So let’s get it out in the open… I’m a little bit biased on this subject. I live and instruct in Redding. But I did after all move to Redding in 2008 – having only been through here once – and I stayed… if that says anything.
Here are some of my top reasons that you should choose to do your helicopter flight training in Redding:
- More flyable days per year than almost anywhere in North America.
That’s because Redding is the 2nd sunniest place in the USA. Our rainy season is short and we don’t get much extreme cold or snow. That means your training could go almost uninterrupted 12 months a year. I have trained in the coldest part of January and the hottest part of August in Redding – it’s all flyable. To be fair, I’ll warn you: it gets to 110 degrees Fahrenheit routinely in the hottest part of summer.
- Redding Airport is only 500 feet above sea level yet surrounded by open areas and mountains.
That makes Redding an excellent training environment for a helicopter pilot. Unlike “sunny” Florida where the highest point in the state is 345 feet MSL (and it rains every day in the summer – I was a CFI there for about a year), we have foothills and mountains all around within minutes of Redding by air that range upwords of 14,000 feet. If you’re headed for a career in EMS flying or utility/longline operations, mountain flying experience and training will be paramount for you. Additionally, many public lands suitable for off-airport operations training abound. In a densely-populated area it’s really hard to find a place to land a helicopter other than an airport or heliport.
- Low cost of living.
Even though Redding is in the state of California, our cost of living here is low. For a single flight student looking for lodging, rooms and apartments for rent can be found for as little as $200 per month. Our shopping costs are also significantly lower than other parts of the state such as the Bay Area and Los Angeles (believe me, I grew up down there).
- Beautiful surroundings and recreation.
Most helicopter pilot types are also the outdoorsy type as well. Northern California is home to all kinds of recreation including fishing, kayaking and boating on the Sacramento River, Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta Lake and the surrounding rivers and mountain lakes, houseboating, hiking, camping, hunting, trips to the Bay Area, wine country, skiing and snowboarding in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe, the Lost Coast and a whole lot more.
- Proximity to the Utility Helicopter and Aerial Firefighting center of the universe.
In fact, this is how I got into firefighting. Redding is pretty much in the middle of the most active regions for wildfire suppression operations. As a result, in addition to the mountainous terrain, the western states are home to the majority of the utility helicopter companies in the USA. I can think of about 10 off the top of my head within a couple hundred miles of Redding.
- Choices! We’re not the only game in town, but…
I may not work for the only helicopter flight school in Redding, but we’ll treat you the best, I can promise you that. The other instructors and I have been through the worst and the best. We’re all now Redding locals and in no hurry to leave, with reputations to protect. In some other flight schools you will quickly see that quality maintenance, customer service and general follow-through are not as high a priority as it is to us.
If you’re interested in helicopter flight training, please contact me.