In the last several years, the average age of our pilot staff--now at about 660 pilots--has gone down a bunch. Ten years ago, the guy or gal holding the median spot on the seniority list had about ten years with the company. Now, that person has just a bit over three years with the company. PHI employs the most twenty-something pilots than since the years following the Vietnam War.
For a single guy or gal, being away from home, in a way, must be even harder than for a married guy. I feel connected to my home through my wife and son. I talk to them every day, and it gives me comfort to know that they'll be waiting for me when I go home.
Often, our single pilots have no one waiting at home, not even a dog or cat. (The critters don't like going without food for a week or two.) Their social networks are usually comprised of other single people, and often, contact with them ceases when the pilot is away. Being single as an offshore helicopter pilot carries its own burdens.
That's why I was happy to learn that my friend and coworker Eugene, who also had to work on Christmas Day, got a pleasant surprise from his girlfriend Ivy: she flew in from California to spend Christmas with him. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.