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High Altitude Training??


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I just returned from doing an intro flight at two different schools...Mazzei Flying Service in Fresno, CA...and Guidance Helicopters in Prescott, AZ. I can't believe how amazing it was and I'm really excited to get started.

 

I have heard nothing but good things about both schools, and was very impressed with both operations.

 

Both of my instructors were great too. (Ryan at Guidance, and Cody at Mazzei...if they happen to be on this site...Cheers to both of you.)

 

I was really hoping that one school would stand out over the other...that would have made the decision easy. But that's not what happened. They were both great.

 

The one thing that Guidance seems to have over Mazzei is that it's located at 5000' above sea level...while Mazzei is at like 300'. I know from doing some research that it is better to learn to fly at altitude (at least from what I've read), because high density altitude hinders the performance capabilities somewhat and you learn better power management.

 

But my question is...how much does this really matter?

 

Mazzei is closer to home for me, less expensive, and has better living accomodations, but Guidance has the altitude.

 

Any comments about the altitude or just general comments about your experience with these schools would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks. :D

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First of all good job on doing your homework. I am a CFII who has flown at 600 MSL and 6100 MSL as an instructor. Your correct in your assumption that the power management is much more critical at high altitude. As far as that being a decidinig factor as to which school you should attend I dont think it is going to make a big difference. What you realy need to see is that the school is going to teach you to the best of YOUR abilities. If your someone who catches on fast then by the time you are finished (CFII) you should be doing advanced autorotations and other much more advanced maneuvers. Doing these at high altitude is more difficult yes but, First learning the proper way to do them before adding in masive performance problems is best. So my humble oppinion on the subject is to look for the school that is willing to take you to YOUR limit not one they set for you.

 

If you are looking in AZ you may also want to check out Premier Helicopters and Universal helicopters. Both are at the scottsdale airport (KSDL). Keep your options open until you find the school that has the best feel that fits the way you learn. Once you have the proper training getting high altitude training is not that hard. A CFII that does a good job at lower elevations will power limit you anyhow to simulate the high DA for you. I found the transition to the high DA easy to do becasue I recieved great training from the start. Just avoid THE GREAT BIG SCHOOL. I worked there for a short time and left so that I could sleep at night without feeling bad about what was happening to my students. Best fo luck. Fly safe and God speed.

 

Shane

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Thanks Shane. That info definately helps.

 

I think I'm gonna check out at least two more schools and I'll definately look into Premier and Universal.

 

:D :D

 

By the way...How do you like your job??

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The one thing that Guidance seems to have over Mazzei is that it's located at 5000' above sea level...while Mazzei is at like 300'. I know from doing some research that it is better to learn to fly at altitude (at least from what I've read), because high density altitude hinders the performance capabilities somewhat and you learn better power management.

 

But my question is...how much does this really matter?

 

Mazzei is closer to home for me, less expensive, and has better living accomodations, but Guidance has the altitude.

 

Any comments about the altitude or just general comments about your experience with these schools would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks. :D

 

You are correct is thinking that learning to fly at a higher altitude teaches you better power management. After learning to fly helicopters at low altitude (Ft Rucker, AL), my next stop was Kirtland AFB, NM with an elevation over 5,300' MSL. Learning to fly the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant (which was underpowered at most any altitude) at Kirtland taught not only power management and finesse while flying, but it required proper pre-flight planning as well.

 

Throughout the history of helicopters, I am certain that you can find plenty of examples of pilots that were trained at low altitude that got into trouble when they tried flying at higher altitudes becaused of decreased performance of the helicopter. Conversely, I think that you will be hard pressed to find an example of someone that trained at altitude and then got into trouble at low altitude because of increased performance of the helicopter.

 

I recommend to anyone that trained at low altitudes to find a school that offers a high altitude/mountain training course and take it. While you may never fly at high altitude for the remainder of your career, the finesse that you learn flying at altitude will help you when flying on a hot day at sea level with the bird at max gross weight. Even if the school doesn't have a specific high altitude syllabus, getting 10-20 hours or so of dual at high DA can go a long way in making a low time pilot a better pilot.

 

Just my two-cents.

 

Doug

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