Patrick joined moved from Michigan to Oregon in 2019 to join Hillsboro Heli Academy and is working on his professional pilot training. Read more about his experience at Hillsboro.
- Why do you want to be a pilot and what’s your dream job?
Growing up, I was always interested in helicopters. I remember being excited every time I saw a HEMS helicopter flying over head, and wanting to be a part of that world. My dream job would be either flying a camera chasing Baja races, shooting movies, or flying scientists off ships to remote areas in the arctic.
- What can a potential student expect when starting school?
I would tell potential students to be patient with their training. There are many factors that play a role in how fast a student can get through their training. Sometimes the weather will not cooperate with you or a seemingly simple ground lesson will turn out to be far more complex than you had anticipated. There is a lot that goes into every decision, so you can’t rush it. Pace yourself.
- What is the daily time commitment to becoming a pilot?
While I would love to fly every day, it’s not very practical when you are still learning. The learning will come easy at first, but as soon as concepts, flight planning, and all of the other aspects that go into being a student, as well as being prepared to be a pilot pile up, you will have to stop and hit the books. If you are not prepared for a flight, it will show. Getting a solid base for that is spent planning and studying on the ground.
- What is your favorite part of the training at Hillsboro?
My favorite part of training at Hillsboro is how thorough the school has been about making sure the students are prepared during every stage of their training. Hillsboro does not cut corners with the training, which results in the students having a solid knowledge base beyond what is required. I also appreciate how seriously the maintenance of the helicopters is taken. There are many horror stories of flight schools which allowed aircraft to fly which were not air worthy. I have never seen anything slip through the cracks at Hillsboro.
- Why did you choose Hillsboro?
Hillsboro has a strong reputation of producing excellent pilots. I had called several flight schools prior to choosing Hillsboro, all of the other flight schools knew of Hillsboro and spoke highly of this school. I was also suggested a list of academies through a HEMS pilot I met, we both agreed Hillsboro's reputation and program was the strongest and the best fit for me. It is better to learn right the first time than to try and fix bad habits.
- What are some of the biggest challenges when learning to fly?
The biggest challenge when learning to fly for me was understanding that it was all about the patience. The helicopter will not respond well unless you are smooth and consistent with the controls. This can be difficult when someone starts a countdown just as you are starting an emergency procedure or preforming a maneuver, however it is super rewarding when you begin to see your progress!
- Outside of school, what does Oregon offer as far as social life?
After moving to Oregon, I jumped right into school. I haven’t had much of a chance to really explore all the things Oregon has to offer yet. I'm really interested in taking my Jeep off-roading here since there are a lot of great trails to go to. I’m also interested in the Gambler 500 which is based in Oregon!