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Which country for training?

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Which country for training?

Old 18th Oct 2002, 01:01
  #21 (permalink)  

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I haven't flown in SA (yet...) but like aussierotor I did some flying with chopperline in Caloundra. Very professional on all counts, good weather, relaxed seaside holiday town. Prices reasonable by world standards - cheap by European ones.

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Old 18th Oct 2002, 08:44
  #22 (permalink)  
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Thanks All!

Thanks for the info, any further names and contacts who you've trained with would be really appreciated.

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Old 8th Jul 2003, 06:34
  #23 (permalink)  
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Now I'm In Big Trouble!!

Had a trail flight the other weekend and now I'm totally hooked - and it ain't gonna go away until I start some courses - which is a shame 'cause that means I'm probably going to be broke for the next god knows how long!

So if you guys could spare some time for a poor confused Brit with whirling blades keeping him awake at night I'd be grateful for some honest advise to a few questions:

1, Three Schools keep standing out whenever I search the internet - Mazzei in Fresno, California ( Cheap with accomodation provided, good reputation) and Ocean in Palm Beach, Florida ( Bit more exspensive, run by a couple of ex-Brits, really helpful people, also good accomodation). Then one of Heliflight, HAI, and Hillsborough - which all offer the J1 visa. If any of you guys have any experience of these schools I'd love to hear a few comments / recomendations / criticisms. I was thinking of splitting my training between two different schools - would you recomend this?

2, What would be the conversion process back in the UK if I managed to complete a PPL,CFL,CFI, and CFII with say a total of 400 hrs total time? ( These hours hopefully coming from some instruction work in the States after completing the courses)

3, Can anybody recommend some informative magazines that would broaden my knowledge of Helicopter operations and experiences? Silly question but can't seem to find a dedicated magazine anywhere.

There's obviously loads more I'd love to know - but don't want to take up too much of anyones time.

Cheers all and thanks for any help you can offer,
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 07:40
  #24 (permalink)  
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Bones, I hav e the same problem but am a couple of years down the line!

I did my PPL at Mazzei's and I thought they were great. Fresno not the most exciting place in the world but overall had a great time out there.

My instructor had 251 hours at the start of my training and in retrospect I probably would have hovered a bit sooner with an instructor that was more willing to let me struggle away. Always felt he was a bit too keen to jump back on the controls.

However the school was very well organised with a good system to listen to student feedback.

Came out PPL'd at 36.5 hrs, so they don't try and take the piss by failing you unnecessarily.

Now have finally sorted life out so that I can return to the States and get all my tickets.

I'm seriously considering heliflight and HAI (or a combination of the 2) to get my CPL and CFI. Obviously for the JAA bits it has to be HAI. If I was training in the summer then I would also consider hillsboro aviation in portland oregon. but i'm not so i won't.

At this stage the only advice I can give is get your head into the books.

The JAA commercial exams are just ridiculous - not least because the syllabus is almost entirely plank based. I don't need to know how to navigate across the atlantic - I think i've done well if i make it to cardiff let New York.

Feel free to PM me if you want to have a chat about Mazzeis or anything else.


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Old 8th Jul 2003, 10:42
  #25 (permalink)  
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I got 2 CPLīs at MFS

10+ years ago I got a CPL/Airplane IFR, ME, and Helicopter CPL at Mazzei Flying Service, I got fair treatment, accomodation was decent, aircraft were OK.

BUT my instructors were really bad, their skill level was very low, this made them nervous pilots who instead of teaching, inspired fear. MFS didnīt really care about the quality of their instructors, there were a couple like Laurie or Nacho who were excellent instructors but you hardly ever flew with them since they did stage checks for a whole bunch of people.

In general when I came out I was completely unprepared for the profesional world.

Unfortunately its a school that hardly if ever goes beyond the very (veeery) minumums required.

Fresno during the fog season in the valley can mean lots of days on the ground, students riding on bikes to school got robbed by gangs back then, but if you come from a civilized city and have never gotten robbed this can give you a cool dinner story.

For fun you can drive to San Francisco, Yosemite, or go to Millerton Lake.

In my very personal opinion I wouldnīt go back.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 11:36
  #26 (permalink)  
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Will be honest with you and will possibly get some stick for it, but its advice well worth taking.

Find something else to get hooked on, save your money, buy a jet ski, become a jet ski instructor or something else, just steer well clear of Helicopters for the time being, do not under any circumstances take out a lone for training, sad truth is if you cannot afford it you cannot do it, don't try to fool yourself.

There is very little work out there, especially in the U.K or anywhere in Europe, Austraila or NZ, work in the U.S is becomming harder to come by and you get paid more working in Mcdonalds, and work in better conditions.

Your choice, but you have been warned.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 13:40
  #27 (permalink)  
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also try Helipan Corp. in Panama. They advertise in Flyer Mag.

Check their website: www.helipan.com
Call them and ask for any of their instructors (Brit, Swiss, Austrian). Ask to talk to some of their students, too.

There is no flying terrain as we have it anywhere near the other schools!


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Old 8th Jul 2003, 16:14
  #28 (permalink)  
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Consider South African Rand/UK&, works out great for you as a Brit.

Dave Mouton, ex Air Force, ex Police pilot. Manager of and chief instructor of Helibip. Best helo instructor in Africa, my opinion. Known and flown with him for a long time.

So this 'best helo instructor in Africa' is ex Air Force, ex Police pilot? And you're 'Ex Military, Law Enforcement'. And you've flown with him for a very long time, eh?

Welcome to the forum.

Last edited by Heliport; 8th Jul 2003 at 18:24.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 17:45
  #29 (permalink)  
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A few years ago my business partner and I had a free long weekend in L.A. and asked Group 3 Aviation, based at Van Nuys "The World's Busiest G.A. Airport" to teach us to hover......neither of us had even sat in a helicopter before.

Four 1.5 hour sorties per day with a 2 hour break between each sortie. 12 hours a day for three days....we demanded aircraft and instructors and they supplied them, on time and ready to go.

They succeeded but there's only so much hovering you can do in the early stages so within minutes we were also mixing it with the big jets at Burbank followed by pinnacles behind Malibu, running the Santa Monica beach "not above 150ft" and finally shooting night approaches into Wright Field.

As you may have gathered I became hooked on rotary with the consequent hammering of my bank balance

I've been back to Group3 twice since and they have always delivered exactly as promised
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 18:00
  #30 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up Good on ya!

My two pence says:
Go to HAI in Florida, do the JAA/FAA program, end up with CPL/H CFI and ATPL/H (Frozen JAA) which will give you the oportunity to work in the states for a while, If you're good, you may even be hired by HAI, I was!

I did my FAA program in Calif, and got hired right away, worked for a year, and am now in Canada, teaching the Canadian way.

HAI is a good school, many students and instructors, Good programs and a balanced atmosphere. The weather pretty much alows flying most days, and you are close to some major attractions like Disney and Seaworld, even if there is oinly so much one can see!

Hope you find anything worthwile, oh and check out their website, where you'll find a freephone number from UK, just ask to speak to Sam, and she'll give you all available information!

site is at www.heli.com
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 19:56
  #31 (permalink)  
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I'm not from the UK and can't imagine what yall have to go through to get a job over there, but it sounds reasonable to me that if you pick a school over here and plunk down that big pile of cash for the whole deal then you stand a better chance of getting a job instructing with that school when you finish your ratings. After that, marry a fat girl, get your green card, and go to work pretty much anywhere in the states. There is always fat girls and jobs to be had down south in the GOM (Gulf of Mexic). Good Luck.
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 02:04
  #32 (permalink)  
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Cheers guys

Big thanks to all those who have took the time to reply - any other opinions are more than welcome, paticularly any about Ocean Helicopters in West Palm Beach, Florida (must admit these have taken my eye.) Surely someone knows of them?

My much better half is off with the Army in a couple of months, so I thought whilst she's off "sunbathing" over there I'd get over the pond whilst she's got other things on her mind!! ( But hopefully Mr Cropduster this won't put off too many of your lovely "fat Girls"!)

Seems when all is considered then each school has it's uppers and downers - I guess I'll never truely know what to expect until I'm actually there - so maybe there is something to be said for going with my Gut Feeling.

And as for buying a Jetski - embarassed to say that I'd rather blow all my money on helicopters than get water in my eyes, definately no water baby!

Thanks for the link to Rotor and Wing - I'll go and try to blag my free subscribtion now.

Hopefully get a chance to speak to all again soon - take care,
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 04:07
  #33 (permalink)  
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What's wrong with spending your cash in the UK?

No axe to gind here, but why not do your PPL in the UK?

If you're planning on flying here when qualified, then the experience you gain during your PPL training in the UK will be of greater worth than some of the stuff you'll do in the US. (that's not supposed to disparage anything you'll receive in the US, but a lot of the rules and regs are different). Also, by the time you've paid for flights, food/accomm and retraining to convert to a JAA PPL you're probably not saving that much, if anything.

However, if you're after a life experience in the US (with some fat girls) then thats' a different story!

If you live in Brum, there are some helicopter schools easily commutable; Heliflight at Wolverhampton and Tiger at Shobdon spring immediately to mind (can't comment on the standard of training of either as my training was paid for by the tax payer!).

One recent anecdote, for what it's worth. I flew with an FAA PPL(H) brit who has only flown in the US (125 hours). He's just bought his own machine in the UK and wanted me to convert him onto it. During our flights together, it was apparent, that despite being reasonably experienced (in PPL terms), he hadn't the slightest idea of most of the UK rules and regs or R/T procedures. Furthermore, it transpired that a huge factor in him buying his own machine was that many of the UK flying schools he visitted for self-fly hire were very reluctant to let him fly due to his 'foreign' training.

Hope this helps. J

PS. If you really are after fat girls, then there are loads in the west midlands!
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 07:33
  #34 (permalink)  
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Dear Jellycopter,

Whilst I love everthing about Brum and the beautiful West Midlands - and please beleive me thoses (Northern) Satanic mills in Ancient Times willl always and forever be my home - it took me four (false) journeys to Northampton before I was finally able to get my trial flight! That was four weekends of missed chances. It just seems to me that if you are going to spend about Ģ40,000 to Ģ50,000 then the least you should expect is the weather to blow your money!! And you're dead right - there are plently of fat girls in Walsall!!!! ( Sorry yam yams)

But apart from that - What hope of a job in the UK? It seems to me - and I would love to be corrected - that's its a very expensive gamble. Whilst I understand that doing the same courses in the States is also a massive gamble, at least there are far more helicopter companies/ schools/ charters/ operations - thus more vacancies....Surely the greater amount of schools the better the chances of work?

Obviously I may be completely misguided - but then again my dreams of late have always included a strange Whirly thumping sound! Please keep your thoughts coming guys - still waitng for some Ocean Helicopter ex-students to step forward!!!!!

Thanks again for any input.

Best of regards to all of you,
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Old 10th Jul 2003, 04:20
  #35 (permalink)  
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There will always be pros and cons about training in US vs UK. So people I know trained in US and got UK jobs. But then I would never get to know someone who trained in US and didnt get a job in either. The people I know who got UK jobs trained with HIA.

Important thing is attitude and professionalism. Getting training and ratings is a tick in a box - it allows you to apply for jobs in the first place. Getting the job is all about you and whether a chief pilot likes the look of you. In some ways, its not what you know, its who. If you want to fly in UK, there is a alot to be said for training here. There are loads of PPRuNers who will vouch for that.

I didnt go to the States because I didnt want to give up a good job while I was training / waiting to get a job. Advice I would always give is make sure you have a plan B. There are too many hoops to jump through / waiting to trip you up on the way to be a professional pilot.

Have fun and enjoy wherever you end up learning to fly. Learning to fly is one of the most exhilerating experiences and also one of the most depressing. All at the same time! And I would do it all again.
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Old 14th Aug 2003, 21:29
  #36 (permalink)  
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JAA FAA ICAO CAA etc - help needed

I'm a bit confused about all this and need some help.

I am thinking of going to Helicopter Adventures in florida (with a JAA PPL-H, gained here in the UK) to do the FAA CPL course and the FAA CFI course, working as an instructor in the US for 18 months, then coming back to the UK once my J1 visa has expired.

4 questions...

1) what will i need to do to enable me to work as an heli instructor here in the UK?, given that I will have about 700-1000 hours.

2) what is an ICAO licence? do i need one to work here in the UK? if so, can you covert a FAA licence to a ICAO easily?

3) is it a better idea to do the JAA CPL course instead of the FAA CPL course when I am at Helicopter Adventures Inc?

4) is a JAA CPL course the same as a CAA CPL course? Helicopter Adventures website program/prices isnt very clear to me

Old 15th Aug 2003, 00:11
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Check your PM's Dave
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Old 15th Aug 2003, 01:41
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If you know the answers, better to post them on the thread (not PM) so that others can learn as well.
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Old 15th Aug 2003, 03:12
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You seem to have confused a few things, hopefully I can help you unravel a few things.

1) If you do a FAA CFI and fly 700-1000 hours you will have about zero chance of gaining an instructing job in the UK. Reason: You don't have a JAA Flight Instructor licence. I will add, there are a few flight schools in the UK offering training towards FAA licences so it's not completely 100% useless.

2) Both the FAA and UK JAA licences are ICAO but neither are directly interchangable between each other. When being ICAO licences comes into effect is when you are dealing with smaller countries. Some Far East, African and Middle East countries will recognize FAA, JAA, Canadian or Australian/New Zealand licences and directly change them for their countries with little more than an Air Law exam.

3) It would be better to do both the JAA AND CPL licences at the same time. Both recognize 'flight time' just have different checkrides and exams.

4) There is no longer a CAA CPL course. All CAA courses lead to a JAA licence unfortunately the JAA hasn't managed to come up with a helicopter specific batch of questions yet so students are still being taught for the CAA exams!!!

To put you in the best possible position for your first position my recommendation would be to do both JAA and FAA Commercial licences, an FAA Instrument rating and a FAA CFI and CFII (Instrument Instructor). The Instrument Instructor would put you in an excellent position for work using a J1 visa in the US and help you gain the valuable experience/flight time required. Consideration for a JAA instructor licence before your return to the UK 'maybe'.

Just as an extra you are shooting too low on your possible hours during the J1 visa's 2 years. Personally I still had a couple of months remaining when I gained my FAA ATPL on a J1 visa and I know of a few others that attained the same.

That was 9 years ago that I left the UK and I still haven't 'managed' to get a job there. But many other HAI graduates have and are in the North Sea, a UK Flight School owner, UK Police, Irish Coast Guard or like me, still working overseas.

Oh, there are others that spent the money and no longer fly or whom never got a job in the US........ or anywhere else for that matter. Your licences are no guarantee of employment!!!

Hope that helps.........

P.S. You would still have to budget for a US Private checkride before you can continue your study's for an FAA Commercial
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Old 15th Aug 2003, 06:45
  #40 (permalink)  
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ta for the reply rotorbike but... if i go to the US and do "both JAA and FAA Commercial licences, an FAA Instrument rating and a FAA CFI and CFII" - it will cost an (even bigger) fortune, i.e. the same cost as doing it all over here in the UK. so why not just stay in the UK and save all the hassle?


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