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How to Become a Helicopter Pilot

The demand for helicopter pilots is seeing a steady increase. Flying a helicopter is exciting and we will talk you through how to become a helicopter pilot and tell you a little about the courses we offer.


How to Become a Helicopter Pilot: The Process

Before you embark on this exciting career path is worth checking that you meet the minimum requirements for granting a license as defined by the Federal Aviation Authority. Here is a quick rundown of what is required:

For a commercial helicopter license, you have to

Provided that you meet the above criteria, you will be able to start flight training.

What Does That Involve?

Believe it or not, flying a helicopter can get a little technical. You will want to have a solid knowledge base so that you can understand what is happening. For that reason, you will need to attend ground school.

Ground school will cover the following and much more:

  • Helicopter systems
  • Aerodynamics and the principles of flight
  • Air law and regulations
  • Meteorology
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew resource management

Once you have undertaken the necessary ground school and passed the required examinations, you will be in good shape to start accruing those all-important flying hours as you work your way towards a commercial helicopter pilots’ license.

Flying Hours

Flying hours are the standard benchmark used to assess how experienced a pilot is. Commercial pilot certificates and ratings, the conditions under which those certificates and ratings are necessary, and the general operating rules for persons who hold those certificates and ratings are mandated by the FAA.

In summary, you will need a total of:

150 flight hours (50 of which must be in a helicopter)

Of which…

  • A minimum of 100 hours must be pilot in command time
  • At least 20 must be training time
  • 5 must be flown using instruments only
  • A minimum of 10 hours must be completed solo

Once you satisfy the hour’s requirements, it will be time to put your skills to the test. A practical skills test takes place with an examiner who will assess your capabilities. If he signs you off, it is time to apply for your license.

Welcome to the world of rotary-winged aviation.

If that sounds confusing or daunting, you need not worry. If you enroll in an aviation degree program, you will be guided through every step of the journey. With excellent instructors, you will be in no doubt about what each step of that journey entails.


What Are The Advantages of Becoming a Helicopter Pilot?

Helicopter flying is a world of its own. No two days are ever the same.

Because helicopters are so dynamic, there is a world of possibilities out there waiting. Helicopters don’t necessarily need an airport to operate. As a result, the type of flying you can do is only limited by your imagination. Here are some of the exciting roles that a helicopter pilot could operate in:

  • Search and rescue
  • Traffic reporting
  • Surveying in the remote wilderness
  • Logistics and supply to isolated areas
  • VIP transport
  • Medical assistance
  • Fire fighting
  • Policing


5 Tips for Becoming a Helicopter Pilot

Nobody said flying a helicopter is easy. Here are some great tips to help you on your journey.

1. Take a trial flight

It would be a shame to invest all of that time and effort, only to discover that you really did not enjoy flying, (It is doubtful, but it can happen)

A trial flight is short and relatively inexpensive. You can give it a go and see for yourself how exciting it is.

2. Get ahead of the game

If you want to fly a helicopter, there are ways you can practice.

Manuals for training helicopters (such as the Robinson R44) are available online. These are exactly the same manuals you will be using when you learn to fly. Why not get ahead of the game? You can also find printed diagrams of the cockpit. These are perfect for practicing checklists and building familiarity in the aircraft.

3. Study, and then study some more

The more you can learn on the ground, the easier it will be in the air. While becoming a helicopter pilot is fun, it is also challenging. Our tip is to study as much as you can to give yourself the greatest possible chance.

4. Be patient

Aviation is not always easy, and like any new skill, it might take a few attempts to get something right. That is ok and is expected. Provided you work hard and can review how you can do better, you will be in a great position to learn and improve.

5. Choose a reputable flying school

This is the most important tip we can offer. Helicopter flight training can be pretty full-on. To avoid being overwhelmed, a part 141 approved helicopter flight school can make life so much easier.


Why Choose an Aviation University?

An aviation university offers so much more than your average flight school. Here are some great reasons why it makes sense to choose one:

You fly more. CAU offers up to 4 days a week of hands-on flight experience.

You can gain a degree and a pilot’s license. As if earning a pilot’s license was not enough, you will also satisfy the requirements to be granted a degree in aviation studies.

You have more career options. CAU has partners who acknowledge the quality of their training. This makes getting your first job much easier.

You are following a structured path with increased support. CAU is well-practiced in getting candidates to the standard required to excel in their chosen field. With a wealth of experience and instructors who have seen everything, you’ll be in good hands from your very first day.

California Aeronautical University offers dedicated degrees with an emphasis on flying helicopters. Why not contact us for more information about the exciting career possibilities and training that awaits?


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