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About to take Intro-flight


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I'm 26 years old, and have a decent office job where I provide tech support. I'm great at what I do, but I've always had a dream of being a pilot. Helicopters always intrigued me...the idea of being able to take off & land on such a small area, and fly in almost any direction just seems like the ultimate thrill.

 

I've been in a helicopter ONCE in my life, when I was probably 10 years old...I barely even remember it, just a short scenic ride.

 

I live in Kansas City, but will be traveling to St. Louis in a couple of weeks for some business stuff, but should have some free time. I heard about Midwest Helicopter (http://www.flymidwest.com/) and I'm considering taking the $189 introductory flight (45 min video + precheck + 1 hour flight).

 

I mentioned the idea to my best friend & roommate who thinks that this would be a waste of money, as I'm not 100% sure I want to pursue a career as a pilot. In my mind, this money will be well worth the expense, regardless of whether or not I decide to go this route.

 

So on to my question.....for those of you who were in my situation and took your introductory or check flight.......how did the intro/check flight affect your decisions/plans about pursuing flight training?

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So on to my question.....for those of you who were in my situation and took your introductory or check flight.......how did the intro/check flight affect your decisions/plans about pursuing flight training?

 

Intro flights didn't affect my decision at all (and I'm in a similar situation as you--decent day job, good money, only in a heli once, etc--but knew what I wanted to do). I used intros to interview schools, see what the instructors were like, see how the shop was run. It's also a good opportunity to talk to students and pilots--you learn a lot about what you like/don't in a school, flesh out the part 141 vs 61 question, and get a good idea of what the industry is like. The flight itself is secondary--you don't really learn too much except that you'll need some lessons to figure out how to fly a heli. So I picked 6 schools within 5 hours of home, drove to 2, figured out that I didn't want to train in Class C airspace. Drove to another 2 and figured out I wanted a school with a chief pilot who had >1000 hours (but got a free intro ride there) and got a first-hand feel for training at a school with only 2 R-22s (one was out for CFI training, the other down for maintenance--lots of R-44s and a turbine that I couldn't touch tho, so no intro flight there). I also randomly went to a school that flies Schweizer's, just to see if I liked it better than the R-22 (I did, but will still be training and probably instructing on a Robinson). So about $1000 later (including driving, hotels, & junk food) I had figured out what school I was going to (and gotten pretty good at hovering).

 

I've heard of people using the intro flights to see if they want to be a pilot--I think it's more complicated than that. You're first flight is a rush and it's new and fun. Unless you puked, who wouldn't want to be a pilot after an intro ride? Get 10 hours into it, realize that you don't just walk up to the heli and hop in (I don't even know how long my preflights are taking me right now), start reading the FAR/AIM, and memorize emergency procedures from the POH--then you'll have a better idea.

 

good luck.

--c

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Thanks, kodoz

 

My topic didn't appear initially so I figured it was a permissions thing. So I began corresponding directly with delorean who has given me some great information, including the name of a trainer near where I live. I hope to set up an introductory lesson with him in the next month or so.

 

In the meantime I'm still curious to know about other people's intro flight/lessons & how they went.

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If you have the money to spend, and the time... Do it. Don't do it, and you may end up regretting not going it... Do it, and you won't have that problem.

 

 

Personally, I love flying... especially helo's. Being able to hover a helo is an awesome feeling, where else can you find something like that?

 

 

My 2 Cents, CHAD

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Oh boy. Firstly, hang out with us here on VR for awhile (months), you'll learn more than you could ever imagine! There is a thread for every question you'll come up with, we have all been through an infinite variety of routes to get into (or out of!) flying. Take the intro flight in StL, it will be fun no matter what! But don't let that one hour change your world overnight. Everyone's first time is a thrill regardless of how or where it happens. Take some months to research and really hash it out. This industry is so varied in every way, it takes time to really get a solid grip on it before you decide to jump in headlong. Read everything you can get your hands on, talk to anyone and everyone involved with helis, and if you have the cash get your PPL on the side. Only after that will you really know if you want to make it a career.

 

Welcome to our world! :wacko:

 

~heligirl

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My intro flight was less than thrilling! Looking in the Yellow pages for a school(no internet back then), and went up in a 269. With the exception of banking the helicopter, or thinking a right turn for about 5 seconds, the rest of the time, my hands were in my lap......YA...I was learning something!! The CFI asked when I wanted to start, and I told him I'd think about it($175 later, and a little deflated!!). Met my GF brother-in-law, and he had his PPL. He was going up, and asked the CFI who flew out of BUR, if I could up first, and I did. From the moment he split the needles(R-22A), he let me be hands on! Once we got out of BUR airspace, he let me fly, him constantly making adjustments, but I was flying. We even did an auto to the L.A. wash! 30 min. later, I asked him, when can I start? :) I flew with them, until just before solo, cuz they sold the 22, but didn't tell me! I was hooked after that flight though!

 

Do your homework, and look around, it's your dollar! If the vibe doesn't feel right, don't fly with that school. Always check with the VR Forum, I'm sure someone will know something about that school.

 

Good luck! You'll be hooked, once your up there! :)

 

Cheers

R91

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I agree with the others that you don't want to plan your whole future based on the thrill of a discovery flight. But you should have at least one flight before you decide, so you know that you don't get sick/vertigo/hate the noise, whatever. I had two flights, one in a R22 and one in a Schweitzer, both in really crappy weather, before I decided (though frankly I was hooked after the first flight...)

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Cut it into it's simplest form. Career and liceses aside, where else can you have that much fun for $189? And if that's the end of it, great. At least you had big time fun for an afternoon! If that's the start of something bigger, even better!

 

Go for it! No "what if's!"

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The intro flight will leave you with a grin on your face for a long time. It is a great experience and one you will never forget :D I started a thread about a month ago about kind of the same thing, just to see what everyone on here had to say about their first flight. You pick a good site for advice, everyone on VR are great and helpful. There is someone out their that has been in that situation or will point you in the right direction. Keep us up to date with your progress!

 

Dom

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I'm 26 years old, and have a decent office job where I provide tech support. I'm great at what I do, but I've always had a dream of being a pilot. Helicopters always intrigued me...the idea of being able to take off & land on such a small area, and fly in almost any direction just seems like the ultimate thrill.

 

I've been in a helicopter ONCE in my life, when I was probably 10 years old...I barely even remember it, just a short scenic ride.

 

I live in Kansas City, but will be traveling to St. Louis in a couple of weeks for some business stuff, but should have some free time. I heard about Midwest Helicopter (http://www.flymidwest.com/) and I'm considering taking the $189 introductory flight (45 min video + precheck + 1 hour flight).

 

I mentioned the idea to my best friend & roommate who thinks that this would be a waste of money, as I'm not 100% sure I want to pursue a career as a pilot. In my mind, this money will be well worth the expense, regardless of whether or not I decide to go this route.

 

So on to my question.....for those of you who were in my situation and took your introductory or check flight.......how did the intro/check flight affect your decisions/plans about pursuing flight training?

 

It looks like vortex is offering a FREE intro flight lesson. Check their news page, you can register and get a coupon for later. :rolleyes: vortex-helicopters.com

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Oh boy. Firstly, hang out with us here on VR for awhile (months), you'll learn more than you could ever imagine! There is a thread for every question

 

~heligirl

 

I like heligirl's advice...suck up as much info as you can if you are thinking about a future in the industry. This site is a great place to start...also...as others have said; if you are already amazed by vertical flight...you'll will be even more amazed after the intro flight. However, the intro flight is not what put me over the edge it was frank discussions, research and at the end of it all a desire to learn to fly helicopters.

 

I'm still training and close to my first solo flight...I'm loving it !! But I kind of knew that I would.

 

Bottom line...if $189 is not too much for you...GO FOR IT !! It will be great...but do all the other research too!

 

Good Luck to you !!

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My first intro flight was $99 and that included about half 1/2 an hour explaining the controls and about 1/2 an hour learning the controls. The instructor made me take the pedels first, then the collective, then the cyclic, THEN all of them together. My down fall was that I focused on one thing at a time :wacko: If I have any advice to give, look straight out of the windshield. I am taking my schooling at Northern Helicopters in northern minnesota. Good luck "nicepants"

 

Dom

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nicepants, I can relate to your post. I've worked in the accoutning field all my life but have always been intrigued with the thought of flying in a helicopter. I have never been in one at all. I'm looking forward to taking my Intro-flight in 2 weeks. It was supposed to a few days ago but the school had to postpone it. In the meantime I'm reading books and watching DVDs I've purchased online. I am fascinated by what I'm learning.

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I just got my PPL and am working on my CPL now. Been flying since March, and until a month before I didn't even know that there was private training for helicopters. Like everyone else has said, definately do as much research as you can, and don't let anyone tell you it is a waste of money / time if you want to do it. I was convinced before I even took my into flight though :) The intro flight was just the icing on the cake.

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I'm not a pilot yet, but have family and many friends who are pilots; both airplane and helicopter pilots; some private, some commercial, and some instructors. I've worked on the flight line and around training operations. Maybe I'm not qualified to give advice, maybe I am. Either way, here it is:

 

I would absolutely recommend taking an intro flight before you make any decisions. Chances are you'll love it. There's a possibility that you won't. Don't base your decision on that one flight. The quality of the instructor, the aircraft you're flying, and the airport you're flying from can grossly influence how enjoyable you find a flight to be.

 

If you're really not sure if you want to make a career out of flying, don't make a decision yet. Make a commitment to earn your private pilot's license. Work hard and get through it. When you're finished, and have exercised some of the flying privileges of your fresh new certificate, start making that decision. You'll know then if you're content with buzzing around with friends and family occasionally or if it's something you want to make a very large part of your life. Either you end up with a private certificate and realize you don't want to do it for a living, or you end up with a private certificate and realize that you do. Both outcomes are pretty cool and will initiate you into the ranks of the very small percentage of the public that are helicopter pilots. If you do want to, you'll be well on your way since the private license is a requirement to earn the commercial.

 

Just get started down that road part-time. There's no rule that says if you start lessons you have to finish. Keep going part-time until you know undoubtedly what it is you want to do. You may decide to drop it after five hours, you may end up a professional pilot.

 

On a side note, you might want to know that the pilot in the somewhat infamous video of the helicopter pilot crashing into a hangar door (http://thatvideosite.com/video/4094) was the chief pilot and owner of Midwest Helicopters. It happened right out front of their office. There is a topic about it here. Sounds and looks to me like he tried to lie his way out of responsibility for the accident, but that's a subjective analysis. He's very actively tried to remove the video from the internet, claiming copyright violation. I would expect a responsible chief pilot to admit the mistake, use the video as an example for students, and allow it to be accessible so that others may learn from it.

 

Make your own decision as to whether you want train at a school run by this guy. Personally, I wouldn't train with him specifically, but I wouldn't hold the accident against CFIs that he has hired. I'd be open to flying with any of them that seem responsible and honest.

 

Hope some of this helps!

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On a side note, you might want to know that the pilot in the somewhat infamous video of the helicopter pilot crashing into a hangar door (http://thatvideosite.com/video/4094) was the chief pilot and owner of Midwest Helicopters. It happened right out front of their office. There is a topic about it here. Sounds and looks to me like he tried to lie his way out of responsibility for the accident, but that's a subjective analysis. He's very actively tried to remove the video from the internet, claiming copyright violation. I would expect a responsible chief pilot to admit the mistake, use the video as an example for students, and allow it to be accessible so that others may learn from it.

 

Just out of curiosity, is there a painted X or a line or something on the ramp out there where people are supposed to pull their helicopters out to before takeoff? As someone so astutely pointed out, $5 worth of paint would have saved them an awful lot of trouble...

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Just out of curiosity, is there a painted X or a line or something on the ramp out there where people are supposed to pull their helicopters out to before takeoff? As someone so astutely pointed out, $5 worth of paint would have saved them an awful lot of trouble...

 

 

I see painted guides for airplanes quit often, usually a painted yellow line straight down the center of the hangar so you know where the nosewheel should be when you're pushing it in. It's really helpful on jets and turboprops when you're pushing them in with a Tug or pickup. On those larger planes where people plan on renting the hangar for a quite a while, they'll paint three lines, one for each gear, with a T on the lines telling you how far back to push it.

 

Doing something for helicopters would be a great idea, but I can't recall ever seeing it. It shouldn't be too much of a problem, but distance from the hangar to the X would be different for each helicopter and would be different if you planned on the hangar door being open.

 

Anyways. You're absolutely correct. A painted X that was far enough from the hangar to clear it with the door might have saved a lot of helicopter in that situation, but it shouldn't be required. I expect any helicopter pilot to make sure they're clear from any obstructions before they have start the engine(s). The fact that he didn't do that indicates to me that he is either negligent or has flown so much that he's become complacent. Both are very, very dangerous. I wouldn't want to fly with him.

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I'm 26 years old, and have a decent office job where I provide tech support. I'm great at what I do, but I've always had a dream of being a pilot. Helicopters always intrigued me...the idea of being able to take off & land on such a small area, and fly in almost any direction just seems like the ultimate thrill.

 

I've been in a helicopter ONCE in my life, when I was probably 10 years old...I barely even remember it, just a short scenic ride.

 

I live in Kansas City, but will be traveling to St. Louis in a couple of weeks for some business stuff, but should have some free time. I heard about Midwest Helicopter (http://www.flymidwest.com/) and I'm considering taking the $189 introductory flight (45 min video + precheck + 1 hour flight).

 

I mentioned the idea to my best friend & roommate who thinks that this would be a waste of money, as I'm not 100% sure I want to pursue a career as a pilot. In my mind, this money will be well worth the expense, regardless of whether or not I decide to go this route.

 

So on to my question.....for those of you who were in my situation and took your introductory or check flight.......how did the intro/check flight affect your decisions/plans about pursuing flight training?

 

If you want somthing closer head out to OJC and ask for Jesse Sherwood. Their introductory lesson is only $170. They have 2 R22's and two instructors.

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If you want somthing closer head out to OJC and ask for Jesse Sherwood. Their introductory lesson is only $170. They have 2 R22's and two instructors.

 

Funny you should mention them...that's where I scheduled my intro lesson.....just 3 hours from now and the butterflies are already going. It's been overcast and we've had light rain here for the past 3 days...not sure how that will affect things. Jesse actually had me call Jonathan (one of the other instructors) and he's the one doing my intro lesson.

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