Monday, July 14, 2008

Flight school orientation

I found a cafe with an Internet connection, so that will do for now.

Today I checked in with Mauna Loa Helicopter School, and I'm stoked. The instructors were very friendly; several of them introduced themselves spontaneously to me.

The school itself is just a trailer (like at a construction site) next to Kona International Airport, with a cluster of helicopters on the hardtop. That's fine with me. It helps explain why helicopter time here is cheaper than the school in San Diego, which boasts a large modern hangar and plush classrooms with fancy multimedia equipment. Somebody has to pay for that stuff.

Today's agenda involved about two hours of orientation and paperwork.

I begin training on Wednesday with my assigned instructor, Lee. He holds the school record for fastest instruction, having graduated a private license student in three weeks and a commercial license student in four. I'm lucky to get him.

The plan is to hit two hours of "ground school" plus two hours of flight time each day, five days a week. We'll try that and see how it goes. They seem very flexible. Hawaii in general seems very flexible.

It turns out two of the three books I've been reading are standard texts for this school. That doesn't surprise me, but it's good news. One of the instructors, Jesse, confirmed for me that people often fall behind in the ground school (because it's not as fun), and end up requiring extra flight time to learn that information in the air. So my studying should help keep costs down.

Here's a picture from my outdoor (but covered) kitchen taken a few seconds ago as I write here while it pours rain (click to zoom). Yes, it feels like I live in Jurassic Park. I think I may enjoy the daily contrast between jungle living and modern flying machines.

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