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Helicopter Schools - Five Things to ConsiderUse these tips to find the right school
By Kyle Garrett
Flight training is a significant undertaking where decisions made early in the process can have a marked effect on the entire experience. To create the best possible experience there are five things to consider when shopping for a helicopter school: eligibility requirements, training costs, training aircraft, availability, and flight school stability.
The first thing to consider is whether you meet the eligibility requirements for at least a student Pilot’s Certificate. The FAA has strict requirements that must be met, and it is important to be aware of any potential limitations early in the process. The most basic requirements are to be at least 16 years old, be able to read, speak and understand English, and hold at least a current third-class medical certificate. A combined medical and Student Pilot Certificate is issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner approved by the FAA. While a Student Pilot Certificate is not required for training with an instructor, it is necessary for solo training flights.
Helicopter training can be a costly endeavour and it is important to consider the costs and financial aid options available to you. The FAA requires a minimum of forty (40) flight hours to obtain a pilot certificate, but most students average more than 50 hours. Additionally, there may be other costs associated with requirements such as insurance.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on training costs is to consider the training aircraft. For example, a small, two-place helicopter will typically rent for less than a larger, more-powerful helicopter. This can help your bottom line as well as your training as smaller, less-powerful aircraft are often easier to fly.
Aircraft and Instructor Availability
Once you've established what training costs you can afford, you should look at whether the flight school can accommodate your flying. Specifically look at the availability of the instructors and helicopters. If this doesn't match up with your availability, you might run into problems. It would be very difficult to cope with a helicopter school with only one instructor and one helicopter but 300 students.
Flight School Stability
A final thing to consider is the stability of the school itself. It is sad to say, but sometimes schools go out of business. That said, it's a pretty rare occurrence that the entire school goes under. The more likely problem is an instructor leaving. If there are several instructors on staff, this isn't so significant. When checking out a school, consider these two major things: How many hours do the helicopter instructors have? and How long has the helicopter school been in operation?
With flight training, it is important to start out well because everything builds off of things learned early on. Picking the right helicopter school is one of the best ways to create a rock-solid foundation.
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Helicopter Financial Aid & Scholarship Links
- HelicopterScholarships.com - Helicopter training for UK pilots
- AOPA Online - AOPA Air Safety Foundation Scholarships
- EEA Young Eagles - Scholarships and Internships
- The Ninety-Nines, Inc. - Chapter & Section Scholarships
- Landings: Scholarships
- Helicopter Scholarships - Whirly Girls
- Vertical Flight Foundation - Scholarships
- Northeast Helicopters - Helicopter Training Scholarships
- Helicopter Foundation International - Scholarships
- Griffin Helicopters (UK) - Dennis Kenyon Jr Scholarship
- Aero Club of New England - Scholarships
- University Aviation Association - UAA Scholarships