My name is Gísli Gíslason #mylifeasahelicopterpilot I'm a helicopter pilot in Iceland.
It was my dream since I was a young boy to become a helicopter pilot. My uncle was a helicopter pilot for the coast guard so when I was growing up I saw news about him and his missions very often.
I started my training in 1994 and it was really expensive so I worked on a small trawler as a fisherman while I was doing my PPL. I finished my CPL 1997 , but at that time the only job opportunity was the coast guard and one private helicopter company with one helicopter. I used all opportunities to stay in the hangar there and clean the helicopter and drive with fuel for them and instead I could fly some ferry legs with them without passengers. But at that time we had very few tourists and the business was really slow and only in the summer months (3 months) after a few years of assisting every summer without salary I gave up my dream to get a paid job as a pilot. I took a 10 years break as a pilot and worked as a fisherman.
In 2010 there was a big eruption here in Iceland when Eyjafjallajökull erupted and I got an opportunity to fly again as an observer on a Dauphin 365 with tourists and news reporters. I decided this was what I wanted to do for a living. So I did some training to recurrent my licence. It paid off and 2012 I got my first job as a pilot on Bell 206 Long ranger flying sightseeing tours here in Iceland.
It's so difficult to get the first job, nobody wants to hire you because you don't have any experience and you don't get any experience because you don't have a job.
My advice to you if you want to become a helicopter pilot to be ready that it could take some time to get your first job, don´t give up your dream.
In 2014 I started flying for Norðurflug and I learned a lot from the chief pilot Jón Spaði. Norðurflug does a lot of filming for Hollywood films and commericals. At Norðurflug we did a lot of sightseeing tours all over Iceland, to the glaciers, mountains and even when we had eruptions here we were flying there. Every year from March to June we did heliskiing.
I worked with Norðurflug until April 2019 when I started flying for Heli Austria here in Iceland. They started all year around business here with a great fleet of brand new helicopters.
We are flying a fleet of H125 and Ec130t2. We do Heli skiing, sightseeing tours and filming. Business has been really good until Covid hit us in March this year. But I am very optimistic when the Covid stops that Iceland will be a popular destination again.
My dream is that all travelers that come to Iceland realise that they have to do a sightseeing tour in a helicopter when they come and because of that I started my instagram account #mylifeasahelicopterpilot to show people the beauty of my country and encourage them to fly with me.
Today I'm really happy that I started to fly again and that I could live my dream to become a commercial helicopter pilot.