Helicopter Private Pilot's Licence

Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL (H))

Imagine walking into an airport, hiring a helicopter and flying yourself and your friends to an hotel. You land in their grounds and walk into the restaurant. After a lovely meal you take off and fly home. You can turn this fantasy into reality with a Private Pilot's licence (PPL (H)).

Getting a PPL for helicopter flying is a tremendous experience from your first flying lesson to getting your license at the end. The course is a combination of flying in the helicopter and learning about the theory of why helicopters fly and how to fly safely.

There are nine practical subjects you need to study, each with a multiple choice exam that you have to pass to qualify. These subjects are Air law, Operational procedures, Meteorology, Human performance and limitations, Communications, Aircraft (general) and principles of flight, Navigation, Flight performance and planning. In addition you will need to pass a practical test on the correct phraseology to use when talking to Air Traffic Control (ATC) as you fly across the country. This is known as 'radiotelephony' and we have our own in-house instructor and examiner. Overall, the course is challenging and stimulating. You can study at home and make use of Heliflight’s ground school where we will teach you all you need to know and help you if you have any difficulties with particular aspects.

To take your exams you will first need to set up a CAA customer portal. You will also need this for your medical, 

The flying part of the course is exhilarating. Divided into 30 different exercises you will spend at least 45 hours in the air to gain your license. These excercises provide you with the skills you need to fly safely, anywhere in the world (subject to meeting any local licencing requirements). You’ll get a feel for how the helicopter handles when flying straight and level, turning, climbing and descending. And, as your training progresses, you’ll learn how to hover. It takes time. Co-ordinating all the controls to fly above the ground in one position is tricky to begin with, but, when you mastered it, you’ll just want to do it again and again. Once you are proficient in the hover you’ll also be taught to land and take off.

Pretty soon you’ll be ready for a solo flight. This is one of those great experiences in life and every pilot remembers theirs. The day you pilot a helicopter with no-one else in the cockpit, perhaps flying a circuit around the airfield, be prepared to feel fantastic for a very long time: it’s that tremendous. You’ll spend at least ten hours of your course flying solo, often away from the airfield and eventually landing at others as you practice navigation. Towards the end of the course there is also a practical test on navigating cross-country.

Finally you take a flight test, a day where you demonstrate all you’ve learnt to a friendly flight examiner. Heliflight has its own resident examiners. On successful completion of your flight test you apply for your licence and soon you’ll be a bone fide Helicopter pilot.

You need to be 16 years old to fly solo and have to be 17 to apply for a license. You must also be reasonably healthy as you will need to pass a medical examination with a doctor recognised by the Civil Aviation Authority. There is a specialist Aviation Medical Centre at the airfield.

If you would like further information about the PPL (H) course and the other training available from Heliflight We’ll be happy to help. Alternatively please call us.

SE49, Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SR.