Callum Tinnion

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

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”.

Winners Story

One year working in Florida

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

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

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!

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!

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

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

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!

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!

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!

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!

Callum is back in Florida!

We have welcomed Callum back to the U.S. where he is building hours towards his FI(H) course which he will begin at the end of April.

We asked Callum what he thinks about flying in Florida and anything he has learnt over here. This is what he had to say.

'Flying in Florida feels far more relaxed than in the UK which isn't to say it's any less safe, but it is certainly easier to get about which is a reflection on the fact that this is part of their way of life over here. Getting in and out of even the largest airports here is simple and efficient due to great interaction between the air traffic controllers and pilots. 

This helps to develop flying ability with a commercial frame of mind looking to keep flight operations as efficient as possible. When I flew to Key West International airport, a great amount of adaption was required to meet the situation that was developing. This began with the Naval Air Station at Key West requiring me to stay 1 mile south of the coast over the water due to an arriving C-17. Once they handed me to the International Airport, there was a departing American Airlines Embraer with more direction from ATC. Ultimately, my approach and landing was westbound initially with a 180 turn to the right into a hover taxi on the southern taxiway and then to parking. 

Key West is one example of many situations where adaption and situational awareness were pivotal in efficient flight operations for myself and other airspace users. Flying in America definitely made me more aware of what was going on around me as well as improving my radio communications. This was translated into my commercial course and I flew with a lot more confidence, particularly towards busier airspace areas.

Now back in the U.S., I plan on continuing my learning and I can't emphasise enough how beneficial it is to fly in America and experience the differences that come with that! The amazing weather, scenery and beaches are also not to be sniffed at!'

Callum Tinnion Passes His CPL(H) Skills Test

Callum has passed his Commercial Pilot Flight Exam!

Our 2015 CPL(H)/FI(H) Sponsorship Winner, Callum Tinnion, had some good weather today to get through a well flown CPL(H) skills test.

Since the middle of January, Callum has been training alongside Geoff Loftus on the commercial course under the instruction of Morgan Whiting battling through the winter weather.

Now that Callum has completed the CPL(H) section of his Sponsorship, he will be moving on towards completion of the FI(H) section which involves some further hour building before beginning his Instructor course in April.

Callum will be travelling out to Florida again to build hours and assist with hour building activities for several other students who will be going out there in the coming months.

Well done!

Callum Tells Us About His Hour Building In Florida

Hour building is really a chance for a pilot to enjoy themselves and go and fly places and routes that not only give you good experience to use in future, but allow you to discover and see things you've always wanted to see. So what better place to do this than Florida?

Flying in America is certainly quite different to the UK, obviously because of the weather, but also because the rules and area I was flying in are quite different. Just the fact that we are operating around Orlando provides its challenges with busy and congested airspace around the airport. But once I got used to some of the differences, I was able to start stretching my legs and fly further and in some cases, very far with one flight lasting three and a half hours as part of a 3 day trip!

Kissimmee was a great airport to fly from with a great buzz and all the staff were so helpful. Straight away though, it became very apparent how helicopters really have a lot of freedom and my flying over there took on much more of a commercial style due to the fact that Air Traffic Control want you in or out as quickly as possible so as not to disrupt the fixed wing traffic. So my approaches and transitions were taking me direct to the parking area rather than having the likes of the ‘H’ at Leicester to aim for and then transitioning. But this was so much fun!

Approaches and departures from controlled airports for helicopters are expected to be carried out at 500ft or below from/to 4 miles. So you can imagine how uncomfortable this felt initially having been used to climbing up to at least 1000ft much sooner than that in the UK. What made it more uncomfortable was being at or below 500ft over the dense forest/swamp or lakes or built up areas. That certainly took some getting used to!

My single favourite moment from my whole trip was when i got the chance to fly down the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility Runway. This felt quite special to be able to fly there and along such a historic and impressive runway. I also got the chance to take family and friends along this runway to share the experience. One day, I flew the NASA runway with a friend and then landed at Space Coast Regional airport to go to the Kennedy Space Centre for the afternoon. Why not?

Another great experience was flying through the Class B controlled airspace over Orlando and being given vectors over the top of Orlando International airport on the way back to Kissimmee airport. I would love to be able to do something similar now at Heathrow airport.

Another great experience was flying to Key West which is the most Southern of the Florida Keys at the bottom of Florida. It’s somewhere I wanted to go before going over and I managed to do it with a friend making it a 2 day trip. The Keys look like paradise and on the way down, we also went over the Everglades which was an interesting experience. Interesting because of the vastness of it and also how the whole area looks like some kind of alien planet!

On the way back up North from the Keys, I flew along Miami Beach. This was the most intense moment of my time in Florida because of how busy the airspace is and how much is going on. I was instructed to fly across the open water to the shoreline for around 8 miles, had banner towing aircraft flying up the beach, nearby, and a lot of different classes of airspace to consider as well as seaplanes and helicopters popping up all over the place. This was incredible though and I’m glad I did it towards the end with a lot of experience on the radio and with the different types of airspace.

Florida was an exceptional opportunity and I would thoroughly recommend to anyone to go and fly out there even if it’s just two weeks! It is fairly intense with the dense airspace focussed around the bigger cities, but Florida also has so much barren land which makes for a lot of uncontrolled airspace and relaxed flying. There are so many more great stories from my time in Florida but I'll save those for now. I've learnt so much during my time over in Florida which I can’t wait to translate this into my next stage of training in the commercial flying course.

Callum Has Passed His ATPL(H) Exams!

Since winning the 2015 Sponsorship, Callum has been studying virtually non-stop for his commercial exams. He sat his first set in June and finished the last one in August! Now he can look forward to the fun part and all the hour building that he has to do before starting the commercial flying course! Callum is going to be the first Helicentre student to fly our American registered Guimbal Cabri G2 out in Florida from Kissimmee airport. He will have the chance to build a lot of hours and make use of the fantastic weather out there as well as build invaluable experience to help him develop as a pilot and prepare for the commercial world. 

Keep an eye on this page as well as our Helicopter Scholarships and Helicentre Aviation Facebook pages where you'll see plenty of updates from Callum whilst he is in the States! 

Callum Speaks of his Life-changing Opportunity

With his last few exams to sit before hitting the hour building hard, Callum talks about how winning the Sponsorship has changed his life. "Throughout my life I've done everything I can to bring myself into the world of aviation and in particular, to become a pilot" he says. "Every opportunity has been a stepping stone along the way and now, by winning the Sponsorship, I have taken the biggest leap forward into the career I’ve always dreamed of."

Callum describes how the Sponsorship has lifted a huge weight off his shoulders. "It's not just the monetary value of the award, but also knowing that I don't have to worry about finding my first job as a pilot because as part of the Sponsorship I'll be working full time at Helicentre Aviation as soon as I have completed my Flight Instructor course. These are just a couple of things that make this award so special.

After winning the Sponsorship, Callum completed his Guimbal Cabri G2 type rating to allow him to complete the hour building programme, which is fully funded by the Sponsorship, in the G2. "It's a lovely aircraft to fly and is also the main company aircraft on which I will do my commercial and Flight Instructor courses on" Callum remarks. He is well into his ATPL(H) studies having passed several exams with a view to having them completed in the next couple of months, after which he will begin the next stage - hour building!

"Going through my training to become a Commercial Pilot and on to becoming Flight Instructor with Helicentre Aviation couldn't be better, especially with the amazing opportunities that they have to offer here and the chance for great career progression within the company" adds Callum. "I am particularly excited about the chance to go out to Orlando, Florida as part of my hour building which adds another aspect to my flying experience as well as an being an superb opportunity. I am very much looking forward to my time here and find myself incredibly lucky!"

Callum Has Qualified on the Cabri G2!

Having completed his PPL(H) on the Robsinson R22, Callum, our Sponsorship winner has this week been busy completing his Cabri G2 type rating. He passed his test yesterday and is looking forward to hour building on the Cabri G2 as part of his Sponsorship award! Well done Callum!

Callum Tells Us What Winning This Prestigious Award Means To Him

Our 2015 Sponsorship winner explains, "I have wanted to be a pilot my entire life and even back in primary school and secondary school I was dreaming of becoming a Helicopter Pilot." He adds, "When I was told I had won the Sponsorship, I was speechless! I had no idea what to say apart from thank you. Knowing that I had just been offered a direct route into the career I have always wanted was a dream come true." Callum is an inspiration to future Helicopter Pilots. He advises, "To anyone looking to train as a Helicopter Pilot with Helicentre, the first thing I would say is just come down and see us and have a look at what we have to offer." Callum will be at our next Career Seminar on the 13th February 2016! To learn more give us a call. We will keep you updated on Callums progress.