Hey guys! I wanted to take a moment to address some of the comments that were left here. I feel as though, while everyone will certainly have their own opinions, I can respectfully provide some clarity and hopefully answer some questions about ARH.
First off, I am in fact “Austin”, the Chief Pilot at ARH. I conducted Josh’s intro flight. I’m happy that Josh reached out to ARH for this experience, and am honored to have provided it.
I’m going to address the comments here, one by one:
“$380 an hour for a frickin' cadet!? If they want to replace the 22 with that piece of sh*t they're gonna have to lower the price,...A LOT! “
We operate two R44 Raven helicopters here. One is a Raven 1 and the other is a Raven II. We feel that $380/hour (includes fuel, oil, instructor, etc) is a great price for a Raven II (it’s an instrument trainer as well).
“Just noticed the word "Nonrefundable" after each of their pricing options!
RUN DUDE, RUN!!!!!!!”
You are absolutely correct- Our website does specify that the different payment options are nonrefundable. Please allow me to explain that further. Our own student and renters policy handbooks state that, in fact, students ARE entitled to a refund of money on account, BUT there is a caveat to that! You aren’t going to get refunded for a 10 hour block, in full, or in part, at the 10 hour block rate. What I mean is that a student can buy a 10 hour block at $380/hour, fly off 2 hours, and demand a refund for the remaining 8 hours at the 10 hour block rate. If you fly 2 hours, you are paying for two hours at the hourly rate. I hope that made sense. We are not, nor have we even been in the business of scamming people. We always do the right thing at ARH. We will always refund money when asked; however, every single student we have has been perfectly happy with their experience here and I have never seen a refund request.
“I have over 600 hours in the R22, I did both Private and Commercial training in it,...I have even done touchdown autos in it! I'm 5'11" between 190 and 200 lbs and at no time during my training (or since) have I ever thought to myself, I wish I was in a "safer" helicopter!
No, the R22 was not designed as a trainer, but it handles the task beautifully!”
Being an experienced R22 Instructor myself, I’ll tell you that I cannot disagree, nor agree with you. From the student’s side, there is nothing wrong with the R22. My personal opinion is that (as an instructor) it’s a less-than ideal trainer. I personally believe that there isn’t enough margin for error in it (especially at high-DA!). I think the R22 is a fabulous helicopter, but I won’t go so far as to say that it is a great trainer. It sure is cheap, but it’s just not the helicopter for ARH.
“I don't know anything about this flight school other than what you have posted here. I see several red flags . I would find a different school.”
You know, Bonzo, I can certainly respect your view on this. I would say the same thing, myself, had I not been so experienced with those “famous” flight schools. I’ve worked at a couple, and can tell you that the greed runs deep there. They’ll nickel and dime you for everything you’ve got, and forget about being respected and treated as a valuable customer there. There’s a reason they’re all failing, and I personally believe that it’s due to a lack of integrity. ARH is the greatest outfit I’ve worked for yet. I’m not saying we’re the most popular or decorated flight school in the nation, but my experience has made me glad to be a part of this team. I don’t doubt that our customers feel the same way.
I respect your viewpoint and am grateful for this forum for our colleagues and students to get advice.
“Stay away from that 'school'. Obviously the business is primarily built around tours, charters and surveying with a bit of flight training on the side. There is absolutely no reason to use an R44 for flight training; you will be wasting money and, as you mentioned, kill your chances of getting hired at the majority of flight schools in the US.”
Hand_Grenade- You’re absolutely correct about our “appearance”. We’re working hard to remedy that, and have started with a new website! We used to primarily focus on tours, charters, and commercial work. That being said, in the last two years the flight training aspect of ARH has become one of our primary business focuses- our website simply hasn’t caught up yet! We are an FAA approved 141 school now, and have a very capable facility for flight training.
You’ve got some good points here! We all need to think of the “mission” we are looking to equip ourselves for. Thanks for bringing that to the table. Here’s the way I look at it, and explain it to others. If you came to me for a tour job, fresh out of flight school, and had 210 hours (40 of which were in the R44 from your instrument training), I would probably tell you to go get more R44 time and then apply again. Remember, unless you want to be a flight instructor in the R22, you’re wasting your money by flying it too much. What do I mean by that? Well, most insurance companies look at the liability of a very low-time R44 pilot and it’s hard to get them insured. Furthermore, I need guys who are experienced with flying groups of people, or at least familiar with the CG loading ramifications of a 4-place helicopter. If you work for me, you will be dealing with rapidly changing CGs under a very short time-table on a daily basis. We need experienced R44 pilots. All of the other operators I have worked for share the same sentiment. Now, if you are wanting to be a flight instructor, you can get your time in the R22. Either way, if you do all your training in either you’ll have to satisfy the SFAR 73 requirements in the other.
In summary, I can certainly appreciate what you guys are trying to do here; but I think that ARH provides some of the best pricing in the nation on the R44 Raven II. It’s up to the student to decide if the capabilities of ARH match their needs. It’s not for me or anybody else to say what those needs are. I have found through my experiences – both in the helicopter and with being a part of the hiring process for the types of operations that I have conducted- that more R44 time is better than less. It all comes down to what your goals are. If you aren’t going to be a CFI, don’t even waste your time in the R22.
I certainly hope that I have respectfully provided some clarity and cleared up some assumptions “straight from the horse’s mouth”. We strive to provide high-quality flight-instruction here at ARH, and always do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I wish you all luck and safety in your rotary careers!