International Students

Shiftace

Beating up the pattern in a Piper.
Hello folks:

This is a great forum! Been very helpful. I am a software engineer currently residing and working in MIchigan. I am thinking about career change and flying helicopters. I am originally from India and plan to go back once I finish the course. I think the Indian government needs to see 150 hours for a Commercial license I.

I was wondering if there are any schools that admit international students in the US for training chopper pilots? Also what is the approximate cost for 150 hrs of training!?

Cheers
Sunny
 

spilot

Well-Known Member
Hello folks:

This is a great forum! Been very helpful. I am a software engineer currently residing and working in MIchigan. I am thinking about career change and flying helicopters. I am originally from India and plan to go back once I finish the course. I think the Indian government needs to see 150 hours for a Commercial license I.

I was wondering if there are any schools that admit international students in the US for training chopper pilots? Also what is the approximate cost for 150 hrs of training!?

Cheers
Sunny
Hi,

If you're not a permanent resident or Citizen of the US, you will need a student visa sponsored by the flight school, either by going back to India and re-applying through the embassy there, or by transferring your student visa status to the flight school (M1 can be transferred quite easily). If you're on J-1 visa, I believe it is no longer eligible for flight training at all (at least the program ceased a while after I was doing this). So you'll need to go on a M1 visa, which restricts how much, and what type of, work you can do etc.

I believe you may get some heat if you try to get flight training while your stated purpose for visiting is software engineer, so contact a serious flight school, with experience handling foreign student procedures, and research limitations on your current student visa arrangement (any limitations from Indian government requiring you to stay at home for two years after the visit?).

Before you can even do your first lesson, you'll be out at least $1000, or maybe even thousands of dollar, in TSA fees, application fees to the school, M-1 application fee, SEVIS (or something) fee, maybe an embassy fee... I-20 fee is $500 at least. Fingerprint fee. Insurance. http://www.palmbeachhelicopters.com/nonus.html for example.

I'm not a helicopter pilot, so don't know the exact costs. But guessing double the cost of airplane lessons, 150 * 300 = $45,000 just for the hours you're asking for. Add four-five thousands in books, equipment, headset, various stuff. Add a similar amount for several ground schools you'll pay for, and for hours and hours of ground instruction, typically at about $50/hour.

Schools catering international students specifically, often charge much higher rates for everything, knowing that international students often don't take the time, or have the knowledge/experience to find competitor pricing and seeking the best deal.

If you're seeking FAA certification before returning to India for conversion, the hour requirements are different, and you'd have to research how valuable FAA flight training would be in India, whether you should get FAA certification or not (if you're just flying 150 hours to have the hours, and then head to India for check rides... I don't know what your plan is). Some helicopter pilot will hopefully fill in here, but I believe you must have 250 hours for a commercial helicopter pilot license as well. 60-70-80 thousand at competitive prices, maybe much more if you're going to overpriced "academies" (another word for overpriced).
 

NickH

Uber Driver
You will need to register with TSA if you are not a citizen.

You would be allowed to flight train if you are here on an H1B visa, (as I suspect you might be if you are working), but you must remain in status. If this is the case, you can train at any school part 61 or 141. If you are a permenent resident, again you'll still need to pay TSA fees.
 
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