Helicopter Pilot Training

Written by Robert Mac
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Helicopter pilot training turns eager students into skilled pilots--and in less time than you'd imagine. Plus, with the right certification and ratings, a private pilot can move up the aviation ladder and become a professional pilot. If you want to roam the skies as a traffic reporter, search and rescue pilot, or Hollywood daredevil, you'll need FAA-approved helicopter pilot training.

The first certification for a pilot is a private pilot's license--technically, it's a rating or certification, but it's generally synonymous with a license. It's difficult, but not nearly impossible; a pilot needs to be only 16 to qualify. Plus, they must be proficient in English and pass a third class medical exam by a FAA-authorized physician. They must also pass FAA pilot exams: flying, oral, and written.

Get Enough Air Time During Helicopter Pilot Training

The prospective helicopter pilot must fly at least 40 hours to receive a pilot's certification. Of those hours, 20 of them need to be dual flight training (airplane and helicopter), and 10 of them should be solo flight time. There are a few other requirements--3 hours each of cross-country flight, night flight, and test flight preparation.

Your helicopter pilot training doesn't have to end there: you can also get a commercial certification. This allows you to carry passengers for hire--you can carry them with a private license, but cannot charge rates to do so. You must have a private pilot's license and many of the same requirements for that license, but your minimum flight hours increase to 150. It's a little more training, but you'll start to see a monetary return on your investment.

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