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Some employers use R44's and others use jetrangers. I don't think I would have gotten my first job without my jetranger endorsement but I'm sure there are others who would say the same thing about their r44 endorsements.


As far as the importance of which machine you do the bulk of your training with...well the place that I started had several low time guys, and I met people who trained on 300's r22's 47's like me, and even one fellow who did his training on an enstrom. So it really doesn't matter.


You are right that it is difficult finding work in any industry right now, but I hope you realise that with helicopters it is much more difficult. Historically low timers in Canada that didn't give up spent an average of about 4 years trying to get flying. Some much more. The last 4 years or so have been alot different though and there seemed to be many opportunities for people starting out. Unfortunetly this economic slowdown has kind of returns us to normal I think at least for the short term. It is like anything else though if you want it bad enough you can make it happen. Just be prepared for it to take time.


Personally, even if it takes me 10 years to get 1000 hours I'l stick with it...

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As Freefall said, it might take some time, and a LOT of perseverance (is that spelled right??) anyways, if you work hard, have a good attitude, a LOT of patience, and can keep some of the knowledge in your head, then go for it. There will always be a need for pilots.


The most important thing to remember about the training, is a little humility. You may have aced your tests, and gotten the best scores on all exams, but you still only have a License to learn.


So, pick a good school, study HARD, study everything you can get your hands on, ask LOTS of questions without becoming anoying... (hard to do...)


Always remember, the only stupid questions are the ones never asked.


Go for it.




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Thanks for the advice. Very much appreciated. If I could extend the question a little more, I'm wondering about the advantages of training on different machines at additional cost for a fresh pilot. I'm wondering if a course such as KVH, which offers training on the R44 (80 h) and Bell 206 (20 h), provide better employability than some of the courses that offer 90 h on the R22 and 10 h on the R44 or Bell 206. That said, I'm sure that the quality of training makes a difference in the job hunt, and potentially the instructor's network.


As for trouble finding work, I can assure you that it's in every industry. After 6 months of unemployment with three engineering degrees, I'm considering pursuing my childhood dream.


Thanks again to everyone for their replies.



I went to KVH and can say it was a very positive experiance. It was because of the operational training Wendle gave me that I got my first job flying. After my first check ride I was told that for being a low time pilot they thought I was very operationaly ready to start flying. I was out the door flying within a week and a half. ( Basic jobs of cource). I am sure there are lot's of great schools out there, I am just shareing my experiance.


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I'm at work right now, so I don't have too much time to address all your questions. It's getting hot out there, and this keeps an avalanche tech busy!


I'm a 100 hour wonder who just finished training with Mountain View Helicopters (formerly known as Bighorn Helicopters). I had a great experience there, and I highly recommend them. Bear in mind that as I've only attended one flight school, my frame of reference is limited. One thing that I've noticed here is folks tend to give preference to the schools they themselves trained at :) .


When I did my research, three schools that came up again and again were Chinook, Kootenay Valley Helicopters, and Mountain View (Bighorn). I'd suggest visiting any schools you're interested in just to get a feel of how the school "fits" you.


In terms of machine endorsements... once again bear in mind that I'm not (yet!) working in the industry, so my thoughts here are purely my own opinion (experienced folks - feel free to add your thoughts).


I did a 44 endorsement, but I almost kinda wish I did a 206 endorsement instead. In fact, I'm savig up my pennies towards this. There are lots of 44s in northern Alberta, and this is where many new pilots seem to get their break.


That said, I'd really like to (someday) fly in the mountians, and there are a lot more 206s in the mountains than there are R44s. Don't get me wrong - no one's going to turn me loose in the rocks just 'cause I have a 206 endorsement - but when I'm part of the long line of low-hour pilots applying for a job at a company that has lots of Bells and no Robinsons - it may give me a slight edge. Then again, it might not - I have no experience to back this up.


Another reason I'm saving for a 206 endorsement is that given the current job market, I will very likely need to pay out of my own pocket in the next few years just to keep myself current - I might as well kill two birds with one stone.


In short, I don't really know how much diference certain endorsements will make to your future employment prospects, but maybe think about where you'd like to eventually work and tailor your education towards that. Also, consider that they all have a cyclic, a collective and pedals, an in the end you'll still have only 100 hours in your log book. Hopefully the experienced folks can chime in here.


Its going to be a very tough go for a lowtimer in the next few years.


True. I anticipated this, but I'm undaunted by it. I never expected it to be easy, and I certainly do not feel entitled to a job just 'cause I have the license. It's going to take patience and perseverance, but I have that. I'd advise that you have a backup plan - keep your regular job and don't build up too much debt, and anticipate NOT working in the helicopter industry for a few years - this way you're prepared for when it happens, and you won't be crippled by massive loan payments. I had to sell my house to accomplish this, but again, I had researched and planned for this all beforehand.


Sure it's slow right now, but everything is cyclical - It's bound to come back around eventually (or maybe I'm just an optimist :P ). I figure this downtime will give me ample opportunity to visit every operation in western Canada so that when it does finally pick up, they'll know me like an old friend :PB)


On the upside, there is work out there - a couple of my classmates are already working in the industry (at least one's flying, too!).


Great thread with lots of good advice from folks far more experienced than me. Feel free to post or PM me with any other thoughts you might have.



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My advice is get yourself a trade or some other skill that you can fall back on.


I myself have several that could pay 70 to 100 K based on Wich one I would fall back into.


Things happen you lose your medical or realize that being away from home for 6 weeks isn't your thing.


(edited by twinnie since we're all getting tired of listening to you and sling..)

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Holy crap, you two are ridiculous. <_<


Good post Freefall...and I HIGHLY doubt it's going to take that long but I agree with your point.


Hey RHR, care to elaborate? Something tells me it's not quite that simple, it never is.




As others have already said, the 206 endorsement will help you with some companies and the 44 with others. They can both be valuable on the resume depending on what company you're going for. For some companies it won't matter. Many will say do your training on the cheapest machine available, provided everything else is good (instructors, facility, terrain etc etc) cause ultimately 100hrs is 100hrs. This will be true for many employers, certainly not all. I wouldn't have gotten in the door without a 206 endorsement at the company I started with, and I wouldn't have had an interview at another, so it worked for me but again, isn't gospel.


I trained at Coast Helicopter College in Sidney and would recommend it. If I were training all over again, I'd also consider KVH, Premier, Chinook...providing I knew what instructor I was getting. Visit schools, research, and, best of all, talk to operational pilots and get their opinions.


It WILL be a tough slog getting going. I'm between the 500-1000hr mark and am having a tough time finding work for the summer. But, things are cyclical and it will come back eventually...though maybe not to the same level and maybe not for several years.


Good luck.



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