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Callum Tinnion

2015 CPL(H)/FI(H) Sponsorship Winner

Date Awarded : Friday 22nd January 2016

Callum completed his PPL(H) in the R22 and was awarded the first ever Helicentre Aviation Sponsorship which will fully fund 180 hours of Callum's flight training. "I have had a roller coaster of a ride with everything happening so quickly" says Callum. "Being awarded this sponsorship feels incredible and will allow me to follow what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember".


One year working in Florida

Friday 9th November 2018

Callum has been working just over a year in Florida and has been reflecting on his time in the sunshine state.

Over the course of the past year, Callum has been helping to establish the US base and encourage hour building pilots to visit Florida in order to increase their range of flying experience under different regulations and in unfamiliar territory. 

Since last September when Callum arrived, he has qualified as an FAA commercial pilot and certified flight instructor which has allowed him to instruct under both EASA and FAA regulations. Pilot's from the UK who hour build in Florida require a biennial flight review which is carried out by Callum before the pilot's start exploring the far reaches of Florida. 

Over the past year, Callum has gained a lot of experience across several flight roles and by flying to unique and different destinations on a regular basis. The challenges of the Florida weather also add to his experience and over time, Callum has developed an understanding and appreciation for how helicopter aviation operates in the US compared to the UK which has helped visiting pilots and students with a smooth transition.

Not only this, but by flying so much across the state, Callum has a fantastic list of places worth flying to or flying over; this is not just in terms of beautiful places and fun flying, but also making the most of more challenging airspace and really advancing pilot skill.

Much of Callum's role has been to help hour building pilots advance towards their commercial courses through maximising their experiences in Florida. Challenging them and throwing them in the deep end has helped advance their confidence and very quickly encourage so many skills to develop such as planning, communication and preparation, not to mention fling accuracy and cockpit resource management.

Callum has really enjoyed this role and the kind of advanced training he has been doing has been enjoyable for the pilots, especially as some of the flying they do in Florida is just simply not possible or available in the UK. 


Callum has Qualified as an FAA Certified Flight Instructor

Friday 9th February 2018

We are delighted to congratulate 2015 CPL(H)/FI(H) sponsorship winner and US base manager, Callum Tinnion, on becoming an FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

Callum has been studying and training in the US around his work, making sure he met all the requirements that the FAA stipulates before undertaking his practical test on our US registered Cabri G2. Having taken 3 written tests, the CPL check-ride, and now the CFI check-ride, Callum is able to begin teaching FAA courses and US students.

Last weekend, Callum flew with his first customer in a 60 minute trial lesson over Orlando. This capability not only expands what Helicentre is capable of in Florida, but also provides a platform for conducting both FAA and EASA training for pilots.

Helicentre Aviation’s base at Winter Haven, Florida, carries an EASA ATO approval and with Callum now qualified as an FAA CFI, 14 CFR Part 61 training can also be carried out. Those pilots travelling from the UK to hour build in Florida will have to undergo a biennial flight review which will be flown with Callum. Previously, Simon Wiles would do this, or another CFI in Florida which would not always be convenient. The self-fly-hire pilot’s transition to US airspace will be more seamless now with this approval.

Callum looks forward to welcoming more local pilots and US customers to fly the Cabri at Winter Haven with interest growing every month.


Callum qualifies as an FAA certificated commercial pilot

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Despite already being a fully qualified commercial helicopter pilot under EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and the UK CAA, Callum has advanced his qualifications by undertaking the required training, written exams, and checkride to become an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) commercial pilot.

As US base manager and working towards his FAA CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) certificate, this is a requirement for Callum. He has taken on home study to learn the regulations and operating differences that would not typically be known to a UK pilot before undergoing the single written exam. He also flew with CFI Simon Wiles to meet the recency and training requirements for the certificate. This included several night flights routing across central Florida. After all the pre-requisites for the certificate were met, the final stage was the checkride.

An FAA checkride takes on a slightly different format to those in the UK with more emphasis placed on the pre-flight oral exam which involves a two hour face to face question and answer session with the examiner. The point of this is to exercise the pilot's working knowledge of regulations, airspace, flight planning, weather and weather services, as well as aircraft and airport operational procedures. A practical knowledge and applciation of commercial course content is what should be displayed before the pilot can move on to the flight portion of the test. 

There are also slight differences in the content of the flight portion of the test with a demonstration of settling-with-power required as well as a pinnicle approach and departure, two manoeuvres not conducted in an EASA CPL skill test. The 180 degree autorotation to power recovery also features. 

Having completed all of these sections of the checkride to a satisfactory standard, and answering some more questions throughout the flight, Callum passed and became a certified commercial pilot.

The next steps for Callum will include sitting the two exams for flight instructor, Fundamentals of Instruction, and Flight Instructor Rotorcraft Helicopter. After this, he will take the CFI checkride.

We will keep you up to date on Callum's progress throughout so look out for the latest updates.


Callum arrives in Florida!

Saturday 30th September 2017

Our new U.S. base manager has arrived in Florida and is setting up shop.

Callum will be running the base in Florida designed to attract hour building pilots to fly in the sunshine state on the Cabri G2 where the costs are reduced and the weather is much better, allowing flying on a regular basis. He will be assisting in marketing duties, student liason, operations oversight and management, as well as providing EASA instruction under our new ATO approval.

Part of his role is to show you just how amazing is is to fly in Florida and showcase all that it has to offer. Having done virtually all his hour building in the United States, Callum is well qualified to tell you what it's like, what to expect and why you should go. He also has a lot of footage which he is using to great effect with impressive videos and imagery.

Callum is running our dedicated Florida social media and website where you can find out a lot more information about what it's like out here, and all the information you need to get started on your licence conversion, or indeed to train directly with us.

We wish Callum the best of luck on this exciting venture!


Callum has become an unrestricted instructor!

Friday 29th September 2017

When you are first granted instructor privileges on a licence, you are a restricted instructor which means that there must be supervision and that you cannot send students on first solo flights. This restriction is lifted after meeting certain requriements. These requirements are 100 hours of instruction and sending students on 25 solo exercises. 

Callum has achieved this in just over two months since he passed his FI(H) assessment of competence. He began instructional flying the day after his test and continued throughout the summer into Septmeber before meeting that target. Another trip to Aviation House to get the licence reissued now means that Callum is an unrestricted instructor.

This was something that Callum had to achieve before heading out to Florida as the only EASA instructor because there could be no supervision otherwise. It all worked out well and now EASA instruction can be given at the Winter Haven Airport base on the Cabri G2.

This is another huge milestone for Callum and he will continue to build his instructional experience in Florida.


Callum has passed his R44 type rating skills test

Thursday 28th September 2017

Another great milestone for Callum as he passes his R44 type rating skills test.

After completing the R44 Type Rating course, Callum was tested by CAA-authorised examiner and Helicentre Aviation Head of Training, Captain Sarah Bowen.

Captain Bowen said: “Callum is an exceptionally skilled pilot and having this Type Rating means he can now fly charter and training operations in the Robinson R44 when he gets to Florida. I wish him all the best for his new chapter as Base Manager at our operation in Winter Haven and can’t wait to see how he takes operations Stateside to the next level.”

Callum added: “I’m excited to use this Type Rating and to begin instructing on the R44 in America, particularly to help hour building students begin using this aircraft, as they will be able to fly further to explore more of what Florida has to offer.”

There is not currently an R44 at the Florida base, however, there are plans to incorporate this as an option for pilots who would like to build time on this aircraft. Callum will be able to now assist with introducing pilots to the aircraft.


Callum has begun sending his student on supervised solo flights

Friday 11th August 2017

Callum has sent a student on a solo exercise for the first time!

His student, Lee, flew his first solo flight yesterday having completed all the relevant training with Callum and then a check flight with an unrestricted instructor who then sent Lee solo. 

Since the first solo has been completed, Callum can now send Lee on further solo flights into the circuit as he has done today. This is another great milestone in his instructional career. Callum has been gaining hours quickly and is now building up his supervised solo exercises that he will log towards becoming an unrestricted instructor.

We will continue to update you on Callum's progress.


Congratulations to callum on becoming a flight instructor!

Monday 3rd July 2017

Congratulaitons to Callum on passing his assessment of competence, making him the latest addition to the Helicentre Aviation team as a flight instructor!

The Flight Instructor Course has lastest around 8 weeks, in which time Callum has worked extrememly hard under the guidance of Capt. Simon Wiles and Capt. Sarah Bowen in preparation for this test.

There was no time to rest however as Callum began work the following day taking his very first student on a trial lesson before welcoming a new starter on their PPL(H) course and carrying out another training flight on the Sunday.

Callum began his CPL(H) studies in late February last year and studied for a stright 6 months before beginning the hour building stages of his sponsorship award. From the start of those studies up until flying with his very first student this past weekend, Callum has taken just 16 months! The sponsorship program has been a wonderful success bringing Callum through from PPL level all the way to FI(H) in such a short space of time. Callum said himself that he is 'very excited about making this transition from training to working as a pilot' and is excited about beginning his career.

There is plenty of work lined up for Callum over the summer with new starters beginning their trianing in order to make the scholarship deadline on the 30th of September. Once he builds enough experience instructing, Callum can become an unrestricted instructor and will then be moving out to Florida in order to teach EASA PPL(H) courses in the sunshine state!

A huge congratulations to Callum once again on passing his FI(H) course and we look forward to working with him as he begins his instructor career!


Callum is making progress in his FI(H) course!

Saturday 20th May 2017

Sponsorship winner Callum Tinnion has been undergoing his Flight Instructor training.

Callum began his Flight Instructor course, alongside Stephen Davey, just over 3 weeks ago and has been making good progress as he moves towards completion of the Sponsorship award.

He went for his second stint in Florida to hour build between the CPL(H) and FI(H) courses and began the instructor course the day after getting back to the UK. The course is expected to last around 8 weeks, in which time, Callum will have developed the skills required to be able to teach new students beginning their helicopter pilot training.

With it being the run up to the summer and the nicer weather, Callum can expect to be kept fairly busy once he completes the course in late June.

Further updates to come as Callum moves through the Flight Instructor course.


Callum flies the Florida keys!

Tuesday 4th April 2017

Callum went on an exciting two-day trip to Key West, one of the most beautiful places in Florida where a chain of islands extend out from the South of mainland Florida for around 110 nautical miles into the tropical waters to the North of the Caribbean. These waters are warm and full of beautiful reefs and exciting wildlife which you certainly wouldn't see swimming around the shores of the UK!

The route Callum and Chairman Chris Line took went, first, from the aircraft's home at Winter Haven to Naples airport on the South West coast for fuel, before crossing the infamous Everglades eastbound to Homestead General airport. This section of the flight saw them fly low level at around 500ft across the open land with the high skyscrapers of Downtown Miami pertruding up above the horizon.

After this final fuel stop, the most exciting part of the journey was next. Callum flew the aircraft across a stretch of the Everglades once again down to the coastline of South Florida where the clear blue waters and the individual islands forming the Florida Keys opened up. They took the aircraft across the islands and before they had even gotten out over the water, a dolphin was spotted cruising along in the sea. After this, countless numbers of sharks, stingrays, seals, and more dolphins were spotted. Clusters of them were in every direction and Callum again took the aircraft down to around 500ft as they flew across reefs, shallow sea beds and the incredible islands. 

After a short while, they reached the main stretch of islands making up the Florida Keys and followed the shoreline as well as Highway 1 which stretches the full length of the keys. Callum had prepared to land at a seafront restaurant with a private helipad on the waterfront which is located just to the East of Marathon Airport. This is avaiable to land at, free of charge, and on a first-come, first-served basis. As they got near, another creature of the sea was spotted in a harbour area. This time, it was a huge manatee and others were spotted on the journey north.

On final approach to the restaurant, a large sea turtle was spotted off to the port side from about 150ft. Callum set the aircraft down nicely on the helipad before enjoying some freshly caught shrimp at the restaurant!

The departure from this helipad is certainly something we would not be used to in the UK with the only two options being to take the aircraft vertical, or to depart over the water. With the conditions on the day, the only option was transitioning over the water which is what Callum did in a rather confined amount of space. It certainly made for an exciting departure and they then continued on to Key West.

When approaching the most southern Key, the Naval Air Station of Key West is the first ATC unit spoken to in order to get permission to cross their airspace before reaching the international airport. This is the southern most air defence station and on the day, had around 10 F/A-18 super hornets, a C-17, C-130, B-1 bomber, and an HH-60 Pave Hawk. After crossing this airspace, the approach into Key West is fairly straight forward with the tower controllers being very accommodating. Most of the arrival is over water to the south of the airport and then the approach and transistion to the hover is to their taxiway A. 

Key West has a lot going on and of course an incredible sunset! It is defeintely a place worth visiting and especially to fly into. With so much to do, you'll want to go again and spend days on end there.

The journey up North the following day saw fuel stops in Marathon and Hollywood's North Perry Airport, Miami. The morning route up to Miami followed the Keys all the way up to the most North-Eastern key before an exciting flight along the Miami Beach dodging banner towers and other aircraft before continuing up the shoreline for several miles where they turned inland to the Hollywood airport. 

After this, Callum took the aircaft up to 3,500ft and settled into an hour and a half cruise back up to Winter Haven airport. 

This trip features so many amazing experiences and the opportunity to fly some of the most beautiful places in the world. The freedom to fly in the way that people fly in the U.S. opens up a whole new world of flying that you could never get to experience in the UK. 

Look out for more video footage and imagery from future trips across Florida by both Callum and other pilots who use our aircraft!

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