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Van Nevel flight school or Vortex?


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Hey guys/gals, first time posting. I'm looking at Vortex for my career training, but am also considering the new school that Van Nevel has put together.

 

Any thoughts on either school? Is Air Log more likely to hire a Vortex grad based on their affiliation with Vortex, or a VN grad with 100% turbine time? And I would have to borrow 100% of the training tuition, so I am unsure if I would be able to borrow what I need for VN.

 

Obviously with VN not even completing it's first class, I know this will be a difficult question to answer. Anyone reading this signed up for the first class?

 

Greg

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Air Log probably isn't going to care what school you trained at as long as you meet the PIC (or SIC if that’s the job) requirements for their insurance. There is no reason to do your training in a turbine either. Any respectable company would give you the training needed when they hired you. Further, the turbine time won't help you get a job, your flying skills and attitude will get you the job. Choose a school where you can train with an instructor that you get along with and you won't have problems down the road.

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Hmmm... I got bored and read that school's website for fun. I noticed that they copied the SSH website word for word in some parts.... Unless there is some place both websites took their information from?

 

If the school is legit, they seem like a good place though.

 

"We plan to hire almost every graduate of our program as an instructor in our Academy through our Factory Instructor Internship Program." Where have I heard this before? :D

 

Quick question... if they don't hire you at this one place, where can you possibly go to instruct in this helicopter if no other place uses this helicopter? You have no capabilities of instructing in any other helicopter.

 

http://www.fh1100.com/flightschool.html

http://www.silverstatehelicopters.com/flight-academy.htm

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Thanks for the info everyone. What a very good point about being trained in the FH as opposed to a much more prevalent heli, the R22.

 

I will give Air Log a shout and see if I can get some off the record info. I have been set on going to Vortex, but recently heard they have 11 instructors and no students. That's something I need to verify, for if it's true, then I don't see how I would possibly build my hours as an instructor with nobody to teach!

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My view of your situation is this:

For Example, If there were 2 applicants for an entry level job both with 1000 hours and both with the right attitude and proficiency but one apllicant had all piston time and the other had all turbine time, Guess who i would give the job to...the one with turbine time. Just a thought to consider.

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That would be a significant statement if it is coming from someone who actually does the hiring for these jobs. Is that what you do? I don't mean to sound so forward, but you understand where I am coming from.

 

I spoke at length today with an EMS airbase chief pilot (for a very large heli employer) who said he would take a 1000hr robbie pilot over a 10,000 hour blackhawk military trained pilot any day of the week. It's very interesting to learn just what the methods are in the industry.

 

 

 

 

My view of your situation is this:

For Example, If there were 2 applicants for an entry level job both with 1000 hours and both with the right attitude and proficiency but one apllicant had all piston time and the other had all turbine time, Guess who i would give the job to...the one with turbine time. Just a thought to consider.

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I will give Air Log a shout and see if I can get some off the record info. I have been set on going to Vortex, but recently heard they have 11 instructors and no students. That's something I need to verify, for if it's true, then I don't see how I would possibly build my hours as an instructor with nobody to teach!

 

Jebus- someone sure has given you some bad info! Vortex has 70+ students right now, flying every day of the week! Why don't you come visit the school and get some first hand info, talk to some students and instructors - you won't be disappointed!

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Gman,

 

I did my civilian flight training in Florida and knew a couple of guys who trained at Vortex and they loved it there. The only problem that I heard about is that their facility was hit pretty hard by the Gulf hurricanes so that may be why they have no students. Also it's the summer and schools in the South often experience a down turn in business due to the oppressive heat.

 

Just a thought for you.

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Thanks guys, I do intend to visit the facility asap, but I can't break away during the week, and it's a 16hr roundtrip drive I'd have to make over a weekend, time we haven't had lately. So we are intending to fly down to the airport in a private plane on a Sat and make it a daytrip.

 

I kindly figured the "no students/too many instructors" was not correct, and knew the only way to verify was to visit the campus.

 

Convincing my family to move to Lafayette to get my training is like asking for a bridge to be built to Hawaii. My 15 year old daughter wants to disown me, my 10 year old thinks it would be very cool, and my wife, well, lets just say she's not pleased with the prospect. I know I'm preaching to the choir speaking to all of you about this, but you know I'd live under a tree and eat peanuts to get through it.

 

Ascott, they moved from Long Beach MS to New Iberia onto the Air Log "campus" this year as a result of Katrina.

 

Volition, the airbase chief pilot's comment was a reflection of power management skills learned by a robbie-trained pilot as opposed to a blackhawk pilot who has 2 turbines at his disposal.

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Come on over any time! Vortex temporary office is in the building below the control tower. You can see the R22s sitting in front of the control tower. Saturdays are little slower than a regular work day, and Sundays are even slower; but its open every day if you want to fly.

Most people don't move their entire family over, we have students from all over the world. Several students stay in apartments or get roommates. Our permanet facility is under construction.

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Come on over any time! Vortex temporary office is in the building below the control tower. You can see the R22s sitting in front of the control tower. Saturdays are little slower than a regular work day, and Sundays are even slower; but its open every day if you want to fly.

Most people don't move their entire family over, we have students from all over the world. Several students stay in apartments or get roommates. Our permanet facility is under construction.

 

I drive past Vortex everyday and they are flying :) I really wish ARA would fix that darn strech of potholes they call a road though!

 

Vortex just broke ground on a new building and when done it should be pretty nice. The airport here is home to a lot of helicopter traffic as both Air Log and PHI use ARA for training and Air logs main maintiance facility is located here. There is also quite a bit of military traffic that comes though here (I think they come for the food).

 

If you bring the family I think they will learn to like New Iberia/Lafayette area. Lots of good food and the area is very family friendly with lots of festivals and events durring the year. New Iberia it self has 2 public schools and several private schools. Also if you were to get on with Air Log, PHI, or one of the other GOM companys the Lafayette/New Iberia area is a good central location for you to travel from for what ever base you get assigned to.

 

Just some things for you to think about :)

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Now that is some very handy info for the family aspect of things, thank you for that. If I can just get the wife to see it with an open mind, I think I'll be in good shape. NI has been described as a "small-town Mobile" to me. If that's the case, then I'll be mighty happy. Thanks Etouffee.

 

Pasbonsimon, I wish I could keep the family at home while I went away to train, but we're not in a position to support a $250k home and my training at the same time. Too many variables that could cause an interruption in the training, and I want to dedicate my full time to this.

 

Greg

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Now that is some very handy info for the family aspect of things, thank you for that. If I can just get the wife to see it with an open mind, I think I'll be in good shape. NI has been described as a "small-town Mobile" to me. If that's the case, then I'll be mighty happy. Thanks Etouffee.

 

Greg

 

Not a problem and glad to help.

 

Not sure about small town Mobile but it could be:)

 

I moved here from Houston (Wife is from here) and I love it. No more hour drives to get 10 miles and where I live which is about 10 min from ARA its nice and quiet and out in the country.

 

I will say that Housing prices can be a bit high here or at least they were for me when I came here. On a square footage basis I could get a larger house in Houston then I could here for the same price. On the other hand though if your handy you can more then likely find an nice fixeruper at a good price (that is if your looking to buy a home).

 

You can also get some good info from the City of New Iberia web site.

 

Let me know if you need any other help and I will see what I can dig up for ya :)

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Most excellent, thank you. Yeah, a buddy of mine lives in Lafayette, and ironically moved there from Houston as well, and said the same thing. Actually, I think his exact words were "Lafayette has gotten f'ing expensive!" Gotta get down there and check things out for sure, hopefully next weekend.

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The Van Nevel Academy you where looking into is a new school starting up. The appearance of the website similar to SSH was done to spite them. I have looked into them and they are ligit and want to get students through cheaper with all turbine time. Leading Edge in Boulder city nevada is offering training in this FH1100 also along with the R22 and R44's. Go visit whomever you are thinking about, that will give you the best outlook on the schools.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got back from a whirwind trip to New Iberia to visit Vortex. All I can say is my hunt is over. Joe is one of those "broke the mold when God made him" kind of people. And his students are absolute products of his calm and controlled character. Every person I spoke with reflected calm, in control, pleasant, enthusiastic, and helpful personalities. I told my wife on the drive down that to me, a small test of the school's performance will be to see all of the helis in the air, not baking in the sun on the pad. And sure enough, they were all airborne. The school was a busy beehive of students and instructors coming and going. Now I just have to get the finances in order, which I now realize is going to take me longer than expected.

 

I was initially intrigued by the fact that I could get 100% turbine training at a school much closer to my home, but if the offshore operators are providing my turbine transition for free, why spend the extra money that I don't have? Joe spoke very highly of every flight school I mentioned, and not once did he have anything negative to say about them. In fact, he was making comments like "if that suits you better financially, you will not be making a bad choice. I have high confidence in (insert company name here) ability to train."

 

Etouffee, you weren't kidding about the roads. I don't think even Lexus could design a suspension to handle the potholes. Oh, and good God it's hot there. So hot it made me want to stab someone. In the face. (-thanks to Dane Cook for that line)

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Yea Joe is a great guy. I called him just to get an idea of how many hours the average student at Vortex was finishing training with.

 

I would jump at the opportunity to instruct for him if I ever had the opportunity. You're making a good choice choosing Vortex. Great bunch of people.

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Funny...I'd take a 1,000 hour Hawk driver over a 10,000 hour Robbie pilot any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Of course, I might be just a bit biased on that. I have a feeling that the EMS pilot you spoke with wasn't prior military.

 

To answer the question first posed...You need to look at what are your job prospects going to be when you finish the program. If Van Nevel does well and gets 50 students to sign up the first year and they all go full time and finish within a year and he hires all of them, how much flying time is each individual instructor going to get if he now has 50 new CFI's on staff along with the ones that taught the first class. To have that many instructors is going to require 200 full time students to keep the instructors flying a good amount. What are the odds that he will have 200 students one year after opening? So, being bored with being a CFI and only having one student to fly with, you start looking elsewhere. The problem that you will encounter is needing 50 hours of R22 time if you want to teach at a school with R22's. Finding a school that flies either a Schweizer, or possibly a Bell or Enstrom will allow you to teach with maybe only 10 hours time in type depending on the insurance requirements. Of course, you are going to have to pay to get those hours.

 

Having all turbine time or even being a 800-900 hour pilot that paid for a turbine transition doesn't mean a damn thing when the insurance companies are requiring 1,000 hour PIC before the employer can hire you. In reference to the post about equal pilots and one with turbine time getting the position over one without turbine time, what are the odds of that happening at hiring time? Not a very likely scenario I think. I agree with the post that it's more your total time and your personality, along with your skill as a pilot during the flight portion of the interview process, is what is going to get you the job. Having turbine time doesn't mean that you are a better pilot, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have a more endearing personality, it just means only one thing...you have turbine time.

 

Visit the schools that you are interested in if you can, talk with instructor, talk with students, talk with grads and make the decision that is best for you.

 

Just my two-cents.

 

Doug

 

I spoke at length today with an EMS airbase chief pilot (for a very large heli employer) who said he would take a 1000hr robbie pilot over a 10,000 hour blackhawk military trained pilot any day of the week. It's very interesting to learn just what the methods are in the industry.
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Etouffee, you weren't kidding about the roads. I don't think even Lexus could design a suspension to handle the potholes. Oh, and good God it's hot there. So hot it made me want to stab someone. In the face. (-thanks to Dane Cook for that line)

 

Glad to hear you liked Vortex :) and glad to hear they are doing well to impress students! Sounds like they are a great addition to ARA and Iberia Parish.

 

You will get used to the heat :) When I first moved to South Texas from Northern Ohio many, many years ago I thought I would die, couldn't breath when I went outside but it gets better after a while. Right now I usually walk about 3 miles every morning and its not so bad.

 

Wait till like Oct and its wonderful :) We have about 6-8 weeks in the spring and 6-8 weeks in the fall where you just want to be outside all the time! :)

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  • 10 months later...
Leading Edge in Boulder city nevada is offering training in this FH1100 also along with the R22 and R44's.

 

I did, funny that they have Helicopter Services old pic of 554GL on their homepage, too! I have several hrs in that ship before it timed out. It was in Houston and far as I know it is in FL now, was asking 169K for it after the rebuild, unless they sold it.

 

They don't show an FH1100 on the price list even though they have 2 on the homepage.

 

Later

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Having all turbine time or even being a 800-900 hour pilot that paid for a turbine transition doesn't mean a damn thing when the insurance companies are requiring 1,000 hour PIC before the employer can hire you. In reference to the post about equal pilots and one with turbine time getting the position over one without turbine time, what are the odds of that happening at hiring time? Not a very likely scenario I think.

Doug

 

 

That 1000 hr mark isn't really a minimum to get added to an insurance policy; an 800 or 900 hour pilot could easily be added to a commercial operation's insurance, be it instruction and rental, tours, etc. Open pilot warranties usually require 1000 hours, so employers sometimes use that as minimums. Realistically, if you present yourself well, they would have to make one short phonecall to their agent to get you added to their policy if you're only a couple hundred hours off of the 1000 hour mark. I always see this magical 1000 hour rule posted, but it just isn't so. The insurance companies obviously want a qualified person, but I have seen low time pilots added to ENG, Law Enforcement, and Instruction and Rental policies. MAYBE it costs them a few dollars to add someone with low time (the policy is rated on the lowest-time pilot), but its not much. And if you're talking about a turbine helicopter, turbine time will help you. If you have a lot of it, it would be easier (and cheaper) to have you added to a policy then it would for the guy with a few more hours total time and no turbine time.

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