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I'm in Lake Tahoe right now finishing up the winter season. I'm trying to decide where i would like to start flight training.

 

I did a little research, it looks like Hillsboro Aviation looks good, near Portland OR. It would be nice there cause i would be able to fly over the cascade mountain range, there is the ocean to the west, forest, desert tot the east. I could still ski in the winter.

 

or

 

To Long Beach, Ca... where my friends and family are located, i can fly over the ocean etc.

 

I know Hillsboro is part 141 certified, but i'm not sure about any of the long beach schools...

 

QUESTION... i heard flying in Oregon might be good because the bad weather will prepare you well for any job you have down the line. One person i talked to in Long Beach said that it would be better there because of the amount of sunny days.. and they have a lot more traffic in the area, so it's better to get used to dealing with radio and air traffic. Any input on which would probably be a better all around experience would be helpful.

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QUESTION... i heard flying in Oregon might be good because the bad weather will prepare you well for any job you have down the line. One person i talked to in Long Beach said that it would be better there because of the amount of sunny days.. and they have a lot more traffic in the area, so it's better to get used to dealing with radio and air traffic. Any input on which would probably be a better all around experience would be helpful.

 

I considered Hillsboro (and still am, but not for my PPL) and visited several Seattle-area schools in class Charlie space. The things I considered were

 

1/ traffic. in the beginning you'll want to focus on what your instructor is telling you about maneuvering the chopper, and having a controller talking nonstop is an excessive distraction at the early stages of your training. many non-towered airports have access to busier airspace if you want that. or a smaller class delta airport allows you to get out of the way for learning, but practice with ATC when you want it.

 

2/ weather. Seattle and Portland are going to have hard winters. fog and clouds will probably ground you many more days than you like, and you'll see this reflected in some student's posts when they talk about these schools. getting flight time on good days (i've heard) can be tough because everybody is trying to make up flight time. One of the Seattle schools I visited was completely empty when i visited earlier this spring--less than 1/4 of their choppers were out, and maybe 2 students were in the building--even tho it was a great day. The instructor said that "flying season really hadn't started yet", to me, meaning that students weren't really expecting to fly late fall to early spring. Summers, on the other hand, will not be the weather experience you're looking for: blue skies and cool temps for a good 3-4 months solid.

 

3/ climate and environment. mountains and access to high density altitude were important to me. the traffic and over-water experience is something i can add after I learn to fly the helicopter.

 

4/ school size and quality. Hillsboro and the 2 schools I visited all meet this qualification, from what I've seen and/or what people have said about them. There are other options in the northwest--a couple of schools in the Bend/Redmond OR area, 1 in Boise, and another in Spokane. All would offer similar features, with the exceptions that the weather is hotter and drier, they are above sea level, and often have VFR conditions when Seattle and Portland are typically in clouds and fog.

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Redmond has a school-Leading edge I think-and the weather is pretty good there, except when it snows. Alotta skiing nearby though.

 

Schools also in Corvallis and in Medford I think, at least somewhere around there.

 

The weather in the Willammette Valley really isn't that bad for flying, just lower layers and rain. Sometimes the rain is light, sometimes it's heavy, and sometimes it's just overcast and moist. At times we get into the inversion and fog will hang around for a week or so, but it eventually gets blown out and flying is resumed. The Portland area is more susceptable to fog because of the river and being in "bowl". Seattle just gets weather because of being Seattle.

 

If you monitor metars for Oregon you'll see winter weather really isn't that bad.

 

Besides, it's not as bumpy as on sunny days.

 

Later

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