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The journey of a helicopter pilot

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Why fly helicopters?

The simple answer to that would be: fun. Pure fun and joy of being able to hover a heavy machine at the tip of your hands, being able to enjoy breathtaking bird-eye views and visiting almost any possible spot on earth without any need of airports or ground facilities.

For those who seek just the fun part of it, the right path to choose is the Private Pilot’s License for Helicopters also called PPL(H). This will give you all the benefits of helicopter flying and allow you to operate your own helicopter for the thrill of flight and making new experiences.

Of course a lot of people want to combine “fun” with work or like some call it, never have to “work” any other day of their lives. The goal for this path would be after getting the PPL(H) to go for the Commercial Pilot´s License for Helicopters, the CPL(H).

Ways to do it

Mainly there are 2 ways someone can choose to end up professionally in the commander's seat in a helicopter. One of them is of course through the military-police etc. academies of the country. Normally this way is combined with the commitment of service for a number of years with the Army, Navy or Air Force, being in first line a soldier and an officer.

Going to a private Helicopter flight school is another way of obtaining your CPL(H). This way, the cost of the flight training is paid by the student, but there is no commitment to any State or Military Service. This path might may seem a little bit riskier, but according to the helicopter pilot demand in the post-covid era, the general shortage of pilots and the job opportunities that arise because of that, it becomes more of a steady and safe investment in the future.

The journey

Starting the first flight hour in the right seat of the R22 Robinson Helicopter, you will get to feel for the first time what it means to leave the ground with the force of the main rotor and take flight like something so normal and magical at the same time. This is the beginning of an exciting journey on the way to obtain the Private Pilots Helicopter License PPL(H). Hovering, Navigation, Emergency Procedures, are just a few of the many interesting and demanding topics that will be covered during the basic flight training of a minimum of 45 hours with at least 25 hours with your instructor and 10 solo hours. Of course, practice without theory would not be complete, so there are also about 100 hours of learning theory to achieve a minimum of 75% in the EASA written examinations of 9 Subjects.

After this, the journey continues into more challenging and advanced maneuvers and a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of helicopter flying both in theory and practice. For that one needs at least 195 hours of general flight experience, training and solo time. Then together with one more theoretical examinations you achieve the Commercial Pilot License CPL(H), that together with an MCC (Multi Crew Co-operation Certificate) will allow you to pilot complex, piston and turbine, multi pilot helicopters in any weather conditions and everywhere in the world.

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