Q: Do I have to know how to fly airplanes before I can learn to fly a helicopter?
A: Absolutely not! This is a common misconception that a person has to start by flying airplanes first. In fact, if you are working towards a career as a Professional Helicopter Pilot, it would be more beneficial to fly only helicopters until you get your first job.
Q: Why is an Instrument Rating so important?
A: Right now, it is virtually impossible to be eligible for any helicopter flying job outside of primary flight instruction unless you are Instrument rated. Even in the area of flight instruction, which is typically a civilian starting point, the CFI with an Instrument rating or the CFII always has the competitive edge and will get job preference. The bottom line is that an Instrument rated pilot is a safer pilot. The insurance companies know it, the employers know it, and the FAA Statistics prove it.
Q: Who is eligible to get an FAA Pilot Certificate?
A: Currently a candidate must be able to read, speak and understand English. Additionally a candidate must be able to posses an FAA Medical Certificate and meet the following age requirements.
PPL age 17 CPL age 18 ATP age 23
Q: Does how much I weigh matter?
A: Not really as far as training goes however it matters greatly for employment opportunities. The majority of helicopter training nation wide takes place in the Robinson Helicopter which is most likely where your first job will be. In order to get a job the threshold is generally 200 lbs body weight and anything below that is a bonus for the perspective employer. During training you can get approval to train in a larger helicopter if you are over 220 lbs but again you would be lacking the experience necessary and the weight necessary in order to get employed in the smaller helicopter.
Q: How long will my training take?
A: This is entirely dependent on the course you are enrolled in.
Q: Will you give me a job when I am done?
A: We DO NOT guarantee anyone a job. It is impossible to hire everyone that graduates from PBH. You should be skeptical of any company that promises you a job. Presently majority of our staff of Instructors is comprised of Veterans who have trained at PBH. You should consider yourself on an extended job interview from the moment you start training until the end of training. Our preference is always to hire someone that we have trained therefore if a position is available it is likely that you may be a possible CFI candidate.
Q: How often do you hire?
A: The flight Instructor position is usually a transient job that you do until you have the flight experience necessary to move up in your career which is usually at the 1000 hour flight time mark. A busy school like ours the instructors are getting this in as little as a year but certainly no more than two years so we are continually hiring.
Q: Why should I choose your school?
A: If you are the type of person who puts in as little effort as possible and only want to reach the minimum standard then you SHOULD NOT choose this school. We demand a lot from our students and strive for maximum standards. This is why we are only the third helicopter school in the nation to receive self examining authority from the FAA. This is due to our high standards and pass rates, which are difficult to achieve. We maintain and overhaul our fleet in house with our own mechanics, which allows us to address maintenance issues quickly and to the highest standards. Every course that we offer is FAA 141 approved.
VETERANS GI BILL
Q: Will this cost me anything or will my GI bill education benefits pay for everything?
A: When using your benefits at a vocational school you will be required to pay for your private license and then you will be eligible to receive up to $15,497 per academic year for the balance of your training.
Q: Will I receive a housing allowance while in school
A: You would not normally receive a housing allowance while attending a vocational school.
NON US CITIZENS
Q: Do I need a visa to train?
A: Any non U.S. Citizen who does not hold a permanent residence card (Green Card) MUST be on an appropriate visa in order to train. In most cases this would be an M1 visa. You cannot obtain training toward any FAA certificate on a B1 toursit visa. Doing so would put both the school and you in legal jeporady.
Q: Can I work while I am in school?
A: You may not work in the US on an M1 Visa.
Q: I already have a pilots license in my country can I convert it to an FAA license?
A: If you hold a license of at least private or above you may be issued an FAA private based on your foregin license with no training or testing. If you want any higher FAA license you will need to train and test for anything higher than an FAA private.
Q: Will I be able to count any flight hours I already have toward the aeronautical experience requirments for my FAA license?
A: Yes, all of your previous flight time can count toward the experience requirments for each FAA license.