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taking the plunge
Helicopter Pilot School
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Choosing a helicopter pilot school has much in common with all other choices to do with learning to fly. The same rules apply, but there are some special considerations to make before taking the plunge.

Cost The overall costs are really important. Almost everything about helicopters costs more than a typical light aircraft. Even the coffee in the club house sometimes! As a rough guide expect to pay 2-3 times the price of a PPL course for a standard fixed wing, when comparing to a typical training helicopter. Add these introductory costs on to the requirements for keeping current, ongoing training and maintenance, and you have a very money consuming past time on your hands. But if you can afford it, go for it.

Safety. There are many views on helicopter safety. One of my earliest opinions on them was “that’s not flying, it’s beating the air into submission!” I still do feel that there is some way to go with overall safety of these machines. I will elaborate on that in the later paragraphs.

Competence. This is the one area that can make or break you as a helicopter pilot. In my experience, it takes something extra to fly rotary wings. There are some similarities between the principles of flight for both kinds of machine, but there it ends. Witness the fact that if you have a PPL for Aeroplanes, very little of that will help you towards getting a licence for helicopters. On top of that, the basic aptitude and motor co-ordination required to fly a helicopter may be beyond the reach of some people. I’m not saying that to be rude, it’s just some people will take longer to learn the lessons, and that combined with the higher cost, may push them away from the sport.

Currency: Closely linked to competence is currency. Once you have made the grade, there is a higher standard to maintain. This means more time in the air, refresher flying and ongoing instruction to remain safe as a helicopter pilot.

Utility. There’s no getting away from the fact that the utility of a helicopter is pretty much unbeatable. For all of the safety risks acknowledged, this is the one reason to do everything you can to mitigate these risks and take on a helicopter. The places you can go, and the views you can achieve are completely unparalleled in aviation. There is a complete WOW factor with this form of flying, it is absolutely transformational. So if you can overcome the obstacles above, get your PPL Helicopters from a good helicopter pilot school. You will not regret it!


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