Our Boston helicopter flight school has been in operation at the Marlboro Airport since Fall of 2010, and we’ve now produced the first ever helicopter private pilot at the Marlboro Airport in Marlborough, Mass!
Manny started his training at our Lawrence Airport facility but switched to Marlboro due to the type of training available at the Marlboro Airport. The small airport training appealed to him over the busy Lawrence Airport helicopter schedule and traffic pattern (as an aside, North Andover Flight Academy now accounts for approximately 50% of traffic in and out of the Lawrence Airport – we are the busiest flight school at the airport, and possibly the busiest helicopter flight school in the Boston area).
Manny’s instructor, Anthony, prepared him well for his private pilot check ride. Winds were the norm for New England – gusting into the 20+ knot range!
Marlboro Helicopter School
Congratulations Manny – next up is the Robinson R44 transition – then onto the Commercial helicopter pilot license! Manny’s goals are to use the helicopter in an agricultural role…more to come…
You may have read about Steven back in our previous blog entry. As part of his CFI training, he has successfully completed the next step of his journey to becoming a helicopter CFI. As yet another cold, blustery day came to a close here at our Boston helicopter flight training facility Steven walked out looking at his newly minted instrument helicopter certificate!
After a 1.5 hour oral exam and another 1.5 hours behind the stick, he set the helicopter down perfectly on the ramp, shut down, and walked through the school looking all around. We all knew he passed, but where was the confirmation?
Well, the confirmation came soon after (after a little joke played on his instructor of course). His months of helicopter instrument training came to a close with a huge smile.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Lawrence Airport makes for a great IFR training base. GPS, localizer, ILS, VOR approaches all within a 10 minute flight.
Instrument Helicopter Pilot
What’s Steven’s next step? Commercial/CFI training of course. We’ve already been training for the commercial check ride with full touchdown autorotations thrown in for good measure! It will be an easy transition to the Commercial, so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s ready for that.
We all look forward to a very busy summer here at our Boston helicopter flight school!
The article in Vertical Magazine is now online on the Vertical Magazine site. This article covered the North Andover Flight Academy Implementation of the first helicopter commercial FITS syllabus. (It’s also available below for your convenience).
Many thanks to Elan Head, Editor Vertical Magazine for her visit. Great flying Elan!
View of Boston from an R-44
Last year, with my United States Federal Aviation Administration flight instructor certificate up for renewal, I completed an online certificated flight instructor (CFI) refresher course. The course consisted of 16 one-hour modules, most of which reviewed familiar topics such as regulations and airport operations. But, one topic was completely new to me: FAA/Industry Training Standards, or FITS.
In the language of the FAA (which I dutifully memorized for my exam questions) FITS “creates scenario-based, learner-focused training materials that encourage practical application of knowledge and skills.” As the name implies, FITS is a collaborative effort between the FAA and the aviation industry. It is geared specifically toward pilots of “technically advanced aircraft” (TAA), which have more automation, and, typically, greater performance capabilities than legacy aircraft.
My CFI refresher course made it pretty clear that by “aircraft,” the FAA meant “airplanes.” Yet, as I worked through the module, it occurred to me that FITS could also be a great model for the helicopter industry.
North Andover Flight Academy (NAFA) chief pilot Curt Peredina thought so, too. A year-and-a-half ago, Peredina undertook to develop a FITS curriculum for the school, and in October 2010 NAFA became the first helicopter flight school in the nation to offer a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 141 approved helicopter FITS syllabus. FITS represents a huge leap forward in commercial flight instruction in the U.S. — but it remains to be seen whether the helicopter industry will catch on to it.
A More Structured Path
Founded in 2008, North Andover Flight Academy is headquartered at the Lawrence Municipal Airport north of Boston, Mass., with satellite locations in Alexandria, N.Y., and Marlboro, Mass. It offers instruction in Robinson R22s and R44s, and is also a certified Robinson Helicopter service and overhaul facility (capabilities it leverages in an instructional capacity, too, by making a point of exposing students to maintenance and overhaul operations).
Like many flight schools, North Andover offers instruction under FAR Part 61 as well as Part 141. Under Part 61, students must simply meet the flight- and ground-training requirements set forth in the applicable sections of that part. In Part 141 instruction, students follow a specific syllabus that has been reviewed and approved by the FAA. Appropriately, the school’s record-keeping requirements in regards to each student’s progress is much stricter under Part 141. Yet, in some cases Part 141 programs allow students to complete a rating with fewer hours than they could under Part 61. Many flight schools also seek Part 141 status to obtain the added legitimacy associated with the FAA’s stamp of approval.
In some countries, including Canada, students have the option of completing a commercial helicopter rating from scratch. In the U.S., however, students must obtain a private pilot certificate before being eligible for a commercial certificate. Consequently, training for the commercial rating can be a bit of an afterthought, even if it follows a Part 141 syllabus. Brush up on a few flight maneuvers, study the regulations that apply to commercial pilots, and you’re good to go — sound familiar?
When I was working as a flight instructor, my commercial students always finished their training pretty quickly. However, my school did encourage instructors to mix things up by giving students commercial-pilot training scenarios, particularly during stage checks. For example, when evaluating another instructor’s student, I might assign him or her a task such as a simulated photo flight or powerline patrol. Not only was this scenario-based training an excellent way to test decision-making skills and situational awareness, it made for fun, interesting flights — but it was still approached in a relatively unstructured way.
FITS brings a more structured approach to scenario-based training. Instead of having to develop scenarios on the fly, instructors and their students are presented with well-thought-out scenarios that accurately reflect situations encountered by commercial pilots. According to the FAA: “Consistent with the concept of training the way you fly and flying the way you train, FITS places more emphasis on whole task training and uses carefully planned scenarios structured to address TAA flight-training objectives in a real-world operational environment.” FITS scenarios emphasize aeronautical decision-making, risk management and single-pilot resource management. They require students to make real-time decisions, such as whether or not to divert in the face of deteriorating weather.
All of this sounds pretty relevant to helicopter training. And when it comes right down to it, the FAA’s definition of a TAA isn’t that exclusive: “A TAA is an aircraft that contains [a] GPS navigator with a moving map, plus any additional systems.” These days, most training helicopters feature at least a moving-map GPS, and even if students aren’t exposed to glass cockpits and autopilots in their basic training, they’ll probably encounter them at some point during their careers. These are all reasons why NAFA decided to pursue the development of a FITS curriculum.
Michael, Laura, and Anthony
Although FITS is becoming more prevalent in the fixed-wing world, Peredina had his work cut out for him in developing a syllabus for the helicopter industry.
“Since this is the most comprehensive FITS training course and possibly the only helicopter commercial FITS syllabus in existence, we had to start from scratch,” he explained. According to Peredina, the Part 141 approval is the culmination of 18 months of course development and close co-ordination with the FAA.
In developing the FITS syllabus, Peredina made a conscious decision to focus on training for the commercial pilot certificate. Private helicopter students spend most of their training developing basic airmanship skills, and “the normal syllabus works pretty well for them,” he said. Commercial students, on the other hand, are ready to move beyond basic maneuvers, and most of them are working toward careers as professional pilots. So, the structured, scenario-based training of the FITS model is an ideal fit.
“It immerses the pilot-in-training in the decision-making process required by commercial helicopter pilots and gives them the skills to perform commercial maneuvers ‘outside the pattern,’ ” explained Peredina. “FITS and scenario-based training teaches commercial pilots-in-training to make commercial-level decisions, and not just perform the maneuvers necessary to pass the commercial practical test.”
North Andover’s commercial FITS syllabus is a comprehensive one. It includes detailed scenarios, instructor notes and accident case studies for each lesson. Unlike a typical syllabus that progresses linearly from the first to the final lesson, the FITS syllabus has three parallel “strands”: commercial maneuvers; commercial, visual flight rules (VFR) operations; and commercial, instrument flight rules operations (the operational strands are entirely scenario-based). A pilot-in-training — or “PT,” in the shorthand of the syllabus — must complete the lessons in each strand in order, but can jump back and forth between strands as circumstances dictate. Thus, if bad weather makes a certain operations lesson impossible, the PT and instructor can practice maneuvers in the traffic pattern without disrupting the “order” of the strand’s linear syllabus.
What’s It Like?
So, what is a typical scenario-based lesson like? I visited NAFA in August 2010 to run through a commercial VFR operations lesson: a helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) remote patient pick-up mission. The objective was to simulate a typical HEMS mission, including an off-airport pick-up and a drop-off at a helipad.
Although I didn’t do all the preparatory legwork that a student would have been required to do (such are the advantages of being a visiting writer), Peredina walked me through those steps, which included planning the flight under time pressure and making weight and balance calculations for before and after the patient pick-up. In this scenario, which would include deteriorating ceilings, evaluating weather was a particularly important part of the pre-flight planning. On a clear day, some imagination would have been required, but on the day of my visit Mother Nature co-operated — as she so often does in the Northeastern U.S. — with gloomy, rainy weather that was actually deteriorating. In fact, on the basis of weather, we decided to revise the scenario to keep us closer to the airport.
Pre-flight brief complete, we hopped in our helicopter — an R44 — and departed the airport for the designated patient-pickup point. Along the way, Peredina discussed what would be expected of the PT, from locating the pickup site using landmarks and GPS navigation, to co-ordinating with the “medical crew” (the instructor, playing the role of a paramedic/observer). Arriving at the pickup location, Peredina identified where I was supposed to land. Then, he threw me a curve ball: actually, I couldn’t land there because a vehicle was in the way. So, I had to select an alternate landing zone, re-evaluate my approach, and ensure adequate clearance from trees and other obstructions.
HEMS pilots frequently have to contend with patients who are heavier than initially reported; in this scenario, a PT might have to do the same. Although Peredina didn’t make me revise our weight and balance calculations in the cockpit (again, the advantage of being a visiting writer), he did limit my manifold pressure on takeoff.
On the way back to Lawrence Municipal Airport, Peredina reported simulated ceilings that were deteriorating (just a little bit faster than they were in real life). We dialed up an instrument approach on the GPS and used it to guide us into the airport.
One key point about FITS training is that it emphasizes not only real-time decision-making, but also the consequences of those decisions. In this scenario, we weren’t able to make it to the designated hospital helipad due to weather. That was more than just an inconvenience — our diversion meant a potentially life-threatening delay for the patient in the back. If I had made a no-go decision earlier in the flight, would the patient have made it to the hospital more quickly via ground ambulance? It’s something the FITS syllabus actually asks students to consider: “If the pilot understands that even their earliest decisions have actual life or death consequences, then the decision to divert would be more difficult. In the real world, these are the types of decisions that are faced by commercial pilots every day. In this syllabus, we attempt to train pilots to be ready to make those decisions, and prepare them to face the critical decision-making before each flight.”
Post-flight, Peredina was gracious enough not to critique my performance, but he did discuss how a student would be graded following a flight. Another unique aspect of FITS is its focus on “learner-centered grading”: after each flight, the instructor and PT each evaluate the PT’s performance, and then compare notes. This is an opportunity to address any differences in expectations, as well as discuss alternative decisions and techniques that could have improved the outcome of the flight. FITS training is competency-based, meaning that a student will move on when and only when he or she masters a particular skill area, even if that takes several flights.
The Industry’s Embrace
For all its value and benefits, FITS is, very explicitly, not a regulatory approach. According to the FAA: “In order to keep training products and tools fully up-to-date and reduce product cycle times, the FITS program is deliberately designed around technical standards rather than around regulatory or policy issues that would require longer development and production times.” Thus, the impact of FITS depends on the extent to which the industry decides to embrace it voluntarily.
Peredina, for one, would truly like to see the helicopter industry do exactly that. He pursued Part 141 approval for the NAFA syllabus in large part to give it that extra measure of credibility: “The adoption of FITS training principles can be attained at many levels, but we’ve chosen to make it a real alternative for our commercial students. The sign-off from the FAA and the Part 141 approval validates our efforts.”
Unfortunately, a commercial helicopter student pursuing FITS training under Part 141 is likely to pay a 20 to 30 percent premium for the privilege, because the comprehensive nature of the syllabus requires more flight hours than a basic commercial training program. So, for now, North Andover Flight Academy is offering its students various ways to take advantage of FITS: the syllabus can also be used for Part 61 instruction, and individual lessons from the syllabus can be used to enhance private, commercial or recurrent pilot training.
Ultimately, however, Peredina would like to see the advantages of FITS formally recognized by the industry, perhaps in the form of an additional certificate that would confer hiring advantages. This would allow students to recoup their additional training investment — and would allow the industry to reap the advantages of better pilot training, too.
Yes, the rumors are true! We sold almost 1000 helicopter discovery flights last Christmas and the customer input has been tremendous. Some of our customers have even put their videos on YouTube. Videos? Well, let’s explain.
North Andover Flight Academy has been a leader in helicopter flight training in the Boston Mass area for a couple of years now. We have the only FITS syllabus, the only full Part 141 flight program (fully approved by the FAA), and we are the only helicopter school that has the capability to provide HD instructional videos to our students and our discovery flight customers!
We have a mount for the camera that is attached to the helicopter. This mount has been approved by the FAA and is the only fixed mount training camera system we know of in the area. We provide the option for all students to have their lessons recorded for future use. As a training aid it is very valuable – instructor and student can review the video during the post-flight briefing, or the student can take the video home to review.
(Check out Ed’s experience – Ed was a first-time customer of our helicopter flight school.)
If you’re interested in our training videos and what we can do here at the school, visit YouTube and search for “North Andover Flight Academy“.
So what exactly is a “Discovery Flight”? A Discovery Flight is the perfect way to get an introduction to helicopter flying, and it’s entirely affordable. Book your helicopter discovery flight with us, and when you arrive you will be greeted by your instructor who is ready to take you on your first helicopter flight.
The Discovery Flight starts with a 30 minute ground lesson covering safety, helicopter control, and the mechanical preflight of the helicopter. After the ground session, you will hop in the helicopter as an informed first time student!
From there you will start the helicopter, taxi for takeoff and depart the airport. At this time the instructor will demonstrate the machines capabilities and let you give it a try during straight and level flight, turns, descents, and climbs. You’re flying the helicopter under the guidance of a qualified, professional instructor.
How old do I have to be to take a helicopter Discovery Flight?
There is no age limit. As young or old as you think they have to be to enjoy the flight.
What days can I come in to fly?
We are open 7 days a week, 363 days a year from 8AM to 10PM (some days even longer).
Do I have to wear any special clothes?
Everyday street clothes are fine.
Can I purchase the flight as a gift?
Absolutely! We sell hundreds of gift certificates every year!
What will I learn on this flight?
So much will happen, and you will experience so many new things, if you walk away with “WOW! That was an unbelievable time!”, then that’s great!
Call or schedule your first helicopter discovery flight. 978-689-7600. We offer helicopter flights at two of our Boston helicopter schools – our helicopter school in Marlboro, or our helicopter school in Lawrence.
We have been answering calls about helicopter charter in the Boston area for a long time, and now we’re able to do more than just answer questions – we can now take your party in our helicopter almost anywhere in the New England area!
What’s most important to understand, as a prospective customer, are the differences between operations and what can and cannot be done if an operator is not “Part 135 Approved”, (I will talk about what boston helicopter charter can provide shortly).
First, let’s take a look at the operators and equipment. When an operator becomes certified under Part 135, that operator, the pilots, the helicopter, and the mechanics are closely scrutinized by the Federal Aviation Administration. Similar to the differences between Part 61 and Part 141 helicopter schools (or those that have a complete Part 141 curriculum versus those that do not).
Since Part 135 operators in the helicopter world deal with many variables – heliports, other off-airport sites, carrying passengers to and from various locations, and just about any type of helicopter flight you can think of, the requirements are very comprehensive.
Many helicopter operators offer tours. This is allowable under another set of rules governed by the FAA – rules called Part 91. Some helicopter operators offer services such as “Photography Flights”, “Search and Rescue”, “News”, and “Power Line Patrol”. While these operations may be legal under Part 91, as soon as the helicopter lands at a location other than from where it departed with passengers, the flight must fall under the unscheduled Air-Taxi (or helicopter charter). Kestrel Aviation is the only helicopter charter operator in the Boston area which has a multi-aircraft, multi-pilot charter certificate.
Just as there are different levels of flight schools, there are different levels of helicopter charter companies. Some charter companies are what is called “single pilot” operators. This is a corporate structure consisting of one person, one helicopter. It is the simplest form of charter company. Once a company decides to employ multiple pilots with multiple aircraft, the structure changes dramatically. Company manuals must be developed, training manuals for all pilots and aircraft, ground and flight training for all pilots, and a corporate structure.
What we offer as a multiple pilot and multiple aircraft charter service is flexibility and reliability. Many customers ask what happens to them if they get to their destination and we are unable to pick them up when the weather becomes too troublesome to fly the helicopter. Well with Kestrel Aviation, that’s easy! We pick you up in the airplane! An all-weather aircraft with a highly trained and experienced crew will get you when the helicopter can’t. There is no other charter company in New England that offers all of the convenience of a helicopter and the reliability of an all-weather capable twin engine airplane and crew.
So, what does this mean to you, the customer?
Let’s say you want to use our Boston helicopter charter company to get to the Mt Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH. We can pick you up at your house (if the area is acceptable for the helicopter), and bring you to hotel. We will fly you through the Franconia Notch, up past Twin Mountain airport, and land right at the hotel. Now that’s arriving in style!
You stay the weekend at the hotel, and when the time comes to depart the hotel and head back to Boston, the weather is too bad for the helicopter to make it! Where the strength of Kestrel Aviation shows is the ability to pick you up in the twin engine airplane – no matter what the weather. A ride to one of the nearby airports in the Bretton Woods area (Berlin, Whitefield) and you will be on your way back to the Boston area! This is something no other charter operator in the Boston or New England area could offer in-house!
As you can see, the helicopter charter has much to offer that an airplane cannot - TRUE power line patrol and crew ferrying, air taxi all around the Boston and New York area, wildlife spotting, aerial survey, aerial search, wide area photography, and much more. Imagine the disappointment when you use a helicopter for photography and find out your helicopter pilot cannot land and let you leave the helicopter at another airport other than the one you departed from…make sure you know the company and pilot you’re flying with in the Boston area!
As a Part 135 Air Taxi company, we can depart from your lot, heliport, or almost any space and bring you where you would like to go – almost anywhere around Boston or New England!
The possibilities are endless. We can fly the bride and groom into their wedding reception, we can fly you to any heliport in New York City, bring you to/from any metropolitan airport, or accomplish any task with our helicopter and airplane combination!
North Andover Flight Academy was a busy place today – apart from the student flights and the new Assistant Chief examination, we also had a Part 135 helicopter PIC check going on in the lounge area this morning.
The Part 135 check ride is the culmination of 18 months of work with Kestrel Aviation. Kestrel Aviation (based at the Norwood Airport in Norwood, MA) will be the first airplane/helicopter charter operator in the Boston area. We have been working on this Part 135 helicopter operation which has included a GOM and Ops Spec for a multiple pilot – multiple aircraft certificate encompassing helicopters and airplanes (a Navajo and a Robinson R-44). Training manuals for both aircraft, GOM, updated Op Specs, check rides, training sessions, and a lot of effort is quickly coming to fruition for all the pilots working at Kestrel!
Helicopter charters out of Norwood Airport will begin shortly – customers will have their choice between the current Piper Navajo, and the additional Robinson R-44 helicopter for the harder to reach locations. Kestrel Aviation has been a charter operator at the Norwood Airport for over 15 years.
You will be able to reserve the helicopter out of Norwood Airport or any other airport or off-airport location within New England!
For more information contact us here at our helicopter flight school, or Kestrel Aviation.
As the operations grow at North Andover Flight Academy, so does the need for an Assistant Chief Instructor. Our Part 141 enrollment is growing and so is the need for properly trained staff and instructors. Laura has been working as a CFI at our Boston helicopter school for almost 2 years now and has grown tremendously during her tenure. Getting qualified as Assistant Chief is the latest in her achievements here at our helicopter flight school.
Assistant Chief Instructor Boston Massachusetts
Becoming Assistant Chief Instructor at a Part 141 helicopter school is no small feat. The Assistant Chief check ride with the FAA is a combination of ground and flight concentrating on the details required for Part 141 record keeping, Part 141 requirements, Part 141 operations, and the contents of our Part 141 private, instrument, commercial, and CFI syllabus used for helicopter flight training.
We would congratulate Laura with a dinner celebration, but she’s flying a night cross country with one of our commercial pilot-in-training candidates (heading for his CFI after that)! They’re heading down through the Boston Class Bravo following the helicopter routes to the south. Their destination is Plymouth Airport (KPYM), followed by some night pattern work at the Norwood Airport (KOWD).
Thanks again Laura for all of your hard work today and every day!
When it comes to making funny parodies, nobody beats The Improv Asylum! When they wanted to film Boston by air, they chose the helicopters at North Andover Flight Academy. Working with our experienced helicopter pilot, Steve Rotering, they filmed all the shots they would need for their latest hilarious release – The Oscar Winning Boston Movie.
The crew from the the Improv Asylum wanted the best possible shots of the downtown Boston area, including the Zakim Bridge, the Boston Common, and the South End. As the largest helicopter operator in the Boston area, we were able to give them exactly what they wanted!
Our route started following Route 93 South, over the Zakim Bridge, around Fenway Park, over South Boston, back over Boston Harbor, around the Boston waterfront, past Logan Airport, over the North End, Charlestown, and back up Route 93 North!
Come to our helicopter facility for Boston Helicopter Tours, Helicopter Aerial Filming and Photography, and Boston Helicopter Lessons!
Our staff of helicopter instructors, helicopter tour pilots, helicopter photography pilots, and maintenance technicians are here seven days a week.
North Andover Flight Academy recently received approval from the VA to receive financing for helicopter flight training provided to qualified armed services veterans. North Andover Flight Academy is the only complete Part 141 helicopter flight school in the Massachusetts area. We offer Private Pilot, Instrument, Commercial and CFI all as Part 141 approved courses. To learn more about Part 61 and 141 please visit our Part 141 explanation. Note: To be qualified under the State of Massachusetts and VA guidelines the school must be Part 141 approved.
As one of two helicopter flight schools in the Boston area that are Part 141 and VA approved, we are proud to offer assistance to any veteran seeking helicopter flight training using the Montgomery GI Bill. North Andover Flight Academy is the only complete Part 141 helicopter flight school in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.
Under the Montgomery Bill, qualified veterans can receive up to 60% reimbursement on their flight training (some books excluded). It is important to note that this applies to all ratings beyond the private pilot pilot helicopter certificate.
What exactly does the GI Bill cover?
It’s your responsibility to pay for your Private Pilot helicopter license. This is approximately $13-$15,ooo dollars. Our programs keep your costs low while offering the best helicopter flight training in New England. Browse our site to view our program offerings and see what we have to offer. We’ve been featured in many industry magazines and are known across the country as a leading training provider in New England.
The GI Bill will cover up to 60% of your helicopter flight training beyond the private pilot license – instrument, commercial and flight instructor ratings are included. Some books, medical examinations, and check ride fees are not covered in that 60%.
It’s important to note that you must be able to pass a 2nd class medical examination. You can wear glasses! It’s a basic medical examination that will prove that you are capable of becoming a commercial helicopter pilot – this is all about becoming a commercial helicopter pilot.
What is the timeframe of my training?
If you train full-time (approximately than 10 hours scheduled flying a week), you can plan on 8 to 12 months before you become a helicopter flight instructor. This, of course, is variable based on weather. If you plan on studying full-time, 12 t 14 months is a good goal. Part-time training will take somewhat longer.
What are my job prospects after becoming a Certified Flight Instructor?
Nobody can guarantee employment, but we are very transparent to our commercial/CFI students from the beginning. You will have preference when we are hiring over outside candidates. We train you to our high standards and that’s a major advantage. As of this writing we have 4 CFI candidates coming through our programs. They will all have jobs when their training is complete. We are the fastest growing helicopter flight school in the Northeast, and we will always have the need for internally trained flight instructors.
What is the helicopter job market beyond flight instructing?
You must “build your hours” as an instructor before moving on to a commercial job flying larger helicopters. The number of hours required varies widely, so much in fact, that it’s hard to say how many hours you will need before landing the first job after being a CFI. It depends on networking, who you know, the job market at the time, and being in the “right place at the right time”. The most conventional entry-level jobs are flying tours, powerline patrol, certain ENG work, and flying offshore in the Gulf of Mexico or other more remote areas. The career ladder again varies so widely that it’s hard to say where you will go after becoming a CFI. I’ve had friends that flew in the Gulf for years, and I’ve also heard of 1 person that didn’t last a week in the Gulf – where you go depends on so many variables, it’s difficult to give a concrete answer. If you plan on being a flight instructor for 1 to 2 years, and over 1000 hours, then you won’t be far off track.
How do I start the process of getting VA financing for my helicopter training?
The best way to start is to give us a call. You can also go to the VA website listed below or call the toll-free number.
How can I learn more about my GI Bill Benefits?
Call the Veterans Administration Toll-Free at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or, click the here to connect to the VA’s website at: http://www.gibill.va.gov.
With all the discussions lately over our helicopter FITS syllabus, we thought we should add thanks to others that are adopting the FITS/SBT principles. Dennis Pierce at Colorado Heli-Ops is training his instructors using Mike Franz as their FITS/SBT facilitator and are reporting wonderful results from their students and instructors (we also hope to have Mike up here soon!).
Mike Franz will also be presenting at the Heli-Expo CFI seminar and will be talking about North Andover Flight Academy’s Part 141 FITS commercial helicopter syllabus. In fact, he will be the first to release information on how to get the guidance needed to create your own Part 141 helicopter FITS/SBT syllabus – again at Heli-Expo 2011. For those instructors from the New England area going to Heli-Expo, catch up with Mike Franz to learn something about it. He will be more than happy to discuss what’s happening out there.
Here at NAFA we are open to training any local instructors, or instructors that are willing to travel to learn more about implementing a FITS syllabus or just adopting FITS principles to their everyday helicopter training!
Remember, FITS is much more than just “flying scenarios”, it’s about judgment, decision making skills, instructor evaluation, and getting more from your training than just flying around the pattern.
With our recent article in Vertical Magazine and the FITS presentation at the CFI Refresher course at Heli-Expo 2011, it’s sure to make some waves in the flight training world. Several schools are already looking into the teaching methodology surrounding FITS and adopting it for their own use.
But don’t take our word for it (and certainly don’t take the word of those who know nothing about it), ask the students! They will tell you exactly what FITS/SBT is all about! Several students here have already flown FITS scenarios from our syllabus. Or check out the flight instructor refresher course at Heli-Expo 2011 and talk with Mike Franz. I’m sure many pilots will be discussing it in great detail.
Isn’t is nice to know there’s a helicopter school in New England dedicated to better training and promoting a safer, more dynamic training environment?
Helicopter charter at Norwood Airport! Kestrel aviation will be opening the first helicopter charter operation at the Norwood Airport using the Robinson R44 helicopter this month. Once training is complete, we will be open for business! Check out our Boston Air Tours website, Kestrel Aviation, or Boston Helicopter Charter Information for more information. Executive helicopter transport in our Robinson R44!