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Flight school recomendations


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I'm new to this website but have been getting some good information so far. I live in seattle and have been looking into Classic helicopters. Does anyone know anything about them and if so, what are some goods and bads about them.

One major question that I've heard different stories about is the weather. Does training in bad weather prepare you more for the future jobs, than training in perfect weather? I hear it does from the Classic guys but I hear it doesn't from guys farther south. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

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I just flew up to Olympia, WA to visit Glacier Helicopters. I was impressed and that is after visiting many other schools. Word is that Classic Helicopters will be closing its doors to training in the near future. I can't verify that but thats what I heard. But, do yourself a favor and check out Glacier. Thats where I will be going after Christmas unless theres a school that I find looks better, or should I say fits what I'm looking for in a school. I would think that flying in "not-so-perfect" weather would be a benefit on down the road. That is one of the many reasons I want to learn in the NW. Hope some of this helps.


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I've been flying helicopters in the Seattle area for 11 years (and before that, 9 years in So Cal). The weather up here is a mixed bag for flight training in my opinion.


On the negative side, doing a preflight in the rain is unpleasant at best, and I can't think of any "training value" you would get out of that. Also, region-wide IFR, marginal VFR, and low freezing levels for much of the winter could cause scheduling issues / canceled training. Not so much while you're in the hovering and traffic pattern stages of training, but certainly later when you begin cross-country and instrument training.


On the positive side, yes, during training it is good to be exposed to weather conditions you might encounter out in the "real world" when you are rated. Not so much from a "controlling the helicopter" standpoint but definitely for learning proper pre-flight planning and the WX decision-making process. The Pac NW offers coastal, mountain, urban, and rural environments for training all within a stone's throw from Seattle - everything a student pilot needs.


We have some complex / potentially dangerous weather up here, and it requires a solid understanding of where to get WX info, how to interpret it, and then how to properly evaluate and manage risk. I would hope a good instructor in this area would cover in detail Pacific NW weather during your training.


As for Classic Helicopters, sorry, I don't much about them from a training standpoint. I chartered an R44 from them last year so my wife could have a 30 minute tour of Seattle (she'd never been in a helicopter before), and the pilot was professional and competent. Hopefully someone who has trained / is training at some of the Pac NW schools will chime in for you. I've heard through the grapevine positive things about all of the well-known schools up here - Snohomish Flying Service at S43 (Harvey), Classic and Helicopters Northwest at BFI, Glacier at OLM, and Hillsboro Aviation at HIO.


Good luck to you.

Edited by palmfish
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I am a current CFI student at Classic and have done most of my training there. I can attest that it is a great school, with great equipment and maintenance. There are changes going on there, but they are for the better and Classic is going to be around for a long time to come.


As far as the weather goes, if you are trying to complete instrument in the winter, it can be difficult. But I got through it and so can you. It just takes patience.


I am out of town now but will be back at my desk on Wednesday if you want to stop by just ask for me at the desk. I would be happy to sit down and talk to you straight up about it. Or just PM me any questions.

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I am out of town now but will be back at my desk on Wednesday if you want to stop by just ask for me at the desk. I would be happy to sit down and talk to you straight up about it. Or just PM me any questions.


Hey KLM, I didn't realize you work at Classic. You know we're neighbors - I'm over at Hangar 5 (Galvin), directly across from the tower. If you're ever interested in coming by and checking out our aircraft (A-Star and turbine Cessna), let me know. The A-Star is at Cascade for maintenance right now (I found a crack in the windshield during pre-flight on Monday :angry: ), so I've been flying the airplane this week. It'll probably be back late next week.


Did I ever mention I flew with Keiko back in Nov 2006? She was the pilot who took my wife and I up for a 30 minute Seattle tour in the R44. Did you ever find out what happened?



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Who do you fly for? Which Astar? I am working for National Helicopters (the, Red King5/710am, astar). We fly out of Classic's hanger, you most likely know that. I am also a former Classic Student and Employee and I second Kimmarine's statements.



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