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Hello Everyone!

 

I'm new to this forum, but I am here because I want to be a Helicopter Pilot! Now that I've given the same entrance everyone else has probably given, I offer you this...

 

I'm already a licensed airplane pilot with commercial / instrument ratings, and about 400 hours total time. I originally intended, (15 years ago) to one day fly for the airlines. Now, the idea of making $18,000 per year as a F.O. for a regional carrier, and living in a crash pad just doesn't seem all that desirable. I have a background in public safety, and would love to merge those skill sets with my love for aviation. This, in conjunction with the fact that runways are boring, leaves me with a longing for Helicopters....

 

I appreciate everyone and anyone that reads this, and offers their guidance. However, before college programs, and the military routes are offered, please let me add a few more facts about my situation.... I'm 34 years old, I have a Bachelors Degree, and I work as a Police Officer. (I only offer my occupation to the extent of possible financing options for government employees).

 

I feel that the Military isn't really an option because of my age, and the fact that I'm halfway to my pension with the Police Department. I'd prefer NOT to give all of this up by attending a 141 school out of state.

 

I've found a school, the only school in my area, (Part 61) and have secured financing. The only problem is that it is, in essence, a personal loan, that I will have to begin paying immediately. I find myself in a position of spending about $85,000.00 to get all of my ratings, without the flight time to be marketable for a job. With this being the only apparent option. My monthly loan payment is going to be through the roof. Don't get me wrong, I like bologna and Ramen Noodles, but I'm here because I'm wanting to know if anyone has any financing ideas that can allow me to not live in complete poverty, and lose my pension. Are there any student loans available for part 61 training, that have the option to defer payment until a job is obtained?

 

I understand that an aviation career is that requires considerable sacrifices, and I'm willing to make them. I simply want to know if there is a car available that will take me 26 miles, before I feel forced to run a marathon.

 

Any thoughts, or ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!!

 

 

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Be thankful you have a good job that will allow you to make those payments while you train and then look for CFI work, a lot of wannabees don't even have that!

 

Its good that you like Bologna and ramen, as that's all new pilots can afford to eat for a long, long, long time! Not much better than plane pilots here.

 

The flight school should be able to advise you of all your money borrowing options.

 

Good luck.

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You should be able to make an easy track to airborne law enforcement officer with those credentials.

Edited by RagMan
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Well first ......does your department have air support? If they do not, your first step is to lateral to an agency that does. During the couple years or so that you are chipping away at your ratings you can be getting off probation and working on your reputation on the street.

Then the route in can be as differing as the different patches cops wear on their uniforms from dept to dept. However the most common route is to get selected as a TFO first. Then over time and when a slot opens, hope you get tapped to be the next pilot. As is in the case of my unit, I don't train external pilots. I prefer to hire a pilot externally and send them to the academy and FTO. If I had a seasoned pilot who was alao a seasoned cop, even better, but you generally only find one or the other.

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Is giving up the job to go to a 141 school your only choice? You're only looking to do an add on rating so is it possible to take a short leave and add on the commercial, go back to work pay off some of those bills then hit the instrument add on? As was suggested is there a lateral move that could be made that outs you where there is both a flight dept and a 141 school. 141 isn't a requirement obviously, only reduces required hours. 85K for add ons sure sounds steep but it's been many moons since I did exactly the same thing.

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As someone else mentioned, don't quit your day job. With that being said, I've found it difficult to instruct part time. I'm also a cop with a family as well and it's really tough to prepare the way I want to for training flights. I didn't do my training as a civilian but I can imagine it's a similar amount of work to what I did. I don't know your situation but I would recommend thinking long and hard before committing to training. It's not something you want to do halfway and I can't imagine doing it while being a cop. Im not trying to discourage you, I really hope you're able to make it work. As far as financing for part 61, I'm not aware of any great deals right now for student loans. At our department we do have financial aid but it's not much-I'd ask your department, the worst they can say is no. If not, get as much of the loan secured as you can to keep the payments down. Good luck!

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85K for some add on's you have to be out of your mind, I did it add-on and ended up with about 120 hours to CFII , my guess it would not take much more that that in helicopters to get you to CFII! R-22's or S-300 c's don't rent out for 700 an hour! Whom ever you are talking to is giving you bad information at best and at worst wants to skin you alive financially! You should be able to do it for about half if not more than that 85K number! Even so its a lot of debt to take on! What are the interest rates on this, not that its any of my business its not, along with the pay off term? You really need to think it thru and sit down with a good accountant and really crunch the numbers on this one! Far to manny end up with a pocket full of certificates and ratings and 190 hours and spend years getting enough flight time to even be considered for flying job, have you given some thought to how you are going to built your flight time in helicopters to a level that will get you into the door? Most all spend a few years instructing, its good experience and you will learn a lot, the down side is poor rate of pay and you may have to quit your good paying job to except a CFI job someplace if you can find one- low time job market is very very poor right now and has been for some time! Its worth while doing if its what you want to do, just have all your ducks in a row and have a good handle on what you are going to do or were you are going to go after you take your final check ride and are issued the certificate and ratings!

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A hard road to take, but I'll do what I can to balance out continuing my work as trucker and getting my certificates built up.
Only thing I'll have to worry about losing in the end is sleep, but who cares about that.

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Unfortunately, you’re in a tough spot. That is, while “adding-on” will save you a boat load of cash, you’ll ultimately end up with few hours in the helicopter. Specifically, as BH206L3 demonstrated, he ended up with a CFI at 120 hours. What this means out in the real world is; you’d be unmarketable to about 90% of the flight schools as they operate Robinson products. To teach in a Robinson product, you need 200 hours in helicopters. However, this doesn’t make this endeavor impossible for you. You just need to figure out how to fill that gap and/or find a flight school that operates something other than a Robinson product. Furthermore, unless you’re willing to give up your current job, being a CFI and a Police Officer WILL BE your only real avenue to gaining helicopter employment. That, and seeking out an agency with an ASU, but this has hidden risks in itself…..

 

IMO, I always tell Officers who are interested in an aviation career to pursue them as two separate careers… If they merge in the future, all the better… If they don’t, in the end, you won’t have any regrets……..

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I did the transition back when the R-22 was just coming out! I learned in a Bell 47 and I had some flying work the day I took my CFII check ride!

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Yup…. Those were the days (cliché)… I got my CFI at 159 hours and within a month, employed teaching…. Today, we’d be S-O-L!.... SOL even though, everything else is the same….. That is, except the regulations......

 

Those days are gone f-o-r-e-v-e-rrrrrrr….

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0H6R7xRytk

Edited by Spike
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I'd be plenty happy if the 22 remains the flight school standard forever, but I'm sure one day it'll be replaced, then that damn SFAR will be gone and newbies can become working cfis again with less than 200 hours.

 

Maybe it'll be the Cabri?

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