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Flying Training - Helicentre Aviation?

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Flying Training - Helicentre Aviation?

Old 25th Nov 2021, 16:32
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Flying Training - Helicentre Aviation?

Would anyone be willing to share their experiences of training with or generally dealing with Helicentre Aviation?

I'm considering undertaking flying training there and they have a significant online presence when compared to other training providers, where they talk about their connections with industry (Bristow in particular) and scholarships amongst other things, which other training providers don't talk about at all. Is Helicentre Aviation the only place that has these links and opportunities or is it just that they are the only place the publishes it online?

When digging a bit deeper, I noticed that they have pretty poor feedback on glassdoor - not ideal when they could be my employer one day! I was also hoping to get any views or opinions on this too, as if I trained there one option would be to instruct there once I'd got my FI and I don't want to be put off by one or two bad reviews.

Thanks all!
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Old 25th Nov 2021, 20:16
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Looking at glassdoor you are talking about three reviews out of how many students they have had ??? Not everyone is going to be happy.

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Old 25th Nov 2021, 21:15
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I went last year to get my PPL(H). Before I could start I had to pass the Pilot Selection day course. Three parts:-
Flying - passed 4/5
Maths Test- 100% in about a quarter of the time allowed.
A "computer game" - failed miserablely. Told to take my money else where!
Arrogant would be my description of them.
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Old 25th Nov 2021, 21:28
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ View Post
Looking at glassdoor you are talking about three reviews out of how many students they have had ??? Not everyone is going to be happy.

Although I want to learn about both the life there as an instructor and as a student, the 3 reviews are from former employees rather than students, so I was looking at the glassdoor reviews specifically with regards to potentially instructing there as a job afterwards rather than learning there. A company of their size maybe has around 10 instructors, so getting 2 bad reviews with the former employees saying that they have "no care for the staff at all" and that someone feels that they are the "least trustworthy people I have come across" since 2020 doesn't look good from the outside!
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 12:37
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I would say pretty good. As 'The Punter' above says, there aren't many schools that would actually turn you away - Most just want to see your chequebook. That isn't arrogance, that's wanting to keep their success rate high and trying to avoid foreseeable problems.

The North Sea seem to like Helicentre students - Their graduates seem to do well and are ready to go straight into North Sea roles, which I guess means they'll be good for other companies too. Bristow have taken on about 8 of their graduates or instructors in the recent past, with CHC also taking a few.

I can't think of any other schools that have that level of size or success rate.
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 13:12
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Originally Posted by The Punter View Post
I went last year to get my PPL(H). Before I could start I had to pass the Pilot Selection day course. Three parts:-
Flying - passed 4/5
Maths Test- 100% in about a quarter of the time allowed.
A "computer game" - failed miserablely. Told to take my money else where!
Arrogant would be my description of them.
It could also be viewed as showing integrity - not wishing to waste the time and money of potential clients who they don't believe have the innate aptitude. Those same (or very similar) "computer games" are also used for selecting Military and sponsored civillian pilots, so they do have some provenance......

Edit to say I see Bob beat me to it, with similar sentiments!

If you would like to see a sad example of what can happen when you just throw money at a school to get a licence, read this:https://assets.publishing.service.go...990_G-SHBB.pdf


Last edited by 212man; 26th Nov 2021 at 13:23.
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 14:07
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What "game" would they expect an applicant to play?
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 15:39
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Originally Posted by SpindleBob View Post
Bristow have taken on about 8 of their graduates or instructors in the recent past
Isn't that the whole point of the scholarschip deal Bristow and Helicentre have..?
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 15:43
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Originally Posted by UpAndDownAndUpAndDow View Post
...as if I trained there one option would be to instruct there once I'd got my FI...
I hope that you're not also planning on having a large training loan which will require paying back:

https://uk.indeed.com/viewjob?jk=8bd2d08f483dfa16
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 16:14
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Hi Willypete
The screen was split into 4 quarters.
One quarter was ATC giving instrutions in heavily accented english.
A "pacman" style game.
The old space invaders game.
In the last one the airplane started in the middle of the quarter screen, objects appeared from the left side of the sceen and using the up/down keys on the numerical side of the keyboard I had to avoid them, all while not being "eaten", shooting down UFO's and having ATC telling me to turn on to heading 265 from 085.

The reasoning behind it is to see how one copes' with pressure.
Pressure to me would trying to autorotate a Robbie or be a Dr in AAE

Back to the trading screen
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 17:33
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Originally Posted by Bravo73 View Post
I hope that you're not also planning on having a large training loan which will require paying back
I had always thought that a salary of £20k-24k was common for instructors, after all they're essentially "using" the school to build up their hours before jumping ship to a better gig! Is this a particularly low salary, even for instructors?
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Old 26th Nov 2021, 21:23
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Originally Posted by UpAndDownAndUpAndDow View Post
I had always thought that a salary of £20k-24k was common for instructors, after all they're essentially "using" the school to build up their hours before jumping ship to a better gig! Is this a particularly low salary, even for instructors?
Unfortunately here lies a problem. They know people are desperate for hours hours hours so they pay peanuts. It happens across the globe in this industry.

Good luck in following your dream, many pitfalls and lessons to be had.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 11:13
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I would say they are a very good option. You have a decent chance of getting work at the end if you get either an FI rating or IR with them. And you get to meet and hang out with other students who are on the same path - don't underestimate the importance of this. It's hard work and you'll have ups and downs. Doing in in isolation is difficult - I can say that from first hand experience.

I've spoken to a couple of students who went there and they had positive things to say.

I spoke to Helicentre when I was looking at a school to do my CPL and I felt they were overly salesy which put me off. It made me wonder why they were acting so desperate. You have to attend a pilot selection day, which you pay for, in order to be able to book onto the course. You get time in a Cabri for that so it's not a complete waste but if you get told no thanks at the end of it, and then go to another school which operates R22's then your Cabri time was a bit of a waste.

Because they are able to offer instructing work or entry to the North Sea if you train with them, you pay several hundred quid for the pilot selection day in order to be considered. It's a common technique used in sales/marketing whereby they get you to make a small commitment and you are therefore invested/committed, such that you are primed to follow through with the main purchase. But either way it's fair enough and who cares about a few hundred quid in the grand scheme of things.

If I did it all again I would probably go with them. They're a bit of a pilot factory but it works, so what the heck.

I think they only use the Cabri for PPL/CPL training which is a great machine albeit more expensive than the R22 so if cost is a factor, then bear that in mind. They have a number of Cabri's so availability shouldn't be an issue.

Not sure of your current flying level, but if you're at the very beginning then consider their integrated course. It means you only do the one skills test, rather than two (one for the PPL and one for CPL). Plus you're on a tried and tested path to your CPL ticket, with useful well-organised hour building along the way.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 17:27
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I'm interested to hear more about the fact that you have a good chance of getting work afterwards. Is this due to their connections or the quality of student they produce? There's lots of talk about their good links and people getting good work but what does that actually mean for me as a potential student?

I understand your opinion on them being quite salesy, I get a similar impression. I'm a bit concerned that their integrated path isn't necessarily "tried and tested", it seems they've only had 1 course complete thus far and some of those were Bristow cadets, but haven't seen or heard much from the rest of the course which does make me wonder. For a school that seems to get so many pupils and people say is a bit of a factory, you don't hear much about those that haven't gone to Bristow on their scheme! Where are they all now - joining the pool of not very employable low hour CPL holders?

Last edited by UpAndDownAndUpAndDow; 27th Nov 2021 at 19:13.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 19:25
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Originally Posted by 212man View Post
have the innate aptitude.
I think that most people are able to learn to fly a Helicopter
The point of a selection is to obtain a reasonable insurance that the student will reach the standard within the budget. Some people will need more training than others, it does not mean that they will be unsafe.
What I think is innate is more attitude than aptitude. Knowledge requires dedication and hard work, Skill requires training, the expensive part, but Attitude is difficult to change.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 19:33
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Originally Posted by UpAndDownAndUpAndDow View Post
I'm a bit concerned that their integrated path isn't necessarily "tried and tested"
The problem with an integrated course is that once you're in, your stuck in it. If the training is not good or delayed, what can you do? They can even demand that you pay for extra training if they decide at their discretion that you need it, or else they don't sign you off for the skill test. If they file for bankruptcy, you loose everything. So before signing in do your home work, try to speak to as many former students as you can, etc.
You can be sure that the salesperson will tell you all about the good things, and will leave to you only bad things to discover.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 13:47
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Integrated pitfall, as mentioned - you get no paperwork until the end of the course, not even a PPL.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 16:10
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The Intergrated path is the chosen route for the Oil & Gas industry. They (oil companies) demand Integrated Training or you need to have hours and experience under your belt before joining - I think the requirement is 500 Hours, which ties in with the current job advertisements. But the standard Catch 22 - Low hours, no job - And if you haven't got a job, how do you get the hours. The integrated training allows the offshore helicopter operators to get around this problem and provides the highest quality of professional full time training.

The integrated path is probably the cheapest route also, as it requires less hours than modular. It is professionally well accepted and would be a good route into any job, but you are still going to have to have realistic expectations about your first role in industry. Oil & Gas will employ direct from training with an integrated course. You may also get a Co-Pilot role in some onshore operations, safety pilot etc, but it can be difficult to build hours. Taking a role as an instructor is always a good way to gain hours and experience, but you can feel like you're still a bit out of your depth - Teaching others while you are still learning yourself!

If you have doubts about the Integrated Course, just go with the modular. It will cost you more and take longer, but you can pay as you are going along which can be an advantage if you don't have the money to pay up front - And how many of us do. I'd be surprised if your training on the integrated course wouldn't count for anything, or allow you to drop down to modular course if there was an issue. Not sure where that theory comes from. You will still have to gain hours from somewhere before gaining employment in most careers, so you might be limiting yourself, depending on your end goal. You asked about originally about becoming an instructor, so if that is your aspiration, the modular course is fine, and if you perform in your training, the whole course is like one long audition and job interview!

Good luck
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 20:03
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Originally Posted by Special 25 View Post
The Intergrated path is the chosen route for the Oil & Gas industry. They (oil companies) demand Integrated Training or you need to have hours and experience under your belt before joining - I think the requirement is 500 Hours, which ties in with the current job advertisements. But the standard Catch 22 - Low hours, no job - And if you haven't got a job, how do you get the hours. The integrated training allows the offshore helicopter operators to get around this problem and provides the highest quality of professional full time training.

The integrated path is probably the cheapest route also, as it requires less hours than modular. It is professionally well accepted and would be a good route into any job, but you are still going to have to have realistic expectations about your first role in industry. Oil & Gas will employ direct from training with an integrated course. You may also get a Co-Pilot role in some onshore operations, safety pilot etc, but it can be difficult to build hours. Taking a role as an instructor is always a good way to gain hours and experience, but you can feel like you're still a bit out of your depth - Teaching others while you are still learning yourself!

If you have doubts about the Integrated Course, just go with the modular. It will cost you more and take longer, but you can pay as you are going along which can be an advantage if you don't have the money to pay up front - And how many of us do. I'd be surprised if your training on the integrated course wouldn't count for anything, or allow you to drop down to modular course if there was an issue. Not sure where that theory comes from. You will still have to gain hours from somewhere before gaining employment in most careers, so you might be limiting yourself, depending on your end goal. You asked about originally about becoming an instructor, so if that is your aspiration, the modular course is fine, and if you perform in your training, the whole course is like one long audition and job interview!

Good luck

On paper initially, the integrated route certainly has its advantages. What doesn't make sense to me is whether Oil & Gas companies actually want to take those that have rolled straight off an integrated course and immediately done an ME/IR? I'm told that this is a good option but I can't see it - surely the operators would much rather take those that have got 500-1500 hours instead!

And it's a lot of money to cough up for an ME/IR, is there any chance that the operators may fully or partially pay for an ideal candidate to get their ME/IR?

From my understanding, the 2 main options are to get a CPL, fork out for an ME/IR and hope to get into a co-pilot seat offshore with <250 hours, or get a CPL and then an FI rating and gain experience that way before hoping to pick up other work like VFR charter/tours/survey etc? Both seem to have their advantages and disadvantages!
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 21:20
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I think that it’s probably time to resurrect Camp Freddie’s old formula (although I suspect that the numbers have changed slightly over the years):

What are the job prospects for new CPLs? (MERGED)


(BTW, where is Camp Freddie these days?)
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