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Helicopter Pilot Requirements: 8 Things to Know

Are you interested in a career in rotorcraft? Here are eight helicopter pilot requirements to know before you begin your journey.

Rotary wing flying is an exciting world. Unlike a conventional airplane, you can land pretty much anywhere, not to mention being able to hover and even fly backwards. If you consider learning to fly, helicopters are a viable option with many exciting avenues to explore. But before you embark upon this adventurous path, you will want to know the helicopter pilot requirements. We have assembled a list of 8 things to know when it comes to becoming a helicopter pilot.


Check Your Eligibility

Often the first thing prospective helicopter pilots ask is, “am I eligible?”

The good news is that helicopter pilot requirements to start your journey are fairly easy to satisfy. 4 basic requirements must be met before you can enroll in flight training.

You will need to be:

  • At least 17 years of age
  • Able to speak, write and read English fluently
  • A high school graduate with a diploma or equivalent
  • Medically fit



Any journey starts with a first step. In this case, that step is your initial application. Most good flying schools will have a set process. This is normally a simple form that you fill in to register your interest in enrollment. From there, you may have to attend an interview or a selection. The simplest thing to do, if you are unsure, is ask.


Helicopter Pilot License Requirements

The FAA doesn’t hand out helicopter pilot licenses to anyone. In fact, many goals must be met to be awarded your pilot’s license. According to the FAA, to become a helicopter pilot, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Fly a minimum of 40 hours. This must include:
    • 20 hours of flight training with an instructor
    • 3 hours of cross country flight
    • 3 hours of night flying
    • 10 take-offs and landings
    • A minimum of 10 hours solo time
    • A complete solo cross country flight of more than 50 nautical miles
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a final skills test with an FAA-approved examiner

There are many helicopter pilot requirements, and there is a lot to learn, so it makes sense that you give yourself the best possible chance of success. Those who attend a good quality Aeronautical University often have the best chance of passing the above first time.


Set a Realistic Time Frame

Building excellence takes time.

The above helicopter pilot requirements are the bare minimum. You will need to study and work hard in order to succeed, so you need to create a realistic time frame.

The good news is that by choosing a good quality training provider, your flight training can be completed in the quickest possible time.


Pick a Good Quality Flight School

Your choice of helicopter flight school will directly impact how long it takes to complete your helicopter flight training, how much it might cost you, and ultimately, how good of a pilot you will be at the end of the training.

Your flight training is the rock upon which you will build your skills going forwards, so you need a firm foundation. While local flight schools may be more casual and easy-going, you will not acquire your license any time soon by flying once a week.

At California Aeronautical University, most students fly be flying in your first term. With a dedicated team of full-time instructors who are well versed in accelerating your training, you will find that you save valuable time acquiring your pilot’s license.

Here are some other advantages:

  • Excellent ground-based training, including simulators
  • Real hands-on experience
  • Quality instruction
  • Excellent weather and flying conditions
  • You can gain a degree and learn to fly at the same time


Funding Requirements

One perceived barrier to learning to fly a helicopter is affordability.

The solution?

Have you considered looking into whether you qualify for financial assistance? Why not take a look here and see if you could be eligible to gain help in covering the cost of your flight training?


Go Prepared

Learning to fly a helicopter is challenging. Not only will you be required to learn all of the theory behind rotary winged aircraft, but you will also have to put that knowledge into practice.

You are going to be working hard, and it pays to be prepared for your studies.

The good news is that all your hard work will pay off. California Aeronautical University offers you a degree as well as a helicopters pilot’s license. You can be a fully qualified pilot and an Associate of Science in Aviation Studies in around two years.


Consider a Career Path

With that license in your hand and a degree, you have a variety of career opportunities.

In what direction will you head next?

Here are some great options for commercial helicopter pilots:

  • Tour operator
  • Medical helicopter pilot
  • Police helicopter pilot
  • Logistical pilot
  • Search and rescue
  • Flight instructor

There are countless further options. By enrolling at an aviation college, you will put yourself in direct contact with employers, and it can make it easier to get that first foot in the door. Attending a good flight school is an investment in your own future and career. Many will continue to support you and offer valuable careers advice, even after you graduate.

Helicopter pilot requirements go beyond mere rules regarding hours. There is actually quite a lot to think about. At CAU, you can gain a degree and a helicopter pilots’ license at the same time. You will have access to the best quality flight training, future employers, and a wealth of knowledge and experience. What are you waiting for? Why not contact CAU today and find out whether your next job could be as a helicopter pilot.


2 thoughts on “Helicopter Pilot Requirements: 8 Things to Know”

    • Hi Deshandhu, thank you for your comment! We’d love to speak more with you about our helicopter pilot training! Please contact our admissions team at 661-490-9583. We look forward to speaking with you!

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