Good evening everyone! I am set to retire on May 1st from the US Army after 17+ years and will be looking to use my Post 9/11 GI Bills benefits. I am currently 35 and had a chance at an early retirement (full retirement benefits, only smaller percentage) and jumped on it. I have decided to try my hand at an aviation career and flying helicopters has always intrigued me. I am currently stationed in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA and would be willing to move to ensure that I am attending a quality school. I would prefer it is tied to a degree program with a local university or college that covers from the PPL up through CFI-I.
From the research I have done I've come up with a couple of schools that I would attend.
1. Leading Edge Aviation (Bend, OR)
2. Upper Limits Aviation (Cedar City, UT)
3. Other good schools in great areas???
*The local areas are also an big reason for these schools as I enjoy outdoor activities (Mountain biking, kayaking, backpacking, snowboarding, etc...).
I am a divorce father that pays a lot of child support, so I'm trying to get an estimate on what costs I may be incurring prior to and during school. I know things will be slim money wise hence using GI Bill, FAFSA (if possible), and finding a part-time job to put food on the table (even if it's the ramen or PBJ diet). Potential expenditures???
I'm definitely jumping out of my comfort zone changing careers, but I don't want to work a job that I hate for the rest of my life. I don't mind a bit of desk work, but I need to get out and explore and flying helicopters can help feed my desire. (Money has never been a huge driving factor in my life, I don't need a lot to be happy)
I'm open to any and all advice, recommendations, critics (good or bad), because I'm new and have a lot to learn.
Thanks in advance,