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When I finish college in a year or so I will need to land on a flight school here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I have visited pretty much every single one of them and like them all. My situation/thought is the following and would like some former DFW area input:

 

I live in the mid-cities area which is closer to Meacham and I have been thinking about going to Epic. The only problem is there are hardly any reviews I can find on them. Longhorn in Denton IMHO is the absolute best choice, but the drive is ~1 hour each way and working full time would make it a really tough commute. I was thinking of getting my private at epic, to get robinson hours, and then if the commute and work schedule changes perhaps change to longhorn. Has anyone heard much of anything about Epic Helicopters in Fort Worth? Does where you get training from have any kind of impact on future job employment?

 

I look forward to everyones input! Thank you.

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  • 1 month later...

Disclaimer: I work at Sky Helicopters in Garland.

 

I don't think you could go wrong with either choices, but you need to pick 1 or the other and stick to that school. To be an instructor at a Robinson school you need 200 hrs in Robinson helicopters. They also require sign offs, separately, in the 22 & 44.

 

Splitting your training between the Robbies and the Schweizers will leave you with not enough time in the Robinson and not as much time in the Schweizer. This could make you a less competitive applicant down the road, when you start looking for an instructor position.

 

Traditionally a flight school hires the students that have made the biggest/longest commitment to that school.

 

There are a million different scenarios, and exceptions to everything. You may have a different career path in mind as well...

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Disclaimer: I work at Sky Helicopters in Garland.

 

I don't think you could go wrong with either choices, but you need to pick 1 or the other and stick to that school. To be an instructor at a Robinson school you need 200 hrs in Robinson helicopters. They also require sign offs, separately, in the 22 & 44.

 

From what I've read of the SFAR, it's 200 total in helicopters, 50 in Robinsons. Is that what Connie's insurance states?

 

I've got some experience with the various flight schools in DFW. I flew at Summit when it was still around. Once they shut down, I went to Longhorn in Denton, but not before talking with Gene at All American. I also spoke with someone (Vicky, I think?) at Epic, when looking for a place to spend gobs of money chasing my dream. I'm also with Sky right now. I live near Denton, but it's worth the drive for me.

 

My impressions: If you're going to go to KDTO for training, Longhorn is your only real choice. Dale and the gang are excellent people, and I've rarely found a friendlier atmosphere. They stay really busy with the contracts they have, but can most likely find a spot for you. They fly nothing but Schweizers. Dale is pretty much anti-robinson. They make a point to hire from within. If they like you and you know your stuff, you will most likely find a place at LH when a spot opens up.

 

All American is also up at KDTO, but I wasn't exactly impressed by Gene. Some people are, but his operation was not for me. I tell everyone to go check it out for yourself and make your own impressions. You may love it.

 

I spoke with some folks at Epic a few years back, and honestly I didn't even know they were still in business. I went to their location and was showed around. Seems like a nice enough area. When I called back about a week later, I got their voicemail. I told them who I was, and that I was ready to start flight training and to please call me back. They never did. Maybe they didn't need my money, but if that's the case, I probably didn't need their services either.

 

As I said, I'm flying at Sky right now. They also stay pretty busy with ENG (news) work and other commercial stuff, but they have a pretty active flight training schedule as well. I make the drive three times a week, and work with my CFII about 2-4 hours each time. If you let them know when and how you want to work with em, they'll accommodate you. I don't know about everyone else, but my CFII is really quite experienced. He pulls no punches and tells me when I've screwed up, which is a nice feature to have in an instructor.

 

Personally, I'd go somewhere that has multiple types of helicopters. Chances are you may not get hired with the school that taught you. Versatility probably won't hurt as long as you have enough robinson time to meet all the requirements of SFAR 73.

 

SFAR 73

 

Sky has a 300 (a CB, I believe... haven't flown it) and a few -22's and -44's.

 

If you want anymore details, shoot me a PM. I'll be more than happy to tell you everything I know from three years of flying around DFW.

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I did word that badly. The sentence should've read:You need 200 hrs to be an instructor in a Robinson helicopter.

 

You need 200 TT, with 50 hrs in the 22 to instruct in a 22. And for the 44 its 200 TT, with 50 hrs in Robinsons, up to 25 of which can be in the 22, the other in the 44.

 

I apologize, I was trying to keep it simple without going into a whole SFAR briefing in the original post. And, it ended up not coming across clearly.

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I have not heard anything at all regarding Epic, but I have heard all good things about both schools in Denton. I received all of my flight training from Sky and loved it! Ken and Connie run a great program with experienced instructors and well maintained aircraft. You will get enough time in the R22, R44, and 300 to be able to train in all 3 helicopters if you want, which should make you more marketable as a CFI. Or split the time between 2 of them. Also, more and more schools are adding the R44 so that time is valuable.

 

The school you receive your training from MIGHT affect your future employment. None of the schools you mentioned have a bad reputation as far as I know so that's a good thing. lol Some schools might help you find a job and others might be well known in the industry. Just because a future employer hasn't heard of the school you attented, doesn't mean they won't hire you.

 

Your work schedule and the days you can train will probably determine which school you can attend. If money is a factor, look at the per-hour training cost. It might be worth it to drive an hour if it saves you $150 per flight.

 

As mentioned earlier, your best bet is to pick one school and stay with it. Most flight schools try to hire one of their own students when a CFI opening becomes available. So the more time you have at a school may give you an advantage for that first job. Also I'm not sure how an employeer would view a resume showing the student went to "3" different schools in the same area.

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As mentioned earlier, your best bet is to pick one school and stay with it. Most flight schools try to hire one of their own students when a CFI opening becomes available. So the more time you have at a school may give you an advantage for that first job. Also I'm not sure how an employeer would view a resume showing the student went to "3" different schools in the same area.

 

I wouldn't be too concerned about going to different schools. Many years ago, when I was hiring CFIs, I might ask why they changed schools, but it really doesn't raise too many red flags. After all, not all schools have the programs you need or want, they go out of business, they lose the use of a particular aircraft you need to train in, you had issues with the school and their policies, etc. If they ask, tell them truth. After all when you were going through training, you were the customer and you made decisions about your training that you felt had to be made. In some ways I liked instructors that had changed schools, especially due to issues. It made them more in tuned with the students and more responsive to the students' needs.

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Guys! Thank you ever so much for the replies here! I guess the impression is most all the schools in the area are fine. Its just a matter of finding one that has a better chance of hiring within because I really don't want to move soon. Several CFIs have told me to try and hold your current job while being a CFI since the pay is not great. I would like to move to find the job after teaching.

 

My wife and I are settled in as we just bought our first house, but moving is certainly an option down the road. How are flying job here in the metroplex? Based on other posts and what you have said here it seems as though SKY would be best since they seem to have the majority of the contracts with VIP and ENG jobs.

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