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Does anyone know what the Mauna Loa Helicopters flight school is like in Hawaii.

For that matter, can anyone recommend a good school in the US for a CPL plus all teh trimings?

HAI looks like it has a good comprehensive course....


I have flown several times with MLH over the last five or so years, as my wife and I visit the Big Island about 3x a year (we have a small 2nd home in the "upcountry" area of the island) and whenever possible I try to log an hour or so per visit. Last year I did my SFAR73/BFR with them for the R22.


I cannot imagine a neater place to learn to fly, if you can afford the cost of living and the training. With regards to the latter, the per-hour R22 time is very competitive with what I can get in my local area (San Jose, CA) on the mainland - which is admittedly a more costly place to live than most other parts of the US. If you're on a tight budget a mainland-based operation might be a cheaper way to go.


Note that in addition to the incredible environs around the airport (lots of volcanic lava fields!!) the Big Island offers all manners of flying experiences, including some exposure to high altitude environments (the two biggest volcanos extend to over 13,000' !). Also, as I understand it the cross-country work involves flying to other islands in the Hawaii chain although I have not done any of that. Great over-water experience!


The really cool thing is that MLH just took delivery of an instrument-equipped R44 - up until that event they have strictly been an R22 operation. Again, if you can afford it (and/or are too big/heavy to do the IFR ticket in an R22) that is a big plus - the R44 is a great ship to do that sort of work in. I am hoping to fly that ship at least part way around the island next month.


Another thing to note is that the owner of MLH, Ben Fouts, is an FAA Designated Examiner, which means that all of your checkrides can be done "in-house". Knowing Ben and his qualifications, and having flown with him, I believe that that speaks to a higher level of the training at the school overall.


good luck,


Dave Blevins

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I can't speak to the cost of living as I've done my flying while on vacation, but I can't say enough about my opinion of the quality, capability, and pesonality of Barrett who does their training on Kauai at the moment. He's one top notch fellow and even managed to teach a polak like myself to hover in just a week! Barrett is himself a product of their school so I would assume the rest of their instructors are equally proficient and personable. I can't imagine attempting to continue with any other outfit either locally, or maybe even closer to home because of the quality of the MLH experience shown to me by him.

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Here's another question...


KOA vs HNL.. Big island seems to be where the real focus is.. But if I have a potential job in Honolulu (6 miles from the airport..) it might be a little easier to move to that neighborhood.. (Aside from, I assume, higher rent.. :lol: )


I'm just really curious about the type of flying in the two locations.. Obviously Honolulu will be better for getting used to busy airspace, but are there any disadvantages? Weather? Terrain? Lack of certain types of training facilities or options? (How do the mountains compare, for example.. heh)

I've not yet been to Hawaii, so I don't even really know what the differences between the islands are, and how much affect location would have on training..


King of the newbie-ish questions, that's me... Do appreciate how helpful everyone always is around here though... :D

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You can get anything you want training wise on Oahu except for the very high altitude stuff. We do have quite a few high altitude off airport places but they are only around 3000'. We have everything you need to go all the way thru CFII if ya want. The big island has a simulator that we do not. We have Bravo airspace which has helped me alot. And remember, Its only a short 2.0 over to Kona from here.

Edited by StuandJoy
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