Without knowing much about how to become a professional helicopter pilot, you can probably guess that the first thing you’ll need is a Commercial Helicopter License. That alone comes with its own challenges, including the completion of 150 flight hours that will cost you about $250 per hour. Not cheap.
Now here’s the real bad news. Even after you complete all the requirements for your commercial pilot license and are legally permitted to seek employment as a professional helicopter pilot, you still won’t be able to jump into the pilot work force. Not yet anyway.
You see, most companies that hire helicopter pilots won’t hire a pilot who has less than 750 to 1,000 hours of flight time. If you’re fresh out of helicopter school, you’ll only have about 150 hours total! And given that it’s already cost you about $35,000 to get those hours, the thought of paying even more will likely frustrate you. fake mc
Not to worry. There’s a pragmatic way to accumulate your flight hours without having to pay through the nose. In fact, you’ll even earn money doing it!
You see, even though few companies will hire you as a professional helicopter pilot with only 150 hours of flight time, you’ll still be very close to being qualified to teach helicopter flying to other students. I know, it sounds illogical. If you’re not yet qualified to work as a pilot, how can you be qualified to teach?
The answer is: it’s just the standard. The helicopter pilot profession is competitive. Companies want to be sure they the pilots they’re hiring are experienced, and not just fresh out of training.
This is the reason why most Commercial Helicopter pilots get their Flight Instructor Certificate. It doesn’t cost very much more than you’ve already paid and doesn’t even require any more flight hours. All you have to do is prove your skills in a written, oral and practical flight test. These are the official Federal Aviation Administration requirements for earning your Flight Instructor Certificate:
- be at least 18 years old
- be able to read, write and speak English
- hold a commercial helicopter license
- hold a current FAA Medical Certificate
- pass a written test
- pass an oral test
- pass a practical flight test
Once you have your Flight Instructor Certificate, you can earn money as a helicopter pilot while accumulating your flight hours at the same time!
So if you’re planning on going to a helicopter flight school or training program to become a professional helicopter pilot, don’t be discouraged when the instructors break the news that you probably won’t be able to find a job right out of flight school. Just nod your head respectfully and inquire about your Flight Instructor Certificate examination.