Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions regarding Flight Training along with our responses:
Q. I’ve heard that learning to fly a helicopter is quite difficult, is this true?
A. Learning to fly helicopters is probably one of the harder things you will do during your life, but it is not ‘extraordinarily difficult’, and as with many things in life, it is just a matter of practice.
Q. Can anyone fly a helicopter or are some people just not adept enough to do it?
A. You don’t need to have any kind of special ability or ‘good coordination’ to fly a helicopter. With enough practice it is something that anybody can do.
Q. Am I too old to learn to fly helicopters?
A. You’re never too old to fly a helicopter. Anyone from the age of 16 upwards can learn to fly. You do need to pass a medical examination, but this is fairly straight forward and does not pose a problem to most people. If you are looking to fly as a career then you do need to be at least 18 and generally younger than 65. Older pilots are common within the industry so it’s often not too late for that career change you’ve always dreamt of.
Q. Flying helicopters for a living sounds rather like a dream, is it really a viable option as a career?
A. This one is a resounding ‘YES’, especially in the current climate. The helicopter industry has been growing steadily for the last few years and this is projected to continue for the foreseeable future. This has created more demand for pilots, but at the same time there are fewer pilots available. This means that there are more jobs to choose from with lower entry requirements and rising wages.
Q. How long does it take to get a helicopter pilots license?
A. This can vary greatly depending upon how often you can fly, how much time you can devote to studying and whether you are training part-time or full-time. As a yard stick, if you can fly 3 or 4 times per week and put in a reasonable amount of home study time then you can get a private license in about 4 months and a commercial in a total of 9 months.
Q. How expensive is it to learn to fly helicopters?
A. Flying helicopters is a lot of fun (A LOT OF FUN!), but one thing it is not, is cheap. Prices can vary from time to time (especially with current oil prices), so for our current up to date prices download our price list from the main training page, here.
Q. How do I go about financing my flight training?
A. There are various ways to finance your training. Many of these take the form of student type loans from companies such as ‘Pilot Finance’ and ‘Sallie Mae’. Normal bank loans are also an option. Loans from Sallie Mae are geared directly towards students and as such you can defer repayments until you start earning money as a working pilot.
Q. Does SRT provide any student housing in Bakersfield?
A. We do not have any dedicated student housing of our own, but there are studio apartments not far from the airport that normally have vacancies and are available to rent on a month by month basis. These cost around $500 per month. We will always provide assistance with getting you settled and you will find that SRT always goes that ‘one step further’ in making you feel at home.
Q. Can SRT provide training to overseas students via the M1 visa program?
A. SRT is approved to grant M visas to international students, thus allowing you to train with us whatever your nationality. For more information see the 'International Students' section under the 'Flight Training' menu.
Q. What facilities does SRT provide?
A. We have a good range of facilities. All our aircraft are stored in a hangar every night. This also allows students to pre-flight inside away from the elements. We have a classroom with a full A/V setup and Internet access. There are brief/debrief areas and a flight planning area. There is a test preparation computer that allows students to take simulated FAA exams, and our offices are located within one of the main FBO’s at Meadows Field airport where comfortable surroundings and refreshment are available.
Q. Do your courses start at set dates or can I start training at any time?
A. We do run a ground school which covers all of the knowledge requirements for the private and commercial checkrides. This runs twice a year and lasts for a semester (start times are around January and July). This ground school is not a requirement and so training can be started at any time to suit you.
Q. Does SRT provide a job placement program for students?
A. We do not provide a job placement program as such (and please be a little wary of any school that guarantees you a job), but we will always assist in finding you a position. SRT’s owner is very prominent and respected within the helicopter industry (amongst other things he is on the training committee of HAI) and so is an excellent contact to know of jobs within the helicopter market. Training at SRT gives you an excellent basis for a flying career.
Q. What makes SRT better than any other flight school?
A. SRT prides itself on the quality of its flight instruction and hence the pilots we train. We only employ the best pilots with the broadest range of flight experience. The training will give you a much better real world experience than many other flight schools. A graduate of SRT will be an excellent well rounded pilot. We also have an ideal location. Meadows Field airport is controlled with approach and departure control, so students get to practice all radio communication skills yet it is not too busy so as to be overwhelming for a new student. We have excellent quiet practice areas within 5 minutes flight and mountain flying at 7000 feet within a 10 minute flight. We also often fly down in to the LA basin to give students experience of congested airspace.