Post PPL(H) hour building - helicopter safaris, etc
I'm in the process of finishing the PPL(H) here in always sunny and bright Blighty and I'm looking for interesting ways to build up the hours towards CPL - but not thru the grind of flying around London area.
After the PPL(H) I do have a couple of things planned :
- London Heli lanes with the instructor - before the pain, the misery and CAA restrictions for the London Olympics kick in
- Mountain flying course + some self hire @ Majorca with Sloan Helicopters (any one has any feedback on this?)
Also to get out of London and avoid the questionable joys and celebrations of Olympics I would like to go somewhere for extended heli-friendly holidays where I could build up some hours in an interesting and challenging way.
Some guys at the school I am mentioned helicopter safaris in Kenya and that looks like something I would definitely be interested in. I'm looking for something along the lines of safaris in South Africa, cross-country flying in the land of Oz or NZ, etc. Did anyone do stuff like that and care to share the experience - what are the good companies that maintain their fleet to high standards? Any horror stories and providers that I should avoid? Obviously I'm looking to build up hours as PIC as well as Dual and preferably around 20-30h during one such trip.
Also how does that work with the JAR-PPL(H) license depending on the location? After doing some read-up in most places I would have to get a Certificate of Validity? How hard is it to obtain that for Australia or New Zealand?
- Excellent choice on Sloane Mallorca for mountain flying course; Mr Greenall will take care of you.
- most of us PPLs either train in Florida or UK and start as "sea level" flyers and seldom think about "hot & high". In the UK, IMC is the main danger to PPLs, but in Africa it's the hot/high that catches most out - so check the OGE Performance Table and keep it in your head on every flight.
Please share what you find re Kenya; sounds interesting
There are a few threads around on hour building in other countries, but another vote for South Africa. I did a bunch of hour building with Helicopter Charter and Training out of Port Elizabeth. No doubt, prices have changed, but when I did it, the cost of 10 hours of R22 in the UK was the same as flights, accomodation, meals and 10 hours of R22 in SA. So more than 10 hours resulted in a net saving.
It's entirely possible to fly 25 hours in a short week, but it will be tougher than you think. As a newish PPL, around day 3 of 5-hours-per-day, is where the fatigue kicks in and mistakes can start creeping in. Unless you really have to, I'd space it over a bit longer - it'll be a whole lot more fun.
You will need to validate your UK license - this involves some paperwork (including paying our own department of leeches), a SA air law exam (computerised, can be done anywhere in the country, get the book as mentioned above), and a flight test with a grade 2 or grade 3 examiner (most schools will have one handy). Budget for at least a few hours of dual wherever you go, since you'll need to be shown local landmarks and procedures. The South African CAA is pretty helpful, once you get through to the right person.
Indeed South Africa looks interesting; - I would be going for at least 2 weeks as less makes very little sense.
What about Australia - anyone has any schools in Queensland that they would like to recommend. I would like to go there in November time to see the Full Solar Eclipse (but from the ground - not while flying, flying during solar eclipse; does it quality as IFR or Night flying? :P)
Wouldn't bother with mountain flying until you have more experience, unless by mountain flying you mean mountain sightseeing which is not the same thing at all.
Concentrate on improving your general handling (especially autos and PFLs), navigation (using maps, not slavishly following the Garmin), confined area operations and flying in worse weather conditions - then you might develop a level of confidence and competence that will allow you to gain something positive from a mountain flying course.
Just think back to passing your driving test - did you go straight out at night on a busy motorway in the pissing rain? Be realistic about your capabilities and build them gradually but thoroughly and you hopefully won't end up as a statistic.
Good luck - helicopter flying is the best flying in the world but needs treating with respect - walk before you run before you sprint.
Nice one Crab. Let's get a PPL and do more auto's and PFL's. Then why not just for more fun fly about in crap weather.
Or how about, let's enjoy what we've earned at the end of a long hard slog and paid hard earned money to achieve. Go flying in some interesting places with nice weather and while there improve our skills and knowledge.
Come on chaps, don't knock someone for wanting to build hours and at the same time learn some new tricks.
Go for it Ryleh! Enjoy using, that's using, your hard earned PPL, improve your skills base and visit some interesting places.
I went to NZ in 2001 with a low hours UK Caa PPL(H) and after a 10hr mountain course (mandatory for all PPL(H) issue in NZ) and some brushing up, I obtained a PPL(H) NZ which at the time was valid in Aus via the trans Tasmanian agreement if I recall. The mountain rating was very demanding but very worthwhile (5 dual 5 Solo) and improved my skills no end and it was amazing to land on top of mountains and in valleys and save the walk! It was quite straightforward to convert the licence and not much of a fee as I recall (less than $100 NZ?). I just drove down to Wellington to the NZ Caa, produced my license, log book with Mountain rating signed off, Med Cert and went around a museum for a couple of hours then collected it after that. They even accepted my Class 1 from the UK so no NZ medical was required. I was in NZ for 6 weeks in the end and did my Mountain rating, night rating, sling load rating (fantastic!) and lots of hourbuilding and flying into Welly International which was fun and daunting at the same time. It was the best flying ever and I did 70Hrs+. Good times and NZ is great to fly over and just as nice on the ground.
I was flying H300's with Heliflight (Masterton...not there anymore I think but in Auk?) and stayed in my campervan on the airfield when flying and went walkabout (driveabout) when weather was dodgy. My confidence and skills improved day by day and I just loved and trusted my H300 when it got very turbulent and it never let me down..3 bladed, fully articulated for me please pls! I know now why they call it windy Wellington! Do check out if things are still the same now. 'Google' Heli schools NZ. I never regretted it for one moment. I had to come home early though as my Dad passed away so had other stuff to deal with.
Kalif - if you think that PPL level of autos and PFLs is adequate then you are likely to end up as one of those guys who doesn't understand skill fade, flys less than 20 hours or so a year without practising basic skills and then fails to lower the lever quickly enough when the donkey stops in his R22/44.
Ask accident investigators how many helicopter crashes they go to where the aircraft has impacted near-vertically with little or no Nr.
The other great killer of PPLHs is inadvertant IMC due to pushing on in poor weather because they haven't encountered it before and don't know how to deal with worsening conditions.
After 30 years of helo flying and 8000+ hours, I still practise handling skills like those regularly because they are the ones that save your life.
I flew with an R22 owner a few years ago who had 150 hours post PPLH, used to commute to work in his helo and took his young son flying in it - he couldn't enter auto and fly a PFL to save his life and it took several hours to rebuild his skills and confidence.
I didn't say don't enjoy your helicopter flying, just treat the hard-won skills with respect and realise they erode very quickly if you don't keep them honed.
Ryleh, enjoy the ride and take Crabs advice. Training and revision keep you alive. Never settle for second best when it is your own life and the bare minimums are just that, the bare minimums on the best day. Train to be the best that you can be on your worst day!
HoverD has some good ideas about Nz and another company over that way that I have heard good things about is Wanaka Helicopters. In Australia, you can't go pastHeliwest, who have their main base in Perth and a satellite school in Toowoomba, Queensland, only 40 mins by R44 to the Gold Coast. If you can get through the Australian process, that then gives you the options of flying on both sides of Australia.
Enjoy the trip, you have paid for it, get the most out of it.
I understand crab's point - he didn't need to mention that as even during the training I spoke with the CFI and asked him if every month taking instructor for 30min-1h to practice autos and PFLs is too much or too little. Indeed those skills erode fast if you are not using them.
However, I'm the kind of person that enjoys challenges, flying to different areodromes/desitantions after the PPL is a good start - and yes IMC is the biggest killer here in UK, however if someone is seeing a big-a** storm cloud on the horizon and doesn't decide to turn around he is an idiot and as sad as it is - darwinian survival of the fittest rule applies here.... Not to mention, us being helicopter pilots - we always have the advantage of having the possibility of landing virtually anywhere where there is enough open space (having a bottle of Champagne ready for the annoyed farmer always helps :P)
I understand that mountain flying might be one of the most challenging aspects - however, I think Crab you are missing one important thing here; while learning to fly and flying here in South East of England you don't really do any performance planning except how much fuel you want to carry. We always have to stick under the London TMA of 1500-3000 feet and the temperatures here are - well - moderate. Going to a destination like Majorca I would expect I would have to re-learn and apply those skills - hot and high.
@HoverD: Indeed Schweizer 300 is a great little Heli.... I've trained on it - it does handle very well and is fun to fly.
Crab, I never said a PPLs level of autos is adequate; some are and some are not. Everyone is an individual and some have let's say higher natural skill levels than others. It's not an hours thing either, having 800 hours or 8000 hours makes no difference to 'some' pilots attitudes. We can all find examples of experienced pilots doing stupid things, sometimes with tragic consequences regardless of amount of hours.
Ryleh seems very level headed and looks like wanting and intending to improve the skills base while at the same time enjoying doing it in other areas and environments.
You may have 8000+ hours and 30 years experience, and I'm glad to hear you still, as I do, practice the basics even with 10,000+ hours....
If you take the time to read your post you'll see it assumes that Ryleh has got his PPL and that's it; not so.
Hi, I'm in the process of finishing the PPL(H) here in always sunny and bright Blighty
so I think I assumed correctly that he/she has no more helicopter experience than that and may not actually yet have his/her PPLH.
Always amusing to be Elevenerifed by someone (if I've been to Tenerife you've been to Elevenerife ) so with your extensive experience you should understand my concern for new helicopter pilots with big wallets not consolidating on their basic skills before going off to learn new ones.
However, as you said, Ryleh does seem like a level-headed person with a professional outlook on his/her flying and a good attitude.
Since this forum is as close as many get to a crewroom, it is incumbent upon old farts like me to offer cautionary tales and words of advice to newbies.
Well, if you are going to spend some money on the Hr Bldg time you may as well contribute something to the UK economy as well. The weather is'nt always rain and low cloud, and in an R22 you will accumulate hrs faster by going slower, so why not do a few long trips in the varied weather, conditions and skies of the UK?
Starting from somewhere near London, you could plan a whole bunch of long, multi leg routes to the West Country, Wales (North and South), Northern UK and of course Scotland.
Why not fly with somebody else who is hr bldg too (two pairs of eyes while you are low time) and practice in the skies you would do the CPL course in? You need to do a QXC solo and a few other things in prep for the CPL, and could hone VFR navigation in all those hours.
I'm sure a flying school would be happy to see somebody taking a professional approach to preparing for the next course and offer block discounts for the business (and I bet you could negotiate a deal that was based on pay as you go based on high volume over a period of months).