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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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FAA CPL
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To all of you who are hoping to go and complete your cpl I have one suggestion, save yourself much pain and get an FAA licence. I am currently following the FAA CPL(H) route, doing my exam tomorrow (yeah, 1 exam) and my flight test in 3 weeks. I did the ground school on my own with the Jeppesen CD-ROM (in about 3 weeks) and feel very confident about passing tomorrow. Contrast this with going the JAA route, you have to take some ridiculous amount of logged ground school and then take 7 written exams on various different subjects. Not only would this take much longer, it would cost more and give you one serious pain in the sitting device attached to you legs - your arse.

Many people say the Americans make it too easy and don't train you to fly as well, I respectfully disagree. Having done a fixed-wing JAA and FAA flight test (both in America, with one european examiner and one american) I can honestly tell you that the American was much more concerned with the flying, where as with the european I was asked a number of theoretical questions before, during and after the flying element, my actual test was much shorter and less complex.

Ground exams have a purpose, and theory is the basis for understanding fact, but in Europe, we have lost sight of the overall goal, to train people to fly safely and efficiently, and to enjoy it at the same time.
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Mark Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 13:00:14 Mark Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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Rick
Where in the US and with whom did you train with for the FAA CPL (H)? And what would be the price of converting it to its UK equivalent (if indeed this was a worthwhile task), would you not need to sit all the JAA exams anyway? I only ask as I am considering training in the US for a CPL (H) too and have been recommended to look into www.heli.com.
Rgds Mark
Ps, how did you get on with the exam?

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GEORGE MCNEIL is not online. Last active: 14/11/2005 14:49:46 GEORGE MCNEIL

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Re: FAA CPL
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I'm an expat Brit living in Arizona who instructs FAA Rotorcraft Helicopter from Private through CFII. There are many US Flight Schools who will take you through Commercial but you need to get a visa to train now in the US post 9/11. Have a look at www.universalheli.com which is where I work.
To convert to a JAR licence you will get credit for your flight hours but will have to go through the ground syllabus and written exams.
You would be better training on Robinson R22's despite what HAI says on its www.heli.com web site. The training market is dominated by Robinson helicopters and if you want to go on and get your flight instructor rating, it will be almost impossible to get work without getting the endorsement on Robinson. This means meeting the SFAR73 requirements. It doesn't make any difference on how long it will take to get your commercial whether Robinson or any other ship, most people can complete in the times specified by the FAA in Part 61.129.
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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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I did my training in Ireland, not in the US. Not to criticise the US or its training schools at all, I did my fixed-wing PPL out there and it was second to none training, without a doubt. I decided to do it at home because I couldn't take the time away from college to go to the US. I got 80% in my exam, if you wish to pass the exam GET the Jeppensen software, if you use it correctly there is absolutely no way that you can fail the exam. I also took the exam here. If you wanted a conversion you'd have to sit all the JAR exams, but I'm not going to convert. A lot of people here doing their heli PPL are doing the FAA version because of the pure simplicity and lack of bullshit approach they take. The local flight school are going to re-reg one of their R22's on the november reg, then I will get work as an instructor (once I have that rating) and also most of the new big heli's coming in here are going on the N register, it's all about it being simple. If you have the time, go the US, there is a school in california where Tim Tucker works (he is the chief robinson test pilot I think) my Dad flew with him and said he's great, he is probably the most experienced Robinson pilot in the world. I'm doing my training on a R44 because I have access to one, if your renting, do it on a 22 without a doubt, firstly because it's cheaper, but also for familiarity because if you go on to be an instructor this is (as the ex-patriate gentleman pointed out) the most common type for training, because it is without a doubt the best training chopper in the world. Period. Hope I've been of help to you Mark, weird that we have the same last name eh?
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GEORGE MCNEIL is not online. Last active: 14/11/2005 14:49:46 GEORGE MCNEIL

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Re: FAA CPL
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Rick, some additional information about N Registrations. You either have to have the helicopter in a country outside the US owned by a US corporation, a US citizen, US resident alien or a US Trust company. To maintain it you need 100 hour and annual maintenance by a US certified A & P mechanic. Then you can follow the US training requirements and certification process for pilots. It is much simpler and less expensive than the national route.
With regards to Tim Tucker, he is the Chief Pilot for Robinson Helicopter Company and is the person in charge of the Robinson Factory Safety Courses. If you want to flight instruct for FAA ratings on R22 or R44 it is strongly recommended that you attend the three and a half day factory safety course. In fact you may have difficulty getting insurance without this. He no longer does training or work for a flight school, although he did have the first flight school (Pacific Wing & Rotor) and the very first R22's built by Robinson. He is now an FAA designated pilot examiner based at Long Beach, California and does our (Universal Helicopters Inc.) check rides.
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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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Hi, we have a C172 on the 'N' reg, but thanks anyway for the info. I was sure I saw an ad in the back of pilot for a heli school in cali stating that Tim Tucker was on staff? Maybe they meant as an examiner. I am going to the factory in a little while to do the safety course, a good recommendation comes from my Dad who did it 2 years ago, he flew with Tim Tucker on that occassion and that is how I came to hear about him. Much of my heli training was done with Mike Smith at heli-air who (as you probably know) is fairly experienced himself. Thanks for the reply and info - Rick.
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Mark Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 13:00:14 Mark Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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Hi Rick & George, thanks for the info, I will look into this further. Personally, the R22 would be the heli of choice as it is the one I started in & im most familiar with. I have looked at the Robinson Safety Course, fully booked for a few months now! With me, it boils down to a question of time and money to do all this.
Ps. Rick: strange about the surname, stranger still that I recently did my R44 LPC with Mike and initially got rated on the R44 with "Q" @ HeliAir! We just finished a Mountain flying course around Snowdonia, N Wales. Great fun & they (HeliAir) are v. nice people. - Mark

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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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That is completely cosmic mark, we bought our last 2 helis from Mike & Q. Any relations in Ireland? Enjoy the flying!
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GEORGE MCNEIL is not online. Last active: 14/11/2005 14:49:46 GEORGE MCNEIL

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Re: FAA CPL
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Rick, TimTucker was on Universal Helicopters staff and you probably saw that on the UHI web site or on the adverts we ran in Pilot and Flyer last year for flight training in the US. Tim does 90% + of all our check rides. But he is not connected directly any longer with a flight school.
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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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Thanks George!
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James Drysdale is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 11:22:04 James Drysdale

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Re: FAA CPL
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Greetings all!

Having gained my PPL(H) CAA when I was 17 and then minced around in various jobs for the last few years (I am now 21), I am now seriously considering launching into a career pilot program of sorts so I may become a professional pilot.

I am here to ask for opinions on the best route to take, the most cost effective but also the best quality of training. These points are all arguable as you'll no doubt know.

I have been looking at heli.com and also heliflight.com among others, and the prices for training seem to differ greatly. One point I am not very clear on as yet, is the number of hours I would require before I would be employable. Heli.com suggests doing a JAA/FAA combined course, and with all the bells and whistles such as CFII it comes out at approx. $50000. This gets me 150 hours training as I understand it, but I was under the impression I required 450hrs to be employable as a commercial pilot in the UK. Returning to the UK is not essential as I am willing to find employment in the US, I had ruled out returning to the UK due to the massive costs involved in training for JAA licences compared to FAA. I understand that in the US I would require 200hrs to be employable due to insurance reasons. Heliflight includes the extra 50hrs, heli.com does not yet it is approx. $10000 more expensive.

Can anyone tell me some tales of their own experiences with gaining commercial licences, JAA or FAA...? I want to make myself as employable as possible so would wish to gain IR, CFI and CFII ratings.

Also, what might I expect to do as a first job on entry into the industry? Is it likely to be as an instructor as I suspect?

many thanks in advance for any help you can offer me.

James
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Rick Larkin is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 14:57:09 Rick Larkin

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Re: FAA CPL
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James,
I'm currently doing my heli cpl (FAA) as you probably know from reading the thread, and I've done a little bit of reasearch on the work situation. Being an instructor seems to be the first job that is available once I have all the various ratings, I don't know what the situation is in America as regards insurance, but having an FAA licence does not restrict you to working in the states, many other countries outside the JAA accept the FAA licence as is and you can instruct in the UK or europe as long as the helicopter is 'N' registered. Because the JAA is persisting in making everything as complicated and costly as possible for everyone, many people are turning to the FAA to do their PPL, which in turn will demand that more FAA instructors are available and more 'N' reg machines.

About the costs, I'm not in a full time program with a school, doing the flying on our own machine so I can't really have an opinion on what schools charge.

Blue skies,

Rick.
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James Drysdale is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 11:22:04 James Drysdale

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Re: FAA CPL
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Thanks for the reply Rick.

Good point you made about the demand for FAA instructors. I have yet to see an N reg R22 in this country though! Will keep looking :)

Will need to make an appointment with the bank manager soon I think. I was looking at prices for career programs and the cost of the included FAA PPL, makes me wonder why I bothered doing my PPL over here, the difference is price is amazing. Rip Off Britain, eh.

James


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GEORGE MCNEIL is not online. Last active: 14/11/2005 14:49:46 GEORGE MCNEIL

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Re: FAA CPL
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James, I work as a flight instructor with FAA ratings at a school which offers career helicopter pilot training and have some information which may help you. For full time students it takes close to seven months to get all five certificates, private, commercial, instrument, instructor, instrument instructor. At the end of this you will have 200 flight hours (165 hours in the R22, 35 hours in the R44) and an instrument instructors certificate to teach in the R22 and R44. This assumes that you get through the check rides in close to the required flight experience times specified by the FAA. Most of our students can achieve very close to this although not all. Our school requires students to get all five ratings before they will employ them as flight instructors. Before working as a flight instructor, you need to attend the Robinson Factory Safety Course $350. Our costs are $10000 for private, $18000 commercial, $18000 instrument, $11000 instructor, $6000 instrument instructor – total $63000. These costs do not include living/travelling expenses during training but do include written tests, flight tests, and medical. You need an FAA Class II medical. Hourly rates are R22 dual $205, instrument $245: R44 dual $405, instrument $425. Then you need to build approximately 1200 total helicopter hours before you are employable in the industry. You can do this working as a flight instructor and we employ the people we have trained (unless there are problems during your training). You will need a student visa to be able to take flight instruction in the US, a visitor visa will not suffice. It sounds quite complicated but is infinitely easier and cheaper than doing it in the UK. I have gone through firstly the CAA programme to get my Helicopter Flight Instructor in the UK and then the full US programme to get the US licences so know first hand what is involved.
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James Drysdale is not online. Last active: 15/11/2005 11:22:04 James Drysdale

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Re: FAA CPL
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Thanks muchly for the reply George.

With regards to building up to 1200hrs before I can become employable, I assume this means I will gain the ATP rating on my licence...? If I am on the right track, what sort of costs and training will be involved to gain my ATP? On average, how long might this take?

You employ the students that you train... is this guaranteed (subject to 'problems during your training' of course) in which case forming a rolling staff for your company? Or am I being too hopeful? :)

I will definitely keep you in mind. Have you a website I can check out?

many thanks

James
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