I have always had a passion for aviation, and when everything started to come together for me and it was time to choose a school, I did my research and spoke to many people and operators in my area to get their thoughts. Despite there being schools that were located closer to home, the people in the industry that I spoke with all spoke highly of Jim Hofland and his team at Rotorworks. From the moment I walked in the door of the school, I felt welcome and part of the team. I had preconceived notions of spending weeks in the books preparing for my first flight, but I soon came to realize that Rotorworks doesn't’t so much run a flight school, but what I can only describe as a helicopter immersion program. Within a few days I was in the full swing of ground school, had my first flight under my belt and was learning the procedures and intricacies of fueling, ground handling, radio operations and any number of operational jobs.
Learning to become a Commercial Helicopter pilot is by no means an easy task. There are countless hours of study and practice involved, but the team at Rotorworks works just as hard as every student, always available, even after hours to answer questions, and they have a unique teaching style of individually tailoring information to make it relatable. Having the chance to fly with Jim, Ryan and Sean allowed me to experience different personalities in the cockpit and each offered their unique perspectives through their vast experience in the industry. They continue to challenge the student pilot daily, through a progressive learning system building on theory and skills.
The networking opportunities available to a Rotorworks student are perhaps the most valuable asset one can receive. With their deep ties to the industry, I was exposed to chief pilots, pilots and base managers operating from Whitecourt, built lasting relationships with AME’s and maintenance professionals, and received exposure to companies hiring pilots. It was through Jim’s efforts that I, in fact, was employed with a company when I was only 50% complete in my training. I went to work, and trained on my days off to complete my program, and Jim and staff were very accommodating, often working weekends to see me through with the highest standard.
I completed my training in February of 2018, and although I have only logged 100 hours of flight time, with the training I received, and the continued support of Rotorworks, I feel confident I can succeed and thrive in the operational environment. I would like to personally thank Jim, Ryan and Sean for their contribution to my success story.