Should I start with airplane lessons?
If you want to get licensed for both airplanes and helicopters, the cheapest path is to start with airplanes. If your passion is helicopters, start with and stick with helicopters. Interstate Helicopters, Inc. has been training helicopter pilots for private ratings and commercial ratings for more 25 years!
What’s more fun, the airplane or the helicopter?
On a sunny day for sightseeing over downtown Oklahoma City or landing in the backyard of a local restaurant, the helicopter is more fun. If you goal is to feel the flight as a pilot there is nothing like being a helicopter pilot! If you simply want to go from place to place it can be faster to fly a plane.
Are helicopters harder to fly than airplanes?
An airplane is stable. You can take your hands off the controls and the plane will fly itself for a minute or two. When flying a helicopter, the pilot makes minor subconscious adjustments with the controls constantly. Flying an airplane looks easy, which is why passengers usually are not impressed, but landing precisely requires a lot of skill, as does flying in bad weather. The helicopter looks impossible, which is why passengers are so impressed, but people get helicopter licenses in about the same number of hours as airplane pilots.
How is the weather in Oklahoma City?
I did my helicopter flight instruction with Interstate Helicopters, Inc. in December 2005/January 2006. We scheduled flights at my pace over the course of several months so I was able to train in the warm weather months as well as the cold temperature season. From time to time we would have to adjust at the beginning of my training due to the winds in Oklahoma. However, as I gained more experience it proved to be one of my best decisions because flying in 20 – 30 knot winds prepared me for future opportunities. Now I am a Certified Flight Instructor and no matter where I decide to move for career opportunities I am prepared. Unless you plan on only flying in Florida or some place with a similar climate I believe real world weather is the best way to gain confidence for all career moves. Interstate Helicopter’s Inc., graduates can fly anywhere in the world! That says it all!
Would it be better to train in the Schweizer 300?
There are some good schools that offer training in the Schweizer 300, a forgiving and slow design that dates back to the mid-1950s. Schweizer produces only a fraction of the number of helicopters that Robinson builds. If you are ever going to rent a machine, get a flying job, or buy a personal helicopter, chances are that Robinson experience is what you will need. The Schweizer is arguably a better trainer than the two-seat Robinson R22, but the four-seat R44s at Interstate Helicopters, Inc. are more stable and easier to fly than the Schweizer.
Would it be cheaper to train in the Robinson R22?
Frank Robinson will be the first to tell you that he did not design the R22 as a trainer! However, it has turned out to be one of the most used training helicopters there are. The R44 is a much more stable trainer, which means that you’ll learn the required skills in fewer hours. The R22 is a perfectly nice helicopter to train in and to fly around for personal use. If you opt to train in the R22 it will be an easy transition to learn to fly the R44. Interstate Helicopters believes once you learn to fly the R22, flying the R44 will without question be a simple step.
How many women fly helicopters?
A 125 lb. female will almost always get hired ahead of a 200 lb. guy. Helicopters are always restricted on payload and the lighter body weight means 75 lbs. of additional revenue capacity. Corporate employers operate affirmative action programs and will typically hire a woman who meets the minimum FAA qualifications ahead of men with three times the experience. A woman can get to most aviation jobs 2-5 years sooner than a male. While we do not know how many women have become helicopter pilots we do know the number continues to rise each and every year!
Can I do instrument training?
Yes! Interstate Helicopters provides training towards an Instrument Rating in the R44 Raven II using an Aspen EFD1000 and Garmin GNS 650 GPS.