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Training in New England? Try a Schweizer?


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I took an R22 flight with NE Helicopters a few months back.

 

I had been thinking all this time that I didn't want to train in New England due to weather.

But I'll be in Boston later this week and was looking at New England Helicopter Academy in Plymouth and thought about trying the Schweizer. Spoke with the owner at length who seems like a good guy.

 

First question: Any reason to try the Schweizer? If I were to train in this, I had better be employed by the school I trained at, or things will be harder than they need to be, right?

Or, maybe Schweizer CFIs are so few that they can easily find instructing work in Schweizers?

 

2nd question: Pros and Cons of training in New England in general? All else being equal would it take 18 months instead of 12 because of weather?

 

It seems like various schools in the West have certain connections to operators, where the operators like to employ grads from certain schools (i.e. MLH & TEMSCO, or some of the Utah/Colorado schools and Papillon). So what's the New England "connection," if any?

 

I want to try another flight anyway to make sure I don't get motion sickness again, so it's either the Schweizer for comparison, or another ride in an R22 (maybe from North Andover Flight Academy?).

 

My school criteria is as follows:

Able to get to CFIi as quickly as possible

Relatively busy school with high turnover of CFIs

Not the most expensive school

I would primarily be interested in GC and Alaska tours for first employment.

 

So, being in Boston this week, which should do I? Schweizer at Plymouth, or R22 at Andover? Or, maybe Blue Hill?

Can't afford all right now.

 

Do you guys think it's important that I pick a school that also runs a tour business, for greater exposure and connection to the industry and therefor likelihood of employment?

 

Thanks!

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Or, maybe Schweizer CFIs are so few that they can easily find instructing work in Schweizers?

 

I'm sure Bristow keeps the world pretty well stocked with Schweizer CFIs! Still, there's no reason not to check one out,...they're really not that bad?

 

Picking a school that has other operations (like tours) can help you get more experience early on (if they hire you of course) and is a good idea.

 

Personally I wouldn't train in New England, the weather sucks balls!

 

Right place, right time, that's how you get a career in aviation started, everything else is just a roll of the dice!

Edited by eagle5
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I know Rick from NEHC. He is a good guy. NE weather does suck so you will not get to CFII as quickly as you could in Florida for example.

 

The schweizer is the best training machine out there IMO. Way nicer than the 22. I learned in 300's the whole way through and then instructed in them after.

 

When you say you would like GC or Alaska tours for first employment, you don't mean after training right?

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I know Rick from NEHC. He is a good guy. NE weather does suck so you will not get to CFII as quickly as you could in Florida for example.

 

The schweizer is the best training machine out there IMO. Way nicer than the 22. I learned in 300's the whole way through and then instructed in them after.

 

When you say you would like GC or Alaska tours for first employment, you don't mean after training right?

 

Right. I mean after instructing.

So what would my chances of employment be with Rick?

Another school I liked the sound of was Tomlinson (300s), but I can't get much of a straight answer from the guy. Also, it seems like most pilots from Florida go off to the GOM, which I wouldn't want to do.

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I would say try the Schweizer just to see what you think. I've trained in Robbies but did get a handful of hours in the Schweizer and I really enjoyed flying it. I'm not sure why the last couple schools I've been at always speak very negatively of the Schweizer, then again that's usually from people who haven't flown one. Anyways, I wouldn't let that be a big deciding factor when looking for a school to train with. I would agree that only having S300 time might make it a little tougher to find a CFI job somewhere else, just my opinion though. I'm not familiar with flying in the NE but seems reasonable to think that weather might prolong your time to reach CFII a little bit versus flying in other places, but you'd likely get better experience seeing different weather. I've always heard good things about Tomlinson Aviation, and the couple times I visited they seemed like a good outfit. Same for Precision Helicopters in OR, though I realize both of those places are outside your area.

 

After visiting as many schools as you can, just think about which one made you feel the most comfortable. Friendliest owner, staff, or CFI's. I like schools that are busy, but don't like pilot factories either. Nice facilities, nearby practice areas, enough helicopters, etc. Things like which type of aircraft or which industries they have connections with would be secondary factors to me. Whichever school you pick best of luck in training, it's a blast.

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It is interesting to hear that opinion of New England weather. The weather is similar to the weather in the Pacific Northwest, but you don't hear of students complaining about the weather there. While the weather is better in Florida, etc, the weather you get in NE and the PNW are realistic of the weather you will get in the real world of helicopter flying. That is one of the reasons they are using helicopters.

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Right. I mean after instructing.

So what would my chances of employment be with Rick?

 

Another school I liked the sound of was Tomlinson (300s), but I can't get much of a straight answer from the guy. Also, it seems like most pilots from Florida go off to the GOM, which I wouldn't want to do.

 

I'm not sure about emloyment with Rick. To be honest you want to get in with a busy school so you can build hours quick after and make at least some money to keep you going. Have you looked into Bristow in Florida. I hear they are having trouble keeping all their ships flying due to inability to get parts regarding the 300's. There have been issues with that lately. I trained in Florida and never worked in the Gulf. There are people who I trained with working all over. I have heard of Tomlinson but never had any dealings with them.

Maybe look at Blue Hill helicopters or North Andover if you are staying in the NE area.

Edited by Trans Lift
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Is the 300 slowly being weaned into retirement? Will Bristow some day be switching to Robbies?

 

I almost asked the same question on here. I've heard a couple rumors that Bristow Academy will be replacing their Schweizers with something else in the not too distant future. I haven't seen anything online about it, and not sure if they are anything more than rumors. If they did though, it would be interesting to see which airframe they switch to.

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I almost asked the same question on here. I've heard a couple rumors that Bristow Academy will be replacing their Schweizers with something else in the not too distant future. I haven't seen anything online about it, and not sure if they are anything more than rumors. If they did though, it would be interesting to see which airframe they switch to.

 

They're such a big school, it be kinda cool if they went with something that's not so common, like an Enstrom!,...or how about ALL R44s?

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New member here, when I first started looking into flying, the first schools I looked into were in the boston area, I checked out a school (north andover) that ran r22's and r44's. I went up for my first discovery flight, and I immediately disliked the feel and size of the 22, as well as the atmosphere of the school, just my preference though. The next day I toured another school, blue hill helicopters, and they ran 300's I went up for another discovery flight in the 300 and the control sensation is incredibly better than the 22 in my opinion, plenty of space, visibility is as good as it gets, dedicated cyclic for each seat, even the pedal setup feels far more solid, plus the fully articulated setup seems to have better stability. That was two years ago, and I only just started my training, though I decided to train in colorado instead of new england. Anyway, just a newcomer's humble opinion, I would say definitely give a 300 and blue hill a try you might love it.

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Yeah and about 7-10 jetrangers. They had about 50-55 aircraft the last time I was there. It's a huge school. In my time there, they were probably pumping out over 30 CFI a year!

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Yeah and about 7-10 jetrangers. They had about 50-55 aircraft the last time I was there. It's a huge school. In my time there, they were probably pumping out over 30 CFI a year!

 

30 CFIs a year?,...Holy sh*t!,...and I was about to suggest that there may be a coming shortage of 200 hour CFIs! :lol:

 

Well, at least Henry Ford would be proud!

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hi guys and thanks for the replies.

 

gettothechopper: before i read your post, about a week ago, i did indeed visit bluehillhelicopters outside of boston.

i have to say i also had a much more enjoyable flight in the 300. i did a 30 minute flight and the end of it was hovering pretty solidly! the instructor was impressed. i didn't get sick at all, either.

 

my hesitation was that bluehill seems like a tiny school with an absentee owner (who flies in the GOM, though, so maybe is well connected). they only have 2 helis, one of which is hte instrument trainer. the instructor said they were talking about acquiring an r44 for tours. but the CFIs are very well paid, or at least my instructor of 500 hours is. PM me if you want to know.

 

i don't think i would have any problem training here, just a matter of if i decide i can hang in for another winter or two, and whether or not a spot out west might better launch me into something like maverick or TEMSCO.

 

gettothechopper: are you training in the schweizer in colorado? how do you like your school and which one is it?

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Trans-lift. Not beyond your first real job no.

 

Yeah that is what I meant :) I mentioned above about going to a school that is busy enough for you to be able to work at and build hours at.

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I have a friend who is looking at attending Northeast Helicopters. I went down there with him today for a visit and was well impressed with the place. Good aircraft, mechanics and overhaul facility, plenty of enthusiastic instructors. The owners were very friendly and seem to be all about the students. I think it is worth a look for anybody interested in training in the New England area.

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