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Just wondering if anyone on here has gone to Bristow. I'm interested in going there and would like to hear some feedback from the real world, not just the school's pitch.

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I went to Bristow Academy in Florida for my Private and Instrument rating. Then moved back to Utah and now finishing the rest of my training at Upper Limit. I wanted to get some high altitude time and finish out my requirements to teach in Robinson helicopters, but anyway, Bristow Academy is a great school. All the instructors are good and top notch in my opinion. The Ground school training is thorough and all the instructors and staff are really knowledgeable. The helicopters are maintained really well, and there are a lot of training areas to fly too. You will be operating out of Class Delta Airspace, but you have Bravo and Charlie airspace a short distance away from the Airport, so you get the experience to operate in all the different airspaces.

 

The one downside to that school, which is nothing that can really be helped, is that they are a very busy school. They have so many different training programs and they get a lot of foreign students, so you want to make sure, if you decide to go there, that you get on the schedule as much as possible so you can get all your flight time in.

 

If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me a PM.

 

 

 

 

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I went to Bristow. I did a JAA Commercial Integrated course and then up to my CFII. It was good school to go to and start my career at. I worked there for about 10 months or so.

I will give you one piece of advice though, you WILL NOT get to know anyone in the helicopter business outside of Bristow. The head guys are all foreign and know nobody in the industry in the states. They WILL NOT help you get a job if you don't get hired at the school. You will be pushed aside while they continue to bring through the next influx of ambitious potential CFI'S.

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I went through the school in 2008. Out of 16 guys only one of us got a job with the school afterwards. I lucked out as I was doing a rotor wing add on and got a fixed wing gig after finishing my CFI so I never looked into getting a job there at the school. I have heard stories from guys in my class and they were basically blown off. Some of the guys in my class got foreign instructors and ended up going through several on their private because their visa was up.

The school is a pilot factory but I did learn a lot and they do it well. You have to realize that they have a new class every month and that can be anywhere from 10-16 new students and that is on the FAA side. I have no idea how many are on the JAA side. If you are looking at getting a job afterwards I would maybe look somewhere else. Granted you are never guaranteed a job any where but I think you might have a better chance going somewhere else.

To me it seemed like they talior more to the foreign students. I am not trying to bash any of the foreign guys at the school or the school itself. Many of foreign instructors are friends of mine now. But the school is there to make money and us Americans don't bring that much to the table. After I found out about this website and many other helicopter websites after I started school at Bristow. If I knew what I know now I would have gone somewhere else as I found out about several schools closer to me. So do your research carefully and you will be happy with where you go.

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Thanks for the honest replies. I want to get the most for my training dollar and also have a decent shot at employment after getting my CFII. I've been flying with a Vietnam era pilot when I can and really love it. His experience is second to none and I will benefit greatly by training with him. My only reservation with doing this is my future possibilities as a CFII will be limited by not going to a "bigger" school. I've seen too many posts from guys and gals that are sitting at the house wishing they were 500 ft agl. I know there are no guarantees in life, so I want to do this right and with a lot of help from the good Lord I'll get where I'm supposed to be.

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If I were you I would look at Bristow New Iberia. I went there and loved it. I also got a job with them for about a year before I moved on to bigger and better things.

 

The school is great the instructors are top notch, Its in the middle of the action for the Gulf and while I was there we were using the "Air Log" 407 sim for our instrument sim time. Joe is no longer running the school and let me tell you that man did everything he could to get his students a job, if not at the school then with one of his many contacts in the country. They have a new manager that I don't know much about but have heard nothing but good things.

 

They are also a smaller school than FL with no foreign inst. One last note, they fly R22 and the CBI so you get experience in both.

 

Please take the time to visit the schools your considering. Its the best way to get a feel for the school.

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By the way, my comment was about the Florida academy. That is the biggest one and where all the foreign and military students go. I have no experience with the other ones in New Iberia and Concorde (near SF).

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I went to the florida school back when it was Heli Adventures, but I've heard it hasnt changed really. They have a good program and have a great educational approach and if you apply yourself there you will be as well trained as any initial CFI in the world.

On the downside, your job prospects there are probably the worst among domestic flight schools. You can be the best student in your class and not get hired, its not a meritocracy; its a crapshoot. They hire based on demographics and need, if you're a white american male your chances of being hired are minimal. It sounds crass but unfortunately its true. There are a couple things you can do to improve your chances, like working as a fueler or dispatcher, but with so many unemployed, proficient CFIs hanging around its really a matter of luck as to when a slot opens up. That said, I dont know anyone among my contemporaries there that never found that first job somewhere.

My advice would be to look around at the employment boards on JH and elsewhere and look for schools that have hired outside CFIs. Its a good indicator that they dont produce a whole lot of CFIs and almost invariably hire anyone they train to that level.

Good luck.

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I went to the florida school back when it was Heli Adventures, but I've heard it hasnt changed really.

 

I started at HAI but Bristow bought it within a few months of me being there. It has changed drastically. It is so corporate now and everyone walks around with their 4 gold bars and thinks you should bow down in front of them. At least when it was HAI, you could call in to talk to Patrick (the owner) if you had a problem with something or just to say hi.

Now it is just a big, corporate pilot factory! And yes, being american doesn't help with your chances of getting a job!

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If I were you I would look at Bristow New Iberia. I went there and loved it. I also got a job with them for about a year before I moved on to bigger and better things.

 

I did my PPL at Bristow New Iberia when it was still Vortex. I've got a few friends who are hired on there now, and the good news is it's slow. No scheduling problems. But I also have heard nothing but good things about the new management over there, and the instructors are some of the most professional but fun folks I've ever had the privilege of knowing.

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The most recent job ad mentioned "Bristow pilots prefered". That's the second time I've seen that in a job ad. I've never seen a school's students requested in an ad before, so somebody must really like them? :huh:

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That was Blue Hill Helicopters I bet you, right? The owner went to Bristow, thats why! Plus, we are the best trained pilots out there!! :P

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im torn between the embry riddle prescott degree program with universal helicopters, and the FIT degree program who utilizes bristow in florida for the rotary wing training.

 

from what i hear the FIT program has some extra classes like external load, mountain flying and turbine transition, and i believe bristow has some bell 206's so that would be a bit of turbine time.

 

both programs will be free with use of the post 911 GI bill, so i suppose i need to pay a visit to each campus and weigh the pros and cons. on the flipside, i dont plan on living out on the east coast after school if i choose FIT, i would like to come back to the northwest area. does anyone know if getting a job as a CFI (at a different flight school than you attended) would be a bit easier for an A+P mechanic?

 

 

also, i will add, through FIT i can start knocking out all of my general ed. courses online utilizing coast guard tuition assistance, that way when i actually get out of the coast guard in 3 years and get to school i can spend basically all my energy taking aviation courses and flying. i am going to look into seeing if i complete the degree program and all my rotary wing training with some GI bill time left over, if i can also get my fixed wing CPL........

Edited by uberchris

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If you want a first job you shouldn't go to Bristow. I have several on my staff that have gone to Bristow and they didn't get a job and then what do you do? They paid me to get 100 more hours and then we put them on our insurance for a first job. When Bristow was HelicopterAdventures we took in our first grad from them in 1994 as he couldn't find a job. Same as it is now. I also know of a grad from 1986 that still hasn't found a job as he works at a marina I frequent. If someone says they prefer a grad from a particular school be cautious because it would only be a job for one guy anyway. I prefer them from my school as we teach them the contract concurrently so they know how to perform the contract at a lower hour threshold. We are the only school that can guarantee a first job and that job is doing boat photography for BOATPIX.com. Our math is supportable and not a pyramid like flight school as we do both flight instruction and the photo contract. Check out www.HelicopterAcademy.com and our average rate is $200/hour. For full disclosure I am the manager of the HelicopterAcademy and President of BOATPIX.com and have bought three helicopters since June 1st. We train and fly at sea level as that's where the jobs are. Come to sunny Florida and finish your license and get job. Tom McDermott, 561-346-2816

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Tom, I have to say you talk a fair amount of crap.

Don't go to Bristow if you want your first job

I went there, got my first job and it was great. When it was HAI, and when the market was much better, they hired at least 4-5 new instructors per month. If you couldn't find a job, it probably was because you had a bad attitude or you just simply weren't up to the level of instructor they were looking for.

You take anybody who will give you money, simple as that. There are lots of people out there who would say not to go to your school either. You guarantee to 400 hours, what is that going to get most people in this market. Still not very employable.

If someone says they prefer a grad from a particular school be cautious because it would only be a job for one guy anyway.

What's your point?? Bristow would be regarded as one of the best schools out there. The guy who put that in the ad went to Bristow (HAI) and obviously thinks that people coming from there are well trained.

 

If you want an ad by the way, you should be paying for one!

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errr.. I think he is paying for one.. its up top

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...If you couldn't find a job, it probably was because you had a bad attitude or you just simply weren't up to the level of instructor they were looking for...

 

I here this so often, (especially the part about "bad attitude").

 

Does this mean that when 500 guys are going out for just one position, that the 499 who didn't get it had "bad attitudes", or were crappy pilots? :huh:

 

Now I may seem to have a "bad attitude", but that's only after years of rejection. Rejection, by the way, after not even a phone interview! And how can an employer tell if someone has a bad attitude if they don't comunicate with them?(as if I would act like an ass hole during an interview!) <_<

 

The real reason so many of us can't find work, is because there are too many of us looking, and not enough jobs to go around! Not because any of us has a "bad attitude"! :(

 

And don't be so hard on Boatpix. They're the only ones out there offering anything even close to a real job for us low-timers! Sure 400hrs isn't going to get you a job, but its still better than flipping burgers! :unsure:

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I went there, got my first job and it was great. When it was HAI, and when the market was much better, they hired at least 4-5 new instructors per month. If you couldn't find a job, it probably was because you had a bad attitude or you just simply weren't up to the level of instructor they were looking for.

You take anybody who will give you money, simple as that.

 

Oh come on man! Saying "I made it and it was great!" isn't the same as saying "You'll make it and it'll be great!"

 

Bristow or YFS (your favorite school) will graciously enroll anybody who will give them money, and they will provide them with some amount of training for that. When the money is gone, YFS will unceremoniously graduate them with ~200 hrs of experience. For most students, it won't be great--they won't get hired and they won't ever be pilots (YFS won't tell you that though). Since YFS is cranking out 5 students for every CFI they eventually hire, your chances of getting hired have as much to do with timing and broader economic factors than what kind of instructor you are...or would you say Bristow trains some number of CFIs to a substandard level? Or are they not teaching students to become instructors, just shepherding a few chosen ones and rubber stamping the rest? Or do they have a bulging staff of well-trained CFIs because they only cull the ones with "bad attitudes"? Or are you telling this guy that to get hired at Bristow, all he has to do is have a good attitude and be a good instructor?

 

In flight training, there's an equation that has to be balanced:

 

1 CFI job = 5 pro pilot students

If Bristow has a way around that, please let us know!

 

However you look at BoatPix, you pay them what you'd pay YFS and you get some amount of training and flight experience. The flight experience you get is greater than what your typical student will get from YFS for the same amount of money. Sure, if you're the chosen one and YFS hires you, BoatPix doesn't look like such a great deal. But if you don't...

 

Those of us who have been looking at CFI jobs have noticed that most of the few schools that are advertising for CFIs want ones with at least 500 hrs. 400 hrs from BoatPix is a lot closer to that number than 200 hrs from YFS.

 

I don't care where anybody chooses to go to school. You think you can make it at YFS and stand out? Go for it, but just know going in that under the best circumstances, 1 in 5 will make it. Good economy, maybe more. Bad economy, probably less.

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Butters you come on here all the time going on about rejection. I understand that you are pissed off. Why do YOU think that you have never got that first job???

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Butters you come on here all the time going on about rejection. I understand that you are pissed off. Why do YOU think that you have never got that first job???

 

I'm not really "pissed off", my frustration just comes out that way in type(I guess)? :o

 

I've only found 13 jobs for which I actually qualify, and the average competition has been around 500 pilots for just one slot. :(

 

Its just numbers. The odds are too great, and I'm just not that lucky. Which is why I don't go to Vegas all that often,(haven't left ahead since my 21st birthday!). :blink:

 

Plus my "networking" skills suck!

:D

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Tom, I have to say you talk a fair amount of crap.

 

I went there.... If you couldn't find a job, it probably was because you had a bad attitude or you just simply weren't up to the level of instructor they were looking for.

 

.......obviously thinks that people coming from there are well trained.

 

 

I dont understand how you reconcile those two statements. Those that didnt get hired are subpar instructors but are in demand elsewhere because they're so well trained?

 

It might serve your ego to think you got hired there because you're the greatest pilot since Chuck Yeager but you're basically saying that 3/4 of the students you trained were incompetent or arrogant. (5 hires out of a 20 student class)

 

If you really believe that the CFIs that graduate from BA(HAI) that dont get hired are 'not up to the level' then what does that say about YOUR performance as an instructor??

 

Get over yourself. As someone sated in an earlier post, and as I observed when I was there some years ago, apparently the 'right' attitude at BA/HAI is "Im gods gift to aviation." You're a walking, talking ad for any school in the US other than BA. Maybe they should pay you since you've appointed yourself the VR ad police.

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I said that back when the market was good they were hiring all of the time, they hired at least 5 if not more per month. You had to have a good attitude to get on well there because of the competition. If you were a good instructor, worked well with others on the team, had a good skills base then you were in with a great chance of a job.

 

Any of my students who finished while the market was still good got jobs there, some were JAA, some FAA. Those who didn't get jobs, finished during the slump, when Bristow pretty much stopped hiring FAA guys due to a lack of students. They are all working elsewhere now though.

 

Never sad that I was "god's gift to aviation" but I just love the way Tom comes onto lots of threads, says don't go there because it sucks, go to my school and then hijacks the thread to make an advertisement. Thats what I was pissed about.

 

Certainly not a walking ad for Bristow. Has its good and bad sides!

Edited by Trans Lift
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1. This industry is like no other. Some folks need to repeat this over and over in their heads.

 

2. Getting hired is a culmination of several factors and luck has nothing to do with it.

 

3. In this business, the definition of a persons attitude has little to do with a specific personality trait. To the contrary, it has to do with everything but a specific personality trait.

 

4. A book titled How to Fail in This Business will never sell. Simply put, its easy to tell why youre not being hired. Its been said, Keep you fears to yourself, but share your inspirations with others. In short, maybe explain what youre doing to get hired.

 

5. Years ago, ex Vet Nam pilots occupied just about every seat in the industry. A civilian attempting to go pro had just about a zero chance of being hired. Civilian CFIs were non-existent due to the insurance requirements. As a civilian, you had to pay your way to employment and even after paying all that cash, maybe. Plus, there was no way of knowing where the jobs were. No internet, no email, no knowing. Are civilians who trained back then working today? Yes.

 

6. CFIs are hired to fill the needs of a company. They are not hired to balance an equation. An unemployed CFI who brings a full-fare, cash paying student who will only fly with that CFI, will be hired.

 

7. Understanding that; tomorrows open CFI position may come from a 412 Captain who retied today, may give a better prospective of where jobs come from.

 

8. All flight schools have positives and negatives. Bristow is just one of many flight schoolss. However they, like most others, do not feel its in their best interest to participate in open forum discussions to further their business. Anyone who does so does it with a conflict of interest.

 

9. Bristow is a quality flight school. However, Bristow piggybacks on the Helicopter Adventures Inc. reputation of producing quality professional helicopter pilots. If youve had a check-ride with the likes of, Barry Lloyd, Ken Suzuki or Ray Murphy, then you understand.

Edited by Spike
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I didn't realize I was going to start such an uproar! My intent of the post was to hear from grads who did get jobs at Bristow AND the folks who didn't. I'm going to research a hell of a lot better this go-around than when I signed up at Silver State. It seems that some folks either love or hate big schools. I definately don't want to be "just another student" to train to CFII level, not get the immediate job offer and go away to diparage the company that trained them. People forget that you are on a constant "interview" while you are training. Let's face it, who would want to hire a pessimist. A bright outlook and positive attitude carries you over life's hurdles. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond. I value the insight more than you know. B.

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