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Looking to make the jump


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Let me just start by saying that I'm really impressed with this board and the members on here. Everyone seems really helpful here, which is refreshing coming from some of the other forums out there on the interweb.

 

Well like the title says, I'm looking to make the jump in to helicopters. Very VERY little experience with them. I've flown a couple Cessnas before on some free flight lesson deals when I was younger, and I did go for a helicopter ride when I was probably in the 4th grade... lol

 

Regardless, I've always had an interest in helicopters. For a long time in school (probably soon after the ride ;) ) my dream was actually to become a helicopter pilot one day. Well as I got older, that dream faded, and it began to seem somewhat unrealistic to me. So I went to college, got a degree in business and have been working ever since. However, when I was just about out of school, I did happen to stumble on this site and the dream slightly came back. But after doing some research, it seemed like something that was still out of reach because of the costs it takes to go through training. I was just about done with school and didn't really feel like investing MORE money into schooling.

 

Well let's just say that this last year has been very fortunate for me, and I now have the opportunity to jump into this head first with the cost not being a very big issue. But it's still a lot of money to invest, however you look at it, and I just want to make sure it would be worth it. So now I'm trying to decide if this is really a viable option for me.

 

I'm only 25, which from what I've seen is on the young side in this industry. Is there much opportunity for younger pilots? I'm not too concerned about the pay, but more that it can be sufficient and that I would get to be flying as a career!

 

I hear all the stories about Vietnam vets retiring, which is creating tons of opportunity. Is this as real as it's hyped to be, or is it more of just a marketing gimmick?

 

I suppose that it's good that I'm single with no kids, and nothing really tying me to where I live (here in Oregon). The travel part of it actually seems almost exciting as the flying itself! But is this an industry where your employer is constantly changing? I could deal with that for awhile, but I imagine it gets a bit unnerving after 20-30 years of it...

 

I'm looking at two different schools in Oregon right now that are both about the same distance from where I live now. Hillsboro Aviation in, well Hillsboro. The other is Precision Flight Training in Newberg. Any opinions on the two? I've read the reviews for both on here, but maybe you guys have heard things about them, even though you didn't go there?

 

Is there anything I should be looking for or that you could recommend in a school? I'll probably speak with both schools, but it's nice to have some good questions to ask before you go in...

 

That's quite a few questions there. If you can answer any of them, you would be helping me out TREMENDOUSLY! Thanks for reading as well! Probably a little long, but I got a lot to talk about! :D

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Hey scoot, Hey I'm in a similar situation as you, 24 years old and been looking into schools for a while now. Just got my medical and now I'm making my decision between 2 schools, one being hillsboro. I went to hillsboro for a visit over memorial day weekend and overall was very impressed. The school itself is big and everyone I talked to up there was very nice and personable. The flight training is 60% fixed wing and 40 % rotary wing. There fleet is mainly r22's (10 to 15 from what I remember) and 2 schweizers. They also have 12 turbines that they use for the commercial side of the company. The hangers were very clean and they maintain all there aicraft themselves, as well as other aircraft belonging to others. There is a pilot lounge to study, and cubicle type area's for all the 1 0n 1 ground school. I know they have monthly bbq's for everyone, and they offer housing for $110 per week I believe. Quite a few international students go there, so you would get to meet lots of diffrent people while training. The weather is the only negative I've heard about the place (being from oregon I'm sure you know all about the rain). But some say its an advantage to learn in the bad weather? I'm still weighing that option myself, maybe somebody with more experience can chime in... Overall like I said I was impressed with them, my "tour guide" while there really gave me a no b.s assesment on the school and heli industry, so I didn't feel like I was being sold something. Also if you look on myspace.com you can find a hillsboro pilot group. I pm'ed some of the students on there and got some good info. Just a thought. My advice would be visit both, take flights with both and see which suits you best. Good luck wherever you go.

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As for the age issue, I am a pretty young gun myself. It won't be a disadvantage unless you act as such. Just carry yourself professionaly and instead of people saying "Jeez kid, why don't you grow a pair before you try and fly this thing!" they'll say "Wow! you're 25!?! I'd never have guessed!"

 

They'll treat you based on how you act and carry yourself; not your age. BTW I'm a 21 year old Flight Instructor. Good luck!

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As for the age issue, I am a pretty young gun myself. It won't be a disadvantage unless you act as such. Just carry yourself professionaly and instead of people saying "Jeez kid, why don't you grow a pair before you try and fly this thing!" they'll say "Wow! you're 25!?! I'd never have guessed!"

 

They'll treat you based on how you act and carry yourself; not your age. BTW I'm a 21 year old Flight Instructor. Good luck!

 

That's good to know. This wasn't a REALLY big concern of mine, as I usually carry myself very professionally, but I've found that in some industries, it helps to be a little older. The industry I'm in right now, young people are kind of looked down upon because they aren't expected to have much experience or be very knowledgeable.

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Hey scoot, I am pretty sure there are quite a few of us on here that are trying to make the jump ourselves. If you are like me, the dream has always been there, it probably just got pushed to the side with the aspect of actually going through college, getting a degree and finding life long desk job that is typically planned out in everyone's head of making a wad of cash after you get out of college.

Anyway, if it is your dream go for it. I have pushed it off long enough myself. I have always wanted to fly. I am now going on 30, in the military, with wife and kids, and tired of getting shot at and blown up in Iraq. I put off going to a flight school (just for that, the money reasons) and enlisted in the military instead trying to find that career path to take only to find myself wanting (BADLEY!) to go right back into where I was before, looking at flight schools and waiting to get back from Iraq to start my dream. If it is your dream, pursue it with everything you have before you find yourself on another road just to find yourself right back to where you started.

 

Also, www.justhelicopters.com is another forum to get on that has quite a bit of good info being passed around among fellow dreamers like us.

 

Best of luck!

Kirk

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