As we mentioned in our last article, we’re not astronauts or ‘right stuff’ test pilots. Much as we would love to claim that we are incredibly intelligent beings, we’re actully normal people like you. Does that mean that literally anyone can learn to fly a helicopter? Sort of.
Setting aside the basic health requirements for a pilot medical, anyone of average aptitude, a capacity and desire to learn new skills and a willingness to set aside pre-concieved ideas can become a helicopter pilot.
Are there some skills you may have that will help?
Surprisingly few that transfer across, in fact. Because you are learning a completely new skill set with few parallels, there aren’t that many skills that compare. Many people think that adventure sports, track driving, a love of fast cars, exceptional eye hand co-ordination all make it easier, yet in fact the average time needed to pass your final test differs little.
If you are someone who takes time to absorb new skills, then it may take more hours to pass, however that doesn’t make you a worse pilot in the end. And sometimes, people with a background of risk taking adventure sports need to revise their attitude to risk in aviation.
So, we’re all different, we all have differing skills and yet we are all capable of being helicopter pilots.
If there are two things that are needed most, they are:
- Time. You need to set aside time to fly with a clear mind, leaving behind your everyday distractions when you arrive here to fly.
- An acceptance that there’s a lot you don’t yet know, with a curiousity to know more. We promise you, it’s addictive and fascinating.
For sure there will be times when you think that this is far harder than you thought. Learning to hover can be a frustrating experience at your first attempt. You simply have to trust that many others have gone before you, experienced the same challenges and succeeded. You’re no different and you will succeed. One day soon, you’ll be sitting in a perfect, stationary hover, chatting away and you’ll suddenly realise that you’re doing it without thinking.
It’s a great feeling.
The article is part of a series that aim to answer all of the questions you’ve ever had if you’re thinking of learning to fly helicopters. You can read the first post here, or click the links below for the rest of the series