Congratulations to our Helicopter Training Student of the Month for April, Shane Roberson! Get to know Shane and hear about his journey through helicopter training here at Mauna Loa.
My name is Shane Roberson, and I’m 20 years old. I am currently a private pilot and am nearing then end of my Commercial and CFI training. I should be doing my check ride for those two ratings within the next month or two.
Where are you from?
I am from a small town called Sonora in the mountains of California near Yosemite National Park.
What point in your life did you know you wanted to fly helicopters?
I’ve always been infatuated with any aircraft for as long as I can remember. When I was 8 years old, a friend of my dad’s took me on a plane ride for my birthday in a Cessna 172. From that day I knew aviation was where I belong. I started flying fixed wing when I was 15, but helicopters seemed like so much more fun. I hadn’t been in a helicopter until I came to Hawaii on a vacation with my family and as soon as we picked up into a hover, I was sold. That’s when I knew I wanted to fly helicopters over fixed wing and I am very happy with that decision, as helicopters are much more fun to fly.
What is your favorite to fly?
I’ve only flown the R44 and R22 but the R44 is definitely a favorite. Can’t beat hydraulics and power!
What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
I’ve been very fortunate to have great support from my family while I’m on this journey so they help make things go smoothly. However the biggest obstacle I had was finding the right school. I had a large list of schools that I wanted to go to and to be honest, Mauna Loa wasn’t even on the list just because I didn’t want to move all the way out to Hawaii. Every school I tried to go to ended up with some sort of issue that made me not want to attend there. That’s what led me to Mauna Loa and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Where do you hope your training will take you?
I hope my training will allow me to get a job soon after I graduate and hopefully at MLH. My goal is to be able use the training I get at MLH and use it all over the country. I want to take advantage of such a broad industry and live all over the United States flying helicopters. That’s the dream!
What advice would you give to people just starting out in their training?
Advice I could give to someone starting out, is to ask questions! I’m a pretty reserved person so I didn’t ask a whole lot of questions in the beginning, but that’s definitely not the best thing to do. A new student should take advantage of the friendly and helpful environment at MLH. I would suggest ask questions to fellow students, other instructors, chief pilots, and we are even fortunate enough to have examiners onsite to ask questions. Getting different opinions from different people, I found to be very helpful.
What has been your favorite experience while flying with MLH?
I have been able to do two cross country flights from Kona to Honolulu and we toured all the islands except Kauai. Those two flights were by far my favorite throughout the training. Not very many people get to see all the islands from that point of view and I’ve been able to do it twice. My other favorite experience with MLH is doing my Night Vision Goggle Training with Sean Hardesty. NVG is a lot of fun and was a new challenge for me.
How did you pick MLH?
I was just a few weeks away from going to a different school on the mainland. Like I said earlier, MLH wasn’t even on a list of schools I had in mind because I was intimidated by moving all the way to Hawaii. I was put in touch with Noah Haydn- Myer because he is from the same town I’m from. When I contacted him he was very helpful and MLH started to seem appealing. Then I started doing my own research about MLH and found so many good things about the school. When I wrote the school to get more info I was very impressed that Ben Fouts (who I heard nothing but great things about) immediately wrote me back and gave me all the information I needed about the school. On top of all that MLH is accredited and has different options for financing. Everything seemed to be perfect about MLH and I still believe that to this day.
What’s your favorite thing about flying in Hawaii/at MLH?
My favorite thing about flying in Hawaii is simply that it’s Hawaii. I see all the tourist coming to the islands and paying hundreds of dollars to enjoy the scenery. Meanwhile I get to enjoy this scenery as my classroom every day. My other favorite thing about being here is the environment at MLH. Everyone is so friendly and open to questions, even if it’s a different student, instructor, pilot examiner, or even the owner of the school. In my search for the perfect helicopter school, there wasn’t one that offered those things. Also my instructor Hadrien Rouch has been so great in helping me stay on top of my schooling but making sure I still enjoy every day of my training.
Are you looking to kickstart your aviation career? You could be our next Student of the Month!Start Your Helicopter Training!