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Helicopter Training Schools


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I began my career with a commercial fixed (just) which I converted to a commercial Heli licence in 1995.


The benefit of this approach is that after spending about the same amount of money, you hold two commercial licences and can potentially be unemployed in two related but distinctly different industries at the same time. It will take you less time (65 hrs helo I believe) and you only have to write the little itty bitty Transport Canada conversion exam (as you have already proven your exam writing abilities with your seized wing exams)


The downside to this approach is that when you are through, you are a commercial helicopter pilot with 65 hours competing for a job against guys with 100+ helo hours. If you train with the right school, this may not be a problem, but in this business, gettting the first job is the hardest thing that you'll probably have to do. That 35 hour difference can be a bit of a handicap on paper.


That being said, it's the quality of the pilot that really matters. If you folllow through on this idea, forget everything you might know about aircraft handling and soak up as much knowledge as you can from you instructor(s). Don't let them assume that you might know things just because you already hold a commercial licence. Some things are only clear after you have actually experienced them.


Your #1 consideration should be to make sure that this is what you really want to do before you plunk down the $40K. As stated by several others, go for a ride in a helicopter and talk to alot of pilots about the lifestyle (so to speak) and the best schools to look at. Lyle's 11 questions are an excellent way to compare schools. Talk to some of their students as well as the instructors.


No offence to the independent schools, but in my opinion, the best chance for a job comes from a school that is connected to a commercial operation. The best ones will not only teach you how to fly, but they will teach you operational stuff too. Like how to fuel from a barrel, how to live in the bush, how to make and land on real log pads, how to fly in the mountains and survive, etc.... They have schools to make money, but they also train and evaluate new pilots for future hire in their commercial operations. They have a loyalty to their students and if you trained elsewhere, it's unlikely they will hire you as a brand new pilot.


The military is a great route if you are into that kind of life.


Great Slave Helicopters runs an excellent school near Edmonton and you can't find a better company to work for.


Hope this helps. Best of luck

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