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I NEED ADVICE about Cost of Helicopter Training


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Hello everyone,

 

I have always wanted to fly a helicopter, and I recently took the time to fly in one with an instructor from a nearby training school. I was hooked right away, I finally felt at home. But the problem is, how can a person with an average salary afford to go through all of the training necessary to do it as a career. Also it is hard with there not being many available jobs. Anyone with any advice on this question would be greatly appreciated. I have never wanted something so bad, but the lack of jobs out there for a pilot and the high cost of training makes it almost financially unreachable for me.

 

Thanks for your time :angry:

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Grouser,

 

Well in my opinion you have chosen a field that can be the most exciting and the most challenging to get into. Their are plenty of jobs out there for helicopter pilots but you have got to have the magic 1000 hours of pilot in command time to get them. That is not a requirement of the operator but rather a requirement of their insurance carrier to keep their price low. The best way to get to the 1000hr. mark and the quickest is being a flight instructor. Getting to that point is the expensive part. If you are like I was you can not afford to go from 0 flight time to being an instructor at one time. You can do it in steps to keep the cost lower. First get your private pilot helicopter which if you can do it requires a minimum of 40hrs. flight time at roughly $300 an hour. Then after you get that paid down a bit go after your commercial which requires 110hrs. more at the same rate. You can save some money in the long run if you are an airplane pilot also. And last but not least the flight instructor rating, their is no required training time to get but count on an additional 10-20hrs. of flying. Their are several places that give flight training loans to help you along the way like AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). They go through MBNA and have several options to choose from. Another is Pilot finance. I have no idea what kind of programs they have but they have a website to find info. Once you get the Flight Instructor rating you can start making some money and eventually along the way pick up an instrument rating and a flight instructor instrument rating. With all this, which seems like a lot, then all you need to do is build time to get the REAL flying job. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen, I know I was just like you once. Any more questions just ask.

Mike

Edited by Helicopter_Dr
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Hi Grouser,

 

I'm doing research into budgeting as well. On a forum I started a few days ago, a member named Joker was kind enough to post an exact breakdown of his actual costs going from ab-initio to fully employable. They are as follows: (Hope he doesn't mind me posting them here!)

 

Flight Time: 187.3 hrs

Tutored Instruction: 53.2 hrs

Briefing Time: 18.6 hrs

Ground School 120 hrs

Simulator Time: 10 hrs

Total Flight $41415.8797

Total Pilot Supplies: $2384.1200003

Administration: $150 USD

Total Charges: $43949.9997

 

From my research, most schools that take you from 0-CPL(H) with associated Instructor ratings all come in at around US $30,000+ for 0 hours to employable such as: Vortex, Volar, HAI, Palm Beach, Mauna Loa Helicopters etc. I believe one of the cheapest at the moment is Helicopter Academy: http://www.helicopteracademy.com/ who do it for spot on $30,000USD

 

Sounds like you'll need to do a modular course, pay-as-you-go style so probably finding a good local school and diverting all you spare cash into training as often as you can will probably be your best bet.

 

Dr Helio's opinion on the old "build your hours via instructing" is the widely held truth of most pilots. The reason for this is that no one else will employ low hour pilots for both experience and insurance reasons. So your first job is almost certainly going to be instructing. Build your hours above 500 and new opportunities will become available. Then, get your first "real" job and keep your eyes and ears open for more opportunities!

 

Hope I've helped. Feel free to ask and I’ll do some research for you.

Edited by MrGlass
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  • 2 weeks later...
On a forum I started a few days ago, a member named Joker was kind enough to post an exact breakdown of his actual costs going from ab-initio to fully employable. They are as follows: (Hope he doesn't mind me posting them here!)

 

Flight Time: 187.3 hrs

Tutored Instruction: 53.2 hrs

Briefing Time: 18.6 hrs

Ground School 120 hrs

Simulator Time: 10 hrs

Total Flight $41415.8797

Total Pilot Supplies: $2384.1200003

Administration: $150 USD

Total Charges: $43949.9997

 

From my research, most schools that take you from 0-CPL(H) with associated Instructor ratings all come in at around US $30,000+ for 0 hours to employable...

Do those $30,000 quotes include the instrument and CFII? If so, great price! If not, you will be looking much harder for that first job.

 

It's best to plan on $45k - $55K to be an easily employable pilot (a CFII with 200 hours). That's what Joker's breakdown represents. I went to the same place and finished at around 205 hours, so for me, add on about $3,500, for a total just under $50K

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I'm currently looking mainly at Vortex's Pro Pilot course, which offers Private, Commercial, Instrument Rating, Certified Flight Instructor and Instrument Instructor Certificates topped off with a total of 200hrs all for $45,650.00 (£26,300UKP).

 

They also offer internship with Air Logistics for that first job opportunity with a multi-national company that could lead anywhere.

 

Does anyone have any first hand experience of Vortex Helicopters or Air Logistics?

 

I'm sure they used to offer free accomodation for those people doing the Pro Pilot or Career Pilot courses but this information seems to have dissappeared since the Post Katrina Website update. Can anyone else back me up on this?

 

I have found that most schools can take you from zero hours to CPL for $30,000 but you would obviously require your CFI and Instrument ratings to go anywhere emplyment-wise.

 

Don't forget to factor in your accomodation and relaxation (beer) money for your 6-9 months of hardcore training.

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My 2 cents is this because I am in this boat right now.

Figure no less than $60,000 from ppl to cfi(unless you walk on water).

Add another couple thousand if you learn in robbies. Also look for a 141 rated school.

Sallie Mae is the only financer out there right now for flight school loans.

Key Bank is honoring the loans that they have right now but has dropped all flight school financing for the future.

The GI Bill will pay up to 60% of training costs after u recieve your private(hence a 141 rated school)if you are a vet.

Depending on the possible silver spoon u are going to have to fight tooth and nail to get money and get your flight time in. 2 sessions minum a week during your private training. Your private will probably cost 20Gs by the way.

 

So heres the breakdown the way I am seeing it unfolding for me.

18gs for private 6 months

35gs for commercial 1 year

10gs for cfi 6 months

Forget about cfii unless u are at that one and only that actually has an instrument ship.

And what ever u do don't get wrapped up into a turbine transition.That is a school hook for making money because there is no way anyone is going to let a 200hr pilot hop in the seat with out a rated 1000hr cfi seated next to them in any turbine just because of insurance. :wacko:

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:P Haha! Was just looking at my own cost-breakdown posted by Mr. Glass. It appears (and I just double checked) that the school forgot to charge me for Instrument Ground School :P Good result for me!

 

Joker

 

P.S. Also cleaned up my categories and find that my totals are about 15 hours and $2000 less than orginally posted for anyone who's really interested.

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"Figure no less than $60,000 from ppl to cfi(unless you walk on water)."

Add another couple thousand if you learn in robbies. Also look for a 141 rated school.:wacko:

 

You must be learning from Silverstate helicopters, whose prices include your first year's salary. I wouldn't go to a school that charges more than $50,000 for 0 flight hours to CFI/CFII. It should really be more in the $42,000-$45,000 range. $60,000 is way too much, and if they can't give you 3 flights a week then look elsewhere. $20,000 for a Private - that is either highway robbery, or due to very poor piloting skills. Try $11,000-$15,000 max. You only need a 141 school if you want to use your GI Bill, which you can't do for Private pilot anyway, only Commercial, Instrument, CFI, CFII, and ATP (later on).

 

I would also advise to stay away from Robinson helicopters, if you have the choice. They are more expensive, require additional training and hours, and are the only helicopters in the world that have a special regulation that covers only that brand of helicopters. This should tell you something about safety.

 

There are several schools out there that are affiliated with various colleges and enable you to enroll in aviation degree programs and get federal funded loans for flight training (and your college education).

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...are there really cheaper helicopters for training than the R22? As far as I know Schweizers are more expensive (per hour rate). Maybe a Rotorway? :D

 

 

Schweizers are generally cheaper if you look at it as a whole. To get certified as a CFI in an R22 and actually be able to teach, you need 200 hours minimum due to the SFAR. For anything else, such as Schweizer, Bell 47, or anything else you might find, you can get your CFI in as close to 150 hours as your ability will allow it. A common hour level for CFI/CFII in Schweizers only would be 165-175, so 25-35 hours less than you would need in an R22. Also, Schweizer operators are less likely to hire you if all of your time is in R22's. Of course the reverse is even more so, you can not be hired to fly R22s if you don't have the R22 time and endorsements.

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Cerian I don't know what or where u are at. But my numbers are padded but not unrealistic.

I do fly a 269c and am almost done with my private and am going to finish around 18gs hopefully.

I have also had a hard time with instructors at the school i'm at.They only had fillins for a little while.

But u do need to be realistic and pad the numbers so u do have enough money financed to finish your goals.

the 269 bills out at $285hr dual $235hr solo. B)

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