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Best School Vancouver Area


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Hello all,


If you had to start all over again from picking a flight school where would you go between Chinook, Helicollege, and BC Helicopters?


I have been asked which would offer the best course for someone wanting to start in this industry. Also, in terms of what machine(s) is best for training and for future employment (ie 47, 22, or 300)?


Is there any advantage to spending the extra money on a 206 or 44 endorsements nowadays, or should the primary focus be on spending as little money as possible?



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I have gone to 3 flight schools in Vancouver throughout my career, and 2 of the ones you have listed more recently. I would personally choose BC helicopters:


The reason I would choose BC helicopters is because they are extremely helpful smaller school so you will get more personalized treatment and scheduling may be more flexible. This will probably save you money in the long run. As for the "type" they are all helicopters, you may want to get a 206 endorsement which is a more common used helicopter but stay away from the water bucketing and longline training, money can be spent better on different training if you have the $ to burn. I watched students doing water bucket training last time I was at YXX and unfortunately to use that training in western Canada you will need 500hrs experience and a mountain course to work for forestry. By the time a low time pilot gets the experience required the company they will be working for will provide the forestry training. You have to go visit all the schools to see, but remember bigger is not better and they are all giving you a sales pitch to get your money......

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As Kief says,, Chinook, every time ,, you can try the others,, and you will find out the expensive way likely,, as at some point you will be asked, "so new guy/girl, where did you do your training, and who with" and the Chinook answer, will get the door open, if you apply yourself in the training section there,, you will find everyone will rally and get you to where you need to be , like any other professional organization, they are awesome at finding out, "who" really wants to be flying.


The best, Period.


ps,, When the certain lady that owns that place, gets called by foreign Governments for flight training, and advice, what does that tell you?


Hope this Helps.



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really appreciate the insights gents.


I did my training at MVH and enjoyed my time there. The person who I am posting this for is keen to stick around the Van area and has only heard great things about Chinook. I would say that 90% of the guys and gals I know both at the company I work for and others have attended Chinook and all say great things.


Thanks again and any more insight, if not for me to pass on, will hopefully be seen by future students as well!

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I don't know a lot about the other companies listed, but I do know Chinook has an excellent reputation, and although they do not provide "job placement" for students (that I know of), they do have a lot of connections in the industry. To wit - of the four of us low timers where I work, two are Chinook graduates that were hired after our ops manager called down to Chinook looking for entry level hires.


It's a big operation, so your acquaintance might not get the same personalized treatment that they might at a smaller school, but - like anything else - you get out of it what you put into it. If they actively engage in their training, stick around all day and basically treat their training like your first job, they'lll come out of it with much more than if they just show up for their training flight then go home. They also might be the first one that comes to mind when ops managers start calling looking for new hires. :)


Hope this helps!


- Darren



PS - I did not train at Chinook, but I did do an hour or two of recurrence a couple years back, and they sure seemed like pros to me.


PPS - I also trained at MVH, and I'd highly recommend them for the same reasons. Also, they hire from their students - some of the best learning experience and most fun I've had in a helicopter was my summer flying out at Drumheller for MVH. B)

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Oh - regarding endorsements and extra training...


A good company should provide the endorsements and training that their pilot needs to get the job done. However, in a sea of low timers all out searching for work, a 206 endorsement might open the door at some companies. As for bucketing and longline training, I'd save that money for job searching road trips and the inevitable poverty that accompanies the first few years in the industry. As _________ mentioned above, you will be doing a fair bit of company training before anyone turns you loose with a line or bucket.



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Just to throw a wrench in it,


EVERY school in Canada has to comply with the Transport Canada minimum training requirement, and at 100 hours and a fresh license in hand, I strongly doubt that it really matters which school you went to, as you should all be meeting the very basic standard. Now there IS something to be said for placement after the training is completed though, an the aforementioned school has a good name in that respect.


At the end of the day, the point made above about treating your training as a very long job interview is very good! The more you soak up about the stuff that goes on around the hangar, other than the "ME" stuff, the better you will fare later on. And remember, if you don't know who the guy next to you is, don't make assumptions, they may have a massive amount of experience compared to you... I have seen people shoot themselves in the foot in the first few days of training, ruining any chance for work for that company, and any chance of recommendations just for attitudes and not minding what they were saying.


Anyway, VISIT the school, sit down, see how you are treated! Are they willing to chat, or are you just a number, can they give you the time you need. How are their STUDENTS looking at you, competition, or a possible friend etc.


Anyway, I'll shut up now.



Former Chief Instructor at several schools.

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Not sure I agree there Harald.....the location of the school for example. Using Chinook as the example, the proximity to the mountains as a starting point....they get the ab initio students out in the rocks asap to get used to that environment, picking power limiting density altitudes, awesome and endless varieties of confined ares form river beds to mountain ridges, low visibility in poor ( but acceptable) weather conditions just to name a few....so is that training comparable to a flight school in Manitoba? I laugh when I hear people selecting schools in fair weather climates so they can fly more often....when it's ugly out there, that's when we want to fly and teach.

Does the student want to fly with a 1,000 hr instructor or a 20,000+ hr instructor?

Nuff said......point is, for the potential new student....do your homework carefully and visit each potential school carefully and wisely.


You will know when you found the one that fits you....cheers.

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