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Scholarship Use Advice?


UgleeBarnacle
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Hello all, Barnacle here with a slight dilemma. For those who don't know much about me, which is likely most people on here, I am a helicopter crazed high school senior.

 

I fortunate enough to receive a scholarship for $3000 towards training for a private pilot license though the "Explorer Program - Aviation." They have all sorts of different career paths that we "explorers" can learn about, so you can bet I jumped all over the aviation one!

 

The only rule placed upon me after earning the scholarship is that I exhaust the funds within one year of receiving (I have until August). My question is this: Should I use just the funds now to pick up a few hours over the summer before college, or use it plus all the money from my job, savings, and a bit of parental borrowing to complete my private pilot license over the summer?

 

My thoughts on the issue are around my future as a pilot, and the hopes of making it in the industry against other low time CFII's. While I would like to do some flying/complete my PPL here in Ohio, I planned to do my professional training at Bristow Academy after I complete college (wonderful flight school by the way). I am only hesitant to complete my PPL this summer because any training I do here is time that is NOT spent training at the flight school I hope to be employed by...

 

Is it smart to get my foot in the door now and invest in my PPL this summer? Or is it smarter to use the $3K for what its worth now and then wait to complete all of my training (PPL, CPL, CFI, etc.) at the flight school that I hope to train at and, SUPER hopefully, work for?

 

Or am I over-thinking this?

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Dropping $3000 is going to get you about 8-10hours.... if that. If thats all you can do, and you arent footing the bill then go for it. If you have the ability to borrow from the folks and knock it in addition to that $3k go that route.

 

OK before you roll your eyes....... That $3k would actually get you about halfway through your private airplane rating. Then you could do you helicopter add-on at a later time. Thats what I did. Mom and Dad would only need to come up with probably $4000. Then you could actually start flying, start building xctry time (which does count) for half of the cost. Its an option people just dont ever seem to explore. Dont write it off until you research it. Im a dual rated CFI whi did my airplane stuff and then did helo add-ons. I think you may find that by doing it that way, you end up a dual rated pilot for not too much more. At least by doing your private and inst airplane, then jumping over to helicopters. Much cheaper to do a 40-50hr airplane instrument course and then a 15hr helo instrument add instead of a 40-50hr initial heiicopter instrument at $350 an hour!

 

Look into it.

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Four year break in flight training would mean you'll waste money and be starting your private all over again from basically zero hours if you didn't earn your pvt and remain current during college... So with that in mind you have a couple choices, work and complete your private before college starts or if the scholarship allows and your itching to get in the sky, consider securing a glider rating which will provide you with the opportunity to fly during college at an hourly rate you should be able to afford...

 

You could also spend a little more securing a FW rating as mentioned above...

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Actually...... I take that back. I didnt start in airplanes, I started in Gliders and ended up with a Private Glider when I was in High School. The only thing is, its still a few grand to get a PPL Glider. You will be able to stay current in airplanes for half the costs of a helicopter, build REAL time, cross country, night, etc. Be able to take people places and get real experience. After your rating in helicopters, going out to rent one once every 3 months at $300 an hour is probably unrealistic for a college student versus $130 an hour for an airplane. DO NOT think that starting in airplanes is going to derail your helicopter goals.

 

(shamless recruiting plug) Then join Civil Air Patrol. Ohio has a good program. That will keep you involved in aviation, yes, its airplanes, but knowledge is knowledge and total time is total time.

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I agree with Flying Pig and Helistar (they both know their stuff really well). Coming from the fixed wing side myself, it is much cheaper to get your PPL/Inst/Commercial and do the appropriate helicopter add-ons as you need them. I actually considered doing this path myself as it will allow you to become a dual rated CFI which is always a good thing when marketing yourself.

 

However if money is an object, as it is for most of us, then the only thing I would consider is that you will most likely need 200 hours of helicopter time in accordance with SFAR-73 to teach in Robinson helicopters. This means that the potential airplane time, while fun and contributing to all of the actual minimums for licensing (xc, night, etc), doesn't put a dent in the 200 hour requirement.

 

So if your mind is made up with the helicopters I really think it would be more beneficial to put that $3000 towards that 200 hour mark even if you leave with no licenses. Yes you will most likely have to begin your training over after that long a time, but the hours will still count and Bristow probably won't care if 5% of the hours came from somewhere else.

 

One thing you can do is to start hitting the books religiously. I started studying back when I was 14 and carried around a Gleim test bank with me everywhere to constantly review (slightly obsessive). It'll make your full time training that much more enjoyable and efficient if you already know whats going on.

 

On the flip side $3000 can be considered a relatively small amount when it comes to aviation, and if you just want to go flying and start enjoying it, then fixed wing is probably your answer. As stated above you'll be able to do more pleasure flights and have a good time with it at 1/3rd of the cost. Someone once told me chicks dig pilots too.

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Interesting ideas with the fixed wing time! And as rotortramp said, that 200 hour mark is what it is, and the way it seems to me, even if 3K isn't a whole lot, it's still a few "free" hours for me.

 

And even if staying current means $300 every 3 months, it may be hard for a college student. Maybe I should treat this as an extended series of intro flights if you will?

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I vote for the fixed wing option. I wish I would have spent my money on FW first to learn about aviation and gain air sense, then switched to RW to learn control touch.

 

I spent 10k in R22 lessons prior to Army flight school and honestly feel like more FW time would have set me up for more success initially. If I had a do over I would have rolled in a Cessna for 10k of hours.

 

Just my view! Good luck and congrats on the scholarship.

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I am a helicopter crazed high school senior.

 

This statement says it all.....

 

Unless you have a desire to go fixed wing sometime in the future, there is absolutely no reason to spend any time, or cash, on FW training. Furthermore, if your ultimate goal is to become a helo-pro, then every red cent should be spent on helo time. It's futile to do otherwise. With that, I suggest you get the private helicopter as you outlined (over the summer).

 

 

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I am a helicopter crazed high school senior.

 

My question is this: Should I use just the funds now to pick up a few hours over the summer before college, or use it plus all the money from my job, savings, and a bit of parental borrowing to complete my private pilot license over the summer?

 

Doesn't this say he could complete his PPL this summer using a combination of savings, the scholarship, and parental contribution? It wouldn't just be $3k and 10-12 lost (R22) hours. He's asking if doing it this way would make a future school look at him negatively for post-certification employment.

 

Barnacle, if you're all about helicopters, skip the FW. Get the PPLH this summer using the extra free $$, get your feet wet in aviation and helicopters, keep your finger on the pulse for 4yrs, then get back to it after college. You're young, you most definitely won't "lose it" and Bristow or any other school (there are lots of good ones in lots of places) won't discount you because you already have your PPL from somewhere else. You'll still do the bulk of your training and proving yourself with them when you get there.

 

Get a good (unrelated) backup education, aviation is full of surprises!

 

HG03

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All wonderful advice, thanks.

 

I think I may just knock out the PPL this summer. And it is probably nice to have no matter what route I go. Another question (and I know the military forum would be best for this).

 

Does having a PPL give an applicant in ROTC any leverage for a flight slot (assuming I decided ROTC was right for me)? I would think it does, but then again, the military will teach you what they want you to know.

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