in the mean time, I am ( unfortunately ) back in cold wet Germany, back in reality. But hopefully the impressions of my great pilot-vacation will last for a while.....
For you and your prospective students, I would like to describe my experience as follows:
First of all - I never, regretted my decision to give my complete training into your hands. I will spread the word, like it or not !
The reasons I am so happy:
- my dream came true, I accomplished both Airplane and Helicopter Private Pilot Licence, including the written tests, oral exams and practical tests in only 12 days ( it sounds impossible and I am not shure if it is allowed to advertise that ). I feel very safe as a helicopter pilot.
Comment from Ralf, Chief Instructor: This is very unusual indeed and we need to put that into context. Hartmut already was an Airplane Pilot in Germany for 15 years. We provided him with all the books and he arrived very well prepared, ready for the written and oral test. Those 12 days where entirely spent on helicopter flight training, and only 3 hours of airplane time to prepare for the maneuvers required in the US. But still, a great performance from an outstanding student.
- I had nothing to plan, only to show up for the flights ( only the flying itself had to be done by me :) )
- the schedule was well focused on my goal ( to complete the checkrides in my vacation ) and was always properly adjusted as needed ( e.g. due to weather )
- all aircraft, both airplanes and helicopters, where properly reserved and available, including backup
- you and your colleagues prepared me spot-on for the oral and practical tests
- for each phase of my training, I had the best available instructors ( Greg for the pre-checkride airplane, Patrick for autorotations, Yoyo for the solo-check. Each of them was specialized in his field, I learned a lot from all those different instructors )
- even the appointments for my written test, FSDO and medical examiner was taken care about by you, including addresses, phone numbers and printed driving directions.
- very helpful also was the fact, that all those places are within a 5 min drive of your "Base Camp".
- the daily workload ( ground school, flight training and other appointments ) was scheduled in a way, that it was not only very well accomplishable ( not like at a "real" job ), but it kept things interesting. Sometimes, we even had time for lunch :)
- Both locations Van Nuys and Camarillo are very practical. The weather of course is just great ( especially in November ), just as the scenic view of the landscape and downtown L.A. My initial concerns about heavy traffic and problems with radio communication just disappeared after a few days ( why else would I have come back solo in a helicopter to Van Nuys for a coffee, see the picture ! )
- Our dual cross country flights where not only very instructional, but a real scenic highlight. I will never forget the night flight to Mojave, with all those abandoned airliners in the moonlight. Or the helicopter flight around downtown, doused in all those neon lights, when we met the sheriff in his helicopter in the air !
- More bang for the buck: Airplanes at EUR 80 per hour where darn cheap, and the R22 with EUR 180 also, especially if you put the current dollar value into account. The EUR 45 per hour for flight instruction was also well worth the money. And about your fixed price service fee, I can surely not complain, since I have seen with my own eyes, how much time and effort you have spent on me. I don't even want to know, how much time, hassle and costs of travel I have saved, because of your professional and unresting commitment. ( Would you had more hardship cases like me, you would have to raise your prices:- )
- Also the briefing before I came to the US was very helpful ( Selection of flights and hotels, TSA and Visa applications , JAR Validation )
- Your good connections to Examiners, authorities and schools were truly important.
But most of all: I had a blast those 2 weeks. Thank you very very much again, and would love to take on another challenge together with you, once I have saved some money for it.