Jake Larsen, U.S. Veteran, began his helicopter pilot school training in January 2012. Using his GI Bill benefits to fund his college education and professional flight training, Larsen recently graduated from the professional helicopter degree program in 2013, earning his Certified Flight Instructor, Instrument Rating (CFI-I) at Guidance Aviation and his Associate of Applied Science, Aviation Technology Degree (AAS) at Yavapai College in a total of 19 months. Upon graduating, Larsen landed a job as a professional helicopter flight instructor at Guidance Aviation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I knew I wanted to become a professional helicopter pilot the day the helicopters pulled us out of some dangerous situations while serving overseas. We would not have survived without the helicopters, their pilots, and crew members,” stated Larsen.
Veterans Using GI Bill Benefits for Helicopter Flight Training
The Yavapai College Aviation Program allows eligible U.S. Military Veterans to utilize their GI Bill benefits to acquire both their AAS Degree, Aviation Technology, and their ratings and certificates necessary to become professional helicopter pilots. This means up to 100% of an eligible veteran’s college education and professional helicopter flight training is covered by the GI Bill. The program allows Veterans to earn their collegiate, aeronautical degree while earning their professional flight certifications and building the necessary flight hours.
“It wasn’t easy. Once I realized that the helicopter flying wasn’t the hard part, I focused on acquiring all the necessary ground school knowledge and remained disciplined on completing the intense amount of studying. I wanted to understand the information to become a knowledgeable and safe pilot. The most rewarding thing about all this training, for me, occurred during flight training. Often, I would have some extra time remaining that my helicopter flight instructor would use to teach me more advanced flying techniques. This helped me improve my aeronautical skills and make me a more experienced pilot,” remarked Larsen.
Veterans Are Starting Their Careers as Professional Helicopter Pilots
Larsen is not alone in his success. Other Veterans who have attended the same program have graduated, earning both their postsecondary aeronautical degrees and professional FAA flight certificates and have moved on to become working, professional helicopter pilots. Veterans such as Curtis Marshall, CFI-I, Army Veteran, is now a professional helicopter pilot flying for a utility company; Jason Martin, CFI-I, Marine Veteran, is now a professional helicopter pilot flying for a tour company; Nathan Lyon, Marine Veteran, is now flying as Certified Flight Instructor; and, Nic Monroe, CFI-I, US Marine Veteran, is also a professional helicopter flight instructor.
You can see a number of Veterans who have succeeded in this program in the following newsletter >HERE<.
As Jake Larsen remains focused on his helicopter flying future, you may just see this U.S. Veteran, now a professional helicopter pilot, pursue his next goal: A factory pilot for Bell Helicopters, flying and testing the aircraft.
Contact Guidance Aviation to start your training today!