In The News
“JAARS and Revolution bringing good news to Africa”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – January 29, 2018
The first R66 turbine helicopter has started flying in the capital city of Yaoundé, Cameroon, located in central Africa on the west coast.
Revolution Aviation, better known as its popular U.S. registered trademark EatSleepFly, is doing what it does best — leading by example. This time in Africa with an association called JAARS Inc. which is a nonprofit organization in Waxhaw, North Carolina that also works alongside SIL and Wycliffe Bible translators which are located throughout the world.
JAARS has operated an R44 helicopter for several years and recently reviewed its operational requirements and found a need for an R66 turbine helicopter. This will bring better performance for mission work and extend the range of missions with the installed auxiliary tank, adding almost two hours of additional flight-time endurance together with the convenience of jet fuel being more accessible within Cameroon.
After much prayer, an R66 was purchased by a private individual and work was set to transport it to Africa. The aircraft was assembled in Yaoundé by mechanics who were flown in from the United States.
Mission aviation is critical in the developing world by bringing supplies, translators and more to areas where people need it most. People in the U.S. are fortunate the road systems are well maintained — what would take five hours to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas would take about half the time by helicopter. However, in many parts of Cameroon, what would take from 12 hours to three days to travel to by car would only take 20 minutes to five hours by helicopter, respectively. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation to fill void in L.A. flight training market”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – January 5, 2018
Starting the year has been all engines go for a Southern California flight school that is looking to fill the void in the Los Angeles flight training market.
Revolution Aviation flight school at John Wayne Airport in Southern California offering helicopter and airplane instruction — or better known as their popular U.S. registered trademark EatSleepFly — signed a lease with Aeroplex Group at Long Beach Airport on Jan. 1 for a new flight operation location on the south side at Long Beach Airport.
This will create their second location in California to serve the public’s quenching desire to fly, which is being fueled by the pilot shortage nationally.
The U. S. military and airlines have both been short of pilot-hiring goals. More than 42 percent of active U.S. airline pilots at the biggest carriers will retire over the next 10 years, about 22,000, according to a recent report by Cowen & Company.
Furthermore, the skill demand for helicopter or dual-rated specific qualifications is even greater, and an even hotter commodity which in turn is demanding higher salaries paid by private corporations.
For Southern California this means that Revolution will be the first flight school to operate bases in both Orange County and Los Angeles County creating the largest footprint of a flight school operation in the 33,900 square miles of the Los Angeles area — which is the largest metropolitan region in the United States by land area.
This allows students the option to pursue training that is geographically suitable to their needs. [continue article]
“Bitcoin takes off with Revolution Aviation flight school”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – December 11, 2017
Based at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, the helicopter and airplane flight school Revolution Aviation — also known by its popular registered trademark “EatSleepFly” — has announced that it is now accepting bitcoin payments.
According to CEO Mark Robinson, several of Revolution Aviation’s students have invested in the digital cryptocurrency, which has skyrocketed in value over the past year. With the use of bitpay, Revolution Aviation can now start accepting bitcoin payments from students whose investments are varied and who wish to use the cryptocurrency for payment.
Bitpay’s ability to limit the amount of bitcoin accepted per transaction, and to make immediate deposits to users’ bank accounts in their chosen currency, played a role in the flight school’s decision.
“I believe we’re the first flight school in America accepting bitcoin,” said Robinson. “For something new to be a currency it has to be limited or controlled, hard to fake, easy to transfer and accepted. It seems that bitcoin is ticking the boxes and integrating its way to society.” [continue article]
“The Guimbal Cabri G2 gets better”
Vertical Magazine [Precision Helicopters PR] – November 9, 2017
Helicopteres Guimbal announced another significant milestone that keeps the Cabri G2 at the front of the pack for being the most advanced and safest trainer on the market.
The FAA has approved Service Bulletin 17-009 that allows the pilot to use additional horsepower from the aircraft’s Lycoming 0360-J2A. Previously, the allowed power had been 145 horsepower. The new rating allows the pilot to utilize 160 horsepower without any negative implications to operating costs or additional inspections. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation adds two aircraft within 30 days”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – October 13, 2017
The word is certainly spreading that learning to fly is a popular career choice, and students are jumping on board with confidence in their 100 percent graduate employment rate within the last 58 consecutive months straight.
Based at John Wayne Airport, offering helicopter and plane instruction, Revolution Aviation — better known as its popular U.S. registered trademark EatSleepFly — is gaining momentum training the future generation of pilots.
Within the last 30 days of flight school, Revolution Aviation has added two new R22 helicopters to its fleet in its usual bright colors, this time fluorescent green and a conservative black, and it has hired two new instructors to join the extraordinary team.
With the positive energy and thorough syllabus attracting new comers, this has meant potential students both domestic and international have decided to sign up for flight school. The additional instructors are multilingual in Spanish and Chinese, so students can better understand systems in their native language. [continue article]
“Flight school Revolution Aviation diversifies to offer UAS cinematography”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – September 29, 2017
After five years of offering drone instruction, Revolution Aviation will now offer unmanned aircraft system (UAS) cinematography by partnering with Ultimate Drone Productions.
Based at John Wayne Airport, and offering helicopter and plane instruction, Revolution Aviation, better known as its popular U.S.-registered trademark EatSleepFly, has ventured confidently in to the UAS market.
Since 2014 the UAS/drone market has increased 63 percent with up to three million drones currently shipped in 2017. This is expected to increase to seven million drones shipped to customers in the United States by 2020.
With the biggest demand being in photography and real estate, Revolution Aviation has partnered with Ultimate Drone Productions to provide a full service photo and video cinematography production services. The need for aerial imagery in Southern California is out-pacing supply. There are approximately only 20,000 registered commercial drone services in all 50 states.
The aviation knowledge of a flight school with the expertise of drone handlers makes for a great confidence boost to clients looking for production in a highly regulated and media-watched environment. [continue article]
Check out our UAS photography, videography & cinematography page here !
“Revolution Aviation gives back to homeless community”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – July 25, 2017
Revolution Aviation (EatSleepFly) recently donated a helicopter ride to two lucky winners of the Kings Table feast.
Based in Southern California at John Wayne Airport and offering helicopter and aircraft instruction, Revolution Aviation makes many charitable donations each year.
In conjunction with Newsong Church in Santa Ana, California, Revolution Aviation flight school heard about an outreach event to the local homeless community called the Kings Table. Since Santa Ana is a very densely populated city, ranking fourth nationally in that regard among cities of over 300,000 residents (trailing only New York City, San Francisco, and Boston), is it not hard to believe that the homeless population is growing, yet in 2011 Forbes ranked Santa Ana the fourth-safest city of over 250,000 residents in the United States. [continue article]
“Why I Visited North Korea”
New York Times [Interview] – July 24, 2017
Mark C. W. Robinson is an American pilot based in California. He visited North Korea for four days last month with his wife.
What prompted you to go? My father has visited 69 countries, and I’ve had a few friends who have been to North Korea. I wanted to see for myself since we no longer know what will happen next politically.
What did you see on your trip that resonated with you? When we went to the DMZ, a soldier was extremely friendly. One political conversation came up, and he said he wished that both nations would talk. I was surprised to fly in a helicopter. Being a pilot myself, this was amazing to see the capital from the air. It’s huge!
Do you think that outsiders should visit nations like North Korea? I believe outsiders should visit North Korea and other unusual nations to form their own opinion and see people running their daily lives. Tourism also gives the locals in those areas an opportunity to see Westerners and all the fashion, technology and conversation it creates. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation acquires Airbus H125”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – July 17, 2017
Based in Southern California at John Wayne Airport, offering helicopter and fixed-wing instruction, Revolution Aviation (EatSleepFly) is in a strong state of growth and is currently looking at additional aircraft for revenue.
Starting in August, an Airbus H125 will be added to its fleet, bringing the total amount of aircraft in its fleet to 14. This aircraft comes at a time when the demand from students, blue chip companies and government entities is higher, with requests for additional equipment for various operations.
With the wave of media covering VTOL and drones for the masses, aviation seems to have become more popular and the flight school has noticed a huge amount of interest coming from abroad and a variety of clients wanting to get their pilot qualifications. With such a variety of questions comes many different requests and budgets, the company hopes this Airbus H125 helicopter will help satisfy that need, for now. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation announces delivery date for first Guimbal Cabri G2”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – July 07, 2017
Revolution Aviation has announced that the date has been set for it to receive its first Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter.
Based at John Wayne Airport, Revolution Aviation (EatSleepFly) offers helicopter and fixed-wing instruction and is in a strong state of growth. This new addition enables the company to operate one of the first Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter in Southern California, with an additional aircraft on request.
The Cabri G2 arrived in the U.S. on July 5, by a ship from France, where Guimbal Helicopters (Hélicoptères Guimbal) is located. Federal Aviation Administration-required training will take place on July 17 in Oregon, where the North American Guimbal dealer operates, with instruction already being scheduled from July 20. [continue article]
“Local businesses working together to promote general aviation”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – May 24, 2017
It’s been more than a decade since John Wayne Airport has had a school field trip through security at the airport gates. Flight school Revolution Aviation and ACI Jet Center recently came together with Stoneybrooke Christian School, in San Juan Capistrano, California, to bring more than 25 students to see the airport in action and allow everyone on the tarmac.
With a timely helicopter landing, and Orange County Fire Authority’s bright green fire trucks on display, robots in action moving aircraft, jets and many more professionals on scene — it was similar to a mini airshow in the heart of Orange County airport on a Tuesday morning. The opportunity to sit inside a helicopter gives students a real vision of what it might be like to become a pilot, and it’s the best way for anyone at any age to get an idea of how the airport operates and brings business to the local economy. [continue article]
“New FBO at John Wayne Airport signs lease with Revolution Aviation”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – April 25, 2017
On April 1, 2017, a new fixed-base operator (FBO), ACI Jet Center, took over from Signature Flight Support at John Wayne Airport, in Orange County, California.
Revolution Aviation was quick to welcome and establish new relationships with ACI Jet Center where they have operated since August 2013.
The growing flight school is the only operation on the airfield that instructs in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, thus the need for space as it grows is now at the forefront. John Wayne Airport has 501 acres dedicated to the airfield, which is 36 times smaller than Dallas Fort Worth airport in Texas, so space is definitely at a premium in Orange County.
Revolution has signed a lease for three more hangars and additional ramp space totaling almost 7,000 square feet.
“ACI Jet Center has been an absolute pleasure to work with and they really support GA, which is very encouraging considering John Wayne Airport in Orange County gets just four percent of their revenue from GA tenants and the city does little to assist future pilots in their quest of learning to fly,” said Mark Robinson, CEO. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation announces new airport line assistant”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – April 3, 2017
Having added a 12th aircraft to the fleet in March 2017, it was becoming clear that there was a need for further help in facilitating airport operations. At this point Revolution Aviation looked towards its students to see who would be interested in joining the operations team.
The amount of interest was overwhelming and eventually decided on newly rated helicopter private pilot Garrett Collins to join the team.
“Airport operations is very serious and finding someone who is familiar with current safety protocols, procedures and already motivated by learning to fly is a big win for everyone, it’s even better when a student aims to have a career in aviation and we can assist in building that dream resume,” said Mark Robinson, CEO. [continue article]
“Student pilot lands $5,000 flight school sponsorship with Revolution Aviation”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – March 17, 2017
Based at John Wayne Airport offering helicopter and plane instruction, Revolution Aviation, better known as its popular U.S. registered trademark EatSleepFly, is enrolling 300 percent more female student pilots than the national average. This changes the ratio of men to women from just 20 years ago being nine to one to today’s statistics of seven to three enrolling in flight school.
When Natalie was researching flight schools she discovered Revolution Aviation through various different avenues like Instagram and word-of-mouth, so she decided to attend one of its quarterly Aviation Social Nights; where students, pilots, owners, examiners and mechanics come together to discuss aviation and enjoy good food. Through this event Natalie got to speak with the CEO, Mark Robinson, learnt about the $5,000 sponsorship program and decided she has what it takes to apply. [continue article]
“Guimbal Cabri G2 to enter U.S. leasing market”
Vertical Magazine [by Oliver Johnson] – March 14, 2017
Hélicoptères Guimbal received an order for up to 10 Cabri G2s from Spitzer Helicopter Leasing at HAI Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, last week — marking the type’s entry into the U.S. leasing market.
The deal was secured through Guimbal’s U.S. distributor Precision Helicopters, with the first aircraft to be operated by Revolution Aviation, based in Orange County, California.
Revolution currently operates three fixed-wing aircraft and nine helicopters (six R22s, two R44s, and one R66). When it takes delivery of the Cabri in June, the aircraft will become the first of the type in the Los Angeles area.
“For the career student, it’s a mini [AS350] AStar, so it allows them to get into a counter rotating aircraft with a center cyclic and a couple of other mechanisms,” said Revolution CEO Mark Robinson. “And we have a lot of [private] students who have already purchased an aircraft; we think it’s a lot more relevant for them to be flying a three-bladed system with a center cyclic in order for them to have that transition [between the aircraft].”
Robinson said the Cabri’s ability to take slightly heavier students than the R22 was another bonus, and praised the aircraft’s handling.
“It’s really comfortable, it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at both inside and outside, and then flying itself is very smooth,” he said.
Precision CEO David Rath said the two-seat training helicopter’s entry into the leasing market was a “momentous” event. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation acquires Guimbal Cabri G2”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – February 16, 2017
Based at John Wayne Airport (KSNA) in California, and offering helicopter and fixed-wing instruction, Revolution Aviation (EatSleepFly) will be offering helicopter instruction in the new, French-built Guimbal Cabri G2. Having observed positive results around the world, Revolution has committed to diversify its flight by being the first operator in California to take delivery of the two-seater helicopter in mid-2017.
To date, Revolution’s helicopter fleet has comprised of Robinson Helicopter models, which has pigeonholed student pilots’ flight experiences, especially during initial training. The Cabri G2 will offer pilots the opportunity to fly a semi-articulated helicopter, use a center cyclic and a fenestron tail rotor.
“The Cabri helicopter does not have the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] SFAR 73 [Special Federal Aviation Regulation] and pilot-in-command limitations that the Robinson R22 does,” said chief pilot Mark Robinson. “Its operation is more similar to Airbus and Bell helicopter models, and is quieter to operate – an excellent feature for a helicopter operating in the noise-sensitive area of the Los Angeles basin. It will be a wonderful addition to our fleet that will give clients the opportunity to become familiar with different operating systems at an economic price.” [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation acquires 10th aircraft”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – January 31, 2017
With seven new students enrolling in its helicopter flight school, Revolution Aviation decided it was time to add another aircraft to its fleet.
Based at John Wayne Airport offering helicopter and plane instruction, Revolution Aviation, or EatSleepFly, is in a strong state of growth. This has enabled the company to acquire its 10th aircraft in the first quarter of 2017, with an additional one on order.
Revolution Aviation’s 10th aircraft will make its inaugural flight 1,900 miles across the U.S. on Jan. 31 with a student aboard landing at Orange County Airport in California. What makes this aircraft unique is that it is one of the only aircraft in the world that is pink.
“We’ve had so many compliments from guys and girls saying they want to fly such a fun looking aircraft,” said Mark Robinson, CEO. “It will also be great for visibility and charitable events.” [continue article]
“In Our Schools: Hands-on learning for Canyon’s aviation class”
Orange County Register [by Andrea Mills] – November 23, 2016
It was a unique touchdown on the Canyon High School football field – without a football, teams or cheer squads.
As students looked skyward, a Revolution Aviation helicopter circled, then landed gently and skillfully on the 30-yard line.
The landing was arranged by teacher Steve Smith, as part of the hands-on instruction in his Aviation classes. The students were able to look under the hood of the aircraft, sit in the cockpit and view the instrument panel, and ask questions of the pilots.
Smith, a former commercial pilot, brought the aviation program to Canyon. Now in its third year, Canyon’s is the only high school aviation program in Orange County. Students in the initial freshman Careers in Aviation Class receive a broad overview of the many career opportunities available in the industry, including air traffic control, airport operations and aviation mechanics, as well as engineering, military careers, design, navigation and pilot.
Smith’s Aviation I and Aviation II classes include ground school, taught to FAA standards. Completion of the classes allow the student to take the FAA written exam, and receive college credits in collegiate aviation programs. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation acquires 2,500 square feet of ramp space at John Wayne Airport”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – November 1, 2016
With humble beginnings of sharing a small space in a hangar at the United States’ 40th busiest airport, Revolution Aviation is gaining ground.
Based at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, Revolution Aviation — better known as EatSleepFly — offers helicopter and plane instruction, and is in a strong state of growth. This has enabled the 15-person team to acquire 2,500 square feet of ramp space to add to their 3,000 square foot hangar.
This new ramp space, acquired with Martin Aviation, is located on the west side of John Wayne Airport, which now takes the company’s operations all over the airport through four separate service providers. Mark Robinson, CEO said: “Even with the restrictive, decades-old business regulations at John Wayne Airport, we’ve had strong support from local service providers that have assisted in our growth.” [continue article]
“Pilot spots pods of leopard sharks near Seal Beach Pier”
ABC 7 Eyewitness News [by Eileen Frere] – September 9, 2016
SEAL BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — Pilot Mark Robinson was giving a flight lesson when he and the client saw something below that caused a double-take.
“We were with our student Dave and he suddenly turns to his right and goes, ‘what’s that?'” the chief pilot with Revolution Aviation said. “We see fins, then wiggly tails and we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re sharks.'”
They saw two pods of leopard sharks – about 100 altogether were swimming in the shallow water, just east of the Seal Beach Pier – before 8:30 in the morning Thursday.
While his student took control, Robinson started shooting video out of the window of his helicopter. His first thought was that no one was in the water.
Robinson said he would later learn more about the leopard sharks, which are believed to be harmless unless provoked.
“They’ll swim around you. However, these were pregnant leopard sharks that were coming up to the shallow waters to warm their bodies,” Robinson said.
He added that in his 10 years of flying in Southern California, he’s only seen a shark one other time and that was just four months ago also by the Seal Beach Pier. [continue article]
“Video: Pods of leopard sharks spotted in Seal Beach”
Orange County Register [by Laylan Connelly] – September 9, 2016
Helicopter pilot Mark Robinson was giving a flight lesson along the Orange County coastline Thursday when something made him do a double take.
Sharks. Everywhere. About a hundred of them.
“I thought to myself ‘I hope there’s no one in the water,’” he said after spotting the sharks in shallow water in Seal Beach near the San Gabriel river inlet. “I didn’t know what kind of sharks they were.”
He took a closer look, and saw they were leopard sharks – thought to be harmless, unless provoked.
Robinson, founder of Revolution Aviation, said there were two pods. He first saw the sharks during an early morning flight at 8:20 a.m. Thursday, then did another flyby at 7:20 p.m. as the sun went down, and the sharks were still hanging out.
There were no beachgoers in the area, he said.
“It was amazing,” he said.
A fly by Friday showed no sign of the sharks, which seemed to have moved on from the area. [continue article]
“In Our Schools: Summer vacation is quickly fading”
Orange County Register [by Andrea Mills] – August 12, 2016
Two weeks. Only 14 short days remain, until Aug. 24, when summer is officially over for Orange Unified School District students, and classes commence…
Canyon High School is the first school in the Orange Unified School District to offer an aviation program as an elective. Under the direction of CHS teacher and private pilot Steve Smith, students may elect to complete ground school. They can also proceed to flight school to get the in-air instruction and the hours necessary to qualify for a license.
Revolution Aviation at John Wayne Airport works with the Canyon students, helping them pursue licensing for helicopters or aircraft. Students may take the private pilot written test at age 15; solo at age 16, and get a license at age 17, after the requisite 40 hours of flight school. With enough dedication and hours, students may qualify to become commercial pilots at age 18.
Per Mark Robinson, chief flight instructor at Revolution, some students pursue their pilots license, then with enough air-time, are qualified to either teach aviation or fly part-time, earning money while attending college. Flying out of John Wayne is great experience for a pilot, he said, as out of 19,600 U.S. airports, John Wayne is considered the 40th busiest air space. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation celebrates four years of operation”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – July 4, 2016
The newest and only helicopter flight school to start up within four decades in Newport Beach entered its fourth year on July 4.
Based at John Wayne Airport and offering helicopter and plane instruction, Revolution Aviation, better known as EatSleepFly, has been enrolling approximately one student pilot per week since 2013 with many students wanting to go on and pursue a career flying. “Just like the Disney movie Ratatouille, where everyone can cook — we believe everyone can really learn to fly,” said Mark Robinson, chief pilot.
To this day, all students who have been enrolled into the career pilot training program have been placed immediately into employment upon finishing their training. “We do not see this 100 percent statistic slowing since we’ve had to hire outside our school too,” said Robinson. [continue article]
“Revolution Aviation to offer $1,000 scholarship to Orange County’s first high school aviation program”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – May 27, 2016
Never before has Orange County had a high school aviation program and Revolution Aviation is very excited about the new course at Canyon High School in Anaheim, California.
“Our aim is to attract those who want a pilot’s license from a young age and get them excited about aviation and helicopters; since all everyone hears about is airplane terrorism in the national media,” said Mark Robinson, Chief Pilot.
A $1,000 flight and ground training scholarship is being offered for starters, since this is a new high school course. The aim is to offer a full training scholarship in the future. [continue article]
“Newest flight school in Orange County opens its doors”
Vertical Magazine [Press Release] – May 27, 2016
It has been more than 34 years in Orange County, California since a helicopter flight school has opened its cockpit doors at John Wayne Airport. In fact, Revolution Aviation is the first flight school locally to ever offer crossover training in helicopter, plane and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipment.
Started by Mark Robinson, now 36, who has worked as a safety pilot for the Robinson Helicopter Factory, police department and the Goodyear airship operations, he brings quite the edge and knowledge to the aviation industry. His moto and U.S. registered trademark is EatSleepFly and students certainly love that since most rent the R44 to go fly and eat.
Robinson says, “Our aim is to attract those who want a pilot’s license but also attract those who want to get in to the aviation industry without leaving the ground by flying UAVs.”
Since opening, Revolution has enrolled on average one student a week, and 85 percent of them choose to learn helicopters. [continue article]
“AIN Blog: Impressions from Heli-Expo 2016”
AINonline [by Matt Thurber] – March 7, 2016
Last week the rotary-wing set descended on Louisville, Ky., for the annual HAI Heli-Expo show, to share information, discuss safety issues, learn about and buy and sell products and, in general, celebrate their love of all things helicopter.
As I did last year, I called up my friend Mark Robinson (no relation to the eponymous and prolific helicopter manufacturer) to schedule an hour of flying in a Robinson R22 at his Revolution Aviation flight school in Santa Ana, Calif. I like to charge up my helicopter batteries before Heli-Expo every year, and there’s no better way than an hour at the controls of a helicopter.
This year, I flew with talented instructor Jordy Barrymore on a gorgeous sunny Southern California afternoon. After departing the John Wayne Class D airspace, I motored south along the coast over Laguna Beach, then we headed back to the airport for some autorotations and hovering. I’m not sure I did much on the controls during the autorotations, but I did feel like I was getting better at hovering the twitchy R22. Barrymore expertly guided my view outside toward a distant hangar, urging me not to peer at the ground just in front of the helicopter, and that helped a lot, especially while I landed and picked up the R22 a couple of times.
I’m definitely starting to feel more comfortable at the controls, and one of these days I know that I’m going to want to plunk down the money to get my private helicopter add-on. Flying a helicopter is incredibly fun, and I recommend giving it a try sometime; it will paint a big grin on your face and make you remember why you like to fly. [continue article]
“The Real Helicopter Parents”
Air & Space Magazine [by Chris Bahnsen] – May 2015
Families are paying big bucks to put their kids behind the stick.
Becoming a “den leader” to kids in choppers is not how Mark Robinson foresaw his career, but that’s what the chief pilot of Revolution Aviation has been since opening his helicopter flight school in 2013. The school operates at John Wayne Airport, which caters to the wealthy in Orange County, California—where super-yachts dominate the harbor, Ferraris and Bentleys tool up the Pacific Coast Highway, and parents wanting helicopter lessons for their kids can easily front up to $1,000 an hour.
Robinson, who was raised in a mud hut by missionary parents in the African country of Cameroon, finds the new kind of clients surprising. Take the 14-year-old whose parents have budgeted over $100,000 for weekly lessons. “As soon as he gets his pilot’s license, his dad wants to buy a helicopter so his son can chauffeur him around,” says Robinson, a former safety helicopter pilot. “Instead of sports after school, parents are putting their kids in helicopters. They think having a helicopter pilot’s license on an application will help their kids get into college.” [continue article]
“Costa Mesa teen begins helicopter lessons in February, flies cross country in April”
Orange County Register [by Jordan Graham] – April 15, 2015
Two months ago, 19-year-old Claire Wright was sitting in a Las Vegas airport, when she suddenly decided she would become a commercial helicopter pilot, even though she had never before flown a chopper.
Two weeks ago, the newly enrolled flight student proved she had the chops to be an aviator, when she flew a small helicopter 2,000 miles to Tennessee over a four-day stretch.
“If I decide I’m going to do something, I commit myself fully and do what I can to make it fun,” said Wright, a Vanguard University communications student, aspiring singer/songwriter with songs on iTunes, and a 2013 Miss California High School.
“That’s just how I roll.”
Wright grew up in Northern California, where she occasionally flew small planes in high school, but she gave up flight because of the expense. After her February Las Vegas epiphany, Wright emailed Revolution Aviation at John Wayne Airport, and 10 days later she began flying helicopters.
A month after her first flight, she signed up to copilot the cross-country trip with Revolution Aviation chief pilot and flight instructor Mark Robinson. On April 1, the two took off, flying 90 mph, 500 feet above the ground, over eight states, hopping among 17 airports for 23 hours of flight time – a real bird’s eye view of America.
“The eastern part of Texas was stunning,” Wright said. “It was green everywhere.” [continue article]
“AIN Blog: Recharging the Rotorcraft Batteries”
AINonline [by Matt Thurber] – March 1, 2015
Each year before the annual Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo show, I try to log some helicopter time. While I’m not (yet) a certified helicopter pilot, I find that getting my hands on the controls is a great way to prepare for the show and gain further insights into these wonderful machines.
Flying a helicopter is nothing like flying an airplane. One major difference: you can put a helicopter right where you want it, within its flight envelope of course. This was demonstrated to me again when I flew on February 23 with Mark Robinson, founder of Revolution Aviation at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif. Mark and his wife, Anna, who as director of operations helps run the back office at Revolution Aviation and is about to begin learning to fly, are part of the up-and-coming breed of young entrepreneurs who are the future of general aviation. While some of us gray-hairs might grumble about how general aviation is shrinking and costs are rising, the Mark and Anna Robinsons of this world are busy launching new companies. Who knew that there was room for another helicopter flight school in Southern California? [continue article]
“Flight school flourishes at John Wayne: Helicopter lessons are up as young students look to boost their resumes”
Orange County Register [by Hannah Madans] – February 6, 2015
Mark Robinson preps his R22 two-seater helicopter for flight, his hands in constant motion, his ears tucked under chunky headphones as several voices relay air traffic details from John Wayne Airport’s tower.
The 34-year-old Costa Mesa resident checks the runway for clearance, and in a matter of seconds, the whirlybird is in the sky, soaring toward Fashion Island, a route he often takes with his new student pilots.
Robinson has been a multitasker since his youth. Raised in the African bush with his missionary parents, he moved at age 22 to London, where he traded currency on the foreign exchange market with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
A bad relationship soured him on his old life and convinced him to seek a bigger challenge. He quit his job, took flying lessons and became a pilot.
“I changed my career in seven months and haven’t looked back since,” Robinson said.
He has since held many jobs as a pilot, including flying helicopters for police stations and operating the Goodyear Blimp in Carson.
“I watched ‘The O.C.’ (television show) while in England. Being a kid who grew up in the bush, I never dreamed I’d end up in Newport Beach,” he said.
Now the chief pilot at Revolution Aviation at JWA, Robinson said he’s seen student enrollment soar since the flight school launched in August 2013. [continue article]