New helicopter flight school opens at Medford airport

A helicopter flight school is ready for takeoff at the Medford airport.

Table Rock Helicopters, operated by owner and chief pilot Clay Clark, has set up shop at Medford Air Service, 4002 Cirrus Drive, off Biddle Road.

The school is the only nonmilitary helicopter training center between Portland and Redding, Calif. Clark eventually plans to add charter flights and air taxi service.

Clark most recently fought fires for Junction City-based Henderson Aviation. He is a graduate of Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction. He learned to fly at Los Angeles Helicopters after graduating from high school and has flown for 10 years.

"I fell in love with flight, and it's been my dream of opening a school in Southern Oregon," Clark said.

He trained pilots in Utah and Texas. He's licensed to instruct pilots in any helicopter up to 12,500 pounds.

Daniel Lyons of Olympia, Wash., also will teach at the school. He most recently worked as a flight instructor in Arizona.

Earning a pilot's license is a sizable investment, Clark said. "It depends on how many hours it takes to become proficient and pass examinations," he said. "If you go all the way through and become a flight instructor, you can expect to spend between $60,000 and $70,000, including ground school and fuel. That will put a person around the 200-hour flight mark."

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, Rogue Community College's Business Development Center and the Kerby Business Enterprise Center contributed to helping Clay launch his enterprise.

The first round of classes begins Dec. 1 with a limit of 50 students.

Curriculum information will be available at an open house at 3 p.m. Saturday at Medford Air Service.

There will be drawings for free helicopter rides. For those who don't win, rides can be purchased for $25.

The helicopter school's telephone number is 541-973-1874 and the e-mail address is

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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