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How Old Were You When You Started Heli Training


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Hi, I have had a deep interest in perhaps starting helicopter training for about 3 years now. I've been a subscriber to Vertical for about the same amount of time. I have never even been in a helicopter and the closest I've ever been to one is looking up at the sky whenever one flies by. Which isn't too often. I have zero experience in aviation and have only ever been in planes/jets on a couple of occasions. I have researched online looking at different schools etc. at various points over the last few years. Basically it's the money (or lack thereof) that keeps this as a dream and keeps me from making it a reality. Anyway, I have been spending the last bunch of years working construction and daydreaming all day about getting out and perhaps trying to put some money together (plus a loan) and start to really think about if this is the path I want to take. If I did, it would be a commercial license that I would be after. What I am curious about is what age some of you guys were when you entered helicopter flight training. It seems there are some ppl starting later in life and then I read about ppl in their teens getting into it. What would the average age person starting training be roughly? I'm 25 myself and the reason I was thinking of this was because I was wondering how if , say, 5 new pilots get hired out of 8 or so being trained at one time.. Other than skill, obviously, do employers prefer an age bracket to hire from when given a bunch of ppl with the same skill and low hours?? Essentially If most newly trained pilots who are hired in their mid 30's (im not saying this is the case, just for example), would it be best for a late teen or early 20's person to wait a few years to start training?



I hope to heavily read up and research what I need to over the winter and take a trial flight with 1 or 2 companies in the spring time. Til then I am just playin around with flight sim X :)

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I started training a little over a month ago, and I'm just shy of my 37th birthday. I'm the oldest one in commercial pilot training; the rest of my classmates range from 18 or 19 on up to their late 20's.


I don't know how much of a difference age makes in the hiring process, but here are some observations I've made. One caveat: these are only my views and thoughts, not to be taken as hard fact :)


Some of the younger guys were a little quicker to pick up on the "good hands" skills - hovering, takeoffs, landings, etc. I'm not sure if this is related to age, but I did notice that the folks who picked up the hover the quickest were also the youngest.


All of us are pretty keen into the ground school and the studying, but us old guys seem to have a bit of an edge in analyzing and "processing" the information, for lack of a better term. In other words, we seem to be able to take the theory and assimilate it to real-world scenarios a bit better. Perhaps this is a bit of "life experience" coming into play.


I may be able to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses better, and I'm fairly in tune with my own thought patterns and how they affect my performance. In my 'advanced years' :D I can recognize potential hazardous attitudes in myself (and nip 'em in the bud quicker) than I could at, say 23 years old. In short, I don't let machismo or ego get in the way.


On the other side of the coin, some of these young guys have the confidence to easily shrug off a bad day of flying (or so it appears), whereas I can tend to dwell on my mistakes, which makes me tense, which messes up my flying. I don't think this is really an age thing (and I AM getting better!), but I can't help but think that if I had some of the cockiness I had in my younger days, I wouldn't be hearing "don't be shy!" and "you need to be more aggressive!" as often. That said, as I'm progressing, I'm getting more confident and I'm starting to relax at the controls.


To sum it up for you - Yes, I think that age might make a bit of a difference, but who you are and how you apply yourself has a MUCH bigger influence on the end outcome than how old you are. In regards to your original question - if you know that flying is what you want to do, then go for it! It will work out if you want it bad enough. B)



- Darren




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Thanks Daz, what a great reply. I enjoyed reading your personal observations. I'm 25 now and probably wouldn't be started training, if I do, til I was 27 or so. Glad to hear that ppl of all ages are out there starting out and good on ya for not being intimidated away from learning something you obviously love by all the younger ppl in training.

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i dont know too much about the flying part, but it seems that in everything you will do there will be advantages and disadvantages to being young/old... capitilize on what you have going for you, focus energy on what you lack. thats the way i look at things, at the end of the day its still a machine to be operated be people no? Have fun too.


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