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hi, i am new to the forum, my name is shawn


i am 23 and i work in a machine shop making various aircraft parts. i am getting burned out, and looking for something new... and i have always wanted to fly since i was a little kid.

i live close to stlouis, and i am looking into start training full time to become a pilot.

i do not have a large savings, and i still live at home, so i am kinda at a disadvantage.


okay, now onto my questions...


is there a demand for helicopter pilots?


where would everyone recommend that i go to school?


where should i start?


anything i should know?



thanks in advance.

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Normally each school will offer a "discovery flight". That is, where you go and an instructor gives you a briefing, explaining a little about flying the aircraft. Then he takes you up in the aircraft, and during the flight he lets you handle the controls for awhile. This allows you to determine if you really like it or not, with no obligation to sign up for the school. Many people have related their experiences about their first flights on this message board.


As for the payments, most of the flights schools (as far as I know) work with certain finance companies, such as Sallie Mae or Pilot Finance. These companies give student loans. Quite often the schools will have information on their websites, so you can compare them. However, you'll also want to visit the schools in person to check them out.

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Starting my training in 3 weeks, so by no means a pilot. The fact that you are young and still live at home is an advantage. It means that you are not tied down and can move where you need to. Moving around may be pretty common until you have enough experience flying turbine engine helicopters. Learning to fly is very expensive and will cost somewhere in the realm of around $50,000 depending on where you go. Most students take out a loan from Sallie Mae financial. Be warned if you finance the whole amount you will probably be paying $700-900 a month for quite a long time. Personally I made the loan for 20 years and plan to pay it off sooner, that way you don't have to pay off any of the interest that has not accumulated yet. I would start in the vertical reference flight school directory and look for schools in your area, at least thats what I did. Then maybe setup and intro flight with them and also check around the internet for information. You will want to avoid silver state helicopters. Most civilian pilots start by training in small two seat helicopters 0-200 hours. Then they instruct other students (as a job) from 200-1000 hours. Around 1000 hours you can usually find work flying turbine helicopters in the gulf of mexico, vegas, or alaska. Once you have some experience flying turbines a lot more doors open up. That about sums it up for me :).

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I agree with everyone else. All that I can add is do your research and take intro rides at various schools and in various helicopters. You may find that the R22 is not for and you prefer the S300C or visa versa. Also, look for schools with their own maintenance department, a testing facility and an examiner on staff. This is just my personal opinion, but I would try to avoid schools that ask for all the money up front. It's ok if they have block rates or offer a discount for maintaining a certain amount on account. A 5% discount will save you a lot of money over the course of your training. One last thing to look at is the hourly rates they charge for rental, dual instruction, ground instruction, etc. This will give you a much better way of comparing prices between schools. Most schools use FAA minimums to quote prices, which is usually very inaccurate.

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