Month: November 2016

Fly Above Thanksgiving Traffic with a Helicopter Charter

Traditionally the Thanksgiving holiday week is considered one of the busiest travel times of the year, and that fact isn’t lost on those who deal with gridlocked Los Angeles traffic and lines at SoCal airports. What if you could cut hours off your travel time? We can shorten your trip to the airport or even your SoCal destination with a helicopter charter.

Helicopter Charter to the Airport

Group 3 Aviation’s airport shuttle service is the most affordable in the Los Angeles basin. Using cost-effective and highly maintained Robinson R44 Raven II helicopters, we offer flights directly to SoCal’s major commercial airports, including LAX, Burbank, Ontario, Orange County and Long Beach.

While our home base is in Van Nuys, we offer pick up service from most regional airports in the Southland, and in some cases can even arrange private pick up from your private property.

And we’ll get you there so much faster. A flight from Van Nuys to LAX is only 20 minutes. Going to Long Beach? It’s only 25 minutes door to door. Orange County is a quick 40-minute flight, as opposed to hours on the freeway.

And our shuttle prices are per flight, not per seat, so go alone or bring along two others. It’s the same cost.

Helicopter Charter to your Destination

Let’s face it, simply crossing the Southland over Thanksgiving can take hours you’d rather spend with friends, family and food. Whether you’re headed to Santa Barbara, San Diego or even Las Vegas, we can get you there faster without the crowds, lines and security pat downs. Our helicopter charter service is the least expensive from our base of Van Nuys, but we’re willing to come to a small airport near you as well.

Our popular charter destinations include Santa Barbara (55-minute flight), San Diego (90-minute flight), and Palm Springs (80-minute flight).

Fly in comfort and security

Group 3 Aviation and all of our highly-qualified pilots are FAA Part 135 certified, meaning the FAA maintains an extra vigilant stance on our operations, requiring pilots, maintenance and operations to perform to a high standard for your safety. When you fly with us, you fly knowing you’re in the best hands, flying with a 20-year, family-owned helicopter company dedicated to service.

What you need to know before chartering

Other than sit back, relax and leave the work to us, here are a few quick things to know when chartering:

  • Helicopters by design are not suited for large amounts of luggage, but a small duffle bag per passenger (or small suitcase if two or fewer passengers are flying) is easily accommodated.
  • All prices are round-trip for the helicopter as the aircraft must return to base, but quoted times are one-way travel times. Should you require us to return to pick you up after your trip, the price is double. However, we do offer standby rates. Give us a call for an accurate standby quote based on your needs.
  • If an airport charges facility and landing fees, they’ll apply to the cost. Don’t worry, we’ll always inform you before hand.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking to get above the Thanksgiving travel mess, give us a call today and we’ll get you there with time to spare. We’re standing by 24/7 to book your flight at 818-994-9376.

Call today for an affordable helicopter charter to cut your travel time and get you there faster.

instrument rating

The Life-Saving Instrument Rating

A helicopter instrument rating, or IFR (instrument flight rules) rating is so much more than an opportunity to qualify for more helicopter jobs or lower insurance premiums. Quite simply, an IFR helicopter rating may very well save your life.

For many years, an IFR rating wasn’t required for pilots who didn’t actually fly under IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) in aircraft equipped to fly in the clouds. But the accident rate due to inadvertent IMC was high. Bad weather conditions would close in on pilots, trapping them with no outside visual clues or skills to safely exit. Many times these situations ended in tragedy.

Soon insurance companies and safety organizations began requiring IFR ratings for pilots, even if they were not flying aircraft equipped to fly in the clouds, in order to help reduce these accidents.

The honest truth is, the training received when working toward an IFR rating teaches you how to navigate by instruments alone, how to read the world of IFR charts, and how to use radio and GPS navigation without outside reference. IFR pilots gain a better three-dimensional understanding of their position and skill in navigating, making them better, and safer, pilots.

Instrument Helicopter Rating

While the cost of an IFR, or instrument rating, is a bit higher per hour due to the more specialized equipment in the aircraft, pilots at the beginning of their training can save thousands of dollars by incorporating their instrument rating into their commercial training.

A commercial helicopter rating from Group 3 Aviation (an FAA Part 141 flight school) requires 115 total hours. Our private pilot certificate requires a minimum of 35 hours. The difference in time between a private and commercial can be used to work toward an instrument rating. The cost difference is minimal compared to returning to school later in your career to pay the full cost of an instrument rating.

IFR Rating Requirements

At Group 3 Aviation, we provide IFR training in our Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter and our Frasca TruFlite Helicopter Flight Training Device. Students are required to receive 35 hours of flight instruction and 30 hours of ground school to receive an IFR rating. We recommend 21 hours in the R44 and 14 hours in the Frasca (which helps reduce the costs compared to receiving all flight instruction in the helicopter). Additionally, your flight instructor will provide you with 30 hours of ground school, assuring you’re familiar and comfortable with the navigating solely by instruments and fully knowledgeable of IFR rules and regulations.

Upon completion of your training, you’ll be recommended for your instrument rating. At that time you will take a written test, followed by an IFR practical test with an FAA-designated examiner who will both quiz you in a ground portion then fly with you to test your skill.

In the end, whether your goal is to fly for a living or simply for pleasure, you’ll not only experience the benefits of being a more marketable pilot and able to fly IFR-rated aircraft in the clouds, you’ll also have the peace of mind that you have the invaluable skill to safely navigate should you ever find yourself in IMC conditions.

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