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General Questions, Regarding Industry


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I have a few questions regarding the helicopter industry and all imput would be greatly appreciated.


1) My first question is concerning financing. I am looking into obtaining financing from sallie mae, however what I want to know is are there other alternative financing options? The reason that I ask this is that the school that I would like to train at does not offer any other financing options other than Sallie Mae. Are there any banks open to providing financing for flight training to schools not affiliated with a college?


2) I recently spoke to a helicopter pilot, who suggested that when I do begin training, I fly everyday, especially in the beginning when doing the Private Pilot? Once I have the concept of flying then I could maintain flying possibly about three times a week. I have a fulltime job (which i aim to keep while training), what would be the minimum time I could fly in a week in order to maintain my skills.


3) Some postings suggest obtaining a degree to help within the industry. I already have a number of degrees (Master of Science being the highest). I would like to know whether obtaining a degree in aviation would help, or would an employer consider my M.S. as sufficient?


4) Finally, is it really neccessary to obtain a CFI rating? My plan is to eventually fly Medivac. Is there a way build up hours (a career path that I could follow that would facilitate Medivac as my end goal) without being a flight instructor?


Once again thank you for any input.

Kind regards,



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I am new helicopter pilot. I found that helicopter lessons 3 or 4 days a week were most efficient. I flew short flights of less than an hour each. This avoids the effect of fatigue on learning. Hovering will become automatic around 10 hours. Instructors must just love this phase. After 30 hours you will not regress much taking a few weeks off. Most people get the private license in 50 to 80 hours. The private license is a license to learn.

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1. Financing - I can't help much there but look around you might find something else.


2. Generally the more you fly the quicker you progress. I flew 2-3 days a week through my training and that seemed to work well for me and most other students. Those that only fly once a week spend a lot of time reviewing things they worked on previously.


3. Any degree always helps when applying for a job. I think an aviation degree is only a significant help if you are looking to work your way into a management position.


4. The jobs that will let you build your hours without instructing tend to be few and far between, and getting one tends to be more about knowing the right person.


Getting an EMS job in the end I think is more about having the total hours with plenty of night flying. But since I'm still a long ways from there I can't say for sure. You can always look at the qualifications companies are looking for in the helicopter jobs section.

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I'd agree with the 'fly as often as you can' comments.

Taking a lot of time between flights, especially eary on, tends to drag things out, meaning more total time spent flying.

Even later on, taking weeks off between flights is rough, or at least for me it is/was.

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After reading thousands of posts post over the many years regarding your questions that have been repeated numerous times, these are my conclutions to your questions.


1) stay away from financing, and pay as you go.


2) fly as often as your budget will allow, obviously the more the better.


3) since you already have a masters degree don't worry about an industry degree


4) no it is not necessary to get a CFI there are other jobs that can be done. Sightseeing, photoflights, pipeline/powerline patrol, cherry drying, corn polination,etc.... although it will require more purchased time to build sufficent hours to make yourself a hireable pilot. seek out these companies and get to know the people, hire on as part of the ground crew and get to know their business, as mentioned alot of times its WHO you know when trying to get a position in these fields.



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try to fly at least 3 days a week it will keep things fresh in your mind, I dont know about every day, I think that would be too much. Id say fly 3-5 days a week.


While it is not neccessary to have a CFI you will most likely not get a job withoutone unless you ahve connections, considering by the time you get your commercial/ instrument it will only take another 15-20 hours to get your CFI I would go ahead and get it. Thats what I had to do to get a job.

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The more often you fly the less time you spend reviewing previous material and the faster you progress.


Most companies, like to see a college degree mostly to see if you are trainable. While presently the helicopter industry is not pushing college degrees as a hiring criteria, I believe it is coming for the same reasons that the airlines prefer to see it.


While it is possible to get a job without working as a CFI, it is quite difficult as those jobs are few and far between. Most tour companies prefer to see at least 1000 hours as a minimum. Even Temsco wants at least 1000 hours PIC.


Also don't short yourself. There is a lot you will learn getting your CFI and as an Instructor.

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