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Starting the dream


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Hello all,I have been lurking around in here for a few weeks and am ready to say hi.As with all of you it has been my dream from as far back as I can remember to fly helicopters.I have been researching witch schools to attend to obtain my commercial pilots certificate and start down the road to become a career pilot.From what I have learned from searching this forum and the internet is that this isn't a easy career to get your foot in the door.I understand that the cost is high and the job market is slim but am willing to take the chance to realize a dream that started at an early time in my life.I have a few questions that I am sure have been answered in here many times but were all in here for the same reason, right?First of all lets get the hard truth out of the way and it is that like many I will need to obtain financing to reach my goals so the school that I will need to attend will have to offer the collage courses be it online or classroom.I know many of you scoff at needing to finance this training but hey I know many college grads that have a degree and are unable to find work in their fields after graduation so I understand there is no guarantee.I am the type of person who would rather try than to sit back and wish I would have done something.So to get to the point here are the schools I am considering in random order,Embry riddle in Ar,College of the Sequoias in Ca,Brazo's helicopter school in Tx,Colorado heli ops,and Mauna Loa helicopters in Hi.Does anyone have any direct training with any of these schools that can offer feed back?I am also considering aircraft maintenance as a back up to help employment after graduation to stay in the field until I can land that first pilot job. I will ask the rest of my questions in another post.

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...I know many college grads that have a degree and are unable to find work in their fields after graduation so I understand there is no guarantee...

 

Keep in mind that a college degree is transferable to other fields (i.e. an English Lit. major working in an office), helicopters ratings, however, are useless in the "real" world :( , so either find a college with a flight program, or go to college first, then flight school!

 

Embry-Riddle in Prescott is nice. I heard they use Universal Helicopters, I enjoyed flying with them in Phoenix.

 

Mauna Loa is also nice (I finished my Commercial with them, and had a pretty good experience). With them you may be able to get into Utah Valley State, they have (if it still exists?) :huh: an on-line degree program, which could help in obtaining financing?

 

Just know, you're going to have to teach (for a very long time) so make sure that is something you can do. :o And get a good "real" job first, you're gonna need it for a while, and in case this doesn't work out! B)

Edited by r22butters
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If someone could provide 0 time to CFI for $30k... but NO FINANCING... how many people would STILL pick the $60k schools with financing? Even knowing that $60k really becomes more like $90k+ by the time you pay the loan? I can't help but feel that the "finance only route" student is impatient and lacks the true knowledge of this industry.

ps.. I know where you can get 0-CFI for $30k. (nothing is free... some risk involved)

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Well, I'll throw my 2¢ in. I just started training at Colorado Heli-Ops. So far I'm loving it. I'm also enrolled at Utah Valley University (They didn't go away, just changed the name) and just got approved for my student loans yesterday. Just gotta wait for UVU to sign off on them and I'll be focused on training and school (with work thrown in just to keep me busy).

 

As far as the financing goes, I'm taking it as it lets me keep my training together, allowing me to focus more on it, rather than dragging out a private cert. over a year or more time. If I hadn't qualified for financing, I still had re-arranged my finances to allow for 1hr flight time a week, and was planning of doing 2-3 hours ground, and 3 hours flight/month. Instead, I'm going to get the loans, and throw the money at those instead, I know I'm losing out some in the meantime, however, I think that being able to fly 2-3 times a week instead of 2-3 times a month will greatly benefit me.

 

Since I just went through the process, if you do decide to go through UVU, there's a few things. First, you qualify for 9500 via federal loans with a fafsa. Second, if you're under 23, not in the services, or haven't been married for a year, you will have (with very few exceptions) to list at least one parents income on both the fafsa and your student loan applications. You still qualify for the 9500 fafsa, but it all depends on if you're parents are willing to allow you to, as they have to sign off too. Now, if you have their support or don't have to list them, UVU can certify a tad under 15k/semester you attend (this year at least).

 

The federal loans are 9500 of that, which means for a fall/spring student, you can get up to 20k (or so) in alternative loans (assuming you qualify) for a total borrowed amount of 29.5k. Subtract out of this your tuition (Hasn't been due yet, so I'm not sure what it runs) and you'll be left in the neighborhood of 20-25k. Don't forget, you'll have to be taking 12 credit hours a semester, in addition to your flight training, and all that in addition to your day (or night) job and it will be a lot of work. I'm very determined, and have no worries about getting through it, but I know it'll be tough, as long as you're focused, you'll be able to do it too. Last thing, when you enroll at UVU, specify an aviation administration bachelors. The "professional pilot" program is aimed exclusively at fixed-wingers, and rotary-wing certificates won't be counted.

 

Now, I will say I've only flown a whopping 1.8 hours, (yes, one-point-eight), but the crew at colorado heli-ops has been nothing but great to me so far, and so has their schweizer.... Colorado's weather on the other hand, sometimes can be a pain. Not to mention the heat. Was flying on Tuesday, and for takeoffs we had to slide on the skids until we hit translational lift. I'm hopefully flying tomorrow (weather permitting, but it looks good) and we'll likely have the same thing again. Definitely makes for some good practice, as well as knowing I'll be able to fly in the high DA's if/when needed.

 

Oh, and apiaguy... Colorado Heli-Ops rates (pulled from http://www.coloradoheliops.com/trainingcourses.html) run just under 40k if you just want to go private, commercial, CFI. Its the instrument rating that really brings the average cost up closer to 60 (throwing that in brings it up to just under 55k). So, I'd say ChprPlt has the right idea, you can get CFI for close to 30, but you won't have instrument, much less CFII.

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...Not to mention the heat. Was flying on Tuesday, and for takeoffs we had to slide on the skids until we hit translational lift...

 

Try not to make a habit of that. :ph34r: If you cannot hover, its usually not a good idea to takeoff. B)

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