Choosing a Helicopter School – 5 Tips to Help You Find The Best
So you’ve decided to train as a helicopter pilot? Well done, we’ll help you to find the best possible helicopter school to make your dreams come true. We’ll present some tips about what you need to look out for and what questions you should be asking when you visit prospective training schools.
Here are a few helpful hints and guidelines to make your task of finding the ideal helicopter school easier. An environment in which you will feel comfortable to undertake flight training and helicopter ground school.
1. Is there a helicopter school near where you live?
Unless a friend or relative has recommended a flight school from experience (how many people do you know who have learned to fly helicopters?), you can do no better than to harness the power of Google to search for ‘helicopter schools’, ‘helicopter flight schools’, ‘helicopter flight instructors’ and other similar resources on the internet.
Now you can reveal and compare the local helicopter companies offering flight training. If the local helicopter schools are not up to scratch, consider temporarily relocating to where the ideal helicopter school is located.
2. What qualifications are offered by the helicopter training school?
After you’ve found a suitably located training facility your next priority is to check what qualifications they can offer you. If you’re a newcomer to helicopter flight you’ll want the European JAA PPL(H) private pilot’s course. Only once you have passed this and completed enough flying hours can you begin to consider more advanced or commercial training.
If you want to go beyond your basic private pilot’s course (PPL), make sure that your chosen training school can offer the advanced training that you’ll require. Have a look on the school’s website for details of courses such as the following:
– Type rating conversion courses for other helicopters
– CPL(H) modular course training
– Night flight training
– Advanced navigation
– Mountain flight training
– Training as a helicopter instructor, through the FI(H) route
– Other special training such as long line vertical reference flying
Rise Helicopters offer all these courses from their base at Gloucestershire (Staverton) Airport.
3. Does the helicopter flight school offer discounts?
It’s worth taking the time to shortlist schools that make discounts available, perhaps for paying in advance. Take this up directly with your chosen school and your persistence might pay off. Remember: if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
4. Which helicopters will the training school use?
Have you though about taking a trial lesson to see which helicopter suits you the best? You may find you have a preference for a particular type of helicopter. While there are some limitations for beginners, you might prefer, say, the slightly larger, more comfortable Robinson R44 to the smaller two-seater R22.
Will your short listed helicopter schools offer training in your preferred helicopter? It’s worth finding out. Similarly, if you want to learn to fly turbine-powered helicopters later, does the school have such aircraft available in its training fleet?
5. Choose an approved helicopter school
Helicopter training demands the utmost professional attitude. Always check if the school is a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved Flight Training Organisation (FTO), Registered Training Facility (RTO) or Type Rating Training Organisation (TRTO). Rise Helicopters is an approved F.T.O.
We hope that this short guide has given you more confidence about how to consider which helicopter school to choose. Now you know what information you will require, you’re chances of success are greatly increased. You should be much better equipped to find the perfect helicopter training school for your own needs.
What next? Contact your short listed helicopter flying schools and arrange a visit and a trial lesson. An established training facility, such as Gloucestershire’s Rise Helicopters, will always welcome visitors interested in Helicopter Flight Training.