How to Become a Helicopter Pilot

According to the FAA, to become a helicopter pilot, you must satisfy the following criteria:
  1. Fly a minimum of 40 hours. This must include: 20 hours of flight training with an instructor. 3 hours of cross country flight. …
  2. Pass a written test.
  3. Pass an oral test.
  4. Pass a final skills test with an FAA-approved examiner.

How to Become a Helicopter Pilot

Step-by-step guide to becoming a helicopter pilot

Certain milestones must be achieved before becoming a helicopter pilot. For instance, in order to obtain a private pilot license, a commercial helicopter pilot must first pass all exams. To obtain a pilot’s license, candidates must pass written and practical tests, log the necessary number of flight hours, and accrue the necessary level of experience in accordance with the requirements of their respective jobs. Follow these five steps to pursue a career as a helicopter pilot:

1. Schedule a medical exam

Pilot candidates must pass a medical examination to show that their physical and mental health won’t prevent them from flying before enrolling in school or a flight training program. A doctor who has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration must conduct the exam. Doctors will examine patients for health issues that could prevent them from getting a license, such as:

2. Earn a degree or attend a flight school

Unless you want to fly helicopters for fun, you might think about getting a degree. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in math, physics, or aeronautical engineering is typically required by employers who hire helicopter pilots. The procedure for obtaining licenses is provided by some universities that offer aviation programs.

Due to the program’s emphasis on what it takes to become a pilot, attending a flight school may shorten the time it takes to obtain a license. This includes allowing enough time for the flight and preparing for the written, oral, and flight exams. Pilot students learn about helicopter controls and practice landing maneuvers. Pilots initially learn using simulators, then with an instructor by their side. Eventually, when the instructor determines the student is prepared, solo flights occur.

3. Secure financial aid

For those interested in becoming pilots, some flight schools and private businesses provide loans, such as the Career Training Loan. Some industry groups may offer training, education or scholarship opportunities. Candidates have the option of joining the military instead of going to school, where they can receive training and licenses in exchange for their service. You can apply for a rotorcraft license as an add-on if you already hold a fixed-wing pilot’s license, which may result in a reduction in the number of flight hours needed.

4. Obtain the proper licenses

Pilots of helicopters must first obtain a private license before obtaining a commercial license. Some pilots might strive to become Airline Transport Pilots, the FAA’s highest honor. Practice tests for all types of licensing are available on the FAA website. While a person can earn a certification at age 16, they must be 17 to be eligible for a private license due to age restrictions. To obtain a license, one must accrue both daytime and nighttime flight time, as well as multiple and solo trips.

To obtain a private license, pilots must:

The 40 hours of flight time includes:

After receiving their private helicopter pilot license, pilots can increase their job opportunities by advancing their education and training to earn their commercial helicopter pilot license.

To obtain a commercial helicopter license, candidates must:

To pass the commercial pilots exam, which consists of 30–50 questions, candidates must receive a score of at least 70%. Answering questions about the functions and components of aircraft as well as performing maneuvers, like handling a crisis or outlining basic points of procedure, are all part of the flight exam. During a flight exam, the student pilot and instructor plan and conduct a brief flight. If mistakes are made, the instructor may request that the pilot retake some of the exam or start over.

The ATP designation makes the job market for pilots more competitive. After a few years of experience as a commercial pilot, this designation is typically sought after as it requires extensive flight experience.

To become an ATP, candidates must:

5. Update your resume

The number of flight hours, the types of aircraft a pilot is familiar with, and any flight school honors that the pilot may have should all be listed on a resume. Pilots may be given resume templates by some flight schools so they can include all relevant flying and training information.

What does a helicopter pilot do?

Many different industries employ helicopter pilots to support either private or commercial operations. In addition to providing transportation, pilots can join the military or work as flight instructors.

Some industries that employ helicopter pilots include:

Average helicopter pilot salary

Here are some common questions about becoming a helicopter pilot:

What sort of math skills do helicopter pilots need?

Pilots use many math skills when operating rotorcraft. Typical subjects include skills in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. College math courses are an option for students, or they can study independently using books or study aids designed specifically for pilots.

How much will my education and training cost?

Becoming a helicopter pilot is a costly undertaking. For a private license, most pilots should budget between $10,000 and $15,000, and for a commercial license, between $18,000 and $20,000 In general, flight time instruction costs $200 for a dual hour and $160 for a solo hour. Exams are priced between $200 and $500 for written tests and about $500 for flight tests.

Should I attend a flight school instead of college?

Candidates for helicopter pilot jobs can enroll in flight school instead of a traditional university. Scholarships and job opportunities as flight instructors may be available from aviation schools. The added benefit of earning a degree and a pilot’s license simultaneously is provided by flight schools.

Can I get a private pilots license without a high school education?

To enroll in flight school, you must possess at least a GED certificate.

What is an instrument rating?

Pilots who possess an instrument rating are able to fly in low visibility conditions. IMC, or instrument meteorological conditions, is another name for this rating. Pilots must have completed 50 cross-country flights as pilot in command and at least 40 hours of instrument flight time to be eligible.

What can I expect from helicopter pilot training?

When you begin, get ready to finish your education and adhere to all training requirements. Pilots must continue to fly in order to maintain their skills, as they will deteriorate if not used frequently. Pilots may undergo testing from time to time and must stay current on flight protocols.

Generally, depending on how frequently you can complete flight training, you can obtain a private license in about three months. Pilots typically fly two to three times per week in addition to attending classes. Classes and flight training assist pilots in maintaining their skill level and building on prior knowledge. Pilots can overcome learning plateaus or receive assistance where they are having problems by giving themselves enough time to learn.


Is it hard to get a job as a helicopter pilot?

The short answer is yes, it should be fairly simple for you to get a job as a helicopter pilot once you’ve obtained your certifications and accumulated your flight hours.

Is becoming a helicopter pilot worth it?

You’ll be eligible for high-paying pilot jobs once you’ve completed your first 1,000 flight hours. According to salary. com, a helicopter pilot typically earns $96,000 annually. Offshore oil rigs, business executives, celebrities, and private companies are among the high-paying clients for pilots.

Do helicopter pilots make good money?

The average pay for helicopter pilots in the US is $76,784, with salaries ranging from $14,109 to $376,520. Helicopter pilots earn an average salary of $76,784 to $176,651, with the top 86% earning $376,520.

How many years does it take to learn to fly a helicopter?

The Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence (CHPL) flying syllabus is completed during the 18–20 month Cadet Pilot Program, which is offered at one of the approved Training Institutes in India or abroad.

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