How To Get a Helicopter Pilot License

How To get a helicopter license

A helicopter license is needed to become a first class pilot. [Credit: Unsplash]

Would you like to pilot helicopters? It's possible if you take some time to study and practice the wide range of skills involved. This process will include the necessary training and a first-class helicopter examiner. 

However, your first step should be to make an appointment with experienced pilots in the field of aviation you wish to pursue or learn more about the intricacies of obtaining this type of license before attempting this process yourself.

How Does Obtaining a Helicopter Certificate Work? 

If you're interested in obtaining your helicopter certificate, you can schedule a visit with a local flight training facility or start an online search to find a good instructor. Once you've scheduled an appointment with an instructor, the next step is to study. If you're already a pilot, then it's time to enroll in ground school and start studying the basics of flying helicopters.

Where Can You Get a Helicopter Certificate?

If you're seriously interested in pursuing a ‘license’ to fly a helicopter, then it's time to start studying the basics through at-home printed and online training materials and apps. The next step would be to enroll at your local flight training facility.

Although there are plenty of online resources that can help you learn more about this process, the best place to begin would be at your local flight training facility. This is where you will be able to both study and practice your new skills before scheduling an appointment with an FAA examiner. They will direct you toward the right materials to study that fit within their syllabus.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Helicopter Certificate?

The cost of getting the ‘license’ to fly a helicopter range widely depending on a variety of factors, but it is not uncommon for the cost to be in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. You will also need to consider the cost of equipment and any other expenses you may have while obtaining this certification.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Helicopter Certificate?

It is difficult to give a definitive time frame for how long it will take you to get a helicopter certificate. There are a number of different factors that would determine this amount of time, including the number of flight hours you already have, the type of helicopter you're interested in, and the extent of your training. On average, if you are flying part time, it takes roughly six months.

What Can You Do With a Helicopter License?

A helicopter pilot certificate allows you to fly all helicopters depending on the type of operations you plan to fly, and the level of your certificate, whether it is a private or commercial certificate. These include private, corporate, and commercial operations. You will need a rotorcraft instrument rating in order to fly in low weather conditions. You will be able to fly in controlled airspace with any certificate level.

7 Steps to Obtain Your Helicopter Certificate

Although it can seem intimidating, obtaining a helicopter certificate is not as complicated as some people think. With the right instructor and the proper amount of training, anybody can obtain a license to fly a helicopter within a reasonable amount of time.

Step 1: Minimum Eligibility Requirements

To obtain a helicopter certificate at the private pilot level, you must be at least 17 years old and must log at least 40 hours of flight time including at least 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor and 10 hours of solo flight training in the areas of operation listed in § 61.107(b)(3).

To obtain a helicopter certificate at the commercial pilot level, you must be at least 18 years old and must log at least 150 hours of flight time as a pilot consisting of at least: 100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in helicopters; 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, which includes at least 35 hours in helicopters; and 10 hours conducting cross-country flight in helicopters.

Step 2: Medical & Student Pilot Certificates

Before you can schedule an appointment with an examiner, you must obtain a current and valid medical certificate. This will ensure that you are fit for operating the helicopter safely. You must also have a student pilot certificate to fly solo in advance of obtaining your private pilot certificate.

Step 3: Complete Ground School

You are not able to earn a helicopter certificate without first completing a ground school course. This is where you will be able to learn about what it takes to successfully pass the written test as well as prepare for your flight training experience.

Step 4: Log the Minimum Flight Time

Once you are fully ready, you will be required to obtain a certain amount of flight time in helicopters before scheduling an appointment for your FAA written test, depending on the certificate level you pursue.

Step 5: Pass the Written Exam

You will schedule your training hours with an instructor in order to prepare you to fly the helicopter. It is during this time that they will also prepare you for the written or knowledge exam, as well as familiarize you with all of the available maneuvers in the helicopter.

Step 6: Pass the Check Ride

Once you have completed the training and acquired the necessary flight hours, it is time to schedule a check ride. At this point, you must be able to perform each maneuver required by the FAA examiner.

Step 7: Maintain Your Certification

If you already have a private pilot certificate, you must maintain that certification by passing a flight review as required by the level of operation for which you are flying, which is generally every 24 calendar months for the private pilot level in Part 91 operations.

Start Your Helicopter Journey 

After you have obtained the necessary training, there is no better time to obtain your helicopter license than now. With the certification, you will be able to fly any type of helicopter and earn a substantial salary for your work.

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Where can I get my Helicopter license?

If you are serious about obtaining your helicopter license, it's time to start studying the basics of flying a helicopter. You will need to begin by enrolling at your local flight training facility.

Is flying a helicopter harder than a plane?

The basic skills required to fly a helicopter are similar to those of flying a plane. However, with helicopters, there is more weight and the learning curve will be slightly steeper because of the fact that you have so many more controls in your hands.

Are helicopter pilots in high demand?

Yes, there are a lot of jobs available for pilots who work in helicopters.

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