strapped in my seat, thank you. On the pay issue, you are lucky to get paid at all!! Take what they give you and be happy about it. Anyway, what choice do you have? Every once in awhile some jerk will come along and offer to fly them for free. Get you time and get out. Good luck to you.
 

Brownshoe

Active member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
27
Total Time
13,000
When I flew the 170 at Snohomish back in the mid 80's the pilot got 25% of the take for the load. 12$ for each load of 4 to 10,000. 10-12 loads on a good weekend day and the pilot always drank for free when the day was over. Good times.......
 

V1Cutt

Giant Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Posts
81
Total Time
15000+
I got $10/load back in '95 flying the Twin Otter. Fringe benefits included girls flashing in the cockpit and beers afterward if the drops were on target (incentive pay).
Fun job, non-stop flying sunrise to sunset.
 

AWACoff

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
1,121
Total Time
3000
I get $5 a load no matter how high the load or how many passes per load. Nobody makes money flying a 182. I'll second avbug. I'd rather be jumping than flying the 182. I've got to pay for the jumps somehow. As for going down with the ship...I'll leave that to salty sea captains...I'm OUTTA there!!! Hey, it's a paid jump! Schweeet.

Green Bay Approach, 1 minute to drop.
 
Last edited:

Jump Pilot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2001
Posts
277
Total Time
1200
Time to ask for a raise!

Now, if I could just find a copy of my contract....


Jump plane, you have a FedEx heavy crossing over the DZ at 3,000. What ya going to do with them jumpers?
 

selkirk

New member
Joined
May 22, 2002
Posts
2
Total Time
1000+
There is a company based in Ocean City, MD that is advertising for a jump pilot on www.aopa.org. They're paying $10/load for a C-182 (estimated 20-25 loads/week).
 

azpilot

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
376
Total Time
+1
Anyone know the pilot requirements (time) for the jump school in Eloy, AZ?

Thanks,
AZPilot
 

avbug

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Posts
7,602
Total Time
n/a
SDD,

I am most certainly not kidding. Most jump pilots I've known are active skydivers, myself included. (the disclaimer being I haven't flown jumpers for a while now, though I still jump).

I remember when I was a teenager, I was out at the DZ one weekend, talking with the DZ owner (DZO) who happened to own the jump aircraft and the airport. He invited me to go fly his BE-18 with him. I had lots of conventional gear time, but no conventional multi time. I jumped at the chance.

Without thinking, I ran into the loft and came running out with a rig over my shoulder. I clambered aboard. He looked at me, and at the rig, and asked what the hell I thought I was doing. I told him I was jumping. No, he said, you're landing the airplane. I'm going to give you some dual instruction in the twin beech.

Now nobody on God's green earth has ever been more desperate to fly an airplane than me. I have thought of, and dreamed of, and done nothing else for many years, including through childhood. A complete obcession. However, that day, I was crestfallen. Here was a perfectly good jump airplane, and I was going to land it. What a drag.
 

FracPilot

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Posts
133
Total Time
7500
Anyone know the pilot requirements (time) for the jump school in Eloy, AZ?
I have spent two weeks out there every winter for the past 6 years, and IIRC the pilots are pretty experienced. With a fleet of several Twin Otters, a Skyvan, and a Porter(maybe a couple others I don't remember), they stay quite busy. Most jumpers(especially jumpers that are pilots) will not stand for low timers flying most of the jump planes, and we definitely prefer jumpers that are pilots flying. Flying jumpers is more involved than just taking off, flying over the airport, and landing.

I would guess they want at least 1000 turbine or so.
 

FracPilot

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Posts
133
Total Time
7500
Most jump pilots would prefer to be skydiving? I hope you are kidding. I would rather go down with the ship! I tried it a few times, as it was almost too cheap not to try, but I would much rather stay strapped in my seat, thank you.
I would much rather be jumping than flying. I flew jumpers part time when a couple local DZ's needed another pilot, but not often. If there is any doubt in my mind as to whether or not I would be able to bring a jump plane down safely, I'm gone. Maybe I can swoop the wreckage. :p I was a skydiver long before my early-life crisis that made me become a pilot, so I guess I am biased. Besides, my little VX is much more fun to fly than any airplane I've ever been in. :D
 

Kaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
947
Total Time
8.2
Skydiving $$$

Hi Guys,
When I flew for San Diego Air Sports it was $40.00 per day, and that day began at dawn and ended at dusk. Not a lot of bucks, but it was fun operating off a dirt strip tucked into Otay Mountain and a lake off the other end of the runway. Made for some "exciting take-offs" when it was 90+ outside.
Where I fly now the deal is $35.00 a day to show up, and $5.00 a lift AFTER 5 lifts. Typically, on the weekends you can get up 12-15 lifts. We take em' to 10K, and the owner/operator insists on no more than a .6 per lift. It can be done, but makes for a long day.
Also, I'd like to add that flying jumpers is not the difficult, as much as it's different from other types of flying and after a few hours it is very simple. In fact, I think it's far trickier in a 206 or a 182 than turbine powered jump ship. The real skill is descending and not shock-cooling the engine. Just curious, what do you guys use for MP/RPM settings? I use the bottom of the green arcs for both or roughly 18"/1800 RPMS...Seems to keep the CHT/EGT from going from one end of the gauge to other.

Regards,

ex-Navy Rotorhead
 

Jump Pilot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2001
Posts
277
Total Time
1200
The first DZ where I worked wanted 15" and 1800 rpm. Where I am now, they want 17" and 2200 rpm. I'll spiral down if I'm loading hot and we have a lot of work stacked up. However, I think that gets old for both the airplane and the pilot. Otherwise, I'll use a rectangular pattern in descent and hit a 45 for the downwind at pattern altitude.

I have never jumped. Don't have a real desire to either. I enjoy watching them get out and flying the aeroplane. I had one DZO tell me he preferred pilots who didn't jump. If they learned to skydive, that would end up being all they wanted to do and wouldn't fly anymore.

What's the craziest thing you had a skydiver jump with? Plastic rafts, bicycles, innertubes?

Any naked jumps? I had one dude jump naked. That was gross. The whole plane smelled like arse when I opened the door on jump run.
 

GoingHot

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
266
Total Time
3000
After reading some of the pay rates on this thread, I guess I shouldn't feel so much like a Jump Plane Slut anymore. I'm not as bad off as I thought. My deal is $50 a day and $10 per load after five loads. Best day was 14 loads.

By the way, anyone fly the Turbine Tail-Dragger Jump Ship, (PC-6 Porter)? I'm getting use to it, but that thing can scare you on a good day. And when you have a variable crosswind @ 15 gusting to 22-----thats when the Horror Show begins. But its a neat bird. You feel like you're in a P-51 mustang with that long snout and huge prop out front with a stick control.
 

atpcliff

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
4,260
Total Time
6000
Hi!

I know of a WI place that pays $15/hour. With a "normal" low load you can do 3? per hour, and high loads about 2/hour??? If these times are about right, $15/hour would equal $5-$7.50 per load.

I'm just starting and AWAC posting above is helping me out!

Note: I just talked to a recruiter/hr guy at Comair. He said flying Skydivers is about the worst possible type of flying for them, along with banner towing. It doesn't really count for anything, as far as they are concerned. Next worst is instructing, which doesn't count for much, either. He said they are really looking for part 135 or 121 time.

Air WI also hires mostly 121 or 135 guys. I can't remember if they routinely hire instructors or not (AWAC will know). Jumping is the only flying I can do right now, so I'll take what I can get!
 

aceshigh

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
81
Total Time
>6K
I got screwed!!

The DZ I used to work for only paid $10 for showing up and $2/load. But the beer and the fun times made it worth. I got to fly a C205, but due to a lack of a tailwheel signoff never got to touch the PC-6 (porter) with a piston engine that the DZ owned. Oh well, I had a ton of fun doing it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Aceshigh
 

puddlejumper

Unemployed /Contract User
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
306
Total Time
6030
Jump Pilot Pay

In the Mid-Atlantic region, typical starting pay for King Air pilots is $60 to show up and $10/load after the first 5 or 6 loads. It's all about supply and demand, it seems that there is a real shortage of qualified jump pilots available around here, so if a guy wants to, he can make some decent money.

Usually a weekend day would involve anywhere from 12 to 26 loads to 13,500'. In a -20 A or B90, flight time is 0.3, sometimes 0.4 hr. I'm trying to negotiate more pay for having to fly with a co-pilot who is paying to build time. It's not a bad gig though, it helps a lot with my CRM skills. Please, let's try not to turn this into a PFT flaming thread, we can take that somewhere else. :)

Here's a few message boards that deal with skydiving:

http://www.diverdriver.com/forum/forum.php

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forums/wwwthreads.pl?Cat=

http://www.skydivechicago.com/forum/index.php

-PJ
 
Top