I had always wanted to fly but never thought it would be a possibility. I went to college right after high school but wasn’t happy with what my future careers could be. During my third year of college, my wife bought me a discovery flight for my birthday at the flight school near my house. After that, I was set on flying and began flight training immediately after graduating from college.
The helicopter industry is very small and a pilot friend of mine showed me a video Volo Mission had posted on their Facebook page a while back. After that, I started following Volo Mission on Facebook and Instagram because I thought it was really cool that there was training like that available. It was also cool to see that people with no long line experience were able to do what they were doing in the video after such a short amount of training.
It was on my bucket list to gain vertical reference skills and to be capable of performing precision construction, firefighting, and utility jobs in a helicopter. This is why I chose to come to the company that I’m working for. All of these jobs make up the majority of the work they do.
Many companies will put a long line on the helicopter and let you go out for a couple hours at most and try to figure it out. I was very fortunate in that the company I work for sent me to Volo Mission for VR training. Going into the training with zero long line experience, I was only expecting to be able to control the hook safely at best. What I left with, in my opinion, was far beyond that. By the end of the training I was able to set an air conditioner on its bolts, and power poles in a small hole in the ground. The takeaway from Volo was not only the skills to fly the line, but also a knowledge of how to run construction jobs, the standard hand signals ground crew will provide, and how to set up and rig many different types of longline loads.
Volo Mission has an incredible course set up that allows you to continually progress and challenge your VR skills without you even knowing it. You start day one with VR picking up the helicopter looking down and at the back of the skid. Throughout the rest of the 20-hour course, you are constantly introduced to more challenging external loads and different types and lengths of long lines to include 200ft synthetic line and 200ft steel line. The point of this is that when you leave the course and arrive in the real world you will be comfortable with whatever equipment your company will use or the job will require.
I liked that after training, I went back to the company I worked for and was able to start flying revenue external loads! I also liked that I learned from professional instructors that have thousands of hours of long line experience and they were able to cater to everyone’s (there were three of us at the time) experience level.
I’ve seen many job postings in the past that require long line experience and receiving the training from Volo Mission would definitely give an applicant a huge advantage.