Launching Aviation Careers for 16 years

What is the difference between going through Leading Edge Aviation and going through Central Oregon Community College?
  • Direct with LEA: When you go through, LEA all of your ground instruction and flight time is completed at the airport. It is one-on-one with an instructor.  You start with your private rating and can choose how far to go, including instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor (CFI), and certified flight instrument instructor (CFII) ratings.  You can also elect to advance your training with commercial multi-engine, multi-engine instructor in airplane.  For helicopter pilots we also offer turbine transition, night vision goggle (NVG), mountain operations, and external load operations courses.
  • With COCC: This degree seeking program includes an Associate degree in Applied Science in either helicopter or fixed wing.  Along with the traditional college classroom ground training you will attend at the COCC campus, Leading Edge Aviation provides flight instruction at the Bend airport.  The program includes private, instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor (CFI), and certified flight instrument instructor (CFII) ratings in both airplane and helicopter. VA students are also awarded funding for advanced courses in each to possibly include commercial multi-engine, multi-engine instructor in airplane.  For helicopter pilots this would include turbine transition and night vision goggle training.
Will I need to buy a headset?

Leading Edge Aviation provides rental headsets free of charge.  Many students prefer to purchase their own personal headset since you will need one for your career anyway.

Do I have to wear a flight suit?

No, you do not need to wear a flight suit for flight training. You will need to wear closed toed shoes and appropriate attire for flying.

Can I get both helicopter and fixed wing licenses?

You may be able to get both helicopter and fixed wing ratings. You will want to work on one airframe first before you move into another airframe.

What ratings do I get going through the LEA flight program?

You get a private, instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor (CFI), certified flight instrument instructor (CFII) along with the possibility of multi-engine training for fixed wing, and turbine, mountain, external load, and night vision goggle training for helicopter. When you go through the COCC program you would also get an Associate degree in Applied Science for Aviation.

Is it dangerous?

There is an element of risk associated with flying. That is why LEA works so hard to ensure that safety is our priority. We want you to be over-prepared for what you will encounter in your career. We have one of the best safety records in the industry! Leading Edge also has a safety management system (SMS) that helps identify and mitigate risk. Any time a safety related concern is raised, it gets input into our SMS system.  That information is sent to management for review and any necessary policy changes.

How many students do you have?

Our numbers change weekly as students begin training and graduate from our program.  We have an average of 120+ airplane students and 60+ helicopter students at any time.

What is the student to instructor ratio?

Our target ratio is one CFI to every 6 students. This allows instructors to stay busy, but also ensures their students get ample attention.

Do LEA hire their own students as instructors?

Yes! We prefer to hire our own students/graduates as instructors.  Our students make the best instructors for us because our standard of training is very high, and they can help us maintain that same standard right from the start for our new students.

What is LEA’s placement rate after I complete the program?

In the past year we have hired at least 20 instructors.  And, we’ve had more than 10 move on to commercial work. No one who has been willing to put in the effort and been willing to re-locate to an available job has not been successful in their aviation career after graduating from LEA

What type of aircraft does LEA have?
  • Helicopters: We have Robinson R22 Beta II, Robinson R44 Raven II, Bell Jet Ranger, Bell Long Ranger, Bell 407 (charter)
  • Airplanes: We have Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Beechcraft Bonanza, and Beechcraft Baron
How quickly can I get through the LEA program?

Your pace of completion depends on a number of factors, including your time commitment and which program you use:

  • Direct with LEA (no COCC classes): On average this is a 14-month program.  Your consistency flying and studying will determine how quickly you progress through the program.  You can complete the program in as few as 12 months or more than two years.
  • COCC Program: This is intended to be a 24-month Associate of Applied Science degree program that includes your flight ratings. If you have some general education courses completed and you can transfer them to COCC, that may shorten your time in the program.
What are the prerequisites?
  • Leading Edge – contact our Director of Admissions (bendschool@flybend.com) for a list of documents to be completed.  A few things you’ll need to get started are:
    • You will need to present TSA documentation, such as a passport or birth certificate before starting. 
    • Although not required to begin training, you will need an FAA Medical Certificate and an FAA Student Pilot Certificate prior to starting the solo flight phase of your training. We highly recommend those be completed before starting flight training to ensure success and avoid any time delays this could potentially cause.
  • COCC has a list of requirements for admission such as taking a placement test and sending in transcripts. You will also need to have an FAA Medical Certificate.  A comprehensive list of requirements will be sent to you from the Director of Admissions before beginning.
What can I do to be successful in the LEA program?
  • The aviation program requires a lot of time and dedication.  You will need to make your studies your priority and own your training – no one can study and put in the work for you. Each student progresses at a different rate, so try not to judge your own success based on others’ experiences. Following is a list of the best things to do to ensure your own success:

    • Attend and actively participating in classes
    • Arrive on time, prepared, and with a professional appearance for grounds and flights
    • Utilize your resources such as the free college tutors and group study sessions with other students
    • Couch fly
    • Create a study schedule that works for you – this will depend on what rating you’re working toward, and your own pace will determine how much time you need, but we recommend at least one hour per day
    • Act and appear professionally at the school
What is expected of me?

You are expected to take charge of your own training.  Your instructor is here to help guide the way and set realistic yet challenging goals throughout your training, but you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your progress and success.

Can I use an iPad for charts?

Yes!  We also provide current paper charts for stage checks and checkrides with examiners who prefer paper.  It is up to you to decide which you prefer.   Private pilot students will be required to plan cross countries using paper charts manually to begin with before moving on to the luxury of electronic charts.

When can I take the written exam?

You can take the exam after you have received an endorsement from your instructor to take the test, if required.  Each instructor has their own way of evaluating when you are ready.  For the private pilot written test most suggest waiting until after solo to start studying/preparing to take the written.

What do I need to do to be prepared for my flight?

Your instructor will give you an assignment for what to expect for the next flight.  You are expected to have reviewed any new maneuvers and couch fly the ones you have already learned.  Show up well rested, fed, and ready to concentrate.  If at any time you feel unfit to fly you must notify your instructor and maybe fly the sim or do a ground instead of flying that day.

What do I need to bring to every flight?

Private students need to bring their SMILE: Student pilot certificate, Medical certificate, Identification, Logbook, and Endorsements.  After you are a private pilot you only need to bring PIM: Pilot certificate, Identification, and Medical certificate.  You will also need a headset, flashlight, rag, kneeboard, pen and anything specific for the flight.

How early should I arrive prior to my scheduled flight block?

Your first few flights will require a longer preflight as you are learning the new procedures, so arriving 45-60 minutes early is a good idea.  Once you have become more efficient you will need to show up at least 30 minutes before your scheduled flight.

What preflight planning do I need to do prior to my flight?

Preflight planning is the most important part of your flight training process, there are a number of tasks to be completed before flying each day.  Weight and balance for you and the instructor and aircraft you are flying.  Daily risk assessment.  Fuel order.  Cross country flight plan, if required for the flight.  Preflight the aircraft per the checklist.

What is the practice area and where is it located?

We utilize the South, East, and West practice areas,  each located in their respective direction from the airport.  Each is shown on a map near the dispatch board.

What is the practice area frequency?

The practice frequency is 123.3 and to be used when beyond 3NM from KBDN and below 1,000′ AGL.

There are a lot of maneuvers I need to know. How should I study and prepare to fly them?

Each maneuver is described in step-by-step detail in the Leading Edge Maneuver Guide which you will get a copy of.  Use this to study.  You will also talk about each maneuver with your instructor before performing it in flight.  You will start with the basics and work your way up to the most complex maneuvers.  Once you understand the correct control inputs and responses for the maneuver, couch flying is a great, free way to practice. The simulator is also a great way to slow it down and reduce distractions when learning new maneuvers.  Your instructor will demonstrate each maneuver for you in the aircraft. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a maneuver more than once or twice to get a better idea of what is required.

What is the ACS/PTS?

Airman Certification Standards/Practical Test Standards are the requirements set forth by the FAA to be performed during the final checkride with an FAA examiner.  It includes all ground knowledge areas and flight maneuvers that need to be completed at the stated standard in order to pass and receive the certificate/rating.

What are my responsibilities on the ramp after parking?

A post flight inspection needs to be made after every flight following the checklist.  Checking fluid levels and teletemps are the main tasks along with cleaning.  You should leave the aircraft in the same manner in which you found it.  Clean out any trash that may have accumulated.  For the helicopters, clean the windscreen, dust the interior, wipe down the battery box and rear skid tube of oil.  Make sure you receive the correct instructions and tools to perform these tasks before doing them by yourself since it’s easy to accidentally damage the aircraft during cleaning procedures.

What should I expect after the flight?

You should receive a thorough debrief of the flight from your instructor to include progress, areas of weakness and how to improve.  Ask any questions you have.  You will also need to sign an invoice, and fill out your logbook and training record.

Can I schedule flights?

Each instructor handles the schedule differently. Ask your instructor what their preference is. Some instructors make the schedule for you and others will have you do it yourself.  We create a recurring schedule at the beginning of each term to ensure you get at least 2 or 3 flights per week depending on what rating you are working towards.  It is up to you and your instructor to add or move flights.

How do I schedule a written exam?

After receiving the endorsement from your instructor, if required, you can contact Dispatch to schedule a written test during the testing hours which are posted and vary.

What is the flight cancellation policy?

Cancelling a flight requires a 24-hour notification to your instructor.  If you need to cancel in fewer than 24-hours you will receive a warning. If it happens a second time, you will be required to pay a cancellation fee out-of-pocket of up to $250. We do understand circumstances out of your control and emergencies arise, so management will assess the application of a cancellation fee.