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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 20:56   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Dublin
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Cheap Helicopter Lesson in USA

Hi

I was looking for a school in the US that offer helicopter lessons for a resonable price. Can anyone recommend?

Planning on heading over to try it out, have a fixed wing ATPL and always wanted to give helis a go for fun.

If you have them could you give hourly rates?

Thanks.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 21:12   #2 (permalink)
RotorHead
 
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Cloud 9 Helicopters Flight Training School West Palm Beach Florida
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 21:52   #3 (permalink)
 
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 22:24   #4 (permalink)
 
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Where in the US?

It's a big place.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 01:46   #5 (permalink)
 
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There are big differences between parts of US.
It's all expensive, but some places are relatively cheaper.

Hm. Gordy's picture is normally right. I guess I have an exception to rule right now.

BUT, if you need student visa, you're likely to need one of the bigger part 141 schools that do M1 visa. If you got funds for the whole lot and are sure this is it for you, you can try Hillsboro Aviation in Oregon or Bristow Academy in Florida, on F1 visa, with 'chance' to fly as instructor afterwards. They're quite busy and not cheapest, though. Both good quality places, for sure, but busy busy.

EDIT: Oh, BTW, Mauna Loa Helicopters now also have F1. It seems easier to sort it now that 2 year aviation J1 is over/gone.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 01:55   #6 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Here is a school in the Northeast where I have personal experience as a student. Probably cheaper than some and more expensive than others. My experience there was positive in all respects (as long as you dont mind flying Robbies ).

Helicopter Flight School - Photo Flights - Robinson Helicopter Dealer - Nashua, NH - Boston

Here is another school in the Northeast where I have lots of experience. Train in Enstrom and Bell helicopters. Not cheap but very good! Especially appropriate for turbine training in case that what you have in mind.

Sharkey's Helicopters, Inc.

Hourly rates are posted on each web site.

Addendum 23 Aug: Had luch at Sharkey's today with several highly experienced pilots and engineers/mechanics - great learning experience, and best of all, lobster rolls were on the menu with fresh lobster just flown in from Maine. So, the dollar amount for rental is not cheap, but as they say, the experience is priceless.

If you do elect to train at CR Helicopters, contact me by PM and I will see if I can do some time with you in my B407 (based at the same airport). October comes with a spectacular display of fall colors - the best time to be in New England. And, Boston is close by with lots to do when you are not flying.

Last edited by EN48; 23rd Aug 2011 at 18:37.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 02:01   #7 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Quote:
Bristow Academy in Florida, ........ They're quite busy and not cheapest, though. Both good quality places, for sure, but busy busy.
Got to disagree... I was in Titusville 2 weeks ago and did NOT hear ONE helicopter...yet a few years ago I would hear one every two minutes....I was right on the traffic pattern too.....

Prolly means you could try to negotiate a good deal.....buyers market an all...
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 06:08   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Where in the US?

It's a big place.
Anywhere if the price is right, planning on travelling around whilst there.

No plans of going commercial with it, probably won't have time for a full PPL so it's just a taster for fun, will probably do 20 hours or so while we are there. There are a few of us who want to give it a go.

Gordo I will go for cheap and good as my selection!!

$240 per hour dual on an R22 seems to be the best price so far, are there better prices out there?

Thanks so far for the responses.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 07:19   #9 (permalink)
 
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Gordy,

that's news for me. I haven't talked to anyone training/instructing there recently.
Hillsboro is still pretty busy in the main campus in KHIO whenever I fly past, plus their ships going round Oregon as well. I stopped by in Troutdale once for refuel and maybe the time, but only one or two machines flying at that moment.

I don't see the J1 'becoming' F1 as a reason. I guess less military training contracts. Scandinavians get big loans for heli training easily, plenty ex-mil Germans using funds etc etc. So no idea why Bristow Academy shouldn't be busy in the summer.

------
Talking about non-R22 training, well, Salaika in Texas have good rates for Enstrom 280 and B47 and they also do student visa. Middle of nowhere for some, but if I had time, I'd stop by. If you want 'taster', then I'd say, you should go for something very reliable (no Robinson hassle) or bit of legend.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 09:42   #10 (permalink)
 
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Cloud 9

Just got my licence with them in May, great school very friendly and the scenery is great nothing better than being 200FT above West Palm beach with the bikini clad ladies waving at you!

Geoff is the boss and is a great guy nothing he doesnt know about helicopters!

Hope this helps

Pm me if you want to ask any questions

Paul
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 13:00   #11 (permalink)


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Hi Gordy, You do say that you did not hear any helicopters at Bristow Academy, why is that? and did you talk to anybody there, or were you there for just a moment, I have considered Bristow for PPL H training, later in this year, so I am just curious to know.
H.J.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 13:52   #12 (permalink)
 
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nuddi,

Quote:
You do say that you did not hear any helicopters at Bristow Academy, why is that?
I own a house that is 1.4nm from one of the runway thresholds......suffice it to say--if they were flying, I would hear them. There was a time when I would have helicopters fly over constantly....I did not hear one helicopter when I was there two weekends ago, although admittedly I did not go and visit the place. I was there on a Saturday from about 12:00 to 18:30. I have it on good authority from someone who was working at the school in the last year that the place is, and I quote "slow".

As always, do not take my word for it, call them and ask.

Last edited by Gordy; 23rd Aug 2011 at 13:57. Reason: Added time frame
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 15:47   #13 (permalink)
 
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I wonder if it's slowed enough to resume Part 61 at Titusville. A couple of years ago they booted all the 61 guys to LA or CA in favor of the 141 workload.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 23:59   #14 (permalink)
 
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Martin,

I did my Instrument and CFII with Tim. Unless something has changed drastically Salaika uses the F28A which doesn't have a turbocharger. In the summer it can be a challenge. And he doesn't normally instruct in the 47. As for being in the middle of nowhere it is close to Houston and there are plenty of places to get the best BBQ in the world.
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Old 24th Aug 2011, 17:19   #15 (permalink)
 
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EI-CRD
Quote:
No plans of going commercial with it, probably won't have time for a full PPL so it's just a taster for fun, will probably do 20 hours or so while we are there. There are a few of us who want to give it a go.
Given those factors, I wouldn't bother with the R22. I'd seriously consider doing some hours in a Bell 47.
Wonderful helicopter; prohibitively expensive in the UK but excellent value for money in America. The Bell 47 is slightly more expensive than an R22, but worth every penny. You should be able to negotiate about $300 per hr - particularly as a group.

I can recommend:
Dutch Country Helicopters at Lancaster Regional Airport, PA - about 1 hrs easy drive from Philadelphia.
Excellent instruction, good facilities and superb customer service. Darren999 who posts in this forum is (or was?) the CFI. Lancaster isn't the most attractive of cities but the surrounding area is pleasant and, being in the heart of Amish country, very interesting - Witness (Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis) was filmed there.

Blue Ridge Helicopters, Stephens City, Virginia, about 70 miles west of Washington, DC. Flying in the Shenandoah Valley and over the Blue Ridge Mountains is beautiful. You'd need to check if it still exists - I think the owner may have retired.

Ryan Rotors, Plymouth MA.
I had to cancel my flight but, having visited the school, spoken to the owner and seen the helicopter, I would have been happy to fly there.

(I'd also keep some money back to do an hour in a Bell Jetranger at the end.)


FL
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Old 25th Aug 2011, 01:26   #16 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Where 61's Fly
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Beautiful place to fly

Lake Superior Helicopters - Minnesota's Only VA Approved Helicopter Flight School

I don't know anything about the school. They have a nice website!
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Old 26th Aug 2011, 15:14   #17 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
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Hi Flying Lawyer!

Me Lud'

I was fortunate to purchase the school from the past owner. We have increased the fleet a little too. If you find you way to PA I Still have my trusted Bell 47! It would be great to see you again!. I still teach and thoroughly enjoy it!
I do hope this finds you well
Regards
Darren
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Old 26th Aug 2011, 20:59   #18 (permalink)
 
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Location: New York City
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Do you need to get TSA, Visa etc for a trial lesson?

Is there any limit on the number of trial lessons someone can have?

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Old 27th Aug 2011, 13:42   #19 (permalink)
 
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Rick1128,

Thanks for the first hand info. I once emailed Tim and he gave me the rates for both Enstrom and B47. Admittedly, it's been a while since I visited the website, so my apologies for mentioning wrong model of Enstrom. They all look the same anyway :-D

As for non-turbocharged etc. Hmm. Worse performance than R22 at max gross and similar/same DA?
Honestly, Bell 47 was the main attraction for me to stop by at Salaika, not Enstrom.
BBQ isn't the kind of entertainment for young people, is it?

Hedge36
I doubt it. Bristow Academy is still quite big not to get below 141 amount of students per year. It's good news for people who could otherwise wait for year and half to get combine JAA/FAA course.

EDIT: Bronx, in theory, handful of trial lessons is doable. But then, no ground, no written exam, no obvious plans for checkride and 'incidental' to the purpose of visit etc. So it'd be on thin ice, depending on the view of immigration officers. I'd personally not do it that way. SoCal App wouldn't recommend it either.

Last edited by MartinCh; 27th Aug 2011 at 14:39.
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 23:06   #20 (permalink)
 
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TSA approval

Be sure you filled up application https://www.flightschoolcandidates.g...e=c&section=FQ well before start your training. Some cases it takes 6 weeks to have one. Just let you know. Don't know your plans, but speak with your flight school.

Good Luck!

Hostile
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