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Frequently Asked Questions
Important: Always consult your Chief Pilot before changing flight practices.
Not all schools are equal, and your choice is likely to impact on your chances of securing a job in future. But sadly, there isn't an easy way to establish this.
There are, however, things worth checking...
Safety (for you, your loved ones, and passengers)
This is proven to be more effective in reducing future errors than task-based training. Ask your flight school candidates how they run their training - are you just going to learn specific manoeuvres in logical sequence, or are they going to give you scenarios that involve manoeuvres in a more dynamic way?
Briefing and Debriefing
You'd be surprised how many schools skim over this crucial part of training. You should typically expect a 30-minute briefing and debriefing as part of each lesson. This is to ensure that you understand the theory behind what you're about to do, and to get feedback on your practical skills in an environment where you can properly listen (as opposed to while you're focused on flying the aircraft). Of course, schools don't typically charge for the time they spend with students on the ground, which might explain why this is often something only lightly touched upon.If you don't understand the technical & environmental dynamics behind the manoeuvres, you'll be stuck when something goes wrong and that single process fails. Don't skimp on your future safety! There's a reason that "skill-based errors" have been the leading cause of incidents and accidents for the past decade.
The more realistic the training, the better. But of course, the inherent risk requires highly experienced instructors, and given instruction is a way for low-time pilots to build hours, many schools unsurprisingly manage the risk of their inexperienced instructors by limiting training to power-recovered emergencies.
This means that you don't get to practically learn how to manage the helicopter in its critical last few seconds of emergencies - believe me, it isn't as straight-forward as instructors who don't teach it will try and have you believe. If your school doesn't offer this, I highly recommend getting advanced training soon after your licence, to ensure you know the subtle but critical differences that could save your life and/or the helicopter.
Future employment potential
Contact prospective future employers to ask which schools they tend to hire from and/or how likely they are to hire past students of your shortlisted school(s)
Becoming a charter pilot is the most typical way of building the hours required for more technical pilot work. If you're planning to do this, ask your flight school candidate(s) what your chances are of employment with them on completion of CPL(H) training.
Getting your first gig fresh out of flight school is notoriously challenging - make sure you set realistic expectations and research ahead of time, to give yourself the best possible chance. And keep that flight logbook tidy - a half effort reflects an attitude that employers aren't after.
Jetpack Flight Distance
The plan is to fly from Perth to Sydney, which is around 3,400 kilometres. I am also assessing Cape York to Melbourne, which is a few hundred kilometers more.
Jetpack Flight Speed
I will average around 30 knots (~55 km/h), which means a faster cruise to compensate for the slower moments in take-off and landing.
Jetpack Flight Height
While the aircraft is technically capable of operating up to an altitude of 14,000 ft, I will typically be flying below 100 ft (often on the lower side) in order to maximises both safety and flight endurance. Ideally, I would use all the energy for forward not vertical flight, to make sure I get across as efficiently as possible.
It's quite possible.
Send me your thoughts & questions!
Keen to know more about my helicopter & jetpack pilot adventures, the aircraft, or what it took to transform my career into this crazy adventure? I'm happy to share my learnings, and to hear of yours too. So don't be shy - drop me a line!