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MileHi480B

WHY OH WHY?

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Been flying fixed wings 30 years, 3000+ hours and a gyro rating. New to helicopters ... started last March.

 

My general observation:

 

Fixed wing flight schools are well organized, together, professional and dedicated.

 

Helicopter schools are disorganized, scattered, unprofessional and casual.

 

Fixed wing instructors actually LOVE flying for the sake of flying.

 

Helicopter instructors are time-builders with no real love for the teaching experience.

 

Fixed wing pilots generally like each other.

 

Helicopter pilots tend to despise each other ... in fact, the more time they have the more they despise each other.

 

Fixed wing training is pretty standardized.

 

Helicopter training depends on the mood of the instructor, phases of the moon, the stars and a host of other eccentric things.

 

In general, helicopter instructors are on their way to something else -- and almost resent the stint that must "serve" as instructors.

 

Fixed wing pilots actually love teaching.

 

Most helicopter pilots must become instructors to build time, then they must compete with all their fellow instructors to find a job outside of the instructing arena.

 

Then, after all that training and job-hunting ... they burn out and feel like the industry is taking advantage of them.

 

Fixed wing pilots seem to have a more direct career path. And once on the job, they have more longevity on the job -- any job.

 

Why oh why?

 

I fly for pleasure. So, I don't know the answers. Perhaps some of you can enlighten me. :huh:

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My instructor taught, and is still teaching. He loves to fly, never seemed to despise his other cfi's as well as had a pretty straight path, career wise. The flight school I was at had a very organized and well planned schedule for both ground and air instructing. They had tests, and oral exams and flight exams. They were very organized.

 

Generalizing your bad experience isn't always the right road to take. You say you've been in the fixed wing industry for 30 years, however you are so able to make these observations about helicopter instruction when, as you said, you are new to the industry? Give the helicopter industry the same chance you did for fixed winging.

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A lot has changed since the "30+ years" ago when you went to fixed wing flight school. I would say 50% of FW schools are also disorganized, non-standard, and the CFI's are just there to build hours. You're probably correct about the heli school(s) you're basing this experience on, but it's not all of them--there's some good ones out there.

 

The one statement I disagree with hands down is: "Fixed wing pilots seem to have a more direct career path. And once on the job, they have more longevity on the job -- any job" No way............tell that to all the out of work airline pilots. Any airline pilot no matter the seniority is exempt from a furlough. Ask any TWA pilot; less than 5% of them still have their jobs at AA. Try getting rehired after that--no one will hire a furloughed pilot because they know the guy will split in a heart beat if their company calls them back. Helicopter jobs are plentiful for any 2000+ hrs heli pilot. The training industry got screwed up by Silver State, but it will recover eventually.

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Actually, I have seen some of the points that MileHi is talking about. Over 30 years ago Cessna and Piper both set up standardized training programs, based on their aircraft. Dealers and other users of their aircraft were encouraged to use their standardized programs. The student got a standardized kit of materials. I haven't really seen that within the helicopter training program. There are standardized kits out there, but I haven't seen too many schools using them.

 

On the other hand, I have found the helicopter industry much friendlier than the fixed wing side. When applying for work on the FW side I might get 1% or less of replies to resumes. On the Helicopter side it is closer to 5 to 10%. With some offering suggestions on where to look.

 

MileHi, I think you are using a wider brush than what is needed here.

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Please, oh please, find another school that you feel good about, one that is professional and structured and populated by people with good attitudes. Come straight out and ask potential schools if they have and use a structured syllabus, ask your potential instructor why he/she is teaching. You should not be this unhappy and it is NOT this way at every school.

 

HVG

 

(happy to fly, happy to teach)

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Thank god I didn't go to whatever school (or schools) gave you such a bad impression of helicopter training. I can honestly say that my experience are completely different.

 

Helicopter pilots tend to despise each other ... in fact, the more time they have the more they despise each other.

 

Again, you couldn't be more wrong... some of the best parties I've ever been to have been student and instructor helicopter parties. only 1 percent of the fixed wing guys could keep up with a helicopter party. Some of the best friends I've made are fellow helicopter pilots and where I work now, even the "unfriendly" guys are nice, just not as nice as the nice guys. (hope that makes sense)

 

I'm just really sorry to hear you've had such a bad experience. Come out to Pensacola some time off hitch and I'll work to change your opinion!

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Smells like a troll to me.

 

Stick to airplanes because it seems to suit you better, not everybody is cut out to be a helicopter pilot.

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I'm afraid I concur with those who disagree with almost all the OP. One needs to find another school.

I especially disagree with OP's entries that the more senior a pilot, the more despised other pilots are. My experience is absolutely otherwise- the more I do this, the more I find there are more than one way to skin a cat. However, a jerk remains a jerk: educated; experienced; and/or older, one's basic temperament won't change- if you were an intolerant jerk, you will be, in the end.

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Wow, I hate to see posts like this, but can totally relate to some of it as that’s pretty much why we were crazy enough to start a flight school in these depressed times.. I had tons, and I mean a lot, of people come to me with many of the same issues and more.. don’t want to get into that but would like to address some of your comments.

My first question would be; how many helicopter instructors have you flown with, I always recommend that students fly with as many different instructors as possible. We are all different, and people have lives and agendas that are different, you might learn more from one person than another, or feel better with someone else.. with your experience I would suggest that you fly with a dual rated instructor to start with, but I would still put you with a few just to see who you mesh with.

Been flying fixed wings 30 years, 3000+ hours and a gyro rating. New to helicopters ... started last March. My general observation:

Fixed wing flight schools are well organized, together, professional and dedicated.

I have seen both, but my experience is that fixed wing schools, especially in the past, seem to be more organized than helo schools. My business partner flew for the majors for 15 years (9000 hours), one of our instructors flew for another one for his whole career (22,000 hours). We have had many many conversations about how we can meld the best of both worlds. My partner trained thru an ab inito program and loved the structure and professional atmosphere. We are incorporating some of that into our training programs.

Helicopter schools are disorganized, scattered, unprofessional and casual.

I have flown at four helo schools, but have working knowledge of seven. Two out of the seven are very organized, one is a nightmare, with the rest lying somewhere in-between.. I would expect these are the numbers you would find almost everywhere, and maybe in the fixed wing environment as well.

Fixed wing instructors actually LOVE flying for the sake of flying.

I think this depends highly on the individual and the environment that they are flying in.. Everyone I know lives just to fly. All of my team could do anything else and be successful at it (and make much more money), but they choose to fly and teach. Some have even retired early JUST to fly helicopters and teach because we love it so much.

Helicopter instructors are time-builders with no real love for the teaching experience.

I know a lot of those guys, they don’t work for me nor will they ever, but I expect there are fixed wing instructors just like ‘em. I have to think that, some of this too can be because of the environment that they may be stuck in, especially now with the market like it is. People come in almost weekly and tell us that they looked at other schools and it felt very tense there, or even toxic, I can imagine why with almost no students walking in the door and up to 16 instructors on the schedule. Another thing that I feel adds to this issue is that some instructors teach with the mind set that they will move on at around 1000 hours, and when they don’t, feel like it is an indication that they are not successful or a good pilot (Which couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially now. For the most part, the ones that have moved on do so because of their contacts or their unrelenting drive). So, as they get closer to that magic number they start to brood.. missing the point that this journey might be the best time of their life. I have had so many professional pilots tell me that the time that they were teaching was their favorite part of their flying career and that they would gladly go back to do it all again.

Fixed wing pilots generally like each other.

Helicopter pilots tend to despise each other ... in fact, the more time they have the more they despise each other.

Have not seen this.. my team love and respect each other, and even care about our friends that are stuck in other situations.

Fixed wing training is pretty standardized.

Agree, although my experience is limited and dated, as most of my fixed wing experience is around 20 years old.

Helicopter training depends on the mood of the instructor, phases of the moon, the stars and a host of other eccentric things.

Yep, seen this and hate what it has done to our industry (in Denver anyway), but more what it has done to the many people out there that have lost their dreams because they didn’t finish with the money they had or in the time frame they needed. Thinking about this makes me want to scream out loud and jump up and down!! (Which I do from time to time just ask my team!!)

 

Solution: find a school that uses a syllabus, learn it and stick to it.. if you aren’t getting what you need the way YOU need it get another instructor.. if that doesn’t work, find another school. DO NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING LESS.

In general, helicopter instructors are on their way to something else -- and almost resent the stint that must "serve" as instructors.

Hummm, I compare that to our children. “we raise them to leave” and hopefully we do a good job along the way so that they become respectable responsible parts of our communities. Hopefully we do the same with instructors, we want them to go on to fulfill their hopes and dreams and find their careers. One of the things we do differently is that we encourage instructors to come back and continue to teach for us after they have gone on to work in the “real world”.. and many of our industry contacts like this and encourage the same as they know it keeps their pilots on top of their game. Yes, I have seen this tho.

Solution: find instructors that don't have that mind set.. they are out there. Some instructors live to teach and have no plans of moving on to other careers. Now, this is a totally different subject for people that are on a career track and are training at a school and have limited options now.. some have moved to other states to train, with lofty promises of all sorts of stuff.. you folks MUST do your research, now more than ever, look at many schools, ask a ton of questions.. and what ever you do… NEVER GIVE A FLIGHT SCHOOL A LOT OF MONEY UP FRONT!! As with some of my friends you might not ever get it back!!! And giving the school all of your money might limit your options as you might not be able to fly somewhere else.. read the small print and expect the worst. I can understand why some of these folks might resent their positions right now.. I’m not saying it’s ok, just that I can understand.

Fixed wing pilots actually love teaching.

I think this is pretty balanced in both arenas..

Most helicopter pilots must become instructors to build time, then they must compete with all their fellow instructors to find a job outside of the instructing arena.

I think this too is the same in both worlds. Times are tough right now, and it’s tense for everyone, so you probably are picking up on this. I see it weekly, but I have to say that some, a small number of applicants, are still keeping a positive attitude, those are the people that will be the first to get a job somewhere.

Then, after all that training and job-hunting ... they burn out and feel like the industry is taking advantage of them.

It is my experience that a lot of students and then instructors HAVE been taken advantage of, hopefully we all can be a part of the solution to change this.

Again, tough times right now, it will get better tho..

Fixed wing pilots seem to have a more direct career path. And once on the job, they have more longevity on the job -- any job.

This seems to be true, but like my business partner and instructor keep saying, you can make much more money in helicopters right out of the gate, and the job opportunities seem to be more stable in the helo industry right now and in the near future.

 

Why oh why?

I fly for pleasure. So, I don't know the answers. Perhaps some of you can enlighten me.

 

I hope this enlightens you a little, now, keep your chin up, stop what you are doing and go fly.. you will feel better immediately.

 

aloha,

 

dp

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My post was misunderstood. I was not giving a "personal" experience about "my school". I happen to love "my school". The owner works hard to keep his ships flying.

 

I was speaking of the industry after talking to other students around the U. S. I am on another web site where many of us have converted over to the "dark side" ;) of aviation. Trying to find quality helicopter instruction is a challenge. Notice, I did not say ... finding a school is a challenge. Schools are all over.

 

My personal experience has been that the few good instructors out there are too busy. The others that call themselves instructors are simply sitting there to build time and don't have a genuine concern for their students.

 

Hey, maybe I'm old fashioned. I remember a time when instructors would jump at every chance to fly. They were eager and truly enjoyed every minute becasue they got to fly free and get paid for their time.

 

Maybe people simply have more money and don't need the instructor route to get where they are going.

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Smells like a troll to me.

 

Stick to airplanes because it seems to suit you better, not everybody is cut out to be a helicopter pilot.

 

 

No troll. But I should not be surprised that an insult would be hurled. Congratulations ... you really showed me. And you were endowed the special privilege of being a heli pilot for what reason?

 

Why get personal and insulting?

 

Thanks to the others who actually want to discuss things.

Edited by MileHiR44
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My post was misunderstood. I was not giving a "personal" experience about "my school". I happen to love "my school". The owner works hard to keep his ships flying.

 

 

for the record, "your School" is one of the one's on the top of my list.

 

 

My personal experience has been that the few good instructors out there are too busy. The others that call themselves instructors are simply sitting there to build time and don't have a genuine concern for their students.

 

have to agree with you there..

 

Hey, maybe I'm old fashioned. I remember a time when instructors would jump at every chance to fly. They were eager and truly enjoyed every minute becasue they got to fly free and get paid for their time.

 

don't think this has changed, at least in my experience...

 

aren't you supposed to be flying? :-)

 

dp

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There are enough of us out there, that your observations will be true at least half of the time, and I have flown with enough instructors to see both sides of the coin, but don't be too hard on the "time builders". :unsure: They are, of course, being 'forced' to teach, and not everyone is right for teaching! :(

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Holy crap rocky. That was one hell of a wall of text.

 

And I agree with most all of the people here. My experience was great. I trained at a number of schools. Yes, a lot of instructors were looking ahead at their next job. That doesn't mean they did a bad job of instructing. All of them loved what they did, and knew the quality of their instruction meant something and would determine how safe and experienced their student would be.

 

Sorry you had a bad experience. You might have done better with the structure of a 141 school....

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No troll. But I should not be surprised that an insult would be hurled. Congratulations ... you really showed me. And you were endowed the special privilege of being a heli pilot for what reason?

 

Why get personal and insulting?

 

Thanks to the others who actually want to discuss things.

 

Easy champ.

 

I never insulted you, I merely made an observation. If somebody wants to be an engineer, and then goes to college and finds out they hate the math, should they still be an engineer? Or somebody who wants to be a doctor, but hates blood and nurses.... etc etc.

 

Not everybody is supposed to be an astronaut, sailor, mountain climber, belly dancer, plumber, lawyer, doctor, mechanic, salesman, helicopter pilot, nun, roofer, diver, welder, etc etc.

 

There are a million careers and/or hobbies out there, pick one you love.

 

And, I was "endowed the special privilege of being a heli pilot" because I wanted to be a helicopter pilot, tried it, loved it, and therefore made it my career. That's why.

 

I'm ever so sorry if you felt insulted and your feelings got hurt.

 

Good luck.

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Pohi,

 

Not everyone who flies helicopters does it for a career. Some of us buy helicopters and fly them for fun because we can.

Edited by MileHiR44
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Smells like a troll to me.

 

Stick to airplanes because it seems to suit you better, not everybody is cut out to be a helicopter pilot.

 

Wow! I didn't know that helicopter pilots are better than fixed wing pilots? Why would we have to be cut out for it? I fly both and I don't remember anyone saying along the way that at some point you may find out that you are not cut out for flying helicopters!

 

I have found that when I was learning to fly helicopters almost every minute of time I spent with the instructor was on the clock and being charged for it, while flying or on the ground. This was hard to except when my fixed wing instructors believed the post flight briefing was part of the flight instruction and I was never charged for it. I also had some prefight briefing that I was not charged for unless it turn into an extended visit. I always knew when it was going to be considered ground instruction because the instructor told me when we reached that point.

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Wow! I didn't know that helicopter pilots are better than fixed wing pilots? Why would we have to be cut out for it? I fly both and I don't remember anyone saying along the way that at some point you may find out that you are not cut out for flying helicopters!

 

I have found that when I was learning to fly helicopters almost every minute of time I spent with the instructor was on the clock and being charged for it, while flying or on the ground. This was hard to except when my fixed wing instructors believed the post flight briefing was part of the flight instruction and I was never charged for it. I also had some prefight briefing that I was not charged for unless it turn into an extended visit. I always knew when it was going to be considered ground instruction because the instructor told me when we reached that point.

 

I don't charge the student for any ground, pre or post flight. That is a school specific thing, when I learned I was charged for all three, so I feel your pain on that one. On the other hand, at the same school the airplane side also charged their students for the same ground. So, what you get charged for has nothing to do with what you fly, only who you are flying for.

 

Sounds like you are a good helicopter pilot if nobody told you that you were not cut out for it. I'm not talking about anybody specific here, but if somebody lacks the ability to safely operate any mode of transportation... helicopter, airplane, boat, skateboard, I do not think they should. I will not send anybody alone, or God forbid, allow somebody who does not have the ability to safely fly, get a license and then go kill themselves. Worse yet kill innocent passengers.

 

That's just me though, whatever other people do is their business.

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Pohi,

 

Not everyone who flies helicopters does it for a career. Some of us buy helicopters and fly them for fun becasue we can.

 

Very true, and the people that are in that position are the ones who are living the dream that a lot of pilots may have.

 

Unfortunately due to the expense, most people who get to fly helicopters are on the career side of the coin.

 

If you are one of the few, have fun and take lots of pictures.

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All of them loved what they did, and knew the quality of their instruction meant something and would determine how safe and experienced their student would be.

 

Agree with you, the council does.

Edited by R22139RJ

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I have both a fixed wing and rotorcraft rating. I have been to several schools in order to get all my ratings. Schools very from school to school. I have attended a helicopter school who's only interest is making a buck. I agree with Statler, I dont think it is right to charge for ground when it pertains to the last flight. I under stand if it is a ground lesson plan. I was to another helicopter school which was vantastic. I have seen helicopter CFIs prolong the training in order to build hours. Thats not right, It not cheep per hour. That is why you need to back ground the school before paying any money.

 

The fixed wing schools I have attended were great. They never made me fly for extra hours. I had a friend who was after his instrument rating and his instructor kept changing the procedure. It took my friend an extra 10 hours at $120 per hour. Finally he told the CFI either he signs him off or he is going to another instructor. Needless to said after the talk he got signed off. He took the check ride and the examiner was very happy with his flying. This was a case of not having a student plan in place. It happens in the fixed wing world to.

 

As far as Helicopter training, Robinson put out a syllabus for CFIs to follow. I think most schools use that for a guide. The only nitch is the ability of the student. I knew a person who took 110 hours of R-22 time to get his private license. That says something and thats not the instructors fault. Some people should not be behind the controls.

 

I think the helicopter career is more stable. I would much rather have a helicopter job over a fixed wing right now. One example are Airlines, they are having trouble plus they got rid of most of their pilots. Im not saying the helicopter industry is not down, but mostly the CFI jobs are introuble. There are still companys looking for helicopter pilots. I dont see many fixed wing oppertunitys.

 

In reference to fixed wing pilots being more friendly, I disagree with that statement. I have kept in touch with many helicopter pilots and they are always friendly and willing to help. I do think some of the helicopter CFIs have a bad attitude due to lack of CFI jobs. I know its hard sometimes but thay need to try and keep positive. I understand how frustrating it is.

 

Thats how I see it.

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I don't charge the student for any ground, pre or post flight. That is a school specific thing, when I learned I was charged for all three, so I feel your pain on that one.

 

I'm not trying to hijack a thread here, but this raises a few good questions.

 

Is the pre - post flight briefing de-briefing a legitimate part of a lesson?

 

Why should an instructor not get paid for his time? (Assuming the time charged for is legitimate.)

 

I do not get paid for anytime not directly associated with instruction, so why should I be expected to instruct for free?

 

I personally feel like it is legitimate to discuss what is expected of each lesson before the flight, and then discuss the results afterwards. I don’t charge more than .2 or .3 for each, and there have been numerous times that we have sat and talked for over an hour.

 

Now, back on topic. I have been to schools at both ends of the spectrum here. Schools that were so disorganized and treated students like dirt (cash cows), and schools that seemed well organized, respectful, and made for a comfortable atmosphere that was conducive to learning.

 

The irony is that schools that are TERRIBLE often outlast the ones that are great.

 

John

Edited by Helo-Pilot

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In reference to fixed wing pilots being more friendly, I disagree with that statement. I have kept in touch with many helicopter pilots and they are always friendly and willing to help. I do think some of the helicopter CFIs have a bad attitude due to lack of CFI jobs. I know its hard sometimes but thay need to try and keep positive. I understand how frustrating it is.

 

Actually, I think you need to re-read my post. I stated the helicopter folks are much friendlier. And they are. When I was doing my helicopter commercial add-on, I had access to several highly experienced utility pilots. They took time from their day to carefully explain how it works in the real world and gave me a lot of great tips. Plus got to fly with them on maintenance and ferry flights.

 

As for the CFI charging for ground time. He/she is instructing and doing their job. I hold a CFI and have been on both sides of the desk. I do not begrudge an instructor for charging for their labor. I do however, think less of an instructor for 'grinding' a student by flying them extra to increase their income. Or making up their own private policies that cost students extra.

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