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Hobbs Time And Flight School


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Hey all, found this place about a month ago. Great forum w/ lots of valuable info. This is my first post.


After numerous years of thinking about it, I've FINALLY decided that I'm going to pursue a career as a heli pilot. STOKED! I've narrowed my search down to three flight schools, all in beautiful BC.


My question is...I believe that most schools operate on Hobbs time. Can someone give a clear definition of what this is? What activates the Hobbs metre? I've heard it is triggered by the collective, so shouldn't this more or less give you skids up to skids down?


SO, what is more economical to the paying student...Hobbs time or skids up to skids down. It seems obvious to me that its the latter. Can anyone give any estimates on how many minutes per flight hour Hobbs shaves off? I'm guessing that by going w/ Hobbs, a student may lose 5-10 minutes of air time per hour instruction. Please tell me what you think.



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Hobbs time is engine-on to engine-off time, as measured by an automatic Hobbs meter. Engines need to be warmed up before a flight, and cooled down afterwards. Also a checklist needs to be completed before/after flight. New students tend to take several minutes to complete these checklists at their pace.


The best value for the student, is skids-up to skids-down charging -- the students then only pay for actual flight time, rather that actual flight time plus grounding idling time. Often early students can lose 10+ mins of an hours flight in this ground idling.


You mentioned that you were interesting in learning in BC. A good example of an excellent skids-up/skids-down flight time school is Coast Helicopter College (the former VIH training school) at Victoria Airport, run by Bob Reimer (the former VIH chief pilot). Their site it www.coasthelicoptercollege.ca They don't charge any more than other schools per hour, but you get a full hours flying.


The quirky thing, however, is that I don't believe that this affects the actual total cost of the 100 hr course -- just that a student at a school that does skids-up/skids-down pricing got more actual flying experience, and thus value, from the course.



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Thanks for the reply Jane. I did a search of Hobbs time on the forum and came up with a list of topics (evidently this is a contested subject). I couldn't glean any straight answers though. I did read in a couple of posts that the hobbs is activated by the collective. Can anyone add to this??


From your post Jane, if Hobbs is indeed charged from start up to shut down, skids up/skids down offers huge savings to the student.


I have checked out Coast Helicopter College and it seems to me to be a good bet, though there are a couple others that have my attention as well.


Where did you train Jane?



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Jane, you stated it very well, including cost being the same for 100 hr "flight time" versus 100hr "air time".


If you are paying flight time you are probably getting 80hrs of actual flying experience.


If you pay air time, you get your monies's worth.


It all started out with the fixed wing using "Hobbs Meter" to calculate flight time.


You will notice that the operator puts flight time in one place and actual airtime, which is always less, in another place.


AIR TIME is the only time used to calculate the actual hours against an airframe and engine and all components on the machine.


AIP, if it still exists, clearly states the difference between flight and air time.


The reason that I am so adamant about the two is that AIR TIME is the only cost that is charged against the aircraft for overhaul purposes.


Any other method is taking advantage of the student.


Cheers, Don

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  • 2 weeks later...

In this thing regarding flight time and air time...



If the student only pays for air time, who starts the machine??

Who shuts it down? Perhaps we will let maintenance do that, then there will be less to worry about during training. Flying is not only being in the air.


Flight time is from start of rotors, until shut down,

Air time is from First skids off until Last skids down.


If you only get 80% of your time, I dont know what yyou are flying.


That is my opinion anyways.


We charge customers the same way as well, so why should that be different?

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i agree with winnie.........


while i'm here on fires it basically goes like this:


"if it's turnin' and burnin', we're earnin'" :up:


learning to properly start an a/c through use the checklists along with system checks is all part of flying.


if i wanted to, i could be "skids up" in my 204 in about 1 minute and 30 seconds from the time i engage the starter(maybe even a little less). do i? absolutely not!


generally takes about 4-5 minutes to get it fired up and run through your system checks (fire warnings, hydraulics, beep trim, emergency govenor ect.) a little longer if it is the first start of the morning......


it has been rumoured that TC may change the requirements to 100 "airtime" for a commercial licence. before all you potential students start dancing in the streets i'll tell you right now that it would be very quickly followed by a jump in the hourly rate.

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