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Helicopter vs. Fixed Wing Initial Training?


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Why do so many guys/gals op to start their aviation career with helicopter training?

 

It is more expensive than fixed wing training. The helicopter flight schools appear to be less financially stable. I see many posts alluding to canceled training, due to lack of aircraft and the training schedule being expanded by months. It appears some schools go out of business, in some cases where they have collected in advance for student training.

 

I'm sure that most of you have done some research and know the number of potential Helicopter jobs, as opposed to Fixed Wing jobs. What about income potential, helicopter vs. fixed wing?

 

Guys/Gals, I know it is a real thrill to be able to land on the top of a mountain or a building roof....but no more satisfying than taking off from a cold, wet HPN pre dawn and climbing into a bright blue, sunshine filled sky at 12,000 feet. Then consider that about 3 hours later you arrive at PBI, hold the flare just a tad longer and get that tingling feeling from the gear compressing with no noticeable touchdown. Should I mention the bikini clad girls driving the, follow me vehicles?

 

Do you suffer for your sanity?

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"Do you suffer for your sanity?"

 

WTF???

:huh:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Don't you know that a person must possess a valid and current sadist rating as a prerequisite to becoming a helo driver? And no, we don't suffer at all from insanity...for the most part, we enjoy it. And, uh, the reason why most of us do it, I thinks, is because of PASSION.

 

 

-WATCH FOR THE WIRES-

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I still hold to the idea that we suffer for our sanity in some way or another. Some people call this insanity passion. It doesn't matter if it's fixed or rotory it's all addicting and causes insanity if not already insane. I took 5 lessons in a fixed wing and was bored to tears. Trim the plane and go to sleep, and that's with out autopilot! I wanted something to challenge me and give me the opportunity to do something that makes time fly. When I fly, the day passes 10 times faster then if I was on the ground doing what ever most other have to do. Maybe as I get older and want to settle down, I will start flying airplanes for work and then fly my helicopter on the weekends for fun.

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Yup, sideways and back wards is fun, especially when you do it on purpose.

 

Fixed wing training is less expensive. It seems to make sense to utilize fixed wing to obtain cross country, insturment and PIC time that can be applied to Helicopters rating requirements.

 

Plus, duel rated pilots are in demand.

 

Oh, I thought by now someone would post the figures on estimated number of rotary wing and fixed wing jobs, Nationwide/Worldwide.

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tvman,

 

"Grow up dude...Let's see you sling some trees with that little Cesna of yours."

 

Sling some trees?? I guess that you are referring to external loads? I agree that fixed wing are not very adept at hauling external loads. The only example I can think of is the "piggy back" space shuttle.

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1. Why do so many guys/gals op to start their aviation career with helicopter training?

 

2. I'm sure that most of you have done some research and know the number of potential Helicopter jobs, as opposed to Fixed Wing jobs. What about income potential, helicopter vs. fixed wing?

 

3. Guys/Gals, I know it is a real thrill to be able to land on the top of a mountain or a building roof....but no more satisfying than taking off from a cold, wet HPN pre dawn and climbing into a bright blue, sunshine filled sky at 12,000 feet. Then consider that about 3 hours later you arrive at PBI, hold the flare just a tad longer and get that tingling feeling from the gear compressing with no noticeable touchdown. Should I mention the bikini clad girls driving the, follow me vehicles?

 

4. Do you suffer for your sanity?

 

1. Because we want to fly helicopters.

 

2. But how many people that get their fixed wing private pilots license go on and make a career out of it.

 

3. You have no idea, if you haven't done it. You also have no idea how it feels to be able to stop, stay in one place turn 360 go, up, down, backwards or any direction that you want. To be able to land in your backyard, or anywhere you can find a clear spot in the trees. Travel offshore and land on a platform in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Pick up an injured person at the accident scene, saving their lives by rapidly delivering them to a trauma center and delivering them to the roof instead of having to fight with traffic on the streets in an ambulance. And if you want to talk about bikini clad women, what about the ability to hover right over a beach, then land in the parking lot and get phone numbers! :P

 

4. Yes, everyone of us is crazy about helicopters.

Edited by klmmarine
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Why do we choose to fly helicopters and make less money and have less jobs available.

 

well I will answer this question, cause I often ask myself the same one, it is so much cheaper to fly and airplane and you could make more and their are more jobs.

 

but heres the catch, flying an airplane sucks, it is not fun, cool or challanging. It is easier to fly a plane than drive a car. A down sydrome eight year old could be taught to fly an airplane. airplanes are not complicated machines and they just fly stait and level. NOw if I could do aerobatics in an airplane, that might be cool doing airshows and what not, but those jobs are very far and few in between.

 

helicopters are universal, they can do anything an airplane can do and more, they can hover, float like superman, they can land anywhere, they are challenging to fly, you can do many important jobs with them. you are not stuck on autopilot all of the time, flying from one place to another place far away, so high that you cannot even see the ground. helicopters can fly any direction and hover, external loads and they fly low and slow with the best of visibility......

 

think about it, if you took out the facts that helicopters are more expensive, cost more to maintain, more dangerous, less jobs and less higher paying jobs. if you took out those factors and just asked everyone, which would they rather learn to fly for free. most would say helicopters cause they are facinating and cool. theoretically they are not supposed to fly... thats why we love them and they are so freakin cool.....

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As far as getting F/W cert and then Rotary-Wing, it costs waaayyy more todo it that way if all you want to do is fly heli's. F/W time doesn't necessarily help when it comes to getting a heli job or getting 200-300 rotary PIC hours to be able to instruct for a career.

 

The only thing F/W time can do is help reduce the amount of hours to get CPL and instrument ratings. Personally I do plan on getting my F/W cert down the road sometime soon, but to be honest after spending some time in the left seat of a cessna, it was kinda boring compared to flying a heli.

 

Stop playing with the hornets nest and ask some questions with a little more tact...

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Hell I just love flying. Whether if it's in an airplane or helicopter is irrelevant to me as long as I get to wiggle the sticks.

 

I chose to start my flight training in fixed wing because of the price and availability of part 141 VA schools compared to rotary wing schools. My ultimate goal is to be dual rated so it naturally makes more sense for me to go fixed wing first but for someone only seeking the helicopter rating then it would be a waste of money.

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klmmarine,

 

1. I understand that you want to fly helicopters. My point is that fixed wing training is less expensive. Some of the time can be applied to both ratings. In my opinion it is an advantage to be duel rated.

 

2. It matters little what the masses do with their training. An individual does what he does.

 

3. You should not assume that I haven't experienced all that you list, save the platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Well I guess I never hovered over a beach populated by bikini clad girls either. The folks I worked for would have frowned upon doing that.

 

It is not my intention to try to convince you that flying fixed wing in better, just that fixed wing training is less expensive and that being duel rated is a plus.

 

Some years ago I consulted for a small company with a rather large aviation department. They bought a helicopter for a particular job requirement, they only kept it for 8-9 months. The guy they hired to fly it (ex military) had his fixed wing commercial ticket, but very little time. He begged enough copilot time on a company King Air that when the helicopter was sold he was offered the King Air job permanently. Today he Captains a Challenger 604 for a fortune 500 company. I don't know how many $'s he makes, but he lives well.

 

 

4. I agree, everyone of us is crazy about helicopters. I'm also crazy about having a job and making decent money. I would want to increase my options if I was just getting started on a aviation career.

 

Are you a military pilot? I have read that the Army is training about 1000 helicopter pilots a year. That is pretty stiff job competition for someone with 1200 hours, including 1000 as a CFI. Who would you hire?

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The thing I don't like about being marketable in a fixed wing is that it costs more than helicopter training. Part 141 is 190 hrs and Part 61 is 250 hrs for the commercial. If you start from scratch you need PPL-SEL, IFR, Complex, High Perf, Com-SEL, Com-Multi, CFI-SEL, CFII-SEL, CFI-Multi, Turbine, High Altitude, and Type Ratings for the heavy you want to fly, and you still need to build Multi Time to get anything better than a entry level cargo job.

 

 

A few years ago, it was about $85,000 to get all the training at Pan Am Training Academy. Now they don't list the price online. They want you to inquire.

 

 

P.S. And don't forget the mandatory B.S or MBA just to be able to get in the club.

 

 

Airnet Cargo Payscale, they changed the scale up some from the last time I looked at it. It use to show all the steps yearly. The Maximum is based on 20 yrs with the company.

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Why do I fly the helicpter? My cat told me to.

 

They're a bit more complicated to fly and they are challenging. Ever try to do a pedal turn in a 20Kt wind? Sometimes I want to quit, but that allure always brings me back.

 

One fun thing to do is knock over traffic cones the local cops set up for chase training. Even better to put them somewhere else on the runway.:D By the Bucks perhaps?

 

Trying to explain why we like flying the helo is akin to having a man try to understand women. It ain't gonna happen, except for those pansy liberal hippie types that smoke pot and wear tie-dye Greatful Dead T-shirts and Birkinstocks and patchouli oil in their dreads..quelude flashback to the Oregon country Fair.

 

Excuse me, I have to take a shower now.

 

Later

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1. I understand that you want to fly helicopters. My point is that fixed wing training is less expensive. Some of the time can be applied to both ratings. In my opinion it is an advantage to be duel rated.

2. It matters little what the masses do with their training. An individual does what he does.

3. You should not assume that I haven't experienced all that you list, save the platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Well I guess I never hovered over a beach populated by bikini clad girls either. The folks I worked for would have frowned upon doing that.

It is not my intention to try to convince you that flying fixed wing in better, just that fixed wing training is less expensive and that being duel rated is a plus.

Some years ago I consulted for a small company with a rather large aviation department. They bought a helicopter for a particular job requirement, they only kept it for 8-9 months. The guy they hired to fly it (ex military) had his fixed wing commercial ticket, but very little time. He begged enough copilot time on a company King Air that when the helicopter was sold he was offered the King Air job permanently. Today he Captains a Challenger 604 for a fortune 500 company. I don't know how many $'s he makes, but he lives well.

4. I agree, everyone of us is crazy about helicopters. I'm also crazy about having a job and making decent money. I would want to increase my options if I was just getting started on a aviation career.

Are you a military pilot? I have read that the Army is training about 1000 helicopter pilots a year. That is pretty stiff job competition for someone with 1200 hours, including 1000 as a CFI. Who would you hire?

 

1. My point was that it doesn't do a person, who wants to fly helicopters commercially, any good to get a fixed wing rating. It is not "Much Cheaper" to get all of the required ratings to fly fixed wing commercially. As Mechanic posted above, getting commercial ratings in fixed wing are just the minimum. How many people do you know that are making a decent living in fixed wing aviation with only their private, inst, cfi and commercial ratings. That sets you up perfectly for being a CFI (which for fixed wing makes even less than a helicopter CFI) or maybe flying for a 135 operation that only operates single engine aircraft. Fixed wing time doesn't offer that big an advantage to someone who only wants to fly helicopters professionally. You are entitled to your opinion, but don't be surprised if we, as helicopter pilots, don't share it (especially because you are on a Helicopter Forum)

 

2. I could care less what the "masses" do. My point was you should look at the number of people who get their private pilot license and compare how many fixed wing pilots went on to make a career out of their training, and compare that to the helicopter pilots who went on to make a career out of their training.

 

3. I honestly think that if you had done the things listed on my original post you wouldn't have asked why we do what we do. I am happy for your acquaintance, glad that he got the opportunity to continue flying. I will however posit that his choice to switch platform had more to do with staying with the company he was with, than staying with flying period. Whatever his choice I would almost be willing to bet that he isn't making that much more money flying a corporate jet (I am also sure that his company paid for most of his advanced fixed wing training) The fact is that unless you are flying for a major airline, you don't make that much more money flying at that level. You should ask him what he is making (and what he made before) before you assume that his income increases had anything to do with his change from rotor to fixed.

 

4. Do you fly helicopters. If you don't fly helicopters, or spend significant portions of your time with the people who fly them I don't think that you really understand just how passionate we can be about flying. If you think that starting a career flying helicopters is limiting your options, here is an idea... DON'T FLY HELICOPTERS!

 

To answer your last question. No I am not a military pilot. I am a former Navy enlisted aircrewman. I flew with an SH-60 squadron and an SH-3 squadron for six years in the Navy. I now make a VERY good living as a ship captain in the Gulf of Mexico. I am also a student pilot. I am giving up a good living to follow my life-long dream of becoming a helicopter pilot, where I eventually expect to make a good living.

 

Much debate has been given to whether a military pilot is "More Qualified" than a civilian pilot. It is like asking whether a race car driver is a better driver than a taxi driver. They are two totally different jobs. Most (not all) military pilots are excellent flyers. But you won't find too many military pilots flying 8-12 hours a day, day in and day out. You will find that military pilots get far fewer flight hours than civilian pilots, albeit sometimes more stressful. There also isn't much cause for a utility pilot to fly 150 knots 10-20ft agl. Military pilots make decent money and the military is doing back flips to keep them in service. The services are not training as many pilots today as they did in years past, and as a result they are not putting out enough pilots to fill available positions in the helicopter industry. There is no shortage of jobs for 1000-1200 hour civilian pilots, and they make decent money.

 

I am not doing it for the money, I am doing it because I am passionate about flying. I may eventually get a fixed wing license, but it will be for fun, not because some stuck-wing jockey like yourself thinks that flying helicopters is not the "SMART" thing to do.

 

So take your ladle and stir the SH*T Pot somewhere else.

Edited by klmmarine
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I actually feel safer in a helicopter then an airplane!! Landing at 60 kts in the trees is not my way of fun! But getting in the trees a 0 kts is less stressful to me. I have both ratings, and for me flying an airplane is as boring as going to the dentist! :lol:

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I actually feel safer in a helicopter then an airplane!! Landing at 60 kts in the trees is not my way of fun! But getting in the trees a 0 kts is less stressful to me. I have both ratings, and for me flying an airplane is as boring as going to the dentist! :lol:

 

volition,

 

I also feel safer in a helicopter. Considering the kind of work helicopters perform, they have an amazing safety record. Your dentist must be more skilled than mine.......an hour strapped into his chair is a lot of things, but not boring.

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Hell I just love flying. Whether if it's in an airplane or helicopter is irrelevant to me as long as I get to wiggle the sticks.

 

I chose to start my flight training in fixed wing because of the price and availability of part 141 VA schools compared to rotary wing schools. My ultimate goal is to be dual rated so it naturally makes more sense for me to go fixed wing first but for someone only seeking the helicopter rating then it would be a waste of money.

 

 

Scottie, I'm with you. Give me some gauges, sticks , yokes or whatever and show me a point on a map.

 

If I won one of the big lotto's, my first toys would be a MD-500 and a de Havilland Beaver.

 

In my day, the VA would only pay for training that leads to a commercial ticket. You had to pay for your private before the VA would kick in. Is it the same today?

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In my day, the VA would only pay for training that leads to a commercial ticket. You had to pay for your private before the VA would kick in. Is it the same today?

Same deal today. Some folks on the AOPA site mentioned using thier GI Bill to pay for the PPL but when ever I ask for details no one seems to know how to make it work. I have a part 141 school about 10 minutes from my house and they swear there is no way to work the system to pay for a PPL using my GI Bill. I think a few folks might have slipped thru the cracks at the VA and were allowed to use thier GI Bill but they have caught on now and not letting it happen anymore.

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If you are participating in a degree program like the ones at UVSC, through correspondance, or otherwise, then the GI Bill will pay you whatever their monthly stipend is (I think it is around 1200 p/month now) as long as you are taking the equivalent of 12 credit hours. Most of those degree programs give course credit for ppl, therefore you can use your GI Bill funds to cover part of your flying costs. It definately doesn't have the same economic benefit as having them directly reimburse the cost of full time flight training, but it enables you to attend a part 61 school and use the benefits.

 

Notspock- I'm with Brushfire up above, how about a little introduction. Your first post raised some hackles (mine included) tell us where you are coming from and maybe we can relate better.

Edited by klmmarine
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I guess I'm getting old cause Boring is just fine by me...... Trees, well I'd just as soon not land in them with either the fixed wing or the helicopter thank you. Crazy.....probably, rich and wealthy.....used to be (9 ratings ago) I also like my girlfriends cat, but I try not to talk to it in public.... it embarrasses her ;)

 

Whatever your flyin'

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

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