How To Become A Helicopter Pilot

If you are interested in the world of aviation, have you ever wondered how to become a helicopter pilot and what requirements you need to obtain a flight license in this type of aircraft?

Besides being a great responsibility, handling a helicopter, as it happens with any aircraft, is an exciting adventure and a beautiful profession for those who love heights. The sensation of flying in a helicopter is almost like being suspended in the air. It offers an exceptional experience: every day will be a different experience to live and new landscapes to enjoy.

To become a helicopter pilot, you need to obtain a commercial, private, or airline flight license, which you can get by taking a helicopter pilot course.

The training, which will be divided into several phases, must include a learning part of all the critical theory from which you will have to take an official exam before doing it in the course’s practical step. You will have to accumulate flight hours; the more you have, the better qualified and skilled you will be to put yourself at the controls of a helicopter.

Generally, a helicopter pilot course includes a flight program that provides a helicopter and a synthetic flight trainer for several hours of a test flight. What you learn in the air will be reinforced with a simulator training program. You will learn to fly and pilot helicopters with exclusive reference to the cockpit instruments and operate as you should in reality. You can reinforce what you have learned or experiment with other devices, thanks to an online helicopter course.

In general terms, there are three different types of licenses you can get to fly a helicopter. Achieving one or the other will depend on the kind of objectives and path you want to follow in the world of flying:

Commercial pilot’s license: this is the title you need if you want to work as a professional helicopter pilot, being trained for passenger transportation, since a private pilot’s license will only allow you to fly on your own. But it would help if you did not forget that this license is limited since it will only be valid for single-pilot helicopters up to 4,000 kg.

Private Pilot License: Becoming a private helicopter pilot means that you will not be paid for your work as a pilot but will only be allowed to fly for personal use -not for profit- or as a hobby, without dedicating yourself professionally.

Cargo Transport Pilot’s License: This is the full license to fly a helicopter since this training will allow you to pass this type of aircraft when they exceed 4,000 kg in weight.

Among the main requirements that you will find to become a helicopter pilot and have access to the training are the following:

  • To have a high school diploma or equivalent: if not, you will have to pass a specific math and physics exam.
  • Be 18 years old at the time of taking the exam. In the case of the private pilot course, it will be valid to be 17 years old at the practical exam date.
  • Official Class I medical examination: includes ophthalmological and hearing acuity tests, electrocardiogram, a blood test to control various parameters. Subsequently, and depending on age, this certificate must be renewed periodically.
  • Official Class II medical examination: this will be necessary to opt for the private pilot’s license. This is not as restrictive as the previous one. Still, the holder of the medical certificate must be mentally and physically capable of safely exercising the license privileges for which he is applying.

The vast majority of the academic programs you will face to obtain any of the three licenses that will allow you to fly a helicopter may include the study of subjects such as air law, flight planning, meteorology, navigation, operational procedures, or VFR and IFR communications, among others.

Make sure you look for the right flight school for your interests; it is better to look for one that offers you the three modalities to do the helicopter pilot courses through three different types of training: integrated courses, modular courses, or online helicopter course, that will adapt to your schedule and specific needs. Before enrolling in a school, give yourself time to get to know it, its philosophy, and its professionals’ curriculum.

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