Alex Camp traveled all the way from Australia to join our helicopter program. He is currently working on his Commercial Pilot Certificate. Hear what he has to say about his dream job and his training at Hillsboro.
- Why do you want to be a pilot and what is your dream job?
I wasn't satisfied with what I had been studying at university, so I began looking into other types of jobs/careers. When I looked into flying helicopters, it just seemed like something I could see myself doing. From there I got a demo flight and when I walked away from that could not stop smiling or thinking about the next time I'll be able to do that again. My dream job now would be to get to fly EMS or firefighting.
- What can a potential student expect when starting school?
There's a lot to learn and remember, so expect that there's going to be a lot of hard work. Though it's definitely well rewarded once you are able to perform a task without the instructors help, and eventually no input at all.
- What is the daily time commitment to becoming a pilot?
The big thing here is keeping on top of your studies, there's no excuse to not be learning or reiterating any knowledge that you have, especially when it comes to the emergency procedures. I always try to set aside at least 1 or 2 hours a day to do some study, especially if I don't come in for a flight or ground on that particular day. Other things are to try and fly at least 2 or 3 times a week to keep proficient because it is a lot harder to get back into a helicopter after a week or 2 off and feel confident about what you are doing. It's just a lot easier muscle memory wise that you're flying as frequently as you can.
- What is your favorite part of training at Hillsboro?
It has to be the people here at the school, the instructors and students. You'd be hard pressed to find a community that is so supportive and willing to help out, and they're all just a lot of fun to be around. The students and instructors here come from all over the world so that's also a fantastic experience, becoming friends with people you otherwise wouldn't have the chance to know.
- Why did you choose Hillsboro?
I chose Hillsboro because of the ability to get an F-1 visa from the school. There are few places that provide the opportunity for that outside of actual colleges in the US. Other parts that helped me decide this will be the place was after driving through here on a road trip almost a year before I started and just being in awe at how pretty the Pacific Northwest was.
- What are some of the biggest challenges when learning to fly?
How much focus it takes to fly, especially when I was starting off. It was hard to relax and I always found myself tensing up. But after spending more time in the helicopter and becoming more confident in my abilities, I did begin to relax and saw my progress increase significantly. The big challenge is that there is always something to learn, even if you don't think there is. I try to make a habit of going through older notes and rewriting them down, to make sure that it doesn't become forgotten knowledge.
- Outside of school, what does Oregon offer as far as social life?
Besides becoming friends with other students and the instructors here there's plenty of stuff to be doing! Being pretty much in the Columbia Gorge there's a lot of beautiful hikes and waterfalls to explore. As well as plenty of great places to gather around to drink and eat at. There's no reason to say you have nothing to do.