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Helicopter Lessons and Training

So, you want to become a helicopter pilot? Congratulations on making one of the most exciting and life changing decisions and entering a world of fascination, excitement and rewarding flying. Many people assume that flying a helicopter is beyond the capability of the average person, this could not be further from the truth. Whilst it would be unfair to say that it was easy, if you have mastered driving a car, there's no reason why with proper training you won't be earning your helicopter pilots wings soon.

In the UK the first step in helicopter training is the award of the Helicopter Private Pilot's License, known as the PPL(H). This 45 hour course takes you from no knowledge to being fully competent, safe and capable of flying yourself and passengers anywhere in the UK (during the daytime and in good weather) without the supervision of an instructor – quite an achievement! However, given that the cost of PPL(H) training can range from £8,000 to £20,000 depending upon the type of aircraft and time taken, it makes a huge amount of sense to have a trial flight before committing to a significant investment. Trial helicopter flights are available for in the region of £175 to £300 and vary from 25 – 60 minutes. During the flight you will be shown the basics of helicopter flight, hovering, high speed flight, perhaps even auto-rotation; and most importantly you will be given the opportunity to take the controls and get a feel from helicopter flight. If like most people you are then hooked, then it's time to start your PPL(H) training.

Over a few months, or as quickly as 3-4 weeks on an intensive course, you will master the basics of hovering, take-off, landing, forward flight, auto-rotation, navigation, flying a circuit around the airfield and the theory behind helicopter flight. There will be many milestones in your helicopter flying training, but none more significant than the first time your instructor climbs out and sends you off for a circuit round the airfield on your own – your first solo. No pilot forgets it, and it is the biggest confidence boost you are ever likely to receive. On completion of your practical training, and some multiple choice exams you will be ready for your flight test and the award of your PPL(H). At that point you join a very elite club of helicopter aviators and can start to realise the benefit of your new license, hiring helicopters to fly yourself and friends. You may decide that a full time career in helicopter aviation is for you. In which case more helicopter training and lessons leading to the award of the Commercial Pilot’s License or CPL(H) will be required. Upon award of the CPL(H) and an enhanced medical check you will be able to work for money in the many areas of helicopter operations. Many CPL(H) holders go on to train as helicopter flying instructors, passing on their knowledge and skills to the next generation of helicopter pilots; a thoroughly rewarding career.