Become a Helicopter Pilot – This Job Is Awesome

If You Want It Bad Enough, You Will Figure It Out…

wes carter become a helicopter pilot guidance aviation
Wes Carter, CFI-I, Safety Manager, Guidance Aviation

When asked what inspired Wes Carter, CFI-I, U.S. Military Veteran, to become a helicopter pilot, the first thing that sprang from his lips was, “Mom”.

“She was a hard ass and has always worked diligently for everything she has. She would never feel bad for me or allow me to take the easy way out. Whenever I would complain about school or a helicopter check-ride she would say, “Life’s a bummer, if you want it bad enough, you will figure it out.”

Become a Helicopter Pilot in 21 Months

Wes Carter, CFI-I, holding his flight student Ben Hagle after Hagle’s successful Commercial Pilot Check-ride.

His mother’s guidance and support paid off. Wes Carter, CFI-I, was recently promoted to Safety Manager at Guidance Aviation. “I started my helicopter flight training in May, 2011 and I graduated in December, 2012. So, in 21 months total, I went from a zero time newbie student, to a professional aviator teaching others how to fly helicopters. And, I earned my Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS), Helicopter Pilot Operations, at the time. I got hired on at Guidance Aviation as a flight instructor (CFI-I) in August, 2013, and was promoted to Safety Manager in June, 2014.”

Carter’s wife played an integral role in Wes’s pursuit of helicopter aviation.  “I had given up trying to become a pilot because I thought I would never be able to afford it. My wife is the one who found Guidance Aviation online and discovered that through their collegiate partner programs, eligible U.S. Military Veterans may utilize their GI Bill benefits for this type of Degree program and training.  I literally didn’t believe it at first because I was afraid I’d find something too good to be true,” stated Carter.

wes carter become a helicopter pilot
Carter, left, with fellow CFI-I Hardwick and flight students in the background at Guidance Aviation.

“Within aviation I’d definitely say my flight instructor at Guidance Aviation, Curtis Marshall, CFI-I, was a big influence.  He was similar to my mom as far as being tough on me, but he taught me everything I know about flying helicopters and has continued to mentor me in my career.”

Structure, Training, Support, Autonomy, Confidence, Safety

Wes Carter helicopter pilot
Wes Carter, CFI-I, left, with flight student Ryan Shaw, after Shaw’s successful Instrument Check-Ride.

“One of the best things about Guidance Aviation is the structure. Every student knows exactly what is expected of them so there are no surprises. The freedom we have with the aircraft is unheard of. It is really nice knowing that as a CFI-I, I have the complete support from management to take the aircraft where I want and do what I want. This sounds like they may not care but it is not like that at all. When Guidance hires people they have confidence that they have trained their students well enough to make smart and safe decisions,” remarks Carter.

Born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, Carter says he would eventually like to support ground crews on fires, but says, “There really is not any job that I can think of that I would not enjoy doing as long as it involves a helicopter.”

This Job Is Awesome

Become a helicopter pilot
Carter, CFI-I, at an elementary school visit, sharing the passion of helicopter aviation with future pilots.

As Guidance Aviation’s Safety Manager, Carter holds weekly safety meetings with all flight instructors and is responsible for maintaining and revising the SMS (Safety Management System) while also maintaining Guidance Aviation’s Emergency response plan.

“This job is awesome. I have never been at any job that I look forward to going to work every day until now.” – Wes Carter, CFI-I, Safety Manager, Guidance Aviation

Carter’s Flight Instructor, Curtis Marshall, U.S. Military Veteran, Talks About Becoming a Professional Helicopter Pilot

Marshall, U.S. Military Veteran, graduate of Guidance Aviation and former Guidance Aviation flight instructor, is now flying professionally for utility company. Check out Marshall’s comments:



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