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Utah Flight Schools?


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Hello everyone. Just curious if anyone has any information or opinions about which flight school is the best in Utah. Also, does anyone know anything about Monarch Air in Las Vegas? Thanks for the help.

 

I started looking at flight schools back in 2008. My wife and I did a lot of research. We looked at Utah Helicopters, Whirlybird, Wasatch(I think maybe out of business), High Desert(Out of Business), Upper Limit, Flight Above( I believe may be out of business too, not sure), and Mountain Ridge Helicopters(which I eventually picked), then I also looked at a couple schools from Oregon and California. I didn't look at Universal because they were pretty expensive when I was looking at them( I have met them since and they seem like a great bunch of guys).

 

I thought all the schools had lots of similarities, some were well established and some were shady... some were pricey and some seemed to have really great people working there.

 

I was really impressed with Utah Helicopters, talked to some great pilots and staff and they seemed to have a very good program with great instructors. I was impressed and I still am impressed with their company. Won an intro flight at one of their open houses, which was my first time taking the controls of the R22.

 

The personality of the person I spoke with at Whirly was not for me.

 

Upper Limit my wife and I did an interview with them. Seemed like a really well established school, I liked their training facilities, they had other operations there besides the school, so I could see real world applications, I know they have some good instructors, I didn't like their location. I saw that operating out of Busy SLC airspace would be good training for communication practice with ATC BUT that I would have to go to other airports to do practice training which would take away from my training time and therefore more money. The guy I did my interview with at the school didn't seem to fit my personality and I left the school thinking that was not the school for me. But this might not be the case for everyone. Again I think they are a great school, just not for me at that time.

 

My personal bias is going to go to Mountain Ridge Helicopters, I did train with them, and also currently work for them as an instructor. I felt that I received great training. I felt I was very informed when I started the school and still feel I made the correct choice. I have seen the school grow immensely and it's 10 times better school now then when the first day I started. Mountain Ridge's Chief Pilot is a great guy, great teacher and really care's about the quality of the training. Also have been super impressed with owners

 

I feel looking at flight school you need to find one that is continually progressing and looking out for it's students. See where it was 2 years ago and how it's progressed.

 

Don't be afraid to ask tons of questions. You are spending a lot of money and you deserve to be told the truth and to drill the heck out of them asking those questions.

 

My biggest advice is that it really matters if personalities mesh. Interview and ask lots of questions at all the flight schools. Make sure you are well informed and double check everything and make sure you have all the facts. Meet the instructors, see if you like them. You will be spending a lot of time with them.

 

If you were asking me "MY OPINION", and again this is my opinion only, my list of the top schools in Utah would be:

 

1. Mountain Ridge Helicopters

2. Utah Helicopters

3. Upper Limit

4. Cloud 9 (New in Ogden)

5. Universal

 

If you would like a list of the questions that I asked while interviewing all the flight schools send me a message and I will get you it.

 

Good luck,

 

Brett

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I started looking at flight schools back in 2008. My wife and I did a lot of research. We looked at Utah Helicopters, Whirlybird, Wasatch(I think maybe out of business), High Desert(Out of Business), Upper Limit, Flight Above( I believe may be out of business too, not sure), and Mountain Ridge Helicopters(which I eventually picked), then I also looked at a couple schools from Oregon and California. I didn't look at Universal because they were pretty expensive when I was looking at them( I have met them since and they seem like a great bunch of guys).

 

I thought all the schools had lots of similarities, some were well established and some were shady... some were pricey and some seemed to have really great people working there.

 

I was really impressed with Utah Helicopters, talked to some great pilots and staff and they seemed to have a very good program with great instructors. I was impressed and I still am impressed with their company. Won an intro flight at one of their open houses, which was my first time taking the controls of the R22.

 

The personality of the person I spoke with at Whirly was not for me.

 

Upper Limit my wife and I did an interview with them. Seemed like a really well established school, I liked their training facilities, they had other operations there besides the school, so I could see real world applications, I know they have some good instructors, I didn't like their location. I saw that operating out of Busy SLC airspace would be good training for communication practice with ATC BUT that I would have to go to other airports to do practice training which would take away from my training time and therefore more money. The guy I did my interview with at the school didn't seem to fit my personality and I left the school thinking that was not the school for me. But this might not be the case for everyone. Again I think they are a great school, just not for me at that time.

 

My personal bias is going to go to Mountain Ridge Helicopters, I did train with them, and also currently work for them as an instructor. I felt that I received great training. I felt I was very informed when I started the school and still feel I made the correct choice. I have seen the school grow immensely and it's 10 times better school now then when the first day I started. Mountain Ridge's Chief Pilot is a great guy, great teacher and really care's about the quality of the training. Also have been super impressed with owners

 

I feel looking at flight school you need to find one that is continually progressing and looking out for it's students. See where it was 2 years ago and how it's progressed.

 

Don't be afraid to ask tons of questions. You are spending a lot of money and you deserve to be told the truth and to drill the heck out of them asking those questions.

 

My biggest advice is that it really matters if personalities mesh. Interview and ask lots of questions at all the flight schools. Make sure you are well informed and double check everything and make sure you have all the facts. Meet the instructors, see if you like them. You will be spending a lot of time with them.

 

If you were asking me "MY OPINION", and again this is my opinion only, my list of the top schools in Utah would be:

 

1. Mountain Ridge Helicopters

2. Utah Helicopters

3. Upper Limit

4. Cloud 9 (New in Ogden)

5. Universal

 

If you would like a list of the questions that I asked while interviewing all the flight schools send me a message and I will get you it.

 

Good luck,

 

Brett

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I don't think any of those Utah schools can guarantee you first job which is the toughest job to get. You should find a school that has a contract using piston helicopters to do something other than flight training. Check out our school which also offers you free housing in sunny Florida. We are a bunch cheaper too!

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I don't think any of those Utah schools can guarantee you first job which is the toughest job to get. You should find a school that has a contract using piston helicopters to do something other than flight training. Check out our school which also offers you free housing in sunny Florida. We are a bunch cheaper too!

 

That's cool your school guarantee's people jobs after flight training. I would like to hear more about that. What type of contract is it, the demand for it and what type of pay do you get? Do you only hire your own students?

 

Thanks for the information,

Brett

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I have looked around Northern Utah since about March this year. I have not yet started my training at any of them so my opinion is not biased. This also means however that I don't have flight experience with them.

 

This is how I feel about them.

Utah Heli seems to be a very stable and good school, with probably the highest amount of students. I would considder them, however I am looking for something closer to where I live. (near Ogden) Also the only one I haven't actually been to visit yet.

Upper Limit Aviation; I was impressed with their school, the guys I talked to there were very easy to talk to and forthright when answering my questions. They didn't ever seem like they were trying to pull the wool over. I really felt good walking in there, however they are on the edge of my comuting limits and I too was a little concerned about paying for flight time while waiting for clearance in and out of the very busy SLC International.

Whirly Birds; I went for a very short ride with them during their open house. The people weren't quite the same as down at Upper Limit, but they did talk a little more to me after I shelled out the $ for the ride. Of the 3 schools I checked out they seemed the least knowledgeable (in regards to GI bill Use) but this could have just been that I was trying to talk to a new CFI. IDK. If they get their part 141 aproved I may give them a chance again since their location would be very convenient to me.

Mountain Ridge; I took an INTRO flight with these guys, the experience and the people were great. The staff there was very open and honest with me, and very freindly. They are not pushy to get you to sign right up for their training, in fact I was given some honest and sound advice to hold off for awhile (until closer to my military retirement). They are curently in limbo waiting on part 141 aproval as well. The part 141 is a big deal for me as I plan on using my GI Bill to pay for training.

Universal and cloud 9; I just found out about these 2, I'm gonna have to drop in and check them out.

Boat pix; Not in Utah... I would suggest learning in the high density altitude first, then go pay to work for some one (if that is your goal). And if it is maybe they will come here to Utah/Arizona to take pictures on Powell.

 

Good luck and let us know who you pick and why. I am still deciding myself, as I continue to knock out the degree required class room crap...Oh well if it gets me $80,000 worth of training I'll deal with it.

Edited by gary-mike
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The high altitude line is baloney. The entry level jobs are at sea level and not in the Mountains. A lot more people live a sea level than at 5,000 feet. A lot more helicopters are at sea level. A lot more jobs at sea level. A cfi needs ten students underneath him to propel him to a turbine job.

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That's cool your school guarantee's people jobs after flight training. I would like to hear more about that. What type of contract is it, the demand for it and what type of pay do you get? Do you only hire your own students?

 

Thanks for the information,

Brett

http://www.helicopteracademy.com/hire.htm This link explains a lot with the job offer You need to fly at least 100 hours on the contract and in these 50 tankfuls of avgas you will learn a lot. Enough that we can get you "named insured" at 300 hours/100 hours on the contract whereas our "open pilot" is at 1000 hours like all the tour operators. IF you come through our school we'll put you on photo right away. This last month there was a complete newbie that had two lesson and then he flew from Ft Lauderdale to Jacksonville as a photographer. He learned a LOT on those several tankfuls and learned fist hand about airspace and talking on the radio. The weekend was a photoshoot of the boats spectating at the Blue Angels airshow. When it is slow in the morning he shot pictures and then when the jet fighters came on we had two CFI's fly that burst of boats heading to and returning from the airshow. So the newbie did the easy parts and returned home with the helicopter. He said he had the time of his life. Learned a lot, too. He will solo next week and have his license before the month is over. He's already a valuable asset as a photographer and having fun in the 80 degree weather. If this sounds fun to you look into our website and call any of our instructors. There is also a facebook page that is run independently by an instructor.

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Tom, you neglected to tell this guy that when he reaches 400 hours you terminate him. He pays for 300 and then gets mediocre pay for 100.

To the OP: I would make sure that you read up about Pathfinder Insurance too to make sure you are covered with everything you do. It is basically Robinson's own insurance and people mainly get it because it is cheap.

http://www.aviationinsurance.com/articles/PathfinderInsRobinsonHelicopters_Heli07.pdf

"There is no question; if price is the only consideration when buying insurance, you may be short-changing yourself when it comes to protection – which is the real purpose of insurance in the first place. Coverage for Robinson helicopters is very much available. The premiums are higher but the coverage afforded by these domestic markets is head and shoulders above Pathfinder’s product. Make sure that there is VALUE in your insurance buying decisions, not simply the lowest price."

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UPDATE; After learning about cloud 9 coming to Ogden I stopped by on my way home from work. Here is what I found out about them.

They are new to the area (well the company is, the pilots are experienced in flying the area). They started setting up the company around June, and currently are ready to take in students. Since they are still building their presence here they are small. They have 1 R-22 and 1 R-44 with plans for more to come. Although new to the area, cloud 9 is a well established school based out of West Palm Beach Fl. They are 141 certified and accept the GI Bill. They currently have options for degree and college credit programs through West Palm State College, and are working with local schools to expand the possibilities. The CFI's currently 2 there were very nice and informative, and they kept the doors open hours past closing time just to answer my pestering questions. I really felt as if I was talking to freinds rather than embarking on a business venture. I think this is the school I will be going with.

 

although there are very good schools further south I think the comute would kill me.

Edited by gary-mike
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Tom, you neglected to tell this guy that when he reaches 400 hours you terminate him. He pays for 300 and then gets mediocre pay for 100.

To the OP: I would make sure that you read up about Pathfinder Insurance too to make sure you are covered with everything you do. It is basically Robinson's own insurance and people mainly get it because it is cheap.

http://www.aviationinsurance.com/articles/PathfinderInsRobinsonHelicopters_Heli07.pdf

"There is no question; if price is the only consideration when buying insurance, you may be short-changing yourself when it comes to protection – which is the real purpose of insurance in the first place. Coverage for Robinson helicopters is very much available. The premiums are higher but the coverage afforded by these domestic markets is head and shoulders above Pathfinder’s product. Make sure that there is VALUE in your insurance buying decisions, not simply the lowest price."

Pilots in our program aren't terminated at 400 hours. They are guaranteed to get to 400 hours in a environment where virtually no schools are hiring anyone. Many cfi's are kept on for much more time but it depends on a variety of circumstances. Our program is $65,000 for 300 hours and CFI. Then they get paid $2000 for the 100 hours they are guaranteed to work for us. So it's 400 hours for $63,000 or $157.50 per hour. What's not to like about that? If you transfer from another school because you made the wrong choice in the beginning you still only pay $200/hour and since you are guaranteed 1 hour for each 1 that you pay for, and they you get a job at $20/hour, the net is $90 an hour. What's not to like about that? This is an incredibly good deal and has saved so many pilots that got a cfi I and found no work and were no longer current. I know a guy that got his cfi in 1986 from Heli Adventures and still hasn't found a job. We take folks regardless of how long it's been or what aircraft they flew. It is best to start with our school or transfer NOW as we reward those who spend the most money with us. It's impossible to spend more than $65,000 and for that you get 400 hours but many get much, much more. Obviously, we are going to shower more hours on the person that came to our school early on rather than someone that wants to build one, two, twenty, fifty or 100 hours. It also helps if you network and bring in some students because it's kind of hard for us to have CFI #1 recruit a student and then tell him he's going to fly with CFI #2. Also, we carefully monitor all sorts of obvious things and employer looks for and remember: "your entire career you are on a job interview." I noticed you called me out by name and perhaps it would be fair that if you use my name that you indicate yours?

 

With respect to the pay of $20/hour I think many people don't have instructors jobs, we pay what we think is a reasonable rate, I know others that pay less and I was told by someone in your state of Massachusetts during Heli-Success that they weren't getting paid at all because the multimillionaire boss didn't want to. You might also want to note that my pilots in Florida get free housing. Free electric. Free Water. Short walk to the golf course and a longer walk to the beach. It's about 80 degrees here right now. I usually fly my pilot around for free with our relationship with Southwest Airlines.

 

The forum is a place for people to vent. The guys we trained flying turbines and praising us aren't on these forums. Perhaps you should look at the facebook page on "boatpix pilots" where one said "it was the best job I ever had."

 

With respect to the insurance you chose to quote a biased opinion from a broker that sells insurance for commissions. He is offering an opinion on a "cheaper" insurance that doesn't pay him a commission. Pathfinder follows guidelines presumably set by Frank Robinson himself and they make a lot of sense. I follow these guidelines but as you can see in some of my other posts that over 25 years in the helicopter business I make decisions that help protect life rather than sell helicopters. Pathfinder allows a ppl with 100 hours and RHC school to carry a passenger. Perhaps if you are charging $300 an hour like other school you might find this an acceptable risk. I would rather have the student continue to fly in the care and control of a CFI an that's what my guys are doing at an average rate of $157.50 an hour.

 

Anyone that wishes to call me can at 561-346-2816

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I just thought of this. My chief pilot is a Phd, so he's a doctorate. His daughter is an MD, so she is a doctor also. But, she lives in Salt Lake City. IF anyone wants to train in Utah, Dr. Dave can fly his own helicopter (which has "BOATPIX.com" insignia on it, under contract) and he can fly at our incredibly low rates and see his grandchildren. Or, you can come to Florida where we have free housing. He'd rather be on the beach in his swimsuit but can put his snowsuit on also. Your choice. Life is good! Oh, we're 141 also.

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looks like a good contract that boatpix has!! you should read this satisfied customers reviews....

 

http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/general-boating-discussion/113790-boatpix-com-scammers-lets-put-end.html

 

or

 

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-forum/69884-boatpix-billing.html

 

or this training mission

 

http://www.justnews.com/news/22981794/detail.html

 

or I personally like this one:

 

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=105044

Edited by clay
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Now Mr. Boatpix will come back on here and show you a link to a comment where they said he is great. He has the answer for everything. It just pisses me off when he turns every thread he comes across as a chance to throw out and advertisement or a comment about how there is no point in going with another school because you won't get a job. Blah blah. You may not get a job but then I guess you can always go to Boatpix if you don't.

 

What the hell has your chief pilot and his daughter having doctorates got to do with anything?

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oh yah, and high altitude isnt balony!!! I learned to fly an R22 on the top of Mt. Everest... We had a contract to heard sheep up there. and its helped me a TON

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HA ! the sailing anarchy link is on the money. I especially like Mr. Clean's response.

 

I can personally attest to two times in my life I broke down to the point that I actually contacted Boatpricks about helicopter instruction. All I can say is that dude is straight up rude ! Definetly not going to get my business or money. Very very rude.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought I would chime in here on topic.

I currently am a student at Universal in Provo, they have been in Utah for a long time with an exemplary safety record. I am nearing the end of my training and have been treated with respect and given excellent training. Opportunities are good there because of their relationship with Embry-Riddle. Many of the the CFII's have been sent down there (Prescott) to instruct opening opportunities.

 

Good luck on deciding (if you haven't already)!!

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I just got an e-mail yesterday that Mountain ridge is currently being reviewed for 141, and was also just inspected to become an authorized testing center. They said they should know by the first of the year how things turned out.

 

Also UVU's flight program was put on hold due to a recent fixed wing accident, not sure if it effected their rotary wing program or not. But either way they plan to be flying again real soon.

 

Still no word on Cloud 9 as far as distance learning for a degree program or becoming affiliated with a local university or college.

 

But hey I guess the original post never mentioned if GI Bill was going to be used, and all of em have their plusses and minuses. Go check them out and get your own thoughts and feelings.

 

I will say as far as I know the largest schools are Utah heli and Upper limit, not sure about Universal, I haven't been there. For me since I work full time Commute influences my choices quite a bit. That and 141/VA approval since I will be using my GI Bill.

 

Mountain ridge has a good deal on Promo flts for christmas lights and dinner, might be a good excuse to drag the old lady up there.

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  • 7 months later...

So any decisions yet?

 

I believe Mountain Ridge now is 141 and an authorized testing center.

 

You sir, are correct. I was just there yesterday for a private seminar and tour of a V-22 Osprey that is in the area for testing.

 

Also let me correct myself on an earlier post. Cloud 9 does not yet have thier 141 for the Utah location but it is in work.

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