Chris Andrade recently completed his instrument instructor check ride. Chris has been working hard with us over the last few years in his quest to become a professional helicopter pilot. This is his fifth and final checkride so now he can breathe! He has spent the last few months diving back into instrument flying and teaching his instructor everything there is to know about VOR’s, NDB’s and the GPS. After a few more SFAR sign offs he will be on to the fun part, teaching others how to fly. Congratulations Chris from all of us at NAFA.
Jake started flying with North Andover Flight Academy back in October of 2011. He could only fly every other week but he was a natural right from the start. Video games are good for something after all.
Jake had to take a break from training for a while but when he came back it was as if he never stopped flying at all. Our first flight back we did an off airport landing at his house in Plaistow. Friends and family were over and everyone was excited to see the helicopter in the yard.
A couple months later and after his flight instructor hounded him to get his medical, study and take a few tests, he was ready. Seventeen year olds do not like to be told what to do especially when it requires them to open a book! After a check out with one of the other instructors it was time for him to solo the following week. Jake was excited to solo and wanted to have everyone there he has ever met. I explained that he would be a little nervous and it would be better that his mom and dad only be there with a few close friends.
The poor kid had to wait almost a month for good weather. In perfect fashion, Jake soloed like a champ. He was having so much fun he lost count. “Ask Him”
This is Jakes idea of a small group of friends.
Jake is the youngest student that has soloed a helicopter at North Andover Flight Academy. Way to go buddy!!
Congratulations to Joe Migliore on his hard earned first solo. Joe, a former Huey crew chief, has returned to helicopters but is now at the controls. Just days after his retirement the weather was perfect for solo. After a few laps around the pattern with his instructor, Joe returned to the ramp where his instructor exited and off he went.
Nice job Joe. We all appreciate your enthusiasm and hard work. Now it’s on to more solo and cross country flying. Congratulations from all of us here at NAFA!
That’s right, ANOTHER student flies solo out of the nations best kept secret for helicopter training, Marlboro Airport! Congratulations Ralph LaVoie on your initial solo. Not only did he make it back safely after flying in the pattern for about 20 minutes by himself, he made it look easy! East coast helicopter flying at its best! He and his CFI Steven Reel polished up on the maneuvers during his time off from work and before you knew it, Ralph had the controls all to himself with no one by his side. Ralph is scheduled to take the FAA written exam next week and his Private pilot checkride will be soon to follow. In the mean time, if you want to watch a solid, student pilot fly, make your way down to the friendly little field in Central Mass and watch him go! Ralph manages a commercial real estate company in New England, however is looking for a career change into aviation and is well on his way! Nice work Mr. LaVoie!
(The official North Andover Flight Academy “job-well-done handshake” – Ralph left, Steven right)
Chris Andrade, former archaeologist, has now become NAFA’s 5th Helicopter Certified Flight Instructor to earn his license through our training program. Chris is a Massachusetts native, grew up on Cape Cod, graduate of UMASS Amherst, current resident of West Newbury and is familiar with most of New England. Chris is now focusing his attention towards his CFII rating. He has flown with multiple flight instructors throughout his training and is now able to pass that valuable knowledge and experience on to future helicopter pilots.
During his preparation, Chris was here every day, and even when he didn’t have anything scheduled, there were always flight instructors and fellow students ready to help him hone his skills. He practiced again and again, and by the time his checkride rolled around he was teaching like a pro. Our top priority here at NAFA is making your big day as smooth and easy as possible, and by the time we send you off for your test you will be prepared and confident. Feel free to stop in and ask Chris personally about his path to success; with less than 170 hrs in the Robinson R-22, he is proud to share his story with others, and so are we!
Jeff came to us in January bound and determined to become a professional helicopter pilot. He was working as an engineer at the time, and his plan was to continue to work while flying in the mornings or when he could take time off. But after a few weeks of doubling up, he decided it was just too painful to transition from the helicopter into a cubicle every day, and he left his job to train with us full time. He threw all his energy into studying and training, and his hard work paid off. He was in here every day, studying when the weather was bad, and when the skies were clear he was flying – sometimes twice a day.
The weather was beautiful, with winds light enough that we could depart in multiple directions. We each chose a heading and set off, R22s to the north, south, east, and west, and the R44 out to Boston and a tour around the seacoast.
All of the flight instructors crammed just as much learning as we could into each half-hour flight, showing our students power requirements and aerodynamic effects in low hovers, high hovers, autorotations and everything in between. But the biggest excitement, as always, was when the students got to take the controls and fly for themselves.
It was a fantastic day for all of us. It was great to see the smiles on the faces of our guests (some of whom were here to visit on GE’s last flight day with us), and it was great to see everyone here working hard and doing such a great job, from our awesome ground crew (Alex, Jeff, and John), to Steven getting everyone ’schooled’ on the ground, and of course Anthony, Mike, Chris, Matt, and Laura in the helicopters. Events like this really help define us as a team and make me, for one, proud to be part of such a professional and positive group. Thanks GE for coming out to see us (stop by any time!) and thanks to all the guys here for your hard work and great attitudes!
Jeff Kimball came to us for his first discovery flight back in December of 2011. After one flight Jeff was hooked on helicopters and is aspiring to become a Certified Flight Instructor in the near future. Every Sunday, wind, rain, or snow Jeff makes the trek from his home in Keene, New Hampshire, a two and a half hour drive to North Andover Flight Academy. After a lot of hard work, dedication and putting up with his flight instructor squawking in his ear, Jeff went for his first solo flight on April 1 2011.
That Sunday was a really calm and mild day – a perfect day for your first solo. Jeff and his flight instructor, Mike, hit the books at 9 am to review his pre-solo and SFAR 73 test. After the review and a few laughs, endorsements taken care of and preflight finished the only thing left was to go flying.
The two of them went up to warm up with a few normal approaches and autos, and decided the spring weather was cooperating. Not surprisingly, a lot of other local pilots were enjoying the weather too, and Lawrence airport was hopping as everyone came out to take advantage of the beautiful spring day. It was busy at the airport and Mike asked Jeff if he wanted to wait for the airport to calm down. “Nope, let’s get this over with,” was his response.
Jeff handled his first solo like a champ, on a really busy day and ended it with a perfect set down and a smile from ear to ear. Well done! Now it’s time to work on some cross country flights and in a short time Jeff will have his pilot’s license.
Here at North Andover Flight Academy we will give you the training you need to handle your solo with confidence and pass your checkride like a pro. We have locations at both towered and non-towered airports, and in your training you will fly everywhere from the mountains of New Hampshire to the city of Boston. But the biggest thrill will probably be those first few laps around the pattern when you are alone and in command of the helicopter. Well done Jeff, you have more fun and accomplishments to come!
Time for an update and some overdue kudos to students who are making great accomplishments in their helicopter training.
Ali came to us from Turkey last fall to get his Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) helicopter rating. After flying for years with the Turkish military he had the hours he needed, and was looking to get the FAA rating to help him get a job flying helicopters overseas. He came ready to work, having already passed his ATP written. It wasn’t quite as simple as we expected, what with the new aircraft, the new airspace, and a new language, but he finished up in just over 10 hours and walked out the door ready to work! All of us here were impressed with his drive and hard work, and wish him the best in his new adventures.
We’ve had a couple of new solos too. Mike Williams is a graduate of our previous ground school, and has been coming in on the weekends to fly when his busy work schedule permits. He’s out of town a lot, but he’s a natural with controlling the helicopter and gets right back in the swing of things when he does stop by to fly. On a clear day last winter he came in and flew a few trips around the pattern with his instructor Chris, who then stepped out of the helicopter and after a few last minute words of encouragement sent Mike off on his own. Mike did a great job and had a fantastic time.
And Ed Bond, a fixed wing pilot who flies up from Beverly for his training had his first helicopter solo just this last week. After a few minutes warming up in the air with his instructor, Ed did a picture perfect pickup from the ramp and off he went. After a good time playing around in the pattern he was back, all smiles. Even though he had already had a ‘first solo’ in an airplane, this one was just as exciting. “They’re all firsts” he said, and it was good to see he was just as thrilled with his second ‘first solo.’
We are proud of all of our students, from students who are just learning to hover, to those honing their advanced skills for that next move in their helicopter careers. We believe every lesson should be both productive and fun, and our smiles are as big as our students’ when they meet their goals. Whether you’re already a helicopter pilot, a curious fixed wing pilot, or starting from scratch, we are your best choice for that next step in your helicopter flight training.
Congratulations to our newest Private Pilot, McLovin! (Michael du Breuil). With hard work and his commitment to flight training, Mike has proven that the FAA 40 hr minimum is still an attainable goal! Mike studied hard throughout our Helicopter Private Pilot ground course which runs 12 weeks, flew through his solo requirements, and shortly after, greeted his examiner with full confidence as he became a licensed pilot! His training was based at our Marlboro (9b1) location, with training flights conducted at nearby airports such as Minute Man, Hanscom (Bedford), Worcester Regional, Mansfield, Norwood, Lawrence, Fitchburg, and Plymouth. Michael even had time to get some extra Class Bravo training/experience as he navigated around the Boston skycrapers, Fenway Park, and the Charles River! McLovin is now preparing for Part 141 instrument training beginning early in 2012. Chicka Chicka YEAH!!!!!
At North Andover Flight Academy, we have the facilities and instructors to get your rating done for you as efficiently as possible. Show up ready to work and we will get you flying! Our next ground school starts at our North Andover location on January 21st – you are welcome to come and check it out, whether you’re an old student returning for a refresher or someone who’s just interested in helicopters and curious about training. Come and see what makes North Andover Flight Academy Boston and New England’s top choice for helicopter flight training!