How to Become a Professional Helicopter Pilot

How to Become a Professional Helicopter Pilot

In a time of my young life, I adore pilots handsome flying in the sky, even when I am older now, it's respectful to see aircraft flying over my head. As we admire helicopter pilots` ability of flying, only themselves know how hard it is to become it. Becoming a helicopter pilot costs time and money, which needs a long time and high-pressured practice, besides, expensive training fees except one can get military training. A private helicopter license can make you eligible to fly, but if you want to be a professional helicopter pilot, a commercial license can qualify you for flying commercially.

This article will guide you step by step to become a professional helicopter pilot.

Getting the qualification

Basic conditions

Firstly, the requirement for your age is at least 16 to become a helicopter pilot. As you want to get a commercial helicopter license, you'd first have a private license, so the earliest age you become a professional helicopter pilot is 17. Secondly, everyone who is going to get qualification for helicopter flying must have an examination by an FAA-approved physician, which contains checkup of heart, psychological, drug abuse, vision, and hearing also achromatopsia. Pilots are often affected by acceleration, noise, low pressure, bumps and vibrations during flight, so they must have a healthy body and good flight endurance. The flight status of modern aircraft changes drastically. Pilots must also be quick-thinking, be able to quickly accept large amounts of information, and make correct judgments and responses. Therefore, pilots need to implement strict medical selection and physical examination systems. If you fail the examination due to any problems with your physical condition, you may lose the chance to get a qualification.

Loose educational requirements

Although there's no need to have a college degree to become a pilot, if you want to fly as a hobby no educational requirements, having a degree can make it easier to get employed. Also, you don`t have to major in aviation-related subjects because you will get professional training in flight school, so you can choose majors as you want to earn a degree.

Choosing your flight school

All pilots have to get the required hours of professional training in flight school. You can choose from flight schools listed in the FAA website. Taking the following matters into consideration can leads you to the right school.

Firstly, location. You may consider the location of school once you manage to make this career. Opt for flight schools that are located in your ideal workplace.

Secondly, the reputation of the school also matters a lot. A school of high graduation-rate, as well as high quality in education, can get employers preferred to.

Lastly, tuition fees. Becoming a helicopter pilot is expensive, but the tuition fees vary from school to school, place to place, which can release some pressure of cost a little.

Strict training experience

One who wants to be a pilot should have great courage because he will operate an airplane to fly in the sky, which needs special skills and even stricter requirements. In flight school, you will get a long time and professional training. That includes at least three hours of dual cross-country flying, three hours of dual nighttime flying, and three hours of solo cross-country flying, also one 75-nautical mile cross-country flight, and perform three solo takeoffs and landings.

Dual flight is flying a helicopter with the companion of your instructor while solo flight is flying by yourself, but don`t be afraid, it`s only be allowed to fly alone at the time you are experienced enough and your instructor thinks you can. Even if you fly alone in the sky, you can hear instructions from the ground

Taking license exam

Private license exam. Once you have had enough training experience, you can prepare to take your private license exam first. This exam contains 30-50 written questions, mostly about rotorcraft and flying, and all are included in the flight lessons you learned in school.

  • It will require you to speak out the functions of different parts of the aircraft, how to figure out different situations encountered during flight and what proper maneuvers you will perform to solve them.
  • When you score at least 70% of this exam, you pass it!
  • As well as you obtain an FAA medical certificate and pass an FAA written exam, then you can get a private helicopter pilot license qualifying you to fly an aircraft.

Commercial license exam. If flying is only as your hobby, a private license is enough, but if you want to make it a career, you need another more certificate—commercial license, also you will take commercial license exam. Before taking this exam, you have to obtain a private license and have 150-hours solo flying experience. A commercial license exam includes the FAA written knowledge, oral and practical tests.

  • FAA written test, as mentioned above, is questions about rotorcraft and flying. You have to answer questions using your knowledge learned in school.
  • Oral tests require you to plan a flight then you will be asked questions about your planned flight, your procedure.
  • Practical tests are also named check-ride. It is a real flight that flies by yourself with a tester aside. The tester will observe your maneuvers and decide whether you are wrong or not, determining your pass or not pass this test, but you do have a chance to pass even when you made an error that you can retake what you failed.

Finding relevant jobs

Viewing average salary of pilot job

How much does a pilot make in the United States? The average pilot salary in the United States is $135,901 at the time of December 26, 2019, but the range typically falls between $117,701 and $153,401. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

At the time you become a helicopter pilot, there`s big cash you can make, which pays for your early effort including expensive training fees, examination fees and so on. Just remember pay always pays.

Deciding your career path

  1. If you want to become an airline pilot, apply to your regional airline for your first job. Pilots generally start with low pay positions, and their schedules are demanding.
  2. Get promoted. Pilots must take the time to upgrade themselves, get regular promotion and better schedules
  3. Apply for a larger airline position. After 5-7 years of work experience in a small airline, you can jump to a larger one. Age and qualifications are of very importance to any airline, so make sure you only act when the airline needs a pilot.
  4. Pilot demand will fluctuate When the tourism and travel industry is sluggish, lower-level pilots often have poor schedules or are facing to be fired. At other times, you can use your experience to fight for better positions and salaries.
  5. Get your Captain Certificate This is the highest qualification you can expect as a commercial pilot. You will need 250 hours of captain experience plus 1500 hours of flight time.

As you want to apply for a job, the following is needed to prepare:

  • High school diploma
  • Flight School / Aviation
  • An FAA medical certificate
  • Flight duration
  • Flight experience
  • Written examination
  • Flight test

Job Offers

Job Title: Instructor Pilot / Certified Flight Instructor

Job Code: AS20191712-38029

Job Location: Pueblo, CO

Job Summary

We are hiring a full-time Certified Flight Instructor for our Initial Flight Training (IFT) Program for the United States Air Force (USAF) located in Pueblo, CO. The Certified Flight Instructor provides training, evaluates performance and serves as a mentor/professional developer to new military aviators.


Conducting training (ground and flight duties) in accordance with the applicable USAF Air

Education and Training Command (AETC) Syllabus and FAA training requirements.

Providing ground instruction on aircraft systems, training maneuvers, procedures and other flight related subjects.

Training and screening pilot, combat system officer, remotely piloted aircraft pilot and international military student pilot candidates.

Conducting preflight/post flight-debriefings and providing in-flight instruction to ensure students have a thorough understanding and comprehension of the training materials.

Executing military-style flight training instruction, which consists of basic flight tasks and maneuvers including steep turns, slow flight, stalls, area emergency procedures, ground reference maneuvers, normal patterns, emergency patterns, clock-to-map-to-ground navigation, pilotage and dead reckoning.

Completing electronic gradebook entries to insure syllabus requirements are met.


Education: High School Diploma/Equivalent

Experience: 1 - 2 Years

License(s)/Certificate(s): Current FAA CFI Certificate w/ Airplane Single Engine Land Privileges Minimum requirements: 100 dual hours instruction given, Class III Medical

Preferred: Recent Military Undergraduate Flight Training experience as a fully qualified instructor or fully qualified flight instructor teaching technologically advanced aircraft in large

Part 141 flight school.

Computer Skills: Microsoft Office

Working conditions include outdoors, hangar, office, ramp, aircraft, classroom

Ability to lift up to 50 lbs


Being a pilot, you always have to leave home for a short or long trip, and here is a list of tools you can take in your suitcase.

  • Fluorescent reflector vest
  • Logbook
  • Dummy headsets
  • Noise canceling headphones *with mic*
  • Torch
  • Pilot License/ Medical Certificate