Above: A Hillsboro Aero Academy Robinson helicopter. (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer)
Multicampus helicopter and fixed-wing flight school offers a variety of options for pilots seeking high-quality training and education.
Founded in 1980 with a single helicopter, Hillsboro Aero Academy of Hillsboro, Oregon, is one of the largest multi-campus helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft flight schools in the United States. While the school has campuses in Hillsboro and Redmond, Oregon, the company conducts Part 61 and Part 141 helicopter training at its Troutdale, Oregon, campus with Robinson R22 and R44 aircraft.
Hillsboro Aero offers helicopter training for all FAA pilot certificates, either individually or through professional pilot programs for helicopter pilots aspiring to achieve FAA or FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ratings.
Hillsboro’s FAA professional pilot program includes private, instrument, commercial, flight instructor, and instrument instructor courses. For the joint EASA–FAA professional pilot program, in addition to the previously mentioned FAA ratings, Hillsboro provides all coursework required for international students to obtain EASA helicopter certifications. According to Hillsboro Aero, its EASA–FAA program takes only 15 months to complete, compared with 24 to 36 months for students pursuing FAA and EASA ratings separately.
The company also offers mountain flying and external-load courses.
Hillsboro Aero aims to be more than a flight school. The company works with students to reach their personal or professional goals, helping to tailor program training, financing, and timing to meet the needs of each individual student. The school recently received Title IV status from the US Department of Education, allowing students to use funds from college savings plans to attend Hillsboro, defer some federal student loans from past schooling while training, and explore other financing options. The school also offers third-party financing options, scholarship opportunities, and payment plans to help students reach their flying goals.
For individuals seeking degrees as well as certifications, Hillsboro works with Portland Community College to help helicopter pilots achieve a two-year associate degree in aviation science. Hillsboro also partners with three universities on four-year degree options for airplane students: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Liberty University School of Aeronautics, and the Purdue Global online program.
For international students, in addition to the FAA–EASA program, Hillsboro offers F-1 and M-1 student visas and career pathway assistance at ADAC Luftrettung in Munich, Germany, and Bristow Helicopters locations in Europe. For US veterans, the flight school is approved for direct, limited funding for flight training under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (also known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill) using the vocational flight training option.