How Do I Get Started?

A word from our Managing Member

Thank you for visiting our website. We hope you find the answers to all your questions but don’t hesitate to call to speak to me (or another member of our team). When speaking with potential student pilots over the phone, I am very often asked, “How do I get started? Where should I begin?” I recommend that interested students come in to meet us, see the aircraft, the hangar and ask questions. Flight training of any amount is a substantial investment and it is advisable you visit multiple schools of interest. Take introductory rides with each school so that you can make sure you like the aircraft, and the person you will be sitting next to for many hours while training for your ratings. When you visit each school, bring questions – lots of questions! This is the best way to alleviate any surprises later on in your flight training.

Once you have determined which flight school is the best fit for you (and we hope that you find a home here at Due North Aviation), your next steps are to buy the books, and obtain a medical. We have all the books you will need available for sale in our classroom and our instructors will help direct you to an Aviation Medical Examiner who will administer the necessary exam. We advise students who are interested in earning more than just a private pilot rating to obtain a first or second class medical (as opposed to the third class medical required for a private pilot license). This is because the advanced ratings require a minimum of a second-class rating and therefore as long as your medical conditions (or the FAA regulations) do not change, you will have your required medical for the future requirements as well.

Once you have these items, it’s full steam ahead. You and your instructor together will determine a training plan that works best for your schedule, goals and financial situation.

Additionally, when speaking with individuals who are curious about starting training for a helicopter career, I cannot stress enough the importance of researching the career prospects in the industry beforehand. Typically, the first job is the hardest to acquire and is very frequently a position as a Certified Flight Instructor. The commercial helicopter industry is so varied that a commercial pilot could find a position in tourism, utility patrol (pipeline/powerline patrol), offshore drilling, corporate and civilian charters, EMS flying, electronic news gathering, tree sawing, police enforcement, aerial survey, search and rescue, photography, agricultural, and so much more. The list of possibilities goes on and on. But it is in your best interest to validate that there are flight careers you are interested in as well as educate yourself on the required amount of flight hours needed to achieve that “dream job.”

A word of caution to anyone comparing flight schools: One advertising tactic to watch out for are flight schools that promise or guarantee a job after graduation. Ask questions and read the fine print. Many students have signed up for professional pilot courses with the promise of a flight instructor job at the end only to find out that the other five to ten students in the course were also were promised the same thing. The “job” might only give each instructor a few hours a month. We do hire graduates of our program, but it is on a case-by-case basis. We have your best interest in mind, but there are so many variables that it would be unfair to promise something that can be misleading.

The bottom line is that here at Due North Aviation, we are a family of professionals who share a passion for helicopter flight. Due to the small size of our training school, our students feel valued right from the very beginning. You’re not just a number – you’ll become part of our family too!

Again, thank you for visiting us here on the web but we’d love to show you around our operation in person. Call today and schedule a time to visit the Due North Aviation family. We’re certain it will be worth your time!


Nathan Kayes