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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

Old 11th Apr 2002, 00:06
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Florida flying

In Orlando area at Kissimmee airfield try Orlando flight training. They one r22.

I found at Ford Lauderdale there are two operaters.

Volar Helicopters 8 R22's 1 R44 B206 etc

Heliflight as above

Reccommend Volar it was the only school that would EOL's to the ground.
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Old 11th Apr 2002, 19:05
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I certainly enjoy flying at Volar ....

Com Checkride: T- 3 days ......
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Old 12th Apr 2002, 08:36
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Cool

I did my PPL studies with Helicopter Adventures Inc. based at Space Coast Airport in Titusville, FLORIDA (approx half an hours drive from Orlando)

Very professional with a good reputation. They operate approx 17 Schweizers and 3/4 R22's.

Well worth contacting them.
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 18:59
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My Three Weeks Flying in California

Hi friends. I've now been in the LA area just over a week, and thought I'd post this for anyone else from Europe who's thinking of doing the same thing, or for anyone who's just interested. I'll do it in stages, when I have time, and if anyone wants to ask me anything, I'll answer it when I have time and Internet access.

Since I had a JAR CPL(H) and 200 hours, and wanted another 100 in order to do an instructors' course, my plan was to get the hours and as much different flying experience as possible on a couple of different trips overseas, as and when I could afford it. Having had my fingers burned instruction-wise in the UK, I try not to go anywhere now without at least one recommendation. In December I started asking around, and several people recommended Kevin Eastman of Rotor Aviation, based at Long Beach, CA. After several phone calls and e-mails, I'd arranged to do the R44 transition (conversion in UK-speak), the B206 transition and some cheap hour building with one of the traffic watch guys, and some R22 fun flying. I may want a job, but I fly helis mainly for FUN. the problem is, it's expensive fun, and long term I'll need to be paid to continue. OK, here's the story so far:

Wed 10th April.
Flew to LAX. Kevin had offered to pick me up, and was an hour late due to traffic in LA. We eventually found each other, and he drove me to Irene's house in Orange County, about 6 miles from LGB. I was staying there for $11 a night (it's gone up to $15 now). Kevin had given me a choice of accommodation, but I prefer to spend my money on flying.

Thur 11th April
Kevin picked me up and took me to LGB for a tour of Airflite, where he has an office - huge fancy building with lots of facilities. I'm impressed, but daunted by the sheer size of everything - I'm used to little grass airfields, help!!! He arranges a hire car and I manage to negotiate the LA traffic (this is my first time here) to the FSDO office to get a US temporary licence. I've brought my PPL(A) too, and get one to cover me for both - really straightforward. I drive back to Irene's, getting lost (first time of many).

Fri 12th April
I'd arranged to start off with the R44 transition, hoping to learn about US airspace, radio use etc, as we go along. I realise early on it's more complicated than that - very very different over here. But we manage two hours flying and a couple of hours groundschool. It goes OK, but jet lag is beginning to hit, LGB circuits, approaches etc, look horrendous, and I wonder if I'll ever dare fly solo here - I feel like a complete beginner!!!

Sat 13th April
Finish R44 transition, which is nice. Since I intend to fly in the UK, the only real reason to do it was to learn to fly the R44; I don't need the paperwork. But why not do it properly. In the UK, with a CPL, you only need whatever it takes to get it added to your licence, so hopefully just an hour or so when I get back. I'm even more tired and scared, so ask if I can do some dual on Sunday, learning how to get in and out of this terrifying huge airport.

Sun 14th April
Weather is crap, but we can fly locally if I'm with an instructor - they call it Special VFR here. For the US people, in the UK SVFR is somewhat different. Anyway, no point in leaving the airfield into the fog, so I get used to LGB circuits - tight turns round buildings and finding tiny helispots between two active runways - it begins to be fun. Then we do 180 autos from 500 ft and other fun things you rarely do in the UK. Maybe I like it here after all. Jet lag beginning to go. In the afternoon I drive 50 miles on the freeway (help!!) to Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley, where I'll be staying with a friend of Philippe, the B206 traffic watch guy. He's also an instructor, which is why I'm flying with him and not Commander Chuck, as that way the CAA can hardly query the hours, I hope. I meet Philippe, and get introduced to Carlos, where I'm staying (and this is his computer).

Right, next instalment later; I have groundschool and flying.
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Old 18th Apr 2002, 19:15
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Don't you love the 180's from 500?

Hey,

I remember your "circle to land at my doorstep" when you visited hehehe .... so LA is larger, don't worry about it.

Sounds like you are enjoying yourself!
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 01:58
  #86 (permalink)  

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Yes RW-1, the 180 autos were great fun, especially as the instructor kept telling me how good I was - well, you always like that don't you. Anyway, where was I...

Mon 15th April
Up at 4.30 am (groan). Unfortunately I get over jet lag fast, so this feels like the middle of the night. Carlos is already up; he starts work early. He's also made a pot of coffee - this lookks like a good place to stay. At 5.30 I drive the six miles to Van Nuys airport to meet Philippe, as traffic watch starts at 6 am. It's pouring with rain and cold - what happened to sunny southern California. But we fly around at about 500 ft below the clouds, with me trying to get used to the B206 and following freeways - but LA looks like a massive sea of concrete in all directions and I can't distinguish anything. The rain after lots of dry wx has made the roads slippery and there are heaps of accidents on the freeways - mildly exciting if you like that sort of thing. Then we go to a rather good French bakery for a second breakfast, then two hours ground school. Back again at 4pm for more flying; this time the wx is better, but LA still looks like a sea of buildings for 60 miles in all directions.

Tues 16th April
Same as Monday, but wx better, and I'm getting used to the B206. In between looking for traffic snarl-ups, we go to a couple of practice areas and i get to do circuits and hovering. I find it hard; the B206 doesn't like being treated like a R22, or even a R44; it's very different. Philippe is a good instructor, but at $120 an hour I wouldn't complain if he wasn't, and I'm having a lot of fun. In the afternoon we fly along the coast, including the shoreline transition at 150 ft. We also fly right between the buildings downtown, wow! I like being in a country with no 500 ft rule.

Wed 17th April
Same as Tuesday, but light dawns!!!. I've been studying the helicopter route chart all week, but suddenly - I can recognise freeways! Eureka!!! LA doesn't look like a sea of concrete - it has areas, and mountains, and downtown to help you orientate yourself. We've been flying some routes everyday, and now I can say: is it south down the 405 and east on the 10 again, and similar, and know where to go. We've also done fun things like fly over Beverley Hills and famous people's homes - Philippe, you have control, I wanna photo. And more circuits, hovering, etc when time, and I really like this helicopter - I want one!!! Any millionaires out there want to marry me and buy me a helicopter? In the few hours I have off I even manage to go sightseeing - drive through Topanga Canyon to the coast, look at the beach, go shopping in Santa Monica. This was a Bad Idea, with 5 hours flying a day plus groundschool, as I end up completely exhausted and go to bed about 8 pm.

Thur 18th April
More of same, but that's not a complaint; this is fun. In the afternoon we manage to fly over the mountiains to the north of LA and do some interesting flying there. And having been through the whole B206 book, I get to do the A check, which takes ages. Tomorrow should be the last day, then it's back to Long Beach on Saturday.

Right, that's up to date so far. More when I've time.
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 08:27
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here's a tip on how to learn the freeways/highways in la area. get a copy of the terminal chart. look on the back side where there is a vfr planning route chart for airplanes. it has all the roads you need for flying traffic/news. highlight them with colours and write down the freeway numbers (405, 5, etc). there is plenty of room to also note the reporting points you need. took me some time to prepare, but great assistance when flying. you can also put down frequencies, etc. worked for me when i flew for abc 7.

btw, tell 'tv 7' hi from finn if you get the chance to hear them in the sky. =)
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 12:43
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Keep the info coming, I'm enjoying it. sounds like you are too.

R
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 15:19
  #89 (permalink)  
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Cut the Cord Lady......there are better places to see than the LA Basin......Come on over to Vegas, We have been having 40-70 Knot winds, makes you work a bit harder........In fact as I look out the window this morning, its severe clear and windy.......
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 18:13
  #90 (permalink)  

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Hi!

Glad to hear you having a good time. Learnt to fly out of LGB. Have to say can't beat it - never matched it in the UK.

Give Kevin my regards if you see him again.

Don't forget the low level LAX transistion if you get the chance.

S.
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Old 19th Apr 2002, 21:10
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Thumbs up

I am enjoying this topic also....please keep it coming Whirlybird!
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 04:57
  #92 (permalink)  

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Ok, comments/answers first...

tigerpic, just looked at the LA terminal area chart as you suggested. Good idea, a much more manageable size than the heli route chart. I won't need the colour coding, as I pretty much know the freeways now, but that'll help make sure I don't bust any airspace. Thanks a lot.

Bert, I will cut the cord, in my own time. What's the rush? I know how to fly cross country, this other stuff is more fun. But unless plans change, I have an R22 booked for next Friday and Saturday, to fly to Vegas. I'll give you a call and let you know definitely later in the week. That'll probably be the only long cross country I do, as I don't really get off on long cross countries in the R22, and I've done loads back home. I'd rather do shorter trips and mountain flying and pinnacles and stuff. There's a limit to what you can learn flying across the desert following a freeway. But I hope to see you soon.

pilotwolf, I'm driving back to Long Beach tomorrow, and will drop in and see Kevin when I get there, or on Sunday to fly if I do too much sightseeing on the way down. I'll tell him hi, but from whom? I'm based at LGB for the rest of the trip.

Right, to continue...

Fri 19th April
I'm totally, utterly, and completely knackered! I've done about 7 hours flying today, and I'm glad I didn't plan to drive back to Long Beach tonight, as I could barely drive to where I'm staying. Three hours this morning, doing the grand tour, all of LA county North to South and East to West, following the coast for miles including the shoreline transition past LAX for the second time, looking at seals and dolphins barely 100 ft below us, great fun. Then into ground school and the start up and how not to do hot starts. Then nearly three hours flying for the transition, doing just about every sort of auto there is, all to the area we were using north of LA, landing on a small area between trees by a river. Then hydraulic failure, and the ****** made me hover it, wouldn't let me do a run on landing! Closest I've ever come to bursting into tears while flying a helicopter, and my shoulders still ache. Can't remember what we did next, but there was more. When we got back to Van Nuys we had to hover for ages while two f/w aircraft sorted out how to leave. Finally landed, got my log book signed etc for the week, and staggered out, with the world rocking like I'd been on a boat for a week. It's been a good week, and I thoroughly recommend Philippe for anyone wanting to do the same thing - see his ad in JustHelicopters for details (Heliclass). And no, I didn't check what the CAA think of the hours.

I'm having a day off tomorrow, driving back to Long Beach, sightseeing as I go. Sunday I'm hopefully flying with an instructor to get LGB procedures etc sorted out, Monday doing some local stuff alone, Tuesday flying to Santa Barbara to visit some old friends, Wednesday maybe Catalina, or Big Bear, or Palm Springs, not sure, Thursday the Robinson factory tour, Friday and Saturday Las Vegas. After that I'll see. If I can get on Kevin's PC I'll post more when I can.
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 13:03
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Great posts Whirlybird. Keep them coming.

Catalina is a good trip, although more challenging in a f/w than a heli - when you see the approach, you'll know what I mean! The buffalo-burgers in the airport cafe are worth trying.
Palm Springs is not a bad trip but mostly over the desert and you'll do that en route to Vegas.
Consider flying down the coast to San Diego. It's a fabulous trip (<100 miles from memory) and San Diego has the most beautiful harbour in the world. Stunning!
Assuming it's still possible post 9/11, you get a wonderful view by flying out to Point Loma (under Mil control) and then crossing the bay near the Coronado Bridge (under SD International control.)

I agree about the low level transition at LAX. Great fun. Do they still allow you to use the rooftop helipad post 9/11?

Another tip you might find useful ..... Robinson test fly all helicopters before release. Officially they don't allow visitors to go up with the test pilots, but it's not impossible. If you manage to persuade them, you'll see the complete flight envelope demonstrated by a factory specialist. Very interesting!

(Enviously)
Tudor Owen

Hope ithe wx improves enough for you to fly the R22 with the door off. A little strange at first, but great fun when you get used to it. Real "Whirlybird" flying!!

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 20th Apr 2002 at 22:00.
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 20:42
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You sound like you are enjoying yourself. The only rotary flying I did in the US last year was an R44 trip low level from Montgomery Field in San Diego, down the coast and over the aircraft carriers at Coronado. Absolutely terrific. Try it if you get the chance.

See you when you get back

Cheers
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 21:47
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Whirly :

Thermal is only 15 minutes further on from Palm Springs, worth a stop for fuel, but go back to PS, stop off at Millionaire and eat at the restaurant just outside there. Worth the extra hour or so if you want a below MSL airfield in the logbook.

My turn to be jealous of you !
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 23:54
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Sat 20th April
No flying today. I woke up at 7.30 am, feeling better for over 10 hours sleep! Drove back to Long Beach via Topanga Canyon, then spent several hours in Venice, shopping, having a Chinese massage to get the hydraulic failure kinks out of my shoulders, people watching on the boardwalk, and envying the owners of the houses on the canals. Drove round Culver City in circles trying to find my way on to the freeway, arggg...maybe finding my way in the air is easier. Just got back to Rotor Aviation, and decided to post anyway, even if it's not aviation orientated really.

Nr Fairy, Thanks; I may do that, but I now have this long list of places to go to, and only 10 days left! How can you be jealous of me? You did loads, and went loads of places I'm not going, having spent a week flying the freeways. But that was my decision, so I'm happy with it.

Flying Lawyer, I was definitely planning to visit Catalina, hopefully in the next few days. San Diego's on the list if time. I don't know about the rooftop helipad, and thanks for the hint about test flying R22s; I fancy that if I can wangle it.

Muffin, I'll hopefully fly into your field and tell you all the news sometime when I get back.

BTW, I want to do one hour f/w flying, just to get a US airfield in my log book; anyone know who at LGB I should go to?
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Old 22nd Apr 2002, 15:52
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I almost forgot to mention. Since your in Long Beach, make sure you have a meal at "The Claimjumper". Ultimate in Pilot food. Also if you want to visit any of the Law Enforcement Air Wings, give me a shout, I have a few friends over there who would show you around.
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Old 22nd Apr 2002, 17:29
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Sun 21st April

I have two sessions booked with an instructor; gotta crack this LA airspace and radio and so on. First one I tell Tim I want to do every departure and approach there is, and he's to MAKE me do the radio. He takes me at my word; we go out up to downtown, across Santa Monica's airspace, shoreline transition at 150 ft talking to LAX, through Torrance, across LGB again, then turn east, then...can't remember; I was probably on serious overload by then. I come back and he tells me all I need is to relax!!!! Argggggghhh!!!! Nr Fairy, you have my total respect, and amazement, at being able to cope after just a day or two. I console myself by remembering that you'd flown in the US before, and this is my first time. However, for anyone else thinking of doing this, do remember I was a writer and storyteller long before I became a heli pilot, so I'm a little prone to exaggeration. But only a little; this is tough for someone who learned to fly at a little one runway airfield in the UK and thinks twice before going through Liverpool's zone. Good experience though. Anyway, after lunch Tim says I'm doing it ALL myself this time; we go out to the coast and head south to Dana Point, buzz the pier and wave at the people, and do a pinnacle approach - apparently fun is allowed sometimes. Then through John Wayne airspace which is military and they speak even faster - do they really speak English over here? Sometimes I wonder as I can't understand them. We come back via the freeways; my choice ; Tim said go back the same route if I want, but I decide to make life difficult, and get so tired I can hardly land it in the strong crosswind that's suddenly appeared - didn't know they had wind over here. But I cope with the radio and feel like I can finally do this alone. I'm a slow learner - but I get there in the end.

So tomorrow is the Big Day. I'm finally going out on my own; gonna fly to French Valley, maybe meet Tim there and play in the mountains, maybe just have lunch and fly back. Oh ****, now I've told everyone I can't back out can I? Nr Fairy, not deliberately copying you, but seemed like a good place to go, and not many control towers for me to annoy.

I'm having second thoughts about Vegas as there's so much I want to do, and I'm now running out of time. Two whole days of mainly crossing desert may have to go, if I want to go to Catalina, Big Bear, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and San Diego, and I do. And I don't want to turn this into a marathon which I don't enjoy; I've flown nearly 35 hours already,and should get the 50 I was aiming for easily. So Bert, I'm really sorry I won't get to meet you, and I'd love to visit any Law Enforcement Air Wings over here if you can arrange it. I can be contacted through Kevin Eastman at Rotor Aviation on 562.595.6867.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 02:30
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Mon 22nd April
Flew myself to French Valley, lovely trip of an hour or so. Met Tim, the instructor who lives near there, and did a bit of mountain flying with him - pinnacle approaches, flying low down a canyon etc. Great fun. Flew back in strong wind over the mountains - climbing with 17 inches!!!!!! But I'm a little person and it was a R22BII, and a strong wind. All went well till I couldn't get an answer from Los Alimitos, didn't want to bust their airspace, so headed for the coast and an arrival I hadn't planned. No real problem, and got told Los Al was probably closed; oh well. Tomorrow I'm off to Santa Barbara.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 18:39
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I've got to find the $$$ Tree Whirly is drawing from, or start drawing my own $$$ to pass about hehe ....

You go girl, having fun like that !
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