When looking for a helicopter flight school, here are the 3 “W’s” you should pay attention to.
You are outside enjoying the gentle breeze of a pure, blue-sky day when up above you hear the wap-wap-wap of a helicopter as it flies overhead. For a moment, you fixate on the helicopter, amazed at the way it flies and are immediately inspired to find a helicopter flight school. The yearning to fly a helicopter is strong. And so your search begins.
Beginning your rotorcraft journey can be daunting but with a little exploration and persistence, you will find the helicopter flight school that fits perfectly with your desires, budget and time.
Helicopters-plain and simple. Maybe you found the helicopter’s ability to hover or fly in all directions, hypnotic. Or maybe you are a fixed-wing pilot intrigued by how the helicopter flies differently. For me, it was a little of both and then some. I first felt the power of a helicopter as it landed at the same airport I was training for my fixed-wing Private Pilot’s License. Standing on the airport ramp, I felt the rush of air from the rotor blades envelop me as if calling me to join in this rapture.
Aside from aerodynamics and their unique appeal, helicopters vary in many of the same ways that airplanes do. Some have one engine, like the Robinson R22, while others sport twin engines, such as the Bell 407. A helicopter flight school outfitted with a wide range of rotorcraft, like Upper Limit Aviation, can better fulfill the pilot’s demand for advanced ratings or operations, like high altitude or mountain flight.
A good place to start your search is by asking yourself why you want to fly a helicopter. Quite possibly, your goals are long-term and a helicopter profession is in your future. Helicopter jobs range from instructing to more advanced, like serving the emergency medical industry.
Maybe you desire a degree to complement your helicopter flight certificate. Some helicopter flight schools offer degree programs that coincide with flight training. Specifically tailored classes, like weather or helicopter systems, augment flight line learning with some degree programs even available online.
Or perhaps you simply covet the helicopter’s freedom to traverse across the skies and whisk just above the treetops. Does the sound of the rotor blades beating the sky instill a sense of awe in you? That same wonder alone has propelled many before you to fulfill their dream of flight at a helicopter flight school.
Several options exist for obtaining a helicopter license but not all may be in alignment with your goals. Attending military helicopter flight training, I graduated with a Commercial Rotary Wing license in just over a year but this route requires you serve an additional 6 years following graduation, so it’s not for everyone.
Civilian helicopter flight schools, like Upper Limit Aviation, provide outstanding opportunities for reaching your goals, no matter how in-depth, with typical progression from Private through Commercial doable in under 2 years.
Not only do helicopter flight schools provide a plentiful variety of helicopters but a generous pool of flight instructors from which to choose. And don’t forget about the plethora of financial assistance or payment plans to help make your dream of helicopter flight a reality.
Paramount in your decision when selecting a helicopter flight school is quality. Where will you receive the best training, with dedicated instructors, well-maintained helicopters and opportunities for advancement? Without careful consideration of these factors, you could find yourself frustrated and spending much more than anticipated.
So, although you can find helicopter flight schools in most states across the nation, be wary of those who offer training at what seems to be ridiculously low prices (if it seems too good to be true, it probably is). Don’t sacrifice quality for cost and keep in mind that cheaper is not always better. If you save money initially yet end up having to pay for additional lessons because the quality of instruction was lacking, you could end up paying more in the end.
Look at the total package in deciding on the best fitting helicopter flight school for you. After all, you deserve the best, least frustrating path when pursuing your dreams of learning to fly a helicopter. Hopefully, your first time at the controls will instill the same euphoric sense of joy I experienced – my flight instructor said I never quit smiling for the duration of my first flight – truly nothing more awesome than flying a helicopter.