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Helicopter Flight Training

KiwiAir Helicopters is pleased to offer flight instruction in the Robinson R44 Raven II. We will help you acquire your FAA Rotorcraft Helicopter license(s) by providing quality flight instruction and assisting you with your understanding of the required aeronautical knowledge.

Why learn to fly helicopters at KiwiAir?
We are not a traditional flight school. We are a Part 135 operator and our pilot(s) are also certified flight instructors who happen to enjoy teaching.

The flight industry in the US is set up so that the first job(s) that a new pilot can get is as a flight instructor. While this helps to keep the cost of learning to fly down (compared to Europe, for example), it also means that, for the most part, new students are learning to fly from instructors with only a couple hundred hours of flight time. It also means that students may be learning from instructors who do not really want to teach, or do not have a natural ability or desire to teach, but instead are providing instruction because they have to. Instructing to them is merely a means to an end ... the end being the next level of helicopter pilot jobs avaialbe to them.

At KiwiAir, we offer helicopter flight instruction not because we have to, but rather because we enjoy doing so. We feel that because of our real world flying experiences and thousands of hours of flying helicopters (rather than only hundreds), we are able to offer a more refined and higher level of flight instruction. We also have a good understanding and working knowledge of the written material, so rather than just reading or regurgitating the material, we can actually teach the material to you so that you comprehend it and can correlate your knowledge with your flying abilities. This is important for you in becoming a safe and successful pilot.

We are located in an area with diverse and challenging topography. The local climate also allows us to fly all year round. But any and every flight school seems to claim to have a great environment and weather in which to fly. So why fly here? The best advice we can give is to learn to fly in the type of environment, or close to it, in which you think you eventually want to fly. In other words, if you want to fly in the mountains, learn to fly in and around the mountains. If you want to fly over open water to oil rigs, perhaps it would serve you better to learn to fly in a similar environment. In this region, we have rugged mountains, scenic rivers, timbered wilderness, as well as prairies and rolling hills of agiriculture, all within easy reach. Personally, I love the mountains and surrounding topography/geography. If you see yourself wanting to fly in and around the mountain and backcountry, then why not learn to fly from experienced pilots of have thousands of hours in this type of environment?

KiwiAir is not a big flight school. We are not trying to recruit scores of students. We are not low time pilots on our first helicopter job trying to build hours by instructing. Instead, we are seasoned pilots who enjoy teaching, and we are looking for a few students who are serious about learning to fly helicopters. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you and helping you achieve your goal of becoming a safe and successful licensed helicopter pilot.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or to schedule an introductory flight! The introductory flight is a great way to get you on the controls and discover if you have what it takes to learn to fly a helicopter.

509.751.9000 or



Private Pilot Licence Requirements
The FAA flight minimums for a rotorcraft category and helicopter class rating private pilot license (FAR Part 61.109) are:

40 hours flight time that includes:
   20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor to include:
      3 hours cross country training in a helicopters;
      3 hours night flight training that includes:
         1 cross country flight of over 50 nautical miles total distance;
         10 takeoffs and 10 landings involving flight in a traffic pattern
             at an airport;
      3 hours of flight training in preparation for your practical test
          withn 60 days preceding test;
      10 hours of solo flight time in a helicopter consisting of:
         3 hours cross country time;
         1 cross country flight of at least 75 nautical miles total distance;
         3 takeoffs and 3 landings involving flight in a traffic pattern
             at an airport.


Suggested books for helping you obtain your Private Pilot Rotorcraft Helicopter license:

Rotorcraft Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21) $19.50
Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A) $16.97
FAR/AIM 2010 $11.95
Private Pilot Test Prep by ASA Test Prep Board $11.53
   recommend get CD-ROM and book from Sporty's Pilot Shop    ( $40.00
Private Pilot Practical Test Standard for Helicopter and Gyroplane
    (FAA-S-8081-15A) $5.95
Pilot's Operating Handbook for the Robinson R44 Raven II
    to save, get through KiwiAir rather than Robinson Helicopters $40.00

Additional supplies you will eventually need:

E6B flight planning calculator
Rotating Plotter
Aeronautical Charts – secionals for Seattle and Great Falls
Airport Facilities Directory

Flight time in Robinson R44 Raven II, with instructor,
   per hour based on Hobb's meter (flight time off the ground),
    includes fuel: $480.00/hr
Flight time in Robinson R44 Raven II, solo: $450.00/hr

Ground Instruction time per flight
1/3 hour ground instruction per flight includes pre- and post-flight
   discussions: $15.00
Ground school in preparation for written and oral portions of
   practical test: $45.00/hr

A note about required hours and pricing
The FAA required flight hours mentioned above are minumums. Based on past experiences, a more realistic expectation would be to complete your private helicopter flight training in the 50 to 60 hour range. (Less than 5% of students can complete their flight requirements in the 40-hour range.) Our philosophy is not to push you through the syllabus, but develop you into a good pilot with positive and safe aeronautical skills and thought processes. So that the flights are more productive in the air, you can expect about 20 minutes of ground school with each flight. This time is for you and the instructor to go over what the goals and expectations will be for each flight, answer any questions you may have, and then to review your flight so that you know where your strenghs are and what things you may need to concentrate on more for the next flight.

In regards to ground school to prepare you for the written test and the oral portion of your practical test, instructional hours needed will be strongly influenced by your study habits and ability to comprehend the material. All ground school is one-on-one time with your instructor. If you are a disciplined student who studies on your own and shows a good understanding of the required knowledge, you can get by on less scheduled classroom time and save some money. There are also plenty of materials available online and/or through digital media that are excellent in complementing your studies. When we feel you do need more instruction in specific areas, we can schedule the appropriate class time then. We want you to have good aeronautical knowledge and want you to pass both your written and practical tests … it is in our best interest that you do so! We will gladly provide you with as much ground instruction as you need and suggest any supplemental material we think may be helpful, and we promise to do our best to make the most of your time here with us at Kiwi Air.