Starting a new career can be daunting, overwhelming, and (in many cases) stressful. This solely comes down to that unnerving feeling we get with change - no one likes it, but it’s the most consistent thing in our lives.
“So, what do the experts do?”, “How did they become a professional pilot?”, “What skills/equipment does it take?”
Sound familiar? These are just some of the main questions we ask ourselves (and preferred search engine) when wanting to take off on that journey. And for many military helicopter pilots, you’ll see the name USATS (U.S. Aviation Training Solutions) pop up over and over again.
From flying Search and Rescue missions in the coastal regions in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea, providing VIP or recreational transport over the glacial fields of Alaska and the skyline of New York City, to flying military missions over the jungles of Colombia or Peru or the deserts of Africa.
Travel anywhere in the world and you’re likely to find a USATS graduate operating safely and consistently there.
We Don’t Just Train Pilots. We Create Aviators.
Quality can be defined in many ways; facilities, expensive aircraft etc - but for USATS our stable diet of success, safety and experience underpin the quality of our aircraft training programs.
“We operate far beyond the highest standards of safety expected by the industry. Our instructors, staff, maintenance engineers and line workers are the best in the business. Our central focus on safety throughout our training facilities fully prepares our students professionally for the demands of their career aspirations.” Ryan Houghtalen, Safety Manager & Aviation Career Advisor
With over 30 years of history, training thousands of pilots, from over 120 countries, covering every sector of the aviation industry, it’s clear that the USATS quality reputation remains unchallenged. And it’s because of this rich history, that our military training remains an important part of current and future plans.
Offering military training from 2003, many former graduates are now in senior leadership positions, in various government departments across the world - all fully knowing and understanding the quality of the training that is on offer here.
“...They know everything about the program because it produced them. They might be a lieutenant colonel or even a general in their respective commands, but they started here.” Randy Nash, Director of Maintenance at USATS.
Since 2003, the military prospectus has grown considerably. Delivering students who are fully compliant with the relevant defence sector standards (DOD, DOS, FAA, EASA). All ready to add value to any role from day one. USATS can offer the following military programs to all its enthusiastic aviators;
Initial Entry Rotary-Wing (IERW)
(FAA and EASA compliant and certified)
Night Vision Goggle (NVG)
(according to ITAR regulations)
Helicopter Underwater Egress Training
(HUET) / METS
Confined Area Operations & Landing
Turbine Transition (B-206)
High Altitude Chamber
Instructor Pilot (IP) / Qualified Helicopter Instructor (QHI)
External Load Training (ELT) / Bambi Bucket / Firefighting
Mountain Flying /
High Altitude Training (HAT)
Type Transitions / Model Transitions
Search and Rescue (SAR)
The Initial Entry Rotary-Wing (IERW) has been a staple in the USATS catalogue since the beginning. Offering students a program that is around 7 ½ - 8 ½ months (depending on ability), covering 160+ flight hours. Since then we have expanded into various different specialities, including (with the approval by the U.S. Department of State) courses on night vision goggles (NVGs) for a pilot in command or instructor, high altitude flights, instrument flight rules (IFR), Bambi Bucket and sling load operations, search-and-rescue (SAR), and HAZMAT and emergency procedures training.
As well as our military focussed training, we also can offer a wide range of Professional Pilot Programs, designed for organisations or individuals seeking continuous flight training or have a sense of adventure, these include;
FAA Integrated CPL(H) for aspiring commercial helicopter pilots – includes FAA PPL(H), FAA IR(H), FAA CPL(H)
FAA Commercial Training Program – as above and includes FAA CFI/CFII to allow employment as an instructor for experience and hours building
Our Rotor to Wings Program (R2W) offers a complete package for those seeking to transition their skills in becoming an airplane pilot. Equipping them with the necessary credentials and hours to walk directly into the cockpit. Many regional airlines can offer roles from graduation - even helping to pay for your training.
As well as all the above, USATS can offer specialist training for already qualified pilots. If you’re looking to improve your skills, gain new experiences or change your speciality then USATS are here to help and guide you through your options. Reaching out to a member of the team, they’re able to adapt to your needs quickly without compromising on the quality that customers expect.
Our focus on quality starts with our instructors. Our training programs are designed and delivered by experienced aviators, career pilots and military professionals who have a vast array of real-world experience and knowledge of aircraft - helping even the most inexperienced pilot become an experienced aviator in no-time.
No matter your desire, drive or experience, our instructors have the knowledge, care, compassion and ability to make your goals a reality.
A History Lesson
USATS has been seen as the gold standard of pilot training since 1987, during which time it was known as Helicopter Adventures Inc (HAI). Since then, it has set the bar for quality training in its field and in 2007 was rebranded as Bristow Academy.
Over the next 10 years, Bristow Academy opened its doors to many pilots, steering them towards their new careers, and developing and improving on existing skills, all while making sure the sigil of quality was engrained upon their graduates.
2017 saw Bristow Academy encapsulate their vast history, knowledge and quality standard together as a whole package, and rebrand under the USATS name. Director, Todd Smith, saw a chance to help pilots advance their careers further while reflecting on the organisation’s rich history, supporting their evolving mission to train, mentor and support professional aviators.
There has never been a more exciting time to join the aviation industry and become a student at USATS in 2020. Helicopter pilots have a wide array of career options, that offer excitement, challenge, leadership and job satisfaction - and USATS are here to offer aviators the best start on their journey.