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Vortex, Mazzei, SSH


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Before you read on... I've done searches on both Vortex and Mazzei. Obviously, it's hard to ignore the comments made against SSH.

 

So I'm going to be turning 18 and graduating from High School in May of this year. Living so near to a Silver State location, they were my first place to visit. I loved the intro flight and the people were just amazing. I truely believed they were going to help me get to where I wanted to be. Notice how I use past tense, and I'm not saying they wouldn't help me, but with all this stuff coming out about Jerry's old water business habits... it seems sketchy to get into that with this class action lawsuit in the mix.

 

So now I'm looking at Mazzei and Vortex. Mazzei has a great program (from their website anyways) and can get me my 200+ hours in as little as 7-8 months with free housing if completed in that time frame. Free housing for that 8 months looks great seeing as I currently reside in Texas. Is 7-8 months realistic if I train full-time and have good study habits? All the other places I see usually takes roughly 10-12 months for all ratings and 200 hours flight time.

 

And finally Vortex... Ultimately I want to be able to fly EMS, not for money but because it's what I want to do (personal satisfication and eventually a place to settle into when I start a family). I've contacted some local EMS flight teams and I received a personal response saying that the Gulf of Mexico is a great place to build experience and get what I need to be ready for EMS operations. Since Vortex has an internship program with Air Logistics, I figure this would be a great option and opportunity for me. But, is it possible to get an internship with them if I'm 18 years old, or is there some 21 rule?

 

I still haven't marked any of these three schools off my list yet. I'm naturally biased towards SSH... living right by them and having met with all the staff at the location and meeting with several students who are all happy. But, having said that, it's impossible to ignore all the negative feedback when you're dealing with so much money.

 

Any information about or personal experiences with Mazzei or Vortex would be greatly appreciated. (or if any staff from another flight school reads this and believes they have something that might better suit me, I'm all ears)

 

Thanks for your time, and sorry if something similar to this was already posted... I check in here fairly often and am pretty sure my post is unique.

 

- Rob (looking for a good school to jump start my career in helicopters)

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Before you read on... I've done searches on both Vortex and Mazzei. Obviously, it's hard to ignore the comments made against SSH. So I'm going to be turning 18 and graduating from High School in May of this year.

 

I'm curious...how does an 18 year-old high school grad qualify for $70k (SSH's program price) of financing? And why not go to college instead (or the military)? You can get into a four-year degree aviation program and if the pilot thing doesn't pan out you'll at least have a college degree. I'm sure you really believe you want to fly EMS as an occupation but, what if you can't make the transition from trainee into a full-time paying pilot gig? The life style may not appeal to you. A CFI rating is good for only one thing...to qualify you as an apprentice for a future pilot job. If you don't continue all the way through the apprenticship...for whatever reason...and end up with a cash-generating job you will have spent $180k (the loan plus fees and interest) for a private pilot's license.

 

Nothing wrong with living your dream...just be realistic about it and you're more likely to actually get there. There's nothing realistic about what SSH is peddling at their seminars...it's pure marketing.

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That's the beauty of having family support and co-signers. I never said I was going to attend SSH, which is why I listed it as last on my list right now. As for the lifestyle... it sure beats a 9-5 desk job. I mention SSH in my post because their marketing scheme has influenced me quite a bit. But it seems more unrealistic after researching everything else out there. I was just seeking some more information about Mazzei and Vortex.

 

I've been on a demo flight and couldn't stop smiling after it. So, I know I enjoy helicopters... if your implying that I might not like them and be getting in over my head.

 

You mention the 4-year degree aviation program. Referring to Embry Riddle? I would love to get a 2 or 4 year degree along with the pilot program. I've also checked into Sky Helicopters in Dallas, Tx. They are with UVSC's Aviation Program and I have never heard anything bad come from that school (Sky Helicopters that is).

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You mention the 4-year degree aviation program. Referring to Embry Riddle? I would love to get a 2 or 4 year degree along with the pilot program.

You might also look at University of North Dakota's Aerospace program. Their aviation program graduates are highly regarded and they have helicopter training available. There is also an Army ROTC helicopter option there, they state the only one in the U.S.

 

"The UND Army ROTC Helicopter Flight Training Program is unique among the nation's ROTC programs. It is the only one to combine the Army ROTC curriculum with advanced helicopter training — so you can earn a college degree and your flight certifications at the same time."

edit: here is the direct link to their helicopter program

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As for the lifestyle... it sure beats a 9-5 desk job. You mention the 4-year degree aviation program. Referring to Embry Riddle? I would love to get a 2 or 4 year degree along with the pilot program. I've also checked into Sky Helicopters in Dallas, Tx. They are with UVSC's Aviation Program and I have never heard anything bad come from that school (Sky Helicopters that is).

 

Like I said, just curious. By the way, the UVSC aviation program is used by many schools...including SSH...and it is not so much an actual educational program as it is a way for the schools to qualify to get their customers student loans. Last time I checked there was no oversite by UVSC of the schools at all.

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Other than that, like you said, all the people are nice there. I never had a problem with any CFI's, and the general manager was pretty nice before I decided to quite. Its just that they treat the students like cattle, when one strays off they just shot it. Like someone here said, "you play by their rules or you dont play at all". You question anything about the company and its operations and you are done for.

 

Ok all, I am now ready for my scolding for continuing the SSH discussion in a new thread.

 

Quite true, the people are very nice indeed, and you will likely not have a problem with anyone, so long as you go with the flow and don't rock the boat.

 

They have zero tolerance for people who don't think the place is the next best thing to sliced bread however.

 

Don't sweat it, keep fighting them and you'll get your refund as you should, it just takes a lot of time. Just one more reason why I wouldn't go there as a student.

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OK - I went to Mazzei, many moons ago and had a good time. I left their program early and was repaid what I had on account with no problems at all. It was quite a sum of money aswell. I had to pay an admin fee of a couple of hundred but no big deal. A certain instructor of European descent still works there who is a great guy and for his age is hugely experienced. Also the accomodation is good because you are surrounded by other students.

 

Vortex - don't know. Never had dealings with them.

 

SSH - read the posts here, and make an intelligent decision on them.

 

Take some advice from someone a bit older than you: Take your time and make an educated decision. It took me 10 months to select a school. The sum of money that you are about to invest is no small amount.

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Don't know anything of the mentioned schools apart from this forum. But at every school it's "Either you play it by the rules, or you don't play at all", Same in every company and the military. So you have to make sure their rules suit you.

 

I wonder why not go to Helicopter Adventures in Florida, by far the largest school in the US and with a great reputation.

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I went to Mazzei - Took ten months - Only student during that year to go from start to finish. Only reason it took that long is because they have trouble holding on to instructors. Good because you know the industry is hiring - bad because it put me on a one month unscheduled break.

I strongly encourage 141 training. Formalized process so you know what to expect and do. Sometimes that part 61 stuff gets too loose and you fly and fly with no end in sight. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

 

Vortex moved to ARA - New Iberia LA. I hear them on the radio down here in the LFT are now. Know two people that went there before gulfport got wiped out.

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Don't know anything of the mentioned schools apart from this forum. But at every school it's "Either you play it by the rules, or you don't play at all", Same in every company and the military. So you have to make sure their rules suit you.

 

True, to a point... But I've been around the block, and most places are accepting of their own limitations. SSH is not. The place is run by a lot of former law enforcement, and that is how it feels. I've worked for 2 other flight schools, both very enjoyable to work for.

 

I wonder why not go to Helicopter Adventures in Florida, by far the largest school in the US and with a great reputation.

 

HAI is not the largest school anymore, Silver State passed them a year or two ago. Still, I have worked with people who came from HAI, and most of them were just fine, same as any school. The downside to them is they are so focused on foreign students, I'm curious as to how the domestics do. I know more foreign CFIs from HAI than I do Americans.

 

Rotorwish

 

Why do Mazzei have trouble holding on to Instructors?

Because the minute they hit 1,000 hours, or sometimes even sooner, they leave for a commercial flying job.

 

In Vegas, I know some CFIs for the smaller outfits who got on at the 700+ hour level, and in the Gulf of Mexico, Era Helicopters will hire you at the 600 hour level as a SIC.

 

If you are busy, flying 80 to 100 hours a month, and you're starting with 200 hours, those levels don't take long to reach.

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I don't know why anyone who has been doing the research on these forums would even ask the question, should I go to a certain school, or should I go to SSH. From all I've seen here and have experienced myself with just a few schools, the question should be unanimous. Why put yourself in the position to be taken, from day one. It's just not right, and the way the majority of other schools conduct themselves differently from this, it should send red flags up everywhere. I'm not telling anyone to make their decision off of info found only here but go to the school as well and ask to look at the documents you'll be signing and see for yourself. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that it looks shady from the start. That's alot of money to play with like that, but if you want to throw money away if you don't plan on staying there the whole time, then you've been fully warned by alot of people here and yourself, if you did your own research.

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  • 2 months later...

- Rob (looking for a good school to jump start my career in helicopters)

 

Hey Rob,

I can't give you much advice on the schools you are asking about, but I can say this.

 

Don't give up a dream but don't run head long into it.

 

It is going to cost a few dollars so take your time. Especially if those dollars belong to someone else. There are several small schools within reasonable driving distance, One of witch says they provide offshore training. I'm going to take an intro with them this weekend and plan on asking a few questions and follow up on any claims. I plan on doing the same to a couple more over the next year.

To me this will be a change in career. Almost twenty years turning wrenches, so I want to make sure the people I give my money to will provide the training I need.

I was probably at the same seminar you went to when that SSH location was planning to open up. He made claims and they sounded too good to be true so I checked them out and did research. I have been doing this with every school I check into.

I can tell you one good thing that came out of that particular gathering, I finally started me on a solid plan of action to get MY dream.

If I could go back in time, to where I had time, I'd take the collage aviation route or ROTC.

 

Dave

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I started my training last month, so I know how the research feels. Personally I'd recommend a 141 school if for no other reason that they have a formal curriculum and published standards so you can tell how you're progressing. In my case I have VA eligability so that immediately eliminated SSH since they're not part 141. (You'd think they would be for such a large school. I wonder why they're not?) I'm in the Phoenix area where there are quite a few options and I ended up with Quantum Helicopters who I'm very pleased with. Of course that doesn't do you much good in Seguin...

 

If I had done this in my younger days I'd have probably tried to go with the Army helicopter program. You're pretty much guaranteed a trip to the sandbox, but in hindsight I'd have rather done that in a Blackhawk or an Apache than an up armored HMMWV, which is what I did end up doing. D'Oh!

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Any information about or personal experiences with Mazzei or Vortex would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

- Rob (looking for a good school to jump start my career in helicopters)

 

Rob how is your school search coming?

 

Vortex is a world class operation that receives positive feedback from all over the world. The schedule runs smoothly every day of the week. The instructors (former students) really care about the students having proper- extensive training in a safe environment. Vortex has a successfull program, you owe it to yourself to go by the facility and see it for yourself. Ask questions and talk to students.

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