Soren Buchtrup, S92, North Sea
Soren Buchtrup - Former CFI and CFII at Cloud 9 Helicopters
I started flying helicopters early in 2006, retraining after working in IT for 11 years. I just always knew that I wanted to fly helicopters! During my training and also when I was working as an instructor at Cloud 9 Helicopters, I always thought of bigger helicopters as almost unreachable. I knew I was in the perfect environment around West Palm Beach for working towards this goal.
I now find myself working as a co-pilot with one of the biggest offshore companies in the world, flying the North Sea in the helicopters that experts call "a Blackhawk on Steroids", the Sikorsky S-92. This is truly an amazing machine and though it is extremely different to the small training helicopters, I feel the experience I got from my time at Cloud 9 helicopters has been very important for making me the pilot I am today. It has completely prepared me for the commercial world of helicopter flying.
I can recommend Cloud 9 Helicopters most highly. Geoff and Debbie have created a very relaxed yet professional environment. There is a good international mix and you make some great friends there.
If you have any questions after reading this, you are very welcome to contact me through Geoff.
Michael Person, BH-412, Saudi Arabia
Michael Person – Former Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Cloud 9 Helicopters
In February 2009, my world was turned upside down when the flight school I was working for abruptly closed down and declared bankruptcy. With just over 1000hrs, I was unsuccessful finding a commercial job in the current market. Then Geoff and Debbie gave me a second chance and took me on as a flight instructor in West Palm Beach. Not only did they help me with accommodation, but they also gave me an advance on my first paycheck and really helped me get back on my feet.
During my time at Cloud 9, I was able to refine my flight and instructional skills under Geoff’s direction. My first accomplishment was to pass a grueling test with the FAA to become the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor. This allowed me to not only teach, but start evaluating pilots, which adds another dimension to my resume should I want to become a company check airman or DPE down the line. While at Cloud 9, I also gained the experience necessary to get my ATP license. Geoff also provided me with my first exposure to turbine helicopters. Starting with the MD500 and Bell 206, I also gained some twin experience on the Augusta 109 and Eurocopter AS355 which proved to be invaluable in my current job.
I now fly Bell 412s for Abu Dhabi Aviation. My current contract is to provide Air Ambulance services for the Saudi Red Crescent Authority in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is a very challenging and rewarding job, and I would like to thank Cloud 9 for providing me with the experience to be successful in my current position.