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Which School Is The Best?

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About 4 years ago, I got whats called "the helicopterobilis addictionniteus". I was working seismic with Eagle Geophysical Can. I went out west to think about my carreer orientation. From the first moment I saw a helicopter land in front of me I couldn't think of anything esle.


I've talked with pilots out there to know what paths where available to achieve my goal. At the time taking another school loan (arnd. 70K) was unthinkable, considering that I was doing that job to pay for courses from the past.


So I've decided to do a degree in geography to be able to apply as Helicopter Pilot in the Airforce. So know that I went trough all the process, I'm going to Toronto to pass the simulator test. The only problem there is is that I've talked with a Griffon pilot and he told me that for this year there was only 12 places left until march 31th. I also know an Engineer that passed the simulator correctly and didn't made it because they said they had only few places left.


So, I'm gonna past the test still, but considering that I only got a degree in geography and the engineer didn't make it, I have no choice but to look for a Plan B in case of failure.


I will go back to Western Can. (paradise) and work surveying or seismic for a year and then pay for my pilot courses. I've talked with different Heli school but I know that all these schools are business, and they will do wathever they can to attract new students. I dont mind paying 80ks.


I was concidering: -CHC in Quebec (home town)

-CHC in Pentincton

-Chinook Abotsford


Which one is the best?? I dont know... Hope you will help me on this one.

I know its not a really important post but I really need your help.


Thanks a lot.

I hope to be in the same seat as you guys...




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I trained at Chinook and later at CHL's school in Penticton. Both are very good at getting folks ready for the job and have some very talented instructors.


BC Helicopters is another option in Abbotsford, the owner there is a friend of mine who worked at Chinook during my training. Lots of options, do your research it is a huge financial commitment.


If you are looking at CHL's School in Penticton, book early because they have quite a waiting list at the moment. Expensive but worth it.


And again, CHL is no longer owned by CHC. :D


PM me if you have any specific questions.



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I might be wrong but I think that for now the industry is pretty good for new pilot. The growing demand in Canada for forestry mining and oil sector is asking for more and more pilot. Whitout preparation, the industry will face a big problem if they dont start to hire young pilot and train them right now.


So in comparison to 5-10 years ago, do you think its a good time to take the training regarding of job opportunities???

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Whitout preparation, the industry will face a big problem if they dont start to hire young pilot and train them right now.


So in comparison to 5-10 years ago, do you think its a good time to take the training regarding of job opportunities???


The industry has already had this problem for eons, though this year has seemed to fair well for low timers. There are lots of jobs for experienced pilots, but you have to really dig out those low timer jobs... be it flying or as ground crew.


The only real "good time" for training is when you're prepared to do whatever it takes to get that first flying job. Don't count on this industry for anything, you have to make it happen.


As for schools, it's pretty hard to go wrong almost anywhere in BC. :up:

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This is a very big topic as choosing a school is a very big decision. Which school is the best one depends a great deal on who you are and what you are looking for.


As you can imagine, all schools have their own specialties. This is largely to do with the CFI or owner of the school and what they think is the most important aspect of training. That is why I suggest doing a road trip of possible flight schools before you make your final decision. If you are so inclined, take a "Fam" ride with the instructor. No matter where you end up training, all fam rides can be counted toward your final license providing you get the instructor to sign your P.T.R. for that flight. ( be warned that the school you finally decide to train with may not like it because it cuts down on their revenue for your overall course.)


Back to choosing a school, some decisions are easy. For instance, if you hope to fly in B.C. then train in B.C. It just makes good sense. If you are ****-bent to fly on the coast, then train with somebody in Coastal B.C. As you can see, things get narrowed down pretty quickly if you know what it is that you are looking for. I should mention, even though its pretty obvious, that training on the coast by no means ensures that you will end up flying there any time soon. It will however get you used to flying in that environment with regards to weather, terrain, confined areas and so on. This holds true for training in Alberta, the N.W.T. or Ontario for that matter. But just because you train out east does not mean you will not get a job on the coast. Anyway, try to train where you hope to one day fly.


Back to school "specialties", some put a huge emphasis on books and ground school and others are more operational. Some are tied-in with an operation and others are stand-alone. One benefit with training with a school/charter operation is your exposure to the "real" flying world. You will be able to watch the line-pilots come and go on their daily missions and watch what weather they choose to fly, or not fly in. You will also see that most employers and customers put pressure on pilots to get the job done. This is where you should be careful. Make sure you don't think that because somebody went flying that it is necessarily "good" to go. You are bound to see some "good things" and some "bad things" when training around an active operation. Talk with your instructor about what goes on and you will learn a lot about the industry. On the down side, operator/schools don't usually put the same emphasis on ground school. You are more likely to get a more thurough groundschool at a company where the instructors are not also having to juggle training with operational flying. Instructors that train for flight schools do it for their profession and therefore take it very seriously. You are bound to benefit from that dedication.


As you will see, there are many machines used for training in Canada. There are even more opinions about which machine is the best for training. Again, each has its own benefits and downsides. Overall, it is your instructor, the terrain around your flight school, and what your instructor's background is that will have the biggest effect on training.


In addition to all this, there is always the financial aspect. You may already live near a flight school and therefore have a cheap place to live while you spend close to $50,000 on your career.


If at all possible, treat flight school like a job. Go every day from 8-5 and be serious about it. If you feel after a while that ground school is boring you, maybe you are choosing the wrong career. This is after all is the subject which you are planning to be involved in for a career. If you can't get serious about learning every aspect of flying helicopters (ground school included) then your going to dislike flying for a living. Flying is a constant learning and training process. Your career will be filled with paperwork, exams, training, and re-training.


I was an instructor for 3 years but no longer choose to work in that sector of the industry. I do still try to help peolple out with this large decision when I can though. I have nothing to gain from wherever you choose to go to school. I hope that my post adds some more information to your decision making process. B)

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Thx Go Coastal, that post was really usefull. Since I've read it, I'll definetly have a better way to choose my own school. One thing i was wondering about is which school has the highest post-learning hiring rate <--(this might be crappy english). That's why I was more emphased on training with a school like CH. I've read that CHC is buying 60 new helicopter, I think this is gonna make place for low-time at some point... Maybe I'm wrong.

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