Student of the Month: Pierluigi Panichi

Name: Pierluigi Panichi

Age: 30

Current Rating(s): CPLH(EASA),  PPLH(FAA) & Instrument rating

Where are you from? Italy


At what point in your life did you know you wanted to fly helicopters?

I’ve not an aeronautical background, but I’ve always dreamed to fly. So after I graduated high school I decided to work hard to follow my dream. As soon as I started my training I immediately fell in love with helicopters!

What is your favorite helicopter to fly?

I’ve just flown Robinson 22 and 44 so far, and a brief experience with AS 350 in Italy. I like both of the Robinson, but honestly, I prefer the R44, because it is more powerful and it has a hydraulic system that allows pilots to give really light and smooth inputs on the controls.

What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?

It has been a long journey with many obstacles to get where I am today…It started in Italy, where I received my CPL license while I was working and studying…it was a struggle especially at the beginning when a lot of willing and patience is needed to coordinate movements on the controls, but after that, some skills are learned everything becomes easier!

After that, I realized that the US is a place where the aviation is the most developed in the world, and absolutely a great experience for pilots!

So I decided to move in Australia first and work there in order to save money and improve my English…it was so hard to be away from helicopters for more than one year, but I kept in mind the end goal of achieving my American Dream 🙂 so finally in June 2017 I moved here in Hawaii.

An obstacle that I am facing now is radio communications. It is tough for everyone and especially for people, not English native speaker like me it is a big challenge, but flight after flight I am improving and feeling more comfortable with it.

I am aware that there are still other obstacles to overcome, but for me, flying helicopters is such an amazing thing so I am willing to face them.

Where do you hope your training will take you?

I want to keep working hard on my training in order to become a good, safe and qualified instructor.

After that, I hope to find a job as a flight instructor in the US and work until the expiration of my visa. I would love to teach and it would give me satisfaction seeing students happy while achieving their goals.

In long-term future, I would like to be a pilot that fight fires, but I am not really thinking about it yet. For now, I just hope my training will take me to become a nice instructor.

What advice would you give to people just starting out in their training?

My advice is definitely “don’t give up!” The way is long and challenging, cost of the course is high, but if you are really passionate and enthusiast to fly helicopters I am sure that your sacrifices will be pay off.

How did you pick MLH?

I got a lot of information online about several schools but I found out that MLH has a very good reputation, and it is able to write for foreign students either M1 and F1 visas.

What’s your favorite thing about flying in Hawaii/MLH?

In Hawaii the weather has 2 important aspects we should consider: first, it is good and clear for pretty much all days of the year, so no one has to wait to be trained! Second, it is often windy, and it is an important experience for pilots in order to advance quickly and learn how to fly in wind conditions. Other things are obviously the awesome views and landscape that these beautiful islands have, and the busy airports where radio communications skill can be improved a lot.

About MLH I think it is the perfect school and I feel comfortable flying here: they are able to write M1 and F1 visas, plenty of helicopters available, really good and qualified instructors, accurate and safe maintenance, and especially professional but at the same time makes me feel like I belong to a big family.

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