Bill Coolbaugh is one of the best instructors I’ve ever flown with. With his technical expertise, thousands of hours of experience, outstanding communication skills and easy-going style, he makes helicopter flying fun, interesting and easier than I thought it would be. He teaches more than just ‘what to do’. He shows you that there may be several ways to do something, that some will work better than others and how to find the best way. Bill challenges you to remember that it’s more important to think while you’re flying the helicopter than it is to just move the controls around. They say when buying a home it’s location, location, location. When selecting a flight instructor it’s experience, experience, experience. I’m glad that I asked Bill Coolbaugh to teach me how to fly helicopters. I think you would be, too.

Bill Bruns Pilot | Air Traffic Controller Kenosha, Wisconsin

The instructors at Lakeshore Helicopter always talk about teaching “real world flying”. Well, it wasn’t until I attended the Robinson Pilot Safety Course that I fully understood what they meant. The course was a wonderful opportunity to share stories with pilots from around the world and with all different backgrounds. While talking with some pilots who were enrolled in one of the big production flight schools, I had mentioned the first time I flew in rain during training. They looked surprised and said “they don’t let us fly in the rain”. I asked, how about when it is windy? No we can’t fly if it is too windy either. Since they were training in Florida I didn’t even ask about snow. I was proud to tell them about my training flights in heavy rain, snow, and gale force winds. My training required flying in blackout, white out, and flat light conditions, where theirs was restricted to nice calm sunny days.

The instructors at Lakeshore do not advise or promote normal flying under these nasty conditions. However they do want their students to experience them while with a qualified instructor who is a seasoned pilot, rather than to experience them for the first time by themselves.

During my flight at the safety course, the instructor said “see that warehouse with the white roof, that is our target. Enter autorotation on my command.” By the time he said enter, a straight in would have resulted in greatly overshooting the target. There was not sufficient distance to do S turns, and a 360 could have resulted in falling short. I elected to reduce airspeed, drop vertically and resume proper air speed upon intersection with a suitable glide path. While performing the maneuver, the instructor surprisingly stated “I see you have done enhanced autorotations before”. My response, “Of course, 90% of which were full down, not power recovery. There is no power recovery from an actual engine failure”.

Now that is “real world flying”

Dale Eilo | Milwaukee, WI

I earned my private pilot license from a firm other than Lakeshore Helicopter. Soon after receiving my license I attended the Robinson Safety school and quickly realized that there was more to know than what I was taught during my preparation for the private pilot license. Yes, I learned what was needed to pass the “test” but was looking for more than “just passing the test” . I wanted to feel fully confident in my flying ability and decision making while in the air. That is when I found Bill Coolbaugh. Bill has years of experience and thousands of hours teaching. It is his passion and he ensures that you experience a diverse set of real world circumstance under his watch vs. other schools that say “just go and fly”. Bill has provided me the opportunity to experience severe weather decision making, controlled airspace, full down autos, and rounded out my general knowledge with enhanced ground school classes. I highly recommend Lakeshore Helicopter as a place to learn all that is needed to become a skilled pilot.

Kent Carlson | Helicopter Pilot