We’ve been lucky enough to have students come from all over the world to streamline their helicopter training with us. This past December, Daniel Speller, was chosen as our student of the month and he shed some light on his goals, experiences, and outlook on his journey through flight training at Mauna Loa Helicopters. Congratulations Dan!
Where are you from?
What point in your life did you know you wanted to fly helicopters?
It was a couple years ago in the French Alps. I had gone ski touring with a friend and we ended up taking a slightly longer route than intended. When it got dark we were in an empty valley and decided to stay the night in a vacated summer hut rather than risk getting lost in the dark. A lack of signal coverage prevented us from telling our friends that we were ok, so they sent out the helicopter to look for us. It was a crystal clear night with a full-ish moon and we ended up getting winched out of the valley. I guess it was while I swung under this machine that I knew it was something for me, I couldn’t think of anything else.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
I feel extremely lucky, I have had the support of family and friends throughout this life change. The large loan is a little daunting but I know that this is what I want, so the decision wasn’t a difficult one.
Where do you hope your training will take you?
I started with the goal of going into SAR (search and rescue), however, after being here in Hawaii for nearly a year and hearing about other peoples experiences, my list of goals has drastically increased. I would love to fly in Antarctica for a research expedition, sky cranes are also hot on my list, but I still have the end goal of working SAR in a mountainous region.
What advice would you give to people just starting out in their training or thinking about flying as a career?
Flying is a very serious business, it’s tough and you take on a lot of responsibility. This makes it even more important to stay humble, enjoy the process and have a laugh or two along the way. Good luck!
What’s your favorite thing about flying in Hawaii?
Hawaii is a great place to learn, primarily because of the challenges it throws at you. You have the trade winds, high altitude flying, volcanoes and valleys on your doorstep.
Are you looking to kickstart your aviation career? You could be our next Student of the Month!