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Rotor F/X Flight School vs Local School
Hello All!

I have been eagerly reading this forum for many months and am very excited to eventually find my way into a Mosquito! I am not a pilot at the moment, which leads me to my question.

I currently live in the east San Fran Bay area, but am originally from Michigan, and plan to move back in a few years (less crowded airspace is where I plan to eventually fly the Mosquito). In the meantime, I am close enough to LA to fly down to the Rotor F/X flight school, but I also have a well regarded flight school in Concord, CA (very close to where I live), who also trains in Schweizer 300s. So my question is, has anyone else tried out the Rotor F/X program designed specifically for Mosquitoes? Is the extra specialization and focus on the Mosquito worth traveling there to do it, or should I just go to a local school?

I am sad to say that at the moment, I am not planning on taking the full private pilot rotorcraft course, since it is just too expensive. After all, that's what I find so appealing about the XEL; the fact that I don't need a full certification. Of course, I want to be safe, but I do not want to price myself out of my hobby in the long run.

Any reviews of the Rotor F/X program? Any advice on flying the XEL without the full private pilot certification?
I don't have a helicopter rating.  I fly my AIR as an ultralight vehicle as can be done with the XEL.  I got the req'd dual and then spent a good deal of time working on each maneuver in the AIR and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and still do.  Get enough dual (wherever you like) (ten hours is req'd for the discount) to cover all the maneuvers a helicopter will do.  The 'rotorcraft flying handbook' is a great study/ reference guide. 
Hi Aaron and welcome to the forum.
You pose a good question with regards to training. I am sure most all certified schools would give you good safe training and every instructor will have his or her own twist on the best way to do certain things. The thing you may have to watch out for is if the school is just trying to milk you out of more money by not training you in a way that my be the most efficient and specifically for your needs. You may also find out that a school may treat you a little differently if they know that you don't plan on going through all your training with them and not getting your full rotor licence through them. They may not even want to train you at all if they know that you only want to get minimal training with them and then go out and fly an experimental helicopter. I have not done any of my training with Jay over at Rotor F/X but he is a personal friend of mine and I can tell you that he is a good guy and you can't go wrong by training with him. He is also part of the mosquito community and he knows exactly what you'll need to be able to fly you mosquito safely while keeping in mind the minium hours of training you will have. He'll be able to focus on maneuvers that you'll need to fly your XEL safely. He has a first class operation and he even has a simulator that you can practice on and get stick time at a better price rather than actual helicopter time. You can go out and fly the helicopter and then come back and practice your maneuvers on the sim. The bottom line is, you can't go wrong by training with Jay and he can taylor a training program specifically for you and your needs. Once again, welcome to the mosquito family.

Smile Smile
Thanks to all who have responded so far. Without a doubt, one of the things I find most appealing about the Mosquito as a non-certified pilot is how strong and responsive the community is. It's nice to know that as a non-certified pilot I will not be blazing new territory since so many of you are in the same situation.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has taken the Rotor F/X program. I heard an interview with them on, and their program sounds well thought out, but personal experience with Rotor F/X would be nice to hear about.
Mark said most of what I was going to say. Definitely do not tell them you only want to get to the point of solo and a little beyond. You'll get the cold shoulder.

I would highly recommend trying to complete your rating. Not only will it make you a safer pilot but it is quite an accomplishment.

When I first started investigating these single seat helicopters I was amazed that people were flying, or attempting to, without a license and in many cases without training. I have a hard time wrapping my arms around that fact. There is just so much going on at the beginning of a flight. When you begin to lift, you've got yaw, the potential for dynamic roll over, translating tendency to name a few. With helicopter flying your knowledge of all of these aspects and what to do is critical.

Finally, if you have a choice, get your training in a 300. Although I have not flown a Mosquito, the stick set up and feel will probably be closer to reality. I've got 600+ hours in 300's and about 200 in Robinson's. The R44 is nice but I have no desire to ever fly a R22 again. Love the 300.

Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler, AZ
XET on order
rv7guy - 5/15/2010 8:37 PM
Mark said most of what I was going to say. Definitely do not tell them you only want to get to the point of solo and a little beyond. You'll get the cold shoulder.

My experience was a little different. Granted I haven't actually trained yet, but the schools I contacted had no issue with the 10 hour request. In fact, the one I settled on seems excited by the prospect of having a Mosquito around and has made an effort to keep our lines of communication open while I prep for training.

IMO, business is business and turning someone away erodes the bottom line. If you're poised to remind a company of that, then I'd advise not doing business with them at all -- you'll be wading thru their ideologies the entire time. >
All excellent advice coming from the members who have already replied. Once your initial training is complete and you are flying alone in your Mosquito you should continue to educate yourself through reading, re-reading and asking questions. Helicopter flying has many pitfalls that can be easily negotiated or overcome by gaining an intuitive level of understanding and correlating that knowledge as you progress into more advanced maneuvers. Take it at your comfortable pace and do not respond to any external challenges. It's your life and your helicopter. Like Doug Bryant said he had a lot of fun just learning and practicing the basics and you will too. I could hover for an hour and not run out of things to challenge myself with. As long as you keep your progress going at a pace that is comfortable for you, you should never feel any anxiety. It's all about managing and maintaining your comfort level and if you do that you will get the most out of each flight. Good luck.

Our course was created for ultra light builders and owners, specifically for those who may never get any additional professional training. Where our ultralight course differs from a regular flight school regime is that you will spend the entire time flying the helicopter - there will be no discussion of communications, meteorology, airspace operations, regulations or anything else that is not directly related to physically flying the helicopter. This means you will spend the entire time learning and practicing hovers, pick ups and set downs, pedal turns, hover taxi, hover autos, quickstops and when not in the helicopter then learning the dynamics of flight. You will be doing a lot of flying between cones on the ground, hovering forward and reverse, laterally and diagonally to maintain control and begin building prescision. While there will be a few flights around the pattern, our goal is to get you firmly in control of the maneuvers you will have to perform at the beginning and end of every flight so you can return home and safely practice (and practice and practice .... ) these most important basic control exercises.  In addition to the actual flight time you will probably get another 15-20 hours in the simulator as well.  You are not limited to the 10 hours, it is just the minimum and you can choose to add additional time at the same rate if you like.

We would much prefer that you get your full license either with us or somewhere else but we realize not everyone can afford the costs or the time so this is a second best choice and at least we can get you started on the right path.
Thanks for all the input. This will give me enough information about the Rotor F/X program to make an informed decision when the time comes.

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