Friday, April 1, 2011

Silver State Helicopters/helicopter training

Silver State Helicopters/helicopter training?
On Thursday August 16th I went to a seminar run by Silver State Helicopters at their newly opened Raleigh, NC location. The information given, by their founder, made them seem like a very good choice for one looking to become a helicopter pilot. Their program runs near 70 grand but leaves you as a fully licensed commercial helicopter pilot, and they basically guarantee you a job with them starting at 52 grand a year. A guaranteed job is a nice addition to any flight program. Has anyone got any direct experience with this company? Pros? Cons?
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1 :
To start, I suggest reading the section called "Avoiding the Rip-Offs" on this web page. There is a lot of good general info there too: To find a helicopter school near you, you can refer to this website: Vertical Reference is also a great site for the helicopter industry in general, and the forum in particular is a good resource for many of your questions. Choosing a Flight School: There is no one best school out there. There are many good ones, and there are some bad ones. It will be up to you to find out if the school is good or bad, and you should do A LOT of homework before starting. Please avoid the schools that make grand promises about being a helicopter pilot and then require full payment up front for their program. Here are some other things to consider: - There are many schools that allow you to pay as you go. - Make sure the school will have enough aircraft and instructor availability to meet your needs. You don't want your training to take longer because you are unable to fly as often as you like. - Many schools hire their own graduates, but do not assume that you will automatically get a job with them after graduating. There may not be enough positions available to accommodate all graduates. - Many schools do not require a 70k contract to begin training. - Delays will always cause you to spend more money, but try to find a school that will not penalize you for taking a break from flying, or for failing to complete the training for some reason. You never know what is going to happen, don't let yourself get stuck. - With regard to safety, you can always check if the school you plan to attend has any accident records. Go to the NTSB website, and do a search with the name of the school, and see what comes up. - CAVEAT EMPTOR, when looking at ANY flight school. You're making a huge investment in time, effort, and money. Give this decision the careful consideration and research it deserves. On Training Aircraft: The two main civilian training aircraft are the Robinson 22 and the Schweizer 300. Investigate the differences between the two, as there are pros and cons to each. Some people prefer one or the other. Be sure to look a step ahead and consider the types of flight instructor positions available for someone with experience each one. Once you get to 1000 hours or so and start looking for a "real" pilot position, which one you flew becomes much less significant. Also, you can always consider getting some experience in both during your training. Aviation is an awesome and rewarding career, but you can get burned if just dive in head first. Talk to pilots, research schools, get information from several different sources, figure the costs, and go into it fully prepared and knowledgeable about every possible path towards your goals. Don't start until you can prove to yourself that the path you have selected is the right one.
2 :
Do not sign up with Silver State!!!!!!!! You may get a job instructing with them, but it may not be at te location you trained at. The pay is not 52,000/year!!!!!!!!! It is a graduated hourly wage based on flight hours topping out at 52,000/year. To top out, you basically need to stay with them, instructing beyond the year it will take to build enough time to move to a 135/119 comercial job. Also, to get 8 hours of pay/day, you will have to put in about 12-14 hours. Do not trust the founder/owner, general manager, Chief Pilot, or current students. They will tell you anything you want to hear to get your signature.

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