Excellence + Experience + Value
Training pilots safely and successfully for over 30 years!
We have helped thousands of people become safe and successful helicopter pilots over the last three decades. Ensuring your success as a helicopter pilot (professional or otherwise) is our core mission and we train everyone with the mindset of equipping you to become a pilot of a standard we would want to work with and call one of our own.
We combine the professionalism, convenience and efficiency of a large school with the personal attention and welcoming environment of private instruction where our instructors see it as their responsibility to understand their students’ individual needs and goals and where these instructors have the breadth and depth of experience to allow them to ensure their students’ goals are met.
Our facilities are all-inclusive; you will find everything you need to complete whichever training course you wish to pursue. Having everything you need here on site enables an efficient and streamlined training experience. We keep an exceptionally well-maintained fleet of aircraft; check out our fleet here.
What Should You Look For in a Flight School?
Be sure to do your due diligence
You want to be able to fly consistently and complete your programs in a timely manner — Be sure that your school has reliable access to everything they need such as fuel, parts and maintenance, instructors and practice areas. At the end of each program, you will need to take an FAA written knowledge test as well as a practical test (with oral and flight portions). Civic Helicopters is a testing site for FAA exams and we work with examiners that will come to our location to conduct checkrides (practical tests).
Is the fleet what was advertised? When you visit a school, verify that they have all the helicopters they say they do. All of the photographs contained in this site are of our helicopters, or helicopters that belong to Civic’s students/clients, for which we consistently provide service and maintenance.
Does the school you are considering own its helicopters? We do, thus we are not subject to helicopters suddenly becoming unavailable because the owner no longer wants to lease the helicopter. In addition, we take better care of our helicopters both on the ground and in the sky, thus we take better care of our students as well.
How’s the maintenance on the aircraft? You want to fly in well maintained helicopters; many different people fly training helicopters and they get a daily beating, you want to make sure you are flying in helicopters that are looked after by on-site maintenance professionals.
How is the weather? Are you going to be able to fly 6 or 7 days a week? Or is it raining and foggy half the time? Will it be too hot to fly half the time? Our instructors fly as early as 6 AM and sometimes well into the evening, they do what it takes to get you finished in the amount of time you are aiming for.
You want to fly safely — You do not want to train in an environment where issues such as the climate or elevation inherently make your training riskier on a routine basis; increased risks generally also coincide with less comfortable training conditions. If you are going to spend a good 3-4 months earning a Commercial License or CFI, you want to do it in a comfortable environment. While Civic Helicopters is located in arguably one of the most comfortable places to fly, our school is also located within 30 minutes of mountains, deserts, urban areas with complex airspace, and of course, water.
You want access to the highly experienced instructors — Many operators see initial flight instruction for beginners as lower priority than other operations, and thus do not put their best people into those roles. Here at Civic Helicopters, everyone does initial instruction, and our Chief and Assistant Chief Instructors make it a priority to fly with students at every level and watch their progress from the beginning. We also have an atypical concentration of professional pilots working in roles such as EMS, that continue to instruct in their spare time because they genuinely enjoy teaching.
Civic provides everything from introductory flights to advanced emergency procedures for all rotorcraft certificates/licenses; Private Pilot to Airline Transport Pilot. Very few schools/instructors offer the advanced training options you’ll see here including turbine transitions, mountain flying, and emergency training. Unfortunately, there are many schools and instructors out there that do not even provide sufficient emergency training at the Private Pilot level. We have encountered several students over the years who have completed everything except for their emergency training, only to turn to us for such training and their final endorsement prior to a check ride.
While we have structured programs with FAA approved syllabi, you will still be able to determine the pace at which you learn. Nearly all of our training is on a one on one basis to fit around your schedule and learning needs. Flight Training and Ground School are conducted concurrently, allowing what you learn in the classroom to complement what you learn in the sky. You will not have to sit in a classroom and complete all your ground school prior to ever setting foot in a helicopter.
FAA Approved VFR/IFR Simulator Training
- Full sized helicopter cockpit allows for dual flight training, side-by-side seating
- Cost effective training solution, especially for Instrument Procedures training and practice – especially relevant for non-native English speakers or anyone who needs more practice in order to fully prepare and get the most out of actual helicopter time
- Reduce expenses by combining simulator training with the real helicopter
- Conduct all Instrument currency requirements at a fraction of the traditional cost
- Every day availability (never miss training due to bad weather outside)
- Log VFR and IFR training time in our simulator
- We consistently offer the training we advertise and unlike some single helicopter, single instructor operations out there, we will be there for you from start to finish
With two full time Flight Training Coordinators, Civic provides guidance and assistance from start to finish, and instructors often keep in touch with their students for years to come
Your instructor personally supervises every aspect of your training so that there is continuity from one lesson to the next and from ground instruction to flight training. In addition, all the instructors consult with each other and Chief/Asst. Chief Instructors optimize training and push through training ‘plateaus.’ Our Flight Training Coordinators have developed an understanding of all the challenges a student faces and has clear solutions laid out to help you reach your goals. We provide assistance and guidance in obtaining financing and will continue to provide support throughout your training.
We generally have all the training materials and pilot supplies you need to complete your training and will do our best to meet any special needs if possible.
We have a few FAA medical examiners that we work closely with and can make the arrangements for your medical examination.
Our Location and Facilities
Unmatched convenience in a desirable location
We fuel our own helicopters, thus a student would never have to fly somewhere to buy fuel (all our rates include fuel) or wait for another company to find time to fuel our aircraft.
Practice and Training Areas
Our practice areas are on the field or at adjacent airports. Palomar Airport (KCRQ) is a busy Class Delta airspace that will give anyone good communication experience, and we are near two Class Bravo airports that provide further challenges and experience. Students have two exclusive places where they can train right here at Palomar Airport. Civic Pad and the West End are ours for training here at the airport, students will not need to waste flight time traveling to and from all practice areas, as is common in many other schools. Plus, we are close enough to other airports and types of terrains that we can elect to conduct air work on the way to our other training areas.
Southern California Weather & Terrain
Southern California weather is exceptionally well suited to flying year-round, with over 300 days without rainfall, annually. While the weather is generally beautiful in Southern California, when necessary, we usually can still get to most practice areas and conduct training when the weather is otherwise below VFR minimums.
The greater San Diego area has a variety of terrain. You will be able to train in operations over water, mountain/high density altitude, desert operations, etc.
While various environments are available within close distance, our facility is located near the ocean, thus one could avoid extreme heat and humidity. This is especially important as many people do not recognize the extent to which heat and density altitude impact their own performance, as well as helicopter performance.
We offer on-site testing for all FAA written exams as a CATS/PSI/Lasergrade Testing Center, on-site practical flight testing as well with one of few pilot examiners available. Call 844.704.1487 to schedule your written exam appointment.