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Simon Jones RPMN: What is your current position?


For the last 11 years I’ve owned and operated Advanced Flight, a small but specialized flight school in Torrance, California, that offers advanced instruction predominantly in the R22 and R44. Also, for the past 14 years I’ve been a contract instructor for the Robinson Helicopter company’s safety course.


RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.


As a kid, my first heli flight was at an air show in England. It was a short five- minute ride, but I loved it!


As a student, my first flight was funny because I got it out of trim turning base to final and ended up flying almost sideways.


I me!


RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?


The same as most people, I think. I saved up some money and got my PPL (Private Pilot License). Over the next few years I continued doing the same thing: Save, fly, save, fly - until I got my CFI.


RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters? Or did they choose you?


I had a good idea I wanted to fly for a living but wasn’t totally sure, so I took my fixed-wing ppl first, as it was cheaper. I thought, at least this way I wouldn’t be wasting too much money if I didn’t like it. After that, I thought it was fun but that


10 Mar/Apr 2017 thought, Wow, that was


completely wrong but so much fun. That’s when I knew helicopters were for


helicopters might be more challenging. So, I took a heli lesson and that was it!


RPMN: Where did you get your start flying commercially?


After the initial standard of flight instruction, I helped a friend start a business that offered an R44 and pilot to local flight schools in the Los Angeles area that didn’t have their own. This worked well and helped a few new schools provide an R44 to their clients, but inevitably these schools got their own aircraft. This took me down the road of offering the 44 directly to pilots for Advanced Training, which ultimately gave me the idea for Advanced Flight.


RPMN: If you were not in the helicopter industry, what else would you see yourself doing?


I think I’d still be involved in aviation in some way, but I really don’t know. Let’s hope I don’t have to think about that for a while!


RPMN: What do you enjoy doing on your days off?


Days off? Actually, it’s not that bad any more, but when I first started Advanced Flight I didn’t get many. Now I’ll take Sundays off, and it can vary between doing absolutely nothing and loving it, or catching up with friends at the beach. There are so many fun things you can do in LA, especially during the summer.


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