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Below are a list of frequently asked questions. If your question isn't answered here, please feel free to contact us.
With over 20 years in the helicopter flight training industry, Quantum simply knows how to train career pilots. Our driving focus at Quantum is producing well educated, professional, employable pilots. Not only will you gain all of the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain a pilot position, but you will also learn to think like a pilot, making yourself highly desirable to future employers. Quantum has an established history of being able to place nearly all of our qualified graduates.
We are fortunate to maintain a core of experienced management and pilots which is rare in this industry. That experience allows us to guide our students toward maximum employability. Instead of focusing on the marketing strategies that have come and gone over the years (turbine transitions, "high altitude training", simulators, etc.), Quantum remains steadfastly committed to promoting the fundamentals of developing professional and employable pilots.
Finally, Quantum attempts to help students manage the high cost of flight training by always keeping the students best interest in mind. Not only does Quantum maintain highly competitive hourly rates with no hidden costs, but we also encourage students to select the aircraft or training program that is going to maximize education while minimizing waste. Although we do offer the incidentals such as turbine and R44 transitions, mountain training, Class Bravo flying, etc, in most cases, you will find it to be more economical without diminishing the quality of your education, to stick with the basics.
VETERANS USING GI BILL® BENEFITS: We are proud to offer over 260 hours of actual flight time in the Veterans Program, significantly more than most other VA approved programs.
To be eligible for a pilot certificate, you must be able to read, write, speak and understand the English language. To be eligible for a Student Pilot Certificate, which allows you to solo, you must be at least 16. To be eligible for a Private Pilot Certificate, you must be at least 17. To be eligible for a Commercial Pilot Certificate, which allows you to be paid for flying, you must be at least 18. You must also be at least 18 to become a Certified Flight Instructor, or CFI. You must be at least 23 to be eligible for an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.
You must also hold a Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate, which can be issued by any number of certified Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs). You can find a local AME by visiting www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/. The AME will administer a short examination to assess your vision, hearing and general health, which usually costs around $80. If you intend to fly commercially, you should secure at least a Second-Class Medical Certificate. If you only seek a Private Pilot Certificate, a Third-Class Medical Certificate is adequate.
Most people don’t have a problem passing their medical examinations. However, you should obtain a medical certificate before or as soon as possible after commencing your training, to be sure that you are indeed eligible for the rating you seek. For more information on medical qualifications, see www.faa.gov/pilots/medical/.
Not at all. Helicopters and airplanes fly using different principles and controls. Although the general aviation knowledge you acquire while flying airplanes may prove useful in your helicopter training, some fixed-wing habits actually make learning to fly helicopters more difficult.
We use Robinson helicopters because they’re fast, cost-effective and extremely reliable — traits that have made Robinsons the most popular training helicopters in the world. Most professional pilots start their careers as flight instructors. By training in Robinson helicopters, our graduates are attractive to the largest number of potential employers. Because of their versatility and low operating costs, Robinsons are an extremely popular choice with private owners, too. Learn more about these outstanding helicopters at www.robinsonheli.com.
Because we are strongly loyal to our students, and want to help them get their start in the aviation industry, we encourage them to conduct as much of their training as possible in the R22. A simple search of flight schools will show that the vast majority of flight training today occurs in the R22. Therefore, for maximum employability upon graduation, students should focus their training on becoming the very best R22 pilot they can be. Although flying other types of helicopters is a lot of fun and we do offer it, it will not help most students get that first job.
Pilot schools can operate under two parts of the Federal Aviation Regulations: Part 141 and Part 61. Part 141 schools have more rigorous requirements for certification, staffing and federal oversight.
Is one type of school better than the other? Not necessarily. Part 141 is a guarantee that a school meets high government standards, but students may still receive excellent instruction under Part 61 programs. Generally speaking, employers are interested in the overall reputation of the school where you did your training, and not strictly its Part 141 or Part 61 status.
All of Quantum’s training programs have met the comprehensive certification requirements of Part 141. However, we also conduct Part 61 training when doing so would prove more cost-effective for our students — as when a Part 61 program has lower hour requirements than the equivalent 141 program. We strive to offer the highest standards of training at the best possible value.
Yes, Quantum trains for all ratings from Private to Airline Transport Pilot, including Instrument and Instrument Instructor ratings.
If you intend to fly professionally, we strongly recommend an Instrument rating. Until recently, helicopter Instrument ratings were the exception, not the rule. However, an increasing number of employers (and their insurance companies) now require that their pilots be Instrument-rated. We’re seeing a number of very experienced pilots returning to Quantum for their Instrument training.
Quantum is relatively unique in being able to offer Instrument training in your choice of the R22 or the R44. R22 Instrument trainers are no longer in current production. Quantum maintains three R22 instrument trainers in like-new condition, allowing us to offer a low-cost alternative to Instrument training in the R44. However, you may choose to do your Instrument training in the R44 if you prefer.
Quantum does not train using simulators. The flight time you acquire at Quantum will be real-world experience that will count toward the rating you’re pursuing, as well as your eventual career goals.
Our ground school is conducted one-on-one between the student and his or her instructor. Our students are able to learn at their own pace and enjoy their instructors’ undivided attention. Like our flight training, our ground training is scheduled entirely at the student’s convenience.
As often as you’d like, and at your convenience. During your training, we recommend that you fly at least three times per week, though again, this is up to you.
Because our students set their own schedules and train at their own paces, it’s hard to generalize. However, if you plan on training full-time, you can expect to spend four hours a day in formal training.
Our training day is divided into two-hour blocks that begin at 7 a.m. Scheduling is done at your convenience. On a typical day, you will have a flight during one of these blocks. Once you’ve learned how to preflight your aircraft, you’ll spend the first part of this block on your own, conducting a preflight inspection and obtaining fuel. (You will not be charged for this time.) Then, you’ll spend one to one-and-a-half hours in the air, plus some time afterward discussing the flight with your instructor.
You will have one instructor for both flight and ground training. Ground instruction is also conducted in two-hour blocks, and is a full two hours of classroom instruction. You will be expected to spend substantial time outside of this studying on your own, which you can choose to do at the school or at home. Depending on your stage of training, you might also need to spend an hour or two on a computer (yours or ours), planning a cross-country flight or preparing for an FAA written exam.
We do. Please see our college degrees page for more information. Note, however, that a college degree is not necessary for success as a commercial helicopter pilot. Graduates of our Professional Pilot Instrument Program are fully qualified for employment in the helicopter industry.
Our maintenance is outstanding. Our Director of Maintenance, Paul Mansfield, has been building and maintaining Robinson helicopters since 1986. He and the rest of our full-time maintenance staff maintain our fleet to the absolute highest standards. Moreover, we conduct most of our maintenance after hours, allowing us to maximize the availability of our helicopters for training. Read more on our maintenance services page.
Yes. Our students have the advantage of being able to take their FAA practical exams in familiar airspace, without incurring any travel expenses.
Yes, and most of our Professional Pilot Instrument students do finance their training. See our financial aid page for more information, or contact us to discuss your options. Learn more on our finanical aid page.
That depends on how often you’re able to train. Our students are allowed 16 months to complete the Professional Pilot Instrument Program. However, most of our full-time students complete the course in around nine months.
Helicopters are substantially more complex than airplanes and require specialized maintenance. They are inherently more expensive to acquire, maintain and insure. Robinson helicopters are the most cost-effective helicopters available for training.
No, our quoted prices are complete. However, you may expect to incur incidental costs associated with your training, which are estimated in Addendum A of our course listings, or on our tuition and other expenses page.
Students who eventually intend to seek employment as flight instructors should note that most schools, including Quantum, require that their instructors attend the Robinson Helicopter Factory Safety Course. Conducted at the Robinson Factory in Torrance, California, the three-and-a-half-day course costs $350 (for R22 instruction) or $450 (for R44 instruction). This is an excellent course for any pilot of Robinson helicopters. See www.robinsonheli.com/training.htm for more information.
No, we do not. Please see our page on enrollment info for more information. Training at Quantum is pay-as-you-go. We do NOT require our students to maintain large positive balances on their accounts and we do NOT ask them to sign contracts. There is NO penalty for withdrawing from training. ALL account balances are refundable with 48 hours notice.
Nothing is free. Because so much affordable housing is available in the vicinity of our Chandler location, we do not provide our students with housing (although we are happy to help them locate housing: see our page on housing assistance). The savings help us keep our rates down and allow us to pay our instructors an above-average salary. Since most of our Flight Instructor graduates accept positions with us, they benefit in the long run. For more help, check out our housing assistance page.
Yes we do. Our location is very close to mountain ranges with elevations ranging from 4,500 feet to 7,500 feet. We offer advanced training at altitude upon request. In addition, we offer mountain training as an integral part of our commercial-level training, at no additional charge.
For basic training, however, we feel strongly that the safety margin afforded by lower altitudes far outweighs any benefits of high-altitude training. When you’re learning how to fly, you’ll have better aircraft performance and more room for error at Chandler’s elevation of 1,243 feet than you would at higher elevations.
Keep in mind that the increased performance experienced when flying an R44 or turbine aircraft negates the "high altitude" effect promoted by some training facilities!
Now is an excellent time to become a helicopter pilot. Demand for pilots continues to increase, even as more and more Vietnam-era pilots retire. Neither is this group being replaced by younger military pilots. Since 1995, the number of active civilian helicopter pilots (Commercial and ATP) has actually declined. Our Professional Pilot graduates have been in high demand in the job market.
We’re loyal to our graduates, and, because of our high volume of training, we’re able to hire almost all of our Certified Flight Instructor graduates as full-time instructors. Most new pilots begin their careers as CFIs and instruct until they have 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command, or PIC, time (the minimum for most entry-level turbine helicopter jobs). An instructor at Quantum will log this time in about one year. When our instructors are ready to move on, we’re happy to help them advance their careers. Our employees have been in high demand throughout the industry. Read more on our job placement page.
According to the FAA, in 2004, there were 27,135 active helicopter pilots. That includes 5,912 private pilots; 18,062 commercial pilots; 3,161 airline transport pilots; and one recreational pilot.
The FAA no longer tracks rotorcraft pilots by gender. Whirly-Girls, an international organization of female helicopter pilots, had 1,374 registered members as of 2006 (see www.whirlygirls.org). Whatever the number, there could always be more, and Quantum actively encourages women with an interest in helicopters to pursue pilot training.
The best way to get started is to contact us to discuss the training options that are right for you. You may wish to tour our facilities or schedule an introductory flight to learn more about our training. Eventually you will need to complete an enrollment application and return it to us with a deposit. Then arrive on your scheduled start date, and take it from there.