My Flight Training in Florida.
By Rotorway Owner Martin Bunn.
In 1999 I took delivery of my Rotorway Exec 90 and building began. Many hours were spent in my garage and my helicopter began to take shape and as the build was progressing it was time to think about learning to fly, I had a trial lesson a few years earlier at fenland but the school had closed so my search began. I was quite fortunate with work as I could get long periods off. And after extensive research Helicopter Adventures (HAI) in Florida USA was chosen.
The reasons for this were at that time they had nearly 20 Schweizer 300 cb helicopters so aircraft availability would not be a problem and the weather should be better than the UK and this will allow maximum flight time each day, and at $165 an hour it was a lot cheaper. Helicopter adventures offer FAA and JAA training from private through to commercial Licences. So in January 2001 I started my training for the JAA Licence.
The flight school was very busy but very well organised as they helped with everything from documentation to accommodation. The weather was great and there was no problem with aircraft availability, instruction was superb and after 16hrs of instruction I few my 1st solo circuit .I gained my PPLH after 55hrs and had a great time, the instructors were very friendly and more than helpful, the only thing about learning in the US is the radio procedure as air space was less controlled and after a couple of calls and you were clear of the air field that was it until your return and I soon found out when back in the UK flying through controlled air space can be quite intensive and as a new pilot with white knuckles from gripping the controls so tight and your work load is high but as your experience grows and you become more relaxed you can devote a bit more brain capacity to your radio.9 months later I did the 5hr type rating on the Rotorway with instructor and test pilot Iain King, I did this in one day and found it very tiring but with excellent instruction by Iain I passed my flight check and a month later I picked up my Rotorway from Southern Helicopters.
My next challenge is to gain my commercial helicopter licence and instructor rating, the Rotorway is a great helicopter that is very economical to run and I have used it for my hour building. I work as a paramedic on the Air Ambulance and have found this a great way of learning by watching the pilots and asking lots of questions and they are only too happy to answer and advise me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank David and Jonathan Bull for all their help and support they gave to me during the build.