Tyler Duffield, Commercial Helicopter Pilot

George Hutton HeadshotIf you’re thinking about learning to fly… One Above Aviation is without a doubt the place to go!! Mark Robinson, the chief pilot/guy-in-charge, has been my helicopter CFI for a couple years now, and I believe I won the lottery when it comes to CFI’s. Mark is by far the most knowledgable pilot I know, and the best instructor you could hope for! More than that, he’s now a good friend who is ALWAYS there to help me with anything I need. I’ve been training at One Above now since it began, and have become a commercial helicopter pilot and am well on the way to finishing all my training. I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of going anywhere else to do so. They also set me up so I could rent both the R22 or R44 anytime, which has been absolutely invaluable to me during my training!

I’ve flown with a lot of different people throughout my short history in the helicopter world, and I’ve come to find that the quality of your training is directly related to the individual training you. Mark’s personality and way of teaching is one of a kind, and certainly makes each and every flight unique and insightful! I’ve felt 100% completely comfortable every minute i’ve flown with him, and have never doubted a thing he’s said. He even let me tag along and pickup a helicopter back east and fly it across the country back to Orange County with him, which was one of the most interesting experiences of my life!! Mark’s experience and background is quite extensive, and he’s got an answer, and then some, to every question I have had – which, when you’re learning to fly a helicopter, is a lot of questions!!!

Mark is also a factory safety pilot at Robinson Helicopters. When I took the safety course myself, I was in a class with people from all over the world, and nearly every one of them kept saying how exciting it was going to be to get to fly for an hour with an actual factory safety pilot. Well, at One Above, you get to everyday! I knew I was extremely fortunate when I heard what my fellow pilots had to say about that!

I really can’t stress enough how wonderful my experience has been. If you’re questioning a future in aviation, whether for fun or as a career, my advice is to do it at One Above Aviation!!!!

George Hutton, CFI Helicopter Pilot

George Hutton HeadshotFlying is fun and One Above Aviation takes meticulous care of its helicopters. Flying is a level of discipline that affects all aspects of your life by increasing self-confidence, critical thinking, and, most importantly, a heightened sense of awareness and attention to detail.

Personally, I never even knew how to get into flying. It was something I thought was cool but never thought I would do. I certainly didn’t know that learning to fly a helicopter was even an option. Though a chance happening (maybe like the one that brought you to read this review) Mark Robinson took me on a demo flight. After a few minutes I knew there was no one else I wanted to fly with, and my mind was made up that I was going to learn to do it. Mark taught me to be a pilot in just under 80 hours, which took me 6 months of flying two to three times a week after work. You develop a very personal bond with your flight instructor due to the serious nature of what is being taught. Mark has become a good friend and is the type of person that has never met a stranger. He did an extremely good job of taking the time to explain the systems, aerodynamics, airspace, & weather phenomena when I had questions.

Due to his high level of experience he was able to deliver an explanation on very simple terms (which in my work experience shows the skill of someone who really understands what they are talking about). Flight lesions are more than just hoping in the helicopter and learning to hover, there are books and ground school that have to be engaged. Mark has developed a curriculum that guides you though all the prerequisites to accomplish getting a pilot’s license. I encourage everyone to give him a call and just take a demo ride, I can’t do a good enough job putting into words the type of character he has, sparkling personality, and unrivaled skill as a pilot. Take this opportunity to just reach out to him and see what doors open in your life – even if it’s not for you, everyone should have an opportunity to experience first hand why the birds sing!

Dane Heimstra, ASU Graduate & Private Helicopter Pilot

Dane HeimstraOn the day of my discovery flight, I was accompanied with my mother and sister (who had bought the flight for me). I walked into the flight school and checked in for my appointment. At this point my emotions of fear and excitement were battling within me. Then I met my instructor for the flight, Mark Robinson. He took me out to the helicopter and showed me various critical parts. We then sat in the helicopter and he explained the basic flight controls once again. I don’t think I’ve ever been more intimidated for a task in my life. Mark went through the starting procedures, made a radio call to the tower and we took off. The first few minutes of flight were consumed by a combination of how awesome the views were and how incredible it was to me that this thing was flying.

Within just minutes we were at straight-and-level flight in an area safe for training. At this point in time Mark tilted the T-bar cyclic control of the Robinson r22 over my way for the first time and told me to fly straight and level towards a mountain. Upon his release of the primary flight control, I promptly put the helicopter in a nose down attitude with a slight roll, which I vastly over-corrected. That was it. I thought it wasn’t for me. After a few minutes and several more attempts not only was I able to fly straight and level, I was also starting basic s-turns.

Before the flight Mark had asked me where I lived. I was quite distracted by all the excitement of flying I didn’t really notice and specific direction of flight for us, until we were just a few miles from my house. What an awesome treat!

Naomi Nawa, CFI Helicopter Pilot

Naomi NawaI have been learning to fly for the last four years and it gives me a lot of fulfillment.

I want to become the most skillful pilot I can become and work for a tour company or utility flight job in Hawaii.


Lt. Tom Fischbacher, Commercial Helicopter Pilot (Law Enforcement)

Tom FischbacherI am currently a lieutenant with a southern California police department in a community near John Wayne Airport. I have over 20 years experience in law enforcement, patrol, detectives, traffic and SWAT.

In 2010 I was assigned to our police aviation unit as a sergeant and Mark became my CFII. He was to take me, a person with no previous aviation experience, and make me into a commercial, instrument rated rotorcraft pilot. I worked regularly with Mark for 8 months and accomplished all my goals. I returned to my unit well prepared for turbine transition and ready to take on the role and responsibility of a police helicopter pilot.

I have experienced a lot of varied training in my 20 plus years in law enforcement, but none compared to my time with Mark. He is an amazing instructor who provided me with the right balance of academic and real world training. No time was wasted. Mark regularly challenged me to improve my knowledge and confidence in my skills. Mark’s skills as a CFII cover a great spectrum of aviation and allow any student to get exactly what they need; private pilot to commercial instrument ratings. I highly recommend Mark Robinson as a person and a flight instructor.


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