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Best Heli flight school in the Los Angeles area

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Hello all

 

I'm new to this forum

 

I live in LA and have been doing my research on helicopter flight training schools and have visited most at this stage in my region-looking for training from zero hours through to CFI-I for a professional heli pilot career- looking for the highest standards and most professional, safest school

 

 

Would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has actual experience - positive or negative -with any of the following schools..

 

Van Nuys airport is nearest to me (most companies are only 15-20 minutes drive for me)-

 

I'm considering-

 

-Elite Helicopters

- Orbic Air

-Group 3 Aviation

-RotorFX

 

Second nearest- would be Star Helicopters at Hawthorne (about 25 minutes)

 

I'm also considering Los Angeles Helicopters- they do seem to have the best reputation - but are the furthest commute for me - 40+ minutes- and seemingly possibly the most expensive..) though ultimately extra cost in money or travel time would be worth it to me if it means getting the best, most professional and safest training available.

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 

Gratefully,

 

Justin

 

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Hello all

 

I'm new to this forum

 

I live in LA and have been doing my research on helicopter flight training schools and have visited most at this stage in my region-looking for training from zero hours through to CFI-I for a professional heli pilot career- looking for the highest standards and most professional, safest school

 

 

Would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has actual experience - positive or negative -with any of the following schools..

 

Van Nuys airport is nearest to me (most companies are only 15-20 minutes drive for me)-

 

I'm considering-

 

-Elite Helicopters

- Orbic Air

-Group 3 Aviation

-RotorFX

 

Second nearest- would be Star Helicopters at Hawthorne (about 25 minutes)

 

I'm also considering Los Angeles Helicopters- they do seem to have the best reputation - but are the furthest commute for me - 40+ minutes- and seemingly possibly the most expensive..) though ultimately extra cost in money or travel time would be worth it to me if it means getting the best, most professional and safest training available.

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 

Gratefully,

 

Justin

 

Talk to Dane at Lite Flight at Van Nuys as well....

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Hello all

 

I'm new to this forum

 

I live in LA and have been doing my research on helicopter flight training schools and have visited most at this stage in my region-looking for training from zero hours through to CFI-I for a professional heli pilot career- looking for the highest standards and most professional, safest school[/size]

 

 

Would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has actual experience - positive or negative -with any of the following schools..

 

Van Nuys airport is nearest to me (most companies are only 15-20 minutes drive for me)-

 

I'm considering-

 

-Elite Helicopters

- Orbic Air

-Group 3 Aviation

-RotorFX

 

Second nearest- would be Star Helicopters at Hawthorne (about 25 minutes)

 

I'm also considering Los Angeles Helicopters- they do seem to have the best reputation - but are the furthest commute for me - 40+ minutes- and seemingly possibly the most expensive..) though ultimately extra cost in money or travel time would be worth it to me if it means getting the best, most professional and safest training available.

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 

Gratefully,

 

Justin

 

Hey Justin, I sent you a PM. Let me know if I can help you with anything.

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So did you pick a spot and start training? If you're from LA, you might be interested in a group of us local helo pilots that are meeting for breakfast at CMA this Sat about 9:30 am.

 

Fly safe!

 

Goldy

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So did you pick a spot and start training? If you're from LA, you might be interested in a group of us local helo pilots that are meeting for breakfast at CMA this Sat about 9:30 am.

 

Fly safe!

 

Goldy

Thanks for asking Goldy- I have my ideas and may train at several schools/airports from PPL through CFI-I in the LA area to get a comprehensive training/experience- thanks for the invitation to breakfast at CMA, though I cannot make this Saturday, any future opportunities will be greatly appreciated- I plan on eventually joining the PHPA- appreciate the support from everyone on this community- happy, safe flying to you too!

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I'm just about to move from Scotland to LA and want to start my helicopter training also. Van Nuys will be 10 mins from where I will be living. I would also appreciate some advice on what schools to use.

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I'm just about to move from Scotland to LA and want to start my helicopter training also. Van Nuys will be 10 mins from where I will be living. I would also appreciate some advice on what schools to use.

My 2 favorites are both at VNY. Elite and LiteFLight. Talk to Dane (HeliHelvig) at LiteFlight....or call over to Elite. Couple nice CFI's over there.....talk to Andy....personally I fly with Randy when I want to challenge my skills a bit.

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Hey ya'll! This is my first post after being a lurker on the site for so long: so much great info!

What is your opinion on training in Van Nuys vs. Carlsbad? I want to get my CFI and a CFI job, and I have the option of moving to either. If the school I train at does not hire me (which I hope they would), are there better opportunities to get hired by another school in San Diego/ Carlsbad or LA/ Van Nuys?

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San Diego area has two long time operators, but I don't know them well enough to speak of employment opportunities. VNY is a GREAT place to fly out of, you will get immersed in LA airspace and feel comfortable flying almost anywhere after that (except maybe DC or NY). Elite at VNY hires a lot of their CFI's that they produce and they have some commercial operations going on as well......If you want a career, look for a school that has some opportunities for you along the way. Commercial operators do tours, photo flights, film shoots and maybe even Part 135 ops that you can join in on.....maybe for a small hourly fee, maybe for free, but all good experience to gain from, and more fun than flying the pattern in an R22.

 

Downside to VNY is you can't practice there. You fly 5 minutes over to WHP to do pattern work, or you go out 15 minutes to a practice area in the hills.

 

I've been flying the LA Basin since the late 80's, so PM me if you have any questions. Good luck on your training wherever you land.

 

Goldy

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Finally I am heading to LA to start my training(only a year later than I'd hoped). I contacted just about every school and only 2 got back to me. I have decided to go with Rotor FX. They have been very helpful in giving me info and sorting out my visa. I head over in 1 months time. Can't wait. Thanks everyone for the advice.

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I know Lorenzo at Elite, nice guy, solid pilot. I'd also trust what Goldy recommends being local. That being said, Western helicopters in the Rialto area have a great reputation as well.

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There is one of your fellow countryman located in the Inland Empire at Brackett Field (Laverne, Ca). I had the pleasure working with Mr. Bryan Robinson and his staff when I worked on my CFI in 2010. Try contacting him at: helibryan@yahoo.com

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Finally I am heading to LA to start my training(only a year later than I'd hoped). I contacted just about every school and only 2 got back to me. I have decided to go with Rotor FX. They have been very helpful in giving me info and sorting out my visa. I head over in 1 months time. Can't wait. Thanks everyone for the advice.

 

I have my Robbie at RotorFx currently..look for me flying 23VH...

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I know Lorenzo at Elite, nice guy, solid pilot. I'd also trust what Goldy recommends being local. That being said, Western helicopters in the Rialto area have a great reputation as well.

Yes, Western has a great rep..in fact, it's the place to go for more advanced training..also heard they have moved to Riverside as Rialto is closing.....gotta make room for those houses !

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Hello!

 

Hoping to get some advice from some long-time pilots (Goldy, are you out there?)

 

I just took the introductory flight training course at Elite Helicopters. Of course, now I am HOOKED.

I plan on obtaining my Private Pilot Certificate from Elite and getting my CFI to have a career in helicopter aviation.

 

I would like to know your honest opinions about the job market for a career helicopter pilot. What is the best forum for finding job openings? Once you obtain your CFI what is the starting pay?

 

I've read that most CFI's go on to teach with at flight training school to accumulate hours that will make them employable in other areas. I am interested in coast guard or life flight for a hospital, but I understand I may not obtain that many hours for many years.

 

Any advice or recommendations are greatly appreciated. THANK YOU!!!!

 

Blue Skies,

Mindy

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oh...ouch.....a new pilot with big dreams that I have to deflate (just a bit..).. Honestly find a really good job that can support you while you work on your new job....flying. You just can't live on what a CFI makes, at any school. However, you can work 9-5 and then 12 hours a day each weekend, and gain time as you learn and get your ratings...hopefully all the way to CFII. Somewhere between 1200-1500 hours you should be able to impress a Vegas tour company to hire you......that's a salary you can live on....you won't eat much, but you'll survive. 2 years of that, and you'll be at 3000 plus hours and then you can stay there if you enjoy it, or find other opportunities.

 

Plus, you will probably have a bunch of student loans to pay off during these years. It's not easy, but I've seen many people stay the course and are flying now all over the world....try to save your money to minimize the loan payments (there's a reason it took me 4 years to solo.....and it wasn't my auto's!)

 

Second, take advantage of every time building opportunity you can....these hours will usually cost you less than just renting, and get you out of the pattern and into some more challenging environments.

 

Elite is a solid outfit, I've flown there on and off and known most of those guys for years....I'm up in the NW corner at VNY now....PM me with any questions. Good luck and fly safe,

 

Goldy

Edited by Goldy

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I have my Robbie at RotorFx currently..look for me flying 23VH...

I totally forgot about this site. 6 months down the road and I have my private (done in 23VH which I love). Now working on instrument and commercial at Elite and Rotor F/X. Hopefully CFI in a couple of months. Good times have been had. :D

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I totally forgot about this site. 6 months down the road and I have my private (done in 23VH which I love). Now working on instrument and commercial at Elite and Rotor F/X. Hopefully CFI in a couple of months. Good times have been had. :D

 

Congrats on your success! I recall watching you land a day or so before your private checkride.....pretty smooth. I happen to love 23VH even more than you!

 

Take care, fly safe.

 

Goldy

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The best forum for opportunities Mindy are the people you meet, you'll come to find a large percent of pilots are hired through word of mouth. LA has the PHPA that does meetings every few months and Facebook has the LA Basin Pilot Forum. Meet people, hanger talk and learn about their experiences and any advice they're willing to offer. Best thing during your training is to show people you're a hard worker, willing to be flexible and be serious about your training. This will help you build a solid reputation as a pilot.

 

The owner of Elite is really good about helping his graduates get started. Be ready to move, you may do you training in LA but end up working you're first job in Oklahoma. Good luck, enjoy your training and feel free to PM with any questions!

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Yes, thanks for bringing up PHPA(www.phpa.org). Since I'm a board member, I appreciate it!

 

Second, Glendale College has great and cheap aviation courses.

 

Third, lots of other organizations Mindy could look at.....99's has an active chapter (with scholarships) at CMA.

 

I guess that's a good start.

 

Goldy

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Hello folks,

 

I am a 4 year vet currently living in NJ (which I completely hate). I have been interested in becoming a helicopter pilot since my first helicopter ride in Afghanistan. It's so beautiful to be above EVERYTHING and being able to see this phenomenal world from a bird's eye view. My question is, to become as successful as you guys, what are some of the first steps to take? I see VNY is a school to consider. I would absolutely LOVE to be in LA. I visited once during R&R and I was almost tempted to go AWOL lol. Nevertheless, any advice would help. I don't want to go into this blindly thinking I can figure it out by myself. I thank you guys for the feedback!

 

Very respectfully,

 

The Fly Guy !

 

Get It ? :D

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