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HeliTorque :: View topic - Training: if location in UK isn't an issue.
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Wannabes

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Contiki
Shy 'Torquer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:15 pm    Post subject: Training: if location in UK isn't an issue. Reply with quote

Dear Helitorquers,

As I am a new member, I would like to start by saying hello to you all and thank you for the information I have already been able to gather here as a visitor in the past months.
I am 31 years old and really want to pursue a career as a professional helicopter pilot. I would be giving up a well paying, respectable job and I know it is a difficult world to get started in (definitely at the moment). But I believe if I don't give it my best try now, there's always going to be a "what if..." feeling. If it doesn't work out I could always take up my current job again. But I really, really want it. I just hope I pass my medical class 1 (booked for middle of December).

I have done quite a lot of research already and found good information so far. But as it is a big investment to even get to the bottom of the big pile of commercial pilots, any advice on where and how to train in order to be best prepared to hopefully find a job eventually, would be much appreciated.

I have done a couple of trial lessons in the past and went to a career seminar at Helicentre (nice, well structured, good information and not a hard sell, thank you Capt. Dave Usher). They are definitely on the shortlist for my training.

However it has always been my intention to check out a few schools.

I plan to do most of my training full time and am not tied to a particular location in the UK (no family yet, not a house-owner).

On previous threads I have read a few recommendations about certain schools already. I am looking for a school where I could do PPL, CPL and possibly FI or IR (twin).
I was wondering if anyone could tell me anything or give a review (good or bad (PM me if you don't want to put it on here)) about a couple of schools I haven't seen mentioned that much:

Sloane Helicopters
Whizzard Helicopters
Tiger Helicopters
Rise Helicopters
Cabair

Any more info than what can be found on other threads is still appreciated about

Helicentre Coventry
Heliservices
London Helicopters

I am keen to hear: how much training they do, how important training is to them, if they have a lot of commercial work outside training, if training is good and how their graduates are thought of in the real world. And of course: costs (any hidden?)!

Sorry to be asking a lot. I have read previous training threads, but any new insights or tips are welcome.

I promise I will keep my next questions a lot shorter, but I believe it is only appropriate to draw a small picture of my situation before asking for your help.

Thanking you in advance

Contiki

PS. Happy Birthday Whirlygirl
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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to Helitorque, Contiki!

Any reason East Midlands Helicopters isn't on your list there?
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Contiki
Shy 'Torquer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello James,

Good call ! East Midlands should have been on my list.

Looks like a decent place at first glance, prices seem more than reasonable compared to some others. Doesn't look like they offer FI course but that doesn't have to exclude them for the other courses. Again: they should have been on the list.
Feel free to tell me more about them if you have inside knowledge. Number of students (PPL,CPL) amount of work, reputation, connections (PM welcome if advertising is a no go on here).

Any serious advice on any serious training organisation (even if I didn't include them in my original list) is more than welcome.

Thanks,

Contiki
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Teglen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Contiki,

I'm in exactly the same situation as you (currently in a well respected and well paying job... which now gives me the option to chase a burning dream since childhood - becoming a helicopter pilot). People will tell you that you're mad: expensive & long training, no job prospects, meagre salaries, etc. but somehow it's still worth it all.

I think I may be a step ahead of you, as I already have my PPL, however I am currently looking around at all the schools to assess who conducts CPL/IR/ATPL/FI training etc. I will say that it is dizzying trying to figure out stuff in this industry... if someone ever figures it out, they should setup a website to make it easier for those that follow ;o)

Teg.
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niho
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can second Jame's recommendation of East Midlands Helicopters - I recently did my PPL there (passed about a month and a half ago) and am currently hour building there as and when time, money and the weather allows. I found them to be excellent all round, very professional and helpful and had the best prices I could find when I was looking. Being a PPL I obviously can't speak for their CPL course but I see no reason why it would be any different.

Good luck with wherever you choose!
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were you I would go Helicopter Services at Wycombe ( I have no affiliation with them) Both Leon Smith and Mike Green there are very well known and respected in the industry. Its not what you know as much as who you know to get a job.
Good luck
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Contiki, welcome to the forum, I am still going through my PPL at Rise at Gloucestershire, very good service, very friendly, professional, ATC at the aerodrome, just off the M5, lots of helicopters available, good rates and a pool table for when the weathers rubbish!
The only advice I can give is to visit as many schools as you can, see what the instructors are like and get a feel for the place. For me the two issues were to be able to access a helicopter easily and time taken to get to the training facility,( nothing worse than driving for hours and then trying to fly when you are tired).
Good luck with your searching.
If you want any specific info on Rise then feel free to PM me. Or give them a call on 01452 857803.

Leigh.


Last edited by paddywak on Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All sound advice, and good recommendations from all! Cool

Umm, East Midlands Helicopters, specifically then. I did my PPL there some years ago (2001-02), and fly Self-Fly Hire there now.

I'm not CPL, so can't really offer any opinion with regard to CPL training there - other than to say that I enjoyed my PPL training, and consider it to have been of high quality! I believe they use/recommend Cabair for ground school exams, etc.

One thing that makes them different from a lot of others, is that they don't operate from an airfield (with runways, etc.) but rather, a heliport/field. Which of course gives you plenty of experience in getting into and out of non-airfield sites (well, site) - I reckon that's quite a valuable thing to get used to - how often to helis operate from/to airfields on real-world charters?


More generally, from what I know, I think the companies on your list all have very strong reputations, so I don't think you'll be disappointed with any!
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just completed my PPL at Helicentre and was very impressed, its lead to some great oppertunities to fly some very long distances for a new pilot and the people there are great, your friends, teachers and mentors always available for advice etc.

I also work at the airport in air traffic control and meet and speak to alot of pilots of all abilities (as you can imagine) and if i can offer one piece of advice to choosing your school.

Choose a school at an aerodrome that provides all the facilities of a modern airfield, i.e full atc service, radar availability, controlled airspace, military airspace. If you choose a school that is not near these things then insist on flying to them, speaking/crossing etc with proper air traffic control and dealing with military and controlled airspace. Its invaluable, especially when we're currently plagued with increasing numbers of pilots who although their flying may be up to scratch, their airmanship and captaincy comes into question, often due to lack of experience.
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Contiki
Shy 'Torquer
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your replies so far.

James,

Based on your last sentence, it seems that at least I have managed to look in the right direction.That is good to know.
How does one add a quote into a text by the way?

Teglen,

Where did you do your PPL and any comments on them? Good luck with the next step.

Paddywak,

I haven't read/heard that much about Rise so will definitely PM you at some point if you don't mind (a bit pressed for time now)

WindSwept,

Helicentre seems to get many good reviews and I enjoyed their seminar so they are definitely being considered. But as a lot of people on here advise, I am trying to talk to/visit/get reviews on multiple schools to get a bigger picture.

Hughes500,

I do indeed believe that it is important 'who you know' to get a leg up in the world of commercial helicopter flying. That is why I did ask about reputations and connections of these schools.

Thank you all so far. Feel free to keep the advice coming.

Contiki
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Contiki
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you again for all the advice (on here and PM).

To make it clear: I am open to hear about any serious school in the UK, not just the ones I put on the original list. I have received quite a few PM messages about other training providers I hadn't thaught of, but who seem to be worth a closer look. I am only trying to create a shortlist of the schools I should visit or contact after hopefully passing my medical in a month. Nothing has been decided yet.

Has anyone on here had any dealings with:

Cabair (flying or groundschool)
Sloane
Tiger

Thank you,

Contiki
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Teglen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did my PPL at Bournemouth Helicopters, which I would recommend - good operation, good helicopters (newer models, well maintained), and a generally good bunch of guys. Plus it's class D airspace, so (in my opinion) a good learning enivironment vs a grassfield school.

Bournemouth don't have CPL training currently, however I believe they have plans to add CPL courses to their offerings next year.

Happy to chat more by PM if needed.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contiki

If you want to do all of it at one school you are cutting down your choices of school quite severely.

Like H500 said Helicopter services are good at everything you want.

You might also consider going to H500s facility at Dunkeswell to complete your PPL , we flew together for the first time last week and he is good at what he does, plus you get to see a beautiful part of the country and learn in a H300.

Cheers

GS
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Helijohn
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: UK Schools Reply with quote

Hmmmmm good schools in the UK, well can think of a few I wouldn't chose!. Starting of with Helicopter Se.......... oh better not, will have an Ex-Policeman on my case!. Johnny be bad.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contiki,

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Smile

Hope your quest to find the right training school is going well. I will remain unbiased (you all know I am an instructor at Helicentre and I'm glad you enjoyed the seminar by the way) in saying that wherever you go, make sure it's somewhere busy that you have a good chance of getting a job afterwards. A busy school that specialises in career pilots will almost certainly use their home grown FI's at the end of the training so make sure you go somewhere that goes all the way through from scratch to PPL, CPL and FI. Some of our guys have done the whole thing in just over a year and have been instructing the next day. It's a bit like an apprenticeship where you start off doing the trial lessons and PPL training and work your way up as you gain more experience. Make sure the company has an AOC too so you can start building up your charter and pleasure flying experience straight away.

You only want to spend the money once so choose the right place - talk to the students, pilots and to the instructors and find out what the score is and busy they really are. It doesn't take long to become an unrestricted FI in the right environment.

Best of luck and have a great Christmas!

Sarah
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