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Good evening everyone! I am set to retire on May 1st from the US Army after 17+ years and will be looking to use my Post 9/11 GI Bills benefits. I am currently 35 and had a chance at an early retirement (full retirement benefits, only smaller percentage) and jumped on it. I have decided to try my hand at an aviation career and flying helicopters has always intrigued me. I am currently stationed in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA and would be willing to move to ensure that I am attending a quality school. I would prefer it is tied to a degree program with a local university or college that covers from the PPL up through CFI-I.

 

From the research I have done I've come up with a couple of schools that I would attend.

1. Leading Edge Aviation (Bend, OR)

2. Upper Limits Aviation (Cedar City, UT)

3. Other good schools in great areas???

*The local areas are also an big reason for these schools as I enjoy outdoor activities (Mountain biking, kayaking, backpacking, snowboarding, etc...).

 

Additional Info:

I am a divorce father that pays a lot of child support, so I'm trying to get an estimate on what costs I may be incurring prior to and during school. I know things will be slim money wise hence using GI Bill, FAFSA (if possible), and finding a part-time job to put food on the table (even if it's the ramen or PBJ diet). Potential expenditures???

 

I'm definitely jumping out of my comfort zone changing careers, but I don't want to work a job that I hate for the rest of my life. I don't mind a bit of desk work, but I need to get out and explore and flying helicopters can help feed my desire. (Money has never been a huge driving factor in my life, I don't need a lot to be happy)

 

I'm open to any and all advice, recommendations, critics (good or bad), because I'm new and have a lot to learn.

 

Thanks in advance,

John

 

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John,

I would advice looking into Mountain Ridge Helicopters. They are associated with Utah State University and do GI bill and VA benefits. It is an awesome school. Great safety record, great employees and the best training environment you could ask for.

 

When you are not training you will have incredible outdoor activities minutes from your house. Biking, Kayaking, snowboarding and tons of other activities up Logan Canyon and surrounding areas.

 

I went to school there and I am now an EMS pilot. I credit my training I received there to the success I have now in my career.

 

Hope that helps!

 

If you have any other questions please fill free to ask and GOOD LUCK!

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John,

I would advice looking into Mountain Ridge Helicopters. They are associated with Utah State University and do GI bill and VA benefits. It is an awesome school. Great safety record, great employees and the best training environment you could ask for.

 

When you are not training you will have incredible outdoor activities minutes from your house. Biking, Kayaking, snowboarding and tons of other activities up Logan Canyon and surrounding areas.

 

I went to school there and I am now an EMS pilot. I credit my training I received there to the success I have now in my career.

 

Hope that helps!

 

If you have any other questions please fill free to ask and GOOD LUCK!

Here is their website http://www.mountainridgeheli.com/

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Private message sent.

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Highly recommend Leading Edge Aviation to start with. They run in conjunction with Central Oregon Community College and are a Post 9/11 benefits program. They offer both helicopter and fixed wing training and aside from their flight school operations, they are a Robinson service and overhaul center, Bell service center, avionics shop, Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and operate several helicopters for commercial work. They are certainly not a pilot mill program and take great pride in providing excellent training to pilots who come through there. They primarily train in Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters and only offer a turbine aircraft for advanced training (none of this silly teach you in an MD500 for your PPL nonsense.)

 

Both the Flight School and College program provide several highly experienced professional aviators formerly from around the entire aviation community, from the Coast Guard, NTSB, LA Country Fire, U.S. Marine Corps, and several other agencies and businesses.

 

I'm a post graduate of their program (PPL through CFII) and am now flying commercially in Florida. If you have any intricate questions furthermore about the program out there, I'd be more than happy to shed light on the subject.

 

Good luck with your search!

Edited by RagMan
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bro. do yourself a favor and stay in WA. Check out Big Ben Community College. www.inlandhelicopters.com

 

small but growing school, outstanding staff and aviation program with fantastic networking opportunities. WA is a helicopter mecca. lots and lots of job opportunities there. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the big schools. get your start at Inland and meet some great pilots and network, network, network.

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I'll plus one for Inland as well. I've heard nothing but great things about that school on the rise. A very promising school to say the least.

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John,

Hey I am in the same boat as you as well. I will be getting out of the Army after 12 years and looking to fly helicopters as a civilian. I would say do your research and visit as many schools as possible. The Major problem I have found is there are way too many students at some of these schools. I have toured Guidance Aviation out of Prescott, AZ and Leading edge helicopters. Not all of the schools offer the same amount of flight time as well. I found a school recently called Front Range Helicopters and really like what they have to offer. They offer an R-44 course, Long Line Course and Turbine Transition. Front Range Helicopters is associated with Aims Community College so you come out in two years with a degree as well. From what I have been told try to find a school that flies at higher altitudes. I am leading towards this school because of the class size and how long they have been around. The school is based in northern Colorado which is awesome if you like the outdoors. I do believe if you are going full time to school you will receive housing allowance. I am really excited to start flight training soon. Please let me know what else you find for schools because I am still looking to move soon. I hope you find a school that works good for you.

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John,

Hey I am in the same boat as you as well. I will be getting out of the Army after 12 years and looking to fly helicopters as a civilian. I would say do your research and visit as many schools as possible. The Major problem I have found is there are way too many students at some of these schools. I have toured Guidance Aviation out of Prescott, AZ and Leading edge helicopters. Not all of the schools offer the same amount of flight time as well. I found a school recently called Front Range Helicopters and really like what they have to offer. They offer an R-44 course, Long Line Course and Turbine Transition. Front Range Helicopters is associated with Aims Community College so you come out in two years with a degree as well. From what I have been told try to find a school that flies at higher altitudes. I am leading towards this school because of the class size and how long they have been around. The school is based in northern Colorado which is awesome if you like the outdoors. I do believe if you are going full time to school you will receive housing allowance. I am really excited to start flight training soon. Please let me know what else you find for schools because I am still looking to move soon. I hope you find a school that works good for you.

 

I may be wrong but I believe Front Range has lost their VA capabilities and is also no longer associated with Ames.

 

Double check this and also check for a PM.

 

Mike

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Mike,

I have not heard anything about that rumor at all. I spoke with Aims Community College on Friday and they told me the program is doing great and still expanding. I heard some of the private schools like Embry Riddle where capped as far as flight hours go. What is a PM? is that an email

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Mike,

I have not heard anything about that rumor at all. I spoke with Aims Community College on Friday and they told me the program is doing great and still expanding. I heard some of the private schools like Embry Riddle where capped as far as flight hours go. What is a PM? is that an email

Embry Riddle has a contract with Universal Helicopters through Dodge City Community College. Therefore no cap. I am doing this now, if you have any questions just ask.

Edited by A-aron

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Mike,

I have not heard anything about that rumor at all. I spoke with Aims Community College on Friday and they told me the program is doing great and still expanding. I heard some of the private schools like Embry Riddle where capped as far as flight hours go. What is a PM? is that an email

PM is a Private Message on this forum.

 

It will show up in the black header at the top.

 

Thanks for the info on Ames and Front Range.

Edited by Mikemv

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Good to know about Embry Riddle. I had heard that there were some changes with private schools a few years back.

There used to be a cap per semester but that has since been resolved for helicopters by contracting it out. However you can no longer do VA funded fixed wing training through Riddle

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Embry Riddle has a contract with Universal Helicopters through Dodge City Community College. Therefore no cap. I am doing this now, if you have any questions just ask.

I'm at UHI in Prescott too! I'm one of the newbies who started Private in January.

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I may be wrong but I believe Front Range has lost their VA capabilities and is also no longer associated with Ames.

 

Double check this and also check for a PM.

 

Mike

I'll speak to that rumor. Back in the Fall of 2013 the school was under a routine audit and the program was put on hold for a semester. The reason was not due to anything under handed but more due to administrative issues between the flight school and the community college.

 

During that semester I moved to a different school to continue training and was so relieved to find out that Front Range Heli was back in full swing for Spring. The choice to move back was no choice at all.

 

After training with three different schools I can say the level of training at Front Range is far and away the best. The owner is about the most honest and professional guy you'll ever meet. A truly great school.

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I'll back up what PondJumper said and add to it. The long line course still is not up and running, has been in the works for a while, but never materialized. Also, the turbine transition course is not available to GI Bill students. Only private pay. The 206 is the private ship of a partner, and is used for some commercial work here and there. Just trying to give you the most accurate information.

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Hey guys. I'm trying to go to ERAU Prescott using my Post 9/11. I understand that the flight training is done through DC3 and UHI, but what I'm concerned about is additional out-of-pocket costs. I have %100 Post 9/11 benefits. Should I expect to take out any loans to pay off any of the flight training?

 

The reason I ask, is because I have a friend who is currently attending ERAU Daytona for fixed wing aviation who is also using his 9/11. He had to take out student loans though to pay for some of his flight training even though it's apart of an approved degree program. Does anyone know why he had to do this? Is it because of the aviation cost cap recently passed earlier this year?

 

Also, has anyone used their Chapter 31 Voc Rehab benefits for aviation training?

 

Anyone currently attending ERAU, DC3 and UHI please PM me.

 

Thanks

-Bret

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Your friend had to take out additional loans because he is doing fixed wing flight training at ERAU. ERAU is a private school that has annual tuition capped by the VA at $17,500. The Yellow Ribbon program picks up the costs above and beyond the $17,500 annual cap, but Yellow Ribbon does not cover flight training. ERAU owns their own aircraft and conducts all fixed wing flight training in house, so the flight training would fall under that $17,500 cap, and be ineligible expenses under Yellow Ribbon.

 

When it comes to helicopter flight training, ERAU in Prescott contracts out the flight training to UHI., since ERAU does not own helicopters. UHI is paired with a community college called Doge City CC, or DC3. ERAU, DC3, and UHI have an agreement that allows you to your flight training as a DC3 student because the GI Bill allows you to be dual enrolled in two colleges at once. You do flight training as a DC3 student at UHI, and the rest of your classes are at ERAU, which makes your flight training costs fall under DC3, and become exempt from the $17,500 annual cap. It sounds complicated, but two friends of mine were in the program at ERAU/DC3/UHI for a few years and had no problems with the VA, Ch33 GI Bill, or the Yellow Ribbon program. neither had to take out additional loans to cover the cost of school/flight training.

 

I would call ERAU and/or UHI to see if what I said is correct or incorrect though. I live in Prescott and did my private in instrument at Guidance. I took a break from school to work as an A&P on the DoS helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan and make a bunch of money, with the intent to return to Guidance. With their suspension by the VA because of the 85/15 ruling it looks like the ERAU/DC3/UHI program is what I'll have to fall back on. The upside to them is they have a very large civilian student base, and seem to have no problem meeting the 85/15 rule.

Edited by superstallion6113

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Gonna piggy-back on your topic here to provide you with something that literally just happened to me yesterday:

 

Also a Veteran here..I was accepted to Guidance Aviation at BRCC and set to start flight school in January using the GI Bill. Just found out that the VA will no longer be covering private licenses. That's gonna have to be paid out of pocket, a cool $25k, and that I will not receive GI Bill benefits while getting my private license.

 

How are y'all getting your private licenses without drowning in debt afterwards?

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I have been working with the VA in education for 8yrs....Dodge City Community College is one of the main schools I see people getting training in...its a public institution and therefore no Tuition and Fees cap.....I seen 1 semester paid out 2 weeks ago of $89,000.00 for helicopter instructor I believe.

 

Front Range in Loveland is also approved.

 

http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/submitBuildViewProgram.do

 

follow this link and select flight in the program type field and then click on the state you want to go to school in and it will tell you the approved flights schools in that state...

 

http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchInstitutionCriteria.do;jsessionid=qtMbSxQFpzyL7GpnQrtnNGv6G9CGQQvb2YqM9Cvw3vB2pv2lXhfJ!-1531379871

 

remember, do your research on the flight training. I don't want any of you to get stuck with huge expenses that the VA will not cover.

 

I honestly don't deal with flight a whole bunch, I maybe get 1-2 flight calls a week out of about 600 calls....so all I ask is do your research. I will be more than happy to help, if I don't know the answer, I will find out

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Hello John,

 

I also recommend Leading Edge Aviation in Bend, OR. The program is top notch! I am a veteran and graduate of the program. Having trained at other schools prior to finding LEA I can tell you that the training is above and beyond.

Best of luck and please feel free to message me with any questions.

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