How to find the right helicopter flight school

DSC_6941_Compressé-300x200You want to be a helicopter pilot? Great! Now that you’ve decided your career path, it is now time to decide what flight school you will go to. There are so many options, choosing the right one could cause you many headaches. Here are some guidelines to help you to make the right choice.

Cost

Well the first thing you should have in mind is that deciding to become a professional pilot also means spending a significant amount of money. Sure, you are also investing in your future, but making the right decisions about what school to choose only becomes more important. In average, it would cost between $40,000- 70,000 USD to get certification and flight time to be a pilot. This number varies a lot from one country to another, which is why a lot of Europeans decide to get their pilot license in Canada, for example.

Of course, the location of the school might sound very important to you, but there are several other points you should consider to pick the right helicopter flight school, such the type of aircraft, if financial aid is offered and the experience of flight school (years in business).

[pullquote left]Did you know that any Commercial Pilot can get a Flight Instructor certificate and decide to open a training facility? This is probably why it is very important to evaluate the experience of the facility you want to go to.[/pullquote]

 

Location

When it comes to location, you have to expect that schools are not good at everything. For example, even though Florida sounds like a great place to train, if you want the mountain course, it would not be the right place to go, since there are simply no mountains in Florida. So do some research on what course is offered at which location. Same thing applies if you want to do the Flight Instructor training. Since several insurance companies now prohibit a ground contact (full-down) autorotation, you have to make sure that the school you want to go teach how to do the maneuver.

Weather conditions should also be a factor to take into consideration. Training in a facility located where wind, rain, fog and thunderstorms are frequent will most likely make it harder to get a lot of flight time, and will probably extend the length of your training.

As for the type of aircraft, you should consider the availability, maintenance and insurance. In average, three would be a good number of aircraft in a facility. This would allow you to have a more flexible schedule, without being penalised by scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. The number of aircraft also depends on how many customers they have too.

It is also important to consider that if you want to get more then the private pilot’s course, you have to check if the school offers the advanced training you want, such as night flight training for example.

Insurance

As far as insurance goes, flight schools are responsible to insure their aircraft. However, this does not mean that you would be covered by the aircraft operator policy for personal liability. The deductible would also be your responsibility and since most insurance companies ask for 10% or the insured value, well the number can be quite surprising. You should then definitely look for an additional insurance policy to address the issue.

If you think a school would be a great fit for you, you should talk to the flight instructor to see if he seems to be a good fit for you. Planning a visit of the school is also essential, or at least call to ask questions. This would also allow you to see how they treat you. Good customer service is also something to consider. The first impression you will get of the flight school is most likely the right one. The staff needs to be customer service oriented to insure you will get the most from your experience at that school. If you have questions, make sure they take the time to answer you in a courteous manner. Often, the school you will pick will be far away, so it is important to know you could rely on them to help you out if you have inquiries about finding a doctor, a pharmacy, a hotel, etc.

When you visit or call them, you can also ask them about their safety record, deposit required, refund policy, and make sure they are an approved school, to avoid flight school scamming.

You can also check out the flight schools list on our website!

 

 

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