Congratulations to our Helicopter Training Student of the Month for October, Stefano Monfreda! Get to know Stefano and hear about his journey through helicopter training here at Mauna Loa.
Stefano G. Monfreda
18+ (more “+” than 18!)
Working on CFI/CFII
Where are you from?
What point in your life did you know you wanted to fly helicopters?
I was 18 years old when I joined the Law Enforcement Corp in Italy with the idea to fly helicopters for them in mind. However, “timing” makes a difference in plans at times. Before I was able to participate in the selection for the aviation division I was accepted into the CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) unit. I worked here and collected resources for the next 15 years to apply toward my first helicopter pilot license. I went to a flight school in California just for fun, but immediately after my first flight I realized that I was not meant to spend all my life in a laboratory. It was at this time, I decided that I was ready to turn my workstation into a flight instrument panel. Now, almost 3 years later, I am on the way to accept that challenge.
What is your favorite to fly?
I am fortunate to have been able to fly all 3 models of the Robinson family. However, flying the R44, especially at night, definitely makes me more comfortable.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
Nobody wants to hear about financing problems, VISA procedures, distance from family and friends, (or your favorite pizza place), so I will talk about two ordinary obstacles which I have encountered on my way.
The first obstacle has been trying to keep both hands on the flight controls instead of gesturing midair to explain “efficiently” the procedures to perform a perfect steep approach (yes, I am Italian!). The second obstacle has been, entering Bravo Airspace and hearing things like “Helicopter 7-Alpha-Bravo, leaving Ford Island proceed to prison (proceed to prison??? what is this MONOPOLY??), then cross runway 8 left towards the tower, cross the 4s south of Foxtrot, landing at south ramp will be at your own risk, proceed with caution!” At this point, the only thing to do is to turn your face slowly towards your instructor and ask “he said 7-what?” Definitely a challenge on the radios, at first.
Where do you hope your training will take you?
There is not yet a specific path for a goal because I love the dynamic nature of this job in itself. For now, I hope my training will turn me into a better and safer pilot overall.
What advice would you give to people just starting out in their training?
Do your training with passion and you will not feel as though you are in school for even one day!
What has been your favorite experience while flying with MLH?
Too many to list in a couple of minutes but I guess that hovering in a R44 surrounded by waterfalls in Kauai is an experience hard to forget.
How did you pick MLH?
I followed the good reputation of the school that emerges surfing the web.
What’s your favorite thing about flying in Hawaii/at MLH?
What better environment to learn how to fly than have training over oceans, high mountains, strong wind, sudden rain showers, busy airports and rainbows? 😉
Are you looking to kickstart your aviation career? You could be our next Student of the Month!Start Your Helicopter Training!