Mathias joined Hillsboro Heli Academy in 2018 from Austria to fulfill his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot and is now working for us as a flight instructor. Read more about his experience at Hillsboro.
- Why do you want to be a pilot and what’s your dream job?
I spent my childhood around helicopters and the aviation industry. I often had the chance to join my father and his flight crew in the helicopter flying all kinds of utility missions in the Austrian mountains. So, I actually had never thought about doing another job than being a helicopter pilot.
Since I recently got a job as a flight instructor with HAA, I am already doing my dream job. But my long-term goal is to be a utility/long-line pilot back home in the Austrian Alps, where I can enjoy our beautiful country from above.
- What can a potential student expect when starting school?
A new student can expect a great and safe environment to learn flying helicopters. The mountainous landscape and different weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest make the training very enjoyable and exciting, and sometimes challenging which really improves your pilot skills.
I think there is another great aspect for international students like myself. Doing training in a foreign country is a once in a lifetime chance which offers personal growth, English proficiency and the ability to fly with very professional flight instructors from all around the world. Think about it as having your personal school desk 1,000 ft above the Pacific Ocean or the Columbia River Gorge, you decide!
- What is the daily time commitment to becoming a pilot?
I treated my training like it was my job, so I was studying 6-8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. I had my own weekly schedule which consisted of reviewing previous lessons learned in the morning and afterwards learning new material or preparing for flights.
- What is your favorite part of the training at Hillsboro?
I think my favorite part was doing the first solo flights, having that mix of adrenaline, happiness and respect when flying the first time on my own was an extraordinary and amazing experience for me.
- Why did you choose Hillsboro?
A lot of Austrian pilots recommended HAA and my father did his training at HAA in Hillsboro approximately 30 years ago. The chance to get the F-1 Visa and being able to work and gather flight hours after training and the school's very good reputation across the world.
- What are some of the biggest challenges when learning to fly?
I think my biggest challenge in my training was to master the radio communication. I am still learning and try to improve it. Another challenge was to fly only one flight a day, because flying helicopters is VERY addictive.
- Outside of school, what does Oregon offer as far as social life?
I really enjoy outdoor sports and hiking in my free time, there are a lot and great places all over Oregon and Washington. The McMenamins restaurants/bars are a great place to go out with friends and have local beer/wine.