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Schools in Souther California

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I'm looking for a school in Southern California, and it has been hard since I do not live there yet. If any one could give me some information about the schools out there it would help me out a lot.


A couple of the schools that I have found are


California Aviation Services in Riverside


They have a package that gets you through CFII for no more than $59,900 but after reading some other forums i'm under the impression that might not be the best thing in the long run.


Civic Helicopters in Carlsbad


These guys have the option between Robinsons and Schweizers and a lot of other training options including High Altitude and Turbine.


LA Helicopters


This place I don't know much about


I really just don't want to get in a school that I will regret later. I have heard bad stories about schools like that when you pay a ton of money but can't get a job because no one will hire people from that certain school.


So if anyone could give me information and the reputation about these schools or other schools they know of that would be very appreciated.


Thank you.

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I did all of my training at Civic Helicopters a couple years ago. They were great. They were never short on helicopters or instructors. Chin Tu, the chief pilot/owner, has a wealth of knowledge as he's been flying forever. Plus you come out of your training with time in Schweizers and Robbies. They did have a turbine ship at the time though I don't remember what. I think a long ranger. They don't promise a transition but it's there if you want to pay for it. They also had a student house that was relatively cheap for S. CA standards and wasn't a dump either. If I had to do it again I'd definitely go to Civic again. Carlsbad is a pretty cool town too. Plus, PHI did a seminar there. They told us Civic is a school they like to hire from. I know most of the instructors that were there when I was a student went on to PHI. Good luck in your decision.

Edited by rotormandan
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I 3rd the Helistream recomendation! Great school. They may be a little busy right now but check it out. Also, L.A. helicopters is also a great school. Both are good choices and near each other so it would be easy to look at both.

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Philray- Just so we dont turn this into a my favorite school advertisement, feel free to PM me, JD, Jessica or Rotor91...we have all flown in and out of LA quite a bit.

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Phil... feel free to PM me as well. I do not want to advertise or recruit via this site, but i can answer any and all questions about Civic that you might have. I did all of my training there, and am currently employed as a CFII at Civic. The other schools mentioned are also great, and i wouldnt hesitate to take a look at all of them and make the decision that works best for you. Good luck!

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I recommend Civic Helicopters as well. Great school and the Chief Pilot, Chin is unreal. Used to be a test pilot for MD and man can he fly! He also has a hand in every students training which is great for the student. He does the CFI class personally and you will learn all kinds of real world stuff that books often don't teach. You'll also get experience in plenty of Class D, C, AND B airports from Brown Field (at the border) and San Diego International to LAX. Top Notch school.


As far as an unbiased, answer to your question, you'd be selling yourself short to not call and make an appointment at every school you're considering for at least a walk around tour of the facility. Look at the aircraft, the maintenance, the facility itself. Talk to an instructor at each one. Add to the input you have gotten here to make an educated decision.


Hope this helps

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Ditto on the recommendation for Civic. I am a 22 year fixed wing guy that decided that I wanted to fly helicopters and did a bunch of research on all the different schools (including SS at the time).


In the end, I choose Civic because of the operation, the number of helicopters they have, how easy it was to talk to everyone there from the front office to the CFIs to the owner (Chin) even to the mechanics.


I ended up doing all of my training with Chin Tu. I think he has something like 30k hours, ATP (Fixed and Rotor), test pilot for MD & Schweitzer (still). After renting from them for a number of years, Chin helped me get into a brand new R44 and worked with me on my transition training.


Now they hanger my R44, do all of the maintenance, provide instruction for recurrent and emergency training and basically answer any questions that I may have without acting like they are doing me a favor every time.


I have been a fixed wing CFI/CFII for over 20 years so I will also tell you that where you train has a lot to do on your personality. A school that is good for me, may not be the right school for you. My 16 year old son just started fixed wing flight training. Since I love my son, I understood that while I could teach him, the personality dynamics made it far more practical for him to fly with someone other than me.


Am I a capable CFI? Could I teach him? Am I safe? Would I have his best interests in mind during training? Would I save him money? The answer to all of those questions are yes, but in the end, its still better for him to fly with someone else.


The same holds true for you. Everyone could tell you how wonderful a school is, but in the end, it has to be wonderful for you. I would use people's input on suggestions of places you should investigate and try out. Remember, you can pay by the hour and move if you do not mesh with the staff or environment where you are learning.


Good luck on your search...if you ever find yourself in Carlsbad and want to poke around Civic I will be happy to give you a tour of the place as a regular joe!!

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